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DIY Vibratory Tumbler

When I built the Girl Genius Radio Theater Microphone I had some brass plates water-jet cut and I bought a vibratory tumbler to polish them. The tumbler came from Eastwood and while it did a very nice job on the parts for the microphone, it failed shortly thereafter. When I took it apart I found that the bearings in the motor were shot, they had been destroyed by the vibration.

So I built a sturdier, more powerful tumbler myself. 

Retro Cellphone Handset How-to

More retro-cellphone handset goodness! This time from my friend and fellow Maker, Captain Mouse!

Her blog is here: http://buttonsformouse.blogspot.com/

And when you visit, do not miss Mandelbrot the Fractal Teddie Bear!

Cheap Yaris Cabin Air Filter

Every time I've brought my Toyota Yaris in for it's regular service I was surprised to find a $50 charge for replacing the "cabin air" filter. It always annoyed me, but they assured me it was a pain to change the "special" filter. 

Turns out that's bullshit. It's a cheap paper filter that takes about 30 seconds to replace.  Corporations use proprietary parts and slip through overcharges for simple maintenance to add to their profit, of course. But this is an ultimately dis-honest practice that risks making otherwise satisfied customers, like me, angry and desirous of revenge for being duped.

Well here's my revenge Toyota, a step by step set of directions on how to turn a $5 household furnace filter into two Yaris cabin air filters.  It took me an hour and a half to figure this out and make two filters and another half hour to write this page.  Someone following these direction should be able to make a pair of filters in an hour, saving them (and denying you) $100!


DIY Vacuum Tubes

Instruments of Amplification

If you were popped out of the timestream and found yourself suddenly in the distant past, how much of our modern technology could you re-create? I've often thought that I could climb back to the vacuum tube era of the 1920s or so.

Author H. P. Friedrichs has realized this thought experiment and gone a step further by re-creating the transistor as well. You can read detailed descriptions of these adventures in technology in his book Instruments of Amplification.

Instruments of Amplification, written and illustrated by H. P. Friedrichs, is jam-packed with nearly 300 pages of history, science background, basic theory, and hard-to-find hands-on details pertaining to the construction of an amazing array of homebrew amplifying devices.

Rooted in the same "build-it-from-scratch" philosophy that made his first book, The Voice of the Crystal, a success, Instruments of Amplification reduces complex devices to their essential elements and then shows how they can be constructed from commonly available materials.

Instruments of Amplification is available from my favourite bookseller, Lindsay Books.

Yeah, there's Punk in Steampunk: Johnny Payphone

I met Johnny Payphone on the Brass Goggles Forum in it's early days.  He would drop by periodically and lob thought-bombs into our midst that touched off fire-storms of discussion on the core nature of Steampunk and just how much 'Punk' there was in it.

Here is a wonderful interview of Johnny from the Experiment section of the Romanian online zine EgoPhobia that makes it abundantly clear that yes, there is Punk in Steampunk.

Jake's Busy Weekend, Make:TV and HUMANWINE

Continuing the tale of my long and busy weekend . . .

So a crew from PBS's new show Make:TV spent the weekend with me in the shop filming me at work.  I re-created a couple of projects and made a coach lamp for the car, start to finish.  That turned out to be really hard as I was creating from scrap brass and found objects a whole new piece that needed to be completed while the crew was still there.

When Make:TV was blocking out the schedule for their visit to Boston they asked me if there were more 'steampunk' people in the area doing big projects.  I pointed them in the direction of M@ (Matt) and Holly and HUMANWINE.

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