Prototyping: Quadcopter version 1

So i built myself a quadcopter in january 2014. Instead of buying a Ready-To-Fly multicopter, I plunged into building my own and it isn’t difficult as long as you choose a nice flight controller and have a bit of experience remote controlled things and know how to use a soldering iron. 1528693_10152115678478050_117608398_nI went with the popular DJI Naza controller with a GPS module and gathered the rest of the parts from scrap in my workshop and on cheap hong-kong-based websites. I Planned and sketched the design in Google Sketchup during christmas 2013 while i waited for the motors and the ESCs to arrive in the mail. I milled the parts i needed on my Probotix Fireball CNC and 3d printed some parts on my Makerbot Thing-o-matic. quadcopteret til vegard v11DTotal hours of build was probably about 20-30 hours in my workshop, and most of them drawing in sketchup and milling parts, waiting for the 3d-prints or soldering up cables. I also built two voltage regulator circuits with a 7805 (5volt) and a 7812(12 volt) for powering the electronics that didn’t like 14.8Volt from the 4Cell lipo battery, mounted the voltage-regulators directly to the aluminum frame for cooling, and soldered everything together at my workshop.
The quadcopter has an unbalanced frame with the two front arms pointing away from the camera in front to make sure the camera doesn’t film the propellers or arms. At first i was a bit afraid of the unbalanced frame being a problem in the air, but the DJI Naza controller fixes everything and really gives a smooth controllable flight in GPS mode.

The multicopter was a success and had about 25 hours of flight-time until its life ended with a fatal bird-strike in one propeller at 100 meters altitude over a large empty field.
1922236_10152237285793050_742975288_n  This is the last picture of the quad, about 3 minutes before it hit a bird!

If you want to see a video of it racing around in the night-time, check this out.
Click here for a flight video of the copter visiting IKEA

So the copter worked beautiful until it had a bird-strike in mid-air crashlanded in a tiny river far, far away. Recovery-mission was launched but just as the Malaysian flight 370 that disappeared the day before the crash, the multicopter went into stealth mode and was never seen again. The river is definitely muddy and location of impact is unclear. I considered to go home and get my drysuit and divegear but the visibility is really down to zero in that muddy water and its probably full of chemicals as well so a new episode of “aircraft investigations” will have to wait. 1527054_10152237288838050_314914996_n The expensive parts is not recoverable after being soaked in water so i wrote the copter off as a nice working (and expensive) first prototype.

Here is the build log of my copter as well as some hard learned lessons and a lot of pictures of the build. 

Read the rest below and watch pictures and a video of the CNC process.
Continue reading

3d printed instruments

3d printed instruments3d printed guitar

Making a prototype of a new invention was an expensive and time-consuming process in the old days. Huge machinery combined with long waiting times and large startup-costs made inventing hard.

Todays technology has made it easier to make a fully working prototype of your idea in a short time, with a tiny budget.

Using smaller lasercutters, CNC machines and 3D printers make the process alot easier with ultra-high precision. The low entry price point of the new smaller machines, rapid prototyping and cheap material, easier to use interfaces & control of the machines makes it accessible to Do It Yourself (DIY) creators / makers and inventors out there.

There is no longer a closed society for inventors and engineers, and the fear of somebody stealing your idea has changed. People speak more freely than ever about what they know and share ideas online. You can´t sit to long on an idea anymore, somebody else will think of the same thing and possibly create and sell it before you do, so its more important than ever to make and sell things fast.

With searchable tutorials on the internet, and opensource forums and DIY groups and chat forums to share development ideas and techniques, makes it easier to understand and learn how to adopt to new technologies and create your product without having a degree in engineering.

The use of these highly advanced prototyping tools are becoming widespread all over the world. Its only natural that we start using this technology to develope more advanced stuff, and music instruments is no exception. Check out this webpage / wiki that acts as a opensource encyclopedia for all DIY instruments. Download a cad file and print your own on your 3d printer or cut it on a CNC or a laser cutter.

The future is here, and i can´t wait to try out all the crazy new instruments being created by tomorrows DIY inventors!


Click her to go to www.3dprintedinstruments.wikidot.com

A concept design from MIT Media Lab, to illustrate the possibilities with 3d printing. Not yet manufactured.

Using Zoom H6 as an audio-interface on your computer

I found this nice article about using Zoom H6 as a audio interface, both for voice-overs and as a traditional sound card with multiple inputs and outputs. 

The complete article can be found here.

http://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare/articles/using-the-zoom-h6-as-an-audio-interface/

Copypaste from the article beneath.Image

Using the Zoom H6 as an audio interface

To use the Zoom H6 as an audio interface with your computer or iPad, follow the procedure below:

  1. Press the menu button located on the side of the device.
  2. Use the scroll switch to select USB and then press the scroll switch.
  3. Use the scroll switch to select Audio Interface and then press the scroll switch.
  4. Again, use the scroll switch to select Stereo Mix or Multi Track and then press the scroll switch. When set to Stereo Mix, the H6 will act as a 2 in/2 out interface, meaning you have 2 inputs and 2 outputs. When set to Multi Track, the H6 will act as a 6 in/2 out interface, meaning you get 6 inputs and 2 outputs. If you are trying to use the Multi Track mode with Windows, you will need to install the driver for it from the Zoom website (click here). Note that if you are connecting to an iPad, only Stereo Mix mode will work.
  5. Use the scroll switch to select PC/Mac to power the H6 via USB, PC/Mac using battery power to run the H6 off the batteries, or iPad using battery power to connect to an iPad and run the H6 off the batteries. Note that if your computer does not supply enough power to the H6 through USB while using phantom power, select “PC/Mac using battery power.”
  6. Connect the H6 to your computer or iPad using a USB cable. When connecting to an iPad, the iPad Camera Connection Kit is necessary.
  7. When you are ready to disconnect the H6, press the menu button. Use the scroll switch to select Exit, press the scroll switch, then select Yes in the next screen and press the scroll switch.
  8. Disconnect the cable from the computer or iPad and the H6, then press the menu button.

H6 Audio Interface Settings

  • Direct Monitoring

Audio that is input into the H6 can be monitored directly before it goes to your computer or iPad so that you get monitoring without latency. Here’s how to set this up:

  1. Press the menu button.
  2. Use the scroll switch to select Input&Output and press the scroll switch.
  3. Use the scroll switch to select Direct Monitor, then press the scroll switch.
  4. On the next screen, use the scroll switch to select On, then press the scroll switch.
  • Loop Back

This mode allows you to take audio coming from your computer or iPad and mix it with the incoming audio from the H6. It is then routed back into the computer or iPad to be recorded or broadcasted to a live stream on the internet, etc. This is especially useful if you are trying to add narration to something. Here’s how tot set that up:

  1. Press the menu button.
  2. Use the scroll switch to select Input&Output and press the scroll switch.
  3. Use the scroll switch to select Loop Back and press the scroll switch.
  4. On the next screen, use the scroll switch to select On, then press the scroll switch.
  • Mixing the inputs

You can adjust the mix of the inputs from the H6. This mix will then be sent to the computer or iPad. If you are in Stereo Mix mode, the mix will be sent to the computer or iPad on a summed stereo track.

  1. Press the menu button.
  2. Use the scroll switch to select Input&Output and press the scroll switch.
  3. Use the scroll switch to select Mixer and press the scroll switch.
  4. Change the parameter settings as desired. You can do this by using the scroll switch to move the cursor over which parameter you want to change. To change it, press the scroll switch, then move the scroll switch up or down to change the parameter. To exit the parameter and return to the cursor, press the scroll switch again.
  5. You can press the record button to listen to the project without the mixer adjustments. This button will turn the mixer settings on and off.

 

Powerocks 5V Batterypack keeps your GoPro running forever (almost)

Have you ever been bugged out about the internal battery in your Gopro only lasting about an hour?
Ever tried shooting timelapse with your Gopro or DSLR in remote locations without 230Volt power access?
Want your Raspberry Pi or Arduino project powered up via a batterypack?
Sick of using 4xAA batteries on something?

This tiny Powerocks 12000mAh fixes everything!
With its 2.1Amp Usb-charging output, as well as a Micro-usb plug that connects directly into your Raspberry Pi you can go on for shitloads of hours with this little powerhouse.

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I tested this on my Gopro Hero 3 Black edition and shot a timelapse sequence outside in the cold with 1 shot every 30 seconds for over 16 Hours powered by this monster-batterypack.
Perfect for those remote shoots. Your only challenge would be to put both the Gopro and the batterypack in a weathertight container of some sort and make sure nobody steals it. Camuflage is everything to stop people from taking of with it, so depending on your location a nice little Birdhouse or a Fusebox might be a nice hideout. Make sure the camuflaged box looks old, dirty and un-atractive and like it has been a part of the enviroment forever.

20131216-015949.jpgI also tested it on my Rasperry Pi model B with the Camera module connected and its so easy to use, as the Micro-usb cable fits right in the Pi.  The Rasperry Pi is quite demanding when it comes to power and the Model B board pulls about 700 -1000 mAh at 5V depending on usage and what you connect to it, and the Cameraboard pulls about 250mAh so the Powerocks 9000 or 12000mAh is the best capasity batterpacks out there for the Pi at the moment. So the Pi should run for about 10-12 hours with the Powerrocks!

I have a underwater housing from Light & Motion for my Sony handycam but the display on the back is normally run by 4 double A batteries and that runs the monitor on the housing about 1.5 hours. Or about 1 and 1/2 dive. With a customsoldered cable and the Powerocks i can get about 15 hours of runtime, so its perfect for those liveaboard dive-trips!

You can do the same to every product running on 4xAA batteries in series as the 1.2-1.5Voltage range on the batteries x 4 batteries is equal to a 5volt power supply.

You just need to grab your soldering-iron and slice open a USB cable you have laying in a corner somewhere and use the the plug that fits into the Powerocks on one end, Chop of B plug and solder on whatever you need. Barreljack, hirose or whatever. You can also solder directly on to the batteryterminals if no other option is available, just make sure you link the + and – batteryconnector on the side that isnt connected to the circuitboard together so you recreate the serial link the batteries usually make.

The Powerocks is definitely my new best friend when it comes to powering everything from Ipads, Arduino´s to cameras out in the wild!

 

 

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You can buy the Powerocks 12000mAh online in these norwegian webshops.

www.komplett.no

www.mpx.no

Valentineduino update – now with complete code

Update December 2013:
Hackaday.com featured this little gift after i published it on my blog in february 2011 and made my alltime high website statistics.
Just want to tell that i updated the box just after that with a Realtime clock module from Sparkfun so the box didnt have to go online to get the NTP clock all the time.
The box still sits in the corner of our bedroom and everything is still running perfect.
I even bought a spare battery and stuffed it in there so i have a spare, when the RTC runs out.

Every aniversary-day it flashes a hidden textmessage to my wife (yes, we got married).

I also fixed the code so when the days goes past 9999 (the maximum digits on the display) it starts showing weeks we have been together instead.

The code i used is now shared in its full on the bottom of this page in a packed rar file.
Disclaimer, i have not cleaned up the code, or explained very good every function but i hope you can use some of it anyways.

The code also contains some reporting of sensordata from the DS18B20 Temperature sensor and the light sensor on the back side of the box to my logging system via RF.
You can just remove those parts of the code..

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