Steve Lodefink (left) is guestblogging at Dinosaurs and Robots, a new blog about extraordinary objects that Mister Jalopy and I started.
An inveterate tinkerer and "broad-spectrum hobbyist," Steve just can't say no to a cool project. At 3, he was already reverse-engineering the peanut butter and jelly sandwich: "I figured out where all of the parts were, found a good tool, and built one. I've been doing it ever since." He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons, two cats, five tarantulas, and 24 African cichlids, and thinks that one of life's great pleasures is a really sharp aged cheddar cheese. "I'm a simple man," he says. He looks at life's debris at finkbuilt.com.
Steve has written a lot of projects for MAKE and CRAFT, including the high-altitude water bottle rocket that was featured on the cover of Vol. 5. (see video), the RetroVision 2000 AV cabinet, an atomic ball clock, a cool cardboard fort, and lots of other incredibly fun stuff.
Lately, he's been interested in the idea of using coconuts as packages for his electronics projects. From Dinosaurs and Robots:
In Praise of the Coconut ShellLink
Although coconut shells do have some well established niche market uses such as novelty tableware and small caged-pet shelters, I can't help but to feel as though too many of them are going to waste.
The New Altoids Tin?
No I don't mean as a mint holder, but as an improvised homebrew electronics project enclosure. The Altoids tin does make a nice project case. It has a hinged lid, giving you easy access to your business, a great pocketable form factor, and of course they are everywhere for free. But despite these merits, I think that the ubiquitous mint tin has been used to excess, and its use may be nearing the saturation point. I have a hunch that the coconut shell might just turn out to be the next big thing.
When I was recently trying find an enclosure for the ukulele amp that I was building, a coconut came to mind, and I don't think that I could have found a better case. In addition to the obvious thematic tie-in with the ukulele, the coconut shell has a number of other redeeming qualities.
The shell is hard and durable, easily machined, has a pleasing organic texture which can be left hairy, sanded smooth, or anything in-between. The little brown dome of a half-shell is cute as a bug, bringing a smile to all who see it. The dome shape is extremely stable and tip resistant. I could go on all day.