Experimenting with vacuum molding

Hi there! This post is about a really simple way of making plastic parts for your projects. Have you ever heard of vacuum molding? It's a method to make a plastic mold of a piece by using heat and suction from a vacuum cleaner. You can easily replicate what I'm going to show you. You just need some wooden pieces to make a box like the one you'll see in the picture, a vacuum cleaner, a heat gun/electric heater/oven and some disposable plastic dishes.

(Click the photo for better resolution in Picasa Photostream)

Hi! This will not be my typical kind of post. I usually post about projects, tutorials, publications, etc. but this time I'm just going to share a video that shows the state of the art towards the development of Intelligent Humanoid Robotics. It's a great video and shows some of the great research that has been done with the iCub robot. I'm not just sharing a video because I'm being lazy, I'm sharing it because it shows the awesome work that has been done with an awesome robot and it deserves to be shared. This is not science fiction. This is reality! :) I'm sure you'll like it! :)

Take care! :)

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Blogging: Flickr vs Picasa

Hi! If you're a blogger, or intend to become one someday, you will face yourself with the hard task of choosing which image hosting service to use: Flickr or Google's Picasa Web Albums (now also known as Google Photos). I had to go through this myself and as such I'm going to describe my short analysis on both services and why I'm sticking with Google Photos. I'd like to point out that this analysis concerns only the free accounts.

(Click the photo for better resolution in Picasa Photostream)

Hi everyone! This is going to be a really short post but I think that someday it may be useful for you like it is for me. Sometimes friends, family or strangers give me/throw away old/damaged computers (some aren't damaged at all and can be fixed by formatting the hard drive :) ).  Whenever I get my hands in one of these computers I want to find out about the specs of the hardware. In this post I'll show you how to get info about the processor if you have a running computer. Basically, start a console and run:
cat /proc/cpuinfo
and you'll get all the info about the CPU, just like shown in the image below :) .

(Click the photo for better resolution in Picasa Photostream)

CNC Controller Board v2

As I said previously, I have been slowly developing my second CNC Machine, TheMaker2. To control the new CNC machine I developed a new board based on a PIC16LF877A since the L297's that I used on the first CNC controller board that I designed can be quite expensive here in Portugal and I had some PIC16LF877A samples lying around that with a few programming lines could do the same or even more than three L297 stepper motor controllers.

(Click the photo for better resolution in Picasa Photostream)
Once again, the board design can be split in three parts:
  1. Isolation - it has Vishay's CNY17-2 optocouplers to isolate the parallel port from the rest of the circuit;
  2. Driver - a Microchips' PIC16LF877A drives three stepper motors in unipolar mode (if you prefer bipolar you can change the schematics and boards at your will);
  3. Power Interface - a bunch of Vishay's SUP85N03 N channel FETs working as switches controlled by the PIC16LF877A.

Homemade CNC: TheMaker2

Hi! As I previously said in my first post about my first Homemade CNC: TheMaker1, I was slowly developing a bigger, faster (didn't accomplish this part yet) and more robust CNC. Well, the development phase has finally come to an end and it is finally ready! :D In order to build a more rigid structure I decided not to build it with a moving gantry, but with a moving table on x axis and a fixed structure for y axis, which holds z axis. The build is based on this one.

(Click the photo for better resolution in Picasa Photostream)
One of the main objectives was to make it low cost and believe it or not, with some scavenging involved I managed to build the whole structure with only 84.4€! :D Oh, and this cost still includes some spare materials! :P

The BiT Bang Theory Blog is 1 Year old

Hi everyone! It has been a long time since I last posted something and some of you probably thought that this blog had been forgotten but it didn't :) I have been working on moving the blog from wordpress to blogspot since it gives me more freedom to make this blog unique. Also, since I was moving the blog I kept some stuff to publish in the new version :) But more on that later. First I'm going to make a balance on this first year of tech/hack blogging :) .