Hacked Gadgets Forum

May 31, 2011

Snap-Together CNC Machine

at 11:46 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets


If you don’t have a CNC machine yet, what are you waiting for? There are tons of DIY ones around and for most of us who aren’t making parts for the space shuttle that’s all you need. This MTM Snap-Together CNC Machine is cool because as the name implies it can be totally snapped together. I haven’t seen one in real life so I am not sure how rigid it is due to it’s snap together construction but it looks like it is solid enough. Best of all you just need a sheet of HDPE and a single router bit to cut out all the structural parts (you will need to borrow some time on a friends existing CNC machine to cut the parts).

The electronic system is Arduino based, this page gives you all the needed electronic details to get going and this software page will help you with the software needs of the system.

Thanks for the tip Tony.

May 29, 2011

96 Solenoid Waterfall Display

at 10:17 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


We have seen a few cool waterfall displays before but this 96 Solenoid Waterfall Display (Google translated) is the first total DIY one I have seen. There isn’t very much technical details available but from the short writeup there is enough information for inspiration. I can just imagine how much this display would have cost if the solenoids weren’t found at a scrap yard.

“Each of the 3 solenoid valve blocks has assembled a board with shift registers and MOSFET arrays to drive the solenoid valves. A master-AVR pushes the data via SPI to the shift register and thus controls the various valves. The patterns are stored on an EEPROM and can be changed via UART.”


May 28, 2011

DIY Brushless Motor Controller

at 10:04 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Andrew Angellotti has built and documented a DIY Brushless Motor Controller if you ever wanted to understand how a brushless motor controller worked or perhaps build your own this would be a great article to read. Once you have a good understanding of the heavy lifting electronics you should have a look at the second part of the DIY Brushless Motor Controller where Andrew goes over the code that makes the controller tick.

“The half bridges use TIP120 darlington NPN transistors on the low side (emitter goes to ground, collector goes to the output/high side), with a 470 ohm current limiting resistor between the base and the input to the board. Bring the corresponding input up to 5 volts or so, and the transistor turns on. Not much to that one. The high side is slightly more complicated. It uses TIP125 PNP transistors. The emitter of these is connected to the controller’s drive voltage, and the collector is again connected to the output/low side. To get these guys to turn on, we need to pull the base below the emitter voltage. This is done with a trusty 2N3904. The base of the TIP125 is connected to the collector of the 3904 through a current limiting resistor, and then the emitter of the 3904 is connected to ground. So when the 3904 is active, the base of the TIP125 is pulled low, and it turns “on.” Of course, don’t forget the 2k-ish current limiting resistor on the base of the 3904. This is then connected to the input to the board. So, looking purely at driving the inputs, 5V on a high-side input means the corresponding transistor turns on, just like the low side would if you applied 5V to a low-side input.”

May 25, 2011

ElmGen DSP Development Tool

at 6:27 am. Filed under DIY Hacks

If you like playing with audio the ElmGen DSP Development Tool will help you with that.  It uses an Arduino to control a Spin Semiconductors development platform directly. When the dev tool is hacked it opens up lots of opportunity to make it perform in more powerful ways.

“Key Features:

  • Cross-platform development tool for Spin FV-1 effects processor
  • Testing and production EEPROM programming capabiltiy
  • Built-in real-time hardware simulator of FV-1 DSP core – hear and test your algorithms digitally
  • Written in pure Java (requires RXTX for EEPROM programming)
  • Works on Windows, OS X and Linux (Linux not tested)
  • Advanced coefficent calculations or code manipulation possible with Java – e.g. conditional compilation, high-level code blocks, etc. not possible with SpinASM
  • Completely free and open source (GPL) – Users are asked to contribute their changes back to the project for everyone’s benefit
  • Code generated can be used in commercial closed-source projects
  • Licensed as GPL3 – see: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/

May 24, 2011

LED World Control Panel

at 5:09 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks, Funny Hacks


When you are going for world domination you need a convenient way to monitor your progress. This LED World Control Panel will probably help you out with that issue.

“The panel boasts the following features:

Main power switch
Home base indicator
World Cities indicator (blue)
Cluster1 (red)
Cluster2 (orange)
Global Red Alert Situation (backlit 555 flasher circuit)
Message record and playback ($10 Radio Shack digital recording module)
Larson Scanner ($13 from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories)”


May 23, 2011

Name the Thing Contest – 174

at 9:43 am. Filed under Contests


The prize this week is a mini tripod to help you get some great pictures of your next project. This contest will run for one week (May 23 – 27, 2011). Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item pictured above.

Please do not give the answer in the comments.

Send an email to contest @ hackedgadgets.com with “Name the Thing Contest” as the subject, and the message body consisting of:

  • The name of the item in the above picture
  • An example of what the item pictured above can be used for

The winner will be chosen at random from all of the correct entries.


Added June 9, 2011

The item to guess was Vintage Electronic US Army Transceiver

The winner is Abe H. (there were 85 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.

Computer Controlled Wireless Robot Build

at 6:41 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Ashish Derhgawen has built a Computer Controlled Wireless Robot. It uses some linked together off the shelf electronics to get the job done. The vehicle that is being controlled is a Microbric Viper which is normally controlled via IR light.

I’m using a 1/4 wave monopole antenna (6.8 inches) with the RF modules. It’s just a single core wire. The range I get is amazing. I think I get about 100-120 ft (through walls), and 1000+ ft outside (line-of-sight)!

The Arduino communicates with my computer through a USB to Serial cable. If I want to make the robot move forward, I would send the character ‘1’ to the Arduino. It would recognize this as a command and forward it to the transmitter. I can send four commands to the Arduino – ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’. On receiving these characters, it sets the appropriate data bits on the encoder and transmits the signal.

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