Astounding Steam Powered Robot Arm


What a cool application of steam power. The perfect super retro project!

Armatron was my favorite toy as a kid, it was made by Tandy, and sold through Radio Shack in the 80’s. It was made with ONE electric motor, with gears and clutches throughout the entire base and arm, controlled by 2 joysticks that engages and disengages gears for 6 degrees of movement (the joy stick each move in 2 axis, plus they twist for closing/opening of the jaw, and rotating of the hand). This complex machine is a marvel of engineering, the amazing control and ease to operation made this toy amazingly fun to play.

Steam Armatron –

Very Nice DIY Holga Camera Lens Mod

HOLGA 110mm portrait lens
Very very cool camera mod:

Don’t you wish you had a full Holga outfit with wide and long lenses? I did! So I made a holga with a portrait lens. This is a single-element, plastic, 110mm lens. It is all the things that make Holgas great: Non-anachromatic, non-aspheric, non-astigmatic, and even more pincushioning than the Holga 60mm.
Built using a $2.49 magnifying glass from Walgreens (lovingly extracted from its housing with a 1" wood chisel) and about $15 of plumbing supplies (counting the stuff I bought "just in case" but never used). The Holga shutter had to be replaced since the aperture was much too small. I had purchased a cheapo Metax shutter on ebay a couple of months ago for $20, thinking I’d put it on a pinhole camera. This is a much better use! (The pinhole shutter will remain a strip of electrical tape.)
The image on the lower right shows a wax paper "ground glass" view (rather out-of-focus) of the image through the lens.

HOLGA 110mm portrait lens on Flickr – Photo Sharing!
Photos from the camera

DIY Video Camera – The VanceCam VC25P

I like the idea of building something that fits your needs as opposed to going out and buying it. Building your own video camera is a little exteem but hey, I like that even more.

This is a one-of-a-kind "film-look" digital camcorder custom-built specifically to shoot the independent feature film, Cold Day in Hell. The camera module is based on a Hitachi HV-C20A/E, 1/2" format, 3 CCD industrial PAL camera with 700 lines of resolution.

I love the fact that they used a mechanical shutter in the camera. I bet the camera operator even got to yell ‘speed!’ when there were doing a take.

[via retrothing]
VanceCam VC25P Camcorder

Atari 2600 Joystick TV Remote Control

Alan over at Hacked Gadgets just told me about his latest project:

I wanted a simple remote that could be used to easily control the volume and mute the TV when the phone rings. I have replaced all of my remotes with a single Harmony 880 control which works great, but I wanted something a bit more cool to compliment it. Building the retro remote was fun and simple since the mini remote that I used was very easy to hack.

It looks pretty slick, and he even used a modern Atari Flashback case so no vintage 2600 controllers were harmed in the making of this project.

Atari 2600 Joystick TV Remote Control

No Where To Go in London

London Bathroom by smoothdudeWell this sucks. If your going to visit London make sure you go to the bathroom before you get on the plane. Apparently there is a general lack of public bathrooms these days. Seems that the local authorities have been selling off the property to make an easy buck (or pound as the case may be) because of the skyrocketing costs of real estate over there (up 53 percent in just five years) and many public toilets have been given the axe. In other cases, multi stalled public facilities that had been on private property are now being renovated and turned into living spaces. Simply amazing… The answer to all this has been a rise of private luxury toilets  where, for 5 pounds ($10US) you can  receive a hand massage (no, not that kind!) and other pampering, or if your in a hurry just 1 pound and you can answer the call of nature without having to find a convenient alleyway or parked car.

Londoners Squirm as Public Toilets Grow Scarce; New Loo Is $10
(photo by smoothdude)