Monday, October 05, 2009

Is this the begining of anthro PC?'s

img via Vstone

In a move of life imitating art Robovie-PC from Vstone serves up PC's ala Questionable Content's AnthroPC's. Now granted these are not sentient, or crazy like the AnthroPC's in QC but it is baby steps towards Skynet my friends. As usual thanks Engadget for keeping your eyes peeled for this encroachment on our safety.

via Engadget

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CNC interest

There seems to be a lot of interest in diy CNC machines on Hackaday, and the Make Blog that has really gotten my interest in these machines piqued. I would like the ability to work on metal with a higher degree of precision than my hand affords me. I think that some of the MDF CNC plans would likely be enough to get me started making pieces of aluminum to upgrade to a more sturdy machine. I am only looking for about 24" square working surface, so it would be pretty easy to keep put away. I have been looking at these plans from CNC zone, and think that this style of Gantry is probably workable for my needs. Like everything it will need to be modified for my needs, but it is a decent touch stone for working this process.

For some reason I really struggled to get this post written. It is not for the lack of choices, but rather lack of completed affordable choices. There are lots of build logs with photos and ideas, but few that are great start to finish how to build articles with BOM's and parts schematics. The ones that are complete with Build of Materials are in Kit form and range in the $1000+ range. It seems that cognitive leap from idea to implementation requires that you extend the effort in brain exercise or monetary form. I have the left over part of a Ikea birch counter top that was bought for my wife's craft corner that I believe is sufficiently rigid for the task of being a router table and is attractive to be a long term tool. The rest of the machine will have to be aluminum and MDF. In all, I don't want to be much more than $800 in this project so we will see where that budget takes us.

Some interesting sources for information that are helping guide me at this point.
This site looks like it will grow over time, at the time of writing the site is updated several times a week and has some good thoughts on design, and talks about options rather than focusing on a single design and build. I think it could be a great source ones the links get laid out properly (I get enough page cannot be found errors to make me think it is a work in progress)
This site sells router plans and seems like a good resource for people that are interested in building, but not engineering their solution.
Excellent source for drive system and step motors.
A CNC kit site that I like, they have great looking designs that are pricey.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Home made injection molding

This is the coolest piece of home made machinery I have ever seen. A custom injection mold with heating a cooling for the materials is more than my feeble hands could ever build.

via Hackaday

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Conductive Epoxy is brilliant

Toolmonger is at it again tempting me with crazy products that get my little wheels turning. I don't have a specific project in mind for this, but seems like it would be as useful as something like the Dura fix.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another thought improving Blekin lapdesk

The hits keep coming from the wellspring of ideas known as the make blog! So in this installment it looks like there are magnetic valves activated by heat. I realize that these have to be purpose built for the application, but it may be helpful for my crazy plan to improve the Belkin Lap Desk.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Improving the Belkin Lap Desk

Ever since I saw the Belkin Lapdesk I thought that it needed improvement. It needed either passive or active cooling of some form, and I was hopping to not add another thing that needed to be plugged into a wall outlet. This mod adds two active fans that are plugged in to a 12v wall wart, and while I definitely it improves the overall usefulness of the stand it doesn't meet my other goal of not wanting another device sucking power.

I saw an article a few days ago about Icyballs that may be closer to what I am hopping to use. It would require electricity as I am fairly sure I need to have a microcontroller to engage the heat element to reverse the natural evaporation process. I have no experience with this type of work though so I think I am going to need to find a chemistry nerd and probably a welding nerd to pull the whole process.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Cellphone Unlock?

Here is a web enabled deadbolt locking system that was featured on Tool Monger a while back and you can pick up at your Lowe's for about $200.
I am just not sure if I can bring myself to implement this in my own home, but I do love the idea. I think the break down for me is that it has a number pad backup. I just don't want the number pad (no matter how secured they believe it to be) as I believe that it is crackable in a given time frame, and that makes me nervous. Unless this system logs bad attempts and then sends me an sms alert about the failed attempt, I just cannot support the number pad being on the outside of my house.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dura fix you say?

I have been interesting for some time in getting my feet wet in the metal working and have started taking baby steps by purchasing a pair of nibblers, a set of files, and Dremel accessories for metal working. All of this is well and good, for cutting down/destroying large pieces of sheet metal and aluminum stock, but none of these tools work for creating new structures with the lightweight metals that I have access to (steel is a little unwieldy for the novice ok). I recently saw a video for Durafix on youtube (it was a related video to god knows what it was I was looking at on youtube) and think that this would be an great solution for people who are not quite ready to commit to purchasing a welding setup, but are interested in some lightweight fabrication.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Logitec comfort lapdesk needs to be remixed

I am sure most people have seen these little desks, I think Belkin makes something similar too but I think that this plastic is or leather design that everyone comes up with will only protect my legs not the laptop from the heat that baby is kicking off. I think that the Logitec one could be improved by replacing that plastic fin with an aluminum one. I am not sure how to pull off the rigid base for the fabric to be attached to, but I will post updated shots of a prototype.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Computers in Plain sight

The Sheeva plug got me thinking about the idea of computers that are innocuous enough to be left in plain sight, but still deliver significant enough computing power to potentially reshape daily life. The Sheeva is powerful but lacks one of the important things that makes computers useful, an interface for humans. The transformative nature of this type of technology comes from interaction, so lacking an included meaningful interaction method we have a computer. I rarely browse Think Geek, but a random link click brought me to their pages where I found the iGala digital photo frame. When I saw it I was posotive that it had to be running at least a little bit of embedded os, and that it had to have some potential for an always on general purpose computer with wi-fi and a touchscreen. One Google search later and I was proven correct that someone else thought the same thing and even went so far as to get shell access for you. When this go back on sale, I am pretty sure that I want one no all I need to know is if ucLinux supports webcams.

My current ideas are controllin a usb Webcam for survellance (or baby monitor), adding audio out for touch screen audio streamer, or using it as a touchscreen controller for home automation. I have to imagine that these are cheaper than anything Crestron has thought of building. Other thoughts include always on Torrent seeder (slow I know, but so low power) capped at 5 connections or something similar. I think that there is a lot of potential here for people with interface design experience.