Saturday, December 7, 2013

Will a Certification Really Help Me Get a Better Job?

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How to use a Fish Bone Knotless Gear Tie.

The Fish Bone Knotless Gear Tie is easy tie, easy to untie, and stays in place. There are a bunch of places it could come in handy. Here are a few ways tie it. 

Fish Bone came about when I wanted to enter the Pocket Sized Contest. You can read about it by clicking here. I highly recommend participating in every contest you can. Each contest is a chance to go outside your comfort zone and learn something new. Without them I may have never thought up this little fishy. To date we have produced more than 30,000 of them. 

You can win your very own set of Fish Bones by entering the Great Outdoors Contest. 

WARNING: Fish Bone products are not intended for climbing or load bearing applications where failure would cause damage or injury.

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Turk's head dice

1. A 3.5" cube. I picked one up at a craft store.

2. Lacrosse crosslace (or chord that is .1" in diameter). I order mine online here. You'll need 149 feet in the following 15 lengths (they match up with the instructions that you'll print out in the next step).

Strand 1: 55 feet
Strand 2: 5 feet
Strand 3: 16 feet
Strand 4: 16 feet
Strand 5: 5 feet
Strand 6: 5 feet
Strand 7: 5 feet
Strand 8: 5 feet
Strand 9: 5 feet
Strand 10: 5 feet
Strand 11: 5 feet
Strand 12: 9 feet
Strand 13: 4 feet
Strand 14: 5 feet
Strand 15: 4 feet

3. A drill or dremel. I have a drill so I also needed a hex chuck for tiny bits: http://http//

4. 3/64" drill bit. I got mine on amazon:

5. T-pins. You'll need 92 of them.

6. A file. Any size will do. We just need this to file the corners of the cube a bit.

Not all of the following is necessary, but you'll definitely need something to help weave the strands. We used 7 and 8 almost exclusively, but 9 and/or 10 would work as well.

7. A knitting needle. This is really helpful for straightening strands and for getting under strands.

8. A threaded needle for tying the knot.I got mine from Martin Combs, who has a website here: From there you can shoot him an email to order a medium brass needle.

9. Another alternative is a latched hook:

10. Or small needle nose pliers.

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Sakura blossom necklace and earrings with YUPO paper

2013-07-01 15.59.45.jpgI wanted to try doing something with a material rarely used in jewelry making -- YUPO paper. YUPO is not actually paper, it is thin sheets of polypropylene. As such, it has some interesting properties, such as being waterproof and very difficult to tear, that normal paper doesn't have, which suggest some intriguing possibilities. YUPO is normally used for printing, and some artists also find it a great watercolor and ink medium.

One property of YUPO that I'd read about was that it will warp when exposed to heat (so using it to make lampshades, for instance, is not very practical). I was curious how much heat was necessary and what this warping looked like, so I held a scrap piece above a candle flame to see how it behaved itself. Watching the piece of paper curl, shrivel, and thicken in the heat gave me an idea of how to take advantage of this unique feature of YUPO.

Using fabric or paper flowers in jewelry isn't new, but both materials, while often producing realistic and beautiful results, require delicate handling, and can be completely ruined by moisture. Since YUPO is waterproof and extremely durable, this wouldn't be a problem, and even the curvature that it acquires when exposed to heat would be completely unaffected by normal wear and handling, and, conceivably, even withstand some brief abuse from children and pets. (Please note: I'm  not suggesting that either YUPO paper or jewelry made from it would make good toys for pets or children. At the very least, a sheet of plastic can present a danger of suffocation, and jewelry tends to have small parts and be a choking hazard. So please keep younger children and animals safely away.)

materials_all.jpg In this instructable, I intend to show you how to make a necklace and a pair of earrings similar to mine. However, it is the flower making technique that is the truly original element here, so you could make many adjustments and variations to accommodate the materials you prefer/have available, and your own designs. Therefore, most of the tools and materials on this list are optional.

Two things that aren't optional are YUPO paper and a source of heat (a candle is most convenient and easy to find). I also highly recommend that you get a "tiny hole" hole punch, as it is by far the most convenient way to make holes in the flowers.

Other materials you may want/need are:
a large flower-shaped hole punch (to help you make many flower shapes quickly),
pink and green flower beads,
pink crystals,
thin jewelry wire (I'm allergic to both nickel and copper, so I went with permanently colored aluminum wire, which is both cheap and hypoallergenic, but you could also go with copper, brass, sterling silver, or even gold wire; I don't recommend stainless steel, or galvanized, as both can rust when exposed to sweat and skin oils),
wire cutter (preferably flush),
and needle-nose pliers.

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Candypult--Computer Controlled Candy Catapult

cover1.jpgschematic1.jpgLet's start with the parts list and schematic.

(2) Hitec HS-311 servo motors (
(1) Hitec HS-645MG servo motor (high torque)
(1) mini Servo YKS SG90 (
(1) Two channel remote control toy--I got a car for $11.99 at a local pharmacy
(3) 5 volt #139977 (these are polarized so that positive voltage on one coil lead causes it to pick up, but the other polarity doesn't; you can produce the same result with a 5 volt relay and a diode.  Relays "B" and "C" only operate one at a time--based on the polarity provided.)
1/4" x 3 1/4" x .025 spring (available at Lowes)
(6) 12" servo extension cables
Spring from a ballpoint pen
4" lazy susan
9 volt, 500 ma DC power supply
6 volt, 1 amp DC power supply
3D printed parts, design and print files at:
Wood, screws,paint, wire, jumpers

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"Off Grid" DC Solar Electric Garage Lighting... Hard Wired and Fully Integrated

Instructables was kind enough to send me this neat little solar kit as a prize for being runner up in last year's "Off the Grid Contest".

The kit comes with a solar panel, an intelligent battery pack, a universal USB cell phone battery charger,  a wall adapter charger and a 12 volt LED light bulb with power cord.

The battery pack can be charged from either the solar panel or the wall charger from a set of terminals in the back. It has a built in charge controller as well as an alarm that will notify you of an error. On the front of the unit are two 12 volt "cigarette lighter" outlets and two 5 volt USB ports that you can use to draw power. On the front there is also a battery level indicator as well as a charge status indicator.

In these photos you can see the solar panel on a little wooden frame that I built for it. When I first got it I planned on using it for camping trips and emergencies so I made up this portable stand. Now I will make up an aluminum mount and mount it on the roof of my garage with the power cable routed through the roof deck, attic and over to the battery pack. For now I put the panel on the ground beside the shed whenever it's sunny.

The light bulb that came with the kit was particularly interesting. Even though its a 12VDC bulb it has an E26 screw base similar to the ones found on your conventional household 120VAC bulbs. The cord that was included had a bulb screw socket on one end and a "cigarette lighter" style plug on the other end to plug into the battery pack. As strange as the light bulb was it meant that I could install it in a conventional household light fixture as long as it was wired up for 12VDC and not 120VAC. I found more of the same bulbs on eBay and then gathered up some electrical boxes, 18/2 Romex wire, tools and got going.      

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