Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to Make a Vacuum Cannon

A vacuum cannon is an interesting physics demonstration that shows how much atmospheric pressure there is at the earths surface, though we do not feel it because our bodies have the same amount of pressure both inside and out. By removing air pressure from inside of a length of pipe the balance with atmospheric pressure is removed, and if the seal is broken on one end air pressure will rush in quickly enough to throw a projectile with a good deal of force.

To learn how I made the vacuum pump used to operate this cannon, take a look at this video:

The pump is very high quality, and pulls a vacuum much faster than most commercially available pumps, making it ideal for large tasks such as this cannon. Most other pumps would take many minutes to bring a chamber that size down below 25 in/Hg of vacuum.

I first learned of vacuum cannons thanks to this Instructable, and was interested enough to take the project on for myself:

View the original article here

7 Steps to a Backyard Ice Rink

I grew up with a pond in my backyard. The neighborhood kids would come over when the ice got thick enough and we all would skate for hours playing fun pick-up hockey games or pretending to speed skate. At some point my mom would decide we needed hot chocolate and graham crackers, and we'd reluctantly remove our skates and peel out of our winter gear and sit around my kitchen table with rosy cheeks discussing our great shots on goal and our epic falls on the ice.

Our backyard doesn't have a pond, but the kids and I got into the Stanley Cup playoffs last year. My little girl wants to learn to skate just like Sidney Crosby, and my son has his heart set on developing his goal-tending skills to score a cool customized helmet. There are a few rinks in the area that put down ice in the winter, but as a pond skater I find the crowded ice to be pretty limiting as far as trying new things. We has great success with our rink last year. Now as we wait for the next Stanley Cup winners to appear on CBS to hold the cup aloft, we can't wait for it to be winter so we can skate our backyard!

Our backyard is fairly flat, which makes it a great candidate for a homemade rink. There are several high-priced readymade rinks and rink kits on the market, but we're a DIY-style family. If your yard is challenging consider investing in a kit.

What you need:

PVC pipe for the perimeter

Heavy weight plastic sheeting for the basin

Extra PVC to cap off ends

Weights to weight and secure the tarp

View the original article here

Adventure Time: Animated Felted BMO

sdjfds.gifSlammacow Instructabrarians!

 Time for another Mathematical Adventure Time Project!  Ever since I built my first BMO Gameboy case mod back in 2011, it's been an absolute thrill!  My first major electronic project, it has since been featured on Kotaku and the Frederator Studios Blog and it's undoubtedly my most visited project on the site.  I always loved this boxy video game system, but I never expected it to be such beloved by fans!

So this year, as a tribute to Adventure Time's third year anniversary and their fifth season running, I decided to revisit this character.  Having just gotten into the wonders of needle felting, I created an adorable plush version, this time with interchangeable faces: Animated Felted BMO! 

Special thanks to Mikeasaurus for providing me with the gif!Beemo Bones.pngWhy Rebuild BMO?
As much as I love my GameBMO, one of the things I'll admit was how extremely complicated he was.  A lot of fans have begged me to make one for them, and while I unfortunately don't have the time to make another, I did feel somewhat responsible.  After all, what's fun about building such an awesome replica and not having it.....replicable? So this newer version I promise is much simpler. 

A Plush Design?  
Ever since I started work on my first version of a BMO system I wanted to build a plush version of the character I could take with me to conventions. As much as I love the playable version, it's not so much a demonstration piece as it is a gaming console, so I figured this time I'd want to focus more on display.  AND, having recently gotten into needle felting, I decided to make a felted version.  

Add Electronics!
I got halfway through this project before deciding to make it electronic as well. had a great little tutorial on how to use a digital picture frame as an electronic face, and I decided to incorporate a smaller version into this one.  

Pre-Requisites: this project requires some low level electronic skills and moderate level needle felting skills.  If you've never used a soldering iron before, I suggest checking out the "How To Solder" guide by Noahw.  If this is your first time felting, I suggest visiting the "Needle Felted Embroidery" by Scoochmaroo.

View the original article here

LifeRoll Organizes Your iPhone's Camera Roll for Easier Viewing

LifeRoll Organizes Your iPhone's Camera Roll for Easier Viewing

iOS: The Photos app works if you just want to grab a recent image, but if you have tons of images on your iDevice you probably have trouble finding one you took awhile back. LifeRoll keeps your camera roll organized so you can easily locate the photo you want.

You can organize your images in a few different ways. First, tap and hold to select an image and then tap others to add more. From there you can pinch them together to create a group or tap and hold on that group to add to your LifeRoll. Adding images to your LifeRoll will mark them as important and allow you to specify a basic category. You can, alternatively, mark any photos as "Boring" so to identify that they don't really matter (but you still want to keep them for whatever reason).

LifeRoll takes a little time to learn, so it may seem confusing at first, but a tutorial walks you through the process. We'd prefer something a little more intuitive that imitates the existing Camera Roll app but adds these sorely missing features. Despite the small learning curve, LifeRoll makes it possible to keep your photos nicely organized. Check it out on the iTunes App Store if you're finding it difficult to handle your endless stream of images.

LifeRoll ($1) | iTunes App Store

View the original article here

Goldfish Shaped Dumplings

Goldfish-Shaped-Dumplings-with-Color.jpgIf you are lucky enough to visit Xian, China, you are likely headed there for the Terracotta Warriors.  However, not to be missed is the dumpling banquet!  I was able to enjoy such a banquet, filled with 18 different dumplings of different shapes, sizes and flavors.  Each dumpling is carefully hand-crafted to represent an animal or a food.  I was inspired by this banquet to make my own shaped dumplings.

Today I'm going to show you how to make your dumplings look like a beautiful celestial goldfish.  The celestial goldfish has bubble eyes that bulge out of its head.   This dumpling is not much more difficult to make than a regular dumpling but it will have a huge impact the next time you serve dinner!

Note: I added color and some additional tips thanks to an idea from Caitlin's Dad!

_MG_0309.JPGGather your ingredients:
Won Ton Wrappers (I was pleased to find these at my local grocery store, purchase the square ones)
Filling (Today I used shrimp but you can use any ground meat)

Gather your tools:
Steamer (I have an electric one, but there are tons of types, bamboo, metal, even plastic microwaveable ones)
sharp knife
Food Safe Marker in orange

View the original article here