Posts with «mega» label

This drink machine pours, slices, and dispenses mint!

Automated cocktail machines can be fun projects, but this device by CamdenS5 takes things to a whole new level. Not only can it pour liquids from multiple bottles, but it chops limes, dispenses sugar and mint, and even features a refrigerated compartment to keep ingredients at the appropriate temperature.

An Arduino Mega along with an Uno are employed for control, while user interface is provided by an Android tablet affixed to the front of the assembly. 

There’s a lot going on mechanically inside, including a linear actuator for chopping, and augers that dole out mint/sugar as needed. 

Details on the build are available here, with code/files ready for download, and an interactive Fusion 360 model that you can manipulate in your browser.

The Blade is a dual Game Boy chiptune keytar

Keytars may have had their moment of popularity in the 1980s, but instruments of the day can’t hold a candle to “The Blade” by makers Sam Wray, Siddharth Vadgama, and Greig Stewart. 

The musical device feeds signals from a pair of Guitar Hero necks, along with a stripped down keytar from Rock Band, into an Arduino Mega. This data is then sent to a Raspberry Pi running PD Extended, and is used to control a pair of Game Boys to produce distinct 8-bit sounds. Audio output can be further modified with a Leap Motion sensor embedded in one of the two necks. 

What makes up The Blade?

– 3D-printed housing

We custom modeled and printed a housing for the instrument to ensure it would be ergonomic to wield, hold together with all the components, and also look badass.

– Two Guitar Hero necks

The necks, hacked off a couple of old Guitar Hero controllers, were totally rewired to output the button presses to jumper cables.

– Arduino Mega

All the wiring from the Guitar Hero necks fed into the Mega, which then registered the button presses and output appropriate MIDI signals over USB serial into the Raspberry Pi.

– Rock Band keytar

We stripped this down to the bare keyboard and had the MIDI also going into the Pi.

Raspberry Pi

Taking in all the MIDI, and running PD Extended we got this to manage and re-map all the button presses we needed. This then output to a MIDI thru box.

– Arduino Boy

This fed the MIDI signals from the thru box into the Game Boy.

Game Boy

These were heart. With MIDI fed in from a multitude of sources, the Game Boy, running mGB, was the synthesizing the signals into sound, output via a standard 3.5mm jack. 

Leap Motion
The Leap Motion was used for further sound modulation.

Arduino Blog 16 Apr 19:47
arduino  keytar  mega  midi  music  

Vacuum cleaner turned into unique MIDI instrument

When you see a vacuum cleaner, most people see a useful implement to keep their carpets clean. James Bruton, however, envisioned another use—as a musical instrument. His new project, which made its appearance this year on April Fools’ Day, sucks air through 12 recorders, allowing it to play a full octave and the melody and lead from “Africa” by Toto… or so he’d have you believe!

In reality, power for his instrument comes from a separate Henry Hoover in another room, blowing air through the normally-suction tube of the broken device on the screen. An Arduino Mega, along with a MIDI shield, enables it to open and close air lines to each of the 12 recorders as needed. 

Check out how it was made in the first video below and the original fake in the second.


Arduino Blog 09 Apr 19:15

Listen to the best of the ‘holdies’ with this Arduino-enabled desk phone

If you’ve ever thought that your life needs a little more hold music in it, then this Greatest Holdies phone from FuzzyWobble could be just the thing. 

The heavily modified device uses the shell of an old-style desk phone, but adds an Arduino Mega, a Music Maker Shield, and an ultrasonic rangefinder for “enhanced” abilities.

Now, when someone comes near the phone, it rings automatically, treating the person curious enough to pick it up to a selection of hold music. Users can choose the tune playing via the phone’s keypad, which is wired into the Arduino, along with the original headset switch that detects when the phone has been picked up. 

Code for the build is available here, but be sure to check out the video below to see what you might be getting into!

Gorgeous Nixie clock features three types of tubes

Nixie tubes require electricity in the range of 180VDC, making them challenging to work with. Maker Christine Thompson, however, decided to take Nixie art to a new level, creating a clock with three different types of tubes! 

This clock, or perhaps more accurately “info display,” shows the time and date with six IN-18 tubes mounted on the top. In the front, six IN-12A and two IN-15A tubes are also available to show time, date, pressure, temperature, and humidity.

A pair of Arduino Mega boards are used to control this retro-inspired contraption, along with an array of wiring, perf board, and other components, stuffed inside a very nice wooden enclosure. 

This is my first Nixie styled clock I have constructed. The clock actually consists of two clocks, the first being a 6 x IN-18 tube clock which is mounted on the clock’s top and displays both time and date. The second clock, this time based on 6 x IN-12A and 2 x IN-15A nixie tubes displays at the front of the clock and can display, time, date, pressure (with units and trend), temperature (both Centigrade and Fahrenheit) and, humidity (with units and trend). The time and date are separated with two single neon lamp-based separators, while only one of these lamps is displayed, to represent a decimal point, when the pressure, humidity or temperature is displayed. Both these clocks use “Direct/Static Drive” to power the displays and are based on two Arduino Mega 2560 boards. The fourteen tubes are driven by 12V to 170V DC to DC boost power supplies and 14 x K155 IC chips. The clock also powers two sets of Neon Lamps which switch off while the clock goes through its cathode cleaning cycle which happens at 19, 39 and 55 minutes past each hour. This cathode cleaning cycle consists of all six tubes displaying the digits 0 through 9 in sequence 6 times.

In addition the clock will sound a chime at 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes. At the 60 minute chime the hour chime is also sounded. The chimes are standard MP3 files using a simple MP3 player controlled by the Arduino mega. In order to save on tube life all tubes are switched off automatically when the light level in the room dims to a predefined level, this is achieved using a LRD resistor located at the back of the clock. To help dissipate any heat build up both Arduino Mega ICs have copper heat fins attached and a 5V fan draws air out of the clock, cool air entering through a hole in the bottom plate.

The user can adjust the time, date, chimes, and chimes volume using one of two 16×2 LCD displays, located at the back of the clock. The BME280 temperature, humidity, and pressure sensor is mounted on the back of the clock so as to not be affected by the clock’s internal temperature.

A demo is seen in the video below, while more info and Arduino code can be found in the project’s write-up.

Q-Bot is an Arduino Mega-driven Rubik’s Cube solver

Rubik’s Cubes seem to have been most popular in the 1980s, but never really went away. As such, if you have one lying around your house unsolved, why not ‘simply’ construct a machine to do this for you? 

One possibility is the Q-Bot, outlined here. While it won’t break any world records, it’s a solid-looking assembly that appears to be relatively easy to build.

The Q-Bot features six NEMA 17 stepper motors, four of which turn one face at a time. When needed, the other two use timing belts to alternatively pull opposed stepper motor pairs back, allowing the other two to rotate the entire assembly. An Arduino Mega is utilized to control the steppers via a custom shield, with a computer running the Kociemba’s Algorithm.

The world’s smallest forklift?

Remote control cars are interesting, but as Leon van den Beukel shows in the video below, an RC forklift can be even more challenging and fun to create. 

His project was constructed using a variety of hand and automated techniques, resulting in a build that can easily manipulate tiny pallets. Forks are lifted into the air via a motor and belt assembly, and tilted with a small servo.

The device uses an Arduino Mega for control, and is linked to an Android phone over Bluetooth for user interface. Code, along with STL files and drawings, are available on GitHub and the custom Android control app can be found here.


Robotic lawnmower uses multi-Arduino control

Do you enjoy mowing your lawn? No? Well now you can ‘simply’ print a robot to do it for you, based on German mechanical engineer Philip Read’s design. His Roomba-esque device uses a pair of gearmotors for movement, an array of three ultrasonic sensors for obstacle avoidance, and a perimeter wire/sensor to keep it within the designated boundary.

An Arduino Mega is employed as the main processing unit for the robotic mower, however a separate Nano onboard helps measure battery voltage as well as current when charging. Meanwhile, an Arduino Uno along with a motor driver are used to control the perimeter wire setup. 

Extensive build info is available on the project’s write-up, and a short demo can be seen in the video below.

Fully autonomous robot lawn mower. The mower project includes the mower itself a boundary wire control station and an optional charging station.  The mower navigates within the boundary wire which is positioned (pinned) around the perimeter of the garden. Once the mower senses the perimeter wire, it stops reverses and moves off in a new direction. The mower also has 3 sonar sensors to detect objects in the mowers path. Once the mowers battery is exhausted, the mower uses the boundary wire to navigate itself back to the charging station. All this can be customised in the Arduino software or completely re-written to your personal preferences.

Commercial mowers with this specification cost upwards of 600€ ($680).

Obviously, you’ll want to use such a device in an area devoid of kids or pets

Controlling a toaster oven robot with Arduino

As seen in our earlier post, James Bruton has been working on a breakfast-making robot, and has now moved from boiling eggs to making toast… or apparently hot dogs/sausages as shown in the video’s demo. 

What he’s come up with uses a one degree-of-freedom gantry assembly to move servo-powered forks into position. These can then manipulate a cooking tray as needed to heat food up, flipping it out into a hand-held container when done. Two other servos take care of turning the device on and opening the door.

The control setup looks extremely similar to the previous build, with control via buttons, an Arduino Mega, and a small LCD display. Bruton notes that the Mega is used here because of its multiple serial ports, which will be useful to link everything together in the future.


Visualize tunes with James Bruton’s laser projector graphic EQ display

If you’d like to visualize your music, VU meters make an excellent tool. While they are generally built into audio equipment, maker James Bruton had the idea to construct his own using lasers. His setup features an MSGEQ7 module to separate sound frequencies, sending data on seven different ranges to an Arduino Mega board.

The Arduino then uses this information to selectively lower seven shutters via servos. When lowered, these shutters hide part of the lines formed by lasers and a spinning mirror assembly to indicate each sound frequency’s intensity.

The resulting machine not only effectively projects a visual of the music playing on a nearby wall, but also looks like some sort of mythical beast or contraption, progressively waving its appendages while emitting eerie green light!

Although this kind of project can be fun, be sure to wear the proper safety equipment when dealing with powerful lasers!