By Dan KoeppelPosted 08.08.2011 at 2:02 pm 0 Comments
Seeing a movie outdoors used to be pretty simple. Drive a bit, pay at the entrance gate, find a parking space, and wait for the towering images to flicker into view. Some nights you'd even get a double feature. But finding a drive-in isn't easy these days. Just 370 remain in the U.S., down from a peak of nearly 5,000 in the 1950s. What to do if you yearn to experience the cinema outside? Create it yourself. For that, you need five elements: the power to drive the whole setup, a video source, a projector, a screen and a sound system.
Ben Krasnow has built his share of odd contraptions, including a liquid nitrogen generator made from an air conditioner, and the "thirst extinguisher," a commercial-grade fire extinguisher that cools, carbonates, and dispenses his homemade beer. Now, for no other reason than wanting a real challenge, the 28-year-old engineer picked the toughest DIY project he could imagine: a homemade scanning electron microscope, or SEM. "I wanted to see if it was possible," he says.
The Netflix app has been available on Apple’s iOS and Windows Phone 7 since last year. When it finally came out for Android in May, some users found, to their great frustration, that it didn’t work on their phones--not even their fancy new 4G phones like the HTC Thunderbolt.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 07.11.2011 at 10:14 am 29 Comments
On a rainy weekend last year, Patrick Priebe, a German lab technician and Iron Man fanatic who rewatches the film and its sequel every week, decided to build a compact yet powerful laser inspired by Tony Stark's repulsor-beam weapon. In the U.S., the maximum strength for consumer laser pointers is typically five milliwatts; Priebe's handheld laser is 1,000 milliwatts, enough to instantly blind anyone not wearing special safety glasses.
By Darren MurphPosted 07.07.2011 at 5:50 pm 0 Comments
One of the great features of Apple devices is AirPlay, the technology that enables them to wirelessly stream media to one another. The company has also set out to enable a growing range of other equipment, such as A/V receivers and speaker docks, to get content from your iTunes library simply by being near your computer or iOS device. Still, AirPlay has some Apple-imposed limitations, including the required use of iTunes and a relatively small pool of supported third-party devices.
When you need to remove a tree stump, you have several options. Sissies call a tree service. Tough guys loop a chain around the stump, hook it to the bumper of their truck, and find out which one is stronger. Others use gunpowder to blow them up, though this is not advisable in most jurisdictions (unless your cousin is the sheriff and you let him watch). But my favorite method is to convert the stump itself into gunpowder and then burn it up. That is the secret behind how chemical stump remover works.
Half a century ago, vacuum tubes were very common in audio amplifiers. A small voltage applied to the grid of a vacuum tube controls a relatively large current that drives the electromagnet in a speaker, creating movement and thereby sound. Modern solid-state amps are superior in cost, size and reliability, but many people still prefer the warm sound and mesmerizing orange-yellow glow of a tube amp.
Lance Greathouse does not follow football. It wasn't until last fall, at an Arizona Cardinals game, that the Phoenix dental-laser repairman, who harbors a severe DIY robot-building habit, was introduced to the art of tailgating. There, he spotted cars packed with grills, plasma screens, refrigerators and more. "But I never saw anything that was all-in-one," he recalls.
By Ryan Rusnak, as told to Amanda SchupakPosted 06.13.2011 at 10:30 am 12 Comments
I have a background in programming, but a program by itself has limited use. I was like, man, I need to make a project that will actually control something. I had my old mini-fridge from college lying around and, I thought, how about an iPhone-controlled drink vending machine? So I did it . . . and it sucked. You could control it from your living room—or from China—but the cans just rolled out onto the floor. It was a pain to walk over and get them. I wanted to get a beer to travel from the fridge across a room with minimal effort and maximum cool.
Go here to see how you can build a beer cannon just like Ryan's.
I love surplus stores. They're basically the tech version of a yard sale, with tons of stuff that would be nearly impossible to find or afford new. These are three of my favorites. Between them, you should be able to find just about anything you need, no matter how crazy the project.