Wall-Mounted Chess Set Lets You Stand and Play

wall mounted chess

Artwork on the wall is nice and all, but don’t you get bored with it sometimes? What if you could interact with it! That’s just what the [Artless Dodger] decided to do with this old  Fidelity Chess Challenger he converted to a wall-playable chess set!

The old Fidelity Chess Challenger is a fun electronic chess set that works by operating on press input. Simply move your piece, press down on its new square and then the computer knows where the piece is. The system is just begging to be hacked into a new form factor.

He’s built the new board from scratch using MDF, and then coated it with faux leather vinyl to give it a more polished look. He’s upgraded all the switches to momentary button switches and then re-soldered all of the connections. This was a bit of a challenge seeing as the original buttons looked like this:

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Plug and Play Portable Console Saves Space So You Don’t Have To!

Plug and Play console

Remember all those fun plug and play consoles they used to make? Usually just one offs with a few games here and there, typically designed to get poor old grandmothers to try buying them instead of the official Nintendo or SEGA systems for their grandchildren…

Anyway, some of the games were actually pretty good! But who wants to store a system for every individual game? [Sharon] decided to make the ultimate portable console — and jammed every plug and play console… into cartridges for safe keeping!

Wait what? [Sharon] took 12 of the plug and play consoles, hacked them to pieces, and managed to stuff the guts into custom game cartridges she made herself. She then made the HandyPNP, a “base console” with buttons and controls, video output and an LCD screen. She meticulously mapped out every consoles’ controls, and wired them accordingly, so when you plug the cartridge into the HandyPNP, it’s like your playing the original system.

It’s probably one of the most impressive handheld console hacks we’ve seen in a while, just considering the amount of work required to convert one console, let alone 12, to a standard connection for the HandyPNP to communicate with. Stick around after the break to hear [Sharon] explain the project herself!

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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

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

If 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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