Ping pong balls have long been known as excellent LED diffusers, but few have taken this technique as far as Thomas Jensma. His colorful clock features 128 LEDs, arranged in an alternating pattern, and housed in a stretched-out hexagonal wood frame.
For control, the device uses an Arduino Nano, along with a RTC module for accurate timekeeping. Demos of the clock can be seen below, cycling through numbers and testing out the FastLED library.
Code for the build is available in Jensma’s write-up. This also includes tips on using table tennis balls as diffusers, as well as how to create an orderly array out of these spheres—useful in a wide range of projects.
Arduino boards are used in a wide—massive even—variety of projects. Sometimes, however, all you need is something to give your project the ability to blink an LED, sound an alarm, or accomplish some other simple task.
For this purpose, maker Jeremy S. Cook has developed a sort of standard method for using these devices, with a 4-position DIP switch soldered to inputs D9-D12, and a double-CR2032 battery pack attached with shrink wrap.
This standardization makes for a very compact setup that can be implemented in a project very quickly. The configuration also highlights the use of “INPUT_PULLUP” in Arduino code, with switches wired to ground. Cook’s technique avoids floating inputs without the need for external resistors.
The device uses an nRF24L01+ module to transmit inputs from a pair of joysticks and toggle switches, along with an Arduino Nano for interface and control.
What sets this project apart from his previous versions, however, is the very nice 3D-printed enclosure for the electronics and a pair of high-quality joysticks that allow for precise input.
Additionally, Electronoobs’ latest design features tuning buttons to properly center the sticks, and an OLED display to show the actual input value that it’s sending to the receiver (a simple Nano/nRF24 setup for demo purposes).
Yes, I’ve made another radio controller. Why? well, I wanted to have a more commercial look. So, I’ve designed a 3D case, then I’ve used some high quality joysticks in order to have better analog read, It has an OLED screen so we could see the data we send and we could also digitally adjust the data. It also has 2 modes, linear and exponential
When your car door isn’t shut quite correctly, you’ll normally look down at the control panel to see what the problem is. What if, instead of indicator lights or a low-res image of your doors, you had a tiny actuated version of your vehicle on your dashboard?
Mathis Ochsenmeier’s Analogous Door Display is exactly that. It mirrors his VW van’s front and rear doors using an Arduino Nano to take in sensor information and actuate three servo motors to mimic door positions.
Now when the van’s front doors or rear hatch open or close, the little van on the dash’s doors follow suit—both a useful diagnostic tool, and an entertaining model.
While you may not give soda bottles much thought beyond their intended use, researchers in Germany and the U.S. have been working on a way to turn empty bottles into kinetic art.
The result of this work is a program called “TrussFormer,” which enables one to design a structure made out of soda bottles acting as structural beams. The structure can then be animated using an Arduino Nano to control a series of pneumatic actuators.
TrussFormer not only allows for animation design, but analyzes stresses on the moving assembly, and even generates 3D-printable files to form the proper joints.
TrussFormer is an integrated end-to-end system that allows users to 3D print large-scale kinetic structures, i.e., structures that involve motion and deal with dynamic forces.
TrussFormer builds on TrussFab, from which it inherits the ability to create large-scale static truss structures from 3D printed hubs and PET bottles. TrussFormer adds movement to these structures by placing linear actuators and hinges into them.
TrussFormer incorporates linear actuators into rigid truss structures in a way that they move “organically”, i.e., hinge around multiple points at the same time. These structures are also known as variable geometry trusses. This is illustrated on the on the example of a static tetrahedron that is converted into a moving structure by swapping one edge with a linear actuator. The only required change is to introduce connections at the nodes that enable rotation, i.e. hinges.
As for what you can build with it, be sure to check out the bottle-dinosaur in the video below!
Rich Nelson wanted to make a unique gift for his brother, and decided on a paper-cut light box of Philadelphia’s skyline, the city where he lives.
The resulting device is controlled by an Arduino Nano, and not only features a trio of lights and layers to represent buildings and foliage, but also a moving sun and moon display that changes depending on the actual time and date.
Timing is accomplished via an RTC module, while the sun/moon is displayed on a small TFT screen that moves across the sky using a servo motor and extension arm. The build can be seen in the video below, and code as well as CAD info is on GitHub for your perusal.