High Voltage: How to cook your goose in 62 easy steps

Prepare to learn. [Grenadier] has put together a collection of information about AC electricity that can safely be called a super-post. In 62 parts he covers a myriad of topics, some of them safe, many of them not so much. You may want to spend time reading through everything that he has to offer, but just in case you don’t, step one is a table of contents. In it you’ll find a listing of major points including transformers of every kind imaginable; from microwave ovens, neon signs, bug zappers, x-rays, and televisions. [Grenadier] covers the type of transformers that these items use, where to find them, and how to set up your own experiments. There’s plenty of pictures and several videos where the high-powered sparks fly. We feel like there’s enough here that we can be satisfied with vicarious AC interactions while safely in front of our monitor and far away from the heart-stopping action.

[Thanks Marcus]

High Voltage Etch a Sketch

What do you get when you mix a simple X/Y plotter, a Flyback transformer, and an unhealthy disregard for safety? Possibly the worlds most dangerous jumbo Etch a Sketch! [Kalboon] started off by making an imprecise X/Y movement device, similar to a CNC machine setup, but with less emphasis on precision. This rig is powered by some commonly salvagable materials, including an old scanner, a remote control car, and some hobby servos. We like this approach because most of these materials could be scrounged from a parts bin, surplus sale, or craigslist for little to no actual cost. The flyback transformer comes from an old TV or monitor, though if you have common sense safety concerns, we would recommend just mounting a dry erase marker and a dry erase board to substitute out the high voltage bits. For people wanting a low cost introduction project to making a CNC or Makerbot style build, this isn’t a bad place to start.

Wood burning house heater

Dabbling in alternative heating technology, [Rob Steves] built a wood stove to dispose of his scrap wood while negating his home’s fire insurance at the same time. As the leftover bits from his wood projects started to stack up he wondered how he would dispose of them. Burning the bits for heat means he’s using every last bit of the lumber. The internal tank from an electric water heater was repurposed as a combustion chamber, with exhaust gases escaping through some high-temperature flexible tubing. The glass panes were removed from one of the fireplace doors to give the off-gases a place to go. The result is a rocket stove that burns very hot and does a great job of warming his house.

It’s not the safest way to heat a home, and there may be coding issues with your municipality. But this might go well in a remote location, like that cabin where you have to generate your own electricity.

[Thanks HybridBlue]

Remotely control your crappy car (dangerously)


Here’s one that brings back that giddy feeling we got when the original episodes of thebroken were posted all those years ago. The lunatics over at Waterloo Labs have altered a beat-up Oldsmobile for remote control via laptop, iPhone, and…. wait for it… Power Wheels.

Brake and gas pedals are actuated using a wrench connected to a motor bolted to the floorboards of the car. The steering wheel has been replaced with a gear and connected to a motor using a motorcycle chain. Much like the van we saw last month, an iPhone app has been written to wirelessly control the car of doom. This leads to some car surfing and ghost riding the whip in the video after the break.

To our delight, they’ve also implement the most unorthodox automotive interface yet, Power Wheels. A chain has been added to measure the orientation of the toy steering wheel, and an optical encoder is used to measure the speed of the tiny electric vehicle. It looks like it doesn’t do the best job of translating to a full size vehicle, but it maxes out their style points.

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