YouTuber “HomoFaciens” had quite a bit of square tubing to cut for his latest CNC router. As he’s known for combining simple tools with creative uses of electronic components, he came up with a jig that helps him precisely position his cuts.
This device works using an encoder made out of paper, tape, and a nail sharpened on both ends. Two IR emitter/receiver pairs send pulses to an Arduino Uno, which displays this number on an LCD screen. The machine is calibrated by measuring a known length of tubing verses the number of pulses for an actual distance measurement. Once set up, not only can the digital ruler be used to properly cut tubing, but can be put on a drill press for accurate hole placement!
We’ve all seen hamsters in a cage, furiously running nowhere. Perhaps you’ve thought about the pointlessness of this activity, before going to the gym to lift weights up and down or run on a treadmill. From an outside perspective, both activities seem pointless, but when you realize the benefits, maybe tracking what “feats of strength” you’re able to accomplish, things become much more clear.
As seen on Hackaday, in order to track the activity of his daughter’s hamster, John Mueller implemented an Arduino Uno-based system that records revolutions using a magnet and a reed switch. Every time the magnet on the wheel passes the fixed switch, it triggers an Arduino input, recording how many revolutions, and thus how many miles the little guy runs each night. Results are quite impressive considering its size, recording over 3.5 miles on one occasion!
This type of encoder concept could be used in many different situations, such as logging bicycle speeds, or tracking motor stats.
If you’re familiar with the Segway or other vehicles that balance in what is known as an “inverted pendulum” configuration, you may think that while interesting, creating something similar would be too complicated or out of your budget. Though perhaps still not simple, Joop Brokking takes you through his design for this type of bot in the video seen here, making it accessible if you’d like to build your own.
The robot, which will cost about $80 in parts, uses two stepper motors for greater movement precision than could be had with normal DC models, and employs an Arduino Pro Mini, along with an MPU-6050 accelerometer/gyroscope for control. It can be driven around by a Wii U-style nunchuck, which transmits to the robot via an Arduino Uno and wireless transceiver module.
Depending on your point-of-view, you may see claw machines as an interesting device that can normally be ignored, or perhaps magnet for quarters that you must satisfy until you capture the stuffed animal that’s “so easy to get.” Maybe these gantry-crane gadgets would be a bit more fun if you could play them at home to your heart’s content. If that sounds appealing, then Ryan Bates of Retro Built Games has the perfect solution with his “Super Claw” machine.
This project, though on version four, is not currently for sale as a kit, but he is now selling his stepper driver board for the device, which links up to an Arduino Mega via an IDC cable. This takes advantage of the brick of I/O opposite the USB and power connector on the Mega to clean up wiring significantly.
Hacker “MmmmFloorPie’s” senior project in college, in 1989, was a device based on the venerable Motorola 6800 chip that could record and play back sounds. It could also display these recorded waveforms on a monochrome CRT monitor. The monitor in question was purchased as a bare CRT for $20, and mounted in the cardboard box it was shipped in. Various risks aside, it’s quite an impressive setup.
As with many projects that seemed very cool at the time, this one sat in ‘FloorPie’s garage for many years, until it was finally powered up many years later. Naturally it didn’t work, but instead of giving up, an Arduino Uno shield was made in the form of the 68000 motherboard to send it the required signals.
As YouTuber Evan Kale puts it, his set is was kind of boring. He decided to spruce things up by turning his ordinary door into an “alien portal,” lining it with a strip of RGB LEDs. Though this may not be the first time you’ve seen this type of lighting in action, he directs our attention to a few interesting details about using them in typical Kale style.
One interesting note comes around the 4:50 mark, where he points out his portal is controlled using Hue Saturation Lightness (HSL) via a potentiometer instead of RGB. This keeps the glowing effect consistent, while allowing color adjustment.
For this project, he employed an Arduino Nano, which looks like a great choice since it needs a limited amount of I/O. Using this tiny board, the entire control package can fit into his small 3D-printed enclosure.