Electric candle that runs on the heat from a real candle

Instructables user Randofo has created a tutorial for his ingeniously perverse candle-powered electric candle. As the name implies, it's an electric candle whose power comes from the heat given off by a real candle.

I have been thinking a lot lately about being more prepared, and what supplies we should have on hand for when the 'big one' hits. After prioritizing the three most obvious things to have in a severe emergency - water, food, and a fair-sized crowbar - it came down to figuring out what else one needs to survive. It did not take me very long to conclude this item was electric lighting. I use that all the time. How can I live without that?

After assessing the problem, it became apparent to me that after a few days of constant lighting, all of my batteries will be dead. This means that either I need rechargeable batteries, or a way to generate electricity without them. Not needing batteries to begin with seemed most sensible to me. I explored different options and finally figured out a low-cost, long-term, and portable, method to keep my electric candles lit. I am going to use heat generated by tea lights. The nice thing about this solution is that they are dirt cheap, small, and will last forever. You can buy about 1,000,000 tea lights at Ikea for $1.99. With a fair-sized stock of small candles, I can keep my electric candle lit indefinitely. Thanks to my candle-powered electric candle, I know that I will never be left in the dark.

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Candy Corn on the cob

An Instructable exists for this. It must be made. Alaskantomboy writes, in the prelude:

I experimented with fondant first, that was completely unsuccessful. Then I though of gluing it together with caramel (since I had a fresh bag of that around too). Too messy and too hard. Then, another light bulb went off.....cookie dough! Sugar cookie dough works perfectly (don't attempt with chocolate chip dough, the chips just get in the way and jeopardize structural integrity). It only took about 4 minutes to assemble and looked authentic.

Vegans: it can be done vegan.

(Photo: alaskantomboy. Thanks, Tara McGinley!) Read the rest

HOWTO make a machete wrench

EV Builder and friends were in the midst of refitting a vehicle to be of use in a zombie apocalypse when it occurred to them to turn a machete into a variable hex wrench. They liked the result so much that the published the HOWTO on Instructables.

Perhaps one of the more useful tools I have ever owned was a flat bar with a series of hexagonal cutouts in it. While minimally useful as a wrench because of its long length, it proved invaluable as backstop for holding nuts in place while I was tightening them down. Not to mention that when my wrench set was annoyingly missing just the size I needed, my hard to misplace flat bar always had me covered.

It therefore stood to reason that a Katana with a similar series of hexagonal cutouts would be valuable both for taking down Zombies/Mutant wildlife and complementing any set of tools used for post apocalyptic DYI projects. However, after a bit of research it became apparent that in addition to being expensive to make, “Katanas are notoriously high maintenance”* and at ApocalypsEV we hate the idea of high cost high maintenance (www.ApocalypsEV.com).

So seeking a simpler more affordable concept, we created the Mechanics Machete. It combines the Zombie fighting power of a machete with the utility of a set of wrenches. Also when using stainless steel for the blade, it eliminates the maintenance hassle of trying to keep the blade rust free.

Every time I see a hex-wrench made by cutting a shape out of a piece of metal, I remember the time Gatwick airport security stole my belt-buckle, including the little loop that held the belt's tongue, because the loop had a hexagonal cutout that was a "wrench."

Apocalypse Mechanics Machete (via Neatorama) Read the rest

LN2-frozen cocktail popsicles -- the cocksicle!

Karen sez, "Instructables user kazmataz has figured out how to freeze alcohol using liquid nitrogen, and made her own cocktail popsicles."

CAREFULLY pour your liquid nitrogen into the container, making sure to not hit the top of your pops. You want enough LN2 to go about halfway up your pop molds.

While that's continuing to bubble away, pour some more LN2 into your smaller container. Delicately pour a little bit on top of your popsicles. It will all evaporate away, so don't worry about consuming any - this is just to ensure things freeze evenly from all sides.

Let the whole thing sit for a few minutes, or until the popsicle sticks seem firmly in place.

**pro-tip: besides just sitting there, and watching the popsicles slowly freeze (booooooring), feel free to carefully move the container around, to keep the liquid nitrogen moving. It speeds up the freezing process a little.

Cocktail Popsicles (aka Cocksicles) Read the rest

HOWTO make Star Wars vehicles from 3.5" floppies

Instructables user Jetpack5 created a series of Star Wars space vehicles out of floppy-disk parts and office supplies. There's even a rubber-band-ball Death Star! Also in the set: a Millennium Falcon and a truly spiffy X-Wing fighter. This is a potentially productive way of using up the 5-billion-odd 3.5" floppies kicking around, slowly decaying. Better than my idea of a massive Beowulf cluster of 486s with four floppy drives each, rack-mounted and spanned to create a massively inefficient, room-sized virtual ZIP cartridge, which would be serviced by a dozen rollerbladed teenagers who would whisk around, swapping out corrupt disks.

Millennium Falcon and X-Wing from Floppy Disk (with Special Guest Appearance: Death Star) (via Neatorama) Read the rest

HOWTO make a disco-ball helmet

On Instructables, Natalina explains how she turned her motorcycle helmet into a disco ball: "This disco ball helmet uses real glass, as it is intended as a costume piece (to be paired with a disco backpack, coming soon!). If you want it to be functional, acrylic mirror would be safer and lighter weight (though not as shiny and reflective)."

Disco Ball Helmet (Thanks, Karen!) Read the rest

Prolific Instructables maker creates robotic claw business cards, spaghetti yetis, and more

Instructables user PenfoldPlant creates fascinating projects! I love the robotic-claw business card (video above), but I'm also extremely partial to the Spaghetti Yeti (right), and who could say no to a giant papercraft Trojan Horse (below)?.

PenfoldPlant Read the rest

HOWTO turn a loved one's head into a laser-cut 3D model with a secret compartment

CarlBass on Instructables (who's also the CEO of Autodesk) created a 3D modelled, laser-cut version of his son's head, designed to have a secret compartment instead of brains.

We made a box in the shape of my son’s head. We laser cut pieces of taskboard (corrugated cardboard works well, too) and laminated them together. The heads pivots on a dowel and is held in place by two magnets... Round magnets have been added on the top and bottom of the head so it snaps close and conceals the secret hiding spot.

Making a cardboard head with a secret hiding spot (Thanks, Karen!) Read the rest

HOWTO make a molded portrait-gourd

Instructables member TimAnderson has a great HOWTO for growing molded "portait gourds," a technique from China and would work with other vegetables. He starts with a 3D sculpture of his subject, creates a mold, and then coaxes the veg to grow within the mold's constraints.

This mold has a flexible rubber lining which makes it easy to remove from the gourd. A plaster mold adheres to the gourd more tenaciously and usually the mold is destroyed in the course of removing it from around the gourd.

The gourd is then allowed to dry slowly, and the outer coating called the "cuticle" is removed. Then the finishing steps, if any, are done.

On this gourd, the details of the face and hair were then traced with the point of a jade knife to enhance the detail, It was dyed with dark tea, and a coat of varnish was applied to make it shiny.

Portrait Gourds Grown in Molds (via Make) Read the rest

HOWTO make animatronic cat-ears

Karen sez, "Instructables user abetusk has designed her own animatronic cat ears." Holy awesomely cute. I mean keee-yooo-te.

I saw the demo video for the neurowear "necomimi" brain controlled cat ears and I thought they were pretty awesome. I'm just starting to learn electronics and I thought a fun project to start out would be making my own version. Sadly, I don't think I'm adept enough yet to take on making my own EEG and I don't think the EEG's that are available are very reasonably priced, so I settled for having a button input to control the cat ears.

I wanted to build something that wasn't too expensive and was easy enough to be done in a sitting or two. I picked out some cheap servo motors, some craft supplies, spent a weekend or two developing code to control the servo's from a microcontroller and after much trial and error, I built some kitty ears that I think are pretty decent.

Animatronic Cat Ears (Thanks, Karen!) Read the rest

HOWTO make a stained-glass D20

On Instructables, CaseyBorders's recipe for making stained glass 20-sided dice. A bit tricky to carry these around in your grandad's old Crown Royal bag, but otherwise, they make some pretty smashing (ahem) RPG accessories.

Now we need to cut 20 triangles out of our sheet of stained glass that match the template that we created. The easiest way to do that is to cut a stip of glass the same height as the triangles we cut in the jig. In the example pictures we used a strip that was 1.5" wide because our triangles ended up being 1.5" tall. Place the strip flush across the bottom of your cutting board and set your angle guide to 60 degrees. Follow your angle guide with your scorer so you end up with a 60 degree angle cut off the end of your glass strip. Depending on the kind of glass you bought you might simply need to flip it over to get the other side of the triangle, but the glass in the demo pictures is textured on the back, so we can only cut on the front, so we need to change our cutting guide to 60 degrees the other way. However you end up doing it, make sure that you are making your cuts and angle adjustments as precisely as you can, because if the triangles are not correctly shaped they will not make a good-looking d20.

Once you have 20 good pieces we can etch the numbers on them. Place each triangle in one of the holes of the cardboard template on the laser cutter's cutting surface.

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Win $100K worth of 3D printing gubbins

gmoke sez, "Post an Instructable on how to turn a virtual item into a tangible object by April 30, win $100,000 in 3D printing tech and supplies. Examples include 3D printed objects, laser-cut files, and even printed decals using an inkjet printer." Read the rest

HOWTO make duct-tape roses

Here's DIYHacksandHowTos's great Instructables for making duct tape roses. The method is simple and produces a really beautiful (and romantically geeky) end-product.

Realistic Duct Tape Rose (via Craft) Read the rest

Cheap Ikea anglepoise knock-off is a good articulated arm for webcams

Ikea makes a super-cheap, $9 articulated anglepoise knock-off lamp. The articulated arm is a useful for anything lightweight that needs to have an adjustable X- and Y-axis. Instructables user Brianandrewparker shows how to use a blob of Sugru to mount a webcam to the lamp-base and give yourself a nice, adjustable camera. He notes that this would be useful for mounting other things, too.

Tertial Webcam (via Lifehacker) Read the rest

Gingerbread cuckoo clock with gingerbread gears

Instructables virtuosa Mezcraft made a (sadly non-working) geared gingerbread cuckoo clock with internal gingerbread gearing. She kind of beats herself up for the mechanical unsoundness of gingerbread, but that's hardly her fault!

Well - this is a bit of a fail so this is where it gets sad. After all my research and all of my effort my gears have stuck to the axle and will not turn. Two of them have some movement but the other two are stuck. If anybody out there has tips on how to avoid getting icing down onto your axle I am all ears! I still haven't given up on this idea. I might try it again another time..I think also the weight of my top gear pieces limited the ability for the gear to turn. Ah well.. It was really fun to try and do. Plus my clock feels slightly more authentic, like it has a gingerbread gear heart on the inside. No Hollow Gingerbread house for me, that's right, I got a Gingerbread house with soul...

I spent a good deal of time "cleaning up" the edges of the gears with an exacto blade attempting to give them smooth surfaces in which to turn well. I then added wax paper "washers" as I was worried that icing might stick ( this was not an unfounded worry), and that the gingerbread might rub weirdly on all other gingerbread. My initial test before icing of the gears worked well. It turned and it had promise.

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HOWTO make a fire-breathing animatronic pony

Karen sez, "Instructables user lvl_joe has built the ultimate Fire-Breathing Animatronic Pony from a FurReal Butterscotch play pony."

For Maker Faire Detroit 2011, I displayed a hack I made to a FurReal Friends Butterscotch Pony. My fellow LVL1 Hackers and I had taken control of the motor control system of the toy and added a flame thrower to it. It seemed to go over really well with the crowd, so I am putting up the information for anyone to make there own. It was a blast to make and I hope everyone has as much fun remaking it. Just remember that this project uses Fire and should only be built and operated by no less then 2 adults with appropriate experience in fire safety and proper fire safety equipment on hand.

Make a Fire Breathing Animetronic Pony from FurReal Butterscotch or S'Mores (Thanks, Karen!) Read the rest

HOWTO make a scratch-built carbon-fiber violin

Karen sez, "Instructables user AussieCFViolin has rigged up a carbon fiber violin. This tutorial is an early entry in Instructables' ShopBot Challenge, which is accepting all sorts of creative projects for the chance to win an their own ShopBot. This contest has only been running for a week, and has already seen a lot of fantastic entries."

I used the infusion method of carbon fibre making , were you lay all your layers up dry and vacuum bag it , once the vacuum is over 25hg (-12psi) you open the tap to the resin , and the vacuum pulls the resin into the carbon fibre fabric , the laying up of the rib mould took me 5 hours each side to get the fabric to sit in the right position , very fiddly ( pardon the pun) .

The gluing jig was made from MDF with 10mm cup heads sticking through , designed to allow side ways positioning of the rib and neck parts , and the holding down clamps for the top and bottom , the centre part of the jig was removed to glue the top on, with the 4 hour set time of the resin ,its important to keep it all firmly heard in position.

The cutting and shaping of the f holes is another reason they call them fiddles , carbon fibre is a bugger to cut , found that if you submerge the carbon fibre in water and use a Flexi Drive bit holder on a Dremmel, it keeps every thing cold , and produces no dust , just ware a rain coat

A carbon fibre violin i made from scratch (Thanks, Karen! Read the rest

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