Single-column Rubens’ tube

Here’s a fiery project which [Patrick] calls his Pyro Jam Can. It’s the simplest Rubens’ Tube build that we can think of. For the uninformed, a Rubens’ tube uses flammable gas to reveal wave forms passing through the supply vessel. In the past we’ve seen projects with multiple columns, which very clearly show a standing wave. But this version lacks the resolution for that, so the wave is seen as a modulated flame height.

You can see the propane feed tube coming into the can from the right. This keeps the gas flowing steadily, but a diaphram on the bottom of the can made of a latex balloon allows for modulations in flame height by pushing the gas through the aperture a bit faster than it is flowing. A speaker in the base bounces sound waves off of the diaphragm for the effect seen in the video clip after the break.

We wonder if the can will ever heat up enough to melt the balloon on the other end?

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Forget that boring old fire pit, build a Flame Tree instead!


Maker Faire is a great event to attend not only because you get to see all sorts of cool designs and machinations, but because you can participate as well. At Maker Faire Bay Area 2011, maker [Brett Levine] put together a fun and interactive display he likes to call the DIY Flame Tree.

The concept is pretty simple, and he says everyone who participated got a pretty good kick out of lending a hand. Each participant was given a piece of copper tubing and allowed to bend, twist, and sculpt it to their liking before using a drill to add holes wherever they pleased. They were then allowed to choose where their portion of the project would be mounted on the existing tree.

With everyone standing a safe distance away from the display, [Brett] pumped it full of propane and lit the various sections on fire. In the video below, you can see that the display was blown around a bit by the wind, but we imagine it would look pretty awesome on a still summer evening.

Even if you’re not into this sort of art, you have to admit that it certainly beats a boring old fire pit!

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Alternative Phone Charging Devices

We’ve all heard of solar cells that charge your devices, or the odd flashlight that charges when you shake it, but this style charger should be new to almost everyone. This “pan charger” is reportedly capable of charging a cell phone or other mobile device using a USB connection in 3 to 5 hours.  It also has a built-in radio and lantern. This should be a great tool for surviving a zombie apocalypse or if you simply live in a region without readily available power.

A second charger, currently being used in Africa, is an adaptation of a small generator hooked up to a bicycle. As this form of transportation is quite common in developing nations, this simple idea definitely shows promise.  Check out the video of the bike cell phone charger after the break. [Read more...]

Thermic lance made from spaghetti


[Frogz] sent in a video he found of a thermic lance constructed from spaghetti. If you are not familiar, thermic lances are typically comprised of an iron tube filled with iron rods, which are then burned using highly pressurized oxygen. This lance however, was built by tightly wrapping a bundle of spaghetti in aluminum foil and attaching it to an oxygen tank. While thermic lances are commonly used in heavy construction where thick steel needs to be cut, [latexiron] and his friends use theirs to cut apart a chair. While we don’t necessarily condone drunken destruction of innocent patio furniture, we can’t help but watch this video again and again in amazement of the incredibly novel use of everyday pasta. You too can join in the drunken revelry after the jump. If food-based cutting torches are your thing, be sure to check out this bacon lance as well.

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Flaming guitar hero

[Chris Marion] knew he wanted to play with fire, or more accurately with fireball spewing valves, but he need a good project in which he could use them. Inspiration finally struck and he built this controller that matches fireballs to the fret buttons on a Guitar Hero controller. There’s quite a lot that goes into this but we think that he hit a home run. The basic components are a manifold with electronically actuated valves, another manifold for the pilot lights, and a modified Guitar Hero controller.

To interface the controller he used an Arduino along with [Bill Porter's] PS2 library to read signals from the buttons. But the real labor intensive part of the build came with the manifold. There’s a hardware store’s worth of fittings and flexible copper pipe that go into that assembly. In the end this all came together in just one week.

[Thanks Bill]

Hacked AC and ash filter

Moscow is in a bit of a hot spot right now, dealing with a heat wave and enormous wildfires. The combination of smoke, ash, and heat was driving Andrew up a wall so he built a contraption to provide some relief. It has two chambers, the bottom houses ice water, the top is an air baffle. A small DC fan pumps air into the upper chamber where it encounters the water being sprayed in from the lower reservoir. What results is a heat exchange similar to other diy AC setups we’ve seen. But Andrew also notes that after running the device for a while the smell of smoke and ash is gone. Can this setup be seen as an effective way to trap airborne smoke particles?

Wiimote controlled Ruben’s tube

While we could be content following our “kiddie d-day” as [Caleb Kraft] suggested. We know you can’t continue such an awesome Friday without trying to blow yourself up first.

This Wiimote Rubens’ tube caught our eye. A PVC Aluminum irrigation pipe is drilled with holes and propane is pumped through. A speaker on one end creates changes in pressure and a neat light show follows suit. [ScaryBunnyMan] went further though, with a collection of software and a Wii Remote he “plays god” controlling the music, and thus, the fire. Check out a fun video after the split.

[Via Make]

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