Category Archives: RANDOM

A DIY Red Robot Costume

img_6169-cropenhSo now that I have kids, one who can walk around quite well, I needed to procure a Halloween costume. The easy solution would be to buy something from one of 100 stores, but he mentioned that he wanted a “red robot.” Given my background, I obviously felt the need to instead make one for him.

Fortunately, he mentioned this months ahead of time, so I started keeping cardboard boxes in anticipation of eventually turning them into his desired robot costume. The results can be seen in the video below:

Overall, I was quite happy with how it turned out. My son loved it, and started talking in “beeps,” “boops,” and a robot voice, until he decided that he wanted to go on a slide and needed a better ability to walk around. At $15 or so in paint, and a bunch of recycled cardboard and electronic components that I had around my garage, it wasn’t expensive to build, but I doubt I saved any money over buying something at the store, especially if I was charging for my time. However, it was lots of fun to make, and it seemed like other people that we saw liked it as well.

On the other hand, Read more »

Hank Drum Tuned to D Minor Pentatonic Scale

P1020697aIn early 2013 I made something called a “Hank Drum,” a sort cheap derivative of the Hang. I’m happy to note that reader Gary Van Arkel decided to not only build one of these drums based on my plans, but tuned it to a D Minor Pentatonic Scale, and shared the dimensions via a comment. After a short email exchange, he even provided me with pictures, including the sticks he uses, made with 1 3/8″ rubber balls on 5/16″ dowels. So wtithout further ado, here are the dimensions:

D Minor Pentatonic Scale Tongue dimensions:

  • 1 D3 147 2″ 10cm
  • 2 F3 175 2″ 9cm
  • 3 G3 196 2″ 8.5cm
  • 4 A3 220 2″ 8cm
  • 5 C4 262 1.5″ 7.5cm
  • 6 D4 294 1.5″ 7cm
  • 7 F4 349 1.5″ 6.5cm
  • 8 A4 440 1.5″ 5.5cm

More Build Details:

  • Cylinder used was Australian 4.5Kg gas cylinder.
  • Reduced inner circle circumference to 3.5″ and outer circle circumference to 5.5.″
  • Used Masking tape to mark the larger 2″ tongues, and a 1.5″ width business card to mark the smaller tongues.
  • Started cuts to 1/8″ holes with .89mm cutting disc which fitted my Ryobi angle grinder.
  • Extended cuts with jigsaw and tuned with hand hacksaw blade.
  • Tuned to my Tablet from an app named Best Tuner.

Reducing the circumferences seems like one of the most important notes here, as this may help spacing when being played. It should also allow for deeper notes without cutting the sides too much. Just remember, as in the first Hank Drum post, be sure use an empty and never-filled tank!

Thanks Gary!

Disassembly of a Broken Sub-$50 Android Tablet

ChromoI recently purchased a “Chromo” Android tablet for another project for less than $50 on Amazon. I was pretty excited when it arrived as it was nicely packaged, and looked like it could be useful for at least displaying saved videos for my son on car trips.

Besides, according to the description, it’s supposed to sell for $169.99 – a huge savings!

Initial Problems

When I initially turned this unit on, a program called “speed booster” or something similar popped up. Stupidly, I allowed it to activate, and it immediately asked for a huge amount of permissions. Not wanting my information sent directly to China (or wherever) I deactivated it (I think).

I then went on to install music streaming software that I needed, which sort of booted up, but never worked quite correctly. Even browsing web pages was painfully slow. I set it aside until I had an idea to use it as a viewer for my GoPro cameras (my current favorite – Hero4 Session on Amazon).

More Problems (and More Fun)

Unfortunately, when I tried to install the GoPro software, the screen made a strange noise with strange colors. After cycling the power, as seen below, it still did the same thing. Kind of interesting, though this tablet was now pretty much useless unless I wanted to use it as some sort of Cyberpunk prop:


On the other hand, it’s usually interesting Read more »