Feb 182012
Pinewood Derby Mars Rover

Pinewood Derby Mars Rover

Hey Pinewood Derby Race Fans!

Need an idea for this coming Pinewood season?  Have a look at our Mars Rover from the 2012 race season.  I’m proud to announce we won first place for the “People’s Choice” award.  Good thing too, this car design is not the fastest car on the track.

The three blinky LED lights are all hacked from other sources.  The big dish on top came from K Mart.  The dish was a sphere before we broke it open.  It was originally designed to float in a fruit punch bowl.  K Mart sold them as a pair for $5 bucks.

The two tail lamps were tea LED lights.  Bought these in the grocery – these can be had for around 30 cents each.  We hacked them down and be smaller then the originals.  The on/off switch also got reworked so that it now accessible along the back edge.  Otherwise, the switch points out of the bottom of the lamp.

The top deck is covered in aluminum foil.  The bottom chassis is covered in copper tape.  The copper tape was some 1″ sticky tape I’ve had forever, and a day.  The two covering gave the car a nice two tone look.  Note, the middle wheel is non-functional and is mounted a full 1/4″ above the track.

Well, hope this give you some more ideas for you next car.  If so, post some comments below.


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Nov 242011
Wood Gas Camp Stove - G4

Wood Gas Camp Stove - G4

Yet another tin can wood stove, I know, I know.  Still, I’ve discovered a few things that may make your next stove build a little easier.  What follows below are my trials and tribulations at build a really good working camp stove.  Note, I’m still experimenting with certain aspects of the design.  Always more experimenting to do.

My inspiration came from an article in Make Magazine which described building a tin can wood gas camp stove.  Here is a link to the Make magazine article.  The Make article inspired me to build my own stove.  My primary goal was to be able to boil water (for instant coffee) while on Boy Scout camp-outs.  Oh I know, it would much easier to build an alcohol stove (much cleaner and all – and easier to build too).  However, there is something cool about being able to cook using wood.  Plus, wood is in endless supply while on Boy Scout camp-outs.  Will be nice to have a little stove heater on cold winter camp-out nights.  A stove heater that I don’t have to worry about in terms of running out of fuel!  Oh, I know what your thinking, “What about the battery for the muffin fan?  Won’t that go flat in a hurry?”  Well, using 2500 mA/hr batteries we’re looking at over 30 hours of run time. Continue reading »

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