Amazing Aerial Photos from a Homemade Gas-Powered Paraglider

The Waw an Namus volcanic crater, Libya:  George Steinmetz, via National Geographic
National Geographic has published a beautiful gallery of aerial photos of the Sahara, shot by George Steinmetz. Steinmetz shoots his pictures while soaring above the Earth on a gasoline-powered paraglider he built himself.

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Cardboard + Smartphone = Sweet DIY Augmented Reality Goggles

Looking to get away to Paris this winter, but concerned about the cost? Worry not; for the price of a pair of lab safety goggles, a cardboard box and an HTC Magic (even better if the HTC magic comes in a large cardboard box), this DIY augmented reality headset can transport you anywhere in the world, just as long as the Google Street View team has been there first.

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Gone In a Flash: Burning Diamonds With a Torch and Liquid Oxygen

Diamonds are for, well, a couple seconds

I can’t stand diamonds. No, really, they just tick me off, because nearly everything about them is a lie. Diamonds are neither rare nor intrinsically valuable nor uniquely romantic. Those are ideas invented by the diamond industry. And no, despite what the ads tell you, diamonds are not forever. They are flammable and will burn brightly with a little help from a torch. This makes perfect sense when you consider that they are made of pure carbon, which reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide (“reacts with oxygen” just being another way of saying “burns”).

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The Green Dream Gets Walls

I’m standing on top of the third floor after a very productive day of putting the Kama Eebs panels and the upper joists in place. When the panels arrived, we had just put them in piles all around my site so it was a bit of work just playing the find-and-seek game to get the proper panel to the correct wall location. But then it was just a matter of gluing and screwing the track into place, spraying foam onto both the shiplap joint and the track and tilting the panel into place. Once you have a tight fit, you screw the track and the shiplap joint together and move on to the next unit.

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Green Dream: The Walls Are Here!

The delivery of the first batch of walls sets off a flurry of activity

One of the most unique things about my green home is the walls: instead of a standard "stick-frame" construction, I'm using special insulated panels from a company called Kama-Eebs, which have all sorts of advantages in efficiency and heat retention.

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A Chinese DIY Submarine Made from Oil Barrels

Two years, $4,385, and some homemade ingenuity can get you this underwater ride

Chinese locals have already demonstrated a knack for knocking together homemade flying contraptions and robots. Now one amateur inventor has created a full-fledged submarine built primarily from discarded oil barrels and tools bought at a second-hand market.

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Welding, Part One: Gear Selection

My welding hobby started shortly after I got a bid for a steel staircase. As with everything, the money always causes me to do the Carnett calculation:

  • How much is the equipment?
  • How much is the material?
  • How much did that guy say he wanted?
  • How much can I save?

Then I run off to buy the gear.

This of course leaves out the skill to do any of these things -- but the Carnett calculation includes the discovery phase, where I make all my mistakes, ask just about anyone for help, and somehow come out on the other side a more skilled operator. And 50 percent of the time, I really do save money.

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You Built What!? Lrry, A Fire Breathing Robo-Beast

Meet Lrry, a part-equine, part-reptile fire-breathing monster

Slow Ride: “Lrry has no brakes,” says builder Lyle Rowell. “Nor do I.”  Elle Dunn
Don’t call Lyle Rowell’s giant fire-breathing robot a dog. The artist, who lives in Rimini, Italy, insists that his 1,900-pound creation, Lrry (pronounced “Larry”), is actually a cloven-hooved, two-legged, half-donkey, half-raptor-type-reptile.

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White-Out at Sixty-Five Miles Per Hour

Carnett has an automotive setback

My primary means of getting around town is a 1979 Land Rover that has been fitted out with a 2005 300 TDI engine. You may have seen me walking this morning with my head down. Yes, I walked 30 minutes for a cup of coffee. I enjoy walking, but it is hard to build a house without a truck.

My Land Rover doesn't have one temp gauge; it has two. I look at both and compare them and wonder why one is higher. None of the gauges are correct, so it really matters very little. That was till yesterday, when I found myself at 65 mph with my head out the window, the cabin filled with white smoke, and a serious panic on. I managed to find the shoulder, and bailed out, thinking the rig was on fire.

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Möbius Strip Music Box Brings Non-Orientable Topology to the Trinket World

The brain-melting concept of the Möbius strip has been used to explain complex, meaningful ideas such as time travel. But this simple, trivial music box, which uses a punch strip in the shape of a Möbius strip, might be my favorite application of the idea.

The music box will play the song once through, then plays it again upside-down, creating an endless, repeating loop of music. It may not solve the secrets of the universe--but hey--it looks so cool. Can you recognize the upside-down-and-backwards tune?

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The Best Way To Keep Vinyl Records Alive? Make Them Yourself

ProTools? Bah! Let's make some vinyl! As part of Jerszy Seymoour's Coalition of Amateurs exhibition at Luxembourg's modern-art museum, Mudam, artist Yuri Suzuki created records from scratch in an afternoon.

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Can This Chinese Farmer's DIY Helicopter Really Fly?

Reportedly, the wooden copter can soar up to 2,600 feet, but the Chinese government has grounded it for safety reasons

That's One Crazy Copter: A farmer cares to bet his life on his DIY copter, but the Chinese government says no.  DVICE

Anyone who dares to build a helicopter with wooden blades, a steel-pipe-reinforced frame, and a motorcycle engine deserves to go up in the thing. But the Chinese government has forbidden farmer Wu Zhongyuan from even attempting a test flight. We just want to see if the crazy contraption can fly.

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Inventor Scales Building Using Homemade Vacuum Gloves

Nothing puts the DIY in climbing a building like a homemade pair of suction gloves. Inventor Jem Stansfield used his vacuum-powered device to clamber up the 120-foot aluminum wall of the White City building in London last week.

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The Green Dream: A Whole-House Lighting System That Creates Its Own Energy

Every home needs lights. But for the Green Dream? Forget copper wire between lights and light switches, three-way switches and batteries; I’m looking at Verve’s lighting control system—-a wireless solution that uses radio frequencies to control a home’s lights, allowing you to put your light switches wherever you want--on your wall, in your pocket or even the dash of your car.

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Automated Tabletop Cutter Brings Manufacturing Home

The Microfactory can cut patterns uploaded via Bluetooth

A new tabletop cutting device promises to make at-home fabrication as easy as Ikea. Microfactory MOW is a portable tabletop cutter that can cut patterns from thin sheet materials, including cardboard, wood, and polypropylene. Even better, designers can share their patterns online and also upload new designs to MOW via Bluetooth.

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