July 17th, 2012

Monitor Balance Beam with Magnified Image on SmartPhone

If you use a balance-beam scale to weigh powder and reloading components, here’s a clever way to magnify the view of the beam tip. Of course you can use an old-fashioned magnifying glass, clamped in place, to upsize the view. But now there’s a parallax-free, electronic solution that works for anyone with an iPhone or Android OS smartphone.

Forum member Allan E. (aka “1066”) discovered that he could use the camera on his smartphone to display and magnify the image of a balance-beam tip. This works via a Magnifying Glass App you can download for free. Just turn on the smartphone, activate the Magnifying Glass App and zoom-in to suit your preference. Alan explains: “This saves those tired eyes. It’s much more accurate because there’s no parallax — the lens is directly in line with the pointer so we can see [the pointer] off the screen from any angle. It’s a much clearer view, and it costs nothing.”

You’ll need to fabricate some kind of stand or clamp for the phone. Allan created a smartphone mount with a bit of wire, rubber bands, and a bullet box. You can see the system working in the video below. (The video starts by showing a webcam + laptop balance-beam monitor system. The Smartphone system demo begins at the 1:30″ time-mark.)

Magnifying Glass Apps AndroidMagnifying Glass Apps for iPhones and Android Phones
There are numerous ‘magnifying glass’ programs for Apple and Android smartphones that use the built-in camera. Most include a zoom function and auto-focus. You might try a couple different Apps and see which works best for you. Some perform better in low light, while others resolve better. All of the following have 4-star or better user ratings:

Magnifying Glass App, (iBeam), Apple iPhone/iPod, $0.99.

Magnifying Glass App, (David Perry), Android OS, Free.

Magnifying Glass App, (Perun Labs), Android OS, Free.

Magnify App, (Appd Lab), Android OS, Free.

Ultra-Magnifier +, (zapDroid), Android OS, include Flashlight Function, Free.

Story find by Boyd Allen. We welcome readers submissions.
Permalink - Videos, New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
July 17th, 2012

New Polymer AR15 Lower Receiver from ATI

ATI Omni AR15 lower polymerAmerican Tactical Imports (ATI) has introduced its new ATI Omni Lower Receiver, a multi-caliber AR15 lower made of reinforced polymer. Since it was designed to milspec dimensions, ATI claims the Omni polymer lower is compatible with most current AR15 lower parts kits, grips and stocks. ATI says the durable polymer material “can withstand harsh environments as well as everyday wear and tear.” The Omni lower will be available as either a stripped lower, OR a complete finished kit including all lower internal parts and collapsible stock. ATI claims the Omni lower has tested reliably with .22 LR, 5.56×45 (.223 Rem), and .410 but is “not recommended for larger calibers“.

ATI Omni AR15 lower polymer

The Omni stripped lower has an MSRP of just $49.95 while the complete finished kit has an MSRP of $129.95. The Omni lower comes in either black or dark earth colors. The .22LR version is available now. The .223 (5.56) version is slated for release in August, 2012, and a .410 version will be offered in the fall. To learn more about the ATI Omni Polymer AR15 lower, visit www.AmericanTactical.us.

Editor’s NOTE: This story is based on a press release by ATI. We have not examined or tested the product. Accordingly we can give no opinions as to fit/function, durability or safety. Likewise, we cannot venture an opinion as to whether the ATI Polymer lower would be legal in restrictive jurisdictions such as California. Nonetheless, this is an interesting technology that may prove useful in some applications. For example, the inexpensive ATI lower could work well with the Crosman MAR177 AR15 Airgun Upper, keeping total system cost down.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 8 Comments »