Cunning Turtle at Maker Faire 2013

2013-09-22 18.38.44This year at Maker Faire we debuted our all new Hard Shell. The Hard Shell is our DIY photobooth kit that allows you to place a portable photobooth anywhere. Just add your own camera.

Now that the faire is over, we’re working on getting the photobooth pictures uploaded to an online gallery. If you left us your email at the faire then we’ll send you a notification when they are up.

3D printed parts dunked in acetone vapor produce professional finish

Acetone Vapor bath

TrenchPhysics documents his experiments with taking objects created on his 3D printer and dunking into a bath of acetone vapor to produce a professional finish. 3D printers produce objects by printing them from the ground up one layer at a time. This causes every printed object to have visible ridges on it. The acetone vapor causes the outside layer of the 3D part to fuse together, eliminating the ridges and creating a uniform smooth surface. The end result makes the part very shiny.

Check out his video here.

Computer Case: Weighted Companion Cube

This is perhaps one of our favorite computer cases that we’ve made over the years. Normally a cube isn’t an exciting deviation from the standard computer case, the rectangle prism, but this one is different. Not only is this cube weighted but it also a replica of the weighted companion cube from the video game series Portal. Some of you sober-eyed types who play video games might have recognized the similarity by now. How it resembles that cube you once had an encounter with, that abruptly ended when you threw it in a pit of fire. You monster.

This replica of the weighted companion cube was made with love (you wouldn’t know what that is). It was designed in SketchUp and cut out on our CNC machine. The cut out panels were then hand painted and assembled into the cube shape it is now.

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Servo8Bit Library version 0.6 released

The next version of the Servo8Bit library is released which includes the much sought after integration with Arduino libraries for the Attiny as well as other various improvements.

Here is a run down of what’s new:

  • Now works with various Arduino libraries for the Attiny45 and Attiny85.
  • Added support to run at 1mhz in addition to 8mhz.
  • Added ability to easily select if this library should use timer0 or timer1.
  • By default timer1 is now used. The old default used to be timer0.

Download the Servo8Bit library from its Github page here .

ZIP button downloads all library files together

If you’re unfamiliar with Git Hub you should know that you can download all of the library files by click on the “ZIP” button, at the top left corner. Part of the download is an example program that shows you how to use the library on a bare bone Attiny. If you looking to use the Servo8Bit with an Arduino library check out this example, which shows you how to do just that.

When you use Servo8Bit with an Attiny Arduino library (such as the one found here) I recommended that you run the Attiny chip at 8mhz , instead of at 1mhz. The Arduino library uses it own interrupts (in order to keep track of time and what not) which sometimes fire at the same time as the interrupt used by the Servo8bit driver. The interrupts step on each other’s toe, so to speak. The effect is that sometimes the connected servo jerks a bit because the PWM pulse sent to it was too long. Running at 8mhz reduces this effect by a lot.

ATtiny45/85 Servo Library

Recently I worked on a project where I wanted to control a servo using an ATtiny85. I checked online for ready made code that did this but I couldn’t find anything satisfactory. Not wanting to switch to a larger microcontroller I decided to write my own servo library for the ATtiny85.

I call it Servo8Bit. It supports up to 5 servos, runs on the ATtiny85 or ATtiny45 and uses only one 8 bit counter. It can generate a servo control pulse from 512 to 2560 microseconds with 256 steps of resolution. And, most importantly, it is very easy to use.

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World’s Most Complicated Hit Counter

Hit counters are found on very site on the internet – though they barely go by that name anymore. Modern hit counters are invisible, fast and do more than keep track of the number of times a web page was loaded. Suites like Google Analytics record which geographical region a visitor is from, what operating system they use, and how much time they spend on the website.

The hit counter I built may not do any of those things, but it does keep track of hits, and in the most complicated way possible.

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D.A.V.E. the Turret


A couple of my friends and I took the mechatronics class at our university last year. For our final project we built an autonomous sentry turret capable of picking out people in a room and shooting them down. We called it the Digital Assignation & Violence Entity, or D.A.V.E. for short. We think this is the latest in proactive autonomous personal defense, if you happen to be on a shoe string budget that is.

Some of D.A.V.E.’s features:

  • Finds people up to 20 feet away
  • 150° scan range
  • Holds 20 foam darts at a time

Since this was a class project we were expected to purchase our own supplies for anything we wanted to build. Which meant we where going to build this turret out of whatever supplies we had on hand. We made the frame out of scrapes of wood we had around. The toy gun we purchased at a 60% discount from a KB toys that was going out of business. The fabric covering the base used to be a pair of pants…

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Fallout 3 Buffout, in real life!

I made own my real life Buffout! It’s really easy to make and takes only a few steps. All you need is a medicine bottle and to download, print and cutout the label. I got the medicine bottle as a free sample from a site that specializes in selling plastic bottle. If you are going to make yourself just one or a handful of Buffouts, I recommend getting the bottles the same way.

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Lexan Mini ITX PC

Have you ever wanted a computer that you can leave on 24/7 and not even notice that it is on when you walk into the room? I know I have.  Now I finally built one that is so quiet you can’t hear if it’s on or not even if you stand next to it.
As a bonus, it is only the size of a large book, has a 1.6Ghz dual core atom processor, and idles at 19C (or whatever the room temperature happens to be). Check out the video to get an idea of how small and quite the computer is.

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DIY Power Supply

Today we take a look at re-purposing a computer power supply.

If you’re anything like me you probably have a couple of computer power supplies lying around your home. I collect mine because I like having a replacement power supply on hand just in case the one inside one of my computers stops working. But the fact is, PC power supplies tend not to die, which recently got me looking for other ways I can use them. What I found to be a good use for them is to use them as bench top power supplies.
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