Just for grins one day, I purchased the Dream Cheeky USB Missile Launcher. After playing with it for a while, it sat on my desk as a warning to others. On top of one of my monitors I have a webcam. I'm always having to reset it's position for one reason or another and while wishing I had a remotely controllable webcam (for a reasonable price), I happened to notice my missile launcher and wondered if it could be hacked apart and have a webcam replace the missile launching mechanism.
Well, it just so happened X-Treme Geek had them on sale. I certainly wasn't going to give up my missile launcher, so I purchased another one to perform my evil experiments upon.
Once I got it, I started disassembling it. The more I took it apart, the less I wanted to hack it up. I was amazed by the excellent engineering of the unit. The clincher, after disassembling it down to the missile firing mechanism, was that half of the pitch axle was an integral part of the missile firing mechanism and to isolate it, I'd have to do grievous carving on the missile mechanism housing. I was unsure of the structural integrity if I did so.
I put the unit back together, again marveling at its wonderful design and how all the screws were the same. Once reassembled, I tested the unit to make sure I hadn't inadvertently reassembled some internal mechanism wrong. It worked, so that demonstrated I could disassemble and reassemble it at will without fear of breaking it.
I reconsidered my idea of replacing the missile launcher mechanism with a webcam. Instead I started pondering the idea of mounting the camera on top of the unit. I had already planned to drill a hole in the base to install a nut so the unit could be mounted on top of a tripod. One of the tasks I had in mind for the combination was to place it by one of my bird feeders so I could capture some close-ups of the birds. Concurrently I've been in a battle of wits with at least one of local squirrels that had learned how to dump all the sunflower seeds out of one of the feeders. By retaining the missile firing mechanism, I could give that sneaky little bastard quite a surprise. Hee, hee, hee.
So at the next Hamfest I attended, I found a USB webcam for only $10. That seemed a safe investment for something that was going to get hacked open. Turned out to be a very serendipitous model to purchase since the camera mount could be easily cut off and better yet, be reversed to at least attempt to retain the balance point so the missile pitch mechanism would not be unduly strained.
Copyright © Curt Rostenbach 2007-2013