Your source for daily hacks

Published on: September 26, 2013 / Comments: None

Trim the fat out of your Pi

Need to stick that Raspberry Pi in a tight spot ?  Or is it just a little to big for your enclosure ?  Finn has some ideas how to shed some size off of the Pi for a slimmer fit.

The first mod is the obvious one, de-solder the RCA video connector (if you aren’t using it).  Next remove the audio jack.  Those will slim it down a little bit in the width.  Now for trimming the length, the biggest problem is the pertruding full sized SD card.

There is a fix for that, you can get a micro-sd adapter that will fit nicer.  Or you can do it the hackalizer way and take some scissors to that SD card.  As it turns out most modern SD cards only use the very tip, the rest is just empty plastic.  Who knew ?

Check out the post on finn’s site.


Published on: September 1, 2013 / Comments: None

Tips for reducing your code size on AVR platforms

The guys over at Bot Thoughts like using AVR micros, specifically ATTiny’s.  Whats wrong with the ATTiny ?  Well … It’s tiny!  Meaning not a lot of code space.  After reading this doc they put together some highlights.

While some of the tips may be pretty obvious (like compiling with -Os, let the compiler optimize for size) there are some other tips you may not have thought about.  On the test code, they got their code down from 4.2k to 1.4k.  The biggest chunk of savings came from not using floating point math, believe it or not you can accomplish a lot of float type math with just integers and you can save a bunch!

Nice tips, I recommend checking out the full article.

Published on: August 28, 2013 / Comments: 1

Making flexible links with your 3D Printer

Unfortunately unless you have access to a flexible material you can extrude on your 3D Printer, you’re going to have to get creative.  That’s what Robogrrl did.  The concept is simple (the execution is a little more complex however).  Use your 3D Printer to print the pieces you want joined by a flexible member, then 3D print a mould of the flexible link.  Pack sugru into the mould.  Boom!

The complicated part is designing the hub and mould.  Luckily Robogrrl has a pretty in-depth tutorial on her process.  She’s using inventor for her design.  The end result is pretty astounding!

Full tutorial is up on her site.

Published on: August 28, 2013 / Comments: None

Tips that will make your Bash scripts pop

While looking through some Bash scripts, Fizer took some notes on some of the things other people are doing.  He’s compiled a list of items he thought were relevant.  A good resource for anyone looking to improve their scripts.

First up is adding colors to your scripts, I know it’s just visual but it really adds a lot to the quality of your scripts.  Also in his list are tips for debugging, checking if required binaries exist, and reading inputs with time-outs.

Read the full post here.

Published on: August 23, 2013 / Comments: 1

It’s time to upgrade your Arduino IDE

I admit, I’m an old die-hard.  I prefer using vim and a makefile.  Whenever I do Arduino development the Arduino IDE kills me.  From the very beginning when it opens up this tiny little window, to the horrid multi-document interface, and finally to the end when I have an error, and the error message displayed below has absolutely no clue on what the problem really is.

You could take the obvious approach, and code with something like Notepad ++ or Sublime Text (or vim! VIMMMMMMMMM!!!) or you can hit the middle-ground.  Enter Arduino for Visual Studio / Atmel Studio.  Having used both Visual Studio and Atmel Studio (which the new Atmel Studio basically is Visual Studio….) I can say it’s not too bad.  It’s a plugin for VS/AS and it’s free (not free and open source, but free for your personal use).  I recommend grabbing Atmel Studio 6.1 that way if you want to do some bare metal coding on atmegas/avr’s you can go that route too.


Published on: August 22, 2013 / Comments: None

Improve your ABS 3D Prints with ABS juice

I’ve actually heard of this before on various forums.  It’s right next to using hairspray on your heat bed before you print.  It’s ABS juice (or ABS glue).  According to the video, you take 100% acetone and put strips of ABS plastic in it so that it dissolves it completely.  Better yet if you have a couple failed prints you can toss in!

The consistency should be like hazy acetone, not thick like paint.  If you paint it on your heat bed before you print, it’s supposed to help your prints stick to the bed better and help reduce curling (I guess by holding it to the bed).  It doesn’t look hard to make, just make sure you don’t use a container that acetone will melt!

Published on: August 19, 2013 / Comments: 2

Making laser cut boxes

This topic recently came up during a conversation with a friend about making laser cut boxes.  If you’ve ever bought a kit that has some laser cut wood or acrylic, or looked at a maker bot or something you’ve seen it.  Those cool ways that the ends join together (with and without screws), the snap in tabs etc.

So how do you design something like that for yourself ?  Well we’ve got a few resources for you.

MakerCase – An online site that allows you to plug in your own dimensions and tab type and it will generate a file you can laser cut to make the box (or edit in another editor)

BoxMaker – Like MakerCase, a few less options in some areas, and some finer settings in other areas.

Tabbed Box Maker – A plugin for InkScape (This is real cool as InkScape is Open Source and you could easily make modifications from within the application)

I also remembered this cool post on Make about different types of joinery that you can laser cut (or CNC).  This goes beyond boxes, we’re talking all types of joints, even flexible ones!  Since this post has been around awhile there’s also more gold hiding in the comments like bookmark lists to books.