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Make: Compressed Air Rockets Kit

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Building this rocket launcher is a breeze, and folks are always amazed at how it shoots reusable paper rockets 200–300 feet high. The launcher is made from PVC pipe. You pressurize its chamber to 75psi with about 18 strokes of a bicycle pump, then release all the pressure in a... Read more »

Using a Kinect as an Infrared Camera

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The Kinect is a peripheral for the Xbox 360 console that allows a user to interact with the Xbox 360 without touching a controller. A general description of the Kinect is that it is a depth camera. This means that you can place objects in front of it, and it... Read more »

Extreme LED Throwies

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LED throwies are cheery glow-dots you can make in seconds from simple components and stick to any ferro-magnetic surface. But that’s just the beginning — here’s how to hack and modify them. First make a basic LED throwie, and chain them up into big throwie “bugs.” Then learn to hack... Read more »

Lumia Lunchbox Laser

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Back in the 1970s, my friend Wayne Gillis and I used to do light shows at science fiction conventions. We had the usual panoply of overhead, slide, and custom-made projectors, and a single, very expensive, helium-neon laser from Edmund Scientific. Calling ourselves Light Opera, and later, Illuminatus, we performed at... Read more »

Simple Van de Graaff Generator

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When I was younger, I spent hours perusing Bill Beaty’s electrostatics web pages. At the time, I didn’t achieve any real successes trying to build his high-voltage contraptions, and so my interest waned. Years later, I saw someone online use a soda can as a collector for their Van de... Read more »

Bottle Radio

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Crystal radio technology has been around for many years. This “bottle radio” take on a crystal radio requires no power source, operates on the power from radio waves, and receives signal from a long wire antenna. As radio stations slowly move away from the AM band, the “window of opportunity”... Read more »