Category Archives: DIY

Robots complete span of 3D-printed bridge for Amsterdam canal #3DPrinting #Robotics


Via DeZeen:

Robots have finished 3D printing the structure of a steel pedestrian bridge devised by technology startup MX3D, which is set to span a canal in Amsterdam.

Dutch designer Joris Laarman is working with with Amsterdam-based robotic manufacturing technology start-up to build the 12-metre-long bridge, which will eventually cross a canal in the Dutch capital.

Six-axis robots were used to “draw” the 4-metre-wide structure in the air from layers of molten steel.

Engineering firm Arup and researchers from Imperial College London are due to perform several full load tests to prove the structural integrity of the bridge, which is being printed inside a former shipbuilding hangar.

Mx3d robot printed steel bridge completes span amsterdam dezeen 2364 col 3 1704x947

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via Adafruit

The Simplest Possible DIY Ultrasonic Levitator

We thought that making things levitate in mid-air by the power of sound was a little bit more like magic, or at least required fancy equipment. It turns out that you can do it yourself easily enough with parts that any decent hacker’s closet should have in abundance: a motor-driver IC, two ultrasonic distance pingers, and a microcontroller. This article shows you how (translated here, scroll down).

But aside from a few clever tricks, there’s not that much to show. The two HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensors are standard fare, and are just being used as a cheap source of 40 kHz transducers. The circuit uses a microcontroller, but any source of 40 kHz square waves should suffice. Those of you who could do that with a 555 (or a Raspberry Pi), this one’s for you! A stepper motor driver bumps up the voltage applied to the transducers, but you could use plain-vanilla transistors as well.

It’s all the little details that count, however. You need to position the two ultrasonic drivers fairly precisely to create a standing wave, and while you can start at 8.25 mm and trial-and-error it, the article demonstrates using an oscilloscope to align the capsules by driving one and reading the signal out of the other and tweaking them until they’re in phase. Clever!

The author also takes the ultrasonic-transparent grille from one of the unused receivers and uses it as a spoon to help position the styrofoam bits in the sound waves. We always wondered how you’d do that!

It turns out that it’s easy to make a DIY ultrasonic levitation desk toy, and none of the parts are expensive or critical. The missing ingredient is just the gumption to try it, and now we have that, too.

As cool as they are, the HC-SR04 modules aren’t perfect for all distance sensing applications. Here’s everything you need to know about them, including hacks to make them work up-close. And since HC-SR04 sensors come cheapest in ten-packs, you’ll be wondering what you’re going to do with the other eight. That problem has apparently also been solved.

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Chic Cat Bed Designers Debut More Classy Furniture For Suspiciously Self Aware Felines


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It’s feline-focused world and we humans are just lucky enough to live in it, via designboom.

the traditional cat tree is typically a hodgepodge of unintentional design decisions, eyesores to many designers. unfortunately, designers often bite the oblong bullet anyway, for the sake of the contentment of their selfish feline friends. they purr away in their ugly living-room-castle, while your highly-curated furniture suddenly gets lost in the calamity. meyou paris’ new products takes out the need to make this compromise: ‘meyou’s furniture reconciles your cat’s needs with your design expectations.’

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via Adafruit

Remote Control of Clocks is Easy as Pi

[Fatjedi007] recently acquired three programmable boxing gym-type clocks to help his developmentally disabled clients manage their time. The plan was to have timers of varying lengths fire at preset times throughout the day, with the large displays providing a view from anywhere. Unfortunately, the clocks were not nearly as programmable as he needed them to be.

Since he’d spent enough money already, [Fatjedi007] turned to the power of Raspberry Pi to devise an affordable solution. Each clock gets a Pi Zero W and a simple IR transmit/receive circuit that operates using LIRC. The clocks came with remote controls, so it was just a matter of re-programming them. From LIRC, he wrote some scripts with SEND_ONCE and schedules the timers with a cron job. No need to get out the ladder—he can program all of them from his chair over VNC.

He does have one problem, though, and that’s getting the Zeros to set themselves over NTP with static IPs. Do you have any suggestions? Put ’em in the comments and help a Jedi out.

LIRC is pretty handy for anything you want to control remotely, like a stereo system.

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Fantasy Focused Summer School at Oxford


Where can I sign up?

Via the University of Oxford

JRR Tolkien and Susan Cooper; CS Lewis and Diana Wynne Jones. Oxford will always be associated with the greats of fantasy writing – and now the genre is being placed centre stage, courtesy of a new University-run summer school that will allow members of the public to explore this often-overlooked branch of literature.

Titled ‘Here Be Dragons’, the summer school will run from 11-13 September and is also aimed at prospective Oxford students with an interest in the fantasy genre.

Academics from Oxford’s Faculty of English and invited speakers will present a series of talks on the history of fantasy literature, the major writers, and cross-cutting themes.

Read more here.


via Adafruit

An FM Transceiver From An Unexpected Chip

The Si47xx series of integrated circuits from Silicon Labs is a fascinating series of consumer broadcast radio products, chips that apply SDR technologies to deliver a range of functions that were once significantly more complex, with minimal external components and RF design trickery.  [Kodera2t] was attracted to one of them, the Si4720, which boasts the unusual function of containing both a receiver and a transmitter for the FM broadcast band and is aimed at mobile phones and similar devices that send audio to an FM car radio. The result is a PCB with a complete transceiver controlled by an ATmega328 and sporting an OLED display, and an interesting introduction to these devices.

The Si4720 internal block diagram, from its data sheet.
The Si4720 internal block diagram, from its data sheet.

A look at the block diagram from the Si4720 reveals why it and its siblings are such intriguing devices. On-chip is an SDR complete in all respects including an antenna, which might set the radio enthusiasts among the Hackaday readership salivating were it not that the onboard DSP is not reprogrammable for any other purpose than the mode for which the chip is designed. The local oscillator also holds a disappointment, being limited only to the worldwide FM broadcast bands and not some of the more useful or interesting frequencies. There are however a host of other similar Silicon Labs receiver chips covering every conceivable broadcast band, so the experimenter at least has a good choice of receivers to work with.

If you need a small FM transmitter and have a cavalier attitude to spectral purity then it’s easy enough to use a Raspberry Pi or just build an FM bug. But this project opens up another option and gives a chance to experiment with a fascinating chip.

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Thoughts on Low Latency Interrupt Handling (SAMD51) @microchipmakes


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Thoughts on Low Latency Interrupt Handling | Big Mess o’ Wires.

For this analysis, I’ll assume the microcontroller is an Atmel SAMD51. If I were actually building this hardware now, that’s what I’d probably choose. The SAMD51 is a fairly new 120 MHz ARM Cortex M4 microcontroller, and is like an upgraded version of the popular SAMD21 used in the Arduino Zero. Adafruit had a gushing review of the SAMD51 when it was released last year. It has a nice selection of hardware peripherals, including some programmable logic, and it’s fairly fast, and cheap.

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via Adafruit