For my dad's 60th birthday last week, I wanted to do something really fun. My dad and I talk a lot about the past---nostalgia runs in our blood, I think---and we both love to reminisce. Inspired by Jordan Ferney's Postcard Birthday Poster, I started batting around an idea: what if I could get everyone from my dad's past to contribute a memory they had of him?
I own loads of rechargeable NiMH AA and AAA batteries, but most always seem to be dead when I need them. So, I wanted a cheap and fast way to make battery chargers that I can keep on my desk, so that I could have an armada of charged batteries at all times. I didn't want to take up more outlets and have more wire spaghetti with plug-in chargers, so I settled on a solar charger. I'm in the solar business so I had stacks of small pieces of raw lasercut PV silicon cells (solettes) laying around, and I first made a simple battery charger with a few business cards as a backing. Then I found that playing cards were a more stable backing -- and besides, they looked neat. Turn a playing card into a solar charger for AA batteries
Build Your Own Flashing, LED Light-Up Speakers from Clear PVC and Cheap Speaker Drivers
If you don't want to light your fireworks by hand and have an old cell phone you don't mind taking apart you can impress your friends by building a phone-triggered circuit to light the fuses and light the fireworks by calling the cell phone. In addition to the cell phone you'll need about five bucks worth of electronic components, model rocket fuses, and a soldering iron. Technology DIY forum ZOMGstuff.net user Mr. Hasselhoff gives a full step-by-step tutorial at the source link below, but what you're basically doing is soldering two wires to the speaker output circuit so that when the phone rings the current flows to the trigger of a thyristor which will then send current to alligator clips cliped to your rocket fuses. Trigger Fireworks Using an Old Cell Phone
Available at PlowHearth.com While browsing the Plow & Hearth website the other day, I came across these Color-Changing Fireplace Pinecones. When you toss one of these into your open fire, the flames will change color (the website says blues and greens) for a few minutes while the pinecone burns. While I thought it was a pretty cool idea, I was a little surprised by the price – nearly $40. I wondered if it was possible to make your own. Make Your Own Color-Changing Fireplace Pinecones
This is Petter Forsberg. He's just like you or me, with one important difference: he built his own Segway for €300 ($434). Granted, it doesn't look quite as slick as Dean Kamen's off-the-shelf self-balancing electric vehicle, but if the videos are to be believed (and there are plenty of hi-def ones to choose from), the two-wheeler moves pretty well, particularly when spinning atop old stone structures or beneath a Swedish flag. Forsberg has a breakdown of the project over on his page, which you can find in the source link -- but be sure to check out the video below before heading over. It's not the first DIY Segway we've seen, but darn if it doesn't make us want to find some electric scooters to tear apart. Man builds DIY Segway for $434, begins casting 'Arrested Development' fan film (video)
Jambo Instructabrarians! Picture this: It's 87 degrees and scorching outside, you desperately want a Slurpee, but the nearest 7-11establishment is about about 5 blocks down. You could go out for a walk, but the heat is so intense you don't think you can make it there and back. You might be able to take a drive, but- wait a minute- car's impounded. So what do you do- risk burning to a crisp for a delicious drink, or struggle through this insane weather, Slurpeeless? Handheld Air Conditioner Unit
Block and Bar Vinyl Record Cleaner If you're into vinyl records and you get yours at the same places I do, at flea markets, yard sales and Goodwill, you know how frustrating those "snap, crackle and pops" can be. Trying to get the decades-old dust and crud that causes those noises out of the grooves can easily turn into an all-day affair. Here's a device you can easily make, that uses a remarkable polymer sold just about everywhere as "Removable Putty" that can deep clean your vinyl records and return them to their original state.