Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hot Wire Ice Cutter



Have you ever wanted to sculpt something out of ice? Well here is an easy way to do it that doesn't require a chainsaw. In this project, I am going to show you how to make a "hot wire ice cutter."

The design for this project is very similar to other types of hot wire cutters. Electricity is sent through a piece of Nichrome wire. This heats the wire above the melting temperature of the material that you are working with. The wire can then be used to "cut" the material by melting it along a narrow line.

Because ice sculptures are often larger and more difficult to handle, I designed my cutter to be handheld rather than stationary on a table. I based my design largely on the "Hot Wire Foam Cutter" by Instructables user FlyWoodKB. I made a few modifications to make it safer and easier to use with ice.

For step by step instructions on how to  build this project, check out the Instructable:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Hot-Wire-Ice-Cutter/

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

3D Printing Pen Tutorial



In this project, I am going to give you a basic introduction to 3D printing pens and how to use them.

For a detailed walkthrough, check out the Instructable:
http://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Printing-Pen-Tutorial/

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wearable Temperature Sensor and Alarm



When working in extreme temperatures it is important to monitor your body temperature. In freezing weather, your fingers and toes get numb and you can develop frostbite without even noticing it. Likewise, if your core body temperature can drop too low and you can start to start to suffer the effects of hypothermia before you are aware of it.

So I designed an automatic temperature sensor that will monitor the temperature of your fingers, your toes, your torso as well as the outside temperature. This can help you to stay safe when working in extreme cold.

For step by step instructions on how to build this project, check out the Instructable:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Wearable-Temperature-Sensors-For-Working-in-Extrem/

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sound Activated Outet


The Clapper was a popular gadget in the 80's and 90's. It let you turn appliances on and off just by clapping. This can be pretty useful, but it has some limitations. First there is the problem of loud noises accidentally turning the lights off. Also, you can't control multiple outlets independently of each other.
So I decided to make programmable version of the Clapper using an Arduino microcontroller. The Arduino lets you set codes for each outlet. This eliminates false triggering and lets you control multiple outlets independently. Your lamp could be turned on and off with one clapping pattern and your fan could be controlled with another pattern.
The Arduino also lets you program how the outlets are turned on and off. For instance, if your internet router needs to be reset, you could program it to turn your internet router off for ten seconds and then turn it back on automatically. Or you could turn a heater on for a few minutes and automatically turn itself off.

For step by step instructions on how to build this project, check out the Instructable:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Sound-Activated-Outlet/

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Useless Candle (A Candle That Blows Itself Out)



A while back, I saw "The Most Useless Machine" by Instructables user Frivolous Engineering. This is a machine whose only function is to turn itself off. When you flip the power switch to turn it on, an arm pops out of the box and turns the power switch back off.

I love the hilarious absurdity of this project. So I decided to make some "useless" devices of my own. In this project, I am going to share with you how to make a "Useless Candle." Whenever you light this candle, it automatically blows itself out.

This is done with a simple light sensor and a small air pump. When the sensor detects the increased light from the candle being lit, it turns on an air pump. The air pump pushes air through a tube that is mounted to the candle holder and blows the candle out.

For step by step instructions on how build this project, check out the Instructable:
http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Useless-Candle-A-Candle-That-Blows-Itself-Out/

Monday, November 24, 2014

3D Silhouette Light Box



In this project, I am going to show you how turn a photograph into a 3D silhouette light box. This is done by separating the picture into different layers based on how far away the objects are in the scene. Each layer is then turned into a silhouette cutout. The layers are reassembled with spacers in between each one. This gives the image the appearance of depth and creates a 3D effect. You can also add lights behind the cutouts to make your images glow and create shadows between the layers.

For step by step instructions for this project, check out the Instructable:
http://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Silhouette-Light-Box/

Monday, November 17, 2014

DIY Simon Memory Game


Electronics memory games like Simon can be a lot of fun. But it is even more fun if you add a second player and make it a competition. So I designed a two player version of the game that runs on Arduino. This lets you play Simon head to head.

To make it even more interesting, I added jacks that allow you to use external switches. This lets you use almost anything as a switch to play the sequence. All it has to do is connect the signal wire to ground. You can use large push button switches. You can hook up piezo vibration sensors to a drum set and play Simon with a drum set. You could even wire it up to the switches on a "Guitar Hero" style guitar. The choice is up to you.

For step by step instructions on how to build this project, check out the Instructable.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Two-Player-Simon-Memory-Game-With-External-Switche/