Friday, December 6, 2013

R/C replica WW1 tank

I wanted a remote control World War 1 tank.  So I made one.

This instructable is going to be more of a general process than a step by step as a step by step would be 50 pages long.  I am going to cover the process by which I tackled this project in the following categories:
-planning (super important!!!)
-building the track structure
-building the body structure
-detailing the whole thing
-putting in the servos to drive the tank
-finishing the tank

Here is what I used to make this  replica:
-MDF.  I used a number of sheets of 3mm MDF for the big flat parts of the tank
-3/16 steel rod for axles for the 56 wheels
-hundreds of small nails for rivet heads
-3 rolls of PLA plastic for the 3D printed parts
-lots of glue
-a plethora of patience

Tools used:
-drill press
-metal saw
-3D printer

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Aboriginal Instrument Spy Tool

aboriginal-music1.jpgHere's a great activity for Dads and kids this summer: make a simple PVC didgeridoo then turn it into an instrument of espionage. The key to making a didgeridoo spy tool is to use it as a way to avoid suspicion and get places you wouldn't be able to get into wearing a suit or cloak. Then, when you need special tools or spy gadgets, you can get them from your secret stash inside the didgeridoo!

What You Will Need:

4-foot long piece of 2" PVC pipe
Bee's wax
Rare earth magnets
Hot glue and glue gun
Paint and/or permanent markers
Propane torch
Various small spy instruments that can fit inside the PVC pipe

make-digeridoo-1.pngTo make a didgeridoo, cut a 3 1/2 to 4 foot length of 2" PVC pipe (I used 1 3/4" pipe for this instructable, but you can get a better and deeper drone out of a larger diameter pipe).
Heat the PVC pipe IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA with a propane torch and bend or twist the pipe in several places.
Make a mouthpiece by softening some beeswax. I used a microwave to soften my beeswax, cutting up the wax into small chunks and  microwaving it on high for about 20 seconds at a time until soft enough to mold. Warning: wax will go from solid to liquid in an instant, so only microwave it in small time increments, checking each time for softness.
Once the wax is soft enough, mold into a doughnut shape and cover one end of the PVC pipe with it. Make the center hole small--though how small depends on the mouth blowing into it. I have a small mouth, and my mouthpiece has to be about the size of a quarter, but oblong (not perfectly round).
Paint your didgeridoo with bright colors and aboriginal designs.

Note: there are other ways to heat and bend PVC pipe which I haven't tried. 

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The Standing Desk Challenge Helps You Give Up Sitting at Work for Good

The Standing Desk Challenge Helps You Give Up Sitting at Work for Good

If you've been meaning to make the switch to a standing desk but just haven't given up your comfy office chair, the folks at DeskHacks have some pointers. They're also running a challenge that will remind you to stand daily, ease you into using a standing desk, and eventually, make standing as easy as sitting ever was.

The challenge works like this: You sign up, and DeskHacks will email you a daily reminder to get your standing time in, starting off light and eventually getting longer as the 28 day challenge progresses. Cobble together a standing desk of some sort that makes you comfortable (we have some options to consider), and get started. If you need help, we have some tips to help you ease into the routine.

Like many things, switching to a standing desk is a habit change, and changing habits is something you have to work at. It's not going to come from willpower alone, and few people are able to just say "I'm done sitting!" one morning, and use a standing desk ever after. DeskHacks explains that to really make the switch, you need to start small and practice every day—and the Standing Desk Challenge will help you do just that. If you're not a believer in standing desks, that's okay too—remember, moving around regularly is key.

How to Finally Make the Sweitch to a Standing Desk | DeskHacks

Photo by Paul Houle.

When Do You Find Time to Exercise?

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Robot - Line Follower

I began work on my first robot about two years ago. For no particular reason, I decided to begin with a line following robot and truth be told, my first attempt at building it was a complete failure. Looking back at my efforts, I believe, for a beginner, I was rather too ambitious. The circuit that I had designed had a bunch of unnecessary stuff which I then believed would give my robot an edge over the others. But it never worked and I had to start all over from scratch.

In my second attempt, I managed to get the robot on track. As delighted as I was with my first robot, it was nowhere near where I wanted it to be. I took it to a couple of competitions and not much to my surprise, it failed in both of them. I knew it was time to make some major changes in the design.

In my third attempt, (actually, it wasn’t the third, it was a revision of my second attempt), I updated the firmware and came up with a much more stable and accurate version. It performed well when tested and much to my delight, it finished first in two competitions and second in another. Though I was proud with what I had achieved, I felt that the robot was visually rather unappealing. And you’ll come to know why from its picture given above. It had wires running all over it and I had no other option but to rebuild it. A month or so later, I had the robot all ready and that is the current version of my first robot.

In this instructable I will guide you through the steps that I've followed in building the current version of my robot. It’s one of those robots which belong to the “scratch-built” category. You might find it difficult to find all the parts that I have used. So I insist you to read through the steps that I have followed, and then implement it in your own way with the parts that you've found.

This instructable requires that you are familiar with the following:
• Soldering and related equipments
• Hand tools like screwdrivers, wire cutters and strippers
• Reading schematics and connection diagrams
• C/C++ programming for AVR microcontrollers (optional)

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Cutting a Path - Paper Cut Map

IMG_4487crop.jpgI have always had a love affair with maps. They can be a beautiful representation of places we've been or places we want to go. I wanted to display a map in my home, but wanted to be creative with it, so I created this paper cut map.

FYI: I originally created the map a few years back, so for the purposes of this instructable, I'm creating a smaller example for the step by step instructions. 

IMG_4474.JPGSupply List: 

map (It's important that the map be a detail of a city so that the streets are large enough for you to cut around. My large map was a tourist map from a hotel that I got when traveling. The example in the following steps was printed from an online map.)
paper larger than map (I originally chose to use plain white paper for a minimalist effect, but since my second map is much smaller, I decided to use a magazine image from a large fashion magazine. I would have loved to use an image of the town in the map. Perhaps someone else would like to go that route.)
x-acto knife
optional: frame

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