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This is a question Amazing Projects

We here at B3ta love it when a plan comes together. Tell us about incredible projects and stuff you've built by your own hand. Go on, gloat away.

Thanks to A Vagabond for the suggestion

(, Thu 17 Nov 2011, 13:12)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Jovian Orrery
As a keen backyard astronomer, one of my favourite sights is Jupiter and its four large moons. You can see them even in binoculars, and every day they're in a different pattern - Io takes less than 2 days to go around, and Callisto 16.

I've also always liked Orreries, those mechanical models of the solar system which were popular in earlier times. So it was a natural project for me to build an orrery of Jupiter and its moons.

I bought a motor and gear kit to produce a set of useful ratios, then used custom-turned pulleys for the final reductions - since producing gears with non-integer numbers of teeth proved to be tricky...

The result was fantastic, with carefully painted models of Jupiter and the moons ll revolving at the correct distances and relative speeds. Unfortunately you'll have to take my word for that, since I temporarily only have one functional leg so can't get up to the attic where it is to take photos. Arse.
(, Thu 24 Nov 2011, 12:33, 7 replies)
Deliver your qotw stories by hand
To save on the cost of the internet.
(, Thu 24 Nov 2011, 12:03, Reply)
Improve QOTW!
I made it a project to vastly improve my QOTW experience. With time, effort, experience and refinement, I think I have it down to a fine art.

Find the following users:

Amorous Badger
Rory Lyon
PERSONALITY HORSE
FIRST! FIRST! FIRST! FIRST! FIRST!

On their profile, click "Ignore this user".

Done! Happy reading.
(, Thu 24 Nov 2011, 6:20, 119 replies)
It's easy to love the cars everyone else does.
When you fall in love with the marginal vehicles, the wretched refuse, the automotive icons surrounded by negative press and placed near the top of every hack writer's knee-jerk "worst ever" lists, you embark on a fantastic journey of pain, suffering, heartache, discovery - and triumph.

I love the Pacer.

The car which dared to be an egg; an ovoid; an aerodynamic jellybean 10 years before the rest of the automobile world decided it would be cool to leave their shapes in the oven a half hour longer than necessary. The car built on the promise of a fantastic new compact engine (Wankel rotary) only to have said engine project abruptly cancelled. The car which showcased itself in a giant observation bubble, only to discover most people don't really want to be seen driving their rides.

I purchased a Pacer wagon several years ago, looking rough but still straight and solid. I decided it would be fun to clean up the interior and jazz up the exterior. I knew it would be a magnet for attention when finished, and the target of every coffee-can-exhaust buzz-bomb rice-boy racer out there as a result. I didn't want it to be let down in a fight.

So I hid a Corvette inside my Pacer.



The original 4 litre inline 6 cylinder cast iron lump of an engine and truck transmission have been replaced by a crate LS2 V8 and 5L50E unit, with a Ford 8.8" rear axle replacing the stock unit and fitted with a traditional Auburn clutch-type limited slip differential (the Torsen T2R worked better but was much noisier). The front seats have been replaced with the motorized and heated units out of an Audi A8, and those are the primary anachronism in the project. Everything else in the car has been carefully selected to scream "The Seventies!", from the big foot dimmer switch and throttle pedal (not shown here: I only got that one in place 3 days ago and forgot to take a snapshot at day's end) to the 4-spoke chrome and wood steering wheel (3-spoke units looked 'too Italian': can't have any refinement in my cars!) to the lift-and-lock ratchet shifter for the transmission (and you thought learning how to shift a manual was hard...). Despite the engine and transmission being straight from GM's parts bin, the project boasts the occasional bit of outside technology, such as the Ford a/c compressor to clear the frame rails, the aforementioned Audi seats and the left/right side mirror adjuster from a Honda. Heck, I think we've even put some shitty Mitsubishi tech in here somewhere.

The project has been given a temporary pause as we erect a tent-type garage shelter out at the yard so I can continue to work on the interior over the winter months. Once the reskinned doors are in place I can drive it around and put enough miles on the beast to properly unlock its full power potential: the LSx crate engines only allow partial throttle activation until the computer has determined at least 500 miles have gone by.

Until then, I've taken to tracking down the occasional FIAT/Yugo which shows up at the yard with a straight set of steel wheels, stripping and sand blasting them, then painting them with whatever bright and happy colors I can pick out of the PPG catalog.

Thank you for your time.

p.s. Watch out for the first three images: they're of the unscaled multi megabyte type, the better to spot all the nasty dust and scratches on the car. The last 3 are dialup friendly.
(, Thu 24 Nov 2011, 4:00, 11 replies)
Creation Of Significant Cultural Artefact
A couple of years ago I got pissed and accidentally created a Facebook page entitled "Campaign to get Brain Blessed to do a voice over for my sav". I didn't think much about it at the time, I just wanted a Brian Blessed Sat Nav.

Anyways, it got to 500 people and I thought "I'll phone TomTom and Garmin and see what they say." and they said "Impress me".

So I asked our local Rock Radio station to help me out and we another thousand, and I asked B3ta and we got to 3,500 overnight (I'm pretty sure B3ta was responsible for about 6-8,000 all told).

And then TomTom said "give us 25,000". So we did. Through the medium of making a film with Brian Blessed. In the back of a smart car. What larks.

That was nice, and the Blessed was happy, we had a party with Brian and TomTom paid for ALL the beer and we all wore Brian Blessed masks and had an "I'm Spartacus" moment led by Brian and it was good, and quite beardy. When it was all over I got my satnav and it was ace (it still makes me grin when I use it, only it's not a sat nav any more, it's just Brian).

Then life got pretty mundane, so I asked him if I could make a Brian Blessed Alarm Clock and he said "yes". Which was nice.

So I asked around and Terry, a friend of a friend, agreed to do the clock graphics up front, and another mate said he'd program it and we had a working prototype to show Brian, which I did, and he agreed to record it in his shed.

Brian's shed is fucking awesome.

So we did that and I got a mate to do the sound and we lost a couple of programmers to self employment and Canadian games companies and finally Steve finished it, kudos to that man, it's pretty solid. Not as good as the Apple alarm in some respects (you can't just hook into the alarm API, that would be too simple) but as good as the best 3rd party iPhone alarm clocks you can build (we know, we've tested them) and certainly extremely useable. Besides, the Apple alarm doesn't have Brian Blessed and ours goes off even on January 2nd.

I'm quite proud of the finish as well, you can pick holes in the bits I did but I think it has a lot going for it. I couldn't afford a AA grade games animator so we went for Terry Gilliam instead, I hope we did alright on that. It amuses me that I went to all the trouble of nicking the code for Moon Phases from the Royal Astronomical Society and Steve went to all the trouble of implementing it and we still haven't got a shit clue how to read the Moon Dial (but it does go round every 29.5 days, we've tested it). We thought it was important that it worked.

So there we go. I'm thinking we'll make enough on it so everyone who was involved thinks it was worth their while, and have a little in the bank to offset some of the money I've spent. If I'm lucky maybe next time I can pay someone else to do the bits that took me so much bloody time to do (mainly because I didn't have a shit clue what I was doing).

Anyway, sales and stuff. I'd certainly recommend sponsoring the B3ta newletter, I've been watching the traffic figures.

Of course later on on launch day we got linked by Stephen Fry on Twitter (you beautiful man, you).

So, we did alright but we're not retiring any time soon, peaked at 9 in the UK charts and stayed at number 1 for Utilities for 3 days, which was a nice start. Of course I'm hoping Brian's media appearances will jolt sales a little every now and then. More importantly it was just ace to make cool shit for a change.

So there we go, I've set up an anarcho-syndicalist collective in my spare time and it seems we make pretty good apps.

But back to an earlier point, which is that I wouldn't be doing this unless B3ta had helped create the Blessed Sat Nav, so in a lot of respects this is all your fault.
(, Thu 24 Nov 2011, 1:24, 7 replies)
I mak fings gud.
I had a rather spiffing idea for my brother's Christmas present this year. Around about August he was kind enough to sell me his old Ford Puma (an upgrade form a BMW Z4 - they're shit) which gave me the idea.

He'll likely read this, so instead I'll tell you about the test project I made. You see, I'm remarkably thick, so I thought that if I made a smaller version I could... 'learn' from the mistakes I would make.

The first step was to hop on eBay and find a clock from an old ford with the LEDs swapped out for snazzy blue ones. After that I shopped around for a battery pack, switch, some wood and finally a roll of wallpaper (the final product is going to be BIG).

This is what I came up with (note the swish black presentation rug):

Front shot

Overall shot

Shot with the LEDs switched on


Not amazing (I sell toilets for a living, what do you expect?), but it works :)
(, Wed 23 Nov 2011, 19:55, 5 replies)
I had a brilliant idea..
for a QoTW but..... oh dear! Only 116 replies!
(, Wed 23 Nov 2011, 19:11, Reply)
earlier this year
I piled a big bunch of slabs onto a batch of shonkey cement to form a very basic path. Happy with my work i went to grab a drink. whilst indoors i found out that whilst i was labouring away a bunch of rather serious chaps had inflicted a case of high velocity lead poisoning on osama bin laden. i spent a few moments watch the horrific footage offered by the bbc.

the noise, the grotesque twitching, the shouting. Yes, the Sherman were having a nationwide street party and bellowing at any journalist who came near about "closure" and "justice".

I went back outside to the still wet cement and in a corner hidden by a fence .
post i wrote the initials "OBL".

Yes he was a bad man, but it was a bad path so i think it makes sense on some level.

besides, the chants of "USA, USA, USA" are still ringing in my ears.

So, my back garden is now home to the osama bin laden commemorative foot path.
(, Wed 23 Nov 2011, 19:03, 6 replies)

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