DIY is cheaper and often better, as Justin Lee and Oliver Yeh found out when they decided to send a camera into space. The two students from MIT put together a low-budget rig to fly a camera high enough to photograph the curvature of the Earth. Instead of rockets, boosters and expensive control systems, they filled a weather balloon with helium and hung a styrofoam beer cooler underneath to carry a cheap Canon A470 compact camera. Instant hand warmers kept things from freezing up and made sure the batteries stayed warm enough to work. [via]
MIT Students took space photos on the cheap - [Link]
We live in the information age. Your phone knows where you like to eat, computer programs know what movies you like better than you do, and going to a party can mean going in this life, or a Second Life. So why is your message of love still stuck in the 16th century? These days it takes more than a sonnet to melt a girl’s heart. This video tutorial shows step-by-step how to make a Valentine’s Day card for the digital age. The NerdKits team shows how to make an LED Heart Valentine’s card powered by a microcontroller. The heart features an LCD screen for a personalized message, and 20 LEDs around the perimeter that can be programmed to show any pattern. The code provided contains a “twinkle” function that randomizes the process to provide a true star-like twinkle.
DIY LED Heart - [Link]
This tube amplifier is constructed uses point-to-point connections and the majority of the parts have been salvaged from old electronics. The amplifier uses 6T9 compactron vacuum tubes in a push-pull output stage. The preamp section uses 12AX7A tubes.
DIY 6T9 Push-Pull Tube Amplifier Project - [Link]
This looks like a really interesting way to make flexible circuits. It uses some specialty printers and materials, but the author does list alternative solutions. These circuits are ideal for applications where weight and/or size is critical. Check out the instructable for a nice step-by-step tutorial. [via]
Produce your own single-sided flexible printed circuits using a solid ink printer, copper-coated polyimide film, and common circuit board etching chemicals. You will find flex PCBs inside most cellphones or similar miniaturized gadgets. Flex PCBs are useful for making tiny cables and extremely lightweight circuits. However, few shops yet make custom flex PCBs for reasonable prices in small volumes
DIY Flexible Printed Circuits - [Link]
How to make your own OLED (organic LED) in a home laboratory? [image source]
An Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) is any Light Emitting Diode (LED) whose emissive electroluminescent layer is composed of a film of organic compounds. The layer usually contains a polymer substance that allows suitable organic compounds to be deposited. They are deposited in rows and columns onto a flat carrier by a simple “printing” process. The resulting matrix of pixels can emit light of different colors.
Your own homebrewed OLED – [Link]
For around $30 in parts and a good amount of patience, you can have a completely open source and hackable mp3 player ready to go. It can be modified to accept serial commands, be embedded in an art project, used as the voice of your next smart talking robo-sidekick, or filled with music and used as is. Put in whatever size card you want, up to the theoretical limit of the MMC format! All the source and schematics are here for free as part of the Creative Commons. I have kits available if you don’t feel like scavenging for the parts yourself.
This player features a shuffle mode, basic track navigation, volume control, FAT32 support, fragmented file support, an unlimited number of files on the root directory, and high quality playback. Files at 256Kbps can be played without a hitch. Variable bitrate files are supported with peaks up to 320Kbps.
The World’s Simplest Open Source DIY MP3 player - [Link]
Summer is almost over and your chances of capturing mother nature are slipping away. Don’t get too distraught, however, because fall and winter are coming, meaning months ahead to construct your own solar panel.
- You can pick up all the solar panels you’ll ever need in the HacknMod Store (along with any other DIY project supplies you need).
- Learn how to construct a professional, durable 60 watt solar panel.
- Don’t miss our on HacknMod’s vast collection of DIY Free Energy projects.
Construct your own 60 Watt Solar Panel - [Link]
So what does a bored Optics Engineer do in his free time? Build a handheld flashlight so bright it can toast a cat, of course. [via]
The 45-year-old Dutch optics engineer has been building his own lights since he was eight, but his recent 38-million-candlepower creation, the Maxablaster, is more like a miniature star. To start, Ottow stripped out the innards of a powerful commercial flashlight and switched in a mercury arc bulb, which generates light by creating an ultra-hot plasma between two closely spaced electrodes inside the gas-filled central chamber of the lamp. That results in a brighter, more focused beam but also kicks out more ultraviolet light (hence the sunburn, a product of early testing). So he added a specially coated reflector and designed, ground, and coated a new glass window that would trap UV rays while still pumping out light.
Homemade 38 Million Candlepower Flashlight - [Link]
Another contest, another batch of cool projects! Once again, the Trossen Robotics Community (TRC) came through with some amazing ideas. We’re very excited to announce the winners of this round’s Trossen Robotics contest!
In case you’re new to the TRC, here’s a quick refresher on how this contest works: A wide range of talented and dedicated people come to our Project Showcase forum to show off a project they’ve been working on. After so many months, we (the Trossen Robotics team) evaluate each project, and score them in the following categories: “Wow” factor, Ingenuity, Creativity, and Presentation. We run this contest to help promote and encourage innovation and ingenuity. People are allowed to submit a wide range of projects ranging from robotics, automation, art, RFID, DIY, mods, inventions, and anything else demonstrating some form of technological creativity. We invite all bloggers to help promote the innovation that these unique individuals have demonstrated!
Enough talk, here are the winners from this round of the TRC Contest that we felt deserved recognition for their creations.
Trossen Robotics Community Contest - [Link]
Mos writes:I’ve made a DIY USB Controller. Well i needed some extra buttons on my G25 wheel. Maybe someone will find it useful.You need a hardware programmer to write the bootloader to the Chip once. A simple programmer layout I’ve made is attached, but note that it only works with LPT ports with >= 4Volt levels. But many modern PC LPT’S have lower voltage, check your LPT port first. All cables should be as short as possible. Connect 12V & 5V to appropriate PC power supply pins or other stable powersupply with 5V & 12V. My programmer doesn’t has a socket, it programs the chip “In Circuit”. [via]
Do it yourself USB Controller / Display - [Link]