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Webcam into Security Cam with Motion Detection, DIY

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Lots of people have been setting up their own home-based security systems lately, especially with all of the complete lack of human respect that we’ve been seeing on the streets of America, in cities all across our great nation.

When I lived here in Oklahoma City once before, a group of unsupervised neighborhood kids knifed two sets of tires on my car — I ended up taking a webcam and a desktop tower and basically doing a second-by-second snap of the “crime scene” and assembling them into a stop-motion movie each day.  I never did catch the little shits, and they cost me a whole bunch of money.  Having some video that turned on any time someone triggered the motion detection would have been a pretty handy little thing!

Instructables user olivi3r, residing in Mexico City, has created a how-to on turning a regular ol’ webcam into a motion-detecting, email alerting ninja system using some software called iSpy.  The software is open source and free — there is a small monthly fee if you’re looking to get email alerts when it detects some motion.

I absolutely love the DIY way.

Check it out:

iSpy Connect – open source, free software:
https://www.ispyconnect.com/

Olivi3r’s Instructable on turning your webcam into a motion cam system:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Webcam-to-Security-Cam-movement-Detection-Email-Al/

Check out Olivi3r’s other Instructables:
http://www.instructables.com/member/olivi3r/

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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The John Allen Lamp Project

Doesn’t that sound like a fusion jazz quartet starring some crazy bass player who has dreadlocks?  His bass is all paint-erroded from all of the years he spent playing bass in smoky little jazz clubs in groups with names like Steven Tyler PJs and Neil McKarren’s Big Fat Bootie.  But in the case of the John Allen Lamp Project, it’s nothing but smooth sailing for our imaginary bass player friend I just invented because I should get out more.

Check this out:

This is an animation of John Allen’s lamp — plywood, sturdy, taking the idea of using construction materials as the fore element to a new level.  That’s how I see it.  You can also go to John’s Instructables and make your own.  John Allen is just that awesome, as the best work should be.  Free for all to enjoy.  Thanks, John, this rocks!

Screenshots of the Instructables page from John’s Instructables project on the John Allen Lamp project.  Check it out.

DISCO BALL HELMET!

Back in my undergrad days, I used to front a band…  Oh, it was glorious, we had a blast, and the guys are all pro musicians now.  Another crazy picture of me with hair:

Jim and Chet Atkins, rocking the Suburbs

We had so much fun!!!  I used to wear those crazy shirts at gigs at the bars in town that were all Japanese and silky and dragony and such, and of COURSE the silver mirror shirt!  I have been looking all over the place today looking for a picture of that great shirt, but I can’t find one anywhere!  Oh it was shiny, I bet the house lighting guys hated me… I was surfing some design blogs and found this lovely light catcher, reminded me of the old days!

(ok, now imagine a guy singing blues and wearing a shirt made out of the same material as her hoodie…)

LOOK AT THAT HELMET!  This is Natalie Walsh‘s creation (Natalina on Instructables), and this Disco Ball Helmet comes from her Instructable.  I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you used to be in a band, you’re Brandon Flowers, you’re a fabulous narcoleptic, or you’re fabulousness is equal to or greater than that of our own Daphne Mir — although I’m not sure how MORE fabulousness is possible…

WAY too freaking cool, Natalie!  JimOnLight.com thinks you rock!  Check out Natalie Walsh’s design portfolio, she’s got the skills.

Thanks, PSFK!

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:

Turn Your Ceiling Fan into A Low Res LED Display

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Instructables user UncleBone posted one of the coolest Instructables I’ve read on that site – making an LED ceiling fan display! He remade the blades, added some homemade circuit boards, and created the image mapping himself.  Good sir, I commend you!

Check out a very quick video of his final project – the frame rate’s off and makes the product look a bit choppy, but you get the idea.  Also, check out the Instructable here!

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Thanks for the heads up, Make!

Battery-Free Flashlight

Check out these supercapacitors – 220 farads!

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Holy crap.  Instructables user mrigsby posted instructions on how to build a battery-free LED flashlight that charges in about three minutes and lasts for 24 hours.  Apparently it’s about 2-3 hours of bright light, and then it drops to “night light” levels.  Whatever, I guess – three minutes to charge!

Check out mrigsby‘s instructable.  Very cool!  This project comes from a book called Haywired: Pointless (Yet Awesome) Projects for the Electronically Inclined by mrigsby himself.  This book is totally on my Amazon wishlist.

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Thanks, Make and Instructables!

A Pretty Joule Thief

Instructables user robomaniac wrote a project called the Desktop Energy Seed Lamp. It’s a joule thief, but one that has multiple color LEDs and a switch that controls each one.  The instructable is pretty well explained – check it out!

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Thanks, robomaniac!

Gutting Old CLFs

As we all know, CFLs are difficult to recycle, even though they have their good qualities.  According to Instructables user “unknownpocketnerd,” we now know how to cannibalize a CFL for parts to make a Joule Thief and a small step down DC converter from CFL guts!  Thanks, unknownpocketnerd!

Check out the CFL cannibalization Instructable.

Unknownpocketnerd has 4 instructables, check them out.

Kilo-Lumen Bicycle Headlamp

Instructables user kc6qhp has posted AND WON FIRST PLACE FOR the instructable regarding his Kilo-Lumen bicycle headlamp.  This thing is ridiculously bright!  Check out the instructable!  This thing is about 1200 lumens, and runs on an 18V Ryobi battery.  Not for the timid!