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 »

Hovercraft Shop Vac

I have owned several shop vacuum cleaners, but regardless of the make, I never liked the way the casters worked. They never rolled where I wanted them to. When I recently had to replace a worn-out shop vacuum, I looked for a way to improve the mobility of the new... Read more »

War and Peace Bookend

Turn war into peace by converting a children’s action figure into a peace-loving bookend. Or if you don’t have a soldier, try using an old space ranger (you know the one I’m thinking of) or any other large toy figure. The technique for turning your action figure into a bookend... Read more »

Lamp with a Thousand Eyes

Roger Korman meets Man Ray in this from-scratch assemblage that requires virtually no skill. It does, however, require a little vision with respect to overall style and design, as much as stacking cottage cheese containers constitutes “design.” The lamp base is composed of plaster forms cast from plastic food containers.... Read more »

Escaping Blocks

Imagine a handsome lacquered oak box with a lid mounted on brass hinges. The magician opens the box to reveal a row of 6 brightly painted, rainbow-colored wooden blocks nestled snugly inside. A long, rigid spike passes through a hole at one end of the box, through holes in the... Read more »