Fetch-O-Matic: Automatic Ball Launcher

Several years ago I watched a viral YouTube video that starred Jerry the Dachshund, whose engineer owner had built him his very own automated ball launcher. I had two dogs at the time, and was also unemployed with some time on my hands, so I decided to try my hand... Read more »

Gravity Catapult

I have long been enamored of catapults. Invented around 400 B.C., they were used until nearly A.D. 1300. So for 1,700 years, catapults were arguably the largest, most expensive, and most powerful machines on the planet. Today, people build catapults for fun: Scout troops, historical reenactors, fathers and daughters, beer-stoked... Read more »

Pinhole Panoramic Camera

I bought a new scanner recently, and soon found myself spelunking through drawers of old photos from my many misspent years in photography. Some of the most interesting shots were the pinhole camera experiments I had done as a teenager. With ghostly outlines from multi-minute exposures, and shapes warped into... Read more »

Guitar Strap Gamepad

If you’re playing Rocksmith (and I think you should be), and you’re playing standing up (ditto), you have probably run into the “where do I put the controller” problem. The gamepad is required to navigate the menu system between songs, and if you play in a standing position you have... Read more »

Stationary Drumcycle

A recent toe injury kept me from running for a few weeks, and I bought a stationary bike to keep in shape while recovering. The exercise bike has a lot to recommend it: it’s low-impact, safe, easy to scale up for harder workouts, and indoors out of the weather. It’s... Read more »