How can I "petrify" a T shirt? Answered

I had this idea for a gift for a friend. It's kind of an inside joke, and I know he'll really like it. I would like to take a T shirt, and somehow "petrify" it. My idea is to make some sort of form out of wood, or foam, or something. I would put the shirt on the form, and epoxy it. I thought I might wrap the form in plastic wrap, so that the shirt sticks to the wrap, and I can lift it off. Is this possible, and if so is there a better way to do it?

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Do language learning computer programs work? Answered

 I decided the other day that I would like to learn a second language, but I don't really want to pay for and have to commit to weekly lessons/classes. There is a used book store close to where I live, and they sell language learning software for pretty cheap. I'm not sure what language I  would like to learn, but in general do these programs work?

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Is it safe to make your own mortar tube? Answered

A friend and I are putting on a (legal) fireworks show tonight with commercial fireworks. I haven't finished my fireworks ignitor yet, so we're going to be lighting the fireworks with punks and running away. We're going to set up two "stations", one for each of us so one person can set something up while another sets something off. The problem is, the mortar set we bought only comes with one tube. I'm considering making another one out of PVC of the same size as the cardboard mortar tube, but this concern my friend. Is this unsafe, even if I stabilize the PVC and if it's the same size as the original tube? 7/6/10 UPDATE: I know it's past the fourth, but I'm still interested in kowing the answer. Thanks, Noahh

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Can someone help me with this circuit? Answered

I'm working on a fireworks ignitor based off of Bill Gurstelle's design in his book Absinthe and Flamethrowers, and I'm having some trouble. Instead of two switches, mine has three switches.  Like Bill's design, it runs off of eight AA batteries. One end of the battery pack goes to a toggle switch and a keylock switch, and the other goes to a pushbutton. They both end at a bolt. I have two long wires with alligator clips on both ends. Each clip clips to the bolt, then to a piece of nichrome wire which is wrapped around a fuse. In theory, when all of the switches are flipped, the nichrome wire lights the fuse. But this isn't happening. I've tested all of the switches, and they all work. The bolts and the nuts holding them in place both conduct electricity, but no power is arriving at the bolts. All of the components were purchased from Electronic Goldmine, except for the battery pack, which I bought at Radioshack. The ignitor is housed in a wooden (and therefore nonconductive) box. What's wrong?  (Attached is an awful drawing/collage I did of the circuit. If you need a picture of the machine itself, I can take a picture.) Thanks, Noahh

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Is there a way to revive a dead LED? Answered

While testing an LED I bought, I may have given it a bit too much power, and it burned out. I can't get it to work with any power source. I could buy a new one, but I had to mail order it from The Electronic Goldmine, meaning I would have to come up with about eight bucks worth of stuff I don't need. Is there a way to bring an LED back to life?

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Can I refill a Sharpie keychain? Answered

I want a pocket-sized paint marker, and I know some exist, but I would like one small enough for a keychain. Do you think there is a way to crack open a Sharpie keychain to fill it with paint marker ink?

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What can I use for airbrush paints? Answered

OK, so I recently bought an airbrush set for $20 at a garage sale. I don't have an air compressor, so I bought the canned proppelant stuff and the nozzle attachment I need, for another $20. Then, I noticed there wasn't a hose in the kit, so I spent about 12 more bucks. I would love to try it out, but I don't have airbrush paint, and I am reluctant to spend any more money on this project. I do, however, have some standard Testors model paint laying around my workbench. Will this work in my airbrush or will it clog it up or damage it in any way?Thanks,Noahh

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Why doesn't my potato cannon work? Answered

Today, I finally got to test my spud gun. I loaded it up with a plug of potato, sprayed in one second of hairspray, twisted the cap shut, and pressed the barbecue ignitor. I heard the ignitor work, but nothing happened. I tried this again and again, using different potatoes, cleaning the cannon, and checking the sparker. Every time I did it, it didn't work. I followed the instructions step by step from Backyard Ballistics, but I used ABS instead of PVC. I also used a barbecue ignitor instead of a lantern ignitor. I used all ABS parts, with the right cement for ABS, so I don't know what went wrong. Could it be my hairspray? I bought a $1 can, which seemed a little strange, because all the other cans were at least five dollars. Is cheap hairspray made with different chemicals? I believe the hairspray brand I used was called "White Rain", but I could be completely making that up.  Thanks, Noahh 

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Can I fix pigment to plastic? Answered

This may be a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I bought about $150 worth of candle-making supplies for $5  at an estate sale years ago, but I haven't used any of it for years, due mostly to the fact that I ruined most of the molds before I knew you needed a double-boiler. Oh well. Anyway, amongst all the wax and molds and wick, I got two or three bottles of powdered pigment. I'm now into circuit bending, and now I'm interested in decorating bent instruments. I've worked with paint pens and spray paint, but I thought it might be cool to use the pigment. I don't know how to use it, and I can't find anything about fixing pigment to plastic online.   So, my questions are: -Do I need to mix it in with glue or some fixative, or does it somehow stick to the plastic? and -If I sand the plastic, will the pigment stick in the wells created? If nobody can answer, I can probably find a piece of scrap plastic to test it on, but I thought I might try asking here first. Thanks, Noahh

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Where did these profile pictures come from? Answered

I noticed some members have orange blocks with their pictures on it and some stats on it as their profile pictures. Where did these come from?  Thanks, Noahh

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What should I name my spud gun? Answered

I just finished making my first potato cannon. I'm only waiting for the cement to dry, but everything else is done. The cement should be dry in a few hours. Just for kicks, I would like to have a cool name for it, though. so, A) What should I name it? and B) how should I apply (paint, write, etc.) the name onto the spud gun? Thanks, Noahh UPDATE: I ended up named it "Pomme de Terror". Get it? Pomme de Terre is potato in french. Terre? Terror? Classic!

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Can I cook in a fireplace without a dutch oven? Answered

 I would like to cook in my fireplace, but I don't want to have to purchase a dutch oven. I know about the foil method, but could I use recipes meant for dutch ovens in a cast-iron pot, which I could then place on the coals?

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What material is this? Answered

I'm interested in making a ring similar to the kind that Catherinette Rings makes with this pair of taxidermy eyes. I've sourced the the eyes (obviously), but I also like the little tubing they use for the ring itself.  Can anyone tell me what this is called if it's a commercial product, or is it custom machined by the ringmaker? Thanks, Noahh

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Double-post on Flickr and Instructables?

I just posted some pictures and a short description of a new project on Flickr, and I was wondering if it is considered acceptable to post it here with the same pictures and description. I'm aware of Kiteman's law, but does it apply to double-posting on two different sites? Thanks, Noahh Update: I decided to post. Here it is.

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What effects are in this song? Answered

In the song "Barely Breathing" by the Hold steady, lead-singer Craig Finn does something interesting with this voice at around 0:19. After watching live versions of the song, I'm pretty sure it's post-production. If it  actually was a series of pedals, how would this be achieved? To me, it sounds like reverb with delay. What do you think? Thanks, Noahh

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What's wrong with Gmail, and what can I do about it? Answered

This morning, when I tried to open up Gmail (my only email provider), it switched to Google Calender after about two seconds. I log in, see my inbox, then it switches. Any ideas as to why/how this is happening andhow I can fix it? Thanks, Noahh

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I got burned by Instructables!

Ahoy!I just found the definition of instructables on Urban Dictionary.Please note the usage example at the bottom of the paragraph.http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=instructables

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What's up with slow rpm motors? Answered

What's the deal with slow rpm motors? I need one for a project and can't seem to find any online. Why not? Am I looking in the wrong place?

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Sunprint paper in a pinhole camera? Answered

I bought some sunprint paper  at a toy store today and I want to use it in a pinhole camera I made. Sunprint paper is pretty much the same thing as a cyanotype, which this site says can't be used in pinhole cameras. I've only seen evidence of sunprint paper in one place, and that was in a camera with a normal lens. This person said they left it out for a few hours. The only other mention I found of using sunprint paper in a pinhole camera had  said one day.   Anyone think otherwise? Thanks in advance, Noahh (I also posted this on Flickr) 

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What hackerspaces should I visit in San Fransisco?

I'm about to head off to San Fransisco to visit some family, and I'd like to visit some hackerspaces and similar places. I went to Noisebridge when I went to Maker Faire two years back, but I only went in for a brief (but very cool) tour. So, what else should I visit? Also, are there any DIY/building/hacking related stores I should go to? AUGUST 22ND UPDATE: I just got back from San Fran. I went to Noisebridge's new place. It's pretty cool. Thanks, Noahh

Question by noahh 


What's the closest thing to these folding binoculars? Answered

 I was watching Fringe, and a guy had this cool pair of binoculars that folded almost flat. It's obviously a prop, but what's the closest thing to these rectangular, flat-folding binoculars?

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How do you morph a glass bottle? Answered

 How do you morph bottles like in the pictures? I tried with my torch,  and absolutely failed, it cracked, and didn't soften. Am I an idiot, or does this take special equipment?

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what is this component? Answered

I opened up this toy (Homer Simpson Talking Eight Ball) to circuit bend it, and found something odd. The  board has a strange-looking brass (?) ball soldered to it. It's attached to the board with three prongs and is soldered to the board at one point, soldered to the wire for the play button. It is labeled S1.

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Why do smoke shops also fix watches? Answered

 Every single smoke shop I have ever seen advertises that they also repair watches. It makes sense to have another source of income in addition to selling lung cancer, but why such a complicated thing as watch repair?

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How could I build an Archimedes screw? Answered

I suddenly for no reason would like to build an Archimedes screw for transporting water. All research attempt have failed. The only instructions that I can find suck, and I'm not sure what the... ahem... Heck I'm doing. Anyone have any ideas or experience in the matter? Thanks!

Question by noahh   |  last reply


What is the value of the Gakken Mini Theremin pots? Answered

I'd like to rehouse my Gakken Mini Theremin in a larger, stronger case. This, of course, means replacing all of the controls with panel mount components. So, I would replace the on/off switch and the potentiometers to adjust the sound (I already replaced the antennae). I do not know what the values of the potentiometers are, though. Anyone know? Thanks, Noah

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Problems with Firefox?

I upgraded Firefox to the newest version a week or so ago and I have been encountering problems in Google Docs and Pandora. Google Docs shows an error message (pictured below) and Pandora loads for a bit then displays an error message (also pictured below). Both sites work in Internet Explorer on the same computer.  I can't find anyone else encountering this problem online. Any advice as to how to fix this? Thanks, Noah

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What is the best way to clean chemical bottles?

I was recently given a bunch of darkroom equipment including chemical bottles like this and this. The bottles are 25 years old, and I'm sure they weren't cleaned after they were emptied. I would like to use the bottles for new chemicals, but don't want to contaminate them with whatever chemical residue remains in the bottles. Is there a good way to clean them, or should I just buy new ones? Thanks, Noah

Question by noahh 


Best first electrical project? Answered

OK, so I know that that it is an oxy-moron, but what is the safest high voltage machine that I can make? Assuming I take all precautions and follow all steps, what would be a good thing to get into the world of high voltage? I know how dangerous it is, so instead of telling me that they are all too dangerous (which they pretty much are) could you tell me what the best thing to start with would be?

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Can you use a Speak and Spell cartridge on a Speak and Math? Answered

 I bought a Speak and Spell on Ebay for circuit bending, but alas, I fried it. It came with an expansion cartridgl. I want to pursue this circuit bending project, so (going off another schematic), I bought a Speak and Math off of Ebay. What would happen if I put the Speak and Spell cartridge in the Speak and Math?

Question by noahh   |  last reply


When should I shape leather for a mask? Answered

I'm working on a steampunk gas mask out of leather currently, but I have some questions. My design is made out of five pieces so It will fit around my face, but I don't know when to shape it. Should I sew the pieces together then soak it and shape it around my whole face or is it better to shape each piece individually then sew them together? I'm punching holes in the leather then hand-sewing it with a leather needle and waxed thread. Any help is appreciated greatly. Thanks, Noah

Question by noahh   |  last reply


Can I use this CRT as a monitor? Answered

I saw this hack on the MAKE blog yesterday, and it reminded me of a project I wanted to try a few years ago: a computer monitor like the one in the  movie Brazil (pictured below). This device appears to be a small CRT screen behind a large Fresnel lens. The lens is easy enough to find in the form of a reading-magnifier, but it was the screen that puzzled me. I couldn't figure out what I could use that I could hook up to a computer. I thought about hacking digital picture frames, but they wouldn't have the cool curved look of an exposed CRT. When the post on MAKE came out, I thought that maybe the screen he used from a Coleman Lantern/TV (which are pretty easy to find on eBay) would work, but I'm not sure. So my questions are these: 1.Could I use this as a computer monitor using similar methods as in the blog post or a different way? 2.Would it be a problem that the TV is black and white? 3.If it's possible, is it likely that an electronics amateur like me could do it? I have experience in circuit bending and blinking LEDs with Arduinos, but little else. This is the deciding factor for me if it is truly possible, I don't want to take on something well out of my skill range. I realize that even if I did succeed, it wouldn't be very useful, but I'm still interested. Is it possible? Thanks, Noah

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