Monday, May 25, 2015

Cloud in a Bottle

I saw first saw this experiment on TV and decided to replicate it. I'm using a lemonade bottle, a tire valve, and a modified tire inflation compressor with a pressure gauge driven by a corded drill. It works by building up pressure in the bottle with some water (cloud juice) and suddenly releasing it. The fog is caused by the sudden loss in pressure.

                                                           only 5 to 30 psi required
This is the cloud coming out of the bottle.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Connecting a Fuse

I decided to add a fuse to the beepy chargemobile. I was looking for a way to connect it. Then I found a metal clip from a pants hanger on the floor. It was perfect so I asked Mom if I could use another one. Then I found a piece of wood from the first maker faire I went to. It was part of a rubber band car kit that was cut out on a CNC router. The notches are perfect for the metal clips which hold the fuse. The adapter can actually supply .9 amps, which is .1 amps more than it's rated for. But I decided to put in a .7 amp fuse because I only had .4, .7, and others that were way too large. It also works as an emergency shutoff because the fuse is not held in very securely.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Drinking Straw Panpipes Instructions

This was another project using straws to make noise that Griffin tried when he was getting ready for the Austin Mini Maker Faire, but only one person did it because it was more complicated to explain. The hard part is making sure that one end of the straw has an airtight seal. Tape kind of works, but can come unstuck when you wrap it around the end of the straw. Griffin was able to use hot glue to seal the end of a straw, but sometimes it makes the straw crumple. He wishes that he had one of the glue melters that is like a dish you dip parts into. Mom was able to use playdough to seal the end of a straw, but that only worked until it dried. Maybe modelling clay would be better since it doesn't shrink.

Drinking Straw Panpipes Project Instructions

·      Cut several lengths. There are some interesting ideas online about exactly how long to make the sections to make specific musical notes, but we just wanted to make noise!
·      Block the ends. Try tape, hot glue, modeling clay, or whatever will make a perfectly airtight seal.
·      Connect the set. Use tape or hot glue. It is easier to blow across the tops when the open ends line up, but that means you have to seal the other ends separately before connecting them.
·      Blow across the tops. This is like the sound you get when blowing across the top of a bottle. Also cool to try- blow across the top of a straw in a glass of water (the water seals the end). Then move the straw up and down to change the sound like a slide whistle.


Instructions for the Drinking Straw Kazoo

Griffin's hands-on project for kids at Austin Mini Maker Faire 2015 was a noisemaker made out of a straw. Whether you call it a kazoo, a clarinet, a party blower, or an air horn, it was a fun project that Griffin first saw on Youtube. Next, he wants to find out what happens if you use a bendy straw.

Drinking Straw Horn Project Instructions

1.           Flatten the end of the straw

   2.     Cut into a point (you can draw lines first)

   3.           Blow through the end

   4.           Flick the end to make a different sound.

   5.          Add decorations. 
Start with a rectangle of tissue paper. Cut a fringe on one edge. Tape it around the end of the straw.

Or make a cone and tape it to the end.

References:                (Crazy Russian Hacker air horn)

Car Window Motor

On the way home from Austin Mini Maker Faire 2015, Griffin's car window mysteriously lowered itself a few inches. Dad told Griffin to stop it. Griffin said "I didn't do anything!". Then the window rolled itself all the way down and would not go back up. We guessed that the window was not haunted, just broken. We were very glad that it was not raining.

Griffin helped to open up the door panel to see what was wrong. He tried out the 3D-printed screwdriver handle that he got at the Maker Faire, and it worked well. After we removed the plastic door panel and the sticky waterproof film, we could see that there was a loose cable in the door. We took the old part out to see what was wrong. Dad thought the cable had snapped, but it Griffin said it was a plastic clip that broke. The motor and switch were still working. We had to buy a new "Window Regulator" which replaces the combination of motor, brackets, cable, and pulley. Griffin helped put the new part in, and then find the connector for the door's speaker which had gotten tangled up and lost inside the door panel. After everything was put back together, the window works again.

Griffin got to keep the old parts and we will see what he builds with them. He says that the motor is 12 volts DC, which means that it can reverse directions. He plans to take the cable out but keep the gear box.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Frankenlog Five

Frankenlog Five is a sculpture with a fan. The fan is from an old computer. Griffin replaced the sides and top of a computer power supply case with clear plastic so he can see the fan spinning. He added a stand made out of wood and a small blue incandescent light. Then he made an adapter so that the fan and light could be connected to either AC power or a 9 volt battery. It can use 5 to 12 volts. It can work with only 3 volts but is not recommended. He added a foam filter over the grille on the back. He also added a neodymium magnet on the back to hold the power adapter when it is not in use.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DC Barrel to 9V Battery Clip

I made a DC barrel to 9 volt battery adapter. I mostly use this for 12 volts but it could connect any AC adapter to most devices that use a 9 volt battery. It would not work in some RC car remotes because the battery is pushed against the contacts by a spring on the opposite end instead of snapping on. I used a heavy duty cable with a DC barrel and a 9 volt battery clip (in the picture it's the blue part on the end). I wired it correctly on my first try. Then I wrapped it with electrical tape. The electrical tape is very annoying to work with as it eventually turns into goop and gets all over your fingers and generally makes a mess.
I built this to power Frankenlog 5, a sculpture with a fan. I'm going to display this and several other Frankenlogs at the 2015 Austin Mini Maker Faire. You will have to wait for the next blog post to see it

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Utility Knife Blades

I made cut paper Mother's Day cards for my mom and grandma. To make them I used a utility knife. I bought new blades for it yesterday. Here is a side by side comparison between the old generic stainless steel blade and the new 3M precision titanium blade. Above that is a picture of the card I made using the new blades. The new blades claim to stay sharper 3 times longer than stainless steel. I bought a 5-pack for $1.20 at Office Max/Office Depot going out of business sale. It was a good deal because the same thing is $7 on Amazon.  Safety: standard utility knife safety rules apply. Cut away from your fingers. Don't use a dull blade. Wear safety glasses. Put something like a cutting mat under your paper. In addition, don't press too hard or the tip may break off.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Stay Cool Charger

Ever been burned by a hot phone charger? Griffin was worried because the AC adapter for his tablet has gotten up to 170 degrees.
Here is his solution to this problem. He decided to attach an aluminum heat sink from a computer power supply to the AC adapter using a zip tie. Now it will stay cooler. Next he should use a thermometer to measure how well it works.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Beepy Chargemobile

The beepy chargemobile is a doorbell for my room. But I left the button taped to my door since it wasn't practical to move. It has an automotive style outlet that I often use for my portable CD player. It consists of a wooden boat and firetruck made at a hardware store kids building class. The doorbell on it is a chime from Radio Shack purchased during the going out of business sale. It has a beeper connected to a vacuum pressure meter from a vacuum sealer (a "suckometer"). It has a main power terminal block from a garage door opener. It has a front panel from a cordless tire inflater. It has a 14.5 volt(more like 14.75) .8 amp AC adapter built in under the stern of the boat. Also on the stern is the beeper. The chime is on the bow. It is held together with hot glue and nails. I made a cord reel out of a wooden building set that my Grandad Griffin made for me. The wire came with the new garage door opener but we didn't need all of it. It is meant for signals so it is perfect for this. It lets me park the chargemobile on my desk relatively far away from the door and put the button on the door. Normally doorbell buttons would be on a wall near the door instead of on the door. My parents can use the doorbell to wake me up in the morning.