Posts

Soldering is Easy – A Comic for Beginners!

Have you seen this awesome, fun little learner’s comic on soldering?  Mitch Altman, Andie Nordgren, and Jeff Keyzer from Hacked Gadgets are responsible for this little bit of beginner soldering mastery!  Check it out, visit the PDF link here, and the original post here.  Learn to solder, you never know when you have to solder that blue wire onto the red one!

Mac Millan’s Amazing DIY Raygun Props – STEAMPUNK!

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!

XBox 360 Kinect + DMX = 100% Awesome

I saw this amazing video on Hack N’ Mod about turning an XBox 360 Kinect into a DMX lighting control device.

Of course I said “SAY WHAAAT?” to myself ever so gently.  Can you imagine this with a full lighting rig?  Right now, it’s just being done with two green LEDs.

Check out the video!

Kinect + Touch Designer DMX Light/Laser Control from Phil Reyneri on Vimeo.

Hack the world!  Thanks, Hack-N-Mod!

Kip Kay’s Light Bulb Trick

I loves me some Kip Kay – Kip is a Maker and general awesome dude who does a lot (I mean a LOT) of DIY and hacking.  Our pal Alex Rugowski sent me this video of Kip’s “magic light bulb” prank.  Check it out, and know that I am making one of these to fool anyone I can think of!  Check out more Kip Kay nerd videos here – I highly recommend it!

Thanks, Alex!

15,000 Fireworks, at the Same Time. Awesome.

So, the question that has been posed here is:

What happens when you ignite 15,000 fireworks at the same time?

Jeri Ellsworth and EL Wire – The Currency of Burning Man

One of my favorite nerds, Jeri Ellsworth, posted a video on making her own EL wire.  Okay, now how cool is that?!  It’s a simple process really, and EL wire is a pretty simple concept.  Check out Jeri talking about it below.  Oh, also – check out some of Jeri’s other videos on YouTube.  She is one brilliant soul!

Thanks, Make!

12X Blu-Ray Star Trek Phaser That Actually – Um, Phases

Okay, for super nerd-dom I have to hand this one to Jay Rob from the Laser Pointer Forums.  Jay took a 12X Blu-Ray laser (from that great supplier AixiZ) and stuffed it into one of those old Star Trek phaser toys.  So now, instead of being on stun, it’s set on “I’ll Burn You, Mofo.”

That’s right.  Check out this video – Jay opens up a can of ButtKick on some balloons from across the room:

That is freaking awesome.  Jay posted the entire how-to on the Laser Pointer Forums – definitely check it out!  He’s even added a safety to his modification!

CAVEAT:
If you’re gonna be playing around with lasers, especially this kind of laser project, you need to cough up some bread and get a pair of laser filter glasses so you don’t burn your eyes out.  Here’s a pair from OEM LAser Systems, Inc that will do the job fine, and here is a bunch from Amazon. Don’t mess around with this, you need them.  Playing with lasers isn’t worth your sight.  Oh, and also – you’re not gonna blame it on me if you screw up.  Play smart.

Jakub’s Almost Light Theremin (If Theremin Could Do Video)

A guy named Jakub Koźniewski created something quite awesome – using photocells, Arduino, a real-time audio synthesizer called Supercollider, and the Processing environment, Jakub created a pretty excellent audio and video controller.

I wrote about the Processing environment a while ago, in relation to a project called MSAFluid.  It’s worth checking out the Processing and Supercontroller websites if you’re a geek like me.

This thing is awesome, Jakub.  Great work.  Check out Jakub’s Vimeo channel – cool stuff.

Here’s the original video of Jakub’s work, this set not quite as detailed as the one above:

Thanks a lot, Make Mag.  This is why I love your blog so much.  Original post on the Arduino Forums.