"If jacking on'll make strangers think I'm cool, I'll do it!"

A project log for Futurama's Jack dispenser

"Grab a Jack !"

pierreppierrep 03/24/2014 at 17:350 Comments

Hello World, here's our first update, it's not a big and important one but it will allow us to present you the components we get and the thoughs we had on the design.

NOTE: all dimensions are in mm.

Buy online... And what ?

On a sunny sunday, between two naps, we bought the main components on Internet. We opted for a motorcycle amplifier with 4x20W output channels that will be the heart of our Jack Dispenser. We also bought two plasma balls (in case we would break one) that can be powered with USB. It's 80mm wide and won't be too power-hungry. After getting these components on the web, we have to wait for them to deliver so we will see how we will use them later. Stay tune !

The motorcycle amplifier. 80W under the (tiny) hood.

The cute USB plasma ball

As we though of our project a little more, we encountered the first problem and one of the most important thing in our project : the design!
If it wasn't for the design the Jack Dispenser wouldn't look Sci-Fi enough to satisfy the Hack-A-Day team.

The first step for designing our project was to determine how it would be build. As seen later, our choice was to get common everyday-used objects that could be bought for a cheap price. But we had to choose what kind of objects could be used and their possible dimensions. At that point, it was obvious that we should get our hands on drawing it with the model we got on the Futurama's episode.

Drawing and scaling

First, we used Inkscape to draw a half-cutted view of the object on a semi-transparent screenshot we placed on the background. The drawing was made roughly, to get a basic idea of the shape.

Using Inkscape to draw basic shapes

Next, using Qcad, we corrected the previous drawing and after struggling with Qcad, we finally were able to scale it using the only known dimension : the plasma ball which is 80mm wide. With some measures, we were able to make a list of everyday objects with a shape that would fit in our design with their dimensions.

  Correcting and scaling with Qcad

ShapeHeightWidth (diameter)
Plasma ball
Big bowl (x2)
Little bowl
Smaller bowl5075
Champagne flute ?
7020 (bottom) ; 45 (end)

These shapes were what we planned to find. Thankfully, the motorcycle amplifier is so tiny that it could fit in a big bowl 200mm wide. But we found others objects and shapes in the store :

ObjectHeightWidth (diameter)
Basin (x2)
Water sprayer
Champagne flute
11020 (bottom) ; 50 (end)

Crap hunters !

Since it's an Hack-A-Day contest we thought common objects once assembled would perfectly do the trick with a bit of work and decided to go where some of these can be found a really resonable price as we intended it to be quite a low cost object to replicate. Fortunatly we were lucky and hit the strike as all of the objects for the design could be found at a crap-junk yard called Babou. For 12,90€ we had it all! 2 simple basins of 300mmØ, a water sprayer (or whatever you use that for), and plastic champagne flutes (pack of 8).

On top, from left to right: water sprayer, champagne flute ; on bottom : two basins

Back home we were able to assemble the very first crappy prototype in less than one minute.

The crappy design prototype. Really close, isn't it ?

And next ?

Next ? We have to wait for the components to deliver and buy a few more components to build it perfectly. We will make updates as long as we build it, with pictures and details.

NOTE: We're aware that the device seen on Futurama does not fit the exact same dimensions. It's Matt Groening's fault, who's not aware of how a Jack Dispenser looks like in Y3K !