Posts Tagged ‘diy’

Candy Launching Pumpkin

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After the popularity of Butterscotch I seem to have got a reputation for adding fire to things (even though it was FireTim that did the pyro half of Butterscotch).  So when the Mythbusters posted a link to a fire breathing pumpkin I was bombarded with questions about when I would be building one.  Not being the type to do what others expect me to do I rejected the idea of doing a pyro pumpkin outright.

 

Though I was set on not building a fire breathing pumpkin it did make me think about building other things inside of a pumpkin.   Then it hit me just two days before Halloween. I needed to build a pumpkin that would forcefully deliver candy to Trick-or-Treaters much in the same way they would deliver eggs to my house if I did not provide candy to them.  From that point on I had a mission. Throwing sleep and other responsibilities to the wind I went to the bowels of the LVL1 bone yard to hack together a candy launching pumpkin.

 

After design concessions due to time and help from fellow LVL1ers (thanks FireTim and Jon the Kilted) I was able to defend my house this year.  Although I never saw the pumpkin Mythbusters link and I am sure it is cool I considered this a spite project similar to JAC 101 Micro-Laser Cutter.  I just hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.

 

I have posted an instructable for this project to help others defend themselves next All Hallows’ Eve… but really, why wait.  Go to that instructable and start defending yourself for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas.  There is nothing like a fruitcake chucking Santa to keep those damn carolers at bay.

Donate to the Laser Cutter fund!

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Admit it, you have always wanted to build a penny sized dinosaur

Well here is your chance! LVL1 is raising money to buy a laser cutter for the space. With a laser cutter you can do all sorts of neato things like this…

http://www.epiloglaser.com/sample_club.htm

Scroll thought the link and think about what you want to make. Then donate to the laser cutter fund. The sooner we make it to $2500, the sooner we can get a laser cutter for all to share. IT IS GONNA BE SO AWESOME!

Here is the Laser Cutter we are going to buy.

http://www.fullspectrumengineering.com/co2laserv2-40w.html

and a video of it in action…

As you can see, you want to give to this fund! Watch the progress bar on the right side of this blog to see how much further we have to go!

By using the donate button below you will be taken to Paypal to make a donation to the laser cutter fund. When you use this button the donation is earmarked for the laser cutter fund, not the general fund.






DO IT FOR THE DINO!

How to Build the World’s Lightest Quadrifilar Helix Antenna

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Another day, another repost from another project I’m working on. This time, from White Star Balloons, the world’s lightest quad helix antenna.

After the scrub on the launch pad for flight attempt A, we went back to the books, to try and figure out what we could do to improve our odds the next time around. One of our biggest setbacks was the inability make an antenna suitable for our use: We needed an antenna tuned for 149 MHz, not needing a ground plane, weighing as little as possible.

After 4 tries, and some expensive test equipment, the end result was a Quadrifilar Helix antenna weighing only 80 grams!

Our ground test antenna was a 5/8ths wave whip antenna, which works well, but unfortunately needs a ground plane. Tests with both a quarter-wave dipole and a J-pole antenna were lackluster. Documentation from our satellite service provider implied that a quadrifilar helix antenna would provide the best coverage at all. While these antennas are pretty, their design and construction was voodoo magic at first.

Thanks to some design documentation here: http://jcoppens.com/ant/qfh/index.en.php and some help from the balloon community, we had some baselines for creating such an antenna. We still went through *quite* a few revisions.  We went through 3 revisions that didn’t work, and one which works pretty darn well!

Here are the antennas which didn’t work:

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Toner Transfer and Muriatic Acid Etchant: Making PCBs at LVL1

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Originally posted on my personal blog, Meat and Networking.

LVL1 is great.  A place for creative and motivated people to get together and goad each-other into doing more creative things.  It’s also a great gathering place for tools, as well as knowledge.  A few months ago, the spoiled electrical engineer that I am, I never would have considered making my own PCBs.  Any project worth taking off the breadboard was worth sending to China to get made “right.”

Of course, there isn’t always time and money to send something to China.  Today’s installment is the Sumo-bot board I’m trying to put together for the Hive13 sumobot competition.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like poor Snoopy bot will make it to the ring, but the board making process itself is worth talking about.

Laying out a PCB using software like Eagle is beyond the scope of this post.  If you can follow the appropriate Sparkfun Tutorial, it’s pretty easy to pick up.  Something to note:  for single sided home-made PCBs, put all traces and surface mount components on the BOTTOM layer.  Put any necessary jumpers on the top layer.  When you’re ready to print, just turn off all the layers you don’t want turned into copper.

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LVL1 Hackerspace
814 E. Broadway
Louisville, KY