Vaccuum Desolderer; Pump replacement overkill.

Heya. starting a small hackerspace with some guys.
I’m the resident electronics dude, so i’ve taken it upon myself to get a semi-decent lab going.
I already got a fairly decent digital soldering station there.
However, at work we have these super sweet Hakko vacuum-desolderers and i’m absolutely addicted.
A sucker would be a blessing when salvaging parts and such.
Enter the old solderstation from way before i was ever employed at my company. donated to me.

This combi rig seemed decent for its age but the pump was terrible. if the legends around the office are true, it has always been terrible.
My brother, TinkarLjarl suggested i try this pump. a 350w mains driven vaccuum pump!.

Size comparison:

Never thinking i’d actually use it, i went along and hooked up the hose and he plugged it in while i tried to desolder some components.
A bit loud, but it worked like a charm!

Seeing as these pumps have never been of use to the company, and my boss never explicitly saying no, I got to work after hours at the office.

The carrier plate for the pumps looked useful for making this beast more manuverable, so i got one pump off..

..and bolted the station snugly it its place.

A quick relay board for driving the thing, triggered by the old pumps 24v. fuse for good measure.

Cut open a slot for the vacuum and pump mains with a hacksaw. ugly but functional.

Heatshrink muffler.

Works good. the relay sparks like crazy so i might go SSR when the contacts go bad.(they will!)

And there you have it! weighing in at 18Kg its not for lugging around.
A bit of a pain to get to the hackerspace.
going from 8w to 350w will put on some weight.

Helping out an Art student.

Helping out an Art student.

Hacked MP3 player started by a motion sensor.

Helped out a friend doing an art class project. They are making an installation with paper tubes hanging from a roof. When you walk into the tubes a loop should start playing. Solved this with an old motion sensor from an alarm system, connected to an Arduino, connected to the PLAY button of a hacked MP3 player. The play button is connected trough an opto coupler just in case. There are some timing concerns to control the MP3-player, like giving the MP3 player time to play the loop all the way trough without new play pulses, therefore the Arduino.

The whole hack took me about three hours and was made mostly out of trash lying around my workshop.

Good luck, Yngvild šŸ™‚

Violet Ray

I found this beauty on a marked in Fredrikstad on a family holiday:

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I had no idea what it was but instantly fell in love! A few hours ofĀ researchĀ (AKA Googling) later i realize I have bought a pre WWII miniature Tesla Coil to stick up my ass! How cool is that!

The device is a Helio Lux Violet Ray Electro Therapy kit with a large variety of electrodes, including Eye Socked Electrodes, Anal electrode and Spinal Electrode. These devices was used for health care in the late 1930s but are now adopted by the BDSM community.

We haveĀ off course already given it a run at the 220Vs but, as expected, the device is completely dead. A look inside revealed a broken fuse and a shorted primary cap 1uF/1000V. This is now ordered from RS-components and my guess is that it’ll do the trick.

One question remains though; is the Noble Gas in the tubes still present after so many years..? Update will come when the cap arrives!

Update: Cap has arrived šŸ™‚


tech dept.

The Automatic Puppet

Here goes:

Ok, soĀ I’veĀ got 20 RC servos. What do I do with them? I build a puppet-machine, with twelve servos pulling one string each.

Twelve might seem much, but each string comes out of a fixed hole in the box and can only pull the point it is connected to in one direction. So, in order to move a hand in two axis I need two strings attached to two servos. This way I use two servos for each hand, one for each leg, three for the head and one for the neck, leaving two spare servos for where ever it should be needed. The lower back of the puppet is hanging stationary from two fixed strings and is therefore the base of all movement.

The twelve servos are controlled from a singleĀ ArduinoĀ board. In the video I use a max patch that let medĀ controlĀ each servo from a fader on a midi controller, store positions and crossfade seamlessly between two positions. Later I have programmed positions, transition times and sequences into the Arduino board so the machine can work stand alone. I think I will give it some optical sensors so it can respond to people passing. Ā Lamps are also coming up.

Check the gallery:

HelloWorld! Demodrama – Faces


Again at Medialab-Prado for a workshop, last time we held a two-days-build- your-own-light-harp session. This time I joined as a collaborator on Demodrama, one of the HelloWorld! projects. During their presentation, the siblings that started the project, said that one of their original ideas were to use an EEG-machine as a possible controller for the mask. A perfect project to test my machine. I really enjoyed the talk that Zachary Lieberman gave about his search for jaw dropping moments when making interactive pieces.

Demodrama uses the same infrared camera trick as we used with MouseMan, but the software is tBeta. It comes with libraries that tracks, calibrates and reproduce image and video, but a bit too much C ++ for me. The system of projecting green dots in the space that you later mark for the camera is the best. Thinking back I really don’t know how we managed to calibrate MouseMan that good without something like this.

It was originally thought to be a work with digital masks, but in my opinion it became more of a face as screen. No longer a tribal/animal mask with the head working as an extension of the body, but a free-floating white wall/black hole machine. My inital scepticism towards the lack of physicality, it is only a surface loosely connected to the head, was brought to shame when we saw the thing working. This will be magical.

Light Harp – Progress

I planned everything thoroughly. I ordered all the parts. And I just couldnā€™t do itā€¦

I could not get my self to tear apart my beautiful old radio after spending so much time and money repairing it. In stead I went to my favorite dealer ā€œSkrot Torā€ and found a beautiful old Blaupunkt radio. This was a non working model, and a look inside did not give much hope for recovery. The guts suffered severe moist damage. A moral choice.
Interesting note: This is a German model, sold in Norway in 1951, only six years after the war. We Norwegians are forgiving people.

Here is a small gallery of my progress. The geeky technical details can wait..

I want to build a better Light Harp.

I have a new hangup.


When prototyping the light harp we used in the “Gassharpa” project, I found the contraption to be most pleasing to play. Already then I wanted to make a smaller scale model, suitable for indoor use and with better performance, but you know… after tinkering with the prototype for uncountable hours my mojo went dry.

Now the idea has been back for a while. As I am not a clever craftsman I have been looking for a cool thing to build it into. I found it right at my desk; my old tube radio which I bought with the intention to transform it into a guitar amp (it never did).

I am planning for eight strings @ 3 octaves, “touch” sensitive plucking and some clever ways to tweak the sounds, leaving it not just a gadget but a sensitive instrument worth playing.

My worst fear when planning projects is that anyone has already done it, only better. In the age of internet when you share yours darlings with die ganske welt, my worst fear is most likely to be true. However my searches reveals light harps of quite another kind then my invention. More spectacular in some ways. More useless in other ways. The technology I will use I have already tested and it works smooth. My only worry is if my light source is strong enough to give bright beams of light, provided some mist.

By the way: Sorry for not giving the end results of the Saw Project. The video mix down will not be ready for a finite amount of time. Same story. Mojo went dry..