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Splendid!! Professor Elemental

I was sorely dissapointed that I was not able to spend  time with the lovely Professor Elemental at the Steampunk World's Fair this year. I only got the briefest of "Hellos!" in as we passed in the hallway heading to our events. It's nice to see that the Professor is doing well, in fact, everything seems SPLENDID!!

The Shack is Back! - Our own Meredith Scheff for Radio Shack

I am so happy that Radio Shack has made the decision to return to it's roots and I'm even happier that they've tapped our own Meredith Scheff to help them tell the world about it!

The Oomphalapompatronium!

My friend and fellow citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Len Solomon demostrates his Oomphalapompatronium! 

StarBoards now live in the SparkFun shop!

Remember more than a year ago when I posted this? Well, since then I've partnered up with SparkFun (purveyers of enchanting electronics) and now they're finally available for sale! I still have my solderably conductive thread and will have special kits made up with StarBoards soon. 

Solderable conductive thread

I've been experimenting with materials for Etextiles for a long time, and one of the biggest issues is conductive thread. It's one of the most important parts of an Etextile project- but it's inevitable hard to work with, for several reasons. The thread by it's very nature is hard to sew and prone to fraying; and secondly the way it is produced leads it to having very high resistance, making lines more than a foot long very difficult to run power through. Lastly, since most of it is actually nylon (or some other synthetic) it's non-solderable, which leads to having to make knots to attach it to components.

So imagine my joy when I found this stuff! I found out about it through a friend who had gotten a sample, but he had written it off as unobtanium. I got it through almost a year of emailing back and forth with the company that makes it. They weren't keen on selling small amounts to an individual, but eventually I think they just sold me some to shut me up (this is a useful skill I've acquired). 

This stuff is great. It's actually extremely thin, flat strands of wire wrapped around a kevlar core- so It's solderable! The soldering melts the kevlar but the strands hold up nicely. It works OK in an industrial straight-stitch machine (what we have at Noisebridge) and I'm pretty sure It'd work OK in the bobbin of a home machine. The real kicker is that it has very low resistance- 2.5ohms a yard! 

Comparatively, Lamé Lifesaver (my former go-to for thread) has 36ohms a yard and AnioMagic (another good brand) is 24ohms a yard. It's making planning out things like dresses and skirts much easier, not having to figure in an extra couple hundred Ohms in the process. 

I have a bunch of 5 yard samples up for sale in my Etsy store. They're $5, but if you send me a really, really good story about what you're going to do with it and how it's going to be awesome and save the world, I'll send you one for the cost of shipping ($2). I'll only be doing 5 of these.

 

Handsome Nixie Tube Necklace

Articles:

I spotted maker Tubetime wearing this beautiful DIY nixie tube necklace at Maker Faire. He made an interesting mechanism that enabled him to step up the voltage from a 3v coin cell battery to the 150v that the nixie needs to run(!). It's one of the most beautiful nixie projects I've seen. Great work- and check out the rest of his Flickr stream-  he's got some amazing projects, and he's a great photographer. 

 

Fanboy Confessional on SPACE TV covers Steampunk

Last year a film crew from Canada rode down to The Steampunk World's Fair with me in the bus. They spent the weekend documenting the event and the result is set to air in Canada on July 13 on SPACE channel.  It looks like a great show!

Old circuit board

Articles:

I took this photo of an old hand-drawn circuit board today. I'm rather proud of how it came out. 

Game Save!

I know this is a bit out of the norm for this site, but as it IS building something outside standard systems, I suppose that's a sort of Steampunk, right? Just instead of atoms, we're using bits. - Willow

GameSave is a 5-week competition in which teams build a demo and working concept for a game which addresses disaster mitigation.

Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about games and their meaning. Can games be art? Can games be educational? Are they merely escapist? Regardless of the manner in which these matters are debated, and the examples cited, it really comes down to one answer to all of these questions: It depends on the game.

Good is relative. Sometimes, it’s “good” if games can be used to teach maths to a child who is struggling at school. Sometimes it’s “good” if games can merely provide a bit of distraction for an overworked assistant.

But what if we could use a game to mitigate natural disasters?

To that end, GameSave!

. . . 

Seriously Gorgeous Steampunk Guitar

Phil writes:

Hi Jake

Just finished a sort of "future steampunk" guitar build here:

http://www.tdpri.com/forum/
2011-tdpri-tele-build-challenge/263780-kwerks-2011-tdpri-build-challenge-thread.html

Lotsa pics on the last pages, thought you might like :-)

Cheers
Phil

Oh yes! I like it A LOT! Two more shots after the cut but you should really follow Phil's link for the EPIC construction detail!  - Jake.

 

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