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What is Vacuum Forming? Here’s a Quick Primer, and How to Make Your Own System

Vacuum forming is a technique used to shape plastic, that forces a thin sheet of heated plastic over (or into) a solid mold by means of a vacuum. It’s used to create a wide range of toys, models, car components, kitchen supplies, refrigerator interiors,…

The Many Patents of Steve Jobs

New York Times has a fantastic, interactive tribute to the brilliance of Steve Jobs and the 317 Apple patents he’s listed as one of the inventors of. As sad as his loss is, we must also rejoice in the great ways he’s improved our…

Drilling Square Holes with a Reuleaux Triangle

Circular motion can be converted into a four-sided square using the Reuleaux triangle. The process relies on the property of Reuleaux triangle’s diameter being consistent across all points, and when rolled and rotated simultaneously, tracing a square area with slightly rounded corners. By slightly…

Inch to Decimal to Millimeter Conversion Poster

  I need one of these posters for my shop. From what I hear you can get yours at McMaster or MSC, although I haven’t found a full size one yet. But I did stumble across this book, and it looks good: Home Machinists Handbook…

Rubberband Trick for Removing Stripped Screws

This isn’t new, and I didn’t come up with it. And, some people say it doesn’t even work that well. But still, for a not-too-tight screw that you just can’t get some pliers around, give this a shot. (via apartmenttherapy)

Another iPhone-as-Audio-Recorder Approach: Handheld Mic

A couple months ago I posted about how to improve your video projects by using an iPhone to record improved audio. I described a system that mimics a lavalier (clip-on) mic, by putting the phone in your shirt pocket, or even on the desk…

How Wavegarden Works – My article in Wired Magazine

In February 2011, a group of Spanish engineers debuted a project they had been working on for over six years called Wavegarden — a wave pool concept that uses an active system for creating waves that have the shape and power that surfers normally…

You need to be between 5’2″ and 6’3″ to get a job as an astronaut, and other interesting NASA hiring requirements and notes

I was just checking out the NASA brochure for astronaut jobs and hiring information (last updated March 2008). Although the information has to be made available, I didn’t realize they marketed it so publicly — I like to imagine most astronauts as Steve Rogers-style,…

Cut-and-Fold Paper VW Touareg and Other Papercraft Rally Cars

Rally racing, awesome as it is, tends to be a European phenomenon. Hilly, public tracks, often off-road. Rallies have been around since the advent of the automobile (mimicking horse-and-buggy races), and nowadays are high-speed, handbrake-turning, hump-jumping affairs. Outside of the European races, a few…

How to Make a Balsa Wood Canon DSLR Mockup

  (Note–if you like this post and other cool DIY projects, make sure to add me on twitter and grab the DOIT feed) In 2003, Canon posted a how-to on their website about making a Canon 1D mockup in balsa wood. The post sat on…