Stakket

Stakket is a RSS Feed Aggregator. It takes up to twelve RSS feeds and combines all of their posts chronologically. You can organize your feeds into three “Stakks” of four feeds each, and view them separately, or all together. I learned php and SQL while producing this site. I had the main functionality of the site functional in 40 days.

LED Lighter

I came across this project while browsing around on Instructables.com. I had just received an old soldering iron from my grandpa and I wanted to give it a try with something fairly basic. This is an incredibly fun, easy, and even useful project that can be completed in a few hours. The original instructions for this project can be found here.

 

Step 1: Disassembly

The first step of this project is completed by first emptying, gutting, and removing parts from a Bic lighter. After removing the flame shield, striker wheel, and the gas release lever, it is time to release any leftover gas or air pressure in the lighter. At the bottom of the lighter, you will find a very small indent in the center of the white oval. With the help of a small pin, poke through this small hole. At this point, all the gas will be released from the lighter. Be sure not to do this step in an area where the gas could potentially ignite.

 

Now it is time to gut the lighter. In order to get at the internal aspects of the lighter, you must cut the bottom few millimeters off of the lighter. Once inside, pull the dividing plastic piece out. I used a combination of needle-nose pliers and a soldering iron. After most of this is removed, you should be able to identify the cylindrical compartment which used to hold the flint rod. Cut (or melt) through the bottom of this compartment because wires will need to pass through here later.

 

Step 2: Soldering

Now that the lighter has been gutted, it is time to begin soldering together the simple circuit that will be going into it. First, you should solder one of the leads from the LED to the flame guard so that the LED sticks out of it where the flame would. Make sure this is done so that when the gas lever is pushed down, contact is made between the flame guard and the gas lever, and when the gas lever is released, they are not touching. Solder a wire to the other lead.

Now strip another wire leaving about an inch of exposed wire. Wrap this exposed portion around the middle of the gas lever, and solder in place. Feed the remaining part of the wire down the flint compartment with the other wire. Now reassemble the flame shield, the striker wheel, and the gas lever to the main body of the lighter.

 

Step 3: Battery Housing

At this point, you should have the top part of the lighter assembled with an LED sticking out of the flame shield, and two wires coming out of the bottom. The solution I found to be most effective in this situation was to cut a cork from a wine bottle until it fit snugly into the opening in the bottom of the lighter. Then I cut a section out of the top of the cork that was just a tad bit smaller than the size of the two button cell batteries. Now take the batteries and fit them into the area cut out of the cork. From here, I simply slid the two stripped ends of the wires on either side of the battery stack, being held in place by the cork. Now slide your carved piece of cork into the bottom of the lighter, and you’re done! When you push down on the gas lever, the circuit should be completed and the LED will light up.

 

LED Lighter

Variac

When I first tried my stick welder on sheet metal, I noticed that the high heat from the arc was melting through the piece, leaving me with a hole instead of a weld. I discovered a power manager called a Variac, that restricts the amount of current flowing out of a standard US electrical outlet. This fancy device was way out of my price range, so I looked into making one. I found a helpful video which helped me design my Variac that can be found here.

This video shows the Variac in action. As I slide the wooden assembly to the left, the two copper electrodes come closer to each other, reducing the resistance between the two. You can hear the angle grinder spin faster as I do this. When I slide it to the right, the resistance increases and the angle grinder slows down.

Arc Welder

This project is an arc welder made out of two microwave ovens. It┬áresulted from me finding a multitude of assorted projects I wanted to tackle, but was unable to because I didn’t own a welder. I discovered an Instructable that outlined a method of constructing a full fledged arc welder out of two microwaves. After months of weekly visits to the local dump, I finally scavenged the two necessary microwaves.

welding

After hours of painstakingly removing two tightly packed windings of magnet wire from the dense transformers, I was only halfway done. I then rewound both transformers with thicker 20 gauge wire, and soldered the resulting coils together. Finally, I attached the transformers to a piece of hardwood, plugged both transformers into a surge protector, and packed the whole assembly into a neat yellow toolbox.

weld

It welds like a charm. Welding heavy steel is not a problem. In fact, it’s a little too intense for thinner steel, sometimes burning right through. I built a Variac to give me an ability to control how much current the welder pulls, and therefore how hot it welds. With the addition of the Variac, I can weld essentially any thickness of metal.

Wrist Mounted Flamethrower

While on StumbleUpon, I came across a video of a man named Everett Bradford who built a flamethrower to go along with his Halloween costume of the super-villain Pyro. As soon as I saw this, I began drawing sketches, ordering parts, and began building a prototype just to see if it was even possible.

Basically, Everett’s design consists of a main fuel canister on the inner wrist. When the hand is bent backwards, a control line pulls down on the nozzle, releasing fuel. A tube is attached to the nozzle and the butane is carried to the palm piece, where the fuel is expelled through a brass nozzle. On the side of the forearm, there is a jet lighter which has had the fuel line and the two wires coming from a piezo-electric igniter extended to the palm piece. The jet lighter flame is angled over the main fuel line so that the butane will ignite when the jet lighter is on. What follows are all the versions of my take on Everett Bradford’s design. A collection of pictures from all versions can be found here.


Model 1

Version 1.0

My first version. This was crudely built out of a modified wrist guard, the cap to a medicine bottle, some hemp cord, a butane canister, and duct tape. This version never produced more than about six inches of flame, due to the fact that it would put itself out if the butane gas was coming out too fast. The palm piece didn’t fit right, and required my hand to be in an awkward position for any fuel to come out. However, this first version showed me that it was possible to achieve flame, and that it could be improved to get a more favorable result.

Revision Notes:

  • Modify palm piece so it is comfortable to wear
  • Find a safer material for the palm piece
  • Refine gas release system
  • Allow gas canisters to be removed and replaced easily

WMFT v1.0

Version 2.0

A few major revisions were made between versions 1.0 and 2.0. The medicine cap palm piece was the first aspect to go. It was replaced with a custom made piece, consisting of three layers. The bottommost layer was a piece of plastic taken from the lid of a peanut jar. Mounted on that was a layer of heat-resistant circuit board, then a layer of sheet metal. Three holes were drilled in the piece; one in the middle for the main fuel line to pass through, and two others at opposite ends of the piece for attaching control lines.

This version also included the ability to replace empty butane canisters easily. I took a soda can and cut the top and bottom off, leaving me with a rectangle of thin metal. I then curled this into a circle with the same circumference as the canister, and duct taped it in place. Now butane cans can easily slip in and out of this metal sleeve.

However, there were still a few problems with this design. First, if I released too much butane, it would begin to come out in droplets because of it’s rapid decompression, leaving me with burning drops of butane all over my hand. Also, the flamethrower had to be lit from an external source, such as a lighter.

Revision Notes:

  • Find a way to keep butane droplets from lighting/landing on my hand
  • Build an integrated ignition system to prevent the fire from going out
  • Continue to refine gas release system

 

v2.0

v2.0

IMG_0106

v2.0


Version 2.1

There were very few changes between versions 2.0 and 2.1. Aside from minor adjustments to the paperclip that releases gas from the nozzle, the only other change was an aluminum foil hand guard that strapped onto my hand.

Revision Notes:

  • Find a way to keep butane droplets from lighting/landing on my hand
  • Build an integrated ignition system to prevent the fire from going out
  • Continue to refine gas release system


Version 2.2

In Version 2.2, all components were removed from the modified wrist guard, then reattached with greater accuracy. However, the wrist guard holding the entire assembly to my arm could not be tighened enough to keep it in place when the control lines were pulled.

Revision Notes:

  • Find a way to keep butane droplets from lighting/landing on my hand
  • Build an integrated igntion system to prevent the fire from going out
  • Continue to refine gas release system
  • Keep modified wrist guard from sliding down my forearm when it is pulled forward


Version 2.3

Version 2.3 has a new aluminum foil palm piece cover to keep the hot glue from melting, and an added arm band to help keep the modified wrist guard in place when the control lines are pulled and gas is released from the canister. However, this method did not only fail to work well, but also restricted my movement a great deal. Also, everything attached to the wrist guard was removed and reattached with better placement.

Revision notes

  • Find a way to keep butane droplets from lighting/landing on my hand
  • Keep the modified wrist guard from sliding down my forearm without restricting movement
  • Build an integrated ignition system to keep the flame from going out
  • Continue to refine gas release system

v2.3

DSC_0054

DSC_0048


Version 3.0

In this version the arm band was removed. No variation of that idea could give me the stability I wanted and mobility as well. Instead I moved the wrist guard so that the end of it sat right where my wrist is. The size difference between my forearm and my hand held the flamethrower firmly. Then I moved the canister slot accordingly. With these modifications, I didn’t have to worry about the entire assembly sliding down my arm, keeping me from releasing gas.

Revision Notes:

  • Develop integrated ignition system
  • Find a way to keep decompressing butane from landing on my hand
  • Continue to refine gas release system


Version 4.0

The major advancement in Version 4.0 was the addition of the jet lighter ignition system. The first thing I did was took the jet lighter apart and extended the fuel line and positive and negitave ends of the piezo electric igniter so that they would reach the palm piece. After the lighter was put back together, I mounted the torch nozzle and the two wires on a piece of wood attached to the palm piece. Now, when I turned the jet lighter on (still manually at this point), I did not have to light the main fuel externally. The gas lighted immediately due to the jet lighter. However, I was still having quite a few problems with droplets of butane lighting and landing on my hand. Also, I needed to find a way to light the jet lighter without the help of my other hand.
Revision Notes:

  • Find a way to prevent butane droplets from landing on my hand
  • Find a way to ignite the jet lighter with only wrist motion

v4.0

IMG_0210

IMG_0211

IMG_0212


Version 4.1

Minor changes were made between versions 4.0 and 4.1. Assorted components were adjusted, the pilot light mounting was readjusted, and all tubing connections reinforced. I also came to the conclusion that my troubles with catching myself on fire had to do with the quality of butane I was using.

Revision Notes:

  • Continue to refine main fuel release system
  • Find a higher quality brand of butane canisters
  • Find a way to ignite the pilot light with one hand


Version 4.2

The main change between version 4.1 and version 4.1 was the removal of the pilot light. The electrical connection was faulty, and would short out occasionally. The pilot light assembly needs to be reassembled. Secondly, a larger gas nozzle was used for this version. This allows a much larger amount of gas to come out at once, meaning a much larger flame, and a flame that does not put itself out. Although it currently needs to be lit externally, the result is much more impressive in this version than the last.

Revision Notes:

  • Begin plans for a second device for my other hand
  • Find a higher quality brand of butane canisters
  • Rewire and reattach the pilot light assembly


Version 5.0

This is the final version of this model of the flamethrower. I completely started from scratch when building this version. The modified wrist guard was thrown out, and replaced with a baseplate of sheet metal and straps from an old backpack. The holster that contains the butane canister was instead made from a bent piece of sheet metal welded onto the baseplate, as opposed to scraps from an aluminum can. A swing arm was welded onto the the side of the holster that depresses the nozzle of the fuel canister, releasing gas. A piece of paracord travels through two steel loops welded to the baseplate and connects to the far end of the swing arm. The other piece of paracord is connected to the palm piece, allowing the amount of fuel released to be controlled by wrist movement. Lastly, a piece of clear plastic tubing goes from the butane canister nozzle to the underside of the palm piece, and up into the spout of the flamethrower.

Revision Notes:

  • None – Final Version

 

 

Model 2

Version 1.0

This is the first version of the second model flamethrower. The first model was purely mechanical and used butane refills which have a tendency to spray liquid butane when used. This often resulted in my hand catching on fire. I decided I wanted to make a much more complicated version controlled with an Arduino that uses a camping sized propane tank.

wmftm2