Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DIY Super Electromagnet

Just quick post.   Wanted to share this fun video illustrating a quick way to get a powerful electromagnet from a microwave oven transformer.

I gotta try this soon.

I found this one on

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Searching with Google Patents

Did you know you can look up patents on Google?

I wanted to get a good diagram of Tesla's Magnifying Transmitter, so I did a Google image search and came up with several files from different websites, but I wasn't really happy with any of them.  They were all muddier, blurrier, or more pixelated than I preferred.

Then I discovered that you can do patent lookups on Google.

The link to do a patent search is

From there you can search for whatever text you desire, "Nikola Tesla" for example.  However if you do this, you find out that Tesla has a LOT of patents.  You get about 64,000 results.

I really didn't want to wade through that may patent hits looking for the Magnifying Transmitter, so I did something else.  I noticed that you can go directly to a specific patent by putting the patent number in the url.  I had the patent number I was looking for because it was on the blurry pictures I had found, so I did this:

And viola, instant access to the patent I was looking for, officially titled "Apparatus for Transmitting Electrical Energy."

I saved a copy of the the main diagram to my computer, printed it, framed it in a $2 frame from Wal-Mart, and hung it on the wall of my office.

And while I was there, I downloaded a .pdf of the full patent, just to keep it handy.

Life is just better with Google.

Oh, and you might want to use Google Chrome to do this.  I couldn't get IE 8 to work properly with Google Patents.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Torsion Bar Boot Workaround

Someone may complain about this being a cheap way to do things, but I thought I'd post it anyway.

I got new Heavy Duty leaf springs (P4452982 and P4452983) and "improved" ride Torsion bars (P5249158) from Mopar Performance for Christmas (for my '68 Charger).

Installed the leaf springs, no problem.

Torsion bars are always a pain, because, of course, I don't have a torsion bar tool.  Pulled the old ones out with vise grips and a hammer, (like you're not supposed to, I know).  Installed the new ones and "Oh, crap" I left the dust boots off the torsion bars.  Great.  Gently tried to remove one of my shiny, NEW torsion bars with vise-grips and a hammer (which I REALLY didn't want to do), but it didn't want to come easily.  $%&@*!

Got mad and made myself quit before I tore something up or got a hammer and started beating on the side of my car.

After I cooled off and had time to think about it, I chose the following course of action.  The old boots were not in too bad of shape and I'd seen a demo once before of how well super-glue bonds rubber together, so I decided to clean my old boots up really good, then slice them open on one side, put them around the torsion bar, then glue the slice back together with super glue (an experiment I'd hate to try with new boots).  I tried cleaning the old grease off with a scrub brush and dawn, but that proved to be a futile mess.  Gasoline, however, cleaned them up very nicely.  I let them dry in the sun for 10-15 min and put'em on.

If I didn't go the super glue route, I was going to have to pull the torsion bars out to put the boots on (delay) and, in order to get them out, I was going to have to order a torsion bar tool online (delay) and if I was going to do that I really ought to buy new boots.  What a pain.

So I opted for plan B - super glue.  (I had torn one of the old boots half-way through already when I slid it over the hex end of the old torsion bar while taking it off.)

I figure I'll keep an eye on the boots and see how well they hold up.  I mean it's just a dust boot, right?  As long as they're intact and keeping dust out, they're doing their thing.  If I see a problem I can always order a torsion bar tool and 2 new boots and replace them.  Plus, I've retained an original 1968 part on the car. :)

I was impressed with how well it worked.  I've included pictures below of the boot I didn't tear.  (The torn one turned out just as good, though.)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hood Blinker Refurb

So I've been slowly whittling away at things my 68 charger needs.

I've only ever had one turn signal in the hood.  Passenger side was always missing.

So I bought one on ebay for $40 (lens, bracket, light socket, metal sconce (or whatever you'd call it)).

Problem was the lens I've always had was bleached out clear by the sun.  So what I've wound up doing (as an experiment) is to color the old, bleached lens with an orange sharpie.  I hunted around at Hobby Lobby for other options, but orange sharpie looked the most promising.

I have no idea how long this will last before the sun/weather either bleaches it out or washes it off, but I thought it turned out pretty good, so I thought I'd share.

Pictures below.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Industrial Lamps

I stumbled across these awesome Industrial/Steampunk lamps on ebay a few days ago and had to share.  Each of these is a hand built, unique creation from Machine Age Lamp Company.  They're pretty pricey, but very cool.  I feel inspired to make one...

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Magic of Sulfur Hexafluoride

For those of you who haven't seen it (pun intended), Sulfur Hexafluoride is a colorless, odorless gas.  It's also much more dense than air, which means you can do some cool stuff with it.

Observe the video.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Steampunk Binoculars

I stumbled across these awesome Steampunk Binoculars the other day.  Even took the time to find the best deal I could on them...which is here:

Steampunk Binoculars at meijer

Not sure how much the shipping is, though.  Gotta watch that.

In searching for the best deal on those binoculars, I also found these at the same website (which I've never purchased anything from, by the way, so cannot vouch for them).  These come with a cool box.

more Steampunk Binoculars at meijer


Just as an aside, whenever I'm looking for the best deal on a product, I basically check 3 sites:

amazon is the one that put me onto the links above.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Theo Jansen on TED

This is one of the best TED talks I've ever seen.  Not because the speaker is so eloquent, but because his creations are so inspiring to look at.  And he has created something new and unique in the "Jansen Link".

Behold the strandbeest.