Monday, October 28, 2013

Roadtrippers Helps You Find Great Attractions Between Points A and B

We mentioned an early version of Roadtrippers about a year ago, but the attraction-finding service has since added a ton of new content and features, and it's worth taking another look.

As before, you just enter the starting point and destination for your upcoming road trip, and Roadtrippers will prepare a Google Maps route to get you from A to B. From here, you can specify how far off the beaten path you're willing to go, and which types of attractions, historical sites, restaurants, and more that you're interested in seeing along the way. The map will then populate with pins to point out great places to check out during your drive.

The level of granularity available is impressive. Only interested in seeing amusement parks and microbreweries? You can filter the map down to just these options. Every point of interest also includes a place page with a crowdsourced "Rad-O-Meter reflecting the views of the Roadtrippers community. If you're just interested in browsing, the site also includes some handpicked guides that curate points of interest into unique tours. Want to visit the shooting locations of every American-filmed James Bond scene? RoadTrippers has you covered.

When you're ready to hit the road, you can even save your itinerary and pull it up on Roadtripper's iPhone app. Unfortunately, you can't plan new routes on the app, but you can check out attractions nearby, and pull up the directions you found on the web.


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Make Compact Potholders out of Sugru

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How to make an Ergonomic USB Mouse (Ergo Mouse) - made from Styrofoam


I'm a product designer from the UK. I have learned loads from this site and so, I am keen to contribute some of the things I've picked up from my 4 years as a professional. As well as making products to a high resolution for production, it's interesting to share how some of the ideas have humble beginnings in simple materials and in this case - can be pieced together from existing technology and scraps of materials. This project involves a degree of 'Frankenstein-style' Electronics; to cut a PCB from a USB Mouse up into pieces and reposition them in an (ergonomically shaped) block of Foam (styrofoam) - resulting an a fully-functioning USB Mouse, but with all the controls exactly as you want them.

This is about you controlling the materials to get the design you want, and is a great precursor to CAD work, where you might not be able to 'feel' the true experience of a highly ergonomic item like this. Of course, the process could be applied to a variety of projects - electronic or otherwise (though I would not recommend mains electricity, unless you are trained to do so).

This project builds on an earlier Instructable using Plastic Sheet to create a Solder Buddy, but can be done by anyone up for a challenge! For any other tips, I do make reference to Design Modelling as required, but try to keep the main info here on Instructables.

So, if you are ready - let's take a look at how we will do this....

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Cook Almost Anything Outdoors by Using Your Grill as an Oven

Cook Almost Anything Outdoors by Using Your Grill as an Oven

Maybe you're tailgating, or it's a just a beautiful day and you want to spend it outdoors. When it comes time to cook, your grill doesn't have to be limited to meats and vegetables. With a little practice, you can actually use your covered grill as a makeshift oven for more flexible meals.

Obviously, your grill wasn't designed to cook a meatloaf, but that doesn't mean it can't get the job done if you're careful. The trickiest part, according to commenters on Chow, is temperature regulation. You'll need a good thermometer inside the grill, and you'll need to keep a close eye on it until you get a better idea of how hot it gets at certain settings. A cheap dutch oven is also essential for most recipes, since it's really hard to burn food in them. It may take a few tries to get right, but once you have the hang of it, you can amaze everyone at your next family reunion by baking spaghetti in the backyard. Be sure to check out the source link for more tips to get you started.

How to Use Your Gas Grill Like an Oven | Chow

Photo by Semmick Photo (Shutterstock).

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Hang Headphones Off the Side of Your Desk with this Metal Stand

Hang Headphones Off the Side of Your Desk with this Metal Stand

A good pair of headphones can help you focus while you're working, but they can take up valuable desk space, and even fall and get run over by your chair. This DIY headphone stand makes sure they're out of the way, but still safe and easy to reach.

Ramadanrenan shared this walkthrough on Instructables. The stand is actually made from bent sheet metal, so this might require a trip to the hardware store, but it looks really good when it's finished. Basically, you have to bend the metal into a staircase shape to hang off the side of the desk, then use a hacksaw to cut a strip out of the middle to act as a wedge to keep it in place on the side of your table. The finished product is simple, elegant, and will work on most desks. For detailed instructions, be sure to go check out the Instructable.

Upcycled clip-on headphone stand/rest made from a printer frame | Instructables

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How to make an entire drone and camera gimbal using laser cut parts

NEXT STEP, Photos of all the frames.
This step : design

When designing anything, you need a rough idea of how you want it to turn out, I usually have an idea in my mind but for some i recommend sketching and possibly taking measurements to figure out how you want the final model to look.

In this case, i took inspiration from the basic design of quadcopters, a simple x, but i felt that was too bland and so took parts from various frame designs and fashioned it into my frame.

I wanted something unique, that stood out not simply because of the material it was made from, but because of its design
In this case i wanted a dome to house the electronics and i wanted a unique looking set of arms that werent simply to hold the motors apart.

So i came up with this design.
(image 1)

I had made it to be relatively lightweight by removing large amounts of material (the helix design which is lots of squares cut out), but  still needed it to be strong so i made a honeycomb design that was the many little squares cut out.
This halved the weight of the model, but it also hugely increase the cutting time, which i has to pay for , the longer the time to cut, the higher the price tag.
Which meant i had to compromise, so for larger parts i cut large pieces out.

so i had a few things that needed to be factored into the design to make it a viable frame.

Airflow (the props had some of their thrust lost when blowing onto the arms, so i had to make them thin or i ha to allow air flow)

Length (the props lose efficiency when close to other props, so i needed the arms to be long but not ridiculous)

weight (the copter loses flight time with weight, so i had to make it as light as possible)

Time Cost (because i pay for time used on the cutter, i had to make the design relatively simple)

Material strength (i could not design outside of the materials strengths, it could not be ultra thin as it could snap, or oscilate causing bad flight performance)

With the above factored in, The design can go ahead.

the trick is to design part by part, rather than design it all in one go, in this case, i designed the sides of the arms before i designed the top/bottom or plates, the arm was designed to be two x the length of the propellor i would use, this ensures the props would not be too close to each other or the board.

I tried to make the design as unified as possible which meant as few joints as possible thus as few weaknesses as possible.
so now i had to make it 3d, which meant in between the two side plates i had to put somthing that spaced them.
I could have printed out lots of side plates and stuck them together, but it would have used huge amounts of material and would have been heavy, instead i used spacer plates that slotter in with finger joints.
There were just slightly wider than the motor mounts and were 3mm thick, one thing to note when designing how they fit together is make sure you know the thickness of the material you are using.

In this case i used 3mm MDF so the finger joints were 10mm long and 3mm wide.
I tried to make the spacers as long as possible to make assembly easier and reduce cutting time .
I also had to make the plate the motor would mount onto.
I used dedicated spacers for this and used two samwidged together for extra strength.
at the time i did not know where the motor mount holes would be, so i cut generic equally spaced holes.

I now had to make the holes in the side plate that the spacers would fit into, so i made a line of boxes 100mm ling, 3mm tll and spaced 5mm apart like the fingers on the spacer plates, i then took the template and placed it on top of the side plate in the position needed..
It was very simple to do and the end result was a clean design.
i did make sure that the holes where the spacer plate slid into, would not compromise other parts of the frame making it weaker.
, i now had he arm designed, but i need to think how i would fit 4 of them together, so i h to make two plates that would clamp to the bottom and top of the arms, to hold them in place securely, this was ver simple, i measured the space i had available on the top arm and make a square that was double the size.
I then put two "fingers" that poked out of the arm that would slot into the top plate.
, i then had to put holes in the top plate that would allow those fingers to slot in, as you can see in the photo i did just that but i forgot the arm was actually in 3d and at the time only put in one set of holes for each arm.

So i had to correct this which was simple. i just copied the holes and spaced them the correct distance apart..
Now that i had a top plate, i decided i would simply cut out two and stick one to the bottom in the same manner.

I now had to design the holes for fitting the flight controller, this was difficult as again i did not have the measurements of controller at the time, so i made a generic design that would supports lots of mounting points.
I also put in lots of holes for any extra wiring that would need to be slotted through.

I now had to think about the dome,  it would be too weak on its own, so i made a simple spacer that all the arms slotted into and make it far stronger.
the frame was now finished.

when i later cut it out and tried it, i found i had not completely thought out all the design, it was still a bit too heavy, the motor mount plate was a bit too weak and the dome needed strengthening.

So i took these ideas and proceeded to design many different frames, somewhere for fun and some were for practicality, you will see them all in the photos.

As you can see i have had a lot of fun designing the different frames, i have tried all sorts of designs, some for strength, some for practicality some for looks, some for nostalgia.

I have also included the image where i designed the frame and the image where i space it for the laser cutter bed.

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