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Weaponized Fidget Spinners

Fidget spinners were the hottest new craze at one point, but their 15 minutes of fame has well and truly passed. They‘re great for fidgeting, and not a whole lot else. One of the main objectives around their use is to spin them as quickly as possible. After [Sushi Ramen] hurt himself after spinning one up with compressed air, however - a new and dangerous idea came to mind. What you‘re looking at is a fidget spinnersword, powered by c

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Custom Split-Flap Display Is a Unique Way to Show the Weather

There‘s little doubt about the charms of a split-flap display. Watching a display build up a clear, legible message by flipping cards can be mesmerizing, whether on a retro clock radio from the 70s or as part of a big arrival and departure display at an airport or train station. But a weather station with a split-flap display? That‘s something you don‘t see often. We usually see projects using split-flap units harvested from som

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PC in an SNES Case is a Weirdly Perfect Fit

For better or for worse, a considerable number of the projects we‘ve seen here at Hackaday can be accurately summarized as: Raspberry Pi put into something. Which is hardly a surprise, the Pi is so tiny that it perfectly lends itself to getting grafted into unsuspecting pieces of consumer tech. But we see far fewer projects that manage to do the same trick with proper x86 PC hardware, but that‘s not much of a surprise either given how

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How The 8087 Coprocessor Got Its Bias

Most of us have been there. You build a device but realize you need two or more voltages. You could hook up multiple power supplies but that can be inconvenient and just not elegant. Alternatively, you can do something in the device itself to create the extra voltages starting with just one. When [Ken Shirriff] decapped an 8087 coprocessor to begin exploring it, he found it had that very problem. It needed: +5 V, a ground, and an additional -5 V.

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When Every Last Nanoamp Matters

You can get electricity from just about anything. That old crystal radio kit you built as a kid taught you that, but how about doing something a little more interesting than listening to the local AM station with an earpiece connected to a radiator? That‘s what the Electron Bucket is aiming to do. It‘s a power harvesting device that grabs electricity from just about anywhere, whether it‘s a piece of aluminum foil or a bunch of L

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An Achievable Underwater Camera

We are surrounded by sensors for all forms of environmental measurement, and a casual browse through an electronics catalogue can see an experimenter tooled up with the whole array for a relatively small outlay. When the environment in question is not the still air of your bench but the turbulence, sand, grit, and mud of a sea floor, that pile of sensors becomes rather useless. [Ellie T] has been addressing this problem as part of the study of hy

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Bench Power Supply Packs a Lot into a DIN-Rail Package

We‘re not sure why we‘ve got a thing for DIN-rail mounted projects, but we do. Perhaps it‘s because we‘ve seen so many cool industrial control cabinets, or maybe the forced neatness of DIN-mounted components resonates on some deep level. Whatever it is, if it‘s DIN-rail mounted, chances are good that we‘ll like it. Take thisDIN-mounted bench power supply, for instance. On the face of it, [TD-er]‘s project

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JB Weld Strong Enough To Repair a Connecting Rod?

JB Weld is a particularly popular brand of epoxy, and features in many legends. My cousin‘s neighbour‘s dog trainer‘s grandpa once repaired a Sherman tank barrel in France with that stuff! they‘ll say. Thankfully, with the advent of new media, there‘s a wealth of content out there of people putting these wild and interesting claims to the test. As the venerable Grace Hopper once said, One accurate measurement is wort

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A Motion Coprocessor Without The Proprietary Layer

When you have a complex task that would sap the time and energy of your microprocessor, it makes sense to offload it to another piece of hardware. We are all used to this in the form of the graphics chipsets our computers use specialised processors whose computing power in that specific task easily outshines that of our main CPU. This offloading of tasks is just as relevant at the microcontroller level too. One example is the EM Microelectronics

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Multi-switch Useless Box Is Useless In Multiple Ways

We‘ve probably all seen (and built) a useless box, in which you flip a switch that activates a servo that pops out a finger and flips the switch off. [Coffeman500] decided to take this a step further by building a useless box with multiple switches. Flip one, the finger pops out to flip it back. Flip several switches, and the finger pops out and flips each back in turn. It‘s a smart build that [coffeeman500] says is his first electron

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Radio Antenna Mismatching: VSWR Explained

If you have ever operated any sort of transmitting equipment, you‘ve probably heard about matching an antenna to the transmitter and using the right co-ax cable. Having everything match for example, at 50 or 75 ohms allows the most power to get to the antenna and out into the airwaves. Even for receiving this is important, but you generally don‘t hear about it as much for receivers. But here‘s a question: if a 100-watt transmi

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A Tiny Steering Wheel You Can Print

Racing games are a great way to test drive that Ferrari you can‘t quite afford yet, and the quality of simulations has greatly improved in the last 30 or so years. While there are all manner of high-quality steering wheels to connect to your PC or home console, many gamers still choose to play using a typical controller, using the thumbstick for steering. What if there was something in between? What we have here is a tiny steering wheel you

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The Wonderful World of USB Type-C

Despite becoming common over the last few years USB-C remains a bit of a mystery. Try asking someone with a new blade-thin laptop what ports it has and the response will often include an awkward pause followed by USB-C?. That is unless you hear USB 3 or maybe USB 3.1. Perhaps even a charging port. So whatis that newoval hole in the side of your laptop called? And what can it really do? [jason] at Reclaimer Labs put together a must-read series of

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Turning Cheap WiFi Modules Into Cheap WiFi Swiss Army Knives

When the ESP8266 was released, it was sold as a simple device that would connect to a WiFi network over a UART. It was effectively a WiFi modem for any microcontroller, available for just a few bucks. That in itself is awesome, but then the hackers got their hands on it. It turns out, the ESP8266 is actually a very capable microcontroller as well, and the newest modules have tons of Flash and pins for all your embedded projects. For [Amine]&lsquo

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Circuit VR: A Tale Of Two Transistors

Last time on Circuit VR, we looked at creating a very simple common emitter amplifier, but we didn‘t talk about how to select the capacitor values, or much about why we wanted them. We are going to look at that this time, as well as how to use a second transistor in an emitter follower (or common collector) configuration to stiffen the amplifier‘s ability to drive an output load. Several readers wrote to point out that I‘d pushe

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Semi-automated Winder Spins Rotors for Motors

What‘s your secret evil plan? Are you looking for world domination by building a machine that can truly replicate itself? Or are you just tired of winding motor rotors and other coils by hand? Either way, this automated coil winder is something you‘re probably going to need. We jest in part, but it‘s true that closing the loop on self-replicating machines means being able to make things like motors. And for either brushed or bru

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Getting An RF Low-Pass Filter Right

If you are in any way connected with radio, you will have encountered the low pass filter as a means to remove unwanted harmonics from the output of your transmitters. It‘s a network of capacitors and inductors usually referred to as a pi-network after the rough resemblance of the schematic to a capital Greek letter Pi, and getting them right has traditionally been something of a Black Art. There are tables and formulae, but even after impr

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What‘s Behind the Door? An IoT Light Switch

We‘re not sure who designed [Max Glenister]‘s place, but they had some strange ideas about interior door positioning. The door to his office is right next to a corner, yet it opens into the room instead of toward the wall. Well, that issue‘s been taken care of. But the architect and the electrician got the last laugh, because now the light switch is blocked by the open door. Folks, this is the stuff that IoT is made for. [Max] h

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No SD Card Slot? No Problem!

We feature hacks on this site of all levels of complexity. The simplest ones are usually the most elegant of Why didn‘t I think of that! builds, but just occasionally we find something that is as much a bodge as a hack, a piece of work the sheer audacity of which elicits a reaction that has more of the How did they get away with that! about it. Such a moment comes today from [Robinlol], who has made an SD card socket. Why would you make an

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PCB Junk Drawer Turned Into Blinky Mosaic

We‘ve all got a box full of old PCBs, just waiting to be stripped of anything useful. [Dennis1a4] decided to do something with his, turning it into an attractive mosaic that he hung on the wall of his new workshop.But this isn‘t just a pile of old PCBs: [Dennis1a4] decided to use the LEDs that were on many of the old boards, creating a blinky junk build. That‘s kind of neat in itself, but he then decided to go further, building

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Digital Dining With Charged Chopsticks

You step out of the audience onto a stage, and a hypnotist hands you a potato chip. The chip is salty and crunchy and you are convinced the chip is genuine. Now, replace the ordinary potato chip with a low-sodium version and replace the hypnotist with an Arduino. [Nimesha Ranasinghe] at the University of Maine‘s Multisensory Interactive Media Lab wants to trick people into eating food with less salt by telling our tongues that we taste more

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A Surprisingly Practical Numitron Watch

Regular Hackaday readers are surely familiar with Nixie tubes: the fantastically retro cold cathode display devices that hackers have worked into all manner of devices (especially timepieces) to give them an infusion of glowing faux nostalgia. But unfortunately, Nixie displays are fairly fragile and can be tricky to drive due to their high voltage requirements. For those who might want to work with something more forgiving, a possible alternative

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Hanging, Sliding Raspi Camera Adds Dimension To Octoprint

Are you using Octoprint yet? It‘s so much more than just a way to control your printer over the internet, or to keep tabs on it over webcam when you‘re off at work or fetching a beer. The 3D printing community has rallied around Octoprint, creating all sorts of handy plug-ins like Octolapse, whichlets you watch the print blossom from the bed via time-lapse video. Hackaday alum [Jeremy S Cook] wanted to devise a 3D-printable mount for

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Getting Kitted to Teach your First Hardware Workshop

I was always a sucker for art classes in my early days. There was something special about getting personal instruction while having those raw materials in your hands at the same time. Maybe it was the patient voice of the teacher or the taste of the crayons that finally got to my head. Either way, I started thinking: I want to do this; I want to teach this stuff. Last year at Hackaday Superconference I got my chance. Hardware workshops with real

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