5 Minute SLA to LiPo Battery Conversion for the DIY Electric Bicycle (Video)

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I pulled a couple 4Ah 3S LiPos from my tricopter’s stash and soldered together a little series adapter to give me an effective 4Ah 6S LiPo pack. The effective range has been cut in half to around 5miles compared to the original 13lb 10Ah SLA pack, but that’s still plenty enough to get someone around a college campus.

Click here to read more about how to build the DIY electric bicycle.

Here’s a video of the updated e-bike taking a quick spin around the block: Be sure to continue reading after the break for more info.

Continue reading 5 Minute SLA to LiPo Battery Conversion for the DIY Electric Bicycle (Video)

The electromechanical relay clock project is complete!

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PROJECT WRITEUP!

After years of waiting to find the right hardware, I have finally found the time and the opportunity to build my own digital mechanical clock that uses absolutely no transistors or ICs. Its technology is reminiscent of the early relay computers from many decades ago. It uses 67 relays arranged in such a way to create 21 identical flip-flop logic circuits.

Continue reading The electromechanical relay clock project is complete!

Using the Arduino AJAX Webcam to Monitor and Control Your 3D Printer

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It’s a simple idea. Just modify the source code from our Arduino IP Webcam project page and add an additional set of AJAX response lines that toggle a couple IO pins on the Arduino. You can have these pins go directly to some headers on your 3D printer and/or to an inline power-switch tail that you can toggle in the event of a problem. All the while monitoring your 3D printer visually with a live image feed from anywhere on the World Wide Web.

Heck, while you’re at it, you might as well add some remote controlled lighting, and a relay shield. Your only limit is your imagination RAM. Check out this simple user interface:

Continue reading Using the Arduino AJAX Webcam to Monitor and Control Your 3D Printer

Obscure vibration dampener material tests for the Rev. III Tricopter

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Over these past few months, I have slowly been testing out various materials for absorbing vibrations in the Revision III tricopter. The goal was to eliminate the rolling-shutter effect (or jello-effect) from aerial video as much as possible.

If you don’t already know, this tricopter has its battery and camera equipment suspended from the main frame with three zip-ties. Dampening materiel is loosely compressed or adheared between these two subassemblies and is ultimately responsible for most of the physical vibration isolation. Usually this materiel is rolled into three separate ~1″ long by ~5/8″ wide cylinders and stuck between each of the three zip-tie loops.

Among the materials I have tested include vinyl furniture bumpons, Sugru blocks, double sided foam (vinyl) adhesive, and latex foams among other things. Most worked pretty well, but others were hard to come by or showed poor performance.

Here is a short list of my findings presented in a general order with the best (so far) near the top. Continue reading Obscure vibration dampener material tests for the Rev. III Tricopter

The story of how the electric bicycle was born

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Build it Now!
I wrote a short writeup for anyone willing to make or build upon this design. You can visit the project page by clicking HERE.

Circa 2008. At age 13 my adolescent mind desired a motorized bicycle. With absolutely no budget, I began brainstorming ways to cannibalize my seldom-used Razor E300 electric scooter with its rusty bearings and dry SLA batteries… This is the short story about how my DIY e-bike came to be.

Continue reading The story of how the electric bicycle was born

Tricopter Build Log part three

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It’s alive! The tricopter went under a few more revisions and prints before finally taking to the air. My old Rev One Quadcopter has been reduced to it’s (over-engineered) frame and nothing more. Its parts (motors, ESCs, batteries, Crius AIO, etc.) have moved on to become this very tricopter.

Currently (in the picture) it is set up to fly FPV sans-GoPro. There is an optional part available to replace the camera pan/tilt servo mount/hole with an alternative “use-what-you-want” vibration-dampened plate.

Keep reading for a couple closeups and highlights of the tricopter.

Continue reading Tricopter Build Log part three

Tricopter build log part two

The frame is now prototyped and measurements are almost final. Several small changes were made to the source files as result of this prototype (now on internal-revision #24). These changes included primarily wider tolerances and smaller hardware requirements. Other potential ideas are still pending (in particular; optional “taller” landing struts, ESC/wire management, and AIO mounting).

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Changes to the last update included primarily, universal motormounts. Now it’s not necessary to use a specific cross plate on a limited range of motors. I’ve adopted the standard 16/19mm hole spacing used on many motors appropriate for this size multicopter. Also, the mount’s face is now flat on both sides, so you can more easily mod them (drill holes) for a specific motor that doesn’t follow these standards. With this, you will need to use 8mm M3 socket cap screws (instead of the shorter, countersunk M3 screws often provided with your motors) to mount said motors to the mounts.

The arms fold back too!
Continue reading Tricopter build log part two

Tricopter build log part one

The frame still needs to be prototyped on my printer, though I have modeled the finished project to get an idea of the size.

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The distance between motor-centers is roughly 625mm when the two front 1/2″(12.7mm) wood dowels are cut to 350mm and the tail to 310mm (-40mm). This was necessary to accommodate the inline motor hinge that pivots on the axis of the tail arm. These dimensions, along with other things, are subject to change after the prototype gets printed.

I modified Thingiverse user ennui2342’s tricopter body, based off of David Windestål’s RCExplorer tricopter, to support the stronger, more common 1/2″ wood dowels. Other minor modifications to the body were made as well.  I also loosely based my landing gear/motor mounts off of jphillips’ designs. The shock absorbing bottom plates (optional setups for FPV shown above) are unique to this tricopter.

Continue reading Tricopter build log part one

Plotting vectors again

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I still can’t draw very well at all, that’s why I plot vectors!
Above is a 2D interpretation of Romero Britto’s “Big Temptation” sculpture. I started with a basic profile image of the sculpture and used Photoshop and Inkscape to trace it into a vector image. From there I did the same things mentioned in my Trinket contest post. See below for a video showing my 3D printer print parts of this image; it’s quite fascinating to watch.

Continue reading Plotting vectors again