Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Low Buck Internet Radio

Makezine posted a video showing how to mate a USB sound card with a cheap WIFI router, a little open source software and this combination becomes a cheap and easy internet radio. No computer required (for the audio output).

Heck add a LCD and a few buttons and there would be no need for a computer anywhere in this setup. But I guess that would make it more like the cost of the radios he shows at the start of the video...

Anyone wanna donate the supplies so I can try this (to get my Christianrock.net fix in the kitchen or outside for example)

3DTV Apparently down in the poles

Hardocp links to Rueters which says

Although 57 percent of viewers agreed that watching 3D television made them feel they were part of the action, 77 percent said they thought the technology was best suited for special events like sports or movies, rather than everyday viewing.
Here's my question, how easy is it to switch between 2D and 3D.

My ideal (or idea if no one else has thought of it) would be that the tv would automatically detect if the 3D headsets are being worn or not being worn. If no one is wearing them switch to showing 2D (in this case probably the left or the right side frame would work). If you have to actually pick up the remote and change a setting in a menu to make this switch happen, that's way too hard.

Do they already work that way? I'm sure I haven't tried it at all.

If not they should try it.

Polishing metal the easy way..

Lifehacker sent along a tip on how to make a non-toxic metal polish with stuff you almost certainly have in your kitchen (they are cheap and easy to get if you don't)...

Make a nontoxic metal polish from pantry staples

I generally avoid polishing metals because a. the elbow grease involved and b. what caustic nasty chemical to use.

I might actually give this a try though.

CNC Camera Scanner

Tormach has developed hardware/software to scan a part with high accuracy with your CNC milling machine..

Tormach is a company that makes on of the most prominent CAM software packages around, Mach3.

CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacturing. The CAM software is what sends the commands to a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine.

Tormach has built a milling machine attachment and a software package. At the end of the attachment is a microscope USB camera.

The CNC machine (commanded by the CAM software (Mach3)) moves the camera around over a part that you want scanned. While commanding the camera to take a series of pictures which are then stitched together and entered into another plugin that helps you to draw that part in your CAD software with a large amount of accuracy. Build Log claims accuracy down to a few thousands.

This is reverse engineering and copying to the N-th level.

Open Source WIFI Drivers

Broadcom recently announced releasing the drivers for their very common wireless chipsets.

This means suddenly the software to run WIFI in linux isn't such a hassle or a hack for anyone who is using (or might use) and Broadcom chipset.

It also means drivers and software will be included in Linux and other Open Source Operating systems, without any wonky licensing issues.

Way to go Broadcom!!

Check out their website..

News Via Hardocp and Here

Monday, September 13, 2010

A more refined ride

I previously posted about an industrial robot arm being repurposed to simulate motion and play video games

Well this time they wrapped a whole helicopter cockpit around the arm....

They are using this as a safe alternative to training new pilots. The arm provides 6 degrees of motion and allows a safe solo flight to be tried without risking a high dollar helicopter. 

Homemade Laser

Homemade Ultraviolet Lasers
Found on Make: and Hackaday 

Who knew lasers were so easy to build?..

I remember reading How the Laser Happened recently.
In it Charles Townes said it was amazing no one figured out just the right mix of known physics and conditions to make a laser 30yrs before him. (if I still had the book that would be a direct quote).

Magnetic Levitator

This is a DIY magnetic levitator project.
The amazing thing about this project is the extremely low parts count, including no microprocessor. 
Plus: Lego==Awesome

Portable/Consolidated Workbenches

Make: Ran a picture of a portable electronics workbench recently and previously an instructive piece on how to build a handy bench/toolbox.

I can't decide if I'd rather have my tools and supplies all in the same place or have a separate tool storage and supplies storage. Right now mine are segregated Tools/Supplies. I've been moving my stuff into my house and shed the last couple of weeks. Soon I will be finally unloading all the hardware and parts and bits I have into some drawers/storage. When I get around to it....

Essay about Machining and Making things

Mikey turned in an excellent essay about how he ended up knowing how to machine and what satisfaction is in it for him.

Honest - all I ever wanted to do was make some stuff ...
I didn’t set out to be a machinist, hobby or any other kind.  I simply had a whole slew of other interests that I was involved with and machining was supposed to be a supporting activity.  I realized that it was a major advantage to be able to repair almost anything, make something that is difficult to find or doesn’t even exist, or improve something that could be made better.  So rather than make do, I decided to make parts.
It's a great story and effectively explains while many DIYer's do what we do.

I also perused the blog/website that posted this.

Machinist's Blog 

It looks to be an excellent source of machining information.

Btw, I got there via Make: (as usual)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blowing away the mess

Dust is a recurring problem for anyone willing to open a computer case. No matter how careful you are with your computer's environment or conditions modern air cooled systems are eventually going to need the dust cleared out.

The normal route for this hassle is to take a can of compressed air and spray the computer out. These cans are $3.50 per can and you might get 3 cleanings out of a can, if things aren't too dirty and you dont try to actually really eradicate the dust. But I like to really clean things, so I would be lucky to get 2 cleanings. That gets expensive fast.

Two common solutions that I've personally used are Vacuums and Air Compressors. Unfortunately vacuum cleaners can build up static and air compressors often spray water or oil instead of just air....Internet proof here.. Of course with my experience working in a shop I've seen water spray out of the air system plenty of times.. Dunno about the vacuum=static thing. I love my shopvac, better not to risk it though.

So what to do?

This would work great. It's portable and from what I understand the same hookup as a paintball CO2 can. So you can avoid the big box price for a new can. You can get these cans here and I've heard refills at a paintball store are only a couple of dollars (more internet proof). I had always hoped if I could work out the right set of adapters and regulators I could get under lowes' $90 price but in looking into it tonight it looks like a regulator is about $40 and the can is $10 and add in more fittings/adapters and it could easily reach Lowes' price.

Although this instructable is an interesting setup. But less portable than I would like for blowing out computers.

SO that brings me to what brought this whole blog post on...
Hardocp is urging everyone to clean their PCs this weekend. I was gonna post in the comments that I just did last week before I finally got my desktop installed in my house. In the comments I found a reference to the ED-500.

The ED-500 is a 500W electric blower designed for blowing out electronics. Looks like the best way to go. Glad to finally have that resolved. :)