DIY

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Design Science

Dive Into the Art of Aquascaping With a Volcanic Aquarium That Fits on a Desk

November 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

Caring for pets has a lengthy list of physical and mental health benefits, and studies show that folks who aren’t quite ready to commit to a rambunctious pup can find similar solace in a marine pal. The aquatic enthusiast behind Foo the Flowerhorn recently released a video series documenting the DIY building process for a home ecosystem, in addition to capturing the organisms’ intrepid natures. Conveying thoughtful methods for balancing inter-species relationships, the tutorial is also an example of aquascaping, or the art of aquarium design (dive into the world of competitive aquascaping here).

Beginning with a 7.6-gallon aquarium, the video chronicles the assembly of a volcano-shaped rock formation, which serves as a filter despite being enveloped by algae, and a custom-built cover to keep the adventurous creatures inside. Every species is introduced to the ecosystem in a specific order to ensure their chances of survival. The plants, snails, Amano shrimp, and tetras are added early on, with the territorial Siamese Fighting Fish following after ten days. “Adding a betta into this mix is risky. He is a chirpy little fellow, and I’m a little worried about the shrimp, especially. He has tried to catch the tetras here and there but soon realized that there is absolutely no chance of him catching one,” the designer said. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Craft Design

Build a Miniature Hangout with a DIY Wooden Treehouse Kit

September 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Treetop Hangout.” All images © Tiny Treehouses, courtesy of Lars Wijers, shared with permission

A new DIY kit transforms any ordinary houseplant into a miniature haven complete with mood lighting. Created by Australia-based British designer Lars Wijers, Tiny Treehouses feature multiple configurations, from an ornate gazebo to a multi-roofed structure resembling tropical architecture. Each is equipped with LED lights (batteries included!) and manufactured to hang from a branch or rest on a flat surface.

Back the project on Kickstarter—$1 from every treehouse will be donated to restoring Australian forests—and follow Tiny Treehouses on Instagram for updates on designs and buying options.

 

“Tropical Lookout”

“Home Base”

“Tropical Lookout”

“Temple of Gratitude”

“Tiny Gazebo”

“Temple of Serenity”

 

 



Design

Build Your Own Trick-Savvy Dog with This DIY Robotics Kit

September 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Petoi, shared with permission

The days of expensive training lessons for your dogs have come to an end. Thanks to Petoi (previously), you can build your own robotic pup that’s programmed to perform basic commands from the get-go. The agile canine, named Bittle, moves just like a live animal would and because of its spring-loaded upper legs, can navigate bumpy terrain and flip itself over when it lands on its back.

Fitting in the palm of a hand, the automated design is battery operated and can be taught new tricks by uploading new programs you can write yourself. The mechanics and color appear similar to Boston Dynamics’ famous utilitarian robot Spot, a substantially larger machine with a much heftier price tag.

With a few weeks remaining, the project’s Kickstarter campaign already has exceeded its fundraising goal, but there are rewards available for those hoping to pick up a new sidekick. To follow the design group’s projects, head to Instagram and Twitter, and watch the robotic creatures in action on YouTube.

 

 

 



Craft

Make Your Own Paper Prawn Using This Pattern Designed by Artist Lisa Lloyd

May 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Lisa Lloyd, shared with permission

We’ve been admirers of Lisa Lloyd’s meticulous birds and bees crafted from countless strips of paper for a while, and the London-based artist now is offering an amusing tutorial to create her tiny paper prawns at home. The downloadable instructions, which are available for free on her site, are complete with a printable template and a supply list. She also released a simple video series for those who prefer visual learning.

Lloyd tells Colossal that before the coronavirus outbreak locked down nations around the world, she was crafting a life-size bald eagle with a two-meter wingspan. Soon after the U.K. imposed quarantine restrictions, she decided to shift her focus to a smaller project. “I wanted to create a free papercraft tutorial that was fun and different and could be made using materials found around the home… such as cereal boxes and printed card(s),” she says.  

Check out the delightful crustaceans people have been crafting under the hashtag #paperprawn, and share your own, too.

 

 

 



Art History

Build Your Own Kinetic Engines With These Mechanical Kits by Morris Models

April 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

For those inclined to tinker, Morris Models offers DIY kits that save an unused blender or noisy washing machine from relentless disassembly. Part historical prototype and part kinetic sculpture, Morris Models’s six laser-cut engines range in complexity and difficulty. For example, the Single Cylinder is a 50-piece, two-hour build that’s comparable to a lawnmower motor, while the WWI Rotary Engine includes 500 parts, can take up to 30 hours to complete, and is inspired by the French Clerget aircraft series that was popular in the early 1900s.

None of the Baltic-birch models are motorized, although the Illinois-based company says most can withstand the power of at least an 18-volt drill. Morris Models recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to upgrade its CNC cut shafting and offer more accurate designs, and you can back the project before April 5. Otherwise, pick up an older kit from its online shop.

“Opposed Aircraft”

“Wankel”

“Single Cylinder”

 

 



Design Music

Cut Your Own Vinyl with this DIY Record Engraver and Player Designed by Yuri Suzuki

April 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Yuri Suzuki

Making mixtapes and burning CDs might be a forgotten pastime, but the days of simple, homemade vinyl are just arriving thanks to Yuri Suzuki. The London-based designer, who is also a partner at Pentagram, has created the Easy Record Maker, a small device that makes audio recording straightforward and accessible to the general public.

By plugging in an auxiliary cable or USB and playing audio through a phone or other digital device, the cutting arm receives the sound vibrations and engraves the blank plastic three to four times within a single millimeter. Each side of the 5-inch record takes about four minutes to complete. When ready to play, the machine’s cutting piece should be swapped for the tone arm, which is large enough to accommodate traditional 7-inch EPs.

In an interview with It’s Nice That, Suzuki said that creating a DIY-record engraver has been one of his goals since his teenage days as part of a ska-punk band when he didn’t have the financial resources to use professional recording equipment. While that difficulty persists today, the designer said he also hoped this audio project would encourage users to focus and have fun. “Sound has a strong impact on our emotions and the way we behave, and I always try to create an experience with sound that as many people as possible can relate to,” he said.

The Easy Record Maker is currently available from Gakken in Japan and will be released to U.S. and U.K. audiences in the coming months. For a live demo, head to Suzuki’s Instagram this Friday to check out what he shares on IGTV.