After being inspired by a beautiful, if rather expensive timepiece, Ira Hart decided to make a 3D-printed clock with 24 analog faces that combine to form a single digital display. The overall device is controlled by a single Arduino Nano, which keeps track of the time using a RTC module. This unit coordinates 24 other Nanos on custom carrier boards, which in turn drive their own little clock face via a pair of steppers and a gear system.
When working together, these 24 clocks can tell the time in very large characters, and even show a variety of kinetic art as it changes from one minute to the next. It looks awesome in the video below, and build info is available in Hart’s project write-up.
LiDAR (or “light detection and ranging”) sensors are all the rage these days, from their potential uses in autonomous vehicles, to their implementation on the iPhone 12. As cool as they are, these (traditionally) spinning sensors tend to be quite expensive, well out of reach for most amateur experimenters. Daniel Hingston, however, has managed to build his own unit for under $40, using an Arduino Uno and a pair of VL53L0X time-of-flight (ToF) sensors.
The lighthouse employs a small gearmotor to rotate the two sensors on top of its cylindrical 3D-printed housing, passing signals to the Arduino via a slip ring. Data can then be visualized using a Processing sketch running on a nearby computer.
As seen at around the 10:00 mark in the video, the setup has been utilized to map out different test enclosures, and could be excellent for use in small robotic applications. More details can be found in Hingston’s tutorial here.
Approximately 18 months ago, Mark Howe embarked on a journey to build an animatronic launchpad and gantry for a LEGO Saturn V model rocket. After approximately 1,000 hours of CAD work, hundreds of hours of 3D printing, and a major redesign, he’s created a truly impressive setup that resembles one of NASA’s.
Howe’s rocket and structure stand several feet tall, with a crane, sway bar, crew walkway, gantry arms, and service arms that move out of the way using servos. Everything is controlled by Arduino Uno, along with an MP3 shield to play the Apollo 11 countdown audio.
Once ready for liftoff, the rocket rises via a trio of stepper motor-driven linear actuators, simulating the real thing with a fiery plume of NeoPixels underneath.
Christmas trees normally have a star on top, and Super Mario famously becomes invincible when he grabs the star power-up. Naturally, for retro game enthusiasts, these two are begging to be united.
In this project, Doug Lenz (AKA “Freshanator”) did just that by morphing the Mario star into something that can be placed atop a tree, using a 3D-printed body and addressable WS2812B LEDs to provide the “twinkles.”
The unit is printed in yellow PLA, with a pair of black eyes glued on. Inside, LEDs are arranged near the tip of each of the star’s five points, which diffuse through the printed material. Power is supplied by a Micro USB breakout, and the lighting is controlled via an Arduino Nano. The device runs on the “Fire2012” example program from the FastLED library, though Lenz may revisit its operation in the future.
After studying the way a worm wiggles, Nicholas Lauer decided to create his own soft robotic version. What he came up with uses an Arduino Uno for control, inflating six 3D-printed segments sequentially to order to generate peristaltic motion for forward movement.
The robotic worm uses a 12V mini diaphragm pump to provide inflation air, while a series of transistors and solenoid valves directly regulate the airflow into the chambers.
The build looks pretty wild in the video below, and per Lauer’s write-up, you’re encouraged to experiment to see what kind of timing produces the most expedient motion. Code, STLs, and a detailed BOM are available on GitHub.
While this project took him over 100 hours to complete, creator Whity claims that his glowing geodesic domes were worth the effort. As seen below, each dome is able to light up its triangular faces, using via WS2812B programmable LEDs embedded inside. The effect is mesmerizing on video, and has to be even more so in person.
Each device is controlled by an Arduino Nano, along with a MPU-6050 inertial measurement unit. A series of 18650 rechargeable batteries provide power for the numerous lights involved. Magnets hold the two halves of the spheres together for easy access, and the triangles were 3D-printed with hinges to make assembly easier.