Category Archives: Engineering

Another take on Twisted Wire Bundles

Steve W. wrote in to share his improvement on the method for making wire bundles we wrote about:

 I’ve used the bend-it-over-and-stuff-it-in-the-chuck approach, but was not fully happy with it.

Binder clip on wood piece for drilling

So I drilled a 1/8″ hole in the back of a binder clip.  The drilling is easy if you clip a ~3/8 scrap of wood.

Wire twisting jig in drill chuck.

A 4-40 SHCS screw long enough to allow me to actuate the clip was not threaded all the way to the head, so I used a 1/4″ spacer between the binder clip and the 4-40 nut.  (Pan head screws are usually 100% threaded, but I would have had to look in the dreaded ‘other’ box to find one of those). Having the nut up against the chuck acted as a lock-nut.  I had been surprised when I first tried this that I did not have to work harder to keep it from loosening.  I had expected I might need a lock washer, and/or a second nut to lock the first.

Just grabbing the wires with the binder clip (my original plan) was not secure.  So I wrap the wires 180 degrees around a screwdriver bit and put that in the clip.

Works great, and it is quick to pop in and out when twisting many groups of wires.

Thanks for sharing your hack and sending the photos!

Hackaday Prize Deadline

The deadline for the Hackaday Prize is just a month away now!
The creative energy and years of experience found in our huge community of Hackers, Designers, and Engineers is waiting to be unleashed. Let’s use that potential and move humanity forward.
We’re helping to judge the Best Product category, which has fewer than 50 entrants so far. The prize for Best Product is $100k and 6 months free rent in the Hackaday Design Lab with mentoring.
One example project is Eye of Horus, Open Source Eye Tracking Assistance, to increase accessibility for people who are disabled or physically separated from a work area.
Another entrant is DIPSY, an FPGA module in a DIP-8 package, shown here with an LED daughterboard in 6-pin DIL format.
Submissions are due August 17, so get your entries in right away! If you have questions or want feedback on your project, there’s a meetup on the hackaday prize channel on July 21 at 6 pm PDT.
We’re looking forward to seeing your entries!

A visit from the LEGOJeep

Lego Jeep at Evil Mad Scientist
Photo by Kevin Mathieu

We had a visit from one of our favorite art cars, the LEGOJeep. Our friend Kevin stopped by to work on some parts to infuse even more LEGO spirit into the Jeep.

Lasering Parts for the Jeep
Photo by Kevin Mathieu

We also had a couple of young visitors stop by to see what we were up to. Above, learning to use the laser cutter and calipers.

Lego Jeep

Very proud of her contribution to the LEGOJeep!



Super Awesome Reporting on RoboGames

Super Awesome Sylvia has posted a video report from this year’s RoboGames. Highlights include a couple of combat matches, one of Sylvia’s LEGO competitions, WaterColorBot receiving a medal, and Sylvia completely geeking out after Grant Imahara interviewed her in the audience. (For extra fun, watch the raw footage of the interview from RoboGames.) Our STEAM shirt makes a cameo, too.

A Lego Mosaic Printer

JK Brickworks made this amazing “pick and place” style Lego Mosaic Printer:

It is built entirely using LEGO parts. It first uses the EV3 colour sensor to scan the source image and save the data on the Mindstorms unit. It can then print multiple copies from the saved image data. The 1×1 plates used for ‘printing’ the mosaic are supplied using a gravity feed system and the printing head is simply a 1×1 round plate that can pick up and place the 1×1 plates.

More information about this project can be found at JK Brickworks.

WaterColorBot and BeetleBlocks

The Tinkering Studio posted on twitter:

BeetleBlocks is a system for enabling people to explore algorithmic 3D geometry by snapping together Scratch-like programming blocks.

BeetleBlocks block programming example

They posted a picture of the finished painting, which looks awesome.

Painted output in the WaterColorBot

Analog Education and the 555

The article Can Analog Circuits Inspire Budding Engineers? over at Planet Analog discusses preparing students for dealing with real world circuitry by getting them started with analog circuits.

By building, probing, and observing the signals and their changes in these circuits without any code requirements, students can get a real feel for otherwise abstract concepts such as voltage, current, and more.

The author uses examples of projects and kits including our very own Three Fives Kit.

MakerCon 2015

MakerCon is a short conference put on by Maker Media in the week leading up to Maker Faire about the business of making.

Gael with InMoov

3D printing is a common maker topic, and MakerCon brought a few different twists to it. Above is Gael demonstrating InMoov, an open source 3D printed humanoid robot. There was also an incredibly inspiring talk about applications for medical 3D printing by Dr. Glenn Green.

Gigabot print

3D printing can be whimsical as well, as demonstrated by this “25 mm” drill bit by Gigabot.


The folks from Strawbees had built a quadcopter rotor cage with a clever servo actuator for flapping sculptural wings.

Clever flex design

I enjoyed seeing this attractive laser cut living hinge at the BotFactory demo.

Rogue Rover

Rogue Rovers are electric semi-autonomous ATVs designed for agricultural use to reduce farm injuries and pollution.

More pictures from the event are in my flickr album.