Monday, December 7, 2009

Twinkle Toes

Twinkle Toes
Add a flashing, tricolor UFO to your roller skates
Dan Bassak | Make Vol. 16- 2008 | Pdf | 4 pgs | 2 mb
Skatetown is our local roller rink in Bloomsburg, Pa.
For years, it's also been my artistic LED experiment
laboratory. I started by taping single-color LEDs to
skates. They were so popular that one session on
the floor looked like a swarm of fireflies.

My latest LED invention is the UFO Toe Stop. It
uses a disk-shaped "flying saucer" unit that con-
tains a red, green, and blue (RGB) LED. I wanted to
blend the colors in interesting ways, so I wired it to
a PIC-controlled RGB microcontroller that comes
with programmed routines such as fixed colors,
fast-changing rainbows, or dazzling strobe effects.

I also used some translucent jam plugs (small
bolt covers used in skate dancing) that I bought in
the rink's pro shop as light diffusers.

Paulownia Archery Bows

Paulownia Archery Bows
Dan Albert | Make Vol. 16- 2008 | Pdf | 3 pgs | 2 mb
When we took possession of our humble London
home, I was shocked to find that all the window
treatments had been removed. So we suffered
the rat-in-a-maze Ikea gantlet to get a good price
on new Venetian blinds. I hung the new blinds
immediately but it took me months to get around
to tailoring them by removing the extra slats.
As soon as I did, I realized that I had a maker's
trifecta win in my hands: easily worked hardwood,
prefinished and free.

First I built a new box for our kitchen plastic wrap,
then my daughter wanted some doll furniture. Next
was a laminated beam to repair our baby stroller,
and a few slats to serve as drawer dividers for the
clothes dresser I'd built ages ago but never quite
finished. But the piece de resistance was a set of
archery bows that I whipped up to the delight of the
neighborhood kids.