Category Archives: Physical Hacks

Digital Picture Frame Hacking

This is a really cool project that I’ve always wanted to try myself.  Some folks hacked a cheap digital picture frame and got it to run Linux.  Add a touchscreen overlay and working bluetooth and you’ve got yourself a really amazing toy to play around with. I may just grab one myself and see if I can’t get this working!

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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in LCD, Repurposing, Software


Keyboard Breakout Board on the Cheap

Here’s a great How-To on turning an old keyboard into a breakout board to use for projects.  I can see this being really useful in a MAME build or as a control interface for a uC project if you wanted to avoid buying an I-PAC or something similar.

Note: After doing some reading, this wouldn’t actually be ideal for a MAME build.  Keyboards have issues with ‘Blocking’, meaning that you can’t always press multiple keys simultaneously.  A device like the aforementioned I-PAC solves this by scanning each key input pin individually, allowing you to press as many keys at once as necessary.

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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in DIY, Repurposing


Pinball Machine Emulator

I’ve seen (and heavily considered stealing) many Arcade/MAME cabinet builds over the years…but this is a first.  A custom build Pinball Machine Cabinet for emulated pinball games.  It uses 3 LCD screens (marque, dot matrix, and play field) and a ton of little hardware bits to reproduce the sounds, vibrations, and knocks one would feel on a real machine.  Really amazing!

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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Gaming, PC, Physical Hacks


Reflow Oven

A reflow oven is an absolute must if you plan on doing projects with many surface mount parts.  Hack-A-Day has featured many examples of home made reflow ovens, usually using a toaster oven and a microcontroller to do the work for you.  This post uses that approach and has a very detailed guide on getting started building your own.


Arcade Controller Build

Here‘s a really nice and simple how-to on creating an Arcade Controller using an Xbox 360 controller.  I think it would be interesting to try the same build using a wireless version and the Xbox 360 wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows for greater flexibility.

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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in DIY, Gaming, Physical Hacks


Cheap Mic/Camera Stand

I thought this was a really neat idea to build yourself an adjustable webcam or microphone stand on the cheap.

Image from

I also found the same idea used for computer speakers.  This may be an even better idea as finding space on a crowded desk for speakers can be a real pain.

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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in DIY, Physical Hacks