b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » DIY Techno-hacks » Post 504691 | Search
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, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

« Go Back

Dream machine
Inspired by the hallucination inducing goggles with red LEDs inside them which were all the rage in the late 80s/early 90s, I wanted some sort of flashing light type setup in my room for use in situations where substances may have been smoked and/or dropped. I could have bought a strobe light but then being a poor student, this wasn't an option.

My first attempt required the following components: record player, candle, cardboard, scissors and selotape. I cut parallel slits in the cardboard then bent it into a tube shape and taped the ends together. I taped a circle of cardboard to cover one end of the slitty tube. I placed a candle firmly on the centre spindle of my record player, lit it then placed the slitty tube over it so that the light emanated in beams through the slits. Lastly, I turned the record player on at 45 rpm, sat back and accepted the funny looking cigarette that my mate offered me.

The home made dream machine was OK. It wasn't exactly a strobe but it made beams of light which wizzed around the walls of my otherwise unlit room. We sat probably listening to DJ Ace mixtapes from Camden market and smoked ourselves into a condition I believe the medical term for which is "monged".

I was aroused from this dream-like state by a smell of burning plastic and the sudden realisation that there was a foot high flame shooting out of the top of my box shaped shitty stereo system. "Shit!" I exclaimed, flung open the window, unplugged the stereo and carefully carried it over to the window and threw it into the garden.

My mate just sat there, don't think he'd even noticed what was going on until I ushered him out of the room which was now filled with stinking plastic smoke. I think the centrifugal force had caused the wax to run away from the candle making it burn down really quickly and right through the flimsy plastic record deck. Didn't try that technique again not that I had a working record player with which to try it anymore.

The second attempt came about by chance after a visit to the furniture shop in which my aunt worked. We went out the back for a ciggie and I noticed a large plastic disc about four feet in diameter attached to a pyramid shaped base. The base housed a motor which made the disc turn and demonstrate the selection of colour co-ordinated curtain and wallpaper patterns. This wonderful gadget was waiting to go into a skip. She said I could have it and have it I did.

This time, I would use electric light in the form of a lamp minus its lampshade selotaped to the back of the base. I cut slits in the plastic wheel and covered the lamp in cardboard so that the light would only escape via the freshly cut slits. I ripped off the interior design samples and glued on my own psychedelic drawings/doodles in their place. I drew a big eye at the top of the pyramid and underneath wrote a phrase which I had seen subtitled in a late night Indian film on Channel 4 which happened to stick in my mind: "If dreams came true, what would happen to reality". Suitable hippy bollox.

This dream machine was more like a lighthouse than a strobe. The wheel turned so slowly that the beams of light just drifted along and as one beam faded into the corner, another appeared in the opposite corner and began to make its way across the room. Very "chillout". As the plastic disc turned, it also made the occasional creaking noise just like the rigging on a ship. Used to quite often find myself momentarily drifting across the ocean gazing up at the stars.

And it never caught fire which was a bonus.
(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 16:52, Reply)

« Go Back

Pages: Popular, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1