(Bill Gurstelle is guest blogging here on Boing Boing. He is the
author of several books including Backyard
Ballistics, and the recently published Absinthe
My friend Christian Ristow was at Maker Faire with his giant pneumatically powered sculpture called Hand of Man. It's great. It's a highly interactive piece in which one puts on a glove with sensors and controls a multi-ton pneumatic hand capable of picking up and crushing a refrigerator.
Photo - Scott Beale at Laughing Squid
About a year or so ago, I worked on a TV pilot for Discovery Channel starring Christian. He is perhaps the most gifted mechanical artist I've ever met.
Ristow designed a machine gun potato cannon which was a true machine gun spud gun. It had a gravity fed magazine that fed spuds into the firing chamber. I've built a lot of spud guns in my time, mostly like those in Backyard Ballistics. This was a magnitude more powerful and complex. There were four high pressure air tanks that could shoot potatoes continually and at high velocity until the magazine was emptied. I dubbed it "the Quadra-tater."
The airtanks were massive. I calculated the muzzle velocity to be well in excess of 85 mph. The rate of fire depended on the speed with which you turned a crank. The crank controlled five pneumatic solenoid valves, one for the magazine loader and one for each of the air tanks.
It worked absolutely great. We could get 20 or potatoes in the magazine and could empty the thing in much less than a minute. For the finale, the Quadratater, along with a gatling gun that Dave Mathews built, destroyed a car.
more Quadra-Tator images on my blog at Notes From the Technology Underground
Justine Haupt made this handsome and completely functional rotary cellphone. Her design is open-source and you can even buy a case kit from her company, Sky’s Edge Robotics. You have to find and carefully modify your own rotary dial, though — they’re apparently no longer made — as well as a few other components. Why […]
Samsung claims to have developed an “Ultra Thin Glass” for its new Galaxy Z Flip foldable smartphone, signalling scratch resistance and durability beyond that of similar products. But tests conducted by Zack Nelson using a Mohs Hardness Testkit [Amazon] — a set of styluses made of different materials — show that it is no more […]
There is very little evidence that Ring reduces crime. Hundreds of police departments have signed agreements with Amazon-owned Ring to obtain access to the home surveillance camera footage. Interviews with many of them, in 8 different states, show little to no evidence that Ring actually deters criminal activity.
You’d be surprised anyone would have to say this, but…there are plenty of items that don’t belong in a suitcase. Like a bag of dead birds. No, really…people are actually packing bags of small dead birds into their luggage these days. Look, we can’t tell you how to pack. That’s your business. But we can […]
Presidents’ Day and VPNs may not be a natural fit at first glance. But think about it for a minute. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both American presidents whose legacies are forever tied with liberty and freedom. And what is a VPN service if not absolute web liberty and freedom for all your digital […]
You hear the stories all the time. You know the ones about how a new vehicle instantly loses hundreds, even thousands of dollars in value the second a new owner drives it off the lot. Depreciation is a killer, especially when the item itself works just as well — or maybe even better than all […]