Happy Chewbacca Mask Hack

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John Park’s Happy Chewbacca Mask is a new guide in the Adafruit learning system

Chewbacca is a lovable Wookie with a distinctive voice, but here’s how to give him a voice transplant and add your own fun sounds to this talking mask.

This guide will show you how to swap out the original sound board for an Audio FX Sound Board loaded up with lots of your favorite sounds. You’ll need a specific mask to follow along exactly, but these principles can be applied to nearly any toy designed to trigger a sound effect. Or, add a speaker and switch to the mix to give a voice to any prop or costume.

Here’s the full video for your viewing pleasure.

John Park, Full-Time Maker for Adafruit

 

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I’m thrilled to announce that after a decade of moonlighting in the maker movement, I’m now officially a full-time maker and content creator! Starting this week, I’ll be working from my Southern California workshop, designing and building projects and videos for Adafruit Industries.

Adafruit is an open source hardware and electronics company founded by the awe-inspiring engineer Limor “Lady Ada” Fried, and co-run by the highest energy element on the the periodic table, Phil Torrone. I’ve know these wonderful people since the beginning of the maker movement, working together on Make: magazine, Maker Faires, and the Emmy-nominated Make: Television show on American Public Television. I’m proud to be joining them and the rest of the incredible team in our shared goal to encourage and enable anybody to build anything.

There are so many projects I’m excited to start building and sharing in videos and online tutorials. I’ll be making things to appeal to people with wide ranging passions, including cosplayers, home brewers, gamers, magicians, rock climbers, hot rodders, modernist chefs, lock pickers, kids, musicians, mixologists, Burners, escape room designers, aerialists, cyclists, teachers, animators, and coffee fiends, to name a few.

If you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to see me make, please drop me a note in the comments or on my Twitter @johnedgarpark.

You’ll be able to watch my Adafruit videos here, my Learning System tutorials here, my posts on the Adafruit blog. I look forward to meeting you in the Adafruit online hangouts. I’ll also be doing collaborations, speaking, teaching, and other maker activities, please follow my blog for updates — you can subscribe in the sidebar over there on the right.

Building a 3D Printer Turntable

 

I built this turntable for my Ultimaker 2 3D printer. Why? Because each time I changed the material on it I needed to go from using the interface on the front to dealing with the spool and filament on the back of the machine three times. Minor annoyance, I know, but I had had enough!

You can’t wing this too much or things won’t line up, so I did some careful measurements and aligned things well enough that when I blind screwed in the bottom it worked. There are strategies for doing this with large holes predrilled at a 45 degree offset from square so you can screw them in and see what you’re actually doing, but where’s the sport in that?

Now I’m already regretting not making the top piece a circle or gear pattern so I can motorize this for stylish stop motion photography of timelapse printing, but I think I can add that feature later.

Build a Behemoth Cold Brew Drip Tower

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[This is republished from an article I wrote for Make: magazine]

I love cold brew coffee. Its rich and delicious flavor, and low acidity, means it tastes great over ice. Traditional hot-brewed coffee methods simply can’t compare; when chilled and served on ice they tend to taste diluted and acidic. I have a small commercial drip tower that works very well, however, given the fact that cold brew takes up to 18 hours to brew, it’s disappointing to finish it off in just a few drinks. You can buy large cold-brew towers, but they’re very expensive, aimed at coffee shops. I decided to build a much larger brewing tower from scratch, and to make it considerably higher precision while I was at it — drip rate is everything when it comes to cold brew — using a microcontroller-driven solenoid valve for exact drip rate.

A cold-brew coffee tower consists of three main parts: a water receptacle at the top with a drip control valve, a chamber for grounds in the middle where the brewing takes place, and a carafe to receive the brewed coffee at the bottom.

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Sourcing parts was a bit of an adventure. I had planned to use chemistry lab glass for all three systems, but eventually realized that this would be either too expensive, in the case of using a separatory funnel for the tapped water receptacle, or impractical — a Buchner funnel large enough to hold 150 grams of ground coffee would be much too squat and wide to saturate evenly. After much hunting I found the ideal components: a water serving pitcher for the top receptacle, a siphon brewing upper beaker as the grounds chamber, and a flat-bottomed boiling flask as the receiving vessel. For a bit of spiraling glass laboratory aesthetic I added a Graham condenser to the mix, purely for looks.

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Protractor Head Square Cleanup

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I just picked up an excellent vintage Brown & Sharpe No. 4 combination square protractor head and blade for $20. It was in good shape, just needed some cleaning and surface rust removal. Made in Rhode Island, it’s a high-quality, forged and hardened precision measurement tool. Not sure of the vintage.

These are great for transferring angles, measuring and marking at non-square (or square) angles along the length of the blade, and using the bubble level not just to check square, but determine the exact angle of out-of-square surfaces. The blade can flip to both edges on both sides, giving four different graduation sets.

Here’s a photo essay of my cleanup process.

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