Posts

A DIY Boba Fett Helmet Lamp!

This one’s dedicated to my buddy Greg.

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This is a fun project, especially if you’re A) not married, B) married to someone who appreciates the finer points of Star Wars nerdery, or C) not married — the Boba Fett DIY Lamp Project!

As long as you remember to clean the sweat and shame from your personal Boba Fett helmet, this project should go just fine for you.  Remember though, take the helmet OFF before you drill the holes.

This awesome project comes from Instructables user Major League Mods — check out their other projects, there’s some fun ones!

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“No matter how sure I am, I never bet the Fettman.”

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A DIY LED VU-Meter Necktie!

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I am never, ever disappointed by Make.  Not in seven years of doing this blog have I ever come across a story on Make that wasn’t the coolest thing I had ever seen, and I read somewhere in the neighborhood of eleventy million blog posts a week.  Well, it might be more in the tennedy million range, but you get the point.  Make is wicked.

Check this out — Maker and awesome duderino Collin Cunningham is sporting a cool LED tie in this video, which also consequently shows you how to make the tie!  It’s a breakaway tie that is modeled on the prison guard-style of tie, velcro in the rear of the neck; there’s also a microphone in the knot that feeds back into the LED controller, giving you a walking VU Meter!  As you can imagine if you know me, mine would be peaked all day long.  This system is built on Adafruit‘s wearable electronics platform called FLORA — from the website:

FLORA is Adafruit’s wearable electronics platform. We designed it from the ground up to provide the best experience for Adafruit’s community of makers, hackers, crafters, artists, designers and engineers. It’s built around the Atmega32u4 chip, which has built-in USB support. No pesky special cables or extra parts for programming, just plug it in and get started making the wearables project of your dreams! Works on Windows and Mac.

The FLORA is extremely beginner-friendly– it is difficult to destroy the FLORA by connecting a battery backwards due to polarized connector and protection diodes. The onboard regulator means that even connecting a 9V battery will not result in damage or tears.

The Ampli-Tie!

This FLORA device is pretty cool!  If you’re a tinkerer like me who loves to solder stuff and blow up all kinds of delicate circuitry because you are an occasional dumbass, this thing is the way to go, with its onboard voltage regulator!  Check this out:

This entire project is pretty much given to the world free at Adafruit’s website (the Adafruit Learning System, which is pretty awesome!); you can make your own Ampli-Tie to wear around the conferences!  Go check out Make, one of the coolest places for nerds on Planet Earth!

Taser Not Good Enough? How About the Taser Sword?!

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So the story generally goes like this — guy takes a taser and a sword, guy makes a creation that is way cooler than either of those two parts on their own.  Don’t believe me?  Watch:

As of me writing this post, the maker of this video had over 1,120,000 views on his YouTube video.  That is crazy!  User jonathonj9969 on YouTube posted the video of his lethal/non-lethal combo on Reddit, and that obviously went batsh*t crazy, too.

As you would expect, though.  Right?

Thanks, Viral Videos!

 

JimOnLight’s Top 10 Posts of 2012

It is so much fun for me to see what people like to read on JimOnLight over the course of the year – or week, or month, or quarter, I am nuts about research!

Check out the top 10 posts of last year – what was your favorite JOL post from 2012???

Post #10:
Multiverse, by Leo Villareal

Post #9:
JimOnLight’s Guide to Christmas Lights, Part 4:  Christmas Light Power and Safety

Post #8:
The Phenomenon of Earthquake Lights

Post #7:
Travel Tips for Squints on the Wing

Post #6:
The McNamara Tunnel, Detroit Airport

Post #5:
The Gaff Tape Dress Showdown

Post #4:
High End Systems at LDI 2012 — and HOG 4!

Post #3:
DIY Globe Cluster Chandelier-esque Fixtures

Post #2:
Lighting 101 — Luminance VS. Illuminance

…and the #1 most visited post on JimOnLight of 2012:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEPHEN HAWKING!
Stephen Hawking is a PLAYA

Tune in next time, we’ll have the Top 10 Posts on JimOnLight Read While Farting on NYC Public Transit.  Stay tuned!

I didn't choose the thug life

Allison Patrick’s Awesome Artichoke Pendants

Have you seen these amazing lamps?!  A designer that has her stuff on Etsy, Allison Patrick of the 3R’s Blog (Reduce, Reuse, Redecorate – 30 projects in 30 weeks) has created some pretty cool pendant shades that are pretty representative of the beautiful shape of the artichoke.  But – the shade is made of recycled pages from books and magazines!  Allison’s lamps are very cool, they remind me of the decoupage projects my mom would do with us as a kid.  Just recently she got featured on Fab.com, and that has pushed her work sky high!

Allison’s got a pretty awesome story with her luminaire design business (which is called Zipper 8 Design, by the way) – she graduated with her Masters, and like many people, she found herself with lots of time and no job.  So, she did what we do when we want to change things – she busted her ass making a bunch of really great lamps!

Allison's stuff on Etsy

Allison, JimOnLight.com thinks your works are awesome.

Thanks Inhabitat for the original article!

Arduino Light Painting

After the Roomba Light Painting article from this morning, I got a bit jazzed about checking out some inspiring light painting articles.

I ran across this one from one of my favorite blogs, Hack-N-Mod, about using an arduino chip to make some excellent pieces of long-exposure light art.  The artist who they feature in the article, Kim Pimmel, used some pretty simple arduino rocking to make some beautiful art.  Some of this stuff is just amazing.

That screenshot above is from Kim Pimmel’s Flickr photostream of some of his light art with Arduino.  Amazing.

Here’s a video of some of that work – WELL worth your time!  Be inspired!

Light Drive from Kim Pimmel on Vimeo.

Thanks, Hack-N-Mod!

Mac Millan’s Amazing DIY Raygun Props

I am so excited to bring this to the web!  I’m even more excited to put the work of a true DIY artisan out there to the world.  All I know is that you need to hire this guy if you have something that needs done like he can do.

I want you to meet Mac Millan – I met Mac at SETC 2011 in Atlanta this year when I was judging the Student Design competition.  I was so taken with Mac’s inventions that I asked for images and video so that the JimOnLight.com Community and the world could see the skill and mastery put into these devices that Mac built.

You might see these and say STEAMPUNK – I see them and say awesome.  Makers and DIY’ers, take notice!  These raygun props are electrified, illuminated, special effect pieces of genius.  Congratulations on a great project, Mac!

From the creator’s mouth:

Ok, let’s get this out of the way.

Steampunk.

Yes, these are steampunk as hell, and while I love the aesthetics of a lot of what comes out of the steampunk culture I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about zeppelins (unless we’re talking about the sandwich, I’m always thinking about the sandwich).

Anyway, back to the matter at hand: three steampunk-as-hell rayguns. These were all built almost entirely out of found objects I had already accumulated in my apartment (I’m a packrat with expensive taste). The initial inspiration came from the silver Thor power drill seen in the smallest of the three rayguns; I inherited a similar drill from my Grandfather, and from the second I saw it I couldn’t help envisioning an art deco pistol of some sort. I purchased a duplicate to avoid destroying an heirloom, glued a photo enlarger I found on the street to the end and filled it with LEDs and flash cannons.

The second model is the orange and brown number, built on a Thor-Nado electric jackhammer purchased off Ebay in high school paired with a photo enlarger. The third is an ellipsoidal stage light and a photo enlarger salvaged from my high school. See a pattern yet? Again, the major structural components for all three were things I had lying around, I just glued and bolted them together and added blinky lights.

On the how and why: I’m a very hands-on learner, and working with my hands is how I clear my head. I wanted to learn more about motors, LEDs, lights and mechanics, so I started making rayguns. A desire to actually use some of the hundreds of pounds of industrial detritus filling my apartment may also have been involved. Specifics are for another day, but let me just say there was a lot of wire and glue involved. A LOT of glue. And let me just say, gluing a nonporous material to a nonporous material SUCKS.

Check out this video – Mac’s rayguns light up, they have smoke effects built in, and one of them fires a magic flash!

Mac Millan’s Steampunk Rayguns from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Here’s a gallery of all of Mac’s three rayguns.  Click on a thumbnail and a gallery view will open up for you!

Amazing – A Laser Show with Speakers for Galvos

I was reaing Instructables this weekend, and I came across a project that someone had done that used audio speakers like galvanometers (galvos) to actually move a laser beam around!  The project has full X-Y control of the laser beam, and with a wee little Arduino microcontroller, you have yourself a fully programmable laser show for about 50 bucks.  Pretty awesome.

Have you never seen a laser device that spells words and makes pictures and such?  Inside of those devices are several little things called galvanometers – in the laser world, we call them galvos, or a galvo, singular.  These things are basically moving coil electric current detectors, pure and simple.  When a voltage is applied, they react.  When a voltage is applied and changed several times a second, you see all kinds of little erratic movements in the galvo.  With laser shows and devices that utilize galvos to spell words and draw pictures with lasers, what is happening is that the voltage is being changed rapidly and constantly in order to make the laser appear to be spelling out these words and pictures.

Pretty simple and awesome, yeah?

You have to check out this amazing Instructables method for building this awesome little DIY galvo laser show.  It’s well worth a few Monday morning minutes!  Here’s a video of the system in action:

Melting, Burning, and Generally Obliterating Stuff with the Power of the Sun

I always find that I discover cool stuff when I am teaching about it – right now, for example, I’m lecturing to my introductory Stage Lighting classes about reflection, refraction, the Index of Refraction, reflectance, normal angles, and all of that kind of stuff.  I love it, I’m a nerd to the Nth degree.  I’m also lucky that my research karma is good!

Something I find quite sexy is capturing solar rays for the purpose of just destroying stuff in a non-military way.  Yes, I’m one of those campers who loves campfires for the sheer awesome power of them.  I came across a few videos of people harnessing the awesome power of our Sun into a small few centimeter-square area for the purposes of, well, burning stuff.  I have two examples – one is an expensive solar capture device that focuses a few square meters of sun into an area of an inch, and the other is a homemade solar reflector made from a satellite dish.  Even though the cheaper one is cheaply made (I mean comparatively, not offensively), it harnesses some amazing solar power!

Check out this first video – a lab environment, a huge mirror, and thousands of degrees of sunlight:

Here’s the second video, a homemade SOLAR DEATH RAY!

Awesome.

Thanks Hack-N-Mod!