[Johannes] has been reading Hackaday for years but this is the first project he’s tipped us off about. It’s a laser engraver built from a DVD burner diode (translated). It turned out so well we wonder what other projects he’s forgotten to tip us off about?
This is the second CNC machine he’s seen through from start to finish. It improves upon the knowledge he acquired when building his CNC mill. The frame is built from pine but also uses bits of plywood and MDF. It can move on the X and Y axes, using drawer sliders as bearings. The pair of blue stepper motors drive the threaded rods which move the platform and the laser mount. Just above the laser he included a small DC fan to keep it from burning up. The control circuitry is made up of an Arduino Nano and a stepper motor driver board. Catch a glimpse of the engraver cutting out some stencil material after the break.
There must be something about Spring that brings out the urge to work with laser diodes. We just saw a similar 1W cutter last week.
Filed under: clock hacks, laser hacks
When we first started hearing about software-defined radio hacks (which often use USB dongles that ring it at under $20) we didn’t fully grasp the scope of that flexibility. But now we’ve seen several real-life examples that drive the concept home. For instance, did you know that SDR can be used to track ships? Ships large and small are required by may countries to use an Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder. The protocol was originally developed to prevent collisions on large ships, but when the cost of the hardware became affordable the system was also brought to smaller vessels.
[Carl] wrote in to share his project (which is linked above). Just like the police scanner project from April this makes use of RTL-SDR in the form of a TV tuner dongle. He uses the SDRSharp software along with a Yagi-UDA. The captured data is then decoded and plotted on a map using ShipPlotter.
Filed under: radio hacks
Several people have sent us this story. I’ve seen it everywhere. A lot of people are upset, on several sides. A gun has been 3d printed that can actually fire a round.
First, we have people scared that this will bring undetectable guns to people who wouldn’t have had access before. Then we have the gun fans that are reacting to the others with shouts of freedom and liberty and stuff. The 3d printing community has had mixed reactions, but many are concerned that this will harm 3d printing in general.
I simply don’t care.
It isn’t that I’m apathetic to people who are victims of gun violence. It isn’t that I’m apathetic about “gun rights”. I just think that this specific event makes no difference at all. It is intriguing in the aspect that it is yet another “First!” for the 3d printer community, but beyond that I don’t care, keep the “firsts” coming.
Here are the different points that I have heard brought up.
1. Accessibility: People are concerned that guns will now end up in the hands of people who couldn’t have gotten them before.
I really don’t think this is a legitimate concern. You’ll note the machine that printed that gun. It wasn’t your average reprap. It cost as much as a small house. If you can afford that printer? You could afford a gun. Lets just pretend your average reprap could print that gun though. Again, you’re going to have to either buy or build one. At this point, you would have been capable of just buying a gun or… building one.
I guess you could go use a friend’s printer to print your gun, but would that really be any more common than taking another person’s gun?
2. Printing restrictions and Legislation: 3d printer fans are scared that laws will be made that will stop them from printing things.
Do you own a lathe? A mill? You know you can make BETTER guns with those? That’s how the gun companies make them! It’s like you have a gun factory in your home! Actually, now that I think of it, they’re using .22 rimfire which can be fired in a pipe with a cap and a nail! How are hardware stores not illegal?
Listen, if they tell me I can’t print gun shaped things, I’ll probably print one just for spite. They aren’t going to enforce such a silly law, it would be impossible. They can’t even build anything into the system like scanners that can’t scan money. Guns are too diverse and can be made from basic geometry.
3. Anti-Gun legislation: This may be used to push laws that limit firearms in some way.
Anti-gun legislation has so much gun violence to use as a foundation that a slight change in manufacturing really is a drop in the bucket. This won’t change their ability to restrict things. At least, I don’t think it will.
4. A legitimate concern: Detectability.
The only real issue I see here is that a 3d printed gun wouldn’t be detectable by metal detectors. Bullets are though aren’t they?
These are my opinions on the 3d printed gun. I’m not delving into gun control in general. Since these are opinions, they will most likely be ill-informed and incomplete. Feel free to participate in a civil discussion on the topic.
If you’re curious about whether I personally have a gun, I do not. I think I’m too clumsy to own a firearm. I am fairly sure I’d accidentally shoot someone when I did something stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I do dangerous things. Stupid, dangerous things.
Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, rants, weapons hacks
[The Cheap Vegetable Gardener] assembled his first grow controller about three and a half years ago. He’s been very happy with it and knows that he’ll be using it for years, maybe even decades to come. He just finished overhauling the grow controller design to help make sure he doesn’t burn down his garage one day. You have to admit, without knowing anything about the project this rendition does look safer than his original offering.
Pictured above is the weather-proof enclosure he used to house four mains-rated solid state relays. This box is isolated from the control hardware, providing heavy-duty utility plugs to interface with the heater, lights, fan, and water pump. He mounted the Arduino board which controls the relays to the outside of the box, using the Ethernet wire to switch the SSRs. It uses a manufactured shield he designed which will help ease the pain of fixing the system if parts ever go bad.
Later on in the build he shows the grow light and heaters used in his operation. The heaters simply screw into light sockets; something we’ve never come across before.
Filed under: arduino hacks, green hacks
Let’s start off this weekend’s links post with some advertising. We like targeted ads (mostly because we don’t have pooping problems and are tired of hearing about Activia). So we applaud IBM for finding our number with this commercial which produces a stop-motion animation using single atoms as pixels. Wow! [via Reddit and Internet Evolution]
Speaking of commercials, here’s some snake-oil which lets you touch a boob without being in the same room with the person [Thanks Michael].
Moving right along we’ve got a trio of trackpad hacks. There’s one that lets you use the keyboard and trackpad of a MacBook as a standalone USB input device [via Reddit]. Or you could take a Toshiba laptop to the tablesaw to turn it into a USB trackpad. But maybe your Acer C7 Trackpad doesn’t work very well and you just need better grounding.
[Nick McGill] is a member of the team developing an upper body exoskeleton as an assistive technology. This made the rounds on tech websites but the lack of in-depth build info on the project site kept it from getting its own feature here.
If you have a router capable of running DD-WRT here’s a method of setting up a PPTP VPN for free.
And finally, you may remember hearing about the original Prince of Persia source code being discovered and released about a year ago. Well [Adam Green] figured out how to compile it into the original Apple II floppy disks. [Thanks Arthur]
Filed under: Hackaday links
[Rohit Gupta] wrote in to share this touchscreen piano project he built around the TI Launchpad. It provided a way for him to explore using a resistive digitizer found on a lot of mobile devices. These are simply stuck to the top of LCD screens and replacements are inexpensive, but salvaging one from old hardware is an option as well.
The first thing he did was to test the four outputs of the digitizer with his multimeter. Logging the changing resistance will help make sure you’re reading the correct wires and are able to zero in the settings before you start coding. [Rohit] uses the ADC on the MSP430 chip to read from the screen. He went with the algorithm from one of TI’s app notes to convert the readings in to X and Y coordinates.
He separated the screen into seven columns, each generating a different tone. Touching higher or lower on that column will alter the pitch of the note produced. You can hear an example of this in the demo after the jump.
Filed under: musical hacks
This is going to change the way you play with yourself. What if every time you got a little bored you reached for your belt rather than your smart phone? [Cunning_Fellow] may be doing that more often now that he finished this slick-looking video game belt buckle which plays the classic Asteroids game.
It isn’t just an intriguing concept. The build was pulled off at a very high level of quality… this thing should have no problem standing the test of time. First off he had to figure out if it was even possible to run the game at a respectable frame-rate. Cheap 320×240 LCD screens don’t have a frame marker (think of it as a vertical sync signal with can be used as an interrupt for the microcontroller). But he thought it was possible that the frame marker pin just wasn’t connected like on more expensive screens and he was right with at least one model he acquired.
With that out of the way he laid out and etched a beautiful double-sided board to house all of the electronics. But he still needed a case. To get a one-of-a-kind look he masked and etched a sheet of brass. Once cut out and folded ti gives a wonderful look and protects the electronics inside quite well.
Filed under: wearable hacks
Gather ’round children, we’re about to hear a story about the good old days. Except that this is really more of a horror story of what it used to be like as a code monkey. [John Graham-Cumming] shares his experience programming a 6502-based KIM-1 machine back in 1985. Simple, right? The caveat being that there was no assembler or hardware for loading the finished code!
The machine in question was a label application tool for a production line. You know, product goes in bottle, label gets slapped on the side. But the slapping needed to be perfect because consumers shy away from packaging that looks shoddy. Computer control would end up being far superior than the mechanical means the factory had been using because it simplifies the ability to adjust calibration and other parameters. [John] started from square one by interfacing the KIM-1 with the existing hardware. It has a hex keyboard which is how the program was entered into the device. But first he wrote the software on sheets of notebook paper like the one seen above. It includes his hand assembled code, which was then typed in on the keypad. Kind of makes you appreciate all the tools you take for granted (like Eclipse), huh?
Filed under: Software Development
[Lee Davison] acquired an Acer laptop that didn’t have a display anymore. He had enough parts on hand to add in an LCD panel and give it a CCFL backlight. But when he started looking for an inverter to drive the backlight he couldn’t find one. What he did have on hand were some smashed screens that had LED backlights and so the CCFL to LED backlight conversion project was born.
He tore into the LED display and found the driver board. Unfortunately he didn’t locate the datasheet for the exact LED driver, but he found one that was similar and was able to trace out the support circuitry on the PCB. This let him cut away the unneeded parts of the board without damaging the driver. He didn’t want to pull out the CCFL tubes until he was sure the LED conversion would work so he tried it out on another smashed panel (where does he come up with all these parts) and it worked great. Once he got everything in place he was very happy with the results. The only drawback to the system is that he doesn’t have the ability to dim the backlight.
Filed under: repair hacks