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Pneumatic Rocket Man

rocketman

Here’s a fun May the 4th be with you project… A pneumatically powered Boba Fett jetpack-launching-mannequin!

[Rodger Cleye], best known for his crazy quadrotor projects, wanted to try experimenting with pneumatic power for a change. He managed to obtain a fire extinguisher which he’s routed through a home-made PVC air delivery system on the back of his faithful test dummy — this time decked out in a complete [Boba Fett] costume.

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Backyard Roller Coaster – Family, Physics and Fun

Coaster Dad Track Segment

This week we have been in touch with [Will Pemble], Geek Dad. After a visit to Magic Mountain in early 2013, his son [Lyle] asked “Why don’t we build our own roller coaster, Dad?”. [Will] couldn’t think of a single reason why not. This was the start of the CoasterDad Project. Excited by the challenge of building a Backyard Roller Coaster, [Will] also thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to teach [Lyle] about physics. Family, Fun, and Physics – what could be better?

The track is made from parallel PVC pipes on a lumber frame, similar to the one we saw for the Manpowered PVC Roller Coaster, but it is more varied and looks a lot sturdier. [Will] is now working on mark II of the cart made from a steel frame with skateboard wheels and has independent axles. He is planning to add a pedal mechanism with freewheel, so you can get a little extra oomph on the rises.

In [Will's] great videos you can get a front row seat on the coaster and see that even though it is fairly compact it has enough rises, troughs and turns to keep you entertained. It may not be quite as exciting as [Jon Iver's] homemade roller coaster, but when finished, the rider will be able go round and round self-propelled to their heart’s content, or till they puke, whichever comes first.  [Will] also explains the theory and practicalities behind making a strong, safe, but really fun coaster. Don’t miss the videos after the fold.

Have you made a backyard roller coaster, or are thinking about building one? Have you got any questions about [Will's] roller coaster build? He’s up for making a video to answer some of them, so please leave questions for him in the comments below. We will post the video later on.

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Leak-Proof Water Blob Provides Hours of Fun

leak proof water blob

With the warm weather slowly creeping back it’s time to think of warm summer days, and with that comes this rather interesting leak-proof water… blob?

[Leisha] over at Homemade Toast has come up with a super inexpensive way to make a water blob  — or a giant outdoor waterbed? It certainly looks cool, and apparently keeps children entertained for hours playing on it. We wonder how bouncy you could make one for bigger kids (i.e. us).

It’s made out of a roll of painter’s plastic drop sheet, and instead of trying to tape, glue or otherwise seal the edges, [Leisha's] figured out an easy way to melt the seams together using a clothes iron. By sandwiching parchment paper over the two pieces of plastic, you can gently run the iron along the edge, creating a very strong bond, without melting a hole in the plastic.

Seriously — we want to see someone make a giant version of this for some extreme waterbed bouncing!

[via Viral Nova]

This Is Not Your Father’s Power Wheel

powerwheels-mainIf you had a Power Wheel vehicle as a kid you may have been the envy of the neighborhood. Even as fun as they were you probably out grew them. Lucky for a few youngsters, [Bob] hasn’t. Not only does he have several Power Wheels for his children to use, he does some pretty cool mods to make them even more fun.

Changing the stock motor out for a cordless drill is one of the first things that gets done. A few brands have been used but the  Ryobi 18v Cordless Drill is the favorite. The entire drill is used, including the reduction gearbox. The gearbox is switched to LOW gearing so that the drill has enough torque to move the combined weight of the vehicle and child. As much as it may sound odd to use a drill in this manner, the Power Wheel can get up to about 15 mph. A stock Power Wheels maxes out at 5 mph

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Cheap Tire Sale Sparks Creative Contraption

IMG_5541

[Greg] and his kids were killing time at their (his?) favorite store — Harbor Freight. They noticed a sale on 10″ rubber tires for only $5/each… and it was all down hill from there.

He started sketching up a general idea for a three-wheeled go-kart. Once he had a reasonable idea of what it would look like, he went down to the hardware store and picked up a whole lot of 1″ PVC pipe, tees, elbows, crosses, epoxy and fasteners.

It’s a simple cart featuring a bit of a roll cage. Currently it’s just designed for being pushed around or riding down hills. It still looks like a lot of fun for the kids. We can’t help but wonder when he’s going to strap some electric motors on it to make it really fun for the kids. Maybe build a second, put some pool noodles around the frame, and bam, you’ve got a set of bumper-cars! If he needs any inspiration for the electronics, [Greg] could check out this Wireless Wii-Cart, or this over-powered-built-in-a-day-cart.

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A Hexacopter with FPV

hexcopterRetrospective

[Robert's] been hard at work becoming a hexacopter expert over the past two years, and he’s offered up a retrospective of his multi rotor build experience since he first clicked the “buy” button on Hobbyking. He’s come a long way from his first build, which used inexpensive carbon rods and 3D-printed parts for a frame, supported by scrap wood and hot glue. It met its end in his car; exposed to direct sunlight, the 3D-printed components melted.

The latest iteration—seen above on the right—is a complete redesign, with a laser-cut frame that dramatically reduced the overall weight and new “Donkey” motors off Hobbyking. It’s strong enough to lift a 1.6kg (3.5lbs) stuffed animal suspended from a rope! Most recently [Robert] has worked out streaming first-person video after fitting a camera to the hexacopter via a 3D-printed attachment and pairing the experience with Zeiss Cinemizer 3D glasses. He still has some bugs to work out, namely screws loosening from vibrations and adding a HUD to the display so he’ll know when the battery levels are low. You can see the poor teddy bear getting hanged along with some other videos, including the first-person video flight, after the break.

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Talking Bacon Plushie Greets You At The Door

BaconMaterials

The folks over at [gTar] decided to create a motion activated talking bacon plush toy to greet visitors to their office.

They started with a toy called My First Bacon, available from ThinkGeek — it’s a plush toy that exclaims “I’m Bacon!” when you squeeze it. But then they cut him open. We can’t imagine what must have been going through this poor self-aware Bacon’s mind!

The hack itself is quite simple. They are basically replacing the “squeeze” circuit with an IR motion sensor — a PIR sensor from SparkFun to be precise. In addition to that they needed a small inverter IC. This is because the standard talking bacon module requires a positive leading edge signal in order to trigger the audio output, and their PIR sensor drives an output pin low — slap on an inverter IC (they had an old schmitt trigger lying around) and you’re ready to go!

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