DIY projects have been a hallmark of Popular Science since we started printing articles with pictures. These contraptions ranged from homemade neutrodyne radio sets, to tractors, to borderline illegal breweries, but many of our favorites were featured between the 1940s and 1970s. By that time, our projects had taken on an "everyman" appeal; you didn't need to be an expert or a crazy inventor to assemble them, but they would take resourcefulness, dedication, and hours of sawing.
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Admittedly, most of our archive's DIY projects are wildly eccentric, even impractical, but the point is that they're fun to make. Who else but a tinkerer would build a crossbow in the year 1940? Who else would pave their own badminton court when they could hire the labor? Who else would think to build a scooter out of wood?
The beauty of DIY features is that they introduce readers to unlikely projects. In addition to the ones mentioned above, we provided articles on turning your station wagon into a camper and building a DC-to-AC "wall plug in the wilderness" inverter for people who enjoy watching TV in the great outdoors. We also couldn't resist two the psychedelic light show DIY and the dodecahedral Meditator, pictured above, two not-so-subtle products of their time.
Click through our gallery to see more quirky DIY projects from our delightful past.
Awesome, The Camper on the Station Wagon is brilliant. Truthfully, you could still live in it and enjoy a vacation in Los Angeles or Miami Florida for a few months during the summer. Take a shower with the free ocean/shower offs. Though $4+ a gallon will eat into your travels. OLED TVs could be used for the hexagonal meditator as well. Or just make an entire room's wall out of OLED for less than $2000 in 3 years from now. With a Harry Potter's Weather/Galaxy Viewed roof with a hdmi telescope or camera. Personal "Windows" of webcams from Honolulu suit my needs for wall decorations. Electricity an issue? Get solar panels installed on the roof, side, and trees of your backyard and earn some extra cash. They are different colors now and can be aesthically and financially pleasing :) (You can also heat your whole place from self sustained electricity) At night use the wind and a generator or get power from a big battery reserve.
posted April 29th, 2011 for the future historian-Scientists.