Category Archives: OUTDOORS

Smartphone Controlled Pumpkin

Here’s an interesting idea, a Jack-O’-Lantern that can be controlled with a smartphone or any device capable of browsing the web. All you need is a Wemos D1 Mini board, along with a couple LEDs and wire. Check it out in the video below:

Removable Magnetic DIY Backpack Reflector Strip

For Christmas, my wife was nice enough to get me a new backpack. This was welcome, since I haven’t had one since college. I assume it’s around somewhere, but one that looks like it’s for an adult is probably best anyway.

DIY-backpack-reflectorThe pack is by Marmot, and is their “Pinecrest” model. Featuring a spot for a laptop as well as two water bottles, it should fit my needs well. The only concern I had was that it’s black, which looks cool, but could be hard to see at night. To help with this, I decided to buy a length of retroreflective fabric/tape from Amazon, thinking I’d sew it on the backpack for a permanent “DIY backpack reflector” solution.

After thinking about this for a while, I decided I didn’t want to potentially ruin a new backpack with my marginal sewing skills, and began to search for an alternative. At some point, my mind went to the lot of broken hard drives that I had purchased for a previous engraving project. Besides a really neat metalic disk, these drives come with an extremely powerful magnet, as well as metal pieces to stick them to. Thus I decided to glue the metal pieces inside the backpack, and embed two magnets in the reflective strip as shown in the gallery below. Note that hot glue was used to keep the magnets sealed inside in the last picture.

I’d debated on what to use for the metallic backing, but, as it turns out, the hard drive provided two ideal pieces of metal to attach them to. As an important bonus, when the magnet is attached to either of these metal pieces, the magnetic effect seems to nearly disappear on the other side. I still need to test it with electronics inside the bag (so try this technique at your own risk), but this makes me feel much better about it from that point of view. Here are a few shots of Read more »

DIY Reflective Dog Leash

reflect-6As it’s January, and things get dark quite quickly, sometimes I have to take the dog out for a walk after dark. I always wear a light, but after buying three meters of reflective fabric strip (less than $5 as of this writing on Amazon) for another project, I had a ton left over, and decided to add retro-reflectivity to Evie’s leash.

The photo below (three vertical dots) shows the leash hung from a tree with a light source reflecting off of it. Quite visible compared to the rest of the leash.

reflect-11As for how this was made, as shown in the gallery below, it wasn’t too hard. I just Read more »