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Category archives for DIY

Book Review: Made by Hand

I am not normally a book-review-kind-of-guy. However, in this post I will make an exception. My wife (who clearly knows me very well) bought me this book – Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World (amazon link) The basic idea of the book is to look at how the author (Mark Frauenfelder)…

Arduino Physics

This is so awesome – an arduino controlled fan cart. If you are not familiar with the arduino, basically it is just a very simple and cheap programmable chip. I have been meaning to play around with one of these, but really I am afraid. Afraid I will like it just a little too much.…

Kids like demos

Sometimes I get asked to do some demos for kids. I like this, it is fun. This week, I was asked to do just such a demo. Kind of as a historical record, I am going to document what I did. The audience It is always important to think about who you are talking to.…

Diver in a bottle

I am surprised at how many people (chemistry faculty included) have never seen this demo. (oh, technically it is called a cartesian diver demo) Basically, you put some floating object that has an air space in a closed bottle of water. When you squeeze it, the diver goes down. For my setup, I used a…

DIY Force probe

I was thinking about some experiments that deal with friction and I wanted to show something with a force probe. The problem is that most people don’t have one of these. So, I decided to try and make one out of simple things. In this case, I am using some straws, a rubber band and…

LEGO plus Slinky = Physics

What happens when your kids won’t give you a turn on the Wii? Simple. You take their LEGO bricks and their slinky and do some physics. I will keep this simple. Basically, I created a slinky holder out of LEGO pieces and added LEGO bricks to the end to stretch it. Here is the video.…

This is one of my favorite demos. I like it because anyone can do it at home and people usually find the results surprising. Here is the situation: How much of yourself could you see in a small mirror? What if you move farther away from the mirror, can you see more of yourself? If…

Scale Model of the Solar System

The solar system is difficult to show correctly. Why? It is difficult because the size of things are vastly different. Let me use units common in solar-system astronomy, the Astronomical Unit (or AU). One AU is the distance from the Sun to the Earth. If I want to look at all the planets, I would…

Retroflectors

One of the roads near my house was just redone. They added some awesome retroreflectors in the middle. Here is a shot. No wait, I don’t have a picture of that. I tried to take one, but it just didn’t turn out very well. Oh, you know what it is supposed to look like. It…

Demo: How to not spill your drinks

I know I saw this demo somewhere. Maybe it was at an AAPT conference a few years ago. I have always wanted to build this, but never got around to it. Until now. Here is the demo (it is easy, you should make one too) So, how does this work? I think the simplest explanation…