Sunday, December 27, 2020

Scrap Wood Phone Charger

A nice place to charge my phone

With the holidays upon us, I usually try to make something that I can manufacture quickly to hand out as a last-minute gift for anyone that happens to unexpectedly drop by the house. 

The idea is to make something that is attractive, useful, and can quickly make a batch of them to have on hand. 

This year I managed to get my hands on a bunch of wormy and spalted maple, mostly in sizes that didnèt lend too well to making anything real sizable. I find this type of wood to have a nice design in the wood grain which immediately makes any project very attractive. 

While I did use a lot of my larger pieces of maple to build my tablet stands, I did have a pile of smaller pieces on hand. I just did not have the heart to just chuck them into the woodstove.  

The inspiration hit me when I charged my smartphone the other day. To charge my phone I had to plug it into a charging cable. While that in of itself is not a big deal, I usually charge my phone on my desk, which means that my phone ends up lying on top of the various bits of stuff that I usually have sitting on my desk. 

This usually means that the phone usually ends up lying face down or in some other position where seeing any texts or other notifications is not really possible. 

It would really be nice if I had some way for the phone to sit on a stand while charging so that I can easily see any important notifications. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Easy To Build Bike Repair Stand Revisited

A simple little stand for bike repairs - going to you from 1980

The other day I got a bit of a brainwave on a project that involved a small gasoline engine and an old bicycle, 

As luck should have it I happened to have a small gas engine and an old bike! However, like any good project, success lies in planning and preparation. 

I realized that this project needed to have the bike up off the ground in order to make working on it a little easier and to prevent the bike from making an uncontrolled trip when I was testing the engine. 

It was then a dim memory from my childhood sparked in the back of my brain...

Even as far back as elementary school, I was always a bit interested in tinkering. Often with very crude results. 

One year, I got a subscription to Popular Mechanics for Christmas. Every month, for that year I got a nice little present in the mail and I spent hours going over the magazine from cover to cover. 

I distinctly remember looking at all the woodworking and electronic projects that were highlighted, always feeling a bit glum that I didn't have the access to the neat tools needed to make those projects (Even if I did, I don't think anyone in their right mind would give a 12-year-old kid access to stationary power tools) 

However, the woodworking gods smiled at me when the July 1980 issue arrived in my mailbox (yes, I know, I'm old). 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Tis the Season to Be Busy


A whole lot of signs

It's the middle of December and once again, the Holidays are upon us. 

During this time of year, for anyone that is at least a wee bit gifted in some sort of craft, whether it be knitting, woodworking, or making weird little electronic gizmos, it never seems to fail - you always seem to be in a bit of a whirlwind of making stuff.  

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A Really Simple "Dishwasher Clean" Signal


The dishes are clean!

We have a bit of a strange problem in my house when it comes to the dishwasher. The rule here is the one person loads and turns on the dishwasher while someone else is tasked with the job of unloading it. 

A bit of an ongoing issue has started to happen with the recent installation of the new dishwasher.  With the old dishwasher, everyone knew when the dishes were being washed based on all the racket that was coming from it.  Since the new dishwasher is so quiet, you really don't have any way to know when the dishes are clean, which causes a bit of tension when it's discovered that the dishwasher is still full of clean dishes several hours after being washed. 

I suspect that this is a fairly common problem in a lot of households since I have noticed that you can quite easily get magnets that you can stick on your dishwasher that say "Clean Dishes". 

While I suppose I could easily get such a magnet to stick on our dishwasher, but since we tend to be a bit pre-occupied with other things, I have my doubts that a plain old magnet is just not going to get much attention around here. 

We needed something that would be a bit more eye-catching.