Ideas


2016 Fireless Fourth Ideas From Quelab

FireBadThis 4th of July, many of us near Albuquerque are living with the fresh memory of the Dog Head Fire — 17 thousand acres just went poof! — a few miles out of town, it’s now considered 95% contained, but as hot and fierce as it burned, it’s important to continue looking for fireless ways for people to celebrate. Since 2012 I (Adric) have collected ideas for sending out to friends, and Quelab friends.

I know my mother, who supported the responsible use of fireworks to entertain us kids, hated anything that went boom or whistled. (and if it flew in the air, it was pretty much forbidden by our county firework laws) This naturally made me love and lust for anything that whistled, boomed, or flew in the air. But her lessons on knowing where to safely set up fireworks, how to set up buckets and hoses and all to make sure we could contain anything that did start to burn, and other general safety ideas did stick with me. I’m not in favor of banning personal fireworks, but i do plead that everyone who uses them please be careful and responsible!

On with the Fireless Stuff!
Some of these can be combined as entertainment before and after the fireworks (no matter if it’s a big stadium display or your own small home one).

All ages ideas:

A bazooka that does not explode — and despite the fact it sucks, it throws a pingpong ball or paper ball pretty far!
http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Vacuum-cleaner-Bazooka/

Smoke ring cannon, with dry ice fog
http://www.instructables.com/id/Dry-Ice-Smoke-Ring-Cannon-No-fog-machine-necessa/

Salt paint fireworks, (might be fun to setup some blowgun targets with paintballs and see if salt will stick to the “paint”) …
http://busymommymedia.com/firework-salt-painting/

Fourth of July slime
http://www.pleasantestthing.com/4th-july-activity-make-slime

Dish brush painted fireworks
http://www.craftymorning.com/kids-fireworks-craft-using-dish-brush/

Wind twirls
http://happyhooligans.ca/patriotic-wind-twirlers-paper-towel-rolls/

Make pretty giant stars out of nothing but paperbags and glue
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAYLq1k264I

Bubblewrap machine gun
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76usvBPZbSk

On the food front we have:

Alton Brown’s Favorite 4th recipes
http://altonbrown.com/alton-browns-july-4th-recipes/

Stained Glass Jello
http://www.instructables.com/id/Stained-Glass-Jello/

Red White and Blue Layered Drinks for kids.
http://artsymomma.com/2013/07/red-white-blue-layered-kids-drink-4th-of-july.html

And Red White and Blue Drinks for adults.
http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g2465/boozy-4th-of-july-drinks/

Pizza Box Solar Smores!
http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/solar-oven/

#Danger# Section:

Exploding water bottle bb/blowgun/pellet targets.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rDRFFSUrPI

Liquid nitrogen can be pretty hard to get, and surely needs a little more safety, but here is a build for liquid nitrogen and water rocket launcher.
https://youtu.be/jrRmID81wrc

This one is for home made caps/exploding targets, it’s not entirely fireless, the compound does explode but there is no sustained flame.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctX3juq9Okw

#needs work section:

Glowing fountain (blacklight), this one was a bit of a failure, but i suspect the addition of some yellow highlighter marker ink, and a brighter blacklight could probably make this work. But its good to know others are also on the hunt.
https://tutorialsformyparents.com/how-to-create-the-fireless-firework-a-humbling-scientific-exploration-and-thoughtful-relfection-on-the-michelson-morley-experiment/

Link to 2015’s Fireless Fourth, which also links back 2014, 2012, 2011!
https://quelab.net/19047/quelabs-annual-fireless-4th-collection-of-links/


Freedom of Expression

The Board of Directors have been considering a statement supporting the freedom of expression at Quelab. This policy, very heavily based on the statement put out by the University of Chicago, and strongly supported by the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education (thefire.org), essentially says that Quelab won’t impinge on your First Amendment right to free speech, and won’t let others do that at Quelab either.

You can find our draft of this statement on our Wiki. It asserts people’s right to free speech, as long as they’re not threatening or harassing others, or violating others privacy or confidentiality. All educational topics can be discussed at Quelab, and we do not want to stifle that creative and investigative spark.

Please let the Board of Directors know your opinion on this proposed statement, and please give it a good reading and a dose of thought.

Thank you,
Geoff


Quelab’s Annual Fireless 4th Craft and Science (Links)

Hi there, Im Adric. I love fireworks, Big, Small Loud/Smok!! But this year like several in the past, I have very much enjoyed collecting ideas and links for Kids and adults to do in places where fireworks are either not legal, not safe or not advisable. Some of these ideas can be used to entertain away the long hours it takes to get dark for the big shows, Or your own fireworks.

As always I don’t claim the rights to any of these ideas, (unless otherwise noted). But I do encourage people to share this post Share it on your social media, share it to your clubs and school groups. Its all a fun part of learning to DIY!

-This one is a fun color changing drink: starts off with a purple(blue) liquid, and mix in a clear (white) and you get a pink(red) right in front of your eyes.
http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Color-Changing-Sports-Drink-Mocktail/

-Red, White and Blue Patriotic Parfaits
http://www.ehow.com/info_12340443_red-white-blue-patriotic-parfaits.html

-OOPS, this is a repeat from last year! sorry, but its still fun! Not technically a firework, but still cool, and I think some skybloom fireworks look like jellyfish, make a pseudo jellyfish!

-Or How about DIY Origami Fireworks:
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Origami-Fireworks/

Steve spangler show’s both the yeast, and the potassium iodide version of Elephant Toothpaste (in a Red White and blue motif):

-Funfetti or sprinkles to paint teeny firework paintings?
http://www.readingconfetti.com/2012/06/sprinkle-fireworks.html

-Glowsticks in old refilled water bottles, then pick your favorite ball. and night time bowling!

-15 second paper screamer.
http://www.instructables.com/id/15-Second-Paper-Screamer/

-This one requires liquid nitrogen, and there is a danger frostburn or bottle fragmentation, but i think the risk is pretty low.

-Smoke ring launcher (on the subject of cold stuff, this can be done with dry ice)
http://www.instructables.com/id/Dry-Ice-Smoke-Ring-Cannon-No-fog-machine-necessa/

-Diy stomp rockets, 2l soda bottle, and an old innertube,
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Stomp-Rockets/

-Past years collections
Quelabs 2014 Fireless 4th links
Quelabs 2013 Fireless 4th links
Quelabs 2011 Fireless forth ideas

As always if if you do play with traditional fireworks keep a garden hose handy, and one or 2 buckets of water. and if your doing fountains, you might consider launching them from a ladder or other stand to get them up off the ground. It makes the fountains look more impressive, and more of the sparks are out before they can reach dry grasses or other combustibles.

Have ideas that have not been covered? send me a note and I will add them! Or collect them for next years post! adric at quelab.net


[SERIES] Introductory Electronics Theory

New member Greg Crabtree will be hosting Introductory Electronics Theory for all who are interested. These lessons will focus on the basic principles and concepts (Ohms Law, etc) that make all electronic circuits work. This is to support whatever hands-on project you’re working on at Quelab.

These lessons will start as a kind of open study group, meeting every week, with both group and individual sessions. We’ll start with the basics and work up from there to whatever topic you are interested in. You do not need any electronics background to get started, members can join the study group at any time, and you don’t have to attend every session. If you already know the basics, but want to learn more about an advanced topic, please ask and we’ll dive into it with you if we can.

We’ve set up an Eventbrite event for this class, and you can register here: http://quelab-electronics-study-group.eventbrite.com

About the teacher: Greg Crabtree has a degree in Electronics (1986), another degree in Renewable Energy (2006), and has worked professionally for nearly 30 years in electronics as a TV & Radio broadcast engineer, recording studio engineer, marine electronics tech (ship radar & navigation systems), avionics technician, and solar energy systems. Greg has also been a high school teacher, a musician and music teacher, and a private pilot.


Adafruit & Sparkfun Group Orders

Greetings, Spacers!

We’re getting together an order of stuff from Adafruit and Sparkfun (both of which are space affiliates) and if you’d like to help support Quelab while getting Nifty Stuff, check out their stores, grab the price and item number, and then open up the Public Drive and let us know what you want in the Group Buy spreadsheets (there will be one for each order).

We’ll be closing orders at Midnight on 23 Feburary (23:59), and start collating the order. Since Adafruit doesn’t do backorders, we’ll reach out if the item(s) you want aren’t available. If we get an order of at least $300 for each order, we get free shipping and Quelab gets a cut of the price.

You pay us, and we collect when the goods arrive.

Thanks for looking! And Happy Hacking!
(more…)


Tesla Science Center Memorial Brick

A few years back, I posted a link to the Tesla Science Center‘s fundraiser campaign to purchase the grounds of the Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe laboratory to preserve it and turn it into a museum. A campaign which worked, and a campaign which attracted the attention of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.

Well, things have been going swimmingly for the TSC folks, and they got the land, they’ve cleaned it up, and they’ve started the renovations. Now they’re raising money by selling memorial bricks for the visitor’s center and we have our opportunity to get our name engraved in history.

Quelab member Jeremy has started raising money internally to place OUR name on one of those bricks. If you’re interested in contributing, check out the thread on our members email list, or see him at the potluck this coming Sunday. If we raise enough money for us, we can send that money on to the TSC.

Also, Tesla for those who don’t know him (tw:language)


Quelab’s Collection of Fireless Forth Ideas. 3

New Mexico and much of the west is a huge tinderbox. The city, County and state have various firework bans going.

So here is a few passtimes you can do without fire or atleast with a very minimal chance of bigger fire.

-How about something that can be done in the kitchen, Food coloring falling explosions!
Just need a tall jar, vegetable oil water and food coloring instructions can be found here. http://chemistry.about.com/od/4thofjulychemistry/a/waterfireworks.htm Some little LED flashlights can be fun for lighting up individual drops.

-Two years ago we brought you the link for another Kitchen idea, involving whole milk, food coloring and a little dish soap http://quelab.net/wordpress/767/safe-non-fire-fireworks/

-Or last year, the Folded paper banger. http://quelab.net/wordpress/773/non-fire-paper-popperbangercracker/

-Firecracker likesound? how about a bomb bag? http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Bomb-Bag/

-How about Mentos and Diet coke? http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/diet-coke-and-mentos-minimyth.htm
Or Even how about a mentos and coke rocket? http://wtwii.files.wordpress.com/2006/08/mentosrocket.jpg

-Popsicle Stick bombs? http://www.instructables.com/id/Popsicle-Stick-Bomb/
Or even more on stick bombs, including how to make very long Domino type chain reactions. http://www.lunatim.com/kinart/stickhistory.htm

-Sad you cant write your name in the air with a sparkler? how about setting up a camera for some Light painting? (Quelab has done one workshop on this, hopefully in our next space we will have more room to do this type of thing! http://petapixel.com/2013/05/28/how-to-put-together-a-beginners-light-painting-kit/

-Fireworks in your mouth? You ever had poprocks? Its a little tricky to make candy with liquid co2 at home, but you can make a very similar confection! http://www.instructables.com/id/Pop-Rocks/

Crazy Russian Hacker, and Household hacker teamed up to show you how to make elephant toothpaste or a kind of form of silly string. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OvHkBBpQXo

From the random file i have,
-Glowsticks! They are awesome on their own, but for science abuse, not bright enough? try microwaving them for 5 seconds (careful if you do it too long they can melt or leak), if its no brighter after 5, give it another 5, but no more than 15 seconds total!

-bubblewrap! who needs firecrackers if you can pop or jump on or runover with a bike bubblewrap!

-Sprinklers or Slipnslide fun!

-Squirtgun fights!

What are your ideas?

Please share this around! These are just a few of the many ways Quelab wants you to be creative and have fun!

Quelab just compiled most of these links the credit goes directly to the people who made these for coming up with great posts on these subjects!
Happy 4th of July for you all!


Hardware Group Order

Hello Hackers!

There is an order being organized on Facebook, the Quelab Forums and in a gSpreadsheet to Adafruit and Mouser. If sufficient interest is gathered, we can also do a similar transaction with Sparkfun, DigiKey, Jameco, Solarbotics or Pololu.

If you have a need for some components, if you have a desire for some kits, if you have a want for some swag, hit us up in the comments and we’ll hook you up. If this becomes incredibly popular, we may have to resurrect the idea for the hardware canteen!

**UPDATE2: Order completed on 27 March 2013. Thanks to everyone who participated!


chipKIT: What Now? 1

Greetings!

We recently received a demo board from Microchip with their new PIC-based Arduino-form-factor development board, the chipKit. While reading skimming through the technical specs, it turns out that it’s definately beyond me, hardware-wise.

Photos of the boxes we got here, https://secure.flickr.com/photos/quelabnm/tags/chipkit/show/

The chipKit has a similar form-factor to an Arduino, but it’s major difference is that it is PIC based (not AVR). Additionally, it runs at a different clock-speed and only understands the basic libraries from the Arduino suite. They do indicate that you can plug an Arduino Ethernet shield onto it and it will play ball, but some other boards might not.

But that’s really OK, because they shipped us two other boards to go with it. The chipKit proto-board (a perf-board with some headers) and the Input Board (which has some switches and a small OLED screen). It looks like the perfect brains for a new project.

Any ideas? Show off your grand plans in the comments and I can turn you folks loose on the board at Tuesday’s Hack Night! If you implement an awesome project, you can win the lab $5500 of tools and equipment! We’ve got a couple of months, but only the middle of January!