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.
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.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.