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Shape-Shifting Gizmos

One thing I really like to do is take something meant for one purpose and make it do something else.  I recently took a model rocket and encased it in what looks like an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) warhead.  I then made a launcher out of PVC pipe, put the electric launch guts inside and presto!  I had a rocket launching movie prop.  I realize that this may be similar to the .... read more

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October is upon us, which means one of the most popular holidays next to Christmas is also.  On All Hallows Eve (or a weekend close to it) kids and adults will dress up as their favorite whatever and go out and collect goodies and/or a good time. It's a huge commercial business and you'll even see entire stores that open up just for this one holiday.Of course, hot items are always costumes, w.... read more

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Pocket Projects

Do you remember all the great stuff you used to have in your pockets as a kid?  Sure, your mom called it "junk" and threw most of it away, but in your mind, there was a lot of quality material in there.  Most of it served no purpose other than to stimulate your imagination (how many little boys still see a pen cap as a rocket or a stick as a gun?), but that was the purpose. I still have.... read more

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A Better Mousetrap?

The common mousetrap is a design that has been around forever and inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson to say "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door."  It is one thing to create something totally new and another to improve on what has already been created. I have to admit, the whole concept is downright dastardly: lure a mouse to a hair-trigger, releasing a spring-load.... read more

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PVC Pipe Dreams

I am not ashamed to admit I love PVC pipe and I'm not a plumber.  PVC (which stands for polyvinyl chloride) is amazing stuff.  Sometimes correctly referred to as "Tinker-Toys for adults", these plastic pipes can be used to construct just about any kind of structure you need for very little cost. Personally, I have created a laptop stand for my car, a camera stabilizing device and Captur.... read more

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Waste Not

Here's a good motive to be creative: stretching out your resources to make them last longer.  I recently came across instructions on the web to modify a soap dispenser pump so that it regulates the liquid soap that comes out of it.  I've always been conservative at the sink, but my kids are notorious for pushing the thing as far as it will go.  The amount of soap that emerges comple.... read more

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Recycle & Repurpose

A couple of posts ago I talked about creating useful stuff from junk.  Recently I've had another awakening about taking still-working (but obsolete) items and using them in other ways.  I'm not talking about stripping things for parts to be used in new projects, but giving old stuff that still works a new job.I've got an old camcorder that currently records poorly to its native tape form.... read more

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Necessity's Mother

It’s always fun to putter around your self-built workshop in your garage (or den in your apartment or desk in your cubicle) and make things, but the real test of your problem-solving comes when you need to make something. You have a problem and a conventional retail product just won’t do.  Perhaps you have no money to buy said product (a more likely scenario) and you must rely on your wits an.... read more

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Something from Nothing

Of all the gadgets, gizmos and projects I see people creating across the web and the world, the most impressive are those built from junk. While I can truly appreciate anything built from store-bought parts, he who creates something from the dumpster has all my respect. I realize that “being green” and recycling is a world-wide trend right now, but it takes resourcefulness and moxie to work this .... read more

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The Creative Urge

What makes us make things? It seems that no matter who we are, there is something inside of us that forces us to create.  I don't care what your hobbies are, there is a creative element within us all that demands we build, invent, construct and restore.  Some creativity is more conventional, like the artists that puts pen to paper or brush to canvas.  Some doesn't even seem like "a.... read more

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It's Hammer Time!

One of the most common tools you will ever use is a hammer, and probably one of the claw variety.  If you intend on pounding a nail into a board, this is a good way to do it.  Not only does it pound well (and there are lots of black-and-blue fingers to attest to this), but it's practical design allows for the easy removal of old or bent nails.  Using leverage, simply wedge the claw .... read more

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