Edwin Wise is no stranger to the pages of MAKE magazine, and special effects are his specialty. It’s only natural that he contributed a couple of DIYs to our Halloween Special Issue back in 2007, including the Hot Glue Spider Web Gun and the classic animatronic prop, the Flying Crank Ghost:
In Volume 13, he offered up the super-loud Boom Stick, a two-stage, chamber-sealing, quick-exhaust, piston-valve air cannon that you can build out of common plumbing components. The Boom Stick straight up assaults the startle reflex of any nearby victim. A nice companion piece is the Vortex Cannon project Edwin wrote for Volume 15. Here’s a video of the Vortex Cannons so you can check them out in action:
Last, but not least, in Volume 16, Edwin provided us with the Chladni Plate project, where you 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!
We checked in with Edwin this week to see what effects he’s been brewing up, and here’s what he said:
“What am I up to, huh? I continue to write stuff for Make magazine. I have another article coming out in issue 19, for example, though at only four issues a year there’s only so much I can do there.
My 800-lb gorilla project each year is that I do FX, acting, and stuff for Scare for a Cure. This haunt is a direct descendant of Richard Garriot’s Britannia Manor (which was a BIG DEAL in Austin, but ended in 1994, and was then continued in spirit by Wild Basin’s Haunted Trails, which I joined in 2000, but ended in 2005). [Check out images and details of the transformation of the 2008 haunt, World of Horrorcraft on Edwin’s site.]
I’m also working, in the background, on a variety of projects — some electronics for the haunt, some physical projects, and one computer program that is a wiki that makes it easy to write how-to articles and link/embed research and supporting information from around the web. Unfortunately, software takes a lot of time and that’s one resource I’m usually short on, so I don’t think it will be up and running until the end of this year.
This wiki/database program that I’m targeting for my own blog and project documentation (and as a forum for other similar makers) was actually conceived as a way to track changes and connections, and comment on, government information such as the federal budget, a project from the League of Technical Voters, “Connect the Dots.”
Anyway, I’m busy. Always. This doesn’t even count my background activities of ballroom dancing, tai chi, and social stuff!”