Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

1960 Hovercraft Lineup

February 12th, 2007


When I was in 5th grade, I saw an ad in the back of Boy’s Life magazine for a set of plans that promised show you how to build a personal hovercraft using simple hand tools and old vacuum cleaner motor. Needless to say, I knew that this was going to be the best $2 I had ever spent.

I was going to be pulling up at school, stepping out of my own personal Jetson’s-mobile, while the other kids were busy chaining up their Bicentennial Sears Free-Spirits, and hand-me-down Sting-Rays. I guess I knew that there was going to be an electrical cord issue with the vacuum cleaner motor, but that I could probably figure something out with a lawnmower engine or something.

The plans turned out to be a little disapointing. I would have settled for any of the fine vehicles pictured in this June, 1960 Popular Mechanics spread.





Craft: Vol 2 on the stands

January 22nd, 2007

My testosterone levels have reached alarming highs over the past year, what with all this building of automotive management computers and fuel-injection systems, motor rebuilding, horsepower extraction exercises, and various other grease-monkeying that has been absorbing all of my liesure time.

craft 02Thankfully, relief came yesterday in the form of issue no. 2 of the latest O’Reilly DIY mag, Craft:. In case you missed the first issue, Craft is the sister to Make magazine and follows the same basic format, but as the name implies, focuses on projects that are a little more craft oriented. You know what I’m talking about, fibres, paper, stitching, environmental accoutrements, home, garden, knitting, art, aesthetic engineering, printmaking. Crafts.

A cursory glance through Craft revealed a look at some really cool, post-victorian looking faux taxedermic sculptures by L.A. artist Liz McGrath, and a reintroduction to Daguerrotypes by Jonathan Danforth among many others. I can’t wait to read it.

In an uncanny coincidence, the vintage 1947 men’s sports shirt sewing pattern that I had bought on eBay a few weeks prior arrived in the same batch of mail.

sewing patterns

You see, I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, but for some reason this year when asked about my resolution, I proclaimed that before 2008 I was going to make a shirt. So I hit ebay to find a nice pattern for a shirt and scored this 1947 shirt pattern (Simplicity #1961).

Sewing Time

Here you have the stout, 1974 Sweedish metal-bodied Husqvrana Viking sewing machine that I got for Christmas this year. This baby is all analog for certain, and features a neat interchangeable cam system for doing all sorts of fancy stitches. I like this machine much more than one of those new-fangled plastic jobs that you get at Costco for $200.

sewing patterns

Opening up the instructions, I threaded up the machine and did a couple of test stitches, waiting for everything to end up in a big knotted cluster. Amazingly, it worked great, chewing with smooth authority through a couple layers of corduroy wouthout any complaints. Much better than than the thrift-store boat anchor that I bought years ago that never worked, and caused me to give up the whole idea of becoming my own tailor.

Ok, I think I’m ready to start the shirt.

Hybrid Car Ready in 1969

January 9th, 2007

hybrid car

Who killed the hybrid car?

In this 1969 Popular Science article, 2 Editors get a chance to check out GM’s new Pinto-Vega-looking XP-883 hybrid-drive commuter car, and love it.

hybrid car

hybrid car

As far as I know, GM never dispatched (then withdrew and crushed) a test fleet like they did with the wildly popular EV1 in California.

PopSci Says in 1969:

“It’s the best low-emission small car proposed yet, and has both a gasoline and an electric motor.”

“With all-independent suspension, front-wheel drive, a low center of gravity, and wide track (49 inches), the XP883 should be great fun to drive. But whether, and when, you’ll drive one is something that the GM chiefs haven’t made up their minds about yet. ”

Top 3 Cat Toys of 2006

December 31st, 2006

Let’s not beat aroud the bush here, with the exception of the feather on a stick which requres a human operator to be effective, commercial cat toys are worthless. Here is list of the top 3 things that cats actually like to amuse themselves with:

1. Pipe Cleaner

Cats will spend hours with one of these.
cat toy

2. Ponytail Bands

If you’re missing one of these things, don’t bother looking on the bathroom counter where you left it. The cats have it.
cat toy

3. Q-Tip cotton swab

They love them.
cat toy

So there it is. Don’t waste you money on those pet shop toys with all the bells and whistles, these three common household items will keep kitty purring along for hours.

Hacking Laser Tag

December 26th, 2006

laser tag hacking

Mike Yates plays lasertag. Now, I’m not talking about the kind of game that you might get in on down at the Family Fun Center, amusement park, or around your neighborhood using some toy.

Serious Lasertag

Mike is at the center of a group of hardcore lasertag players who prefer to play their games in the warrens of bunkers below abandoned military bases, using highly modified custom equipment.

Mike has been hacking lasertag gear for a decade or so, and I recently got to take a peek at his latest project, which he calls the Scorpion. The Scorpion is based on Hasbro’s newest Lazer Tag Team Ops platform.

Since Mike moves in this shadowy world of underground tagger developers, he was able to obtain a pre-release prototype circuit board for an upcoming LTTO tagger, called the TMB from it’s developers, Shoot the Moon Productions.

laser tag hacking

The TMB would be a tagger that fired a foam-tipped IR-emitting “RPG” round. In order to fire the rocket, the player has to hand pump the gun to pressurize a plastic pneumatic tank, which propells the rocket 20-40 feet. Very cool, but not very Yates. Mike had ideas for improvement.

laser tag hacking

3000 psi multi-rocket delivery

Over the next 10 months, Mike and his pal/fellow laser hacker Duncan, designed and built the ultimate LTTO compatible IR weapons system. The Scorpion is Mil-spec from top to bottom. The most obvious feature is the 4 rocket magazine which attaches to the top of the weapon. 4 Mac pneumatic relay/solonoids control the airflow from the 3000psi air tank to the various rockets through stainless steel plumbing.

laser tag hacking

The trigger/grip for firing the rockets is from an actual tank and was found on ebay.

laser tag hacking

In addition to being a rocket launcher, the weapon functions as a high powered LTTO sniper rifle with a 1500 ft range thanks to the big 4″ adjustable focal length lens.

laser tag hacking

There’s deffinately a big element of one-upsmanship motivating the development of these guns. Everybody knows that when they show up at the annual Tagfest NW meetup, there will be some new show-stopper there. More often than not, Mike is behind it.

You can check out more of Mike and Duncan’s work on their CTDYNE web site.

Bad Sign?

December 13th, 2006

no parking

Don’t get me wrong, I love road signs. I respect their clean layouts and clear typography, I dig their spartan utilitarian design aesthetic, and I usually appreciate their concise and meaningful content. But this parking sign from Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill neighborhood cost me 45 hard-earned ones.

I hate it.

What’s your interpretation?

Would you park here for an hour on a Tuesday at 8:00 pm?

How about on a Sunday?

Thrilling Hair Tonic Ad

December 5th, 2006

hair tonic

I‘ve never really given much thought to hair tonic. But after seeing this great little photo drama from 1967, I think that I’ll go out and see if I can find some.

The ad shows you in 10 panes, that clearly, your dull wit and cowardly nature can be remedied by combing a little petroleum distilate into your hair.


Uke Lamp

November 30th, 2006

ukulele lamp

I‘ll have to admit, I haven’t really been practicing my ukulele much in the last year, but my fondness for the form is still strong.

So, if I ever do get around to building that tiki-bar in my basement, I’m deffinately going to whip up a pair of uke sconces to frame the bar mirror using these plans that I snipped from the July 1954 issue of Mechanix Illustrated.

ukulele lampukulele lamp


Finkbuilt reader Phil points out that the author of this lamp piece, c.c Beck, is another famous Marvel Comics refugee who ended up working for Fawcett after they absorbed and dismantled Marvel. Here is an interview with Charles Clarence Beck

Phill Says:

A little correction, AFAIK neither C. C. Beck (or Otto Binder) ever worked for Marvel Comics, or Timely Comics, Marvel’s predecessor. They drew (and wrote) Captain Marvel stories for various comic magazines (Whiz, Captain Marvel, Marvel Family) published by Fawcett. They were let go in 1953 when Fawcett discontinued all of its comic book publishing activities after losing a plaigirism suit filed by National Comics (DC) alledging Captain Marvel was based on Superman (he was). Apparently, Fawcett continued to give them work in its other magazines after the comic work dried up.

Thanks Phill!

Indian Engine – $59.50

November 27th, 2006


I‘ll take 2 please – oh, and set me up with one of those $49.00 in-the-crate Jeeps while you’re at it.

Jacobs Compu-Sensor Ignition Module

November 19th, 2006

Every hot-rodder knows that by using parts that themselves look fast, you can make your car go just a bit faster than it would have gone had you chosen the slower looking part.

This understanding was not wasted on the folks at Jacobs Electrical Products Inc, when they styled the case for this vintage “Compu-Sensor” transistor spark module. The cooling fins are angled such that the screen printed, serial numbered label plate seems to be appoaching the sound barrier while re-entering the atmosphere after hurtling through space.

The Jacobs followed me home when a fellow vintage BMW enthusiast was giving it away. I have no real use for it, but I’m a sucker for anything with an atomic-themed logo.