My brother and I recently spent a wonderful day with sculptor and all-round eccentric Alan Ross of ArtInSteel. The result of Alan’s patient help was that my welding improved immensely, and he humoured my ambitions when I said I wanted to make a sculpture of a bird in the afternoon. Well, here it is. I’ve not tried my hand at sculpture before, and I think it came out pretty well.
And, yes Alan, a tall bike is definitely on my to-do list now.
It snowed again! It doesn’t snow very often in London, so we have to make the most of it. The old electric snowmobile was pretty unstable, so today I rebuilt it with a new and much improved front end. I also built a sledge to tow behind – this was originally supposed to be a set of shelves for my son’s bedroom, but needs must, and now it’s a sledge. My son is delighted by this change of plans; my wife, somewhat less so. Here it is in action:
Last Saturday my youngest son came into my bedroom early in the morning carrying a big pile of cardboard he’d collected and declared that he wanted me to make him a scary mask, just like his big brother. What else could I do?
On Sunday afternoon I was all alone. My wife and kids were stuck in Denmark by the snow, and I was by myself. Bored. Bored, with a welder. But no-one to play in the snow with. And then it struck me – what I needed to do was to build a snowmobile. Not that we get much snow in London, but as we had some for a change, it needed to be exploited properly.
And so six hours of frantic cutting, welding, and soldering later, here it is – the mark 1 electric snowmobile. Read on
Ours is a push-button digital world. Very convenient it is too, but somehow it’s lost the tactile sense that old analog equipment had. My study is a strange hybrid of the old and the new. On the wall now is a generator control panel from the early 20th century, and it is slowly coming back to life. Read on…
Hallowe’en has rolled around again, and my eldest is developing more refined tastes. No longer is it sufficient just to be a wizard; now he wants to be a steam robot, sidekick to Doctor Steam. And so it shall be.
Click here for pictures, video and construction details.
It’s Easter, and in the Fzz family that can only mean one thing: the Easter Challenge. Last year we built an Egg Cannon, but this year the challenge was to build a device to take an aerial photograph of my father’s house. Extra points are awarded for style and the use of mad science.
With those bonus points in mind, my son and I set out to build a hydrogen reconnaissance balloon, complete with a remote control camera and mounting. But we only had a week from idea to challenge, so we had to work fast.
Before our Steam Rocket leaked fuel into the top of it, I used to have a wireless basestation on my desk, and I’d got it the habit of looking at the activity lights when a download was taking longer than it should to see if anything was actually happening. Being a creature of habit, I kept glancing at where it used to be whenever I was waiting for a web page; clearly a replacement was needed. Well, here at last it is: a steam gauge to measure the pressure in the tubes of the Internet. Read on for how it works…
Thanks to a suggestion from OutaSpaceman, we journeyed down to the Hollycombe Steam Collection in Hampshire for their Festival of Steam. My youngest son is obsessed with trains, but even he was occasionally enticed off the rails onto the fabulous Edwardian steam-powered fairground rides today. A wonderful day out and a great hit with the kids. If you’re ever in the area, please pay them a visit.
It’s midsummer and we had a beautiful sunny day today. Perfect to demonstrate the awe-inspiring power of the sun, focused through our giant lens into the heat ray of death (at least to any ants that wander into its path). Cardboard catches fire instantaneously, wood burns in a few seconds, plastic melts and water boils. And the swirling smoke in the sunlight makes the focus of the light wonderfully clear. Lots of fun for apprentice pyromaniacs.