Karen sez, "Instructables user RobHopeless has engineered a way to make your own 3D printer. This tutorial is an entry in Instructables' 4th Epilog Challenge, which is accepting all sorts of creative projects for the chance to win an Epilog Laser."
I have wanted a 3D Printer for a while now and there are some very reasonably priced kits available like the Makerbot, Ultimaker and the RepRap project. I could have just bought a kit and started printing things but at the time I had not seen great resolution or print quality from those. I started looking around at the other 3D printing technologies and found SLA made some amazing quality prints, so I decided to try making my own. Since I started this a while back those projects have come a long way and they can make some beautiful prints now. There are also people working on a UV resin and DLP projector 3D printer which is showing promise.
MIT student Tyler Christensen created a musical Tesla coil hat for his Hallowe'en costume (it played the Mortal Kombat theme and the Harry Potter theme while discharging semi-tame lightning). While freely stipulating that this is "a really bad idea," Tyler is still generous enough to document his project for others who might follow in his bad footsteps.
Really, it’s just a DRSSTC. Nothing less, nothing more, nothing fancy. It was a bit tricky to make a bridge appropriately sized, and even harder to make a boost converter for it. In fact, the boost never truly worked. If I play a mid to high note for a few seconds, the boost can’t keep up and it fades away. I think this is due to saturation of my boost core, but I haven’t really taken the time to do much on this since now I’m back in the gate driver world and also have to throw together my 6.131 power electronics final project. I’ll fix hatcoil in February.
La Receta de la Felicidad, a Spanish-language site, has Sandeea Cocina's great little HOWTO for baking brownies inside blown eggshells. You make a hole in the shell with a corkscrew, stand the shell up in a muffin tin with tin-foil supports, and fill the egg with brownie batter using a piping bag and bake (make sure to leave room in the egg to allow for cakeular expansion!). My mom used to make me Jello-filled hollow eggs, but this is a whole 'nother level of egg-hacking.
Inspired by the skateboard-truck lazy-susan table I blogged last year, Instructables user Wilgubeast has produced a HOWTO for replicating it for about $70, excluding the glass: "Think of the possibilities: Play board games where nobody has to look at the board upside-down. Bring the remote within reach without getting up from the couch. Epic tea parties."
SuperMagnete documents a clever method for removing dents from brass instruments using powerful magnets. You insert a steel ball (smaller than the dent) in the instrument, and then use a padded magnet on the outside to "rub out" the dents. A more elaborate method uses a "reverse hammer" that works on harder surfaces.
To remove the dents on the hard parts of the instrument, Roberto developed a "reverse hammer". It is made of a non-magnetic rod (e.g. copper) with a movable heavy metal block on it's axis (e.g. the head of a normal hammer), a magnet on one end of the rod and a stopper on the other end (see drawing). When the hammerhead hits the stopper, a part of the resulting energy is transported through the magnet to the steel ball within the instrument, which "hammers" the dent from the inside.
TheNewHobbyist has posted an Instructable for re-creating the "Singing Busts" effect from the Disney Haunted Mansion rides, using an Arduino to control the effect so that it springs to life when trick-or-treaters step up to your porch.
After I started learning to program my Ardunio this evolved into a photocell actuated video "on demand" Halloween display. I used an example I found on Arkadian.eu to control a Dell Mini 9 netbook running AutoHotKey. When the photocell switch is tripped the Arduino sends a serial message to the Dell laptop which is converted to a keystroke by AAC Keys which in turn triggers the below AutoHotKey Script and finally plays back using VLC. The "AAC Keys" could probably be replaced by setting up your Arduino as a USB HID but at the time this was all a foreign language to me.
A Slashdot user posed a question: how to conclusively destroy 15-some hard-drives without spending big bucks on a degausser or wasting a lot of time waiting for DBAN to run. I like this response from Plover (who also recommends protective gear):
If you're looking for fast production-line destruction, take a three pound hammer and punch. A punch driven through the aluminum plate covering the platter section, midway between the center spindle and the edge of the drive, down to the bottom of the case through the platters, will effectively destroy the disks. It will cheaply render the data unreadable to anyone who doesn't want to invest ten thousand dollars investigating the remains of the disks. You can crank through many disks per hour. A 3/8" bit in an electric drill would be similarly effective, and less labor intensive than a hammer, but slower...
But with 15 drives, it's just not that big of a job. Why make a big mess? Disassemble them. It takes about 10 minutes per drive, and it's both educational and fun. You can probably do it watching TV on the couch.
A miniature Torx driver set (T6-T9, available from Sears), a flat bladed screwdriver, a #2 Philips screwdriver, and a pocket knife is all I need to take most drives apart down to their components. Recover the voice coil driver magnets, they're always useful. Remove the circuit boards and recycle them as they were probably soldered with lead. Remove the platters from the spindles. To truly be rid of the data, you'll have to basically destroy the platters in a very hot fire. Heating them past their Curie point will completely destroy the data, leaving them totally unrecoverable; but that may require heat as high as 1500 degrees F. You won't get that on a stovetop.
Instructables user Blightdesign has developed a method for rubberizing paper origami creations by dipping them in Plastidip, using them for Christmas tree ornaments. This HOWTO explains how to rubberize your own paper toys.
From BrodyQat, whose infamous desaturated Santa outfit made her the toast of the Internet, advice on how to make yourself a monochrome costume:
You have to think in shades of gray, not black & white. And all your grays need to complement each other, which is freaking HARD. There’s blue-grays, red-grays, etc. Find neutral ones, use mainly those and accent with black & white. (Wearing all black & white is not the same as looking desaturated).
Once you’ve matched all your grays for your outfit, you then need to match a skin-tone gray body paint. By ‘skin tone’ I mean it looks like your particular shade of skin tone, but gray. I recommend only Kryolan brand aquacolor body paint, they have lots of shades and coverage is amazing. Match colors in person if you’re lucky enough to have a vendor near you. I wouldn’t chance it looking at shades online, honestly.
Line your eyes top and bottom with dark gray eyeliner BEFORE you paint your face & exposed skinparts. Then shade back in your eyebrows so you don’t look like Amanda Palmer before she breaks out the eyebrow Sharpie.
If there's one thing I love, it's irising mechanisms. And if there's another thing I love, it's thick-framed glasses. That's two things I love, and as you've probably guessed, there's someone who's combined 'em. Instructables user art.makes will show you how to brew up a pair of these beauties in seven moderately complex steps.
Avi sez, "Anya Kamenetz has made her 'Edupunks' Guide to a DIY Credential' available as a free PDF. The guide is 'a comprehensive guide to learning online and charting a personalized path to an affordable credential (or no credential) using the latest innovative tools and organizations.' Take charge of your educational path and save yourself a bunch of money and debt in the process!"
Ken, a former "fed" (of some description) on the group blog Popehat, received a "toner-scam" (a scam whereby someone sends you an invoice for a service you never ordered or received in the hopes that you'll pay it without noticing) solicitation in the mail at his business. This pissed him off, so he decided to track down the scammers and document, in lavish detail, the process by which he ran them to ground. The series of posts is up to part four now, and it's fascinating reading.
For some reason, this one seriously pisses me off. Maybe its because the fraud is so blatant. Maybe it’s because the weasel-worded disclaimer designed to give them a defense to fraud claims is so perfunctory and lame. Maybe it’s because after I sent an email to the scammer’s lawyer, the scammer himself called me and tried to run a con on me. Like I’m a fucking rube.
So. I’ve decided to dedicate some time and money to investigating this scam and the people and companies responsible for it. I’ve also decided to write about the investigation, and use it as an opportunity to discuss con man culture and how anyone with an internet connection, a few bucks, and some time can investigate an attempted scam — or, preferably, conduct due diligence on a suspected scammer before they can even try to con you.
I’m going to discuss using Google, using PACER (which allows access to federal court records), using state court records, and taking effective action against scammers.
LoveCraftsman sez, "How to make a realistic corpse out of a cheap plastic skeleton in one hour."
Having experienced the tedium of creating a corpse with liquid latex and cotton fiber first hand I found this tutorial extremely helpful. It uses a cheap plastic skeleton, plastic dropcloths, and a heat gun to produce a surprisingly realistic final product. The one in the tutorial took about an hour and looks pretty good, particularly when compared to the latex treatments that take days to finish.
Instructables user Dscott4 has an expensive Bugaboo pram, and it broke. The official Bugaboo service center wanted $250 to replace the part, but Dscott4 fixed it himself by 3D printing the missing part and installing it.
Pram connoisseurs out there will know that the Bugaboo is by far the best pram on the market for style, function, ergonomics and collapse ability, unfortunately they are also very expensive to buy and even more expensive to repair, until now....
With the increased accessibility of high quality 3D printing thanks to Shapeways , you can get your Bugaboo back on the road for $25, not bad considering I was quoted $250 for a repair.....
Following is a step by step guide to repairing the handle lock, without which the pram is near useless.
Designer/architect Wholman made this fence out of discarded, recycled road-signs in Greensboro, AL, along with the local YouthBuild chapter (a Department of Labor project "that provides low-income young people a chance to study for their GED and acquire trade skills, all while earning a small stipend for their labor"). He's posted an Instructable so you can do it, too (this may just be the coolest fence I've ever seen).
The local county and state highway engineering offices donated old road signs, which we then cut, sanded, filed, and drilled to create pickets. Using jigs and a self-organized assembly line, the students manufactured nearly a thousand pickets for roughly 225 linear feet of fencing. By cutting and randomly re-assembling the signs, the graphics were broken and rebuilt into a new collage of abstract symbol and color.
Sad endnote: Congress has shuttered YouthBuild, even though "YouthBuild generates $9 of economic output for every $1 spent on it."
Instructables user Gogglerman made this beautiful mechanical irising case for a steampunky wristwatch movement, and posted hints for making your own. It's one of the sweetest projects I've ever seen, and definitely the coolest application of steampunk to horology I know about.
On Instructables, the Papier Boy shows us how he turned store-bought garden gnomes into Spidergnome, Batgnome and Rob-gnome:
Evil lurks in the shadows of our backyards. Rogue snails. Radioactive skunks. My yard has a maniacal possum that will stop at nothing until he controls the entire area behind the compost pile. That's why every backyard needs a hero. One that can clean up the garden and make it safe for all law abiding neighborhood critters. This Instructable will show you how to turn an unassuming mild-mannered garden gnome into a tiny butt-kicking purveyor of justice.
The good folks at Evil Mad Scientist Labs created this footstall in the form of an old-school 555 chip, and were kind enough to produce a HOWTO so you can make your own:
The paint was applied in several layers. First we applied a gray primer coat over the whole chip. We then painted the top and bottom of the main body black.
To get the markings on the top, we use a laser engraver to ablate the top layer of black paint, revealing the gray primer below. We then masked off the "black" areas of the body very carefully before painting the legs silver. Once that was all dry, we finished off with a layer of "frosty" matte clear spray paint over the entire surface, giving a better appearance to both the silver and black areas, as well as protecting the engraved area on the top.
I saw an expensive designer "labyrinth" carpet like this in a catalog years ago, and wondered at the time if I could recreate the effect on the cheap by taking electric hair clippers to a piece of ordinary deep pile carpet. Long story short: It works!
'How to Paint Your Automobile', a brochure published around 1922, describes the preferred method for repainting your jalopy, including instructions for pin-striping ("Many pleasing effects are possible, in the latter case, by using a contrasting shade for the stripes") and other fancy stuff.
Starshipminivan sez, "Finally, the promise of Portal has been fulfilled. These cupcakes are not a lie and you don't even have to listen to GlaDOS, just bake, decorate, and consume these mini flavor marvels. Perhaps the cake is a lie but the cupcake is at least a half-truth.
These rich, moist cupcakes, topped with frosting and chocolate, are delicious mini replicas of the black forest cake seen in Portal. You'll be in heaven but 'still alive' after eating one."
The Cupcake is Not a Lie: Portal Cupcakes
Here's a delightfully dangerous HOWTO from the July, 1937 issue of Modern Mechanix giving directions for making your own tame lightning wiht a giant Oudin Coil. As Charlie Shopsin notes, "When even a DIY article from 1937 peppers its instructions with warnings, it's probably best to be very careful."
THE apparatus about to be described is capable of throwing a spark four and a half feet long. In spite of its deadly appearance, this spark is quite harmless. The operator may hold a metal rod in his hand and let it jump to the end of the rod and run through his body to ground, not only without harm, but without any sensation of shock. A rather spectacular stunt is to hold one wire leading to an incandescent light, and bring the other end near the coil. The lamp will be lighted by the current passing through the body and may in a few minutes even be burned out. A mystifying trick is to hold a short length of neon tube in one's hand, and approach the coil. Long before there is any sign of a spark jumping to the tube, it will light with its characteristic glow.
This wee beastie is a Joule Thief, a device whose sole purpose in life is to exhaust the power remaining in batteries that are too weak to do anything else. Simply build these and affix them to your "dead" batteries and thrill to the spectacle of the power you've paid for being available to you, right down to the last dribble.
The latest animated business-card from Cardnetics is this card with a built-in irising mechanism. The card is available as a finished product, a kit, or a Thingiverse object to download and cut yourself. It's also available in other sizes, including greeting-cards.
Here's a delightful HOWTO for making a urinal out of SNES cartridges (please only use broken ones and crappy sports games, as the authors of this suggest!):
I recommend calling a professional plumber to install your video game urinal. They can help you remove the excess hardibacker, adjust the height of the flush valve & P-trap so they align with your plumbing, and secure the urinal to the wall.
WARNING: Flush valves are not designed for installation in most residences. There isn't enough water pressure or water volume for them to operate correctly. You will need to install the urinal in a commercial setting or verify your water supply line meets the flush valve manufacturers specifications.
After all this time, you probably need to pee. Go ahead and try your new Super Nintendo urinal. There is something strangely satisfying about peeing on John Madden's face (in cartridge form of course).
Jamie Zawinski, who owns San Francisco's DNA lounge, has some practical advice for people trying to shoot photos in dark venues, bars and clubs. In addition to tips on composition and lenses, he's got a lot of good solid stuff on bar etiquette:
Stop standing still.
We know your photos are the most important thing in the world, but you're pissing off all the other customers by blocking their view with the enormous piece of gear you keep holding up. Especially if you're tall. Or have a ridiculous hat. Move around! Don't stand in any one spot for more than a minute. You will get a wider variety of photos, and you won't irritate the people whose view you're blocking if you weren't there long.
Also, keep your elbows tucked in. You don't have to hold your camera like you're impersonating a windmill. The less space you take up, the fewer people you will piss off.
Don't post photos where people look like crap.
This really should be obvious, but if a photo is unflattering or otherwise no good -- if the subject is making a stupid face, or the lighting accents their zits or whatever -- don't post it. Why do that to people? You're not Diane Arbus. Some photographers think "but people want to see pictures of themselves, so if I took it, I should post it!" but that's not actually true. For candid nightlife shots, people only want to see good pictures of themselves. If you don't have a good picture of them, you'll just make them feel bad.
Lose the giant watermark.
If you feel you must caption your photos, just put your name or URL at the bottom in a relatively small font. Especially do not use a huge transparent logo. It looks terrible and amateurish and it is distracting.
In my experience, the size of the watermark is inversely proportional to the quality of the photo.
Personally, I never watermark any of my photos, because it's not like anyone's going to go and get rich off of some candid shot I took of them in a club. I know other people are much more hung up on getting credit about such things, but try to be a little understated about it so that your desire for credit doesn't take a big steaming dump on the composition of the photograph itself!