The kids and I are building a Arduino powered marble roller. It is a “demo” project for us to learn how to use servos, steppers, input, output, lights, transistors, h-bridges, and so on and so forth.
Hot-glue and foam-board are a great prototyping material!
We’ve invented a new board game, and it’s a lot of fun. Stratahex combines resource collection, transportation, logistics, planning, defense, offense, warfare, and more into a simple and easy-to-play boardgame.
The basic game pieces are:
- Your base
- Supply Trucks
- Oil Rigs
- Small Tanks
- Standard Ammo
- High Explosive Ammo
The board consists of 3 concentric circles with a hex-shaped hole pattern. Parts of the board are painted light-gray, medium-gray, and dark-gray.
- Oil rigs placed in light-gray recieve one coin per turn.
- Oil rigs placed in medium-gray receive two coin per turn.
- Oil rigs placed in dark-gray receive four coin per turn
You can only spend coin once it has been transported back to your base in a supply truck. Each piece costs coin to purchase. You have a limited number of moves per supply-truck and per weapon each turn.
Stratahex is a very comprehensive, but still simple, game to play. The older kids, 8 and 10, have no trouble. There is a lot of figuring, math, counting, and changing coin.
Gameplay is predictable, like chess, in that you can determine the possible moves of the opponent before his next turn. There is no luck involved.
Plenty of fun!
Here is a photo we took of Eli marking a piece of wood for cutting.
Someone contacted me about ideas for building a bench for a youth center out of PVC pipe. Based on this information, I thought it should:
- Look cool
- Be inexpensive to build
- Be safe
Here is what I came up with as a rough draft. I’m not sure how to position the pipes so that it provides #4 above, but this was a rough guess. I’m using a SPLINE curve in SolidWorks with pipes 3″ on center.
Any ideas about how to make something like this comfortable?
Also, anyone know where to get load calculations for structural use of PVC pipe?
It would be my preference to use thick walled aluminum tubing (or solid rod!) but again, #2 above needs to be satisfied.
Here are three wooden guns we cut out of a sheet of 3/4″ plywood. These outlines were drawn by hand impromptu, so they are not terribly well thought through or consistent, but the kids don’t seem to mind a bit :)
Ok, so if you haven’t heard about it, Arduino is a really cool piece of “open source hardware”. In simple terms, it is a single board computer with a number of analog and digital inputs and outputs, that can be programmed from your computer, but run independently.
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
I recently got this starter kit from Amazon.com:
And have since been playing with making different circuits, etc… It has been a good experience in working with lower level electronics (ohm’s law, etc…)
Hope to post more soon!
As I recently posted, Ezra and I used The Gimp to draw a picture of two birds (swans?) on the ocean.
Our next step was to turn this into a puzzle for Mr. Puzzle (Ezra).
Holding the Ink Jet printout prior to gluing.
Applying glue evenly to the board.
Adhering the printed image to the wood with glue.
Examining the puzzle before cutting.
Sanding a piece of the puzzle.
The finished product!
A closeup.. I was really happy with how nice it turned out.
All of the pieces!
And a happy Mr. Puzzle!