Swing sets and jungle gyms are good enough for your average back yard. But if you want to go extreme you need to build your own backyard roller coaster.
This impressive offering uses PVC pipe for the rails. At its tallest it stands 12 feet, using pressure treated 4×4 lumber as the supports. Pressure treated spacers span the tracks, with the uprights — which are cemented in place — in the center.
You can get a better look at it in the video after the break. This is a parent-powered system. Strap you kid in and then use a stick to push the car up to the top of the hill. We just love it that before the kart has made it back to the start the child is already screaming “again daddy”!
It doesn’t look quite as fast as the metal back yard roller coaster we saw some time ago. But we do wonder how they bent the PVC pipes and whether they’re strong enough to pass the test of time (especially being exposed to the sunlight)? Continue reading “Manpowered PVC Rollercoaster”
If you live in the Southeastern United States as I do, you’ve probably been enjoying a summer of grilling out and going to the beach or lake. You’re also may be getting ready to enjoy
football tailgating season, especially if you attend or live near a college town. Here’s a couple of DIY items that should be welcome at any outdoor event you choose to attend.
How to Make a Cornhole Board:
Although there are no LEDs or an Arduino on this one (we’d love to see your pimped boards in the comments), these instructions should work well for making your basic cornhole set. Of course you can always add some folding legs to it, but they fit together pretty well as is. As for the paint, there are many ways to do this, but check out the pic after the break to see the laser-cut stencil that the Tiger Paw in the first picture was made from. Thanks [Essam]!
PVC Ladder Toss Set:
These instructions should tell you all you need to make your own ladder toss (or whatever less-PC name you decide call it). As for the golf ball “bolas,” you’ll have to figure out how to put a hole in the middle of them. This technique (as seen in a links post earlier) should cover it, but best to be careful that you’re not plunging into a liquid-core ball. Eye protection is recommended.
LED Glow Cubes:
Although not a traditional tailgate item, these glowing solar LED cubes could serve as an alternative to the normal LED path lights. What’s in these instructions is how to simply take the parts source, a solar path light, apart and insert it into a translucent cube. We could see this made with several different colored LEDs and an Arduino for some other cool effects. A logo of your favorite team could be added with a laser cutter or CNC router for tailgate use. Continue reading “Summer and Tailgating DIY Projects Roundup”
Although not the biggest hexapod walker we’ve seen by any means, this one is nonetheless worth a mention. Made with windshield wiper motors, PVC pipe, and lots of wood, it’s still a good size ‘bot. It’s a work in progress, but check out the video of it’s legs being tested as well as one of it’s preliminary assembly after the break.
Control is similar to this little hexapod that we’ve featured before in the the front and back legs are driven by a motor and linked together using threaded rod. In this case though, the rod is 1/4 – 20, much larger than the 4-40 rod used by it’s little predecessor. Also unlike little PegLeg, the middle legs are independently actuated, not linked together. This should allow for some different modes of locomotion.
Different modes of locomotion, that is, if it’s able to walk. Although able to pick itself up, the middle legs are barely strong enough to support the large battery and powerful, but heavy, automotive motors. This is an introductory post to this project, and everything will hopefully be worked out and explained in time. Be sure to check back and see how this robot progresses, and the details of the different elements of this ‘bot. Continue reading “A Large Hexapod Made of Wood and PVC Pipe”
This hunk of PVC pipe is radio controlled. The wheels on the ends provide the locomotion, but it wouldn’t be going anywhere if it weren’t for that little tail strapped to the center of the tube.
When the motors are turning the body of the bot needs something to push against. In this case the tail hits the ground and keeps the chassis from spinning. We have seen attempts to go without a tail by using lopsided wheels to provide angular momentum, but this method is much more reliable.
The control for the bot is scrapped from a toy RC car. Once hooked up to the gearhead motors it’s ready to roll. The real difficulty of the build came in fitting everything into the pipe. A frame was built from a few disks used as mounting platforms which were separated by threaded rod. See it making its way around a gravel road in the clip after the break.
Continue reading “RC PVC bot”
At first glance you would think this is the real thing, but [Kevin] built this railroad crossing signal from parts you can find at the home store. We keep seeing traffic lights used as web-connected signaling devices. This would be right at home for that type of setup, but [Kevin] built it with railroad enthusiasts in mind.
He used Google SketchUp to design the frame for the signal, then purchased all of the PVC parts to match those specifications. Some grey spray paint goes a long way to making it look like steel tubing. But this is much easier to work with and he should have no trouble internalizing the wiring later on. The lights themselves are tail lights for a trailer with a decorative trim piece added. He designed his own driver board to switch the lights and ring the doorbell which give the signal some sound. His first version used a 555 timer, this one upgrades to microcontroller. We like what he’s doing in the video after the break, but think the bell speed needs to be doubled for it to mimick the real thing just about perfectly.
Continue reading “Scratch-built railroad crossing signal”
If you’re in search of a flashlight that can stand up to the elements, or simply looking for an easy way to spruce up your pool for those hot summer nights, check out these rechargeable PVC LED lights. Inspired by a post in Make: Magazine featuring Indestructible LED Lanterns, [John Duffy] decided to take the project one step further.
While he liked Make’s iteration of the waterproof lantern, he thought it would be best to permanently seal the lights for maximum durability. Not satisfied with a one-use light, he equipped the PVC lanterns with a single rechargeable AA battery, step-up circuitry to drive the LED, and an inductive charging coil.
His floating, waterproof lights sport a slightly bigger footprint than their predecessors to house the extra electronics, but we think that’s more than a fair trade off considering they can be charged wirelessly.
Place your Digikey/Mouser/Jameco orders now and check out [John’s] how-to video – you just might get some of these built in time for the weekend!
Continue reading “Mini waterproof LED lanterns charge without wires”
Stop Motion Animation has always been interesting to me since I “discovered” that one could make animated flip books by drawing each frame a little different. Fast forward 20 years or so, and computer technology has gotten to the point where this sort of thing can be done electronically quite easily and at an incredibly low price of a camera, computer, and free or paid-for software (here’s the technique using GIMP, a free, good quality photo editing tool) to put everything together.
The frames in the picture above are of my latest [PVC man] animation, which can be made with some electroluminescent lights, gloves, and some PVC pipe. Each frame was individually photographed, and after several hours of work we had enough footage for 17 seconds of so of stop-motion animation.
Although by no means perfect, the quality of these animations has gone up dramatically from the first animations that I made using an old ENV2 camera phone. Although I was using a “custom mount” for it, it’s amazing these came out as well as they did. As with everything hacking related, this process is a constant work in progress. Check out the videos after the break for the [PVC man] video as well as one of the early ENV2-produced stop-motion shorts!
Continue reading “Stop Motion Animation Creation”