Old How-To Books

I've always been a fan of old how to books. They often have tips and techniques you don't find in contemporary books. Sometimes they are just plain strange. Other times they are painfully outdated, like an old Popular Mechanics article I came across that shows you how to improve your toaster by adding asbestos to it. Last weekend I stumbled upon this old doll making book at a thrift store. The entire book shows how to make dolls in a kind of odd folk art style, and would never get printed today.In spite of the fact I don't really have room for more books right now, I couldn't help myself and bought it anyhow.Has anyone else come across any interesting how to books lately, or have favorite classics in their collection?

Topic by randofo   |  last reply


Question about Drama Project

Hello. I live in Japan, where I'm a freelance translator. I help out at an English school two hours a week. The school has an English Drama Festival every December, in which the students perform English dramas. One of my two classes this year is with two girls in the 8th grade, who are advanced students for their age. Because the class is smaller than normal, we will be doing two comedy duo routines, one from the English-speaking world, and one from Japan translated into English. The native English routine will mostly be a composite of old Burns and Allen routines, with other stuff added. The Japanese routine involves the use of an "oven toaster" prop. A woman playing a grade school girl puts in a slice of bread to toast, and the toaster door opens automatically and ejects the toast across the room. The third time it blows up with smoke and a flash. To see the routine, please look at the YouTube video embedded at the end. The part in question starts at around the 4:20 mark and lasts for about a minute. There are no wires that I can see. I would like to reproduce this scene if possible. The toaster falling apart at the end isn't necessary - just the door, the ejection, and the smoke. I can use wires from the toaster to plug into an outlet offstage. I also have a small budget, and I have very basic skills, so I could probably hook up the wires and a switch. What I hope someone can help me with is how to create that device and effect. I appreciate any advice. Thanks for your time.

Topic by Ampontan   |  last reply


GOT OLD ELECTRONICS? SEND THEM OUR WAY!

Hello makers! I am representing the Whittier Middle school makerspace and we are looking for anyone who has old electronics or parts to give away. if you have anything from computers to toasters to even cell phones, please don't throw them away! we would gladly take donations of any old electronics. please comment on this post or contact me at my account and i can tell you how to send them to us. we are located in norman oklahoma but can take parts shipped from anywhere. we are trying to start a program where we take apart old things to teach kids about how things work. So if anyone has anything to donate please contact me!

Question by Irish pirate630   |  last reply


can I use a wall dimmer switch to control the heat of my soldering iron

or a strip heater for bending plastic made from about 12 inches of heater element from an old toaster or hair dyer? do they use PWM,or just a big variable resitor?

Question by z28racer   |  last reply


brainstorming a controlled temp kiln for polymer clays?

I am making some highly  detailed prototypes, and Im using polymer clay for the details. I've been baking them in my kitchen oven, but it's starting to get hot with summer coming on... I want to limit the heat production in my house! I have an old toaster oven, but it's too small for my items. I was thinking of taking it apart, and using the heating elements and temp controls in something a little bit larger. I'm wondering what the community thinks about that? My temperature needs to be 275° for fifteen minutes at a time. Some temp fluctuation is okay. I'm thinking 14 inches cubed would be plenty of room for my largest pieces.  somewhere I noticed someone using cement board as an insulating wall, I was thinking a cube made of that with a hinged side. Does anyone have other ideas for me? TTY

Question by probablepossible   |  last reply


Mirror Heater/Demister?

Hi, I need some advice on how to wire up a homemade mirror heater or demister. I have an old toaster which I have gutted to get the heating elements. I also have a few old wallwarts to power the thing. Is using these wires the right thing to use as a heat source? It doesn't have to get hot, just slightly warm. What kind of circuitry will I need to warm up the wire? I also got some modelling latex to embed this wires in to make a heating "pad" for the mirror and to insulate it. Is there a better material I can enclose the elements in. Thanks.

Topic by Armbie   |  last reply


My plastic extrusion

Hi I've made this little extrusion as a prototype: http://www.preciousplastic.com/little-extrusion/ It's for my graduation project at my school...(still in progress) However, This is small..I want to make it big! Does any of you guys have an idea where I can get a serious screw for inside the plastic extrusion? Are where to get them second hand? New price is around $2500...way to much for me...

Topic by davehakkens   |  last reply


Mc MADSAT

Make And Do Show And Tell.greensteam brought the Offline Mechanical Steampunkers' Blog which got a lot of use and went through all it's paper.I brought the Toaster which attracted quite a bit of interest, the Clock and a couple of other things. I also brought bread and butter for the toaster, but there was some concern about setting off the smoke-alarms so I ate that on the 6 hour trip home...For the making:A group of crocheters, which I didn't get around to trying.Making rubbery-goop from PVA seemed popular with the kidsKeyrings and such were being made from low temperature thermoplastic.Various items were being made from old keyboards, including wallets and bracelets, and there was keyboard-dismantling to go with it.The soldering group were building light-modulated audio devices (and fitting them to mint-tins) - this seemed to be a popular choice with people waiting at times.A rather nice looking 3D model maker was brought, but due to a technical problem it wasn't able to dispense hot plastic on the day (shame).There was some good steampunk stuff on display, some of it being of high quality and for sale.A group of cake-makers brought some fantastic looking cakes / pieces of sugar-art.Also some cardboard sculptures, things made from old umbrellas, crochet items, various other bits & pieces.(And one exhibitor didn't turn up)MAKE contributed some magazines, so I picked one of them up.Thanks to greensteam for inviting me, here are some of the better photos that I took and a video compilation. The video is ~5 min, so I've saved at 340Kbps to keep it a reasonable size but it's still 11.9MB. There was a lot of background noise & chatter on all the footage, and with the exception of the light-modulated audio device nothing much of interest to listen to. That's why I dubbed a music track on it.L

Topic by lemonie   |  last reply


McMADSAT make and do, show and tell. Scotland's first Maker Event 2009. Full report

Report of the McMADSAT event 14th March 2009, at the Glasgow Science CentreWe had a fantastic day. Outside it was a grey gale of a day, but inside was a riot of colour and activity. The aim was to enthuse the public with the fun of making things from a variety of technologies. Anyone who wanted to, could join in, make something and take it away with them, and all for free. Hundreds of people of all ages came along and had a great time. A general video of the event can be seen at https://www.instructables.com/community/Mc_MADSAT/ (Thanks to Les Oates for making this excellent film for us).I am happy to discuss further with anyone planning their own event, and you can see more about it and the process by which I got the event going, at http://mcmadsat.blogspot.com/ExhibitorsStar Guest, all the way from London, was Professor Maelstromme (AKA Amanda Scrivener), who brought her beautiful creationsWhat can you make from a dead umbrella? Display of the possibilities for reusing the fabric and structure of dead umbrellas.The Tea Party. 1950s style tea party made from a combination of hand made fabric and edible pieces.Cardboard structures from the students of the department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde.Greensteam's steampunkery, 101 uses for a dead keyboard and other examples of her work as shown on Instructables.The Offline Mechanical Blog – a very old manual typewriter with continuous paper available for the public to type their messages and thoughts on for all to shareLemonie (another Instructables enthusiast, who travelled up from York especially) brought his amazing conversion of a VHS player-into-toaster that makes toast with VHS imprinted in it. He also brought his nice LEGO USB stick, a lantern made out of a tin-can & glass. and his *untested* wind-turbine, made from VHS player parts.On the Young Makers stand we had a display of virtuoso Lego constructions and an extensive collection of home made Steampunkery.The self-replicating machine from the department of Design Manufacture and Engineering Management at the University of Strathclyde, the Reprap, was on display and moving but sadly not reproducing on the day.ActivitiesThe public were offered a wide range of free hands-on activities, which ran continuously all day, to 'Make and Take'Soldering - make a solar theremin (or a robot). 16 of these were made and all worked first time. Some were taken for a trial run in the sun and a video of this can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzUZMon3vpA The Stemnet ambassadors helped visitors to make their own Musical Straw Oboes.One of the most popular activities – especially with children – the Stemnet ambassadors supervised the making of many handsfull of Gloop.The Stemnet ambassadors used the plastic Polymorph for visitors to make a fingerprint keyring to take away.Fishy things - Busy Bees Art studio provided painting and collage fishes to make, particularly for our very young visitors.The Glasgow Crocheted Coral Reef invited visitors to try their hands at crocheting and contribute to the growing coral reef, all made from wool and even strips of plastic bag. Many total novices not only tried their hands but actually completed a piece of coral to contribute to the reef. This workshop area was very busy throughout, with visitors typically spending 30 minutes or more participating. Many thanks to my civil engineer pal who ran this.House of Cards - visitors could make and take their own set of the design classic 'Eames cards', which slot together to form fantastical structures. Ideal for recycling old greetings cards.Cable necklets, keyboard bracelets and keyboard film wallets. All made from recycled/repurposed materials from dead keyboards. Popular with adults and children alike.Risk assessments were provided to the Glasgow science centre, for all the activities. There were no injuries and the 'emergency first aid bucket of water' was not needed as there were no soldering or gluegun burns.Participant Presenters30 people were involved on the day, either as exhibitors or as workshop facilitators. An essential component of the team was the group of11 Stemnet ambassadors, most of whom were there all day. It would have been impossible to run so many activities without them. Another group in the team was the members of the Glasgow Electron Club who, with some friends and a Stemnet ambassador, ran the soldering workshops continuously all day. We were particularly fortunate to have two exhibitors travel up specially to take part. Several exhibitors were entrepreneurs who gave their time for nothing, even though the venue rules meant they could not sell anything, nor charge for the activities being provided. This was especially generous given the harsh financial climate just now. Everyone said they had lots of fun.PublicOver 1,000 people visited the Glasgow Science Centre on the day. The BSA/NSEW assessment forms collected only represent <10% of the visitors to the McMADSAT area. Stallholders and workshop facilitators estimated a total of about 425 active participants (people who did an activity, or asked questions and generally interacted with the displays) by 1530 (GSC shuts at 1700). However, even these only represent a proportion of the people visiting the event which, although not recorded, probably amount to about double that, since most of the activities were taken up by children accompanied by other family members. The numbers at any given time were variable, depending upon the GSC's own activities/talks etc. I would estimate that the McMADSAT area was visited by at least 700-800 during the day. From the few assessment forms returned, and from chatting to the public, it was clear that most had come simply because they were coming to the GSC anyway, but some (mainly young adults) had come as a result of internet and email information or because of the Metro article. The GSC visitors seem to be mainly families with children of primary school age. The University of Glasgow Steampunk Society had come especially to make contact with the steampunk element, as featured in the Metro article. We also collected some contact details for future events. BudgetThe total budget for the event was the £500 grant provided from NSEW Scotland scheme. This had to cover all the exhibitors' costs and the costs for the free make and take activities, plus all publicity etc.In-Kind Sponsors:The Glasgow Science Centre provided free space, tables, cloths, technical assistance, without which the event would not have been possible at all.The publishers of Make and Craft magazines, O'Reilly's, did not feel able to sponsor us in the same extent as they did for the much larger event in Newcastle on the same day, but did send boxes of back issues of their magazines to give away, which probably amounted to an equivalent of about £300 at UK newsstand prices.Clockworkrobot.com provided more theremin kits than contracted for, which were themselves at cost price.Madlabs provided free batteries for all the kits they supplied at cost.Instructables.com assisted with publicity and allowed the use of their logo.VenueNone of this would have been possible at all, particularly on this minimal budget, without the kindness of the Glasgow Science Centre. The Director agreed immediately to offer us the space free, plus the use of tables and technical help to enable this event to take place. We were able to partially set up the night before which was very helpful in avoiding a scramble on the day. We were able to get the loan of 4 GSC soldering irons which avoided us having to get personal ones PAT tested. This was the ideal venue for us as it meant we really didn’t have to do a great deal of publicity as we could be sure of an audience from the GSC's normal throughput.PublicityThe event was listed in the NSEW diary and in the university of Strathclyde's NSEW information. Posters were distributed around venues in Glasgow and information posted on relevant websites. A blogspace http://mcmadsat.blogspot.com was set up as a temporary web presence to refer people to. The Metro published a small piece which was a wonderful boost.Lessons for the futureNeeded more helpers and more exhibitors. Outdoor displays would have been impossible as the weather was dreadful, but it is still necessary to have some more dramatic displays as well as the hands on activities. Successful soldering for novices really needs 1:1 or 1:2 supervision. The budget only worked because minimal publicity was done at low cost and all the participant presenters were generous with their time and resources. Anything more ambitious than what was done on this occasion would need a larger organising team and significant sponsorship.

Topic by greensteam   |  last reply