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This is a question Amazing Projects

We here at B3ta love it when a plan comes together. Tell us about incredible projects and stuff you've built by your own hand. Go on, gloat away.

Thanks to A Vagabond for the suggestion

(, Thu 17 Nov 2011, 13:12)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Who was it...
Who made the giant KitKat Chunky that was in the newsletter? That was brilliant.

If I ever take up exercise (and thus process all those calories) or feel like ending it all in a blaze of Nutella and wafer-fuelled glory, that would be the one for me.
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 21:45, 4 replies)
Roger Wilco Terror!
Not sure if this really counts but I'll post anyway :)
A few years back, before Voice over IP became really popular via Skype, Teamspeak and Ventrilo etc there was an eary app called 'Roger Wilco'
This was your bog standard voice chat client, where you had channels and stuff. However you could also set up public channels and they would appear in a searchable list....

One day a friend of mine (Hi Liao if you're out there) and I hit upon a wonderful idea. We would search for public channels, and basically take the piss out of and abuse people in amusing ways.

We even set up a website for our 'Roger Wilco Terrorism' ( rwterror.b0x.com I think, doesn't exist anymore sadly, was hosted on some free web space thing) and we'd record the results and post them up on the site (a slow process as we were on ISDN or possibly only 56k modems)
The only one I really remember was when we went into a public channel that appeared to be some guys (20 or more!) playing flight sims. One guy was being traffic control it seemed and organising the rest.
He coped admirably with 'Arnold Schwarzenkoff' coming in to land with a Stuka Bomber who left with the message 'I'll be back' (and we were)

Lame I know but it seemed a good idea at the time, and as evidenced by various youtube videos since, other people have had similar ideas. I'm not claiming to have been the first, but definitely an early starter :)

..hmm I wonder if the web archive has a copy of the site (I doubt it)
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 21:07, Reply)
DIY Z80 computing
I'd long wanted to put together a Z80 computer of my own design and finally got around to it last year.

Z80 computer displaying b3ta Z80 computer's guts Z80 computer running Zork

It has a 10MHz Z80 with 64KB RAM, a 320x240 pixel display (monochromatic; can be displayed on a built-in LCD, on a TV or a VGA monitor), uses a PS/2 keyboard and has a serial port for data transfer and a parallel port for printing. An SD card is used for storage. It runs CP/M 3 (you can just about make out Zork in the last photo).

The thing is, having spent a fair amount of time designing and constructing the device I haven't actually done anything with it beyond recording a dull video for YouTube...
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 19:20, 11 replies)
Radio Station!
Me and my mate Tom were unemployed, bored and stoned musicians. Fearing total withering of our souls from under/mis-use we decided to start our own radio station. 'What super fun we'll have! Just like the proper DJs" etc etc mindless gibberish.

The rules of the radio server we used were quite simple...

1. No hate speech - easy... we are peaceful stoners

2. No swearing before the watershed - we took this with a pinch of salt as internet radio is global therefore it always past the watershed somewhere in the world. Of course this means that it is also always before the watershed somewhere in the world. "Well, we have to ignore ONE of them otherwise we can NEVER swear and where would be the fun in that?"

3. All music played must have the full written permission of the copyright holder - Bums. A tricky one. No 'Led Zeppelin Hour' then. "But we have loads of music we've recorded ourselves and know loads of people in bands... shouldn't be too tricky!"

This went on for a week or two... Tom and myself getting boxed, playing our own music and a few tracks from friend's bands, about two hours worth in total, and talking gibberish at anyone we could convince to listen to us.

Then - BRAINWAVE! One of our friends was running a Facebook campaign to try and get an unsigned band into the charts. We could get the list of entrants from him, contact all the bands asking for mp3s and the all important permission, promote the hell out of his campaign and get loads more listeners.

That was about a year and a half ago. The station has had many ups and downs since then. At one point we were broadcasting every single day, we've played tracks recommended by B3TA including all of Kunt and the Gang and another band featured in the newsletter called Dataloaf, put gigs on up and down the country, had loads of unsigned bands in for interviews and live sessions and we're STILL going. Our database currently contains approximately 12 consecutive DAYS of music, all of it sourced by emailing bands and, more recently, by bands who have heard of us getting in touch and asking for airplay.

It's very much an ongoing project and broadcasting has scaled back considerably to fit around things like having to go to work. I can only do shows on Thursdays at the moment but hoping to get more stuck into that as time goes on.

Now, shill as I am, I'd very much like to chuck a link at the bottom of this post but am managing to restrain myself. However, if any B3TAN musicians or curious music lovers out there are interested gaz me or ask in the comments and I'll give you the linky/airplay you desire.
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 15:37, 10 replies)
Eggsperiment. LOL

An experiment was conducted to see which potato based oven product would go best with eggs (and which I had in the freezer). Waffles, roasties, chips or croquetts.

Contrary to feedback, the chips were not fucked and the eggs were lovely and runny. The fault lays with the camera, not the food.

The results are as follows:

Chips: A traditional option and easy to see why. They are full of awesome and taste magical with yolk. Less impressive with just egg.
Roasties: Pretty damn impressive and tasty but much less so once the yolk had been consumed.
Croquettes: Utterly loathesome with yolk. A complete disaster as they tasted all weird, like a tramp's sock.
Waffles: Much like chips but with the added, frankly genius, feature that you can put the egg on top of it.

So, clearly the winner is the humble potato waffle, showing it's versatility in this test.

This study also contributes to the ongoing study of just how fucking bored someone can get while being signed off on the pat.

love and light,
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 14:54, 38 replies)
A brilliant project thwarted
Our bedroom is empty awaiting the arrival of the fitter to install new furniture. Emptying it involved removing clothes from wardrobes, cupboard, chests etc. I couldn't help noticing that Mrs AgeingGeek's clothes, once extracted and decompressed, filled the whole of our spare bedroom. Several bags have been disposed of but I suggested that when the remainder are returned to the new wardrobes I could fit RFID tags. With a reader by the door I could produce monthly reports thus assisting with rotation, identification of unused items etc. Instead of being congratulated on visualising the future of wardrobe management I was shot a high power laser vision stare and it is probably lucky no blunt instruments were to hand.

Perhaps female B3tans can explain why my idea is apparently less than brilliant?
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 13:26, 18 replies)
Not my project
Bloke I knew when I was a kid loved hammering things together. One afternoon he turned up at a "garden party" given by a neighbour with his latest completed project. A bleeding great crossbow using the longest spring leaf from some minature car - a Ford Prefect or something. The bolts were hardwood dowel and tipped with what looked like brass .303 bullets. Definitely lethal.

He was an Anglican minister.
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 8:04, 1 reply)
I keep accusing my friends
of wanting to make a papier-mache model of Sigmund Freud, but apparently I'm just projecting.
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 7:28, Reply)
Recumbent bikes
I have been a mountain biker since I was sixteen, I loved the freedom of it and the technology that has been improving since day one. I started on a fifteen gear Falcon, moved up to an 18 gear MBK before buying an Orange Clockwork and then a fabulous Kona. Sadly Being a skint Student I was forced to sell the Kona which left me bikeless. But I hatched a plan and with a friend we designed and built a frame out of Collumbus Max and Max OR tubes, that cost us a fair whack. Finally built the bike up with full XT groupset and Rockshox Judy XCs. It was beautiful and I clocked up 6000 enjoyable miles in a year.
That was more of a touring bike than a hard core off road racer, so I bought a real Mountain Bike, a wicked Giant factory team replica and kept both bikes running. Then I had fuck loads of surgery which made riding conventional bikes pretty hard.
Loving cycling as much as I do, I designed a Recumbent bike, one third BMX, one third Mountain bike and with seat covers made from off cuts acquired from a friendly furry who made their own suit! A close friend welded up the frame and I went for a test ride. It was absolutely fucking awful, the head angle was too steep and turning resulted in crashes. So with the trusty hacksaw, I cut and shut this abomination and sorted out the freaky steering. Sadly the story ends there. It remains an almost finished project, languishing in the back of the shed. you see the big problem was discovering that I like to go really fucking fast on my motorbike and to do that, you need a drag strip or race track. So my motorbike has been slowly and lovingly adapted with the aim of trying this sport next summer. I can't help but tinker with machines, the problem is that I am running out of room to keep them all. Anyone want to buy a Mountain bike?
(, Sun 20 Nov 2011, 0:57, 7 replies)
Stuff Wot I've Dun...
I've dicked around for decades making gadgets and odds and ends, probably the most interesting are as follows...

When I was around 12, I made a hand-cranked phonograph from a long nut-&-bolt I found, some bits of wood, a yogurt carton, a balloon, and a needle. I made recording cylinders from candle wax, melting the candles on our gas cooker - the first time I just chucked the wax into a saucepan and put it straight on the hob, whereupon after a few minutes the liquified wax burst into flames. Cue a brief bollocking off mum, who then showed me how to melt the wax safely in an improvised bain-marie. It actually worked, bellowing into a paper horn produced just about audible recordings which wore out after being played a few times. No photos, sadly, it was thirty years ago...

More recently, I used to run a (now defunct) spoof news website with a mate of mine, which I was very proud of.

Even more recently, I've been experimenting with a high-speed video camera shooting miniature pyrotechnics - you can see an example here: youtu.be/BYUx8eVUe24

Last year, I made a life-size Spitting Image style puppet head of Nick Griffin - I was going to make a spoof BNP party political broadcast before the general election, but it took too long to make the puppet, the election came and went and the BNP was consigned to the dustbin of history. The head now sits atop a full-size body in my lounge, where it startles the shite out of unsuspecting visitors (such as my mum recently):

(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 23:42, 10 replies)
The Daft Punk costume I made for Halloween.

The helmet was built around one of those beer helmets (the ones with can holders on each side). After gluing thick card panels onto it, I applied quite a lot of filler to it, for sturdiness and also to make the whole thing look smoother. I stuck two cut cans on the sides, sprayed the whole thing, added a piece of clear plastic for the visor, and finally glued reflective card to a pair of gloves.

For a first time project of this nature, I think it turned out pretty well. :)
(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 20:46, 3 replies)
Spinny text

Whilst discovering how to print my own PCBs, I realised that the thing I'd made with LEDs on it (as a toy for the kids), that I could spin it on a motor, and guess at the timing cycle and make it cycle through a pre-defined byte array of a defined 'font' (stolen from some Uni website in C++ and converted to Wiring/
Processing) and make it appear to the human eye as readable text. There are only 7 LEDs used.

Obviously, the real thing doesn't flicker as much as in the youtube video - that, sadly is just refresh rate mismatch.

When I get a hall effect sensor and a magnet, I'll make it so that the text doesn't spin around and stays static in one place.


Edit: Charge my *good* camera up. This is a much better picture of it in action:

(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 20:34, 5 replies)
Lime Green Coffin
At the time of our dad dying my sister and I were pretty broke. He wanted a cremation and we chose a cardboard coffin for the job. Cheap, eco friendly and delivered to your door in flat pack.

After assembling it looked rather manky - a great big grey cardboard coffin shaped box slap bang in the middle of my living room. I am not sure of what we were expecting but it was miserable. Searching the cupboards I found a tin of lime green color emulsion and a few coats of that paint worked a treat. It brightened up the coffin to an almost luminescent glow. Then to finish it off I scanned some of his artwork and glued A4 copies to the lid and sides.

And sorry dad I know you wanted to be cremated staring at your paintings of your ex girlfriend's flaps on the inside of the lid but we just could not bring ourselves to do it.
(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 17:12, 5 replies)
squawk squawk SQUAWK

squawk squawk SQUAWK scapheap challenege scrapheap challenge squawk

(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 14:25, 7 replies)
I started a newspaper
And it's still going. Not going strong, rich or easy but still going - largely thanks to reader donations. The Scottish press is fucked, incompetent and dominated by English editions - unhealthy given that we're in the throes of deciding whether we want to stay in the UK. The Caledonian Mercury is an attempt by journalists to do something about all that.

Technically the site's a bag of spanners - though that's about to change. Commercially it's a disaster - though that's about to change. Editorially, it's not bad given we have nae cash, nae advertisers and nae backers.

Oh and we plugged Kunt and the Gang.
(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 13:41, 3 replies)
This is my first post so I hope I don't get anything wrong.
My partner is pagan and I've been becoming increasingly interested in the way we can serve the goddess and reap the rewards. We have a herb garden which is set out in a ritual circle. In order to boost the power of our healing herbs, my partner collects the fruit of her monthly menses, and, mixed with water purified by crystals, we use it to nourish the plants. If we do this by moonlight it intensifies the effect. It's an ongoing project because we haven't harvested yet - we're waiting until the universe signals we are all ready - us and the plants. If anyone wants an update I'll be sure and let you know.

Wishing you love and light.
(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 13:31, 21 replies)
Yet another software project
Many years ago I was working as an IT contractor on a project for a large insurance institution that shall remain nameless (mainly because I had to sign things that forbid me from revealing the massive levels of mismanagement, money-wasting (not theirs) and general free-fire billing practices of the large Consultancy running the project.

We were running on a Novell NetWare network which for those of you old enough to remember would mean that about once a week everything would crash to a stop fro 3-4 hours and without the network we couldn't do project work.

Now I should mention that as contractors we were paid hourly on rates that were labyrinthine in their complexity, with bonus threshold if you put in a certain amount of money, and different rates for weekends evening and bank holidays, so trying to keep time sheets and produce weekly invoices for our agencies was a nightmare. So I asked my boss if I could knock up a quick time-sheet system to help us with this during the slack time.

So for a few hours every week for the next year I worked on this side project. First came the basic form structures. Then with more time we got a control panel, reporting, and by the end it would even play sounds as you hit certain targets for the week (as programmers we got the latest 'multimedia' computers). Come Thursday or Friday you'd hear the odd cock crow echoing across the office as somebody hit the 2k mark, on Sunday you'd get the cha-ching on 3k, you get the idea... When you minimised it it would sit on the task bar counting the money you'd earned for the week. All in all a perfect icon for the septic world I used to inhabit.

I treated it as an opensource project, and over the years I kept on bumping into my time sheet system on various sites in the City - for all I know it's still being used now. Most of the systems I worked on were transient wastes of time, but this little piece of software was the one thing that actually made me feel like a craftsman.
(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 11:13, 2 replies)
I just finished my Masters thesis
That counts, right?
(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 9:35, 11 replies)
I made something that adds.
It adds numbers together. For adding. Numbers. Oh, it has an undo. And no ads. But it adds. Get it? Adds but no ads! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Numbers!
Good for that numeric keypad, just hit the number keys and that fat enter key over and over. Never click the mouse, kind of sped things up for me. I know it sucks.
(, Sat 19 Nov 2011, 1:30, Reply)
Crap Tank!
I decided to scratch build an RC vehicle and am part way through, three weekends in and it's getting there.
It's made from kitchen chopping board, two electric drills and a couple of hundred bolts. I cut all the cogs myself (Mainly through luck than judgement) and plan to weaponise it and put the wireless camera on this weekend for remote shooting fun.
It's good for about 10 miles an hour and goes pretty much anywhere. all in all I'm not too disappointed with it! ;-)

(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 21:35, 18 replies)
some clever person
Should pea a thing I seen on here (i think it was in the newsletter).

A masterful person built a working dot matrix printer out of lego. Iirc it used a felt tip pen as a print head too. It was simply ace.

I also seen somewhere (ages ago, and may have also been a b3tan) a bloke who dissolved his oyster card and fitted the chip into a toy fairy wand so if could dress as a wizard and open the barriers on the tube like magic. Slightly weird but laudable.

If either of you are here, or anyone can be arsed to find them, please linky for us lazy bastards.
(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 19:52, 3 replies)
I once built an oven for Jews
specially designed for them to cook all their Kosher stuff in. what?
(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 16:14, Reply)
Always with the projectiles.
You know what it's like, school (or other) trip to France leaving you with a plethora of extra bangers in your pocket with nothing but lazy long days to play with them.

I decided to make better use of them. I took a length of brass stair rod, and cut, then filed down, a soda-stream canister to hammer in the end.
The internal diameter of the pipe was ~16.5mm and strangely enough, my Dad's factory had an inexhaustible supply of 16mm steel ball bearings.

Test one. I used an inch and a half bolt to try the theory. Pointed at a tree, one lit banger down the tube followed rapidly by projectile.
Test one results; One branch of tree larger than me falls from tree.
Theory proved.

Test two. Now for the ball bearing. This time pointed at a three foot thick laurel hedge.
Test two results; A hole the size of my fist right through not just the hedge, but the fence and tree behind. (Admittedly not the most resistant of targets).

Test three. Dad hears bangs. Dad enquires to source of bangs. Son reluctantly pulls makeshift weapon from behind back. Bollocking ensues in front of Mum. Test three aborted.

Test three addendum. Mum goes back inside. Dad appears rather impressed by my making. Dad gets television, adds picture of *hated figure*, and requests I resume tests.

Test three result; Not much left of CRT tv. ball bearing passes right through, then through shed in garden.

"That would kill" says Dad. "Don't ever let me see you use that again." He didn't. (Nor did he advise me on the application of 'rifling')

I think it eventually got slung under the barrel of one of my air rifles to make use of the telescopic sight.
(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 16:03, Reply)
I once went to Harlem to buy crack
That was pretty cool, but wouldn't say it was amazing though...
(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 15:42, 2 replies)
After years of trying....
Me and the wife finally found out we'd probably never be able to have children, something to do with us being 2nd cousins or something like that, anyway after fruitless years and thousands of pounds wasted on IVF we had just about given up on the whole idea of having children.

Then after a boozy night at our Nans funeral she caught for a baby!!!! so nine months later a biggest wishes come true and my wife gave birth to a lovely baby daughter, my greatest ever project!!!

A pic of our beautiful baby!
(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 15:24, 24 replies)
Operation cocknballz
I tried and unfortunately failed to cocknballz google earth.

My first house (i was 19) gaff a fairly large garden. All of which was covered in grass. It was a pain in the arse to but all the time but too large to afford to gravel or concrete it all. I decided I should therefore make gardening more fun.

At first I was just going to make it a bit nicer. I dug out the edges to reinstate the borders that had once been there and did a couple of extra flower beds for good measure.

Things started to get cracking when I planted them up. I had baby connifers and some little box/privet among other bits and pieces, so I put those in the semi circular patches around the edges of the lawn.

With a foot high connifer in the outside centre and 4 round little privets around it, it made a passable verdant cocknballz when viewed by my neighbours. I liked this.

As I had some bedding plants left over, I wondered what other rude imagery I could make with my horticultural skillz. Then I had a lightbulb moment. We lived quite close to an airport approach path. What if I could cocknballz air traffic?! I'd have to get a flight to check though, however i'd been well impressed with the detail visible on the recently developed google earth program. I could check that and it would be like cocknballzing the whole world!

The path was long enough and straight, so I could cat out flower beds at one end in semi-circular shapes and it would create a giant cocknballz in my garden (and give of somewhere to plant the surplus).

Alas, I didn't know that googleearth would only be updated every few years and the angle and shadow of the house would obscure the balls.

At least I tried, and incidentally there was a 7 foot retaining wall at the end of the garden so my giant obscenity could/can still be viewed from ground level.

Can't win em all...

Edit: sorry for the mistakes. Bashed out on my teeny phone with my fat thumbs during fag break.
(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 14:11, 4 replies)
When I was growing up we had a big old piano in the corner of one room. Only this was a pianola or player piano. You could pump some pedals and the piano would play music all by itself, thanks to a paper strip with holes in it. Well that was the principle; in practice the mechanism was completely gummed up with years-worth of crap and dust. So my project was to un-gum it and make it work again.

One incentive was to play the stack of paper rolls I had. But the main incentive was to attract the lovely Liz to my house. She was the love of my life, mostly because she had big knockers. For some reason she was interested in my pianola so when I told her I was going to take it apart and put it back together again she was very excited. Every now and then I'd ring her up and tell her that I'd taken some new bit off or exposed a bit more of the mechanism, and she'd come round and take a look, allowing me to take sneeky glances at her boobs when I thought she wasn't looking, and lean in unnecessarily close when both peering into the mechanism.

Eventually something happened and we ended up snogging and groping, with bits of pianola lying all around us. From that moment on 'would you like to come round and see my pianola' became something of an obvious double-entendre for us.

The pianola became more and more dismantled (there had to be some excuse to invite her round) but there was far more snogging going on than reassembly. After several months the piano was in bits all over the room and not a single note had been played. Eventually my mother became suspicious of why I always closed the door when 'working on the pianola with Liz'. She told me I had to put it back together or throw all the bits out. So I put as much back in as I could. I pumped the pedals as hard as I could. The pianola gave a solitary, wheezing gasp from it's bellows, but still not music.

So a waste of several months then? Not at all: Liz really did have tremendous knockers.
(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 13:59, 6 replies)
I expect I've already posted this one...
But anyway:

During my teenage years my primary pastime (yes, even more than playing Head Over Heels on my MSX) was, well, masturbation. I had a reasonable collection of porn thanks to the lively black market at school (this was well before the Internet made such items utterly redundant) and enjoyed nothing more than to spend a relaxed afternoon pulling my pud.

My problem was, of course, where to store it? I had no lockable drawers or cupboards, and was mortally embarrassed at the thought that someone in my family might somehow stumble across my stash and realise what i'd been up to.

I don't remember how I arrived at this cunning plan, but it was, if I may say so, ingenious. In the corner of my room was the airing cupboard, which had a hollow door. The bottom of the door was about a foot off the ground so it was a simple matter if rolling up a magazine and stuffing it up the inside of the door, where it would unfurl enough to wedge itself in place. Easy, job done.

After having thus concealed my prized collection, I realised that the previously very flimsy and light door was now very noticeably heavier and harder to open and close. This, clearly would give the game away in an instant -- but necessity is something or other and this was soon fixed when I rigged up a small pulley, a piece of string and the lead weight from my fishing rod: voila, a self-closing door!

I told my parents that I'd done it because I was annoyed at people leaving the door open all the time. And obviously the extra weight of the door was due to the lead weight and the friction from the pulley.

I was really rather chuffed at this solution, and it stood me in good stead for a number of years. It was only some 20 years later that my mother decided to tell me -- over dinner with my then-new girlfriend (now wife) -- that she'd been in one day, knocked the door by accident, and the entire stash had fallen out onto her foot.

But it was OK she said, she'd just rolled them up and put them back. She was happy because up till that point she'd been worried I was gay.
(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 13:36, 8 replies)
USB Spoon
Designed and created to ensure a well stirred cup of tea and to rid the world of lame spoons:

(, Fri 18 Nov 2011, 12:38, 1 reply)

This question is now closed.

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