I’ve been able to indulge my urge to build lately.  I subscribed to “Make” magazine which I enjoyed so much that I bought the entire first year boxed set and enjoyed that too.  So much so that I got off my duff and began a couple of projects that had been trickling through my brain for a couple of years.

The first was a kaleidoscope.  I always enjoyed these as a kid but was always annoyed that they were made of cheap materials; not even a real mirror – they always had shiny aluminum foil type stuff.  I recently observed that a full-length mirror at Home Depot costs less than six dollars.  So I bought this huge mirror and cut myself several pieces to make a huge kaleidoscope.  I figured “why bother with some tiny thing that I have to squint with one eye to look through?”  I made it huge so that I could look with both eyes.  I read something on the internet once that it would be cool to make it taper outward so that the reflected images look even stranger so I did that.  Very cool stuff.  I should post some photos.

Then, with acres of mirror left over, I embarked on a stereoscopic viewer.  By taking a left photo and a right photo with my digicam (separated a bit of course), I should be able to make a gizmo (like the old stereopticons)  to assemble the photos into a 3D image.  Most viewers do that with simple lenses but I didn’t have lenses; I had mirrors.  No problem!  After minimal effort with some plywood and my table saw, I had a frame for holding the mirrors and it works!  I have yet to glue the mirrors down so that using the thing is a bit of a problem but that’s nothing, it works and that’s what makes it exciting.  I also noted that you can just hold it up and look through it at the world around you and our normal binocular vision is sort of enhanced; presumably because the mirrors are farther apart than my eyes are which is the same as if my eyes were about a foot apart.  Kind of a cool side effect.

I had to take a weekend off from this voyage of exploration to go help one of the kids in the scout troop do his Eagle project.  He’s making many, many bat boxes for a local conservation area and so the whole troop, Evan, and I went over to his garage to do some woodworking last Saturday.  It was fun for me of course.  I got to run the drill press and make the holes for the bats to crawl through.

So, life is good.  I wish I didn’t have to stop and mow grass, clean gutters, and all that.  I still haven’t pulled the gutters off the house to fix that rotted fascia but I guess I’ll have to get on that after Evan’s court of honor is over.  No more science projects until the “real” work is done.   But with things like “Make” magazine and instructables.com, there is no shortage of ideas.

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