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Greg Olijnyk’s Plants vs. Cardboard Robots


Ion Engine Based on a Tesla Coil

Couldn’t find a source for this, but the concept could be sound.

I’ve often wondered how difficult it would be to build a functioning T.I.E. fighter prototype, at least the T.I.E. (twin ion engine) part. Even a small toy, propelled with ion thrust, would be pretty cool. Looks like this guy figured it out:

His method uses a very simple coil and an external power supply. The simple coil doesn’t look as cool, but that’s because it’s not wasting energy on generating light.

I don’t have an answer for how to do this, but I feel there must be a way of getting minimal but measurable ion thrust with a contained power source. We can start by boosting the voltage from a 9v battery
( and building the simple coil as shown in the video above.


This Glowing Pony Bike Can Reach 20 MPH for Extra Fast Whimsy

Make Magazine

“What started as a straightforward drill bike has turned into an elaborate glowing, art bike shaped like a pony made by artist Scott Blake. Read more on MAKE The post This Glowing Pony Bike Can Reach 20 MPH for Extra Fast Whimsy appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.”

This Glowing Pony Bike Can Reach 20 MPH for Extra Fast Whimsy

DIY Gardens Making

DIY and the use of Plastic, UPVC and Perspex.

DIY Daddy

“Nowadays the use of plastic in DIY and all jobs around the home is bigger than ever. Where metal, wood and other materials were previously the chosen material, it seems that the use of UPVC, plastic and perspex have taken over.This is my list of DIY jobs that now use the new materials, along with the benefits of doing so.The benefits of using plastic, UPVC or perspex are simple. They are low maintenance and last a lot longer than the more traditional materials. With wood or metal, they require painting on a regular basis. Yet that’s not the case with the new materials so here are a few examples of where you can use perspex, UPVC or plastic   1. If you have a greenhouse, which a…”

DIY and the use of Plastic, UPVC and Perspex.

Design DIY Kids Making Projects

Lessons Learned from Designing an Escape Room

We’ve been hard at work polishing our portable escape room kit and have come up with a few tips for anyone trying to do the same thing.

#1: Febreze and ventilation

You want as much air flow as possible. When you have multiple people moving energetically in a small space, even the nicer-smelling ones will start to give off the aroma of human body. Air flow is your friend. Febreze is also your friend.

#2: Robust furniture

You don’t want to set up with grandma’s fine porcelain on display over the mantelpiece. Players will pick up and turn over and knock anything and everything they can while looking for clues. I’ve seen Ikea chairs completely dismantled. The corollary is that furniture and light fixtures that look like they can be easily taken apart become red herrings for the players, and a room full of red herrings becomes frustrating.

#3: Parallel threads should outnumber players by at least 1

A linear game has clue 1 lead to clue 2, which leads to clue 3, etc.

A parallel game has clues A, B, and C ready at the start, which lead to clues A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, etc.

A single player can play a completely linear game but it’s more satisfying when there is at least one other avenue available for the times when the current puzzle is too frustrating. A group of people can also play a linear game, and more linear games force more collaboration. However, ‘collaboration’ sometimes means the bossiest one of the group takes over the decision-making, so having at least one open puzzle for each player means everyone can try to solve something.

So a game designed for 5 players should have at least 6 open puzzles/clue hunts at any stage (other than the very end, which tends to close off)

#4 Players are forgiving of anachronisms

It’s easy to obsess over theme (we’ve tried pirate, 1920s gangster, space, and ‘egyptologist’ (aka Indiana Jones)) but what matters are the puzzles and if a player needs a UV flashlight to see the hidden hieroglyph, they won’t complain

#5 No food. No beverages

You can’t force people to not have water with them, but your set-pieces need to endure and food stains are the last thing you need to worry about. So if you can, schedule the game before or after snack-time, not during.

#6 Keep puzzles as self-contained as possible

Minimize inventory. Small pieces get lost (or stolen) so use locks with combinations rather than keys. There is a type of combo lock that uses letters instead of numbers and that lends itself well to anagram puzzles.

#7 Have a timer

This may be obvious, but some players will linger unless forced to keep moving. You can build this in to the narrative (e.g. the kidnappers will cut off her finger if you don’t deliver the package within an hour) or just have a simple wind-up kitchen timer. People understand that games have time limits but you need to be explicit about this.

#8 Have a hint system

Players want to win, and most would rather win with help than lose without help. The actual help can take many forms, from a straightforward book of answers left in the room, or a fixed number of ‘calls to the oracle’, but there needs to be some option for when a puzzle is too difficult for the players.

#9 Actual escape does not have to be the goal

The most practical place to set up may be a room with doors that need to stay open, or outside. So having the final objective be to open a locked door won’t always work. Easier and more transportable is having the final objective be something like a word written on a slip of paper in the final locked box.

A popular one for us was a small music box locked in a box. Clues referred to the tune played by the box, but only when it was found could players hear it and identify it. That was a satisfying conclusion.

Have fun designing and playing escape rooms. Please feel free to contact me at with questions.

DIY Food and Drink

Ivan Ramen’s “Vegetable fat”

Reddit user GraphicNovelty wrote a post describing his attempts to recreate a vegetarian soup base for use in ramen in order to give it the same rich, unctuous qualities that pork- and beef-based broths have.

The chef who came up with the recipe then responds and clarifies the amounts of some of the ingredients.

Making Ivan Ramen’s “Vegetable fat”? (self.AskCulinary)


Poison Ivy

I sat at a picnic table. I think that must have been it. And a dog must have brushed against the legs of the table after walking through a patch of poison ivy. Because I never went near any vegetation other than grass, but within a day I had the typical blistering rash on the underside of my right forearm and the outside of my right knee.

I washed it and kept it dry and hoped it would go away quickly, but it didn’t. The rash kept spreading over the course of a week until it was all over both arms and both legs. I got some Tecnu and washed everything, but it didn’t help.

The medical literature says the urushiol (the irritating oil found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac) does not spread from scratching a rash, so a spreading rash is a sign of re-contamination. So there had to be some source of urushiol that was still irritating my skin. I washed everything that I had touched repeatedly after initial exposure: my keys, my wallet, the armrests and steering wheel and gear shift in the car, my laptop, etc. But the rash kept spreading. In the end, what worked was disposing of my shoes and scrubbing everything including my hands and the rash with rubbing alcohol. Only the alcohol actually breaks down the oil, preventing it from being a problem.

The next time I get a poison ivy rash, the first thing I’ll do is rub everything down with alcohol.

DIY Food and Drink

Po’Daddy Siamese Sandwich

The flavors of southeast Asian cooking, notably dishes such as pad thai (“pad” just means noodles, so “pad thai” just means “Thai-style noodles”) can easily be replicated by combining chili sauce (sriracha in particular, less so the vinegar-heavy tabasco-style sauces in tex-mex cooking) and peanut butter. Add cabbage for texture.

Bread is your choice, but to evoke a banh mi, I’d use a crusty roll if available. Then, just slather in some PB, squirt in some chili sauce and stick a cabbage leaf in the middle. Cheap and above-mediocre

DIY Food and Drink

Po’Daddy Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese

In a rice cooker put:

  1. 1 cup dry pasta (elbows are usually cheapest, but shells or ziti or whatever is fine)
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 or 2 slices of american cheese. (I’m not a big fan of american cheese,but it melts better than any other kind and if you look at the ingredients, you’ll see that they’re not all garbage. The good kind is just melted colby cheese mixed with milk and then refrigerated. The bad kind has “corn solids” and oils and floor sweepings added.)

Turn it on. The pasta cooks in the water and the water boils away until there is so little left that the pot gets above 212°F (100°C), which signals the cooker to turn off. By then, the cheese is all melted and combined with the starchy water from the pasta. Stir and serve.

It tends to be a but mushy compared to superior methods, but this way is cheap, easy, fast, and relies on ingredients many of us already have at hand.


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