The last time I tried making beer, we were up until 3AM standing in a kitchen that looked like tornado had struck. My last wine-making attempts ended in grape-flavored vinegar. Even PopSci staff photographer John Carnett (or rather, his wife) endured a wort explosion the first time he tested his prototype DIY all-in-one brewing machine. Clearly, adult-beverage-making benefits from precise control and automation. Check out a few of my favorite electronic brewing projects after the jump.
Ferrofluids are made up of tiny magnetic fragments of iron suspended in oil (often kerosene) with a surfactant to prevent clumping (usually oleic acid). The fluid is relatively easy to make at home yet extremely expensive to buy on-line. How does $165 a liter sound? Pretty bad, right? Read on to learn how to make ferrofluids on the cheap.
Almost four years ago I swapped out my fancy lad IT job in New York City for a 100 percent DIY lifestyle in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The only problem was that I didn't have any building skills. Fortunately, I came across an advertisement for Smartflix: A DVD-rental service sorta like Netflix except all the videos are how-tos. The library covers everything from how to silkscreen a t-shirt to building energy efficient homes. At only $10 per disc rental (a few are more) and over 6,200 titles this service saved my DIY life. Follow the jump to check out my favorite titles.
How is it that refill canisters for air horns costs four times as much as butane canisters? Ariel was not happy with the added expense and took matters into his own hands creating a butane horn with flames. While this is not his first butane hack, he has stepped into a larger world of noisy flame throwers. And if you think this duct-taped flaming air horn is a little shady, check out some of my other favorite flaming noise projects.
I'm not sure what sparked my battery obsession. Perhaps it was the installation of 3,000 lbs of lead-acid batteries used to power my homestead. Shortly after that, I found myself zapping old Ni-CD based battery packs with a welder to bring the once-dead batteries back to life. Then I began repacking the cells of other household items, including my iRobot vac and my Macbook. Now I regularly visit a local auto supply, combing through batteries for signs of life. My office is littered with a hodge-podge of Ni-CD, lead-acid and lithium-based cells that are patiently awaiting repairs and a new purpose.
Here's what I've learned about keeping batteries in shape, and rehabbing old ones from the junk heap.