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  • AndrewA167 commented on TizzDoggo's instructable SKY CAM an Aerial Camera Solution 12 days ago
    SKY CAM an Aerial Camera Solution

    Note to the author and others who are thinking about replicating this project:The code behind this project is suspect; in the course of copying and re-formatting the code, I found several inconsistencies and probable errors which leads me to recommend an audit and refactor before usage in anything more than a prototype.Issues found consisted of:1. Numerous and copious use of "goto" statements - this is bad no matter how you look at it, as it leads to (and this code is a good example of) "spaghetti code".2. Numerous examples of nested gotos and gosubs intermixed; this can lead to stack overflow issues if or when a return is not completed for it's complementary gosub, which could cause the system to go into an unknown state during operation.3. Little to no rhyme or rea...

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    Note to the author and others who are thinking about replicating this project:The code behind this project is suspect; in the course of copying and re-formatting the code, I found several inconsistencies and probable errors which leads me to recommend an audit and refactor before usage in anything more than a prototype.Issues found consisted of:1. Numerous and copious use of "goto" statements - this is bad no matter how you look at it, as it leads to (and this code is a good example of) "spaghetti code".2. Numerous examples of nested gotos and gosubs intermixed; this can lead to stack overflow issues if or when a return is not completed for it's complementary gosub, which could cause the system to go into an unknown state during operation.3. Little to no rhyme or reason behind sub/routine label names or variable naming.4. No comments or other code documentation, which will make any refactoring or maintenance of code much more difficult.Many, most - possible all - of the above issues may be caused by a poorly implemented code generation system. I only say this because the code looks generated in some fashion, due to the weird naming conventions for the labels, and for the structure of the code itself. While I don't believe the author is a software engineer, even someone with only the basics of knowledge of coding wouldn't do some of the things I saw in the code (such as double labels for routines, when a single label would suffice, or a labeled routine that would goto another labeled routine immediately below it, or gotos into a routine that has a final return statement, but seemingly without a corresponding gosub in the execution chain - though given the convoluted nature of this code, I could have missed something here).Also, note that there seems to be three separate pieces of code - in order:1. Code that controls the platform (the camera rig on the cable).2. Code for the remote controller box/transmitter.3. Some short piece of "testing" code (not sure what that's for).

    This is a really great project and I enjoyed reading about it; when I first saw it (in an email instructables sent me), I almost passed it up, thinking "well, this isn't something I'd use" - but something told me to open it up and take a look, and I'm glad I did.You've created an extremely well thought out and competitive system comparable to professional rigs, and at the same time limited expense; while in your design you note that the cost seemed high for a prototype, and that manufacturing at scale could lower the costs, even at your prototype's cost (minus your time and expense), it's still far cheaper than retail costs of even the "hobbyist" system you mention.I note that you chose a couple of options that would likely make for better manufacturing, but if someo...

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    This is a really great project and I enjoyed reading about it; when I first saw it (in an email instructables sent me), I almost passed it up, thinking "well, this isn't something I'd use" - but something told me to open it up and take a look, and I'm glad I did.You've created an extremely well thought out and competitive system comparable to professional rigs, and at the same time limited expense; while in your design you note that the cost seemed high for a prototype, and that manufacturing at scale could lower the costs, even at your prototype's cost (minus your time and expense), it's still far cheaper than retail costs of even the "hobbyist" system you mention.I note that you chose a couple of options that would likely make for better manufacturing, but if someone were going to replicate this on their own, I would argue for alternatives:1. Choice of microcontroller - I would personally have gone with an Arduino for prototyping, then switch to a Nano, a Pro, or just a bare ATMega328 for the final product. All are very easy to work with, and can leverage a vast level of available source code and community help to achieve the implementation.2. In addition to the above, I would have selected to go with a pre-built motor controller, likely something like an RC ESC; the Arduino has an available Servo library that makes interfacing to RC devices simple, plus you'd likely want to add a controllable camera gimbal mount (I didn't notice one?) - and such a mount could be easily done with RC servos as well. Using RC devices also eliminates a bunch of custom electronics, which would likely make for a more robust system, as well as being easily replaceable in the field.3. Camera mounting, as noted, could be done with an RC servo-based rig, but another option would be a brushless-motor stabilized gimbal as is available for drones; these tend to be more complex to interface with, but since most drone controllers are open-source (and more than a few Arduino compatible), that code could be lifted from such projects for integration into a cable camera system.Again, the above would be best for "one off" or prototype implementations of this system, but parts could be used in a manufactured system as well; if one were going for lowering the costs, then a PIC microcontroller would probably be the better solution - but RC parts should always be considered even for a "commercial" solution, because of their inherent ease of interfacing, robustness and their wide availability out in the field (just hop down to your local hobby shop).I wasn't able to locate the cable you used on Amazon here in the US - but it seemed very similar to reflective paracord, which comes in a variety of lengths and colors. Such cord could easily hold the weight of this system.Thank you for sharing your experience and project; even though I may never have a use for such a system, I enjoyed reading about it and seeing the effort and thinking that went behind it, and I found some interesting takeaways I could incorporate into my own future projects.

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  • How to Make a Polished Aluminum Foil Ball

    Thanks for posting this instructable; I found it somewhat inspiring - maybe someday I might try it myself.I wonder if you had a power hammer or some other similar mechanical means if you could make it smaller? It would probably be more difficult to work that way; eventually you'd just end up with something like a large ball bearing and not as interesting to look at.Something you or someone else might try is to give the final ball a coat of spray-on clear lacquer or polyurethane. You can also find transparent acrylic colors that would probably work well too. These would all seal the cracks, but still allow them to show, while protecting the shiny finish (aluminum oxidizes and gets dull over time - that's why polish for it exists).Anyhow, it looks like a fun and low cost project; thanks a...

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    Thanks for posting this instructable; I found it somewhat inspiring - maybe someday I might try it myself.I wonder if you had a power hammer or some other similar mechanical means if you could make it smaller? It would probably be more difficult to work that way; eventually you'd just end up with something like a large ball bearing and not as interesting to look at.Something you or someone else might try is to give the final ball a coat of spray-on clear lacquer or polyurethane. You can also find transparent acrylic colors that would probably work well too. These would all seal the cracks, but still allow them to show, while protecting the shiny finish (aluminum oxidizes and gets dull over time - that's why polish for it exists).Anyhow, it looks like a fun and low cost project; thanks again!

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  • AndrewA167 commented on i.hate.karl.kilburn's instructable DIY Micro Camper4 months ago
    DIY Micro Camper

    I like this build - but at the same time, it seemed overbuilt - like the 2x3 construction and such reminded me of stick-frame house construction. I think it could be done slightly differently, and be a bit more lightweight (to increase what you can haul in it), and perhaps give some extra room. The downside is that it might make for more expensive construction.One person mentioned using steel studs to save weight. That's certainly an option - but I bet you could also do aluminum square tube for not a lot of extra money. Perhaps a combo of square tube, angle, and maybe some channel could do it. Assembly would be a question, though - cheapest way would be to pop-rivet everything, or possible epoxy, then screw on the panels to tie it together. Another way would be to use aluminum brazing r...

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    I like this build - but at the same time, it seemed overbuilt - like the 2x3 construction and such reminded me of stick-frame house construction. I think it could be done slightly differently, and be a bit more lightweight (to increase what you can haul in it), and perhaps give some extra room. The downside is that it might make for more expensive construction.One person mentioned using steel studs to save weight. That's certainly an option - but I bet you could also do aluminum square tube for not a lot of extra money. Perhaps a combo of square tube, angle, and maybe some channel could do it. Assembly would be a question, though - cheapest way would be to pop-rivet everything, or possible epoxy, then screw on the panels to tie it together. Another way would be to use aluminum brazing rod to "braze/solder" the pieces. If you had the gear, you could weld the aluminum, but that's way outside the DIY scope for most I think. Paneling could be some 1/8 inch HDPE sheeting, with insulation panels between.I like the suggestions other people gave as well.Something that I did wonder about, though - your initial picture shows a box that appears removable from the trailer (held on with turnbuckle tie-downs), but the instructable build is attached to the trailer. I thought the idea of a removable box (to give you the option of using the trailer for other things when you're not camping) was pretty cool.Oh - one other thing to consider: A top vent can be a nice option to have, to draw out hot inside air, and draw in cooler air from the outside. Most are transluscent or smoked, and so allow for outside light to filter in, even when closed. They can be found via RV parts suppliers and vendors, and don't cost too much. They typically run on 12 volts. You often see them on campershells and other commercially built things of that nature.

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  • Cheap DADO Stack That Works and Is 'realitively' Safe for a Cheap Table Saw

    This is an interesting trick - I don't have a table saw, but I will keep it in mind for the future if I ever get one. Last time I used one was back in high school 25+ years ago (and we had a proper dado blade set, too).You mentioned that using washers wasn't possible due to thickness. Today I was looking up "shim washers" and managed to find some from "small parts" - but they weren't very large, and probably wouldn't work for this purpose. But they were very thin (0.001" and larger). I was looking into them for bevel gear location purposes (to shim bevel gears properly for meshing).But maybe you might be able to find larger ones? Or, maybe you could get a sheet metal shop to make some from some thin steel sheet? Though it might be cheaper at that point to buy a ...

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    This is an interesting trick - I don't have a table saw, but I will keep it in mind for the future if I ever get one. Last time I used one was back in high school 25+ years ago (and we had a proper dado blade set, too).You mentioned that using washers wasn't possible due to thickness. Today I was looking up "shim washers" and managed to find some from "small parts" - but they weren't very large, and probably wouldn't work for this purpose. But they were very thin (0.001" and larger). I was looking into them for bevel gear location purposes (to shim bevel gears properly for meshing).But maybe you might be able to find larger ones? Or, maybe you could get a sheet metal shop to make some from some thin steel sheet? Though it might be cheaper at that point to buy a dado blade set...lol.Thanks for the instructable - it was fun to read and informative, too!

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  • AndrewA167 commented on DIY KING 00's instructable DIY Bladeless Fan From Scratch5 months ago
    DIY Bladeless Fan From Scratch

    This is an interesting project, but it has one glaring error, that I hope others don't repeat:Please - don't use power tools like a drill or a hole saw on material that is being held by your other hand - clamp the material down, and keep both hands as far away as possible from the working surface of the material.Had that hole saw slipped, or the material broke, or any number of other potential outcomes occurred, a serious and possibly irreversible injury could have occurred.I know this because it has happened to me: I was using a right angle grinder with a cutoff blade to cut a piece of metal; even though I was wearing gloves, I was improperly handling the tool and the blade caught - in an instant it shattered, part of it catching the back of my knuckles. Despite the glove, it cut deep....

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    This is an interesting project, but it has one glaring error, that I hope others don't repeat:Please - don't use power tools like a drill or a hole saw on material that is being held by your other hand - clamp the material down, and keep both hands as far away as possible from the working surface of the material.Had that hole saw slipped, or the material broke, or any number of other potential outcomes occurred, a serious and possibly irreversible injury could have occurred.I know this because it has happened to me: I was using a right angle grinder with a cutoff blade to cut a piece of metal; even though I was wearing gloves, I was improperly handling the tool and the blade caught - in an instant it shattered, part of it catching the back of my knuckles. Despite the glove, it cut deep. Fortunately I still had movement in my fingers, and the quick attention of my friend helped (honestly, I should have gone to the ER). To this day I have the scars to remind me of that episode (it was only blind luck I didn't get a piece to my face).I was stupid; despite the fact that I normally would use PPE (personal protection equipment) in such a situation, my complacency got the better of my that day. I do my best now not to let such a situation happen again.

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  • AndrewA167 followed SteveMann5 months ago
      • Augmented Reality Eyeglass With Thermal Vision: Build Your Own Low-cost Raspberry Pi EyeTap
      • Vodka for Safer Driving
      • AR (Augmented Reality) Desk
  • Augmented Reality Eyeglass With Thermal Vision: Build Your Own Low-cost Raspberry Pi EyeTap

    Steve - I've been following your work since like, forever; it's nice to see you sharing this info here as an instructable. Thank you!

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  • AndrewA167 commented on JON-A-TRON's instructable Sheet Metal Fireplace5 months ago
    Sheet Metal Fireplace

    Stainless steel does not contain zinc. Galvanized steel -does- have a zinc coating. They are two different kinds of material.When heated, galvanized steel can give off fumes from the zinc (in the form of zinc oxide). However, for that to happen, the zinc needs to be near its boiling point, which is 1663° F.A regular wood fire will not get this hot. It might get hot enough to cause the coating to delaminate from the steel (and then for the steel to rust), but it won't vaporize the coating.Welding, on the other hand, is a different thing: When welding, the temperature of the steel can and will get way hotter than 1663° F, because welding involved the melting and fusing of the steel, which occurs at around 2500° F - much higher than that of zinc.Which is why when welding galvan...

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    Stainless steel does not contain zinc. Galvanized steel -does- have a zinc coating. They are two different kinds of material.When heated, galvanized steel can give off fumes from the zinc (in the form of zinc oxide). However, for that to happen, the zinc needs to be near its boiling point, which is 1663° F.A regular wood fire will not get this hot. It might get hot enough to cause the coating to delaminate from the steel (and then for the steel to rust), but it won't vaporize the coating.Welding, on the other hand, is a different thing: When welding, the temperature of the steel can and will get way hotter than 1663° F, because welding involved the melting and fusing of the steel, which occurs at around 2500° F - much higher than that of zinc.Which is why when welding galvanized steel, you need to do it outdoors or in a well ventilated area, and avoid the resulting fumes.If you are still concerned about fumes, and don't want to use stainless steel, then avoid using cheaper galvanized sheet steel, and just use ordinary sheet steel instead. Prior to assembly, give all parts a coating with high-temperature paint (barbeque paint or engine paint, or other similar high-temp paints are best); leave parts directly exposed to flame unpainted, and don't expose the metal to excess moisture.

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  • 3D Printed Laser XY Scanner - Draw, Cut, Engrave, or Scan

    This is one of the better write-ups on DIY'ing a laser galvo:http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760...Google "DIY laser galvo" and similar, and you can find more out there. In short, it isn't easy to build one, at least to gain the high-speeds needed for animation and graphics reproduction. The difficult part is the high-speed servoing and sensing of position.The two main ways this is accomplished in a "homebrew" manner tend to be capacitive sensing using a capacitive quadrant encoder, or optically, using a gradient optical disc (which can be made via printing a radial grey scale on overhead transparency plastic in a printer), plus a photo-transistor or similar.To gain the high speeds, your galvo needs to have as little mass as possible; a coreless windin...

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    This is one of the better write-ups on DIY'ing a laser galvo:http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760...Google "DIY laser galvo" and similar, and you can find more out there. In short, it isn't easy to build one, at least to gain the high-speeds needed for animation and graphics reproduction. The difficult part is the high-speed servoing and sensing of position.The two main ways this is accomplished in a "homebrew" manner tend to be capacitive sensing using a capacitive quadrant encoder, or optically, using a gradient optical disc (which can be made via printing a radial grey scale on overhead transparency plastic in a printer), plus a photo-transistor or similar.To gain the high speeds, your galvo needs to have as little mass as possible; a coreless winding is best. You'll also need dampening, similar to the galvos in analog meters which use small springs. Plus low friction bearings. Then the driver circuitry, of course...It gets difficult really quickly, which you'll notice as you read about similar serious DIY efforts like the write-up link above.

    I also wanted to post this link, which was referenced off my earlier link on DIY galvos:http://elm-chan.org/works/vlp/report_e.htmlIt's pretty much the best work I've seen - approaching that of pro-level manufactured galvos. Whether something like that can be simplified or somehow distilled into an instructable is debatable, as the level of fabrication expertise needed is pretty high.

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  • Anti-Gravity Workstation (with Standing Option)

    The big problem (well, expensive $$$ problem) is getting such a dome made for back-projection; it would likely need to be made from acrylic or polycarbonate, and both are going to be expensive out the gate (if you've ever priced clear plastic domes, you'll know what I mean). Then add on top of that whatever is needed to make it work for rear projection, to have such a "one-off" made would probably blow any normal budget.I don't think you could homebrew it either - you'd need to make a custom and large vacu-form system, then figure out how to do the back-projection process; I doubt that it's as simple as "frosting" the surface (say with using a sand or bead blaster or similar) - but maybe it is?If you can figure out how to make such plastic capable of back projection,...

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    The big problem (well, expensive $$$ problem) is getting such a dome made for back-projection; it would likely need to be made from acrylic or polycarbonate, and both are going to be expensive out the gate (if you've ever priced clear plastic domes, you'll know what I mean). Then add on top of that whatever is needed to make it work for rear projection, to have such a "one-off" made would probably blow any normal budget.I don't think you could homebrew it either - you'd need to make a custom and large vacu-form system, then figure out how to do the back-projection process; I doubt that it's as simple as "frosting" the surface (say with using a sand or bead blaster or similar) - but maybe it is?If you can figure out how to make such plastic capable of back projection, then a decent compromise might entail doing something like you are currently doing, but make it wider - some crazy aspect ratio (32:10 or something like that), then "bend" the projection surface into a curve - almost like a personal Cinerama screen.For that matter, you might be able to get away with your current system doing this; if you went with a higher-res projector (4k) and software-based warping using custom shaders (again, like is done for HMDs - not for individual eyes, but singular) - it would probably (maybe?) work. Something to play with, I guess.

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  • Anti-Gravity Workstation (with Standing Option)

    I like what you did here; it's something I've considered doing myself, but never got around to (plus, there's things I do that I have to have a real desk for, unfortunately).You might be interested in something similar that was done a while back as part of NASA's "spinoff" program:https://spinoff.nasa.gov/spinoff1998/ch5.htm1998! It was called the "Flogiston Flostation" - it was designed as a virtual reality platform. The chair was custom designed as an "anti-gravity" chair (there wasn't anything like it on the market back then) - using ergonomic data measurements of the human pose when relaxed in micro-gravity (like in space). Computer imagery was projected on the outside of a "dome" that went over your head. IIRC, the image from the projector wa...

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    I like what you did here; it's something I've considered doing myself, but never got around to (plus, there's things I do that I have to have a real desk for, unfortunately).You might be interested in something similar that was done a while back as part of NASA's "spinoff" program:https://spinoff.nasa.gov/spinoff1998/ch5.htm1998! It was called the "Flogiston Flostation" - it was designed as a virtual reality platform. The chair was custom designed as an "anti-gravity" chair (there wasn't anything like it on the market back then) - using ergonomic data measurements of the human pose when relaxed in micro-gravity (like in space). Computer imagery was projected on the outside of a "dome" that went over your head. IIRC, the image from the projector was "spherically warped" by a lens (or maybe pre-computed - similar to the barrel warping done for current VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, or old ones like the LEEP system), so that it would flatten out by the curvature of the projection dome. Stereo speakers and base shakers allowed for further immersion.When it was first being developed, it was really rough; somewhere I have a copy of his old development website before Mr. Park got funding - images of the system with his projector balanced on a ladder in his living room. He had this idea that there'd be special "arcades" where you'd go and pay to use these systems, and the chairs would even be mounted on motion bases to further immerse participants.The basic system was demo'ed at (IIRC) CES - I think at a booth for Intel or something like that. He also supposedly sold custom built versions with all high-end equipment for the time (computer, audio, projector, etc), and outfitted the chair in leather.People who used the system reported that after a while, you felt disconnected from your body - a "free floating head" vantage point. Relaxation and meditation were other themes being touted as uses for the chair.Sadly, it was right at the tail end of the first VR wave, which was already in it's death throes, as the tech just wasn't ready for it, and people were increasingly being drawn to the internet and the web.

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  • AndrewA167 commented on Left-field Designs's instructable DIY Self-Locking Nut6 months ago
    DIY Self-Locking Nut

    3366carlos probably owns a Ford 5.4L Triton...

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  • AndrewA167 commented on 4DIYers's instructable How to Patch a Rusted Lawn Mower Deck6 months ago
    How to Patch a Rusted Lawn Mower Deck

    Sometimes you can still blow thru; in that case, just continue to make essentially small welds - like a tack weld, but with a bit more penetration.Jump them around, again to keep the heat from building up in any one area. Keep doing this all over the seam, as "randomly" and spaced as possible, until the entire seam is filled in. Then go back and grind with the flap wheel. Fill in any voids or valleys as needed and re-grind.Doing this is a test of patience, it is not fast, and very tedious. But for very thin sheet metal (thinner than a mower deck, for instance), it is almost the only way you can do it short of a TIG.

    I have to say that's an impressive job you did with a small 120V flux-core welder; your beads are about as perfect as one can get with such a machine. And your skill at forming the metal was spot-on. This was a great instructable that shows what can be done with a bit of prep and a lot of patience.I know from experience that what you did here wasn't something that took 30 minutes - this kind of job requires planning, thought, trial, error, fitment, grinding, pounding, sometimes a bit of cussing, a few beer breaks in the shade - but when done (likely more than a few hours later) - it's all worth it; that deck looks excellent.

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  • AndrewA167 commented on vishnumaiea's instructable RC Four Wheel Ground Rover7 months ago
    RC Four Wheel Ground Rover

    This is an amazing project and shows a great amount of creativity in using available resources; literally a robot built from mostly scrap! I like how you laid out and routed the PCB traces; for a one-off project, it looks very professional. While a "printed" PCB might look better, what you did more than works properly for the job, and going that extra step isn't needed unless you are going to build and sell the device (or for learning). Something to keep in mind for the future: While for this lightweight rover/robot it isn't a big deal, as you add weight or make the robot bigger, putting the wheels directly on the gear motor shafts generally isn't recommended unless the gearboxes are designed for this. The extra side (radial) load of the shaft on the bearings can cause rapid e...

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    This is an amazing project and shows a great amount of creativity in using available resources; literally a robot built from mostly scrap! I like how you laid out and routed the PCB traces; for a one-off project, it looks very professional. While a "printed" PCB might look better, what you did more than works properly for the job, and going that extra step isn't needed unless you are going to build and sell the device (or for learning). Something to keep in mind for the future: While for this lightweight rover/robot it isn't a big deal, as you add weight or make the robot bigger, putting the wheels directly on the gear motor shafts generally isn't recommended unless the gearboxes are designed for this. The extra side (radial) load of the shaft on the bearings can cause rapid excess wear and premature failure of the gearbox and/or bearings.The best way to prevent this is to isolate the gear motor from the wheel/axle supports by putting the wheels on a separate axle with it's own supporting bearings, then couple the gear motor to the wheels using gears, belts, chains, or simple shaft couplers (a piece of rubber tubing can work fine). This way, the wheels and axles are supported separately and do not present the side-loading on the motor gearboxes.Some gear motors are designed for this kind of load, but they are typically only found on things like wheelchair motors and similar high-load applications, where additional coupling would be prohibitive (space reasons mainly). Such gearboxes are designed with additional bearings and bearing surfaces to take the additional load without causing damage.All-in-all though, this was a very nice project for future exploration and expansion; thank you for sharing it!

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  • Carter's Lasercut Tank - StuG III Ausf. F

    Small hobby laser cutters can be found on Ebay and Amazon fairly cheaply (approx $500.00 USD). They are made in China, and usually have a 40 watt laser tube in them. They come with everything you need to start cutting. However, the software for them stinks. Once you get past playing with the software, you might want to move into modding the laser cutter. There are a few tutorials out there on how to do it. Most use either a parallel port CNC board (and either Mach3 or LinuxCNC software), or a GRBL Arduino CNC controller board. Both are relatively cheap to find - again, on Ebay or Amazon. It isn't a mod for the inexperienced or faint of heart, but you are unlikely to screw anything up.Another low-cost option is the 40w Blacktooth Laser Cutter from BuildYourCNC. It comes as a kit (so you ...

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    Small hobby laser cutters can be found on Ebay and Amazon fairly cheaply (approx $500.00 USD). They are made in China, and usually have a 40 watt laser tube in them. They come with everything you need to start cutting. However, the software for them stinks. Once you get past playing with the software, you might want to move into modding the laser cutter. There are a few tutorials out there on how to do it. Most use either a parallel port CNC board (and either Mach3 or LinuxCNC software), or a GRBL Arduino CNC controller board. Both are relatively cheap to find - again, on Ebay or Amazon. It isn't a mod for the inexperienced or faint of heart, but you are unlikely to screw anything up.Another low-cost option is the 40w Blacktooth Laser Cutter from BuildYourCNC. It comes as a kit (so you have to put it together), but you end up with a larger bed (cutting area) than the cheap Chinese machines.Whichever route you decide to go, make sure you have a way to vent the fumes outside; you may also want to invest in a compressor and compressed air cutting head (it's used to blow away smoke and flames as the machine works). Which reminds me: NEVER LEAVE A LASER CUTTER RUNNING UNATTENDED. Remember, they work by essentially "burning" (vaporizing) thru materials; the materials can catch fire. If you don't baby sit the cutting, you can say goodbye to your house if you aren't careful. Also, never cut PVC on a laser cutter - the chlorine in the PVC can turn into phosgene gas - which is deadly in the most minute of concentrations.Lastly, if you want your laser tube to last the longest (ie - get the maximum number of hours out of it), you need to use it often. Don't let it sit around for long periods between uses. The reason for this is that as you use the tube, the gases inside are circulated via convection, and are also broken down by the high voltage running the tube. The breakdown components of the gases "contaminate" the tube. The more it is contaminated, the less likely it will start up again. But the manufacturer of the tube has a way around this: There is a special "getter" electrode inside the tube (made of some rare metal I think) which, as the tube runs and the gases circulate, they pass over this and "reform" in a catalytic reaction - but this only happens as long as the tube is run. If you run the tube, and let it sit for a long period of time, the depleted gases never pass by the getter, and over time, this lowers the number of hours you can effectively get out of the tube. I know it doesn't sound logical, but that's the truth.

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  • Making a Powerful Generator From a Blender Motor DIY

    Actually, that's not true.AC induction motors, if they have some residual magnetism left in the rotor, when spun - can generate electricity:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induction_generatorhttp://www.redrok.com/cimtext.pdfI have an induction gear motor out of an old photo copier; it generates electricity just fine when the output shaft is turned.

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  • AndrewA167 commented on bekathwia's instructable 3 Beginner Arduino Mistakes8 months ago
    3 Beginner Arduino Mistakes

    I want to add here that even for small development like embedded programming of 8-bit microcontrollers, using git or some other version control system should be embraced for projects; that way, you can always branch and/or roll back as needed.

    Making a flow chart is a good practice to get into; it should also be noted that at times sub-processes in a flow chart can be represented as referencing another flow chart (can be done using any of the symbols in flow charting, as long as the symbol represents what that sub-process is for). Doing this can keep the flow chart(s) easier to understand and maintain.Also, when flow charting processes, it is important to remember any "soft processes" - that is, capturing the inputs and outputs of processes which happen external to the process on the computer (usually things humans do, but which aren't recognized as part of the process - these soft actions typically occur organically without anyone realizing it). These may or may not be able to be identified prior to development, bu...

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    Making a flow chart is a good practice to get into; it should also be noted that at times sub-processes in a flow chart can be represented as referencing another flow chart (can be done using any of the symbols in flow charting, as long as the symbol represents what that sub-process is for). Doing this can keep the flow chart(s) easier to understand and maintain.Also, when flow charting processes, it is important to remember any "soft processes" - that is, capturing the inputs and outputs of processes which happen external to the process on the computer (usually things humans do, but which aren't recognized as part of the process - these soft actions typically occur organically without anyone realizing it). These may or may not be able to be identified prior to development, but if they can be, then they should be noted.When flow charting processes, the flow of the chart should follow some standard; top to bottom, left to right are common "flows". I have also found that flow charts which are "balanced" - that is, have relatively equal left and right (or top/bottom) paths or flows, tend to be well designed, easy to maintain, and represent the process well. Note that this isn't an absolute; sometimes a flow won't be balanced, and it may not need to be.When lines of a flow chart overlap or cross over one another, it's almost a sure sign that the process flow needs to be refactored; you are literally looking at a graphical representation of "spaghetti code" - if you see this, try to fix it or simplify the process immediately.Lastly, in regards to flow charts, there are more than one form of flow charting styles, and each has its own place. Learn about all the styles and representations; some can be used to represent concurrent processes which feed data back and forth between parallel process flows, for instance.Finally - when it comes to commenting, it is best practice to follow some form of "doxygen" standard, so that the comments can be run thru a translator, and the code can form its own documentation. C/C++ has its own form, other languages have theirs. You don't need to follow all of the intricacies for embedded development like you would for larger projects, but adding in the "syntactical sugar" can be helpful for maintenance further on down the line. Comments should also be worded so that they convey the what and the why, not the how (the code itself shows the "how").

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  • AndrewA167 commented on Nikus's instructable Arduino Drone | Quadcopter (3D Printed)10 months ago
    Arduino Drone | Quadcopter (3D Printed)

    I'm going to have to throw my hat in the ring and disagree with this as well as it pertains to the United States (I can't reliably address other areas); addressing the points:1. This drone would not be illegal to fly in the USA, provided it meets the FAA requirements for drones (https://www.faa.gov/uas/) - note the recent court ruling (May 19, 2017 - U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Taylor v. Huerta). The summary here basically reads "Owners of model aircraft which are operated in compliance with section 336 are not required to register. Owners of all other small unmanned aircraft, including newly-purchased unmanned aircraft not operated exclusively in compliance with section 336, remain subject to the registration requirement."Section 336 basical...

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    I'm going to have to throw my hat in the ring and disagree with this as well as it pertains to the United States (I can't reliably address other areas); addressing the points:1. This drone would not be illegal to fly in the USA, provided it meets the FAA requirements for drones (https://www.faa.gov/uas/) - note the recent court ruling (May 19, 2017 - U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Taylor v. Huerta). The summary here basically reads "Owners of model aircraft which are operated in compliance with section 336 are not required to register. Owners of all other small unmanned aircraft, including newly-purchased unmanned aircraft not operated exclusively in compliance with section 336, remain subject to the registration requirement."Section 336 basically says that if the model aircraft (drone) is for hobby or recreational purposes (ie - non-commercial usage), and weighs less than 55 lbs (~25 kg), and does not interfere with actual full-size aircraft, and is flown in compliance with a community-based national organization (like the Academy of Model Aeronautics here in the USA) - you're a-ok to fly.Also - if you fly near an airport (within 5 miles), you have to give notice to the tower/airport in some particular manner (read it for clarification).But basically, that's it. The part about being in compliance with an organization like the AMA (essentially being a member and following their bylaws) is there for the insurance purposes the AMA provides, along with other guidance and such. The AMA rules are basically similar, though (http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/105.pdf). Getting a membership with them is cheap insurance (literally) in the event of a problem, futhermore, it opens up the ability to use their various flying fields around the country.Section 336, though, is much better (and you can thank orgs like the AMA for that, which helped to fight for this) than what the FAA had before. IIRC, section 336 was the original wording, then the FAA changed it, required registration (not of the drone - of yourself - because you could only get a single number for all of your drones!) if the weight of it went over a certain amount (half a kilogram IIRC), and more. This was challenged, fought, and ultimately found untenable by the courts and struck down.2. The Arduino is based on the Atmel ATMega328P microcontroller - it is a part of a family of microcontroller produced by that company (the ATMega family). It is not "hobbyist grade" - it is a commercially available microcontroller family used in many commercial and medical-grade products (I know for a fact that it is used by some electric power chair manufacturers for their controllers - and they have to go thru a whole host of certification as medical devices).The microcontroller itself is not the issue here, but rather how the system is designed both mechanically, electronically, and how the software integrates the two. If there are any faults with any of these parts, then things could fail. It is up to the hobbyist building such a drone to do his or her best to make sure that in the event of a failure, the drone can land as safely as possible. Note, though, that nothing can rescue a drone should a propeller shatter or a motor dies or similar - that drone is falling out of the sky. So in such a case, not flying over people is most prudent.3. Again, I can't speak toward Europe or the UK - but I believe I have addressed everything per the United States above. While at one time (prior to May 2017) the United States (via the FAA) had a regulation in place for a short time that limited drones and required registration, that law is no longer in effect.I should also note a couple of other things. First, when the FAA law was in effect, it did lead to something interesting: Smaller drones. Very small drones, including ones with FPV (first person view) for fun and racing, which could be easily flown indoors (the FAA law didn't really address indoor vs outdoor flying - section 336 doesn't address this either; both mainly because no one could envision such a thing!). It's probably safe to say that if you fly indoors in a private setting, the FAA laws/rules don't apply. But you're going to be limited on drone size simply because flying larger drones indoors can be very challenging. If you do decide to do so, keep in mind the people aspect; even small drones can cause injury and damage.Secondly, note that things change a lot if you plan to do anything commercially with a drone. Section 336 will not apply if you decide to use your drone to make money or otherwise operate in a commercial (non-hobby or non-recreational) manner. Should you get caught (note that's a big if - it isn't like there are drone police running around, and the actual cops have better things to do that police this kind of stuff) - things could get very hairy quickly. If you are serious about something like this (like flying to sell aerial footage, photos, surveying, etc) - it would be best to look into the laws (perhaps consult a lawyer even) and what you should do to stay "legal". You will likely have to register the drone with the FAA, and have private insurance in case of accidents.Lastly - section 336 aside - as long as you aren't flying your drone like an a**hole and practicing some kind of restraint and safety, you shouldn't have any problems at all. Use common sense: Don't fly over people, don't fly near airports, don't fly near or on AMA flying fields if you don't have an AMA membership (unless you have a waiver or something from the local chapter), don't fly low over private property unless you have clearance from the owner (note that I put the "low" in there - basically, fly high enough to avoid disturbing the owners of the property - that'll be upwards of 200 feet or so, maybe a bit higher depending on the size of the drone - still, you are on your own here, and some people are definitely crazy and will try to shoot your drone down, because they believe bullets that miss won't hurt anyone, but "that durn drone is trying to peek in ther winders").Ultimately when it comes to drones or any other kind of hobbyist R/C devices (airplanes, helicopters, cars, you name it) - just be kind, courteous, respectful, and as safe as you possibly can as an operator, and comply with what few laws actually do exist. One of the greater ones (and I haven't read this instructable fully) is on what you use for a radio: Make sure it is legal to use for your R/C class (aircraft vs ground/water craft) and jurisdiction (in the USA, that would be what the FCC considers legal). Certain frequencies that may be legal in Europe (for instance, since this instructable is from a hobbyist in/near Poland if I am reading things right) that aren't in the USA and vice-versa. If in doubt, do your research. That said, 2.4 GHz spread-spectrum controllers have pretty much made that issue moot; as far as I know, they are legal worldwide. Also, using wifi for control shouldn't be an issue either for similar reasons. Using cellular phone service for control, though, may prove to be problematic, and a lot of research should be done (I am not sure what, if any laws, apply to such use). Basically, there are a lot of onerous laws regarding radio frequencies, and when you stray outside of the usage and guidelines set aside by the FCC for hobbyist R/C usage, things get tricky and problematic quickly. At a certain point, you may want to consult your local chapter of the ARRL (http://www.arrl.org/) for guidance.I hope this reply gives people a little more confidence and guidance on what they can and cannot do with a hobby drone. I know it is confusing and difficult to keep up with the changing laws, but it must be done and understood. Happy flying, everyone!

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  • Arduino Data Glasses For My Multimeter

    Suggestions:For the mirror, try a first surface mirror (if you can find one small enough) or a small prism; cheap mirrors (second surface) cause optical aberrations (double image, edges, etc) because the light has to travel thru the glass before hitting the silver surface, and back out.For the front "eye-reflector" try a piece of slide or slide slip-cover glass (for the latter, it will be very delicate - a frame for either might be in order). Another option would be to try some optical-quality polycarbonate sheeting material (this stuff may not be cheap).

    The arduino he's using is pretty small, but I think you could substitute in the 8266 (and of course add the BT and SPI LCD on). You'd gain a faster processor, more memory, etc of course. Another alternative might be a RasPi Zero...

    This is an awesome and useful project; the number of times I've been in the situation of needing to read my meter while keeping my eyes on the probes...well, more than once! This would solve it so handily. Now I just need some time to make it. Plus a 3D printer...Thanks for sharing!

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  • AndrewA167 commented on Eric Brouwer's instructable Electric Wheelchair Controller1 year ago
    Electric Wheelchair Controller

    I can definitely tell a lot of time, planning, and effort was involved, which is why my friend and I have never gone beyond the speculation part, because most of our users need the repairs done "yesterday" (which is more than understandable). We've been fortunate enough that we've had spare chairs and controllers (and motors, and everything else - apparently, when you go into such a venture, people love to donate old chairs - lots and lots of 'em!). But sometimes, a match can't be made (or something can't be cobbled together), and in those cases the only thing we can do is offer a different chair.Usually it works out. Having another solution, like your project, would be helpful in some situations, though. I am also certain there are others who don't have access to a supply of ...

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    I can definitely tell a lot of time, planning, and effort was involved, which is why my friend and I have never gone beyond the speculation part, because most of our users need the repairs done "yesterday" (which is more than understandable). We've been fortunate enough that we've had spare chairs and controllers (and motors, and everything else - apparently, when you go into such a venture, people love to donate old chairs - lots and lots of 'em!). But sometimes, a match can't be made (or something can't be cobbled together), and in those cases the only thing we can do is offer a different chair.Usually it works out. Having another solution, like your project, would be helpful in some situations, though. I am also certain there are others who don't have access to a supply of parts that will find your solution (or something similar) to be perfect for their situation. Your project helps to be that "starting point" for others (or the complete solution, if they want).

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  • AndrewA167 commented on Eric Brouwer's instructable Electric Wheelchair Controller1 year ago
    Electric Wheelchair Controller

    This is a great project, and thank you for sharing it. I work with a friend of mine, who has a non-profit restoring and repairing electric chairs, and one of our greatest issues is when someone's controller is broken, and finding them something compatible. Everything is so proprietary and different from model-to-model, even from the same manufacturer. We've played around with using controller like those from Vantec, but they are so expensive. Plus, for the proprietary controllers, finding a compatible programmer is difficult (and when you do find one, they are so expensive on the second-hand market). We've opened some of these controllers up, and have found that some of them use ATMega processors in them, and have speculated on building our own controller. You've taken that step, and ha...

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    This is a great project, and thank you for sharing it. I work with a friend of mine, who has a non-profit restoring and repairing electric chairs, and one of our greatest issues is when someone's controller is broken, and finding them something compatible. Everything is so proprietary and different from model-to-model, even from the same manufacturer. We've played around with using controller like those from Vantec, but they are so expensive. Plus, for the proprietary controllers, finding a compatible programmer is difficult (and when you do find one, they are so expensive on the second-hand market). We've opened some of these controllers up, and have found that some of them use ATMega processors in them, and have speculated on building our own controller. You've taken that step, and have shared it with the world where it is needed most. Thank you!

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