Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

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The Mega Claw – Joystick (4 of 9)

The joystick was a definite must.  We had talked about it and stumbled across Mary Flanagan’s giant joystick and it was final, we needed something epic. Just like her’s, ours is modeled after the Atari days of joysticks. It’s human sized and enough to be a project itself. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to use this to play games as well.
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The Mega Claw – Claaaaw (3 of 9)

So I designed the real claw in Google Sketchup, a 3d design tool. I decided to make it out of 1/4in plywood and to add a skate bearing at every joint to reduce any friction or strain on the motor. In hindsight this cost a lot more and probably wasn’t necessary. Continue reading ‘The Mega Claw – Claaaaw (3 of 9)’

The Mega Claw – Concepts and Experiments (2 of 9)

Here’s a little sketch of the original idea for the Mega Claw. Build a big frame, make a slide go back and forth left and right and drop a claw. Easy right?
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The Mega Claw – Logistics (1 of 9)

So we gave a lot of thought on what we would bring to Maker Faire NYC 2010. It needed to be fun to build, challenging to design and fun for non-makers to see. We wanted to keep it low cost or it needed to be marketable. Also it should be something we can upgrade every year. A mega sized claw was the best idea we had. It needed to be the biggest in existence, modular and transportable in a van, and just thinking about it brought nostalgia of childhood. The first thing we decided on was the size, it had to have a 10′x10′ footprint. It’s the maximum length we could fit in our cars and the maximum length any hardware store sells. The next thing we figured out was how many prizes we would need to stuff into this to make it look awesome. We figured the best way to fill the machine was to use balloons so it would look like a giant ball pit. The balloons would all represent a prize of some sort and be easier for the player to grab. A little math in the excel sheet below and we figured it would take close to 1000 balloons and take 1 person about 8hrs+ to fill it all up. Yikes! Also we started playing around with some numbers and we figured the project would cost us around $2000. It was too awesome an idea to pass up, no matter the cost. So we all committed and started chugging away at concepts and mini experiments.

Cost Estimate

Maker Faire 2010

Table of contents

The Mega Claw – Intro (Splash)

The Mega Claw – Logistics (1 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Concepts and Experiments (2 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Claaaaw (3 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Joystick (4 of 9)

The Mega Claw – The Frame (5 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Electronics & Software (6 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Prizes (7 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Maker Faire (8 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Summary (9 of 9)

D.A.V.E. the Turret

A couple of my friends and I took the mechatronics class at our university last year. For our final project we built an autonomous sentry turret capable of picking out people in a room and shooting them down. We called it the Digital Assignation & Violence Entity, or D.A.V.E. for short. We think this is the latest in proactive autonomous personal defense, if you happen to be on a shoe string budget that is.


Some of D.A.V.E.’s features:

  • Finds people up to 20 feet away
  • 150° scan range
  • Holds 20 foam darts at a time

Since this was a class project we were expected to purchase our own supplies for anything we wanted to build. Which meant we where going to build this turret out of whatever supplies we had on hand. We made the frame out of scrapes of wood we had around. The toy gun we purchased at a 60% discount from a KB toys that was going out of business. The fabric covering the base used to be a pair of pants…

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Halloween 2009

Pumpkin 2009 (resized)
This weekend I was carving pumpkins with my girlfriend. Pumpkin carving, a soothing time to bond, relax, and justify having power tools. Rather than hacking away at a pumpkin with a dinner blade, my trusty jigsaw and dremel did most of the cuts and an exacto knife detailed. It was much less effort and the pumpkins came out great.

Being me, I wasn’t settled with a mildly dangerous tea candle. I upgraded the wick by adding part of a regular candle. This made the pumpkin burn with a much more ominous glow (Harzard +1).

It was good, but not great. I went down to the shop and bore a hole into the back of the pumpkin. Add one spray can and that brought the pumpkin from seasonal fire hazard to double fisted spray can/fire extiguisher dangerous (Harzard +3 Safety +2).

In hind sight I should have bore the hole larger. Why? Well the fuel I’m spraying there tended to puddle up in the opening and set the pumpkin on fire, thankfully the pumpkin was fresh and still moist.

More photos after the break
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Fallout 3 Buffout, in real life!

I made own my real life Buffout! Check it out:

buffout white bg

It’s really easy to make. All you need is a handful of items.

buffout assembly

Get the label from this site:
Scroll down a little until you reach the template for buffout (it’s going to be a link to a jpg file). Once you download it you’re going to have to print it out to scale. It should come out exactly 6 inches long and 2.5 inches tall. An easy way to do this is to toss the picture into microsoft word, where it should automatically get scaled to the correct size.

Next you need the bottle. I got mine from here,
The bottle costs 70 cents but the site charges a surcharge of $10 if your order is under $50. To get around the surcharge I requested the bottle as a free sample. The store allows you to order a single free sample of any product. The only downside is that you still have to pay the $7 shipping cost. Don’t forget to get a matching lid for the bottle:

Now you wait. The bottle and lid should arrive at your door steps in 3 to 5 business days. This is a good opportunity to go out and buy a pack of Altoids. You’ll need them for later. 

Once you have the bottle all that’s left to do is stick the label on. I printed my label on regular paper and used permanent double sided scotch tape to adhere it to the bottle. A strip of tape at the start and end of the label will hold it on forever.

After you get the label on, fill the bottle with Altoids and screw the lid on, tightly. The lid you purchased has an inner liner that is going to fuse with the rim, and seal the bottle air tight; giving your Buffout that straight-from-the-factory look. Like this:

Brand new, factory sealed Buffout

Brand new, factory sealed Buffout

Opened bottle of Buffout

Opened bottle of Buffout

Enjoy! These upgraded Altoids should now give you an instant +60HP, +3END and +2STR !*

* Note: Altoids might not actually give real life character bonuses, other than fresh breath.

Steampunk Jewelry

I’ve always been into unconventional things.  So when I came across this website selling the most unusual jewelry I was in love.

The creator of these unique designs,  who goes by the name edmdesigns, has chosen to brand the  art as the “Tiffany’s of Steampunk.” Influenced by the craftsmanship and vintage artistry of the Victorian era, edmdesigns reanimates those same designs for us.

Although other items are up for sale as well, but as I am a girl, naturally I am more attracted to the jewelry, most notably rings.


How Curly Frys are Made

AndiE and I were walking around Manhattan and we stumbled upon a street fair for Bastille Day.  Bastille Day is a French national holiday honoring the Storming of the Bastille.

We had some wonderful crepes and acted like tourists.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of this french fry machine they had. So flippin’ cool. You can even hear me say it’s so flippin cool.

Lee Valley Light/Flashlight Holder

When I was a young whipper snapper, my first lesson in automotive repair was enlightening and required extreme dedication.  My father passed it down to me, as I’m sure countless fathers have around the world.  It’s like it was just yesterday, when my dad started off with those classic few words, “Son, hold the light.”

I don’t know about you, but I would have killed for one of these tools. I feel like I could build one just as easily, but for $9 bucks this tool isn’t too expensive.  Opinions?