Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to Turn Your Initials Into a Circuit

This project uses fairly common parts that can be found at most places (with the exception of some of the sensors).

General parts:
--20mm coin cell (Sparkfun[currently out of stock], Radioshack)
--20mm coin cell holder (Sparkfun, Radioshack)
--3mm LED (Sparkfun, Radioshack)
--Button (Sparkfun)
--Copper tape (Sparkfun, Amazon) or conductive ink (Bare Conductive)

--Card stock paper or thin cardboard (I am using card stock throughout this instructable)
--Hobby knife or scissors
--Jumper wires
--Soldering iron
--Helping hands
--Multimeter (optional, for debugging)

Sensors (there are many possibilities):
--Photocell (Sparkfun, Radioshack)
--Thermistor (Sparkfun)
--Flex sensor (Sparkfun)
--Trimpot (Sparkfun)
--SoftPot (Sparkfun)

(The description of each sensor is in the next step, or check sparkfun for a better one.)

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Remove Name Tag Residue From Your Shirts with Nail Polish Remover

Remove Name Tag Residue From Your Shirts with Nail Polish Remover

We've all forgotten to take those sticky name tags off our shirts before tossing them in the wash, and the resulting residue is incredibly difficult to remove. The next time this happens to you, just reach for your nearest bottle of nail polish remover.

All you have to do is set the shirt on a towel, and spot test a drop of acetone-based nail polish remover in an inconspicuous place. It shouldn't harm most clothes, but better safe than sorry. Assuming it didn't damage the shirt, spread some more around the glue residue, and rub vigorously with a hand towel to loosen it up.

This trick works best for natural fibers, but tossing a synthetic fiber shirt in the freezer can actually accomplish the same thing. For more advice on cleaning glue residue off of synthetic fibers, be sure to click through the source link.

Yes, It's Possible. Remove Name-Tag Residue From a Shirt | Real Simple

Photo by Joe Belanger (Shutterstock).

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WidgetRunner Puts Dashboard Widgets on Your Desktop

WidgetRunner Puts Dashboard Widgets on Your Desktop

OS X: Odds are, your Mac's Dashboard has fallen by the wayside in recent years (even though it can be really useful), but widgets can still be really handy for certain tasks. WidgetRunner frees them from their prison in the Dashboard, and lets you run them alongside your desktop apps.

There's an old trick to do this with a terminal command, but it doesn't seem to work for most Mountain Lion users. WidgetRunner works on modern Macs, doesn't require a terminal command, and doesn't even saddle you with a complicated interface to set everything up. Just open the app, click the main dropdown menu in your menubar, and hit "New Widget." Your custom-installed widgets can be found in /Users/username/Library/Widgets, and the default widgets will be in /Library/Widgets. Just click the ones you want, and they'll populate on your desktop where you can drag them wherever you wish.

By default, widgets will act like regular windows, and disappear behind any other active applications. But if you want one to float on the top of the screen, just right click it and change the widget position to "Top." You can also set widgets to "Desktop" mode, which effectively turns them into part of your wallpaper. You won't be able to interact with it at all unless you first click the WidgetRunner icon in your dock, but it's great for passive information widgets like weather or stocks. The relevance of most widgets has been diminished by more powerful web apps over the years, but if there are any that hold a special place in your heart, this is a great solution to keep them close at hand.

WidgetRunner (Free) | MIT via MakeUseOf

Harry Potter Papercraft

picasion.com_7595d1373b317cdb97b0433a5ef788e8.gifPaper craft is a lot of fun, I particularly like the models that move.  I wanted to try my hand at making my own movable model.  When I came up with the idea of making Harry Potter with a moving arm it occurred to me that it could be even better if I incorporated an LED into the wand.  So as he raises his arm to cast a spell the tip of his wand lights up. 

The arm is moved using a lever in the back and the wand is lit up with a 3mm LED.  As the lever is pushed in it strikes the inside surface closing the circuit, thus turning on the light.  I used conductive fabric for the contact points of the switch and conductive thread running between the LED, switch and battery.  Alternatively, you could use conductive paint, tape or regular wire.  The template is available in the next step as a pdf file, print full size on 8 1/2 by 11 (Letter) card stock.

materials.JPGPaper model:
Scissors/utility knife Glue Tape Papercraft model pdf (see below) Cardstock and printer Electronics:

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Mini BSG Colonial Viper Mk II Popsicle Stick Model

How about a one-day mini popsicle stick model project?

Only nine (9) major sub-assemblies (including the two tiny rear landing gear housing!) makes up this mini Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper Mk II.  This should should be an easy build even for novice hobbyists.

The Viper Mk II was the main fighter spacecraft used by the Colonial Defense Forces against the Cylons in the 2003 remake of Battlestar Galactica.  A Mk I from the 1978 series should also make for an interesting one-day build.

The only major challenge in this project was in fabricating the top engine and engine exhaust nozzle.  The engine exhaust nozzle should fit snuggly inside the shaped housing at the rear end of the top engine.

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James - Your first Arduino Robot

Slide1.JPGSo you want to make a robot? Don't know where to start? How about you learn how to make a robot with me and make James!
James was made as part of a Robotics Class I teach to a few high school students.

I called him James in memory of my late Grandfather James Henry Edwards who passed away 14-3-2013. He loved teaching and helping kids and died doing what he loved, hopefully this James will carry on that legacy.

Slide2.JPGFor this build we will be using the Arduino Uno with a Prototyping Shield. You could use whichever Arduino you want with its own Prototyping Shield or Breadboard.

If you are looking to buy this Prototyping Shield search on ebay for “arduino prototype shield uno” and you should see it. Alternatively you can buy a similar looking one from Core Electronics: http://tinyurl.com/brxjx5h

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How to create a simple rope dog toy

minibones.jpgIn this instructable, I'll show you how to make a simple rope dog toy using two Matthew Walker knots. Many rope toys you can get at the pet store consist of a rope with two overhand knots in it. The Matthew Walker knot is much more symmetrical and less likely to come untied. With three strand rope, the Matthew Walker knot makes a great stopper knot which prevents the rope from unraveling. I'll be using this knot in other dog toy instructables, so follow me to see more!rope.jpgI always use cotton rope for my dog toys. It's all natural and isn't a big deal if your dog swallows pieces of it. I get my rope from both Knot and Rope Supply and Amazon. Knot and Rope Supply sells cotton rope by the foot in a number of different sizes: http://knotandrope.com/store/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=6

I also have ordered spools of rope from Koch on Amazon: http://amzn.to/15MFPY3

You'll want to get the right size rope for your dog. A 1/2"-3/4" rope would be suitable for a little dog, while 1.5" rope works for very large dogs.

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