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The Bobbinator


Linear actuators are motors that work in a straight line. They’re very useful for controlling valves and levers, building robots, and retrofitting old mechanisms for digital control. The simplest form of linear actuator has only 2 positions, while more complicated actuators can be positioned just like stepper motors and servos.... Read more »

The Fire Piston


Carl von Linde was dead tired. The eminent engineer, considered the father of the modern refrigerator, had just returned to his home in Germany from a lecture tour that took him to, among other places, Malaysia. This being the late 19th century, the voyage had taken months. Von Linde had... Read more »

Bundle Bow and Arrow


By Kathreen Ricketson, Rob Shugg, and Orlando Shugg As a boy, my partner Rob Shugg always had a bow and arrow. He was quite a little ragamuffin and had a wonderfully free and adventurous childhood, very different from all the cautionary parenting of today. With the resurgence of books about... Read more »

Chladni Plate


Use a broken speaker, bits of wire, and tape to prepare a coneless voice coil driver, then use it to generate standing waves on a sheet of metal, making sound visible. Magic! My knowledgeable friend Robin once said that you don’t need to worry about having too big an audio... Read more »