Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Solder Without Electricity (or a Soldering Iron)

Soldering is a valuable skill. There are a lot of situations where the ability to repair or modify electronics can really save the day. But most people don't carry a soldering iron around with them. And even if you did have a soldering iron, there is a good chance that you might not have access to electricity.

So today I am going to show you how to solder using random objects that you might find lying around (and a little bit of solder).

For detailed instructions, check out the Instructable:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Heavy Duty Helping Hands Tool

If you have ever done much soldering, then you are probably familiar with the "Helping Hands" tool. Essentially it is just a pair of articulated clamps on a base that sit on your desk and hold a circuit board for you while you work on it. It may also have a few additional tools such as a magnifying glass mounted to it. This kind of tool is pretty useful but due to its size, its potential applications are very limited.

So I decided to build a bigger and stronger version of the helping hands tool using an adjustable floor lamp and some large spring clamps. This lets you hold larger and heavier objects and gives you a much greater range of motion.

For step by step instructions on how to build this project, check out the instructable:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Heavy Duty Pole Grabber

Reacher/grabber tools can be pretty helpful, especially if you have limited mobility. But the typical grabber tool that you find in stores is pretty short and can only pick up very light objects. What if you wanted to reach something that is far away or heavy. In that case, I recommend building your own pole mounted grabber tool.

In this project, I show you how to make your own heavy duty grabber tool that can be mounted to the end of a broom handle or painting pole.

For step by step instruction on how to build this project, check out the instructable:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Joule Thief Battery Charger

A "Joule Thief" is a simple voltage booster circuit. It can increase the voltage of power source by changing the constant low voltage signal into a series of rapid pulses at a higher voltage. You most commonly see this kind of circuit used to power LEDs with a "dead" battery. But there are many more potential applications for this kind of circuit.

In this project, I am going to show you how you can use a Joule Thief to charge batteries with low voltage power sources. Because the Joule Thief is able to boost the voltage of a signal, you are able to charge a battery with a power source whose output voltage is actually lower than the battery itself.

This lets you take advantage of low voltage power sources such as thermoelectric generators, small turbines and individual solar cells.

For step by step instructions on how to make this project, check out the Instructable:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Audio Treasure Hunt

Everyone loves treasure hunts. Running around on a quest to find your present makes any gift better. So just for fun, I designed my own variation of the game. I combined an Arduino microcontroller with an Adafruit Wave Shield to make an audio treasure hunt box.

The treasure hunters are given a code. When they enter the code into the box, it will play a short audio clip that gives them a clue as to where they should go next. When they arrive at this location, they will find another code, which they will enter and get another clue. This continues until eventually they arrive at the final location and find their present.

For step by step instructions on how to make this project, check out the Instructable:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hot Wire Ice Cutter

Have you ever wanted to sculpt something out of ice? Well here is an easy way to do it that doesn't require a chainsaw. In this project, I am going to show you how to make a "hot wire ice cutter."

The design for this project is very similar to other types of hot wire cutters. Electricity is sent through a piece of Nichrome wire. This heats the wire above the melting temperature of the material that you are working with. The wire can then be used to "cut" the material by melting it along a narrow line.

Because ice sculptures are often larger and more difficult to handle, I designed my cutter to be handheld rather than stationary on a table. I based my design largely on the "Hot Wire Foam Cutter" by Instructables user FlyWoodKB. I made a few modifications to make it safer and easier to use with ice.

For step by step instructions on how to  build this project, check out the Instructable:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

3D Printing Pen Tutorial

In this project, I am going to give you a basic introduction to 3D printing pens and how to use them.

For a detailed walkthrough, check out the Instructable: