Monday, November 25, 2013

Side Projects: Emilio's Halloween UFO & Sebastian's Vacuum Former

Our group does a lot together, but each member also works on projects just for fun. Here are two recent ones:

At Halloween Emilio added to their family's collection of spooky decorations by fashioning an alien ship from a Christmas tree stand, silver paint, a strip of 2-color led lights (you can just see it starting to switch from purple to orange, below), and a hooded skeleton with costume beads for eyes.

 It was even more spectacular wired up to fly over the heads of trick-or-treaters:
Also initially begun as a Halloween project, Sebastian made a vacuum former to mold his own plastic masks. When we learned that Tim at our local Makerspace had also just built one, we went to visit. Tim generously shared his process, advice and extensive documentation of his own project.

Sebastian's first mask, just after molding:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Recycling Center

Yesterday was our trip to the recycling center to brainstorm Power Wheels modifications and see if we could find any useful parts.

The recycling center, which sells scrap by the pound, is like a maker's toy store.

We walked along dirt paths to find...
 old farm machinery...
and other fun things.
 There was even a table with items like brass candlesticks and copper cookware.
We briefly considered a mobility cart, but it was too heavy to be economical at a per pound pricing.
Then in one of the dumpsters that we spotted this, a go-kart frame with a bent steering column:
 A short while later, Leo found his dream Power Wheels, a red Ford Mustang:

The cost for both of them was $28. One man's trash...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Two Discarded Power Wheels

At the Maker Faire we'd talked about perhaps trying to put together something to enter in the Power Racing Series held there each year. As luck would have it, a Power Wheels pickup had been dumped in a ditch near our meeting spot. A call out on Freecycle yielded a Power Wheels quad.

We'll be going to the local recycling center soon to look for motors, wheels and other parts. Updates to follow—

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Engine Rebuild

After a short break at the end of summer, we have begun meeting again. Our group is now pared down to the two boys who have been there from the beginning, as other kids have become busier with upper level schoolwork.

Jim was kind enough to guide the boys in a simple engine rebuild. This was something neither of them had done before but were both interested in learning.  An old rototiller engine that had been rusting outside was dismantled during one meeting:
And after cleaning and wire brushing...
…was carefully reassembled in Jim's garage with new gaskets and lubricant:

Did it run?

It did.