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February 08 2014

The Kickstarter Space Cannon

cannon

As far as space travel and Kickstarter is concerned, we’ve seen crowdfunding projects for satellites in low earth orbit, impacting the moon, and even a project for a suborbital rocket. This one, though, takes the cake.  It’s a gun designed to send very small payloads into space on a suborbital trajectory.

The gun itself is an 8-inch bore, 45-foot long monster of an artillery piece. While the simplest way of shooting something down the length of a barrel would be exploding something in the breech, [Richard] is doing something a little more interesting. He’s broken down the propellent charges so instead of one giant propelling a bullet down a barrel, the projectile is constantly accelerated with a number of smaller charges.

The goal of the Kickstarter is to send a small payload into a suborbital trajectory. Later developments will include putting a small rocket motor in the dart-shaped bullet to insert the payload into an orbit.

This isn’t the first time anyone has attempted to build a gun capable of shooting something into space. The US and Canada DOD built a gun that shot a 180 kg projectile to 180 km altitude. The lead engineer of this project, [Gerald Bull] then went on to work with [Saddam Hussein] to design a supergun that could launch satellites into orbit or shells into downtown Tel Aviv or Tehran. [Bull] was then assassinated by either the US, Israeli, Iranian, British, or Iraqi governments before the gun could be completed.

Two videos from the Kickstarter are below, with a few more details on the project’s webpage


Filed under: Crowd Funding

December 24 2013

3DMonstr Printer: 8 Cubic Feet Of Build Volume

3D Monster

So you’re looking at 3D printers, but the build volumes for the current offerings just aren’t where you’d like them to be. [Ben Reylblat] had the same problem and came up with the 3DMonstr, an enormous printer that has (in its biggest configuration) a two foot cubed build volume, four extruders, and the mechanical design to make everything work.

Most of the ginormous 3D printers we’ve seen are basically upgraded versions of the common table-top sided models. This huge Ultimaker copy uses the same rods as its smaller cousin, and LeBigRap also uses woefully undersized parts. The 3DMonstr isn’t a copy of smaller machines, and instead uses very big motors for each axis, ball screws, and a proper welded frame. It’s highly doubtful anyone will call this printer a wobblebot.

The 3DMonstr comes in three sizes: 12 inches cubed, 18 inches cubed, and 24 inches cubed, with options for two to four extruders.  We caught up with the 3D Monstr team at the NYC Maker Faire, and from first impressions we have to say this printer is freakin’ huge and impeccably designed.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, Crowd Funding

December 11 2013

A Really Big Extruder For Exotic Filaments

extruder

Even with ABS, PLA, Nylon, HIPS, and a bunch of Taulman filaments, the world of 3D printers is missing out on a great supply of spools of plastic filament. Plastic welding rod is available from just about every plastics supplier, and in more variety than even the most well-stocked filament web shop.

This Kickstarter hopes to put all those exotic plastic welding rods to good use. Instead of being designed to only use 1.75 and 3mm filaments, this guy will extrude welding rods up to 4.76mm in diameter. This opens the door for 3D printed objects made out of PDPF, PVC, Polypropylene, Polyethylene and other high molecular weight plastics.

Because these welding rods are much bigger than the usual plastic filament, this extruder also has the option for a very beefy NEMA 23 motor. It’s the perfect solution if you’re planning on building a homebrew ludicrous-sized printer, or you just to show off just how awesome you are.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, Crowd Funding

December 06 2013

The Sub-$500 Deltaprintr

delta

We’ve seen them before, but only now has the Deltaprinter, a very simple and affordable delta printer finally hit Kickstarter.

We saw the Deltaprintr at the World Maker Faire last September where the team showed off their fancy new printer and the very nice prints it can produce. The printer itself is unique in that it eschews printed parts and is instead made of lasercut parts. Instead of belts, each arm of the delta bot is lifted with spectra line, and the entire mechanism is billed as not requiring calibration probably due to the accurate laser cut parts.

On a completely different note, we did notice the rewards for the Deltaprintr Kickstarter are limited. Unlike the gobs of 3D printers on Kickstarter, the Deltaprintr team actually wants to stay on schedule for their shipping dates. That’s an admirable dedication to getting their printer out to backers in a reasonable amount of time.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, Crowd Funding

November 18 2013

Heirloom Chemistry Set

heirloom chemistry  set

We try not to share too many crowd funding projects, but when a tipster sent us to this Heirloom Chemistry Set we knew some would-be chemistry hackers might just want to see it!

[John Farrell Kuhns] runs a small science store with his wife in Kansas City called the H.M.S. Beagle, where young scientists (and adults!) can buy professional lab supplies, equipment, and the resources to study all things from chemistry to physics!

It all started when [John] was a child in the 1950′s and he received the classic Gilbert Chemistry Set as a Christmas present, which help set him on the course of becoming a professional research chemist. Now, wanting to share his love of chemistry with his children, he realized there just isn’t the same kind of chemistry sets available commercially!

Since the opening of his store he has made many custom chemistry sets very similar to the originals, but these were almost all one-off’s and very time consuming to make. So recently he decided to try making a set that he can produce in fair numbers to meet the demand, and so he started this Kickstarter to help it get off the ground. It’s already surpassed its goal by two times!

We wish we had one when we were growing up!

[Thanks Jeremy!]


Filed under: chemistry hacks, Crowd Funding

November 12 2013

Printing Printed Circuit Boards

circuit

We really respect the old timers out there and their amazing ways of crafting PCBs; they used black tape on clear acetate sheets to create single layers of PCBs with a photoetching process. Now creating a PCB is a simple matter of opening up a CAD package, but like the old timers we’re still dealing with nasty chemicals or long shipping times from China.

The EX¹, a new robot on Kickstarter - hopes to change that. They’ve created a PCB fabrication process that’s as simple as printing something with an inkjet printer. Just put in a piece of substrate – anything from Kapton to acrylic to fabric – and in a few minutes you have a single-sided PCB in your hands.

The printer dispenses two chemicals, silver nitrate and ascorbic acid, that react and produce traces and pads for the circuit. Right now, the EX¹ is limited to single-side boards, but experiments on creating multi layer boards are ongoing.

In any event, we’re really impressed with how simple the EX¹ setup actually is. Inkjet is a mature, well understood technology with more than enough resolution for simple homebrew circuits, and the AgNO3 + Vitamin C formula could easily be adapted to an inkjet printer modification.


Filed under: Crowd Funding, tool hacks

October 23 2013

5 Year Mission Continues After 45 Year Hiatus

star trek continues

There have been many iterations of the Star Trek franchise since the original Star Trek 5 year mission series aired in 1966 including a cartoon series in 73, a new television series in 87 and many movies on the big screen. Those series and movies inspired many youngsters to pursue a career in the fields of science, engineering, technology and cinema. Now the franchise is coming full circle with a fan based Kickstarter funded web series. Those inspired fans are attempting to complete the original 5 year mission “to boldly go where no man has gone before”, which ended after only three seasons on the air. The fan based and fan supported reincarnation is cleverly titled “Star Trek Continues” and has CBS’s consent.

The production company behind this effort, [Far From Home, LLC], is owned and operated by [Vic Mignogna], who also plays Kirk in this web series. They have already finished the first amazing 51 minute web-isode titled “Pilgrim of Eternity“. The film may seem campy, but it’s not. They are sticking to the original format and using the sets that were used in the sixties, rightfully so being this is the continuation of the mission. This new web series has some very interesting actors. One is the well-known Mythbuster [Grant Imahara], who plays the role of Mr. Sulu. The actor playing Mr. Scott is [Chris Doohan] the son of [James Doohan], who played Mr. Scott in the original Star Trek series.

There are more details and episode 1 after the break.

Those not old enough to experience the original television series may not fully understand or appreciate how important sticking to the exact studio sets, simple props, sound tracks and cheesy video effects is to the completion of this passionate project. Truly “less is more” when making such a perfect reenactment of a vintage TV production. If only we had some tin trays with tinfoil covered meals it would be perfection!

This may be a project of passion but it also costs real dollars to produce and keep the mission on Trek. The Kickstarter linked above seeks to help fund the next three episodes. If they are as good as the first, they will be worth every bit of scratch you can part with. One reward level was a Blu-ray of episode 1 for $50, that would have been a great stocking stuffer. Unfortunately this reward was pulled, but there is some chatter in the comments about bringing it back. At the time of writing this article, they aren’t quite halfway to their $100,000 goal. Maybe they will bring back the Blu-ray reward and we can push them across the finish line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G-ziTBAkbQ


Filed under: Crowd Funding
Reposted bylordminxarendanielbohrer

October 12 2013

An Open Source GPU

FPGA

Unless you’re bit-banging a CRT interface or using a bunch of resistors to connect a VGA monitor to your project, odds are you’re using proprietary hardware as a graphics engine. The GPU on the Raspberry Pi is locked up under an NDA, and the dream of an open source graphics processor has yet to be realized. [Frank Bruno] at Silicon Spectrum thinks he has the solution to that: a completely open source GPU implemented on an FPGA.

Right now, [Frank] has a very lightweight 2D and 3D engine well-suited for everything from servers to embedded devices. If their Kickstarter meets its goal, they’ll release their project to the world, giving every developer and hardware hacker out there a complete, fully functional, open source GPU.

Given the difficulties [Bunnie] had finding a GPU that doesn’t require an NDA to develop for, we’re thinking this is an awesome project that gets away from the closed-source binary blobs found on the Raspberry Pi and other ARM dev boards.


Filed under: Crowd Funding, hardware

October 04 2013

Why Kickstarter projects are always delayed

Most Hackaday readers may remember the Spark Core, an Arduino-compatible, Wi-Fi enabled, cloud-powered development platform. Its Kickstarter campaign funding goal was 10k, but it ended up getting more than half a million. The founder and CEO of Spark [Zach Supalla] recently published an article explaining why Kickstarter projects are always delayed as the Spark core project currently is 7 weeks behind schedule.

[Zach] starts off by mentioning that most founders are optimistic, making them want to embark in this kind of adventure in the first place. In most presentation videos the prototypes shown are usually rougher than they appear, allowing the presenters to skip over the unfinished bits. Moreover, the transition from prototype to “manufacturable product ” also adds unexpected delays. For example, if a product has a plastic casing it is very easy to 3D print the prototype but much harder to setup a plastic injection system. Last, sourcing the components may get tricky as in the case of Spark core the quantities were quite important. Oddly enough, it was very hard for them to get the sparkcore CC3000 Wifi module.


Filed under: Crowd Funding

October 02 2013

X-Winder: Carbon Fiber Wrapping

ScreenShot035

One of our readers just sent us a tip about this interesting kickstarter project. [Turner Hunt] is bringing carbon fiber manufacture into the hands of makers — at considerable cost savings!

So how does it work? The machine wraps the filament around the workpiece, not unlike a CNC lathe in reverse. Actually it’s kind of a new breed of 3D printer! As the machine feeds the filament, it dips it through a bath of epoxy resin before being wrapped around the workpiece. A finishing step wraps heat shrink tape around the finished project using a heat gun, which then provides a glossy surface finish very similar to commercial carbon fiber products.

By purchasing carbon fiber filament and epoxy resin and using this machine, you can create structural carbon fiber tubes for about 80% less than they would cost commercially. The system comes with its own software that controls the machine via g-code, and you can also specify different wrapping patterns for different applications. While tube-shapes work best, you can also wrap other shapes including flat bars, wing skins, turbine blades and more — anything that is wrappable and under 6″ in total diameter. Is anyone else thinking about custom wrapped quadcopter frames?

[Thanks Alannah!]


Filed under: Crowd Funding

September 30 2013

Smoothieboard, The Be-all, End-all CNC Controller

smoothie

A while back we took a look at electronics boards for 3D printers, going over the cost and benefits of the most common electronics boards for printers, laser cutters, and mills. One of the most impressive boards was the Smoothieboard, but finding a supplier back then was a little difficult. Now, the Smoothieboard is up on Kickstarter, giving everyone the opportunity to get their hands on this very cool CNC control board.

While most RepRap and 3D printer controller boards use an ATMega or other 8-bit microcontroller, the Smoothie uses a 32-bit ARM chip in the form of an NXP LPC Cortex-M3 chip. Not only does this allow the Smoothie to do some very cool things with your machine – native arcs and circles, for example, but this better hardware also allows for Ethernet, drag-and-drop firmware, and exposing the USB port as both a serial port or mass storage device.

The Smoothie comes in three flavors, with either 3, 4, or 5 stepper motor drivers. These Allegro A4982 drivers are good enough for any 3D printer, laser cutter, or small mill, but the broken out pins allow for stepper drivers supplying more than 2A of current.

Everything on the Smoothieboard is modular, meaning this board is equally capable of powering a RepRap, mill, laser cutter, or plotter. There’s even a planned control panel called the Smoothiepanel, making this a great choice for your next CNC build.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, cnc hacks, Crowd Funding

September 28 2013

An Oscilloscope on your Wrist

osc-watch2

Calculator watches were the Geek cred of the 80’s. Today everyone is getting smart watches. How can the hip Geek stay ahead? [Gabriel Anzziani] to the rescue with his Oscilloscope Watch! [Gabriel] has made a cottage industry with his micro test tools. We’ve featured his Xprotolab and Xminilab on here on Hack a Day more than once. The Oscilloscope Watch basically takes all the features of the Xprotolab and squeezes them down into a wrist watch.

The Oscilloscope Watch includes an oscilloscope, a logic analyzer, an arbitrary waveform generator, and of course it tells time.  The Oscilloscope Watch’s processor is the AVR XMega128.  [Gabriel] has even included a link to the schematics (PDF) on his Kickstarter page. We really like that 3D printed case, and hope [Gabriel] opens up his CAD designs for us to work with.

Like its predecessors, the Oscilloscope watch won’t be replacing your Tektronix scope, or even your Rigol. Much like a Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool, the Oscilloscope Watch packs a bunch of tools into a small package. None of them are as good as a full-sized tool, but in a pinch they will get the job done. If you are wondering where the probes connect. [Gabriel] states on the Kickstarter page that he will design a custom 9 pin .100 connector to BNC adapter to allow the use of standard probes.

The screen is the same series of Sharp Memory LCD’s used in the Pebble watch. [Gabriel] chose to go with the FPC version of the Sharp LCD rather than the zebra connector.  We’ve learned the hard way that those flex circuits snap at the LCD glass after only a few flexes. Hopefully this won’t impact the hackability of the watch.


Filed under: Crowd Funding, tool hacks, wearable hacks

September 24 2013

oneTesla electrifies Maker Faire NY 2013

onetesla

Throughout the maker pavilion, the siren song of a musical Tesla coil could be heard. Those who followed their ears found themselves at the oneTesla booth. OneTesla is a hobby Tesla coil, with the added twist of polyphonic MIDI input.

Started by three MIT students, oneTesla had a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. Like many kickstarters, they are a bit behind in the shipping department. They are shipping out their third run of kits to backers now. The group had a small number of oneTesla coils for sale at the show, which appeared to have sold out by midday Sunday.

The actual process of generating sound with a Tesla coil is fascinating. All Tesla coils are resonant at high frequency. In oneTesla’s case, this is 220kHz. Human hearing ends around 20kHz, so this is well beyond the range of perception. Since the coil is locked in at this frequency, the power to the coil is modulated at the desired sound frequency. Playing an A note for example, would mean modulating the coil at 440Hz.

In OneTesla, all this is handled by the MIDI interrupter board. An ATMega328 performs all the heavy lifting of modulating the coil. Even more interesting is the fact that the MIDI interrupter can create two note polyphony by interleaving the modulated notes. Think persistence of vision style effects, but with audio. The interrupter also acts as the overall power control for the coil, eliminating the need for a variac on the AC side to control overall coil power.


Filed under: musical hacks

September 22 2013

A $100 Stereolithography 3D Printer

peachy

The Hackaday tip line has been blowing up with a new Kickstarter for a 3D printer. Although this is a pretty common occurrence around here, this printer is actually very interesting: it’s quite possibly the simplest and cheapest laser resin printer ever.

Most of the 3D resin printers we’ve seen, like the Form1 use mechanical means to raise a print up to the next slice. At $100, the Peachy printer doesn’t have the budget for such luxuries as servos or motors, so the layer height is increased by dripping salt water over the liquid resin. The X and Y axes are controlled with mirrors and voice coils, allowing this printer’s electronics to be controlled by a computer’s sound card. It’s really amazing in its simplicity, and from the looks of it the Peachy can produce some fairly good prints.

For a great explanation of how the Peachy printer works, you can check out the video below.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, Crowd Funding

September 06 2013

Putting every game console in the palm of your hand

SNES

Casemodders extraordinaire [Downing] and [Hailrazer] are known for their fabulous builds that put just about every gaming console into a portable hand-held format. Everything from a Game Cube to N64s and a Sega Genesis have been conquered by the two, and for the last year they’ve been putting their heads together to make the best solution to portabalizing console gaming forever. It’s called the Cross Plane, and puts just about everything with an HDMI connection in the palm of your hand.

The build began as one of [Downing]‘s more ambitious projects. He imagined a system that could play nearly every retro game on a small handheld device. After finishing this build, he set up a Kickstarter and called up his friend [Hailrazer] to get some feedback. Just hours before the Kickstarter launched, [Hailrazer] suggested making a device for modern consoles. [Downing]‘s pride and joy was scrapped, but out of its ashes arose the Cross Plane.

Inside the Cross Plane is a wireless HDMI receiver and a 7″ 720p display. This, along with a few buttons and analog controls, allow the Cross Plane to serve as a remote display and controller for an XBox 360, Playstation 3, and even a PC, for all that retro emulator goodness.

It’s a really, really cool project, and since the dream of an open Wii U controller seem to have died, we’re thinking this could be a great controller for an FPV quadcopter or other remotely operated vehicle.


Filed under: kickstarter

August 21 2013

A fast and easy-to-use vision sensor

At Hackaday we don’t often feature kickstarter campaigns, but this one is worth noticing in our opinion. It is called Pixy, a small camera board about half the size of a business card that can detect objects that you “train” it to detect.

Training is accomplished by holding the object in front of Pixy’s lens and pressing a button. Pixy then finds objects with similar color signatures using a dedicated dual-core processor that can process images at 50 frames per second. Pixy can report its findings, which include the sizes and locations of all detected objects, through one of several interfaces: UART serial, SPI, I2C, digital or analog I/O.

The platform is open hardware, its firmware is open source and GPL licensed, making the project very interesting. It is based on a 204MHz dual core ARM cortex M4 & M0, uses a 1280×800 image sensor and can stream the processed camera output to your computer. You can get one Pixy in the kickstarter campaign for $59, which is not that expensive for what it is.


Filed under: hardware, kickstarter, robots hacks

August 10 2013

Dual extruders in the space of one stepper motor

dual

The new hotness in 3D printers is – and has been for a while – dual extrusion. With two extruders and the requisite filament supply, it’s possible to print objects in two colors or two different materials. There’s a problem with this setup, though: each extruder requires a separate motor, greatly reducing the print area should you want to print in two or more colors. [Carl] and [Brian] think they have the solution to this with their dual extruder that is powered by one stepper motor.

As you can see from the pic above, the idea is relatively simple. Two strands of filament are fed past one gear attached to a stepper motor. Each strand is moved into the hot end through two idler gears and side of the extruder feeds into the hot end is determined by the rotation of the motor. It’s really one of those, “why didn’t I think of that” ideas.

[Carl] and [Brian] are also offering a quad extruder, a dual-sized extruder able to pump four different filaments onto a printer bed. With this, we expect some people to experiment with CMYK (or CMYW) prints, truly turning any 3D printer into a machine that prints full color parts.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, kickstarter

August 08 2013

Six years, a giant robot, and a kickstarter

robot

Since 2007, [Jamie Mantzel] has been building a huge remote-controlled walking robot. If you’ve been following him on his YouTube channel and blog, you’ve seen the very beginnings of him building a lumber mill to create a workshop, making the legs for his robot, and improving his welding rig. This week, though, has been very special. [Jamie] has finally finished his giant robot project, bidding closed the fevered dream of a madman who awakes to a 10 foot robot in his yard.

The giant robot is constructed nearly entirely out of scrap aluminum. In the interest of simplicity, [Jamie] has come up with some interesting techniques to scale up conventional RC gear to power huge motors swinging giant legs: the steering motors are powered by manual switches, but these switches are activated by servos. A brilliantly simple solution to driving high-current loads if we do say so ourselves.

[Jamie]‘s robot has garnered a lot of attention over the years, so much so that toy companies have licensed his designs for a line of battling combat spiderbots. [Jamie] believes his robots should be more educational, so he’s launched a Kickstarter for his own version as a kit. With this kit, getting the bug tank robot up and running isn’t simply a matter of pulling it out of the box and installing batteries; [Jamie]‘s version is an actual kit with linkages that must be assembled. We know which version we’d want.

It’s an amazingly impressive project, and we’re glad to see such an awesome cat has finally realized his dream of a walking aluminum arachnid of death.


Filed under: kickstarter, robots hacks, toy hacks

August 05 2013

Centimeter-level precision GPS for $500

back

[Colin] and [Fergus] have been working with GPS for years now, and like most builders of really cool things, they’re often limited by the precision of off-the-shelf GPS units. While a GPS receiver is usually good for meters of accuracy,  this just isn’t good enough for a lot of projects. What you need is centimeter-level accuracy, something the guys have managed to do with their Piksi GPS receiver.

Where most GPS receivers only look at the data coming from the GPS satellites orbiting overhead, the Piksi uses another technique, real-time kinematics (RTK), to determine the receiver’s location with exacting precision. The basic idea behind RTK is to look at the carrier frequency of the GPS signals at 1575.42 MHz. This frequency has a wavelength of 19 cm, compared to the alternating 1s and 0s of the that are transmitted at around 1 MHz, or about 300 meters between each bit. While centimeter-level precision isn’t possible with only one receiver, two of these Piksi boards – one base station and one on a vehicle, connected via radio link – can make for a very exacting high-accuracy GPS receiver.

Previously, commercial RTK GPS systems have cost thousands of dollars – making a quadcopter or other homebrew project that relies on this level of precision nonsensical. [Colin] and [Fergus] have built hardware that can bring the price of this setup to under $1000. As a bonus, the Piksi board can also receive from other constellations such as Galileo and GLONASS. A very impressive piece of hardware, and we can’t wait to see the applications.


Filed under: hardware, kickstarter

June 28 2013

Send an Arduino to the moon for $300

sat

We’ve seen Kickstarter campaigns to put a single satellite into space and one to launch your own personalized postage-stamp sized satellite into low Earth orbit. This time, though, you can break the bonds of Earth and send your own Arduino compatible satellite on a collision course with the moon. The project is called Pocket Spacecraft, and exactly as its name implies, it allows you to send a small, flat, 8 cm diameter spacecraft to the surface of the moon.

The pocket spacecraft are made of metallized kapton, a very thin membrane stretched inside a loop of wire. On board this paper-thin spacecraft are a pair of solar cells and a bare die MSP430 microcontroller connected to a suite of sensors. Before launch, you can program your tiny space probe with commands to relay data back to Earth, either useful scientific data or a simple tweet.

These pocket spacecraft will be launched from a cubesat – a highly successful line of amateur spacecraft that are usually launched by hitching a ride with larger commercial satellites. To get from low Earth orbit to the moon is much harder than just hitchhiking, so the cubesat mothership comes equipped with either a solar sail or its own engine that electrolysed water into hydrogen and oxygen, the perfect rocket fuel.

Pocket Spacecraft is an amazingly impressive feat; there are literally dozens of amateur-built spacecraft orbiting above our heads right now, but so far none have ventured more than a few hundred miles away from their home planet. Getting to the moon with an amateur spacecraft is an amazing accomplishment, and definitely worthy of the $300 price tag.


Filed under: kickstarter
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