D.A.V.E. the Turret

A couple of my friends and I took the mechatronics class at our university last year. For our final project we built an autonomous sentry turret capable of picking out people in a room and shooting them down. We called it the Digital Assignation & Violence Entity, or D.A.V.E. for short. We think this is the latest in proactive autonomous personal defense, if you happen to be on a shoe string budget that is.


Some of D.A.V.E.’s features:

  • Finds people up to 20 feet away
  • 150° scan range
  • Holds 20 foam darts at a time

Since this was a class project we were expected to purchase our own supplies for anything we wanted to build. Which meant we where going to build this turret out of whatever supplies we had on hand. We made the frame out of scrapes of wood we had around. The toy gun we purchased at a 60% discount from a KB toys that was going out of business. The fabric covering the base used to be a pair of pants…

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Halloween 2009

Pumpkin 2009 (resized)
This weekend I was carving pumpkins with my girlfriend. Pumpkin carving, a soothing time to bond, relax, and justify having power tools. Rather than hacking away at a pumpkin with a dinner blade, my trusty jigsaw and dremel did most of the cuts and an exacto knife detailed. It was much less effort and the pumpkins came out great.

Being me, I wasn’t settled with a mildly dangerous tea candle. I upgraded the wick by adding part of a regular candle. This made the pumpkin burn with a much more ominous glow (Harzard +1).

It was good, but not great. I went down to the shop and bore a hole into the back of the pumpkin. Add one spray can and that brought the pumpkin from seasonal fire hazard to double fisted spray can/fire extiguisher dangerous (Harzard +3 Safety +2).

In hind sight I should have bore the hole larger. Why? Well the fuel I’m spraying there tended to puddle up in the opening and set the pumpkin on fire, thankfully the pumpkin was fresh and still moist.

More photos after the break
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Saw Dust Cannon

Sawdust Cannon. from Ben Stone on Vimeo.

Hehe, now someone go build a rapid fire version.

Dyson Air Multiplier (seriously it’s a fan)

No it’s not a stargate, believe it or not it’s a bladeless fan. This fan blows a stream out of the blue ring. The blue ring has a special airfoil shape that can magnify the airflow up to 15x. Since it involves no blades this stream is uninterrupted. This fan seems pretty cool (if $300 means nothing to you,) if you ask me I’ll stick to my propellor style fan. Mine comes with soothing fan noises and doubles as a sound effect generator.

It certainly has the wow factor, but hackaday.com pointed out it probably has blades in the bottom to push air into the ring. Perhaps not the same traditional style but blades still. This design is very novel, so as far as the user is concerned it’s bladeless. It’s like buying a Roomba and realizing it needs to be emptied every once and a while.

Dyson also developed the Airblade hand dryer (the funny looking one you place your hand into and pull out slowly.) Plenty of videos on their site.

[via Toolmonger]
[via HackaDay]

Fallout 3 Buffout, in real life!

I made own my real life Buffout! Check it out:

buffout white bg

It’s really easy to make. All you need is a handful of items.

buffout assembly

Get the label from this site: http://www.weeklygeekshow.com/2009/07/fallout_cosplay_accoutrements.php
Scroll down a little until you reach the template for buffout (it’s going to be a link to a jpg file). Once you download it you’re going to have to print it out to scale. It should come out exactly 6 inches long and 2.5 inches tall. An easy way to do this is to toss the picture into microsoft word, where it should automatically get scaled to the correct size.

Next you need the bottle. I got mine from here, http://www.containerandpackaging.com/item.asp?item=B633
The bottle costs 70 cents but the site charges a surcharge of $10 if your order is under $50. To get around the surcharge I requested the bottle as a free sample. The store allows you to order a single free sample of any product. The only downside is that you still have to pay the $7 shipping cost. Don’t forget to get a matching lid for the bottle: http://www.containerandpackaging.com/item.asp?item=L207PS

Now you wait. The bottle and lid should arrive at your door steps in 3 to 5 business days. This is a good opportunity to go out and buy a pack of Altoids. You’ll need them for later. 

Once you have the bottle all that’s left to do is stick the label on. I printed my label on regular paper and used permanent double sided scotch tape to adhere it to the bottle. A strip of tape at the start and end of the label will hold it on forever.

After you get the label on, fill the bottle with Altoids and screw the lid on, tightly. The lid you purchased has an inner liner that is going to fuse with the rim, and seal the bottle air tight; giving your Buffout that straight-from-the-factory look. Like this:

Brand new, factory sealed Buffout

Brand new, factory sealed Buffout

Opened bottle of Buffout

Opened bottle of Buffout

Enjoy! These upgraded Altoids should now give you an instant +60HP, +3END and +2STR !*

* Note: Altoids might not actually give real life character bonuses, other than fresh breath.

Petri Dish Audio Meter

Matthew Shieh created this very interesting audio meter. Instead of the typical LM3915 VU meter, Matt  designed the amplifier to capture ambient sound from a small mic. For the interface he used a photoresistor and capacitive touch button controlled by a PIC16F716 . The photoresistor lets him dim the LEDs when it’s dark to save power. His project really shines in the write up and best of all fits into a petridish.


Tron the Movie

Yes they made a movie out of it. I gotta say I do like my dystopian societies.
Fellow geeks commence drooling.

Thanks andiE for finding it.

Big Bad Wolf, Vortex Cannon Style

Chris linked me to this video, it’s a vortex cannon on steroids. When a spherical mass of a fast moving fluid moves through the air,  it can form torroid shaped vortex rings, similar to blowing smoke rings. This helps the mass stay together as it moves through the air so its almost like an invisible ball of air.

Want your own? You can always buy the Airzooka

Workshop: Melting and Casting Metal

Lionel Oliver has an amazing site documenting his experiments metaling and casting metal. He shows how to build a variety of furnances from a simple charcoal furnance out of bricks and dirt to more complex propane furnaces. The best part is he does this all in his backyard.

Once you can melt metal you can start recycling old things like aluminum cans or lawn chairs and forming real tools and parts.

Lionel even built an entire gingerly lathe using his metal foundrys.



Iron Man Gauntlet

Ilya, (one of the other editors) informed me the other day of how he found my Spanish clone. Turns out somewhere in Canada there is an electrical engineer named Carlos who hosts a pretty cool project blog Carlitoscontraptions.com. A lot of his hardware projects match ones I’ve done in the past.

I’m particularly a fan of his Iron Man repulsor gauntlet. It allows a lot of freedom in motion and it lights up as he bends his wrist. He has really good pictures and a video of it here.

I have my own side project replicating the Iron Man Wrist Rocket. Its on/off because I’m using CO2 cartridges to fuel it and I’ve shot them all. :-)   Perhaps if I ask nicely, Carlos will want to collaborate. We can use his for the left arm and mine for the right… now all we need is an arc reactor…