In this article, I'll be explaining the basics of how microcontrollers work, physically and virtually. First off, microcontrollers are no simple thing, so don't be discouraged if you find it mind-boggling! The world of microcontrollers is fascinating, engaging, and an awesome hobby; it never gets boring. I'll be focusing more on I/O and analog based microcontrollers, such as those running Arduino, and using Atmel chips as examples (these are most commonly available, and easy to program).
In this article, I'll show you how to built a Wireless Transfer of Energy Transmitter. Simply put, this device will send electricity to a florescent light bulb and light it up, from up to three feet. The idea originally (at least, prominently) came from Nikola Tesla (read more about this amazing inventor here), who used his Tesla coils to transfer wireless energy to light bulbs in demonstrations (photo below). However, the circuit described in this article consists of a flyback transformer, n...
Over the next few months, I'll be focusing on building a fully functional, long range UAV. This series will consist of several in-depth articles on my progress and the steps involved, so you can follow along and build your own unmanned aerial vehicle!
Tesla coils are totally insane, yet undeniably captivating. And they can be used for many things, from electric painting to dueling musical battles. But one trigger happy fellow has a different use for Tesla's lightning shooting coil. A weapon.
Interested in taking a few snapshots of the likely auroras from the recent solar flare the Sun sent our way?
In this article, I'll show you how to easily "hack" Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and any number of similar account types with an Android app called FaceNiff.
In this article, I'll show you how to build a coil gun. A coil gun is a device that fires magnetic projectiles at high velocities, using electricity. Coil guns require no explosive propellant, therefor can be fired an infinite amount of time, providing that there is ammunition and available electricity.
The Stun-Gun In this article, I'll show you how to make a small, weaponized highlighter. Before I get into how to built this device, let me warn you. This device is harmful! When used, it can cause burns and/or serious muscle spasms. The voltage is potentially deadly! DO NOT attempt to build this device unless you are experienced with safety, electronics, soldering, and understand circuit schematics.
This is the third part of my electromagnetic pulse series (see Part One and Part Two). By now, I've covered the hardware and general concept of electromagnetic pulse generators, but how exactly do they disable electronics? How can an invisible field of energy have such a catastrophic effect on computers, cell phones, and most any other electronics? I'll be answering all these questions in part three of Making Electromagnetic Weapons.
In this article, I'll be showing you how to make a simple yet effective static electricity generator. Basically, this device allows you to carry a constant static charge on your body and discharge it on anything grounded or of opposite polarity. The electricity generated is around 8-10 kV, at a very low current. The shock is enough to startle your friends, just like a static shock from a trampoline or carpeted room. You'll need a little experience in soldering and circuit design to build the ...
Welcome to Microwave Energy—the next part of my Making Electromagnetic Weapons series. For the Electromagnetic Pulse Generator, check out the last three articles (One, Two and Three).
In this article, I'll show you how to build a simplistic circuit to generate negative ions. Negative ions have been known to contribute to fresher air, happier mood, and general health benefits. However, they also look amazing in the dark (check out the photos below, purple plasma is amazing!). And if all else fails, they make a cool nightlight. If you've ever been around a Tesla coil, cathode ray tube TV or sometimes even on a trampoline, you've probably noticed that smell; the smell of "sta...
In this series, I'll be exploring electromagnetic weapons, how to build them, their function and application to the future, and the amazing possibilities electromagnetism has to offer. First, the electromagnetic pulse generator, or EMP. You've probably heard of these before, and their devastating effects on electronics. A simple EMP consists of a capacitor, transformer, trigger, and coil of copper wire. This, when triggered, would produce an intense magnetic field for a brief period, similar ...
Piezoelectric Energy In this article, I'll show you how to make a small, wallet-sized device that generates electricity from kinetic energy. The concept is simple: Piezoelectricity is the charge that is produced when certain solid materials (commonly ceramic and crystal) in response to mechanical stress. Piezoelectrics have many applications; in speakers, actuators, sensors, even fuses. For more information, click here.
In this article, I'll show you how to make an awesome "Death Ray" using the large magnifying lens from an old projection TV. The lens is called a Fresnel lens; a device that employs several ridges to focus light, rather than a complete curve.
If you've ever had teeth removed/minor surgery, you most likely received some laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. This gas creates a happy, lightened feeling, and causes instant laughter. In this article, I'll show you how to make some. BUT BE CAREFUL!!! DO NOT proceed in this experiment unless you have EXTENSIVE knowledge of chemistry!!! Misuse of this procedure could result in the production of LETHAL GASSES! However, the set-up is quite simple, if done correctly should not lead to any issues. ...
I'm sure most everyone has some kind of fluorescent light source in their home; those long white tubes that emit a bright white light when turned on, or maybe a few of the CFL power-saver bulbs. These bulbs actually require very little "power" (i.e. a high voltage:almost no current ratio) to emit light. In fact, static electricity is enough to make them flicker. Inside these tubes is a gas, and when electricity flows through that gas, it gets "excited" and produces light.
In this article, I'll be covering Triggers and Coils, part two of the series (see part one here). Generally, a simple EMP generator consists of four components; a capacitor, a transformer, a trigger and a coil of copper wire. The transformer component can be varied, but the coil is very important, and must be precisely tuned.
In this article, I'll show you how to create a simple yet effective way of scaring off intruders. Of course, there are methods around this approach, but it's great for office pranks and general fun. The project requires a little background knowledge in electronics and circuitry, like reading schematics and using a soldering iron.
What Is Ferrofluid? Ferrofluid is a black, solvent-based liquid, that, in the presence of a magnetic field, becomes strongly magnetized. The fluid is made up of nanomagnetic particles coated with an "anti-stick" or surfactant compound, suspended in a "carrier", commonly an organic solvent. For mechanical applications, it is used in hard drives and speakers as a lubricant. However, it also has been implemented in artwork, as seen in the video below.
In my second article of the laser weapon series (see the first part here on CO2 lasers), I'll be expanding on the potential of pulsed lasers.
Valentine's Day is almost here, and if you're like me, you're scurrying to do something special for your mate. The standard chocolates and flowers just isn't cutting it anymore, and you can only make so many homemade cards before it becomes banal and meaningless. So, what can you do that shows you put some work into it, while not breaking the bank?
In this article, I'll show you how to make a simple touch-triggered switch. This is very useful for various electronic projects, from a simple bedside light to a flat panel touch keyboard. The circuit can vary in switching power depending on the transistors you use. For example, if you're looking into creating a 120V light that turns on when touched, you'd need two powerful transistors and an isolation relay. However, a simple flashlight that turns on when touched would only take a couple of ...
You must ONLY conduct this experiment if you are experienced in using combustibles and understand the risk. Fire is very dangerous and can seriously burn you. Seems harmless at first, but believe me, these are bubbles turned evil. When ignited, the bubbles pop almost instantly, and all the propane is released in a huge fireball.
In this article, I'll be continuing my series on microcontrollers. If you haven't read part one, I'd recommend heading over there and reading it!
In this article, I'll show you how to make a portable prank stun-baton. Powered by static electricity, simply charge up the baton, and discharge it for a static surprise. The concept behind this device ties in with Leyden jars, and their tendencies to retain static electricity.
In this article, I'll show you how to make a glowing orb. The orb is a fun, round flashlight useful for lighting your path in a magical way. Consisting simply of LEDs, a tennis ball, a battery and a switch, it's a great simple project for beginners with electronics. Here's a video of it in action: Tools and Materials
In this article, I'll show you how you can make your very own bullet/shell bottle opener. All you need is a .50 caliber deactivated round and some workshop tools!
In this article, I'll show you how to make a high-powered, long-range, air-powered rocket gun. This launcher is based on a sprinkler valve, a modified propane tank, and a few other components. Though not hard to make, this device is VERY dangerous! The rocket can seriously harm, if not kill any living thing it's shot at. Here's a video of it in action, quite an accurate shot by my friend Chris... Parts
So, when Christopher brought up Nikola Tesla in his very first post on Fear of Lightning, it got me interested in learning more about the man behind alternating current. There is plenty of info out there on the Internet, widely available for free, but sometimes it's just nice to have a book in your hands... or on your computer or mobile device.
In this article, I'll show you how to prank your friends on April Fool's Day with the very popular Google Voice, a computer to land/mobile calling feature. Basically, Google allows you to play whatever you like through the microphone port on your computer, and play it right through to your victim's phone. Whether it's Rick Astley ("Never Gonna Give You Up") or a text-to-speech application, general hilarity always follows.
Here's a simple and easy addition to your own Jacob's Ladder. If you don't have one, here's how to make a Jacob's ladder.
Nikola Tesla. He was the man behind some of the greatest inventions of all time, including radio and alternating current. But perhaps his most visually fascinating invention is the Tesla coil. While maintaining a low current, it can produce dangerous high frequencies and voltages that can well exceed 1,000,000 volts, discharging it in the form of electrical arcs very similar to lightning.
Everybody loves the stars. Well, I certainly do. As a child I'd spend hours outside during summer nights marveling at the seemingly endless amount of sparkling dots spanning the sky. Maybe you have children of your own and want to create a sparkle in their eyes, or in your own. This tutorial will provide a basic method of bringing the stars inside—at least, in part.
Here's a little gadget I made based on the concept of a potato launcher, a stungun, and a dart gun. The gun uses an explosive gas (butane) to launch a charged high voltage capacitor at a target. The gas is ignited by a small spark, created by a pulse transformer. The trigger automatically fills the combustion chamber with the correct amount of gas, then ignites it with the pulse transformer. The result: a long range stun dart gun.
Tesla coil music, a method of modulating the frequency of a Solid State Tesla Coil to produce music. The result is an amazing lightshow of electricity, paired with music!
National Ignition Facility
Snowflakes aren't much to look at during a storm, but when you look real close, you can see just how marvelous they really are. But winter is over and most of us can no longer enjoy the intricate nature of ice crystallization, unless you're sticking your head in your freezer. Or unless you build your own snowflake cultivation machine, which shoots 2,000 volts of electricity through a cold, moist chamber.
You might already know a little bit about what the National Ignition Facility has been up to lately, or what they could possibly achieve. But last week, even the scientists at the Livermore, California station couldn't predict the awesome power that their humongous laser was capable of. NIF's laser is already the record holder for the world's largest laser, and now it can also claim to be the first ever 2 megajoule ultraviolet laser after it generated nearly 100 times more energy than any oth...
In this series on weaponized lasers, I'll be exploring the function, operation, strength and building instructions for three basic laser weapons; CO2, Diode, and Flashlamp. These laser types are just a few of many, selected because of their simplicity and basic construction (depending on your experience).