Marshmallow Shooter


Here’s how to make a pair of Marshmallow Shooters. You’ll be ready for combat in minutes! They’re made of standard ½” PVC pipe and pipe fittings, which just happen to be a perfect fit for mini marshmallows from the grocery store. Just fit the pieces together, bring a bag of... Read more »

Better Nerf Gun


Like most geek-filled offices, at my workplace we have several Nerf guns and similar toy weapons floating about. Not impressed with the performance of my colleague Lester’s Nerf Maverick, a mainstay of Nerf’s suction-cup-dart-firing “N-Strike” series, I decided to build a better Nerf gun myself. Here’s the result: a simple... Read more »

Jellyfish Tank


A tank of healthy jellyfish is hypnotically beautiful. Unfortunately, jellies can’t live in a regular aquarium because they get sucked into the filtration pumps or trapped in “dead spots” at the edges. This special design creates a laminar flow that keeps jellies safely suspended in the middle of the tank. Read more »

Portable Model Rocket Launch Pad


My new dog is terrified of fireworks. This wouldn’t be a problem outside of July 4th — if I didn’t fly model rockets. But she can’t tell the difference between an Estes B6-4 and a Joyous Family Whistling Fountain, so rockets terrify her too. This makes weekend trips to the... Read more »

The Chinese Windlass


In the summer of 1860, the Second Opium War was reaching its climax. Three years earlier, Britain and France had invaded Canton, China, in order to expand their trade in such unsavory commodities as opium and indentured servants. Chinese Emperor Xianfeng had resisted the outsiders, and a low-intensity war continued... Read more »

On-Demand Benchtop Gas Generator


If you should find yourself in need of small volumes of gas at about atmospheric pressure for a reaction or project, generating it on the bench can be a convenient and inexpensive alternative to buying or renting a gas cylinder. It turns out there are a number of useful gas-generating... Read more »