I had a toy helicopter that had lost it’s tail rotor in an unfortunate accident. I didn’t want to part with it because the main rotor still spun and heck it’s a remote control helicopter. I proceeded to turn the once state of the art in toy chopper technology (OK, once of state of the art) into a regular airplane. This is a photset of my ‘proof of concept’ adventure. Continue reading “DIY Plane from a Broken Helicopter”
Now, if your like me you no matter what something does you think that it might be able to do just a bit more. Well, it looks like I’m not alone.
Milk can be turned into plastic; with the twist of a screw any FM radio can eavesdrop on aircraft broadcasts; a radio can be made from a penny, you can reveal counterfeit currency, learn how to make alternative energy science projects, make a boomerang with a bookmark, how to turn a TV tray into a 6-foot robot, how boats are made with milk cartons, how POWs made an airplane out of sleeping bags and more. “Things” will never seem the same again.
One of the greatest things about technology isn’t what it does, but it’s what it can do. This is a shining example of this very concept:
If you have a point-and-click digital camera made by Canon, you may be able to turn on all sorts of features usually reserved for more expensive SLRs. That includes live histograms, depth-of-field calculation, under and overexposure highlighting, and — best of all — shooting your pictures in RAW. The secret is CHDK, an enhanced, free software replacement firmware.
I’m going to have to disagree that the best part of this is being able to shoot in RAW mode. Don’t get me wrong, I love using RAW (or NEF as it’s called on my Nikon) but the best part of this enhancement is that fact that you can do scripting in a BASIC like language in the camera. Wow… This is like getting a computer that has predefined programs on it and then discovering the programming tools for it. With these scripts you can do such amazing things as automatically create a series of photos for HDR stacking that can later be run through software to extend the dynamic range of the images. You can run an interactive interval timer to take X number of photos ever X seconds, minutes, or even hours so you could do a time laps study of ice melting or a building being built. Those are just two examples of what can be done with the powerful feature. One clever thing is that if you make a mistake and screw something up that chance of you ‘bricking’ your camera is quite low. To remove the firmware enhancement you simply remove the CD card and power up the camera. Bingo, everything is back to normal. I for one will be on the lookout for a camera that this will work on.
An old friend of mine is undertaking a project to add an electric motor to his bike. He has been asking me a bunch of questions about motors and such because I have a bit of a background in building robots. I tried my hand at the old combat robotics thing a while back, had my own robot and even started a real competition. However, the sport turned out to be a great way to burn through money so I had to give it up. Anyway, I gained quite a bit of skill at scrounging for parts and how things like that work. I’ll be more than happy to help out even if is just as a sounding board for ideas.The BEMAP project looks to be pretty cool. So far he has a supply of DC motors from a disused car and some battery packs. Mike is a born scrounger so I’m sure his solution will be very unique.
If your looking for decorating ideas that are a little out of the norm…
I believe that Steampunk is more than just brass and watchparts. It’s finding a way to combine the past and the future in an aesthetic pleasing yet still punkish way. It’s living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future. It’s taking the detritus of our modern technological society and remaking it into useful things. Join me as I search for items for my house that combine the scientific romanticism of the Victorians with our real present and imagined future.