Monday, May 3, 2010

Arts & Crap: So You Want to Build a Laser and/or The Flux Capacitor

I'm not crafty but that doesn't mean that I don't like to use scissors and tape crap together. Here are two low-key art projects that you can try at home.

Project #1: Laser
In Kindergarten Cop, Dominic shows Detective John Kimble the lasers he's painstakingly constructed to protect his home from the "bad people." 

No blueprints for these lasers exist. 

However, I--being the genius that I am--was able to figure out how they were made and replicate the complex design. 

What You'll Need:
  • A few sheets of aluminum foil
1. Roll one sheet of aluminum foil up like a Fruit Roll-Up/really skinny burrito/marijuana cigarette. 

2. Place your rolled-up aluminum foil on top of a flat sheet of aluminum foil.

3. Roll the flat sheet of aluminum foil around the rolled-up aluminum foil. Now your laser is thicker, longer, and more powerful. Fact: Your laser's power increases with each piece of aluminum foil that you add.

4. Bend the tip of your laser so it looks like a candy cane/one of those cartoon hooks used to pull singing, anthropomorphized animals off stage when they fail to entertain jaded Vaudeville audiences.

And you're done! Now all you need to do is go to your local police station, pick up the appropriate laser permits, climb the electrical tower near your house, and laser that thing up.
Just watch out for birds.

Project #2: Flux Capacitor
In Back to the Future, we learn that the flux capacitor is what makes time travel possible. I'm not sure how long it took Doc Brown to build the original prototype, but it took me hella hours (one episode of Doctor Who, a couple of episodes of Kirstie Alley's Big Life, and most of Tombstone) to put mine together. So be sure to free-up your day if you're planning on making one of these.

What You'll Need:
  • 1 shoebox (preferably one with a hinged lid)
  • construction paper (red, black, yellow)
  • 2 yellow/gold pipe cleaners
  • a pair of scissors
  • an x-acto/utility knife (a sharp kitchen knife might suffice)
  • scotch tape
  • transparent sheet (can be saran wrap, comic-book bag, overhead projector sheet, stretched out condom, etc.)
  • glue stick
  • pencil
  • white-out/liquid-paper pen
  • 1.21 gigawatts of electrical power
1. Cut a rectangular opening out of the shoebox lid with your X-Acto knife. (Don't throw away the piece you've cut out. You'll need it later.)

2. Tape the transparent sheet onto the back of the lid. 

3. Line the inside of the box with black construction paper.

You can put the shoebox aside for now. You won't need it again for a while. Take a break if you want and eat some delicious tater tots.

4. cut the toilet paper roll into three pieces.

5. Take one of your tiny TP rolls and the rectangle you cut out of the shoebox lid and trace three circles onto the cardboard with your pencil.

6. Cut out the circles with your X-Acto knife.

7. Tape the circles onto the tops of the TP rolls.

8. Use the bottom of one of your TP rolls to trace three circles onto the yellow construction paper.

9. Cut out the three circles with your scissors.

10. Glue the yellow circles onto the tops of the TP rolls.

11. Cut out three strips from the yellow construction paper (the width should be equal to the length of the TP roll).

12. Tape the edge of one of the strips onto a TP roll.

13. Wrap the strip around the TP roll tightly and tape down the edge. 

14. Repeat steps 12-13 for the other two TP rolls.

15. Fold your pipe cleaner into a "V" shape. (You'll probably have to trim the edges a bit with your scissors because this is eventually going to go inside of the shoebox.)

16. Poke a tiny hole into the side of one of the TP rolls with the X-Acto knife, then poke the tip of the pipe cleaner "V" in through the hole (you can tape the tip of the pipe cleaner onto the inner wall of the roll to secure it).

17. Repeat step 16 with another one of the TP rolls.

18. Cut the other pipe cleaner in half, poke a tiny hole through the last TP roll, stick the tip of the pipe cleaner through the hole.

19. Connect the two pieces together, so they form a "Y."

20. Flip your "Y" upside down (hole side up). Place two/three small pieces of scotch tape onto the inside of each TP roll (half of each piece of tape should be sticking out above the hole).

21. Tape the "Y" into the shoebox by folding the tape under the TP roll (you could just tape the base of the TP roll onto the box/glue it down, but this looks a little cleaner).

22. Cut three thin strips from the red construction paper and with the white-out pen write, "DISCONNECT CAPACITOR DRIVE" on one of them, "BEFORE OPENING" on another one, and "SHIELD EYES FROM LIGHT" on the last one. Tape/glue the strips onto the lid of the box.

Connect the finished product to your time machine (DeLorean, hot tub, et al.), go back in time, screw things up so you're never born, fix things so you're born, jam to Huey Lewis.


RAY J said...

LOL these are awesome!

Thanks for the laugh!

Angie said...

I'm trying the flux capacitor. I mean it.

nikki said...

Excellent. What are you going to do when you go back in time?

Bonus points for watching Doctor Who.

Amiee said...

Ah to go back to a time when dancing to Huey Lewis didn't make me a dork. Nice work.

Jen said...

yum, tator tots.

Sorry I got distracted.

Semaj said...

Thanks for the tips on making a Flux capacitor. "Flux Capacitor, Fluxing."

I'm glad I didn't have to bump my head while trying to hang a picture on my bathroom wall to learn how to make it.

Johana Hill said...

Damn you're good! I suck at Physics (it's Physics right?). :(

Another David said...

And according to Doc Brown, we should be able to get plutonium at any convenience store by now, so actually using the flux capacitor won't be a problem.

Amber said...

Nikki: I'm going to go to the night before Jimi Hendrix died and tell him not to choke on his own vomit, then I'm going to travel to the early 90s and invest in Google (cliched, I know, but I love money so whataya gonna do?)

Amiee: Dancing to Huey Lewis doesn't make you a dork. It makes you awesome!

Semaj: No problem, man.

Johana: Yup, physics...and time travelology or something. I don't know. I actually got the physics award when I was in the 12th grade, so that probably explains some of it.

soft nonsense said...

Amber...god damn it...

Where can all the awesome stem from? Where?!?! Can I buy one?

(one unit of awesome, that is. you apparently have plenty to spare.)

Are you familiar with the works of Because you're quickly approaching that level of crazy badassery.

Sadako said...

I'm so trying this next weekend. Thanks for the awesomeness, Amber!

Fear Street said...

Such patience she has.

Heather Taylor said...

Definitely making these this weekend instead of studying for finals!

Jerry said...

That is hilarious! Are you now going to post those on ebay so one of your lucky followers can buy it from you?


I started building the flux capacitor.... You see, I'm having a little trouble with the Libyans....

Anyway, I started putting it together and I'm still stuck eating the tater tots....

Oh no! THE LIBYANS!!!!!

Amber said...

soft nonsense: Thanks, man. And you're already awesome so don't sweat it. I do visit wofgnards every once and a while. Love that Groundhog Day post!

Fear Street: I know, right? I guess i'm just dedicated to time travel.

Heather: Just hand your craft projects in to your prof the day of your final instead of taking the test. That's what I'd do.

ASBLACKASOBAMA: When you finish your flux capacitor, you need to go to CafePress and make a "Oh no! The Libyans!!!!" t-shirt.

Copyboy said...

BEST POST I HAVE READ IN A LONG TIME. And I'll go back to the future to prove it.

Megs said...

I think the flux capcitor would be worth the time investment because you could immediately get your time back.

Kara said...

Damn! I thought I was the only one who ate tater tots while building time-travel devices.

I love these. They're brilliant. And hilarious. Next step, home security system a la Home Alone?

aladdinsane12 said...

thanks so much for following me! sorry it has taken me forever to get over here.

i absolutely ADORE that you made the flux capacitor. fucking amazing. and that laser looks so... high tech! how did you achieve such a feat?

and i saw huey lewis in concert a few weeks ago, so i know ALL about rocking out to him!

Boomka said...

Oh man I remember watching kindergarten cop and not being worried about the kid climbing that tower but rather being so confused how h e managed to build lasers and why nobody else was impressed with him. I was like, THIS KID HAS FRIGGING LASERS, why isn't anybody worried about THAT?! It wasn't until later I realized.... I'm an idiot.

Tina K said...

So that's why my last crafty projects didn't go well--I didn't have any delicious tater tots.

Amiee said...

Fun fact, we have the same delicious potato-ey goodness products but we dub them potato gems here in Australia!

Children of the 90s said...

These are ridiculously awesome illustrative pictures. I love it!

michelle said...

LOL i know what i'm doing this summer...

Christina In Wonderland said...

Amber, I worship at the altar of your genius. :P

Sammy V said...

I must have screwed up time machine keeps taking me back to the present...does it matter what brand of white-out pen I use?

soft nonsense said...

Sammy: I think you're misinterpreting the power of the time machine. It only has a small range, so it only transports you a few seconds into the future from the time when you first activated it.