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Categories

Archive for the ‘Home Entertainment’ Category

postheadericon Retractable Kitchen Island Controlled by iPhone



Tim Thaler built a kitchen island that retracts into the floor, and is controlled by an iPhone.

Retractable Kitchen Island Controlled by iPhone

postheadericon Pirate Ship Bedroom With Rope Bridge, Slide, Top-Access Closet

One of the world’s luckiest 6-year-olds, at least this week, lives in Minnesota. This jaw-dropping custom bedroom renovation from Twin Cities builder Steve Kuhl is featured over at My Modern Metropolis:

The main feature of the room is the incredible floating pirate ship. Kuhl used 2×12 ribs to construct the hull of the ship, covering them with layers of 1/2 inch plywood to act as the planking. A bomb-proof blend of plaster and epoxy with integrated coloring was used simulate an old ship’s hull.

But that’s not all. The room is also decked out with a rope bridge that connects the pirate ship to the top of a jail cell, and a rope suspended from the ship’s hull provides drop-in access to the closet. There’s also a completely hidden spiral slide, that lets you travel downstairs in a more adventurous way.

They’ve also got a follow-on interview with Steve himself. I know I’m not the only thirty-something out there who’s at least a bit jealous.

More:

postheadericon DIY Projection Screen Paint Tests

Movie theater and other high quality screens are often surfaced with tiny glass beads to provide high “screen gain,” which is a measure of the screen’s reflectivity versus a reference surface. It occurred to me it might be possible to DIY this effect on the cheap using 80-grit glass bead sandblasting media from Harbor Freight. So I bought 25 lbs and ran some tests. The short version? It works! But, as usual, not quite like I expected it to. Keep reading for all the gritty (ha) details, or just hang tight and wait for the full tutorial, coming soon!

The title image shows my twenty-three test samples against a blank white projected screen. The unlabeled white image, as well as red, green, and blue screens, are available in the gallery at the bottom of this post.

  1. Bare 3-ply cardboard. Same material used for middle board.
  2. 1 coat white paint, unsanded.
  3. 1 coat white paint, sanded.
  4. 2 coats white paint, unsanded.
  5. 2 coats white paint, sanded.
  6. 1:15 beads:paint, unsanded.
  7. 1:15 beads:paint, sanded.
  8. 1:7 beads:paint, unsanded.
  9. 1:7 beads:paint, sanded.
  10. 1:3 beads:paint, unsanded.
  11. 1:3 beads:paint, sanded.
  12. 1:2 beads:paint, unsanded.
  13. 1:2 beads:paint, sanded.
  14. 1:1 beads:paint, unsanded.
  15. 1:1 beads:paint, sanded.
  16. Beads sprinkled over 2nd coat wet paint, excess blown off when paint dry.
  17. Beads sprinkled over 2nd coat wet paint, excess blown and brushed off when paint dry.
  18. 1:7 beads:glaze.
  19. 1:5 beads:glaze.
  20. 1:3 beads:glaze.
  21. 1:2 beads:glaze.
  22. 1:1 beads:glaze.
  23. White melamine shelf section, sprayed with adhesive, sprinkled with beads, blown and brushed off when adhesive dry.

Bead/carrier mixtures were prepared (volumetrically) in disposable plastic cups and stirred for 1 minute each with a popsicle stick before application. Sanding was performed with a wooden block covered in 100 grit dry-use garnet abrasive paper. All carriers and bead/carrier mixtures were applied with 1″ disposable foam brushes. A fresh cup, brush, and stirrer was used for each mixture. Paint was “Kilz Casual Colors Ultra Bright White Flat,” clear glaze was “Valspar Signature Colors Clear Faux Protector Satin,” and spray adhesive was “3M Super77.”

My first concept, represented by the board to left, was to apply various mixtures of glass beads in common white interior latex paint, and then expose the embedded beads if necessary, by sanding. I prepared one too many cardboard blanks and, as an afterthought, decided I would see how well the process worked if I just sprinkled beads onto the wet paint instead of mixing them in beforehand. As a trained scientist, I should know better than to be surprised by the serendipitous results this method gave. As is evident, the bead/white paint mixtures show little if any increase in screen gain with increasing bead content, and little if any improvement over plain white paint, whether they are sanded or not.

However, the sprinkled-on beads of sample Q show a dramatic screen gain over all other samples. When the paint under the sprinkled-on beads was dry, the completely loose beads were easily removed by inversion of the surface, blowing, and light tapping. The beads that remained were not well fixed to the surface, but would not fall or blow off, either. Very light rubbing with the sanding block (or with a fingertip, as evident in sample P), was enough to remove these lightly-persistent beads and expose a thin layer of tightly-bound glass beads with the texture of sandpaper. This was the most effective surface I tested.

The middle board represents my attempt to achieve the effect of surface Q without the “sprinkling” contrivance. A clear liquid carrier was used this time. These samples R-V do show some noticeable screen gain over the opaque-carrier samples to left, but still do not really compare to sample Q. My tentative conclusion was that a thin “monolayer” of beads over a white surface is required for the high-gain effect, and sample W represents my attempt to test that hypothesis.

However, even though the spray adhesive is translucent and the underlying surface is bright white, the screen gain seen in sample W is still noticeably lacking compared to Q. My best hypothesis, at this point, is that a monolayer of glass beads each partially embedded in a white reflective medium is crucial to achieving the high-gain effect: Light enters each approximately-spherical bead from the viewing direction, and because the back of the bead is surrounded by a reflective white medium, bounces around and is reflected back out towards the viewer. In the absence of the reflective white medium surrounding the back half of each sphere, light from the viewing direction can exit the back of the bead and be trapped behind it.

test-boards-blue
test-boards-red
test-boards-white
test-boards-green

postheadericon Touchscreen Jukebox Project

Hack-a-Day now has forums, I’ve been watching some of the new features (forums, classifieds, etc) on HaD and they’re doing a good job. Caleb writes

[Elementix] has shown us his touch screen jukebox build. Using an assortment of car audio speakers and amplifiers hooked up to an old Pentium 4 PC with 120 Gigs of storage, he put together the base cabinet. The touchscreen is an ebay find and he built a custom enclosure for that part. For the interface, he started with “Jukebox Arcade”, a jukebox front end for mame cabinets but found he could easily manipulate the layout since it used an xml file for the settings. After some trial and error, and a little work with the gimp, he got it looking the way he wanted.

Tons of build photos, cool project!

postheadericon Touchscreen Jukebox Project

Hack-a-Day now has forums, I’ve been watching some of the new features (forums, classifieds, etc) on HaD and they’re doing a good job. Caleb writes

[Elementix] has shown us his touch screen jukebox build. Using an assortment of car audio speakers and amplifiers hooked up to an old Pentium 4 PC with 120 Gigs of storage, he put together the base cabinet. The touchscreen is an ebay find and he built a custom enclosure for that part. For the interface, he started with “Jukebox Arcade”, a jukebox front end for mame cabinets but found he could easily manipulate the layout since it used an xml file for the settings. After some trial and error, and a little work with the gimp, he got it looking the way he wanted.

Tons of build photos, cool project!