A Bedroom Treehouse

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So your son or daughter is now old enough to have a bed. Sure, you could settle for a race car or princess bed, but given that you’re reading this website, maybe you would instead like to build your child an indoor tree house style bed line “d4ddycool.” His kids had always wanted a treehouse, but they didn’t have a tree in the backyard conducive to “structural use.”

The pictures below show some of the build process, which, naturally, went through a few iterations before becomming the awesome house that you see below. Some challenges included that the walls of the “exo-house” were not built perfectly straight, so some adjustments had to be made after initial cutting.  Also, the drawers that open under the bed were a clever afterthought, and required the bed to be disassembled.

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Besides the elevated play area, and the hole leading to it, one of the coolest features will probably be used more by the parents than the kids.  The house contains a bed, which seems like a great idea until it comes time to change the sheets or flip the mattress. For this purpose, and general cleaning, the front shell of the “bed-house” folds down in one piece supported by ropes. A very clever build; maybe it will inspire other excellent projects. You know, for the kids!

Via Reddit


Cider Makers Battle: It’s On Like Diddy Kong

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This weekend in sunny Kent, England, it’s an epic battle of traditional cider pressing versus modern juicing machines. Muscle versus motor. “Slow food” versus labor-saving device. Who’ll make the most cider? The best cider? Only one way to find out. [UPDATE: Scroll down for contest results.]

Last fall Make: published Nevin Stewart’s “Kitchen-Table Cider Making,” a novel approach to making gallons of apple juice or hard cider with modern centrifugal juicers — much tidier and more compact than that ancient apple-squashing machine, the cider press.

Now Nevin has teamed up with a maker of traditional apple presses, Peter Eveleigh, to pit these two methods head-to-head in a test trial at this weekend’s Brogdale Cider Festival, August 23-24, in the hamlet of Brogdale.

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Peter and his co-worker will operate an electric mill to pulp the unsuspecting apples, and two of his custom manual presses to crush the living juice out of them: a 32-liter barrel press and a 50-liter rack and cloth press. The machines are beautiful to behold. “His presses have been likened to works of art,” admits Nevin, “and one would grace any grand country drawing room by its presence.”

“At approximately half the capital outlay,” says Nevin, he and a friend will operate two high-performance whole-fruit juicers to puree the helpless pippins, and then strain out the solid bits.

Each team gets 100 kilos of washed apples and 1 hour in which to do their damage. Yield of juice produced in a given time, and other key measures, will be recorded and reported. We’ll report on the results as they become available.

The Battle of Brogdale. Juice-and-strain, or pulp-and-press? May the best team, and method, win.

UPDATE: “A Damn Close-Run Thing Between David and Goliath”

It’s a draw! Nevin Stewart reports on the results: There was a small margin between the performance of the pulp-and-press and juice-and-strain methods in this test. I find this remarkable given the huge difference in sizes (and costs) of the respective kits. Here’s a photo of Peter’s three items of equipment:

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And here’s Dick (a neighbour and friend) and myself with our two compact juicers, and straining kit:

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On Saturday each team had 100kg of Brogdale-grown apples, and on Sunday 70kg each. This image shows me standing beside the box in which the apples were delivered to us. Just think that two juicers processed half of this box full in a total of 46 minutes!

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On Saturday pulp-and-press won by a small margin. To begin with, juice-and-strain led; as Peter said, “It is quick on the draw” giving an immediate yield of juice. However, he was also of the view that pulp-and-press would catch up, and overtake. Certainly the results below appear to bear this out. My view is that this was only partly the case. The reality was that I had not thought through how we, Catherine — a friend — and I (see the next photo) would recover the last few percent of juice from the five straining bags that we had used. I wrestled with this issue Saturday night and devised a strategy that Dick and I would employ on Sunday. This we enacted and we achieved, in my view, a highly respectable draw.

Day 1.  100kg of apples per team

TIME (mins) Percentage yield of apple juice (by weight)
Nevin’s Team (J&S) Peter’s Team (P&P)
10 2 0
20 10 7
30 24 24
40 40 33
50 48 55
60 55 61

Catherine and I completed juicing the 100kg of apples in 30 minutes. [Straining the juice took the remainder of the hour.]

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Day 2. 70kg of apples per team

TIME (mins) Percentage yield of apple juice (by weight)
Nevin’s Team (J&S) Peter’s Team (P&P)
45 61 61

Dick and I completed juicing the 70kg of apples in 16 minutes. At 45 minutes both teams had completed all their work and a draw was agreed.

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The juice-and-strain team at work

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The pulp-and-press team at work

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Apple juice product lined up after the contest

After the "action" on day 2: Nevin, Dick, Andrew, Peter

After the “action” on day 2: Nevin, Dick, Andrew, Peter

That’s my report. Overall, the contest was tremendous fun. Best wishes,

Nevin


Better Tea Brewing with DIY Robotics

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I’m surprised that I haven’t already seen a tea-brewing robot in an issue of Skymall, because I think it’s just the sort of luxury item that would really appeal to someone on their second or third bloody mary. Luckily, you can just go ahead a make yourself one in less than 10 minutes with this ingenious tutorial project called LittleTea from Taipei Hackerspace.

Whenever I’m trying to brew some tasty tea (and that happens quite often) I always miss the right amount of time needed for the brew. Talking to someone, reading a book, watching a bit of YouTube, browsing Instructables while I’m waiting, and suddenly the 5 minutes becomes 15, and my tea is not as good as it could have been.

Make sure your tea is the best it can be by simply programming an arduino to control a servo and a buzzer, then just mount it on cardboard, attach a stick to the servo, and voilà, perfectly brewed tea!

On second thought, this project is way too useful for SkyMall.


Hanging 3D Galaxy Mobile

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Mobiles aren’t just for hanging over cribs anymore! Although this new 3D hanging galaxy mobile would be a great crib accessory, brighten up any room with a miniature piece of the universe made by you! An artist from Vancouver created this stunning piece with her own DIY guide to follow with only 10 steps to reach the stars! The artist’s in depth instructable gives the low down on what you’ll need. Preparing the background, preparing LEDS, preparing fibre optic filaments, attachment of fibre optic filaments, adding color, adding fluff, how to hang and more! Using mainly household junk-door finds along with 10 string LEDs with batteries(found at Walmart),  Fibre optic filaments, polyester batting and Organza fabric(found at dollar store or fabric store), the artist threw together this night light with a big bang! Also, with the help of Google Image search, print off your own galaxy picture to use as a helpful guide.

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But we aren’t the only galaxy in this universe, are we?

“When I was taking photos of my galaxy, I noticed how lonely it is on its own. A nice starfield background would be a great accompaniment. For some of my photos I just poked holes into a piece of cardboard and shined a light through it, it works but it is only a short term solution. I would recommend a star projector , a fibre optic starfield or even glow in the dark sticker that you can add to your ceiling and wall.”

By using hot glue covering LEDs to create the shapes, the artist went to add smaller surrounding galaxies!

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There is room for improvement and experimentation with this craft, no doubt. But to even go a step further, turn a room into your own Discovery Center by pairing it with the intergalactic DIY constellation wall art project! No harm in adding a little more space to a room!

[via Instructables}


How-To: Darth Vader Stove

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Have you been looking for an outdoor stove, but can’t find one that’s ominous enough? Or maybe you’re just looking to build a steam locomotive version of the Death Star (The Death Star Express!) and need an appropriate firebox? Either way, Instuctbles member doddieszoomer has you covered with this magnificent Darth Vader Gas Bottle Log Burner tutorial.

[via Technabob]