I Call Her “Vera”
Posted in Hobbies
First watch, 2 bells (9:24 pm)

A few weeks ago I had some work done on my plumbing. I ended up with an extra hot water expansion tank, a 2.2 gallon tank with a hose connection on one side and a valve like a tire's valve stem has on the other.

Of course, as soon as I saw it I thought SQUIRT GUN and started stewing over some ideas of how to implement it. In the end, I decided to use a sprinkler valve with a momentary switch connected to it, and a handful of PVC pipes, adapters, and couplers. Home sprinkler valves run on 24v AC power, but I found that for whatever reason a 9v DC battery seems to trigger it just fine. I have yet to do a full pressure test though.

I'll write up more of this later, after my final tests. I've already got some ideas for Vera Mark II (a switch to use a 555 timer generating a square wave with a rheostat or potentiometer as a frequency modulator—think variable machine gun pulses—and a power LED.

If I dress her up she'll get taken out somewhere nice…

Addendum One: The 9v power wasn't enough to trigger the solenoid when it was under pressure. I thought this might happen. Working on a higher power source to see how it goes.

Addendum Two: Switching to a 12v or 18v supply works just fine. Two 9v batteries in series is more compact than 8 AA batteries in a holder.

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LED Throwie Rat
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:22 pm)

I like the idea of LED throwies: a small battery, magnet, and an LED taped together. The light is on until the battery runs down (takes a while with an LED), and the magnet lets it stick to something so you can throw it up high.

But the LED Throwie Rat takes the cake! It uses the same principles, but instead of tape to hold everything together it uses a taxidermied rat!

I can't get a picture out of my head of someone trying to figure out how to take one down from an overhead freeway sign.

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Classics Rebound
Posted in Bookbinding
Forenoon watch, 2 bells (9:06 am)

I've been thinking about using some of my newly acquired skills to create my own line of classic books. This past weekend I spent my time making smoothies in my new blender (it's awesome!) and typesetting Dracula and Treasure Island. Since they're both in the public domain in the US, there are no copyright issues.

I'll keep you posted on how things are going.

Drywall Lift
Last dog watch, 2 bells (7:15 pm)

Today I bought a drywall lift. I was looking around for a place to rent one, and ran across a link to one on Amazon. For only $79! The thing costs just as much to ship, but it's cheaper than a two-day rental and two missed days of work. It's also got a lot of good reviews.

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DIY Halloween
Last dog watch, 8 bells (8:05 pm)

Instructables and Make Magazine are teaming up on DIY Halloween 2007. There was a lot of cool stuff from Make last year for Halloween, and this year they have a special edition just for the event!

If you don't have a subscription to Make yet, you are missing out on some seriously cool stuff.

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