Your source for daily hacks

Published on: October 6, 2013 / Comments: None

HardDJ Arduino based MIDI controller uses hard drives as jog wheels

Stumbled on this awesome project that uses 2 old hard drives platters as rotary encoders / jog wheels.  Obviously for the purpose of DJing!  I love it when people reuse hardware that was originally intended for another purpose.

The build uses an Arduino Mega 2560 as its main processor.  RGB LED’s for the VUmeters, some slider pots for fading, and some extra buttons and knobs for MIDI events.  On the PC software side, the author is using mixxx for the MIDI mapping.


Check out the video after the break.  More pictures in the gallery.  Source code here on GitHub. More documentation here.


Published on: October 4, 2013 / Comments: None

Converting your 3D Printer into a lightweight laser engraver

Following the same idea as this previous post, it I stumbled on this company that has the same concept for turning your 3D Printer into a low power laser cutter/engraver.  They appear to actually have a kit ready to go now which seems to focus primarily on the old Makerbot thing-o-matic, but I’m sure can be adapted to other designs.

The laser is mounted in front of the plastic extruder, and the 2 watt laser driver board is tied to the motor on/off signal from the existing electronics.  From there a little special G code is required to get it going .

Check out a video of it cutting 1/32″ wood with a 445nm Blu Ray laser after the break.


Published on: October 3, 2013 / Comments: 2

Use the web to control an HDMI Switcher

Universal remote controls are a natural want.  I know I hate having 100 remotes for everything remote control.  So what do you do when you start getting used to using your phone as a remote (via web interfaces) ?  Well start converting your other stuff to be controlled via the web too!

Dalgibbard has an entertainment center using XBMC and a Raspberry Pi.  But the HDMI switcher uses an infra-red remote control.  So naturally Dalgibbard hacked the switcher to be controlled by a web interface on the Raspberry Pi.

The HDMI switcher is wired up to the Raspberry Pi via a relay and a few discrete components to the GPIO pins.  The pins are controlled by a python script that is executed by a web page using PHP and Apache.  Simple and efficient.

More pictures, schematic, source here.

Published on: October 3, 2013 / Comments: 1

It’s an Arduino, no it’s A beagle bone, no, it’s both?

It’s the Arduino TRE.  Not unlike the previously announced Arduino YUN, a dual processor design.  The board is a Leonardo style Arduino (ATMega32u4) paired up with the same workings that make up the beagle bone black (AM335x Sitara).  Which gives you an environment suited for embedded Linux on the Sitara side, and Arduino (on the Arduino side).

Although I haven’t seen the price point, if it’s cheaper or the same price as the YUN I would prefer this setup, however I feel sort of mixed about these weird hybrid boards in general.  Everyone wants to jump on the Arduino bandwagon.  Everyone wants to jump on the Raspberry Pi bandwagon, and some people want to jump on both and produce these weird hybrid things.

In my opinion these boards create market confusion, especially to newbies.  Everyone says ‘we are Arduino compatible’ which means you can write code somewhat like an Arduino, or it has a footprint for an Arduino shield.  But what they don’t tell you is you can’t run Arduino code, or there is no library to support that Arduino shield.  What used to make the Arduino great was the fact there was tons of shields and code out there you could run.  Now that isn’t the case.  With all the new gross hybrids and incarnations you can’t simply get some code that used to work — to work.  It requires some interpretation and porting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cheap, powerful hardware.  But I feel that more hardware like this starts to separate the people who write code, and the people who use code.  Something like the TRE will be an awesome processor for your 3D Printer and tons of people will use it.  That’s the key word, use it.  They will download pre-compiled binary images and  eventually figure out how to get code on the eMMC and the Arduino at the same time etc.  But then when there is a bug they will rely on others to fix it or enhance it because the environment becomes more intimidating and there are less examples on how to do things.   That’s just my take.


Published on: October 2, 2013 / Comments: 3

DIY Watch uses OLED screen and ATMega328

With the advances of shrinking technology it’s becoming more and more easier to roll your own every day items.  Ever thought of making your own watch ?  Sure you have, it was probably going to turn out larger than you anticipated too huh?   How’s 1.5mm thick sound ?   Sounds pretty good to me too.  Zak has a really awesome writeup of him rolling his own watch.

The display is a 0.96″ OLED display (128×64 pixels), it uses a DS3231M RTC, 2 LEDs, a buzzer, a 3 way switch and runs off of a 150mah LiPo battery.   Impressive!  Features of the software include, window animations, up to 10 alarms, games, stopwatch, and flashlight mode.

Power consumption numbers are decent too.  6ua in sleep mode, and 10ma with normal on.  That means depending on how much time you spend with the screen on will dictate how long your charge will last.  This puts you anywhere between 15 hours and 3 years.  With those sort of numbers and a modest use of your watch you should be able to get 15-30 days out of a single charge.

The Schematic and source code are available on Zak’s web site, a long with more photos of the build.  Enjoy a video and a few more pics after the break.


Published on: October 2, 2013 / Comments: None

DIY Skee Ball Machine

With the help of  “Because We Can”, creator fungus amungus made his own Skee Ball Machine. The game was built from 3/4″ plywood cut to shape on a ShopBot. Everything appears to fit together like a puzzle with a few screws to secure the parts.

The brains of the game is hosted on an Arduino UNO and it uses 5cm Optical Distance Sensors to detect when the balls go through the holes.  The traditional rules were tweaked a little to include among other things the ability to score bonus points for combos.

Check out the video and links above for more details.


Published on: September 27, 2013 / Comments: None

DIY RF control system for R/C Vehicle using Arduino and nRF24L01

With the advance of affordable 3D Printers, the home brew R/C vehicle community is booming with people making and designing their own parts.  However, making your own RF controller is a different story.

Armed with a pair of Arduinos and nRF24L01 modules, Mujahed has a good start on one.  On the transmitter side he’s reading a joystick module with an Arduino Uno and transmitting with one of the nRF24L01 modules.  On the receiver side is another wireless module feeding an Arduino nano that is tied to a few servos.  Everything on the car side is running off of a standard r/c car style 1800mAH battery.

More info and wiring diagrams on Mujahed’s site. Check out the video after the break.