Been meaning to do this one for a while now, and this is just the prototype version, but here goes:
Basically, it’s a shot at building super-cheap animatronic eyeballs for various home and garden applications. The core of the thing is 4 matching spoons, some thumbtacks, and a pair of pingpong balls. I’m going to pretty much let the pictures do the talking on this one.
I put some holes in these places because it seemed like a good idea
I chopped most of the spoons off, bent them at right angles, and pop-riveted them together at the handle holes
I added some new holes because I cannot measure to save my life and put the first holes in the wrong place. Then I glued thumbtacks into the holes and used rubber bands to hold them there until the glue set
I speared a pair of pingpong balls on the thumbtacks, drew pupils on the front, and glued suction cups to the back. I also bent the hooks on the suction cups into rings.
And finally, I attached a standard RC hobby servo to the rings in the cups via a bent paper clip. This bit is up to you and your budget. I’m working on building a cheap servo out of a spin pop and some paper clips, but honestly you can pick up those hobby servos online for like $10.
Here’s the uncalibrated result (I still need to mess with the spacing to get maximum travel from the eyes)
Well say there folks n’ friends! What spins real fast, serves no purpose, and has taken up a significant portion of my life? If you guessed ‘this weeks project,’ then fuck you! No one likes a smartass, and I hope you die in a fire.
For the past 2 months this project has been an ever-faithful companion. Picture Old Yeller, except that instead of just shooting the fucking thing I continue to let it rabidly maul me. This week, I figured I had it licked. So confident was I that I could finally finish this thing, that I worked on no other project. And I did finish it, according to the design in my head. Sadly, that asshole Physics crashed the party, ate all the cheetos, and puked indelible orange goo all over the dog, metaphorically speaking. I briefly considered keeping this new setback a secret, but then I realized that if there is one place where Failure can kick off its shoes and feel at home, it’s the internet. So here goes.
The first version of this thing was intended to hang from the ceiling by a string, and so was a self contained unit. With 4 batteries, a motor, and various electronics and support structures, it was a very heavy self-contained unit. It could neither work up enough speed to make the LED message legible, nor enough altitude to make itself anything but an eye-level whirling blade on a string. So, the new design placed the LED gizmo and the motor at the end of a tube with the batteries on the other end serving as a counterweight and a bearing in between. This version was to be more of a “thing on a pole.” Here’s a diagram of it:
If you’re like me, then you’re tired of worrying about the same boring things day-in and day-out. Sure, ridiculous fuel prices and worldwide poverty are fine for Barry Pleberson and the Lowbrow Bunch, but not me! Like many of you, I live in a basement, rarely see the light of day, and eat only a potent mash of No-Doz, Vicodin, and Smarties, for which I expect to receive FDA approval any day now.
No, tramps like us, baby we were born to run… from zombies.
That’s right, the zombie apocalypse is just around the corner, what do you intend to do about it? For all you know, the zombie apocalypse just may be my next project, and THEN where will you be? Standing athwart the helm of the USS Totally Fucked as it circles the drain, that’s where.
Unless you take appropriate preparatory measures.
We’ve all seen what happens to those who are caught by surprise by the zombie apocalypse. Guns are useless, trucks and explosives are effective but unwieldy. What you need is the ZOM-B-GONE, and I’m just the man to show you how to make one.
First, I used a hacksaw to cut a notch roughly the size of an axe head into an aluminum Tee-ball bat, available at many convenient garage sales and thrift stores.
Next, I stripped off all the paint using a wire wheel, but you needn’t. If, for instance, you find the zombies are already prying off your hastily applied window boards, you may feel free to skip this step.
To make the axe part, I welded a pair of steel flat washers to the top and bottom of the old axe head I sized the previous notches to fit. These are for threading a long bolt through to shore up the inevitably shoddy welds that will result from trying to fuse steel to aluminum.
The spike started life as some sort of valve wrench I got at a junk yard. You could probably use something similarly shaped, as long as it is roughly the same metal as your axe head. Otherwise the weld won’t hold very well and everyone will refer to you as the zombie who used to be a guy that tried to fuse dissimilar parent metals. Yes, people are cruel sometimes.
I chopped the round bit off, and sharpened the pointy bit with angle and bench grinders.
To make the hand guard, I took a giant busted U-bolt, chopped off the ends, welded a spoon to the bottom, and a metal pipe clip to the top.
Run a bolt though the whole shebang, starting with the spoon at the base of the handle, and ending with the washers on the head of the axe.
I attached the top of the hand guard to the bat with 4 steel pop-rivets, and the spike to the top with an eye-bolt over the central bolt.
Then, I welded pretty much everything. The places where I was welding steel to aluminum served more or less to make the joints a tight fit, but I’m of the opinion that more welding is better than less welding, so I went ahead and welded the shit out of it.
Anyway, after all that cooled off and the pleasant red mist of “welding lust” faded from my vision, I put a couple coats of pretty Rustoleum on it and wrapped a tennis racket grip around the handle. Again, if this is a rush job for you, please feel free to skip these finishing touches.
Or not called love, as you wish. This week I fixed a karaoke machine (no pictures sorry) constructed a bottle-rocket launcher to honor our fallen troops, and made a remarkably un-sexy new case for my computer to live in. All three of these were hack-jobs and not deserving of their own project, so I lump them together like a package of Big League Chew (“You’re in the big leagues when you chew Big League Chew!™”)
Karaoke Machine: The tattered remains of my sense of shame prevent me from posting any pictures of my ill-advised karaoke machine repair. I feel much the same way about that as I do about one-handing kittens over the backyard fence with a tee-ball bat. Sure, I do it, but I’m not about to provide a photographic record.
The Bottle Rocket Launcher I made solely to honor the brave members of our armed forces who died defending this mighty nation. What better way to memorialize the atrocities of war than by getting drunk and chucking small, poorly-made explosives at your friends? I posit that there IS no better way, especially if those explosives were made by Communists!
Here it is, pictured to the left. Mostly it’s welded out of spare parts, but I’m pretty sure the tubes were part of a $10 stick lamp, the adjustable hinge-thing was from the neck part of an outdoor floodlight, and the flat piece with holes in is half a joiner plate. The C-clamp was probably from space or something. No way in hell would I use a regular C-clamp after that week I spent chained to a loading dock in Belize.
The case mod I wasn’t really aware I was doing until it was too late, that’s why I have no “before” pictures. The gist of it was this though. I took a standard-issue beige 10 bay tower, spray-painted it black, added a sexy extra fan, a more magic switch, and a Big Red Reset Button with a cover.
I turn 30 today, and after joining the AARP I decided to celebrate my exponentially increasing crotchetyness by building an EXTRA thing this week.
See, the goddamn kids on my lawn are no longer as terrified of my mighty rake as once they were.
I suspect them of developing some sort of counter-rake technology in their secret volcano fortresses. For a while, I was able to augment my “horrible little bastard”-repellent powers by the judicious application of plastic-jug scotch and what angry parents have assured me is “scarringly graphic” verbal abuse. Sadly, though, I’d eventually pass out and then the little shits would use their mind-control poisons on me, forcing me to strip naked and crap on the neighbor’s deck. If you’re reading this, “Keith,” I’m sorry but there was nothing I could do. As you well know, the neurotoxin that children secrete from their quills is quite potent.
At any rate, the Name of the Game is ESCALATION! As such, I present to you: THE SCATTER-RAKE. I augmented my already fearsome 22-tine steel rake by attaching it to Ol’ Shooty, my favorite shotgun. NOW who’s the crazy old fuck? Tell me THAT you little hooligans.
Special thanks to Ben “Mean Ol Pynk” Phillips, editor of the amazing horror podcast Pseudopod, for the idea.
Ah, Mother’s Day; hooray for invented holidays. Well I refuse to support the multinational gift ham conglomerate. Instead I choose to give my cash to that scrappiest of underdogs, The Spoon Consortium. Right, so basically I welded my mom a flower out of spoons.
This week I made my very own WordPress Theme, scribble, which you see before you. Feel free to download it, but I wouldn’t recommend it until I finish working out the kinks. It isn’t even validating yet.
Also, I caught up on the past 5 weeks of posting these. I’ve not been idle, just haven’t been posting.
It has recently come to my attention that hot pockets, the noble staple of my diet, are awful. Not awful as in unpleasant, but rather awful for people who don’t wish to see their own hearts explode. I realized this as one day, while leaning against a tree, I was approached by a herd of deer who held me down and licked me all over my body until I got tired and went home. after bathing, I went to the kitchen and checked the nutritional information on the nearest box of Lean Pockets. Aha, thought I, each one of these has 810mg of
Not actually relevant, but certainly dramatic!
sodium! 810MG! 34% of my RDA in a single delicious food pod! I eat 3 or 4 of these things a day (depending on how little sleep I get), so that means I’m sucking down up to 3.25 GRAMS of sodium a day!
Now being both cheap and lazy (single too, ladies), I am a pretty big fan of pod-based foodstuffs. The thought of having to actually cook real food on a daily basis fills me with unspeakable dread. In a panic, I rushed to Kroger to see if there was some sort of alternative to this unholy fate. Initially, it seemed not; apparently the term “microwavable” is synonymous with “cured in brine.” So here we arrive at this week’s project: BUILDING A BETTER HOT POCKET. Using SCIENCE and MATHS, I determined that I could combine ground turkey, tomato paste, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, onions, garlic, and peppers in a wheat tortilla to make a thing that tastes pretty good and is comfortingly pellet shaped (more…)
Hey hey hey, who needs another crappy quickclamp anyway? Not me, that’s who. What do I need? I need a way to make the speakerphone on my cell not suck, so here we go.weld some crap onto the fixed end of the clamp, bend up a fork and zip-tie it to the movable end of the clamp. Add a right angle beaker clamp thing from a garage sale chemistry set, and voila. Now I can clamp the stupid cell phone to themic stand and bend it over to my head-hole.