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This is a question DIY Techno-hacks

Old hard drive platters make wonderfully good drinks coasters - they look dead smart and expensive and you've stopped people reading your old data into the bargain.

Have you taped all your remotes together, peep-show-style? Have you wired your doorbell to the toilet? What enterprising DIY have you done with technology?

Extra points for using sellotape rather than solder.

(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 12:30)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

I was suddenly reminded of this one...
One night, many years ago Young Sparkie and her friends enjoyed a late night socialising, and we watched a strange documentary on the subject of gyroscopes. It was on very late, but we're pretty sure we got all of the details correctly. The gist was, that if you got a big enough gyroscope to spin fast enough, you could alter the way that the Earth tilted on it's axis. Moving the UK closer to the equator thus giving us a climate similar to, oooh say Portugal?

Now we forgot it for a while, until one of our number, let's call him Jack (It's not his name, but he has a responsible job) spotted a gyroscope toy kit at a car boot sale "Ah Ha! just the ticket!" he thought "No more tedious foreign travel for me!" paid the £1.50 asking price and toddled happily away with it under one arm. That night we all sat at *Sarah and Andy's place looking at the gyroscope and wondering..
Just then a train rattled past along the track at the back of the house...And the space near the ceiling filled with lightbulbs of inspiration, as the science heroes caught their muse and decided that with hammer and nails and some fishing line, they could achieve their dreams of weather improvements..

Fishing line was found, and wound around and around the gyroscope until we were really fed up with it. Then hammers and nails were dug out of cupboards, and we headed up the embankment at the back of the house. Many hands made light work of firmly attaching small brackets of angle iron to the fenceposts and then fishing line to one side, and the gyroscope to the other. It was a Sunday night, and there weren't many trains (thank goodness!) Soon all was in place for the maiden attempt...

We decided to observe from a place of safety (the back kitchen) and waited..

The intercity 125 zipped past noisily, and in the ensuing racket in the darkness, we couldn't actually see what happened, but as Jack pointed out "I don't think it's worked, it's no warmer, is it?" Soo.. we climbed back up the embankment, and found both the gyroscope, and the fishing line where they were, only with a big snap in the line, so we detached it all and returned to the drawing board....Two further attempts with doubled, and quadrupled fishing line proved similarly flawed, so that was that, or so we thought..

Andy sprang to his feet, and grabbed the doubled over fishing line, his full racing motorbike leathers and his crash helmet, and ran down to the shed, his face a mask of concentration.

After we found coats and shoes, and scampered off after him, we arrived at the shed just in time to see him clad in his leathers, holding the now tightly wound gyroscope in a vice, and attaching the other end of the fishing line to the electric drill he had in his other hand. Before we could stop him, he fired up the drill....

We dropped to the ground, and looking up, I could see Andy and a huge tangle of fishing line, and I could hear pinging and glass breaking, as his final attempt at climate improvement disintegrated, the bits tinkling through the shed windows, and cracking assorted jars and wine bottles as they flew...

"It's still no warmer though, is it?" Said Jack...

*Not their names either, but they're teachers, sciencers etc.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 21:35, 2 replies)
Degu got the runs
Disappointed with the available products for pet wheels, i decided to make my own.

I have a few degus and they chew through anything fast. So buying a plastic wheel would not be suitable.

I wanted a metal one but the only one i can find online was looking at the £50 mark.

I made my own using an old HDD bits (such as the reader bearing) and a wilkinson cake time (£7, couldn't find a biscuit tin).

This is what i came up with


Slightly wonky
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 20:13, 2 replies)
So I was recently staying in the girlfriends house whilst her mum was away, and most of the door handles are pretty much falling off the doors. She has a dog which sleeps in her mum's room, and after putting it (the dog) to bed I closed the bedroom, taking the handle with me.

With no idea where screwdrivers are kept in her house, we settled for the trusty method of putting a pair of scissors in hole where the door handle was to open and close it. Oops.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 19:29, Reply)
Whilst unemployed
My sleep pattern completely reversed - I was getting out of bed at 5pm and going TO bed at 9am.

While indulging my internet addiction at 3am, the batteries in my mouse died.

Being the middle of the night in a small town, my chances of buying replacements were nil, and even if there was somewhere to pick some up from, I couldn't afford them.

Then inspiration struck!

Using the only tools I had to hand - a teaspoon, nail clippers and a lighter - I kludged together this:



It meant that I couldn't print out copies of my CV for almost a month, but it still works now, 3 years on, and often gets used in emergencies
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 19:12, 3 replies)
when i was 10 i desperately wanted a tv in my own room but was not allowed by my parents.
however there was an old black and white set in the spare room connected to a very old Acorn Electron as the monitor, which i decided to have.

My cunning plan had 2 parts. First of all i started putting a small sheet over the set, complaining that i was sick of the dust settling on the screen between uses.

A week or so later, i swapped the TV for a large shoebox and a four litre ice cream tub.

my wardrobe at the time had shelves inside at one end. In one of those i subtly taped together a collection of junk with a duct tape hinge at the bottom at the edge of the shelf so it could be hinged up or down. The TV went behind this. The rabbit ears were on top of the wardrobe behind other crap, connected with a thin wire. a piece of string connected the taped crap to a tiny curtain in front of the TV.

If i heard my parents approaching i could flip the fake pile of junk up on it's hinge, lowering the curtains, hiding the TV and looking like a perfectly normal shelf of crap.

It was genius, pure bond secret agent hiding place.

Eventually after several months, my dad wanted to use the computer and discovered that the computer monitor consisted of 2 boxes under a sheet and forced me to 'fess up.

I didn't really get in trouble as i think the ingenuity impressed him more (he's an engineer)

I did have to give the TV back though :(
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 18:17, 1 reply)
You know that horrible feeling when you're just about to climb into bed, you may or may not be really quite stoned, and a sudden realisation hits upon you whereby you realise that nagging sensation that's swarmed about your head, like flies around a rotten corpse, isn't just the longing for a Kit Kat brought on by the prolonged inhalation of marijuana, by instead the realisation that your coursework, due for tomorrow morning, hasn't even been put into your head yet, let alone realised in any format that can be presented to an expecting and oft disappointed tutor.

This is worsened somewhat by the knowledge that you can't possibly make use of the studios in college, as it's now half 11 at night and you don't have the requisite transport to take you there, but that matters not as you'd only find a locked door, moodily manned by the surliest of security guards who would, in a language unbeknown to your ears, swear quite rudely and make some very threatening gestures indeed.

"So how..." you might eventually think, once your weed addled brain has managed to engage the necessary cogs in order to formulate mildly coherent thought "...am I to create a masterpiece worthy of my BTEC National Diploma in Popular Music yes, really, it exists!, before the immovable deadline at 9am tomorrow morn?". You know another missed deadline would seriously impede your chances of passing this course, and this turn of events would bring eternal shame upon your rapidly balding head.

So you plunge waist deep into a dusty cupboard that had long since been given over to a million new species of insect and, with bated breath, you dig about near the back until the gigantic stereo you'd once stolen from your mum, but soon consigned to the cobwebs and creatures of the crap cupboard, places itself in your grasp and you heave it toward yourself, dragging every single other item with it. Having freed yourself from the quagmire and flung the unknown and unnecessary back from whence they came, you set about setting up the curious recording studio that'll enable you to maintain the pretence of effort on your low grade college course.

Eventually, sat on the floor of your bedroom, surrounded by dust, bizarre and slightly surprised looking multi-legged creatures and a multitude of long since forgotten belongings, you light another spliff and survey your ingenuity with smug satisfaction. Not yet knowing just how much the personal computer will one day change your life, you've created an archaic and low quality multi track recording studio. Before you lies a cheap keyboard that connects directly to the aforementioned cassette player via a hastily constructed cable that is, in effect, two cables clumsily spliced together. "But why dig about in the cupboard for a gigantic early '80s twin tape player when you have a slightly less robust, but definitely more modern '90s "Back to back" tape player, with ace speakers and everything just there by your knee?" people may have asked if they'd been there to witness this kerfuffle. Well, I'll tell you if you can be bothered to continue reading what has become an inordinately lengthy piece that you'll soon come to realise has very little value and a mildly disappointing pay off: you see, this particular ghetto blaster, as once they were known, had a curious cross fader, which meant I could record not only from one tape to another, but I could also incorporate the jack input in the front, to form my mega multi track music studio. In this manner, by recording on a tape, then swapping it and recording a combination of that tape and a piece of poorly played keyboardery onto a new tape, which was then swapped and used to overdub yet another track, until the quality had faded so much that I had to wire a better set of speakers to the contraption, just to hear anything at all, I was able to triumphantly create a piece that could feasibly be passed off as coursework.

Then I overslept, missed my bus and, subsequently, my deadline, both by several hours.

(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 17:23, Reply)
Rudder for Flight Sim 4.0
More like rubbish ...

Back in the dark times when I was nerdiest kid I knew - a 386SX bought from Morgan graced my room and I'd fitted a dual games port. I couldn't then afford to by a real rudder controller - so I made one out of bits of wood a joystick and some of that springy metal outer casing from a bike brake cable.

To paraphrase "sandettie light vessel automatic" - Notwithstanding the intermitant crashes, I used it for maybe an hour or so because that's how long it took for my glory to wear off.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 17:09, Reply)
Car alarms and toilets
My dad, working in car-electronics as he did, had plenty of opportunity to finetune his practical-joking skills with his colleagues over the years - making their long-suffering boss the butt of many pranks.

They started slow, leaving his car with the stereo fully cranked, AC on full, wipers and hazards left on, anything that would start the moment the car was turned on. This would result in a moment of frantic flurry as the poor victim tried to stop all the gadgets that had burst into life when all he wanted to do was drive to the offie for some cigs.

Then they moved on, hijacking the car alarm system to go off when the car was unlocked, then when someone sat in the driver's seat, then when it was started, then on a 30-second delay AFTER it was started and so on. Or wiring the electric sunroof to automatically retract when the car started - especially effective in the middle of a rainy winter.

When their boss finally got sick of this and started parking his car in a locked garage, they moved indoors and repeated the pranks, only this time with various items in his office, the chair, the door the desk. On any given day opening a certain drawer or sitting for more than 10 minutes in the main chair could set off a series of alarms, vibrating pads and noisemakers hidden all around the room. To be honest, I'm amazed that he put up with them for so long.

With fresh ideas for the office drying up, they moved on once more. To the toilet. Now, the boss also being the owner of the company, he had a habit of taking longer-than-strictly-necessary breaks, and was particularly noted for his after-lunch toilet break when he'd stride off, newspaper tucked firmly under one arm, and be gone for up to half an hour at a time [a fact exploited to every advantage in the setting up of the office pranks].

One of my dad's colleagues was an ex-plumber, and he concocted a simple but effective system of transparent plastic tube and pressure-sensor so that when the boss seated himself on his chosen porcelain throne, a powerful jet of water attempted to administer a surprise enema. The resulting squeal of surprise and following enraged shout of "you fucking bastards!" was often repeated round the office, to much lolarity.

Surely this must be the pinnacle of boss-baiting? There's not much that could top a cold squirt up the arse - or so my Canal Street friends tell me. No, they had one final game to play...

Now, due to Elf and Shafety, the company had recently had to upgrade its ancient cumbersome fire extinguishers for a more modern version that would actually stand a small chance of combating a fire, in such a situation. The old ones were supposed to be sent off for responsible disposal, but ended up shoved in the back of a cupboard and forgotten about.

Old foam extinguishers worked on the principle of a vial or packet of reactant suspended in a canister of water. Turning the extinguisher on broke the packet and allowed its contents to react with the water and the resulting pressure from the reaction spurted the foam out of the nozzle in waves of fire-quenching spunk. So. They dismantled a couple of these extinguishers and carefully retrieved the packet of reactant. I'm sure you can guess what they did with it.

First, the boss needed to be distracted. A customer's car, left to be fitted with a tow bar and electric windows contained one of those hamster starter kits, you know, a cage, wheel, a bag of sawdust, water bottle, food bowl and food. Everything except the hamster, in one convenient box. So they set up the cage, spreading out the sawdust and filling the bowl and water bottle and putting nesting material in the little house, the works. Then went inside and told the boss that the hamster had got out of the cage and was lost somewhere in the depths of the car. This got him conveniently out of the way, frantically searching for a non-existent hamster and leaving the coast clear for more toilet violations.

The packet of extinguisher reactant was carefully installed in the cistern, with the flush handle fitted with a large metal pin and set up to break it open when the toilet was flushed. They also disabled the mechanism to stop it filling, thus ensuring a constant supply of fresh water.

Once they'd told the boss [now in the later stages of advanced panic and just about to drive to the nearest pet shop to buy a fresh hamster to replace the 'lost' one] that his hour or so of searching had been for nothing, he stomped off to have his lunch - and his inevitable post-lunch poo.

There was quite a crowd lurking outside the toilets that afternoon, listening in. Creak of cubicle door. Slide of the bolt. Clink of belt-buckle on tiled floor. Rustle of newspaper. Rolling of toilet paper. Shuffling of feet - and then... the toilet flushed.

Those packets are designed to provide a LOT of foam in a very short space of time. There was an anguished scream as the toilet bowl filled up with thick white foam, then started to overflow. And still the foam was coming, now filling the cubicle. The boss struggled to pull his trousers up, grappling with the cubicle lock and that bolt that always stuck but he'd never bothered to fix it. And still the foam was coming out of the toilet, piling up and up and up in the confined space.

By the time he got out, the foam had nearly covered his head. It clung to him, sticky and white. He looked like the Michelin Man.

Faced with virtually his entire workforce pissing themselves laughing as he emerged from the toilet smothered in foam, he responded in the only decent way.
"Bastards." And stomped off to try to clean up.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 17:03, 8 replies)
high voltage stupidity
My younger brother developed an unhealthy interest in making really big sparks while studying electronics, it culminated in a DIY Marx generator, a device normally used by test labs to simulate lightening strikes.

Foot long sparks, the smell of ozone, electrical equipment going nuts all over the house and one distinctly unimpressed mother. Result
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 16:56, 4 replies)
Fucked exhaust
A few of us drove to the beach a few weeks ago.

After performing several half arsed hand brake turns on the beach (my slightly chavvy mate) decided it was time to go home.

Cue the exhaust deciding to lose a bolt and hang down, scraping violently on the road and causing him no undue amounts of stress as it was his sisters car and he was going to get in a LOT of trouble if he was found with any damage on the offending vehicle.

Luckily one of my other quick thinking mates had a bright idea and remembered he had a fair sized length of rope in the boot and decided to tie the exhaust under the car and then back over the roof and into the front passenger window, where another mate could hold the car together as we drove home.

It worked too...
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 16:14, 5 replies)
Concealed handfun
Back in the depths of pre-history, when Mrs Rosy Palm and her five lovely daughters were my bestest friends and the world wide wank had yet to be invented, I found myself in search of a good place to hide my extensive collection of gentleman's literature. Then I noticed one day that the door to the airing cupboard -- which was in my bedroom -- was hollow, and open along the bottom edge. If I rolled my jazz mags up really tight and stuffed them up the gap, they would wedge themselves tightly and stay there.

Genius, I tell you.

The only problem was that this made the door -- which was only made of very light plywood -- about twice as heavy, which would've been rather suspicious. So undaunted, I rigged up a pulley (lord alone knows where I found such a thing lying about) with a piece of string and a weight, as a makeshift auto-door-closing-device. I told my parents I was pissed off about the door being left open and my room getting too hot, and this way it would never happen. The addition of the extra weight/friction masked the increased weight of the door itself.

Double genius.

I was rather chuffed with this arrangement and it persisted for several of my masturbation-filled teen years.

I'd all but forgotten about it until the time, well over a decade later, that I brought my ultimately-to-be-wife to meet my family. And my mother chose to reveal over dinner that one day during that time she'd gone to the airing cupboard, opened the door, and been startled when something dropped onto her foot, seemingly from nowhere. And even more startled when it turned out to be a rather filthy pornographic magazine.

Spotting my cunning ruse, she decided to stuff the thing back where it had come from and say nothing about it. She concluded the revelation by saying:

"Frankly, I was just happy to know you weren't gay."

Thanks mum.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 15:43, Reply)
Success beyond my expectations.
I bought a cheap second-hand motherboard a while back, and they threw in a P4 cpu for free. The reason it was free was because one of the legs was missing. So, I thought I might try and bodge it. I got a bit of thin copper wire, cut it to about 2mm long and inserted it into the socket in the correct hole that matched the missing pin.

It sounds like horseshit, but it actually worked. But only if the computer was orientated so that the motherboard was horizontal, and the cpu fan had to turned down low because of the vibration. In fact, a bit of vibration (such as bumping the desk when I sat down) would cause it to crash.

Notwithstanding the intermitant crashes, I used it for maybe a week or so because that's how long it took for my glory to wear off.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 15:33, 1 reply)
On the advantage of ruling out The Obvious before calling technical support
Well, I flatter myself by calling myself "technical support"; in fact, I was just a bloke with some (very limited) nouse and a screwdriver.

I remember getting a call from a (thankfully now ex-) girlfriend saying that all the electricity had failed in her flat. I found this a bit alarming, though I did recall that I'd replaced the light fitting in her room a couple of weeks before, so I suppose I could at least go over there and reassure myself that I hadn't shorted the connection there in such a way as to blow out the entire fusebox*.

"So, nothing's on?" I asked, "no lights, no power from the wall sockets?"
"No, nothing. It's all gone out. I was going to call an electrician but I thought I should ask you first."
"Have you checked the fuse box?"
"I don't know where it is..."
I wasn't going to be able to fix this one over the 'phone. I rummaged in my tool box for some fuse wire and a couple of screwdrivers and set off for her place.

And about 30 minutes' walk later, I get into the flat. I check the lights, I check the wall sockets, and she's got that bit right: there's no power. Maybe something really has knocked out the fuses.
"So have you any idea where the fuse box is?" I ask again
I try the cupboard nearest the front door. I move a suitcase aside and there it is. Better still, it's not even traditional fuses, but trip-switches. And the master switch is pointing quite decidedly at "OFF."

"Oh, is that where it is?" She pipes up, "Oh, I put a couple of suitcases in there this morning..."
"And did the electricity go out after you'd forced them in?"
I flip the big red master switch and 40W of ceiling light serve to better illuminate the growing element of crimson in her cheeks. Just as well she hadn't called an electrician...

*I realise that takes some doing, but I have a unique gift for fucking things up in an embarrassing fashion sometimes...
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 15:21, 5 replies)
Another electric fence story...
After having sold the farm, we moved into town next to a busy street.

My daughter's cat, used to going wherever she liked, would jump the fence and go on walkabout. Worrying that she would get skinny the easy way, I decided to electrify the fence with an old weed burner that I had left over from the farm.

I ran a wire through insulators along the top of the wooden fence and turned it on. I shortly saw said cat out in the road again and had to wonder what had happened. The fence could keep a 1500lb horse in the pasture, but not a damn cat??? Then I realized that when a horse gets zapped it is standing on the ground, thus completing the circuit allowing the zapping to commence. I then ran a ground conductor about 4 inches away from the high conductor in such a way that the cat couldn't avoid making contact with both wires. I then threw the cat out in the yard and waited, and waited, and waited, and then went to work.

When I got home the cat was once again out front, but she looked quite dazed and really wanted back in the house. Upon inspecting my handiworks in the back yard, I found a spot in the wiring that had been stretched out of shape. I figure that she jumped up to the top of the fence, got zapped, got hung up in the wiring, continued to get zapped, and finally made it over the fence.

I tightened up the wires and reset the system for another test. The cat didn't wan to go outside for several days and indeed looked a bit confused for quite some time. When she finally did want to go outside, she stayed well away from the fence. Problem solved!?!? Well it was solved until the 5 feet of snow we received the next winter, but that's another story.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 15:14, Reply)
Don't use a screw where wire will do...
Some of the screws that held the panel on the side of helicopter popped out, and we had no spares...

To get back, I 'buttoned' them back up with wire and buttons made out of drilled 5c pieces...
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 15:14, 2 replies)
Fuse Lid
Our leccy went off whilst taping a cd I'd bought for my sister's birthday; locking it into the stereo.

It was back in the day of foil caps on milk bottles (and tapes), so I folded a foil cap and jammed it in the fuse box... Availing me of just enough time to remove the CD, and present her with the aformentioned gift. yay.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 15:10, Reply)
Not mine, but a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend.....etc
I heard a man (we shall call him Geoff) had a friend with 2 old beaten up cars (probably Peugots) that were the same model, even made in the same year I think.

One car could run, but the bodywork was mainly rust. The other car wouldnt run, but the bodywork was in good nick.

So needless to say Geoff bought both cars of his mate for a small sum of money, and promptly set about making one car out of 2.

The transplants went well up until the point he switched the engines. For some peculiar reason, the air filter on the dead engine was secured to the engine itself. The air filter on the working engine was bolted to the car.

Poor Geoff never realised this until he took the now completely useless "other car" to the scrappies. He then had to admit to being a nonce and get one of the air filters back.

Length? 'bout 8"x5", no?
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 14:14, 5 replies)
I want my MTV
Some 12 or 13 years ago I moved out of my lovely flat, which came with satellite tv, to move in to a flat with Mrs Argle, which didn't (the flat, not Mrs Argyle). After moving in, I dutifully enquired with the landlords as to the possibility of erecting a satellite dish. "No chance," says they, "it's a listed building." "Fucksocks," says I. I may have also said "Mother pus-bucket," but I'm not sure.

Undaunted, I went ahead and purchased a satellite dish, box and subscription. Thinking I'd figure out how to set it up, without the landlords knowing, after the fact (you may notice a theme here). Took it back to the flat. Looked at it. Looked at the lovely terrace that came with the flat. Looked at the satellite dish. Had a cuppa. Looked at the satellite dish a bit more. Went for a pint. Came home. Looked at the dish again. Looked at my camera tripod. Eureka!

With the aid of a drill and a convenient bolt, I managed to mount the satellite dish on the tripod and set it up on the terrace. But how to aim it? Well, with the aid of a convenient website, spirit level, angle finder and one of those crap compasses you can buy from a garage, I managed to aim the dish roughly in the direction of the satellite and get a signal! Result!

"Genius," I called myself. "Genius," Mrs Argyle called me. "Fucksocks!" I yelled every time the wind blew the damn thing over. In the middle of the night. In the dead of winter. In the rain.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 13:57, 5 replies)
Classic Xbox Hack
minus points for No duct tape involved ;)

As with most gamers I have old consoles around my house gathering dust for an occasional retro game session. To be honest the only one that came out with any regularity was the N64. The big black box that was the classic xbox didn't get a look in

Then I read the following article


Intrigued I gave it a go. I'm a bit of a klutz but I managed to do this without a hitch. Teamed up with a 1TB network drive full of films & all of my music.

It is fanfuckintastic. My only criticism is the menu system is a bit too complicated for Mrs Duck so I occasionally have to talk her through it but other than that it's awesome.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 13:39, 8 replies)
A few Valentines Day’s back my mate Steve decided to make his new girlfriend a pressie. He carefully melted down a load of candles in a saucepan on the hob, making sure he removed the wicks. He left the molten wax to cool for a bit, poured it into an empty coffee jar, left it to cool for a bit more. Then he jacked off over The Adult Channel freeview for a bit and shoved his erect manmeat in the jar. He was hoping to make a lifelike mould he could make a plaster of Paris model of his cock out of. All very romantic.

What he ended up doing was make his cock explode in pain and blisters and spend the next few hours in casualty on Euston Road having some African lady who resembled a fat female version of Nelson Mandella smear his shrivelled winky in swarfega while quietly chuckling to herself.

Steve should’ve tested the wax with his finger first, that way he’d have discovered it was still too fucking hot to have rampant and incredibly hot intercourse with.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 13:35, 3 replies)
redneck beltsander
A couple of years ago my brother had a little project on the go , it was a radio controlled boat. The whole project was a little rough and ready to say the least mainly beacuse he was trying to do it as cheaply as possible. It was to be a fairly large boat aprox 1400mm long.

The first job was to build the hull . Use expensive marine grade ply ?? i think not cheap packing grade ply thats much better just put a good coat of paint on it to keep the moisture out. So with the hull shapes cut out with a course cut electric jigsaw ,we ran into the first little problem. The edges had to be smoothed off to join up properly but we had no belt sander . As they say necessity is the mother of invention so with that in mind here was the solution.

roughly cut out a circle of MDF glue on some coarse sandpaper to one side. Drill a hole through the aproximate center (no need to measure my eyes are good enough). Next take one router and remove its blades and replace with the sanding disc bolt down securley. A workmate bench was to be the base to hold it. This proved to be a bit tricky as the body shape of the router meant it wouldnt sit very well. The easy solution was to strategically pack it out with plywood offcuts.

The trick is to turn the workmate over on its side so you have a veriticle sander rarther than a awkard to use horizontal sander. All that was needed now was a table to work the material from. After a quick look around it was decided that a recycling bin was the right height.A few empyy beer bottels to weigh it down and stop it mooving around with a few more as work progressed sorted. Clamp on another sheet of plywood and done.

The thing with routers is that they spin rarther fast and this thing was as unstable as a Zimbaweian economic policy. A couple of bricks helped out there. Safety cutouts ?? you are joking right? But blow me down this device would give a corrupt Nigerian health and safety inspector nightmares but it worked very well, just remember to keep your fingers clear.
I have some pics if anyone is interested.

As for the boat well thats another story.....

edit: pics avaliable here
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 11:59, 8 replies)
Crash n Burn
At a house party my mate Adam who works in IT support was doing the unthinkable – he was actually talking to a real live woman. I was stood nearby listening in on the conversation in the absence of fuck all interesting to do. Admitedly, this woman looked a bit like Quasimodo with a mop on his head, but she was certainly packing all the necessary equipment to take Adam on a trip to spunky squidgeville south of the boarder, and Adam really wasn’t in a position to be choosy.

Adam’s waxing lyrical about his amazing electronics projects (he may as well have been speaking Russian), and strangely this woman doesn’t seem to be put off. Eventually Quasimodeana, upon learning about Adam’s profession, says: “Why don’t we take this upstairs – I’ve got a hard drive you could slide your floppy disk into...”

I nearly choked on my pint. Then Adam, never one to miss an opportunity, replies: “I think you’ll find no one uses floppies anymore; this isn’t the eighties. If you want I can sort you out and upgrade... at cost... ” And he wanders off leaving Quasimodeana dripping fanny batter on the carpet.

Adam is a cock. Sometimes it pays to know fuck all about computers and all that bollocks.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 11:50, 5 replies)
Not me personally
but my friends dad is an plumber, and one day they were driving along happily in their old van, when they heard a *twang* and the car started to slow down. Upon closer inspection it turned out the throttle cable had managed to snap or something, and instead of getting it sorted properly, as it was due an MOT the next month, they decided to bodge it..

by routing it out through the side of the van, up and through the window to a lever just by the steering wheel.. quite an interesting way of driving im sure. Needless to say they scrapped it after it for some reason failed the MOT

Sorry its not very techy, but a good hack none the less
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 11:43, Reply)
quick one

Don't put the flour, milk and egg in a mixing bowl to make the batter. Put them in an empty plastic milk bottle, put the lid back on and give it a really good shake for a minute or so. Makes them perfectly, and you can just pour it into the pan.

Not really a techno hack, but it's a really easy way to make pancakes.

Mmmmm. Pancakes.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 11:26, 15 replies)
Very little techno
but it's the best I've got, and I'm bored and haven't posted on QOTW for a while.

Imagine, if you will, a fresh-faced and innocent 17 year old Berk, with a driving license so new and clean it still has the squeak in it, pootling around in her pride and joy: a 998cc 1986 Mini Mayfair.
Driving back from college one evening, I was pulled over by the police and asked to step in to the back of their car. Shiny driving license is duly examined, stern questions asked about the car (which was in my mums name), and finally one of them growls out 'Do you know why we've stopped you?'
Now complete with evacuated bowels and trembling bottom lip, I stammer out 'N-no...It's just been taxed and MOT'd, I got it done when I passed my test last month. You've got my license and insurance, and I know I wasn't speeding...'
'Yeah, well. Your brake lights are too orange, so that'll be a £30 fixed penalty.'
Protests that my car passed it's MOT a mere six weeks ago and that there shouldn't be anything wrong with it fall on deaf ears; as do my pleas that if they give me a fine I won't be able to afford to have the work done. Sniffling, I am handed my paperwork and ejected from the police car with a reminder to pay up within 14 days.

Which I did. I fixed the car by getting some red plastic wallets - about 60p from Woolies - and cutting out two brakelight shaped pieces and sticking them to the car with heavy duty clear tape. They lasted another two years til some twat drove in to the back of me and I had to have the brakelight casings replaced.

As for technical things, I hate to conform to 'girls don't do computers' stereotype, but I follow a process similar to this:

I even usually get away with it, too...
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 10:25, 5 replies)
DIY psychology hack #2: How to avoid talking to idiots on the phone.
Here's something I discovered by accident. Once when I got a new answering-machine for my landline, I never got round to recording a message. This had the consequence that anyone who tried to call me heard nothing but a beep followed by silence. A lot of the people (mostly people calling from call-centres) were too stupid to figure out that this was a message-less answering-machine. I even got a few messages where I could here the confused phone-drone ask someone in the background why all they heard was a beep followed by silence. Fortunately, my friends and family were smart enough to cotton on and left me messages when I didn't pick up the phone. Needless to say, my landline calls consisted mostly of people worthy of my discourse.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 9:29, Reply)
DIY psychology hack #1: How to open your mind to insanity.
Not really a techno-hack, but seeing that this involves hacking the brain, I thought I'd post it.

Years ago when I was a computer-obsessed teenager, I had this idea - just how much could I hack the English language to make myself enjoy literature a bit more.

I created this program that worked like a reverse Mad Libs. That is, you fed it a template and it would fill in the words for you. As the choice of words was completely random, this would often cause the output to be firmly in the domain of the surreal.

I found that exposing myself to randomly generated spontaneous juxtapositions did train my mind to either grab insights out of nowhere, cultivate a fertile imagination, or to at least enjoy an appreciation for the bizarre.

Here is an example.

Needless to say, exposing myself to stuff like this every day for a period of six months does have an effect on you and might have helped me along the path to becoming the loon that I am today.

Length? Vivaciously dropped.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 9:14, 2 replies)
School Lunch
My dog would jump the fence and go to the local school to share play lunch with the weans.

I electrified the fucker. My dog doesn't like school anymore.

A plus side is that the neighbours cat also doesn't seem to visit anymore.

Mr Zappy is my friend. But be careful, do not forget he is out there if you need to pee on that firey fence.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 8:50, Reply)
Many years back
...I had a Nissan Sunny. A beaten up Nissan Sunny. In fact, it may have been that long ago that it was a Datsun Sunny.

The exhaust had blown a long time ago, and so I set to work with a Coke can and gaffer tape. Found where the hole was, cut the can open with some tin snips, wrapped it around the hole and gaffered it all back (over and over and over).
The gaffer tape melted and did quite a good job of holding it all in place.

A few weeks after this a new bakery had opened in our village. My brother-in-law (to be) was a bit older than me (I was 17), and that meant that he'd had a job - in the same building as the bakery, when it was something else instead of a bakery - he seemed to remember that the big shed out the back didn't have a lock on it. We summised that this must be where they held all the stock for the new bakery.

It was about 1am and we were hungry.

We covertly drove the Datsun round to the back of the bakery building, got out and walked up to the shed. Sure enough - no lock. We walked in (I can't remember if we had masks, but this was a serious burglary for us - we'd never done anything like it before or since), opened up the freezer and viola! Hundreds of donuts and danishes! Wooohooo.

We stacked them up in the car and in true 'Dukes of Hazzard' style wheelspinned away - and expertly undoing the coke-can fix of the exhaust - at around 1.30am. A quick look in the rear view mirror would show me that that we were not the only ones that could hear this bloody awful exhaust noise of a (circa) 1980 Datsun Sunny.

Still, though, we made our escape and crept into my parents house (for it was there where I lived at the ripe old age of 17).

We must have been making just as much noise in the kitchen because my mum got up and shouted "What the bloody hell are you two laughing at". To her suprise, we told her and offered her a newly defrosted doughnut from the microwave.

"Where did those come from?" she asked.

We told her.

Que, 10 mins later having to dip the clutch in an attempt to keep the exhause noise down as we slowly crept back up the gravel road to the back of the bakery to put our ill-gotten gains back in the freezer.

I didn't wheelspin away that time.

I did, get another Coke can though, and that one lasted nearly 6 months.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 7:31, Reply)
Successful fix
In 1983, my then boyfriend and I travelled from Detroit to Pittsburgh, a trip of roughly 6 hours. Unfortunately it was during one of the biggest blizzards/ice storms the Midwest has ever seen.

The Ohio Turnpike was closed, something that had not happened in my memory and we were stuck on it, trying to find a way off. Most of the exits were closed as well, forcing us to go on. We should have gotten off after we passed several dozen (no exaggeration-I stopped counting at 100) jack-knifed semis, but no, a MAN was driving and he'd stop when hell froze over.

I suspect it did.

Finally in Strongsville, we could get off and find a Red Cross shelter set up in a local church. Thank God... Did boyfriend take the route recommended by the nice policeman-did he fuck! No, he plowed thru a drift so hard and icy it ripped the length of the muffler off the bottom of the truck.

The fix? Rummaging thru our luggage to find coat hangers and lying in the subzero snow to wire the muffler back on. I spent an hour in the freezing truck a half mile from warmth while buddy there lay diddling the muffler so he "wouldn't be embarrassed in front of all those truck drivers" when he drove to the shelter.

We spent the night in the shelter (thank you Red Cross) and arrived roughly 28 hours after we left. This was before cell phones so our friends were convinced we had died in the storm.
(, Tue 25 Aug 2009, 7:14, 3 replies)

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