Saturday, June 27, 2015

Drill Mounted Air Pump

I got an air compressor at goodwill. It was a cordless tire inflater. I took it apart because the battery would not charge. I sold the motor and sealed lead acid battery for scrap. Then I removed part of the motor mount and a gear, so I could attach it directly to my drill. My drill already has internal gears. It has a maximum of 150 psi but I have not been brave enough to test the maximum. I have used it up to about 40 psi at the most. I could still use it to inflate tires. The drill makes it a variable speed pump so you can slow down when the tire is about full. I have also used it to refill canned air and for the cloud in a bottle experiment.

TV Headphones

My dad bought a used treadmill that was very noisy and I needed a way to watch tv without turning the volume up ridiculously high. I asked how to connect headphones to the tv and my dad said to connect them directly to the RCA connectors on the AT&T box and that worked perfectly. I used a gold-plated RCA cable to connect from the AT&T box, to the adapter that I made a project enclosure for, and then to the headphones.
Project enclosure box for adapter (with different wires than what I actually used)

gold bar
connectors on the AT&T box.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Touch and Glow

The Touch and Glow is a device that we got from Grandma to turn any lamp into a touch lamp. It works by sensing the difference between the input neutral (which is connected to ground) and the output neutral. It doesn't really work on all lamps because on some the neutral of the bulb is insulated from the main metal of the lamp. I found a way around that by connecting a wire from the neutral of the bulb to some foil tape. I can touch the foil to turn on and off a light. I set up a light like this near my bed and I can touch the tape with my feet to turn on a light.
Touch and Glow (from

My foot-touch setup.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Macro Photography

Crawling webworm I found online.

Macro photography is very close up pictures. I think I'm pretty good at it. Here are some pictures I've taken of plants and animals. My phone doesn't do macro photography very well. I used a Canon Powershot A570. This camera is better than our other two because the flash is reliable. One of them either underflashes or overflashes, and the other one has a pop-up flash that doesn't pop up. Unlike the other two, this camera has no pop-up flash. It has a button for macro photography with a picture of a flower. Except for the zoomed out picture of the sago palm, I used the auto setting.

leaf of grape vine
web worms

silver fish

more web worms
This is a sago palm, using the night snapshot.

Close up of sago palm center

Monday, June 15, 2015

Frankenlog 4

Griffin made the Frankenlog 4 sculpture for the Austin Mini Maker Faire 2015. It has 4 boards for the feet in a pinwheel arrangement around a big log from our old peach tree. He added a motor from a fiber optic Christmas tree on top. He says it is a 12-volt version of the motor on Frankenlog 3. He glued a straw onto the shaft. Then he added a cone-shaped hat. When it's plugged in, the hat spins. Griffin was very disappointed that the straw got bent on the way home. He might be able to replace it with a new one, or fill the straw with hot glue to make it sturdier.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Frankenlog 3

Frankenlog 3 is a kinetic sculpture, not a robot. A slow motor moves the cart back and forth. The motor was for oscillating a fan. The motor is all self-contained with no external start or run capacitors. I kept the oscillation crank and then screwed on a thin angle iron and then used a pop rivet to attach it to a metal strap.

The cart is like the Frankenlog's foot. I wanted to see what would happen if I turned on the motor when the foot wasn't attached to the Frankenlog. It moved itself like an inchworm on a smooth concrete floor. I also tried connecting the yellow hat with a long dowel taped near the motor. When the foot retracted, it pushed the dowel up and lifted the hat an inch or two.

I displayed this sculpture at the 2015 Austin Mini Maker Faire.

Frankenlog 6

Frankenlog 6 is a combination of a pencil sharpener that I built a while back (talked about in an earlier blog post here: ) and a small piece of a log cut off of Frankenlog 3. Frankenlogs 3 and later are all sculptures that have some sort of electrical feature. This one is the most useful so far. It sort of resembles Frankenlog 5 because it has box mounted to a log on a flat base. Mom says they have a family resemblance.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Knit Rings

What do you call a smart knitter? A knit wit.

At goodwill I purchased some knitting ring looms in a set. Each was 99 cents. I gave the smallest one(the blue one) to Grandma and kept the 2 larger ones(green and yellow). I bought some carrot colored yarn.

Reusing old Coaxial cables

We recently purchased knitting ring looms at Goodwill and needed hooks to go with them. I decided to use coaxial cable because we had lots of it from Grandma's house when she was moving. First, I cut the end off with side cutters. Then I stripped the outermost layer of plastic.  Then I pulled off the shielding fiber which made a big mess because it was made of tiny short pieces of braided wire. Then I removed the plastic from the inner wire. Finally I bent the end with needlenose pliers. Then I repeated the process to make several more. I even left the connector on some of them because it was easier and looked more finished.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ikea Scrap Table

I needed a table because I keep spilling drinks on the floor. Both of my parents agree that the drinks should not be on the floor. It's better to eat at a table even when I'm sitting on the sofa. I tried a flimsy Ikea table with a metal tube frame that Grampa overloaded with a computer. It was so rickety that my parents said I couldn't use it. I fixed it up with wood filler which worked great, but my parents made me throw it away when my cousins Ella and Leo came. I saved the table top and sold the frame as scrap steel.
I decided to build a new table out of mostly particle board. I bought a handyperson wood cart for $10 at IKEA. There was a nice bedframe and some other parts

missing hardware that I sold and made a profit. I used other parts to build a new table. I used 15 inch square 5/8 thick particleboard pieces for the table top and base and much thicker and coarser pieces for the legs and added real wood trim. I could turn it upside down and use it if I wanted to but I don't. It is about 23 inches tall, which is the perfect height for eating at the sofa.
I used an electric brad nailer to attach the real wood trim, and to secure the table top and bottom so they wouldn't start rotating while I pre-drilled and screwed them together. There is also a drill bit inside the table that broke off.