I’d like to introduce what I hope will be a recurring feature here on Intern’s Corner: a peek at what we interns have in our cars. To kick things off, let’s have a look at Dan’s Jeep, shall we?
Those four metal boxes are transformers of the type you might find on a neon sign. Each one produces thirty milliamps, although the voltages vary from 1,200 to 12,000 volts. He actually has a fifth one installed in his Tesla coil, back at the lab.
Some of you may have recognized the plumbing in the metal frame as a homemade jet engine, fashioned from an automotive turbocharger. This one uses a massive turbocharger from a tow truck’s Diesel engine, so it should produce plenty of thrust when Dan finishes it. He has yet to add oil, fuel, or an ignition systems. He intends to fuel it with propane.
The most interesting item in the truck is Dan’s handmade Civil War replica mortar. He turned the steel barrel on a lathe, giving it a 63 millimeter bore. He then welded trunnions (the metal pegs used as pivot points) to it. Finally, he built a base out of oak and redwood and coated it with urethane. Along with the mortar, there is a cardboard box (labeled “mortar supplies”) stocked with black powder and wadding, just in case his Jeep breaks down in a zombie-infested area.
Dan has most often fired the mortar blank, producing an impressive shockwave and a sharp thump in the chest. However, it is also quite functional as a weapon of war. He once took it to a clearing and fired rocks with it. Needless to say, those rocks were never seen again.
Max Eliaser is an Engineering Intern at Make: Labs. His hobbies include programming and scuba diving.