Over the years, the TE crew and I have had some fun with pneumatic cannons. The original pirate cannon was our first attempt and eventually gained neighborhood notoriety by destroying a bar's plate glass window. The cannon on the Team PzKpfw tank was so powerful it vaporized its hot dog munitions, but we left the cannon in the tank when we turned it into a piece of commando public art. Since then, I've been itching for something with the power of the tank's cannon and the portability and push-button-firing of the pirate cannon. Solenoid valves with a flow rate sufficient to vaporize meat don't come cheap though. Here I'll explain how I made that happen using only things that were already lying around the shop.
I've been careless at times. We all have. I try to address safety issues in posts about my projects, but it is all too easy to ignore the boring safety lecture and skip ahead to laughing about the gas-powered bumper-car rollovers, or Gocke shooting bottle rockets at my head. (References to some of the TE videos, if you're not familiar).
Every now and then, I come across someone's story in which a glossed-over safety warning had very real consequences. More often than not, they involve things not so unlike what you and I do all the time.
In this particular incident, a welder destroyed his body and nearly killed himself with simple brake cleaner.
We decided to dissect a television for the edification of PopSci readers. Then we decided to do it in a slightly unconventional way. Check out the photo gallery for a glimpse of what happens when you blow up a television.
[Note: No dynamite was used in this Dynamite Dissection. Do not attempt to do anything like this on your own.]
Many of the things we film for TE videos aren't the kind of thing you'd want to put an expensive camera anywhere near. Some of them aren't even the kind of thing you'd want to put a cheap camera near. To expand our recording options, I built a protective housing for a lipstick camera. Here's the how-to and video of us trying to destroy it. After a weekend of exploding propane tanks right next to it, it is still going strong.
The average home builder could go his or her entire life without drawing a line in CAD, but it'd be a shame. Three-dimensional rendering programs like CAD let you, or someone else, visualize what you're about to build with high accuracy. That lets you suss out potential problems, sort out fine details, more easily outsource parts of the build and share your groundbreaking designs with your peers (or your wife). CAD software is also useful if you're producing drawings of extensive projects, or drawings that need to be revised frequently, or drawings on which multiple people are collaborating. Paper and pencil drafting methods, themselves far from easy to master, fall short when projects get bigger - especially absent a team of draftsmen working in your shop. For me, the need to share and collaborate on drawings was the final straw that pushed my drafting into the modern age. And fortunately, there are a lot of inexpensive options for someone just dipping their toe in the CAD waters. Here's a run down of the options I considered and the software I chose.
Perhaps you've heard of TGIMBOEJ? The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronic Junk is a great concept: a few USPS medium sized flat rate boxes floating around amongst the country's electronics nerds. A sort of cross-pollenation for junk bins.
A box of junk shows up on your door step. Take what you want, add some new gems, and send it back on its way. One of those boxes just arrived here at TE Motorworks.
I've always thought it would be funny to build scale-size exploding grain silos for a model train layout. I've also had problems recently with pilot flames blowing out in some of our larger blow-something-flammable-through-something-on-fire projects. Both of these things made clear to me that I needed a good source of high-voltage sparks. So I built a buzz coil, a project derived from the ignition on a Model T that you can toss together to satisfy all your sparking needs with a just a few common automotive parts.
The object pictured here (which you guys nailed almost immediately) is known as a boring bar [insert drinking pun here], which is used on a metal lathe to cut the inside of a part. I use this tool less frequently than most of my other lathe tooling, but it is nonetheless indispensable. More about what to do with this sucker after the jump.
Your favorite DIY guessing game is back with another stumper and another piece of gear to give away. Toss out your best guess in the comments and the first and most precise answer will win a 20-ounce Stanley FatMax hammer.
While Letterman's Grinder Girls proved that the best use for an angle grinder is to let beautiful women in bondage gear make sparks, it's actually one of the more versatile tools you can keep in the shop. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility: Get too trigger happy and you can quickly destroy your project and your fingers. Here's your crash course to wielding one of the more badass of the handheld power tool genre.
What: Angle Grinder
Why: There are few faster ways to abrasively remove material from steel, expecially with something handheld.