Thumb Piano

The thumb piano, known as a kalimba, mbira, and by many other names, is a lamellaphone that uses prongs called tongues, keys, or tines that you pluck to generate acoustic vibrations. The length of the tine determines the pitch. Generally, the thumb piano uses some kind of mechanism as an... 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 »

Soda Can Label Embossing

Positive response to the review of my antique Tapewriter label embosser got me thinking about lower-cost ways to make embossed aluminum labels. A comment from reader Rick Hyde (“Actually, the aluminum is so ductile that I bet any Dymo machine can emboss it.”) led me to wonder about feeding thin... Read more »

Laboratory Cork Ring

Round-bottom flasks offer many advantages for chemical work that requires heating a liquid, but suffer from a major storage and handling drawback: They don’t sit flat on a work surface. The common solution is to equip the bench with one or more cork rings that the flasks can sit in,... Read more »