New Toys: EzMobile

I have a theory that it’s the adults that think the fancy plastic toys are somehow cooler than their simple counterparts.  Kids on the other hand are using their imagination (at least should be), and don’t really care how pixel-perfect it is.

My theory was verified when 5 minutes after taking this photo, Ezra flew a $15 toy helicopter past me with this little EzMobile guy hanging out the door  :)



A new stock for rubber band gun #6

In anticipation of receiving the assembly for Rubber Band Gun #6 from Dixon Tool and Die, Inc., we have been making a new rubber band gun stock to complete the package.

This stock was hand crafted out of solid 1.75″ x 6.0″ x 48″ slab of maple.  The primary tools were bandsaw (for the profile), hammer and chisel, random orbit sander, end mill, jointer, sand paper, and lots of elbow grease.

There is a technique that we implemented called “raising the grain”.  It involves rubbing the wood with a wet rag, and then letting it dry.  Loose pieces of grain swell up and in turn raise up out of the wood, where they can be sanded off.

At the bottom-left corner of this photo, you can see another blank ready to be cut.

A lot of thought and testing went into this simple design and it works really well.  The catch (no pun intended) is to allow the rubber bands to release cleanly with no interference.

Here is Mr. E holding the shop-vac to keep the end mill from clogging up.  My Sherline milling machine is not large enough to hold this stock conveniently, so we used a drill press and cross-slide vice to mill it out.  Drill presses are not as rigid as milling machines, so we had to take it slow.

Melting table salt in a red hot spoon.

We were using a bunsen burner hooked up to a propane tank to heat a spoon, and the salt in the spoon, red hot in order to melt the salt.

According to the wikipedia article on salt, the melting point is 1474 °F.  See further comments after this picture…

Melting salt in a spoon over a propane burner

It took a while, but we did get it to melt.  I “poured” it onto a metal surface, and you can see it still glowing here:

And for reference, here is what a Sodium Chloride crystal looks like up close:

More wooden pegs

We’ve been refining the art of driving wooden pegs.  By the way, if you get a high end cordless drill, I recommend Hitachi over  Porter Cable.  The proter cable (18V Lithium) didn’t have the power, or battery life to drill these holes, and the gear box eventually stripped out.

The Hitachi drill powers right through and keeps going.  Even it’s drill setting will “slip” if subject to too much torque, but it seems to be a reasonable point that is adequate for heavy duty drilling.