I had the pleasure of meeting TwinkleTwinkie in person at the 2019 Hackaday Superconferece, and I was blown away by the work he does. While his talk certainly convinced me that PCB art is pain, there’s no denying that it’s worth the struggle when you see the results.
For an example, look no further than Twinkie’s 2019 Holiday Ornament. The “Santa Bot” design is perfect for the merry maker, but it also has a few other exciting features. Not only does it light up, but it also includes a Piezo Buzzer that plays 11 different holiday songs!
Perhaps the best part about this entire project, however, is the fact that all of the profits go directly to the Child’s Play Charity, so you can feel good about this purchase. It was also sponsored by PCBWay to keep the costs down and ensure more money for charity in the end.
I will most certainly grab one of these myself as I believe every Christmas tree could use a PCB. Happy holidays!
When you’re controlling something like an RC car or a remote vehicle, a wireless solution is ideal. Depending on the complexity of the device, though, you may need more than just a means of steering. That’s why controller and remote designs are so important since it needs to fulfill multiple needs.
This Wireless Joystick remote is a great example of designing for multiple use cases. Its original purpose was to control battle tanks. It uses an nrf24l01 transmitter to send signals from the joysticks and buttons.
The two joysticks are for controlling the left and ride side motors accordingly. There are also four buttons available to implement custom functions. It even detects a joystick press for another potential function.
The seller also offers a transmitter on Tindie for the best possible results. The source code is available upon request if you want to customize the transmitter for your own uses.
Keep in mind that you’ll need 18650 batteries, which are not included, but are easily acquired for less than $10.
I’ve always loved the idea of having a plant in my home or office, but two things have often stopped me. The first are my dogs, who are liable to eat it for fun. The second is my inability to keep a plant alive for more than a few weeks.
You can imagine my surprise then when I saw the Hactus. This clever piece of hardware uses interlocking green perfboards that fit perfectly into a concrete flower pot.
It’s more than just decoration though. Each of the two boards has 783 ENIG Gold Plated solder points which let you use them for prototyping projects. Of course, if you want it to just be a decoration, that’s fine too.
Most decorations are static, and that’s fine, but what if that snowflake on your tree could do a whole lot more than look good? The Arduinoflake is an awesome invention that lets you learn how to make your own hardware and program a device using Arduino.
Once built, you can program the Arduinoflake to utilize your own custom animations using 30 LEDs grouped into 18 independently controlled segments. Since it runs on Microchip’s ATmega8A MCU, it can be programmed like any other Arduino dev board using the IDE which will make programming a breeze.
An integrated touchpad allows you to quickly switch through animations, but the creator was able to use this function to hack the device and play the classic game snake.
For those who don’t have time to assemble and program it, a turnkey version is available as well.
Projects for makers are a lot like online shopping. There’s so many things you want, but the sheer number of options makes it impossible to choose. It’s here that options bundling together multiple projects become far more enticing.
For this reason the BBox 1 caught my eye. This kit comes with 500 different items based on the concept of discrete components. You’ll find everything from resistors to capacitors, sensors, relays, buzzers and more.
In addition to this explosion of potential, you’ll also get learning material to help you utilize the components in 24 different projects. You’ll create everything from a basic LED circuit to universal logic gates.
Not only does this help makers find a bunch of new projects to sink their teeth into, it also makes for a great starting point for those looking to get into the art of crafting electronics.
As someone who grew up with more than a few Nerf guns in my life, I’ve always enjoyed the line of foam projectile weapons. These days, I have a Nerf cannon that fires tennis balls for my dogs to chase.
However, the peak of this concept is a Nerf turret, which you can build yourself. It all starts with this PCB shield. You can purchase it as a kit or fully assembled. The option to include or exclude the programmed controller is there as well.
To make things even easier, you can find the files for the turret itself on Thingverse, ready for download. While the finished design doesn’t shoot darts, it does fire Nerf discs (which are available on Aliexpress) using 2 hobby motors at 12V and a 9g hobby RC servo to push the discs into the motors.
Now, if someone could come up with a design like this that shoots tennis balls for my dogs, that would be awesome.
One of the all time synth greats is Oberheim, who brought us the OB-1, OB-X, OB-6, Matrix 1000 and DMX among countless others! This prestigious synth manufacturer has inspired the newly released reSEMble all-in-one Eurorack synthesizer module – putting an astonishing reproduction of the Oberheim SEM inside your modular setup. Loaded with 3 VCOS, a VCF and two EG (envelope generators), this unit has improved performance features and tweaks to make this a classic in its own right.
The Oberheim SEM was their first official analog synthesizer, released in the mid 1970s. This ode to the SEM has all the original features plus an expanded LFO, added Noise source, Sample & Hold waveforms, a wavefolder, extended modulation and further routing options. The Sawtooth core VCOs can also be set to Pulse and Sine waves – with Pulsewidth Modulation and linear/exponential FM CV options to really add grunt and depth to the sound – with a mixer to blend your sound sources into one.
The Wave Shaper has a Ring Modulator and Wavefolder to create hard-edged metallic sounds and soft, blobby basses. The two-pole VCF has -12dB per octave roll-off for High Pass and Low Pass and a -12 db wide (-6dB either side) Band Pass output, giving you the capability to sculpt low basses, shrill highs and super surgical midrange!
The reSEMble comes from Lakeland, USA and is sold by PMFoundations. It comes as a PCB kit (cat not included) and sounds glorious! Check out what it can do below:
Playing racing games with a controller is okay, but playing them with a steering wheel and pedal setup really adds another layer of immersion. The peak of this concept would be controlling the virtual vehicle with your actual car, but that’s impossible. Or is it?
Using the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a Macchina M2, and a clever breakout board, it’s entirely possible to play a realistic racing sim like Forza Motorsport while sitting in the front seat of your car.
The breakout board in particular gives you a 3.5 mm trigger output, which interfaces with the Adaptive Controller. We covered this amazing design back when Microsoft released it, and this is one example of what can be done with it.
Using a Macchina M2 with this breakout board and the aforementioned controller, you can use the CAN bus signals from your car to actuate both the throttle and brake. It’s really something when you see it in motion, so check out the video below to see this concept in action!
It’s been another storming year for synth releases, and here at Tindie we like to celebrate our talented creators by bringing you a list of the best gear they released in 2019. From head melting synths to audio effects units, we’re proud to have so many independent creators, beating the big manufacturers at their own game from their homes, garden sheds, and workshops.
Join us as we run down what took our fancy this year in the Tindie Sound: Gear Of The Year 2019!
Drum Synth by Rakit
Rakit are a superb little company based in Cambridge, England. Their audio boxes and synth goodies are wonderfully made, designed, and packaged with the Rakit Drum Synth being their flagship unit. Based on the super-rare Amdek PCK-100 with added modifications, this Drum Synth gives you a VCO which can be modulated, swept, pitched and triggered to your heart’s content.
The Drum Synth is available fully constructed or as a kit, and will deliver those 80s synth drum effects which are synonymous with electronic music.
DAFM FM Synthesizer by Kasser
The DAFM (not to be confused with the Moog DFAM) represents the dawning of a new era in re-living classic video game synth sounds. It houses legendary FM sound chips (YM2612/YM3438) used in the Sega Megadrive/Genesis and SoundBlaster Cards – making it a hugely playable MIDI unit destined for use way beyond 2020.
With its sleek design, tough build quality and touch-sensitive keypad, the DAFM really does look and sound the part – with two chip options, depending on the lo-fi flavour you need.
Super Smash Button by midierror
Hailed as a `genius` device by SonicState, the Super Smash Button is based on a simple yet highly effective concept – plug something into one side, and it comes out the other when you press (or smash) the arcade button!
Perfect for synths, guitars, drums, drones, vocals, and foley sounds, it excels at giving sporadic rhythm to any sound, while evoking memories of nostalgic arcade button bashing at the same time. It also comes with options to have a gorgeous customised finish!
Noise-X by Madlab
Looking and sounding like a device from another planet, the Noise-X packs 6 oscillators of undulating waveforms into one compact PCB module. It has built-in FX and a myriad of modulation possibilities and modes, making some of the strangest and most expressive drones you can imagine.
You don’t often get sliders on synths, and the superb idea which resulted in Noise-X is a wonderfully ergonomic way to control sound. The Noise-X is available as a kit and a completed unit, and sounds like nothing else you’ve ever heard… on this planet!
ROT8x MIDI Controller by Velorum Project
As MIDI controllers go, the Rot8.x MIDI Controller has it all – with 32 assignable control knobs to create tactile control changes, parameter changes, pitch bends, and effects sends! It’s USB powered and ideal for controlling your DAW, VSTs and outboard gear from one convenient place. The difference between clicking with a mouse and tweaking real-world controls is unparallelled. And now it’s affordable for all. It comes in a glorious matte black aluminium case, suitable for gigging and is re-programmable through the onboard Arduino.
Pocket Operator Adapter by Hanz
Pocket Operators are some of the most compact and characterful devices we’ve ever seen – but what if you could control them via MIDI? Well, the Pocket Operator MIDI Adapter does exactly that – simulating button presses from an on-board Teensy microcontroller for full MIDI control over all buttons.
This indie magic allows you to make chord progressions, FX sequences, and sound selection super quick and automatable. This device is like nothing else on Tindie, or elsewhere!
CVTab for ARPIE by SixtyFourPixels
The ARPIE should need no introduction; the hardware MIDI Arpeggiator housed in the studios of the biggest names in the industry got an add on in 2019! The CV Tab adds CV Gate. Pitch and Clock to the already formidable machine, opening up numerous possibilities for use with classic analogue gear from pre-MIDI days.
Hook it up to your modular synth for a host of continually updated Arpeggiation modes, it’s now on Firmware Version 6, which is shown in full in the video.
Stage Bro 2000 by Krystal State
For live musicians and singer/songwriters, a high-fidelity backing track is essential for playing fully produced sets without having to take the London Sympohony Orchestra on the road with you. The Stage Bro 2000 allows you to playback high-quality WAV or MP3 recordings everywhere you go and trigger them using just your feet.
Load the sounds from a USB flash drive, and select your track using the simple interface. Originally built to perform a function for the inventor, the Stage Bro 2000 is happily now available to everyone!
Quadtech 101 by CCTV
With a myriad of modular panels and kits to choose from, it’s sometimes difficult to see why products like the QuadTech 101 stand out. Simple! This eurorack module goes beyond the standard mono/stereo outputs, to offer FOUR assignable outs for what the makers call QUAD PANNING!
This mystical technique allows for movement between outputs, as well as steady simultaneous output at the turn of a knob – from 2 on-board digital VCOs. The Qudtech 101 could be used to simulate the Leslie speaker effect of Hammond organs, or a host of other creative sonic crazyness.
Headmelter by Mindburner
Any product with a name like Headmelter is guaranteed to evoke a certain amount of enigma, interest, and let’s be honest, terror! Don’t be afraid, this PCB synth has 2 oscillators intent on making electric drones, spaced out sweeps and angular sync’d sounds you’ll drool over. With robotic sounds and odd controls entitled Confusion, Relapse, Hyper Boost and Medicate, you’ll be in for a sonic adventure beyond the boundaries of your imagination.
Cheers to the Year that Was 2019!
We think you’ll agree, it’s been a very good year for gear at Tindie! With new products on the proverbial horizon, let’s hope that 2020 brings even more sonic joy, synthesized landscapes, and otherworldly effects to our tabletops. A sincere congratulations to everyone who made the list this year, let’s raise a glass to the independent makers of the past, present, and future!
Like any gamer, I have opinions on which controller is best. Many will say mouse and keyboard wins the battle every time, but the PS2’s Dualshock controller is still one of the best designs of all time.
If you’re working on a robot or any sort of RC car project, the prospect of controlling it with something familiar and efficient like a Dualshock probably sounds amazing.
That’s why this Arduino Shield kit caught my eye. Beyond my personal affection towards anything PlayStation, there’s no denying that the sheer number of inputs makes it a great fit.
Originally designed as a way to control a robotic arm with a PS2 controller, this board feeds the signal from a Dualshock to the Arduino. The headers are stackable, allowing you to add on a motor shield as well.
The kit comes with the PCB, headers, stackable headers, and a power connector. You’ll need to solder and assemble everything yourself, but trust me when I say that you’ll never want to use any other input when you’ve seen what a Dualshock can do for your project.
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