Friday, December 29, 2017

Science fair featuring Rube Goldberg machines

Recently, my children's school held a science fair for students in Years 7-11. My daughter did a project on the layers of the earth. My son and other students from Years 10-11 created Rube Goldberg machines.

Some of the machines and exhibits

Friday, August 11, 2017

Several upcycling/reclaimed material projects

Here are some projects I have recently completed where I have used recycled/upcycled/reclaimed materials.

Improved Laptop Stand

When I bought the stand I had a Dell Inspiron laptop which is much thicker than the Macbook Pro, so I needed to upgrade the stand when I upgraded the computer. Using double-sided foam tape, I stuck the cardboard buffers to stand. I recently completed the project with a paint job and tape to give an under construction look and to remind me that the stand should be kept clear for the laptop.    


IKEA BRADA laptop stand
Double sided tape
Electrical tape

Piano Table

A set of drawers recycled into a table for a small piano keyboard. I removed all of the drawers and the kickboard and I repositioned the sliders for top drawer so it would be as close to the top of the table as possible and have a lower profile. I removed the handles and faceplate of the top drawer, cut faceplate to shape and carved the clef symbols into the surface. Sanding and several coats of paint and varnish give the bottom edge of the draw a smooth finish.


Set of drawers (waist height)

Floppy disc cube

A quick and easy way to repurpose floppy discs. I taped the six discs into a cube with a hinged lid. Currently storing old business cards.


6 Floppy discs 
Electrical tape

Umbrella cushion

I had two umbrellas with some broken ribs, but otherwise intact. I also had a pile of mostly dead pillows. I removed the handles and ribs from the umbrellas and sewed the two umbrella fabrics together around the edge with a zip for access and filled it with pillow stuffing. To patch a hole, I used a scrap of fabric cut to an umbrella shape. A functional rib from the umbrellas was used to replace a broken rib in another umbrella.


Two umbrellas of the same size
Six pillows
Fabric scrap


Monday, July 31, 2017

Guinness Technology

On our recent trip to Ireland we did a tour of the famous Guinness Storehouse. It was fascinating to learn the process of making the world famous beer and to craft and taste it.

The tour featured not just the beer making process, but also the industry associated with the brewing. One floor featured how the barrels for the beer are made. Another the advertising including automata that featured in Guinness's advertising.

Overall the tour was very enjoyable and ended with drinking a pint (or two) in the Gravity Bar with amazing views of Dublin.

Below are some photos of the older infrastructure, machines and technology used.

Learn more at Guinness Storehouse

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Can you solve these simple equations and find the pattern?

For an art project I have been playing around with some ways of representing numbers. Can you solve these simple equations and find the pattern?

Monday, May 1, 2017

More Siri silliness

One of the MuzGadget Bros is having a birthday today. I asked Siri what to get him:

Happy birthday bro. Eat your vegetables.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Venetian Glass blowing

Last weekend we had a quick holiday in Venice and went on a glass-blowing tour.

We saw the above demonstration and then learnt how the different colors are produced with chemicals added to the molten glass. Also how enamel glazes and gold plating were added. They had a lot of their work on display ranging from drinking glasses, ornaments, mirrors and sculptures. I was most fascinated by the marine themed pieces with bubbles embedded in the glass. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Saving the beach with beer bottle recycling

I have recently seen media like this from Tom Scott about how the world is running out of sand.

So it is refreshing to know that New Zealand's DB Export is recycling beer bottles into sand. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy Groundhog Day again

To celebrate Groundhog Day, an instructable on how to modify the iconic Panasonic RC-6025 flip clock from the Groundhog Day movie. The Groundhog Day Alarm Clock consists of a Panasonic RC-6025 flip clock modified to play the audio from the movie Groundhog Day when the alarm goes off.

Learn more about making the Groundhog Day Alarm Clock at Groundhog Day Alarm Clock on Instructables.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Thunderbirds Are Go

Over the weekend we saw several Thunderbirds Are Go episodes on a TV cartoon channel. I remember the original Thunderbirds were puppets and I thought the remake was all CGI. I am happily surprised to see this behind the scenes today talking about the amazing "bigature" sets created for the show.