This is just a list of projects that I'd love to do. Mostly, this list is to help me remember when I get a neat idea that I can't do anything with right away. In no particular order:
This would be made from a standard electric oven, using the broiler element for heat, and a shop vac for vacuum. The vacuum box would be designed to slide into the same slots as the oven racks.
"Tin" ceiling tiles go for about $20 a pop at Lowe's, but I figure I could make them for about $3 each.
Probably the toroidal type, using scooter wheels.
I've got Gingery's book on plastic injection molding. I'd modify the machine to use compressed air.
The plywood disk on my 6" Disk Sander changes shape in the humidity. I want to replace it with an aluminum disk.
I don't know why. It just seems like a neat little thing.
Cast from Aluminum or ZA-12, and turned on the lathe itself.
I originally started a Mert Baker style toolpost, but I got a crazy idea I'd like to try...
My Asian drill press needs a new belt, and naturally it's a little tiny weird one. I need to either make a belt, modify the pulleys to take a normal belt, or replace the drive system entirely with something much neater, like a CVT or something. Whatever it is, it should include a handle, because I use the drill press for tapping quite a bit.
The quill is loose. Talk about CHEAP.
I've got a HUGE collection of broken band saw blades. I'd love to build a battery-powered bland saw blade welder. Stop laughing, such things do exist.
I bought my 1934 Walker-Turner tablesaw at an auction for $5. What a deal! Unfortunately, the dolt runner they'd hired tried to pick it up by the fence, which promptly broke off. That reduced the price to $0, and I've been using a piece of wood and C-clamps ever since. I'd like to cast a new fence-holder-thingie part out of aluminum.
Tesla turbines are COOL. They have no blades, instead depending on the boundry layer between the air and disks to transfer energy. What kind of disks? Why, AOL CDs, of course. I've got a million of 'em. I may also build a version using hard drive platters, which are metal and can withstand the higher temperatures of steam.
Made up of insulating firebrick, and more or less air-tight so I can experiment with melting reactive metals under inert atmospheres.
I'm thinking "Phalanx". Praise the Lord and pass the rubberbands.
It works like this: a large (3" or so) bearing is located concentric with the lathe centers. In this bearing runs a short piece of pipe, which is locked around the work by three radial bolts. The bolts spin with the work, so there is no wear.
I will probably use roller skate bearings for this.
I have some plastic gears to use as patterns, why can't I cast metal copies? I'd have to have very high-detail molds, perhaps plaster of paris or RTV, which will require the use of low-melting point metal, like ZA-12.
I've got the knurling wheels, now I need a way to hold them.
For turning spherical surfaces on the lathe.
I bought a 20-gallon air compressor at a garage sale for $5. The yahoo who cobbled it together had no clue what he was doing - he used a 3600 rpm motor and geared it UP about 5 to 1! Oddly, it wouldn't turn the compressor. Probably a good thing, since he'd fit a pulley with a 1" bore onto a 1/2" shaft by jamming screws into the gap.
Nothing is more annoying than a misplaced punchmark. There are instructions on the web somewhere.
Very cool solution to the age old problem of starting a fire. Working like a diesel engine, it uses compression to heat air and ignite tinder. No one knows who invented it - it may have been the natives of southeast Asia before the 1800's.
For making custom rulers. Kind of like a dividing head for straight things. I think I can make it an attachment for the lathe, actually.
I'd hang it in the shop and use it. Slide rules are great for choosing gears when threading.
Just to say I've done it. I'll probably make a soroban, or Japanese version, which has 1 over 4 beads, instead of 2 over 5 as does the Chinese abacus.
Geta are traditional Japanese shoes. To match the soroban, naturally.
I love cheese.
No, it isn't Linda Lovelace with braces. It's an extra long stapler for stapling booklets! Perv.
Small electric go-cart, using a lawn tractor transmission and hefty motor. Or maybe a pair for racing.
Well, there isn't much point in building only one, is there? These would be round and have giant inner tubes around the outside to serve as a cushion. Unlike most bumper cars, they'd be totaly self-contained, so you can drive them around the yard.
This would look like one of the above bumper cars, actually. A big inner tube to act as the skirt, and a lawn mower engine driving a 30" window fan for lift. I wonder about the Bernoulli effect of the air passing under the wide, flat surface of the inner tube, however.
Two front wheels, but it's not a tricycle!
Recumbent for a low profile, enclosed for streamlining, and gyrostabilized so you can't fall over, even when stopped. Maybe a hybrid, as well, with regenerative braking to store power in the gyroscopes. The goal is to get 200 mpg!
It would take a pretty beefy linear bearing, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
I've got some pretty odd ideas for this - using a differential, a torque tube, and a flexible quill shaft, I think I can make a direct-reading all-mechanical Dyno.
Imagine having a 20,000 watt generator that costs under $1000, never gums up from sitting, and never fails to start when you needed it. Why not plunk your car on a couple of rollers and let it drive a couple of 10kW Harbor Freight generators? All the complicated parts are in your car, already designed and built.
I get over 400 spam emails a day. I propose to start a fund-raising drive on the web, and give all the money collected to Blackwater, no questions asked, when spam traffic drops 90%. I'm sure they can take care of the problem ... one way or another. (Credit goes to my father for this idea.)
Lots of my projects seem to require batteries, which are not only expensive, but they're always the wrong size, both physically and electrically! I'd love to be able to build my own batteries to whatever specifications I need. For example, a battery that is 4" tall, 4" wide, 30" long, and 16 volts. Just try and find one.
Just cardboard and a big window fan. Something to fiddle with.
I'd like to build a model of the stars within 75 light years. It would be pretty neat. It might help me find my way home after the Christmas Party, too.
I gave the dollhouse to my daughter before it was finished. I'd like to finish it sometime, since I've had all kinds of ideas for it.
Imagine a cutter that could cut a hardened cobalt tool bit without actually touching it. Now THAT'S cool!
I figure about ten 55-gallon drums, a pair of lawnmower engines, and a couple of big centrifugal pumps would make a nifty little jet-powered pontoon boat.
I've got a 5-HP 90v DC permanent-magnet motor that should work really well as a generator, and an 8' piece of 12" PVC pipe for the blades. I should be able to get some serious power out of that.
Instead of generating electricity, run an air compressor. The compression could heat water, the expansion could provide air conditioning and mechanical or electrical power. Compressed air can be stored without loss virtually forever - compress air for heating in the winter, and release it for cooling in the summer.
Actually, an electric pickup truck, possibly recharged from the above wind turbine.
I want a coffee maker in my car. How hard can it be?
A remote camera mounted on a kite for aerial photography.
I'd just let 'er rip, and make chainmail furniture covers to protect the couch from the cats.
Not just any old car alarm, but one that locks the doors, electrifies the seats and steering wheel, and fires off a tear-gas canister, a randomly-timed super-powerful strobe light, and a 200 decibel "nails-on-chalkboard" siren ... INSIDE the car.
© 2008 W. E. Johns