[Hahabird] uses this screwdriver to start his car. Despite what it may look like, only this particular screwdriver will start the ignition because it still uses the key lock. What he’s done is alter the screwdriver to act as an extension for the key. It’s purely aesthetic, but you have to admit it looks pretty gnarly hanging off of the steering column.
The hack merely involved cutting off the unneeded parts of the key and screwdriver. With the shaft of the tool cut down to size he clamped it in a vice and cut a slot into it using a hack saw. From there he headed over to the grinding wheel and smoothed out the sharp edges.
The key itself had the handle portion cut off and was thinned on the grinding wheel to fit snugly in the screwdriver slot. To permanently mate the two pieces he used a torch and some silver solder.
Filed under: security hacks
[Thor's] hammer, Mjolnir, is pretty freaking awesome. It can only be picked up by [Thor], he can use it to fly, and probably the coolest part, it can summon lightning. After watching the first movie, and goofing around with the guys at ArcAttack, I had this idea that I could stuff a tiny tesla coil into a mjolnir and end up with a really cool prop.
At this point, I had to make a decision. I was either going to go portable and live with small arcs, or make this a stationary piece and hide a giant tesla coil in a base. It would have bigger arcs, but I couldn’t carry it around. While I may re-visit the stationary version at some point, I ultimately decided I wanted to be able to wander around and play with this thing.
I had seen some videos of [Staci Elaan] showing off her battery-powered coils and I really liked her results. I figured, with her experience, she could probably do a better job than I could on getting the most bang out of a small package. She was happy to be involved and delivered a small 12v powered coil for me to work with. I should also point out that the coils [Staci] makes are usually donated to educational groups. This woman is awesome.
She had built this big flat head on it, with the initial plan being that it would be the front “face” of the hammer. It didn’t really work out that way though. I ended up having to increase the size of the head a bit and change the orientation of the coil. I experimented with different types of foam and you can see in the “making of” video what I finally ended up using. The blue insulation board you see in the pictures melted way too easily.
After the hammer was all constructed, and ready to film, we shipped it to California. As you might know, Hackaday is connected to a studio there, now called inside.com. When it arrived, it had suffered a tiny bit of damage and the arcs were a bit smaller. They had gone from roughly 4 inches down to maybe 3. We filmed a few videos and had a ton of fun. Unfortunately, I learned a month later that all the footage for [Thor's] hammer was lost.
I had them ship the hammer back to me in Missouri, and this time it was very damaged when it arrived. I modified the design a little bit, re-assembled it, and tested it out. The arcs were still roughly 3″ when going to another piece of metal and I was finally going to be able to share this project. I cobbled together a quick costume out of a t-shirt, some foam board, and hot glue and now you see the result!
For those who would like to learn more about the coil itself, you can find the circuit and an entire lesson on solid state coils here(pdf 8MB).
Lets jump into some pictures!
[Staci] supplied pictures of the various parts of the coil during construction. Keep in mind, she didn’t have a lot of time and I asked her to get this done pretty quickly.
The Boost converter:
The controller card:
The HV coil:
This was all initially going to fit in the handle, but I gave her the wrong dimensions. It ended up being millimeters too wide. It now resides in the head of the hammer with the coil.
The initial design that was way too melty and didn’t work very well:
The final design, big but functional:
The whole time, I was scared someone else would beat me to the punch. It is such a simple idea. I think a stationary one that could do arcs of several feet would be fun to see as well, but I’ll have to save that for another time.
Filed under: classic hacks, Featured
This AM radio looks a bit like it did coming out of the factory. But there are a lot of changes under the hood and that faceplate is a completely new addition. The project really is a restoration with some augmentation and [Michael Ross] did a great job of documenting the project.
The Kenyon radio was built in 1946 and uses vacuum tubes for the amplifier. Considering its age this was in relatively good shape and the first thing that [Michael] set out to do was to get the electronics working again. It involved replacing the messy collection of capacitors inside. He then cleaned up the tubes, checking for any problems, and put the electronics back together to find they work great!
He cleaned up the chassis and gave it a new coat of finish. The original dial plate was missing so he built a wood frame to match a dial scale he ordered. The bell-shaped brass cover hides the light that illuminates the dial.
He could have stopped there but how much do people really listen to AM radio these days? To make sure he would actually use the thing he added an Arduino with an MP3 shield. It patches into the antenna port via a relay, injecting modern tunes into the old amplifier circuit. Catch a glimpse of the final project in the video after the break.
Filed under: digital audio hacks
It was time for some new T-shirts so [Andreas Hölldorfer] built a laser cutter. Wait, what? That’s the excuse he’s going with, and in the end this scratch built laser cutter did come in handy by cutting stencils to use when decorating his garments.
The first thing we thought when looking at the cutter is where’s the tube? [Andreas] didn’t use a CO2 laser, so this ends up being rather low-powered. The cutting head is a 1W blue laser diode which manages to slice the three-ring binder separator pages he’s using for the stencils. The two-axis machine is mounted inside a wooden box to protect his eyes while it’s cutting. He plans to add a drawer later on so that the cutting bed will slide in and out to swap out material for the next project. He already does a lot of 3D printing work and had an old RepRap driver board on hand to use for this projects. He designed and printed the red mounting brackets which make all of the junk-bin components work together. Not bad!
If you’d like to try this out on a smaller scale try using optical drive parts for the axes.
Filed under: laser hacks
This hack makes the virtual real by displaying your video game character’s health meter as a column of illuminated water.
The build video, which you’ll find embedded after the break, is really quite remarkable. The column is a clear piece of pipe anchored at one end by hand-tightened plumbing drain fittings. This allows [Bfayer] to attach a flexible bladder which he constructed for the project. An actuator pushes a hinged board up against the bladder to raise and lower the water level in the tube.
Alone that’s pretty impressive, but [Bfayer] went the extra mile and then some. He uses a four-way fitting at the bottom of the meter. One fork connects to the bladder, another allows air to be injected using an aquarium pump. The bottom of the fitting has a clear window so that an RGB LED array can shine into the water which was doped with highlighter ink to pick up the colored glow. To pull the whole thing together he coded the custom control interface seen above.
Filed under: classic hacks