Posts with «instructables» label

Building a pool-playing robot prototype with Arduino

Building robots can be (relatively) easy if you’d like something to wander around your room and avoid obstacles, but for complicated control tasks, like shooting pool, things need more development. Engineer “Bvarv” has been working on just such a robot, which currently exists as a one-sixth scale model.

Though it’s not currently capable of playing the game, the device uses some interesting tricks, including a frame supported by a pattern of increasing-diameter pieces of wood, a custom bearing made out of slingshot ammunition, and limit switches to control the billiard bot’s orientation.

For this project, Bvarv employed a pair of Arduino Unos and a PixyCam vision system, along with some servos, belts, and gears. While we may still be a few years away from a full-scale robotic opponent, you can check out the entire build over on Instructables and follow along with his progress in the videos below.

A LoRa home environment monitoring gateway

When you’re away from your home, perhaps you’d like to know what is going on there. A camera system is one solution, but is fairly data-intensive and might not be the right method if you’d like to monitor information like temperature and humidity in several zones. For this, Rod Gatehouse decided to build his own LoRa environment monitoring system using an Arduino Mega.

To keep an eye on things, Gatehouse (aka “RodNewHampshire” on Instructables) came up with an excellent LoRa IoT gateway that can be controlled via four push buttons and an LCD screen. This device can take input from remote stations wirelessly, and can put this data online or push it to a user as a text message.

The system enables a homeowner to monitor the home environment via an Internet accessible dashboard, receive periodic SMS environmental notifications, receive real-time SMS alerts when monitored environmental parameters exceed preset thresholds, and log environmental data to the cloud.

For more details on how Gatehouse set up this project and on his design choices, check out his Instructables page here.

Unlock your garage door with a fingerprint

Using an Arduino Micro for control, French teenager “Joebarteam” came up with a way to biometrically secure his garage.

If you need to get into your locked garage, what could be better than using your fingerprint? To this end, Joe’ came up with a system that unlocks his door using a fingerprint scanner, and a bistable relay to disable communication between the scanner and the Arduino if there’s a problem.

It’s a really professional-looking build, and the locking mechanism is especially interesting. Two rack-and-pinion devices plunge shafts into the ground, making the door impossible to open (it has to pull out before going up). If there is an issue with the system, the pins can be physically unlocked and disabled as needed.

You can find more details on the project’s Instructables page here.

Scare your friends with a 3D-printed animatronic eyeball

With October still six months away, you may not be thinking about Halloween decorations just yet. However, this Arduino-based ocular assembly could make for a spooky yet simple prop!

There are few things more unnerving than an eyeball or three looking at you from some concealed position—such as under clothing as in the project’s video. If you’d like to scare friends, family, or random visitors, Maker Will Cogley has the perfect solution with his 3D-printed animatronic eye and eyelid mechanism.

A joystick moves the eyeball around, while a small push-to-make switch blinks the eye and another potentiometer adjusts how wide open the eyelids are by default. The device itself, which can be controlled with any Arduino board capable of supporting four servos, took him a day to design and build, and should take much less time using his instructions, code, and STL files.

Want to create your own? You can find more details over on Cogley’s Instructables page here.

Teenage Maker builds his own Arduino drone

When most people decide they’re going to build a quadcopter, they likely go to their favorite online retailer or hobby shop, and get the correct parts to connect together.

17-year-old Maker Nikodem Bartnik instead decided to customize things further, programming an Arduino to act as his flight controller, and constructing a transmitter (or “pilot” as he refers to it) from scratch. Finally, he attempted to 3D print the frame, but after some difficulty chose to just buy one.

The rest of the electronics consisted of four motors, four ESCs, some propellers, two nRF24L01 radio modules, an MPU-6050, a LiPo battery, and a bunch of other small components. You can see more of Bartnik’s project over on Instructables, as well as check out “Ludwik” (named partially as a nod to Nikodem’s friend “lukmar”) flying quite nicely in the video below.

An Arduino Final Countdown Timer

While playing a game called slither.io, Nathan Ramanathan was asked by his father to turn on a wet grinder for “exactly 45 minutes.” As explained, this device uses stones to grind rice into dough, producing material for delicious-looking Dosa cakes.

Deliciousness aside, Ramanathan would rather have the grinder stop automatically than wait around for it, and came up with his own Arduino Uno-based outlet timer controlled via smartphone over Bluetooth. As a bonus, it plays “The Final Countdown” by Europe when only a few seconds remain. 

His write-up includes some discussion about multitasking and the perils of using the delay() function, so be sure to check that out if you’d like more information. Also, when dealing with outlet/mains power, use extreme caution and get help from someone qualified if needed.

Why buy a soldering station when you can build one instead?

As with many products, if you want the best, you’ll pay top dollar for it. After seeing that the supposed best soldering station on the market sells for $500, YouTuber GreatScott! decided to instead purchase the iron and tip for a total of around $100, then reverse-engineer how the station should work.

From there, he used an Arduino Pro Mini along with a little OLED screen to display the temperature, and a toroidal transformer as well as several other components to power and complete his build. Finally, he 3D-printed a nice red enclosure and attached everything together, making his own custom soldering station.

You can see more on this station’s Instructables write-up, and check out GreatScott!’s channel for other interesting projects!

Add smartphone control to your rolling backpack

Have you ever hopped off the plane at LAX with a… rolling backpack, and wished it would just push itself? Using an Arduino and motor controllers, “TannerTech” made his own robo-backpack.

Carrying backpacks around is so 20th century. Modern travelers, of course, get their robotic minions to drive the bags around for them. Or at least that’s what this Maker’s vision seems to be. The backpack in question is wheeled around by two motors on mounts made out of paint sticks. Control is provided by an Arduino Mega using an H-bridge motor controller to handle the relatively high current required.

In order for a human to call the backpack to him or herself, an “Arduino bluetooth controller” Android app is used to send characters to the Mega and Bluetooth module in the bag. Electronics are housed inside of a pencil case, making this a surprisingly accessible project.

You can find out more on TannerTech’s Instructables page, and see a demo of it below!

Geared clock measures time linearly

Jonathan Odom, a full-time designer at Instructables who goes by the name “JON-A-TRON,” decided to make a clock illustrating time’s linearity.  What he came up with was a beautifully crafted (robotically manufactured at the Pier 9 workshop, that is) clock that uses two rack and pinion assemblies to move a line of numbers for hours on top of another line signifying minutes.

The minute “hand” is divided up into five-minute intervals, which seems to him to feel less neurotic than being precise down to the exact minute. Magnifying glasses are used to magnify an hour and minute number, reminding onlookers to focus on the present.

The clock is actuated using an Arduino Uno with a motor driver, controlling a stepper motor for each “hand.” It’s an incredible build, and nicely illustrated. Whether or not you have access to the tools needed to recreate this exact clock, perhaps this concept will inspire something similar!

Be sure to check out Odom’s clock Instructables write-up here and see a demo of it below!

Selectively silence a landline phone with Arduino

Silencing a smartphone at night isn’t difficult, but if you have a landline, Arduino can help!

Before computer hacking/modding became accessible, the next best thing was to creatively explore the phone system via custom electronics. Though this pursuit, known as “phone phreaking,” has largely gone away, some people still have landlines. As “MolecularD” shows in this Instructables writeup, with a few components you can creatively trick your phone into not ringing on your end, while appearing to the caller to simply ring and ring as if no one is home.

In order to make it much more useful, MolecularD hooked up an Arduino Mega with a real-time clock module to turn the device on and off depending on the time of day. Now calls from phone solicitors, or “IRS agents” at 4 in the morning can be eliminated automatically. As noted, this may or may not be legal where you live, so attempt it at your own risk!