The Light Controlled Screamer

Before there was Hack A Week, there was DinoFab. dinofab.com was my original website where I posted videos and projects I created. That site will be going offline soon so I’m moving some of it’s content over here to HAW.

This is a fun project to make with the 555 chip. It can be built as a stand alone circuit or you can put it inside a doll, toy or whatever!

Here’s how it works. When it’s turned on, the 555 astable oscillators are activated. One will produce a high pitch squeal through the speaker and the other will blink the LED about twice per second. When you shield the photo cells from light, the frequency of the sound will decrease and the LED will blink slower. If you arrange the photo cells so that they are near the LED, some of the light from the LED will be reflected off whatever is shielding the photo cell. The photo cell will react to the light and raise the frequency while the LED is on, then go back to where it was when the LED is off. See the video below for a demonstration.

I encourage you to try building other circuits with the 555. It’s a very versatile chip with many applications.
Have fun and til next time…

Keep on hackin!

Hack A Week goes to Maker Faire NC 2012

After a week’s worth of prep involving several late nights and the reconstruction of some projects, Hack A Week made a good showing at Maker Faire NC. The crowd was bigger than last year and the layout was perfect. I had a 20′ x 10′ area to show off eleven projects including the “Fetch-O-Matic” automatic ball launcher which was a huge hit with the kids. They were great beta testers and the thing held up great! Look for a complete build article in the July issue of Make Magazine which will feature the ball launcher on the cover!

Here’s a guy that found my stepper motor generator project of interest…

Of course, I hacked my name badge…

I had two robots there and I used one of them, the PropBot, to hold my cell phone and shoot a robot’s eye view video as it weaved it’s way through the crowd….

… and of course, I posted this video to YouTube last night showing off my stuff and the rest of the entries in the faire.

Keep On Hackin!

Helmet Camera Hack

OK so it’s not actually on a helmet, but the head band came from an old welder helmet. I made this to make it easier to shoot videos and have both hands free to work and demo things. The whole thing took about 20 minutes to hack together and I plan on using it this week at Maker Faire North Carolina.

Enjoy the video and…
Keep on hackin!

Coaxial RC Helicopter Hacks

Coaxial RC Helicopters are a great way to get into RC helicopter flying. They’re extremely stable, the cost is much less that a fixed pitch or collective pitch helicopter and they’re simple to maintain. When I say “maintain” I mean crash repair and parts wear, which is pretty minimal with these helicopters. Of course you can indeed break a blade if you should strike a solid object with them and this is usually associated with flying in ANY kind of breeze. Yes, there is also a down side to the coaxial heli. They aren’t very maneuverable. Even a slight wind will send the craft down wind even when it’s pointed upwind with full forward stick! However, this can be overcome somewhat with a few modifications.

Here’s a video of my latest project where I explore the possible areas that a coaxial rc helicopter can be improved upon.

Keep on hackin!