Archive for August, 2010

I’m a Winner!

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

CoolIt ran a youtube contest where they were giving away 100 Eco ALC coolers to people who submitted a video showing what they do with their old air coolers. I took a little time and made a video.

The video isn’t anything amazing, but it makes me chuckle in that ‘I’m embarrassed’ sort of way. CoolIt liked it enough that it’s been the “today’s favorite entry” link on their site for a few days now. Well, needless to say, I won! This really isn’t saying much since only 25 or so people entered the contest. In fact, everyone who entered won! I’m pretty excited to get an ECO cooler. Thanks CoolIt! That said, when I sent them my address I also asked if they wouldn’t be willing to upgrade my prize to a Vantage ALC. I’d be willing to pay the difference and it can integrate with one of their very new products, the Maestro ESP. If I can get a Vantage and Maestro I will be sure to write a review. The Maestro looks so cool, but I won’t be able to justify the $90 price tag for a while.

Novint Falcon Grip Mod

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

I’m running a contest over at a modding site (thebestcasescenario.com) and we’re doing a grip mod challenge to win a falcon. I had a few grips extra and people have been a little slow on the uptake, so I decided to do my own grip mod.

I really love the pistol grip, so I decided that I would go with a similar design, but address the issue of ground clearance. I started off with a NES era joystick.

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The basic plan is to take the existing grip, add two more buttons, wire the buttons onto the falcon PCB and make the thing solid and look good. I took the base of the joystick apart and removed the grip portion. I started to unscrew the grip, but the thing shattered. I guess this whole thing will have to be held together with glue.

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My camera died so I couldn’t take pictures while the battery was charging, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to work on the thing!

I needed to add two buttons to the existing joystick grip. Because I’ve done some NES cases I have about a million NES controllers lying around. I got the buttons out of them and stole a power and reset switch from a computer case I have lying around and got the buttons working with the same satisfying click the NES joystick buttons have.

I soldered up all the buttons on the Falcon board. There’s no need to remove the stock falcon buttons, you can just add your own right on top. Remember, if you solder the leads diagonally you will always get a complete circuit when you press your button.

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I then cut all the extra crap off the old grip. I don’t want it to look like it was ever there when I’m done, so I want it to be about as thin as the new grip. I’ll add some styrene plastic around the whole mod to dress it up and then I’ll paint it and maybe do some gunmetal stuff or something. (I don’t know I’ll cross that bridge when I get there!)

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With everything wired in in the grip portion it was time to run the wires up to the part of the grip that connects to the falcon itself. I decided to go with PVC because I know it isn’t going to fall apart when I’m using it. The Falcon can pack a punch so the grip needs to be strong.

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I then soldered the wires and glued the mangled remains of the original grip to the PVC.

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It’s not done, but it works. I did some play testing and it was obvious some things weren’t aligned properly. I’ve mostly got it fixed now. Tomorrow I’ll build a styrene shroud and get it prepped for paint. I’ll be finishing my GlaDos speakers too. Those have been waiting for far too long. I also have to make a video for that CoolIt contest. I really want an ECO cooler. Oh so busy!

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Finally, here’s a really quick video of me playing with the grip before I fixed the alignment issue.

$15 Dell XPS case at surplus sale.

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I picked up this case today at a WSU surplus sale for $15. I’m pretty excited about it. The big problem with it is that it isn’t ATX standard, but that’s nothing that can’t be fixed. After I get a few other things done I think I’ll modify this and get my rig put inside it.

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