Link Dump – 2017/08/09

Canadian Skill Testing Requirement

For the first time, there was an official fantasy competition for the CrossFit Games, from Reebok. If anyone correctly picked the top 10 men, top 10 women, and top 5 teams, they could have won $1,000,000! Pretty safe bet on Reebok’s part.

While looking through the rules, this seemed odd…

Any potential winner who is a resident of Canada will be required to correctly answer, without assistance of any kind, whether mechanical or otherwise, a time-limited mathematical skill-testing question administered online or offline in order to be awarded a prize.

Curiosity got me. They have a law in Canada, requiring skill testing questions for this type of thing.

RBT 1911 Pull Back

I’ve always wanted a rubberband gun, so when I saw awesome kits by Rubberband Tech at Maker Faire Detroit I had to get one. I could have a sweet gun and build it myself. The 1911 immediately got my attention because of the slide action and the functional clip. The hardwood version (I picked zebrawood) of the kit was an extra $10 to make it $30 and a big bag of extra rubberbands was $5.

The build, spread over several days, took about 7 or 8 hours, which was much longer and harder than expected. A lot of difficulties were from the instructions being short on details. They tell you to sand several pieces but don’t get into how much sanding is required (A lot and then a lot more!), especially to get the trigger mechanism working properly.

I tried to video the entire process, ending up with over 140 GB of footage! On a first pass through iMovie at 20x fast forward the video was way too long, so I exported and ran it back through at 8x more. At the end of the video is a demo at normal speed showing the gun in action.

The stain I used on the zebrawood pieces was called Espresso and the one I used on the rest of the gun was an English Chestnut. I finished it off with 2 coats of a finishing wax. As mentioned in the video, I’m not happy with the end result of the staining. I wish I had done a second coat of the espresso stain on the hardwood pieces, or gotten a little lighter stain for the rest of the gun, or even both.

Now I need to make some targets. I have some ideas involving electronics for timing and scoring.

6-in-1 Utility Pen

Hitachi had a big booth at Maker Faire Detroit and was giving out these awesome pens. I may have walked by a couple of extra times throughout the day. 😉

I’d never seen anything like these. Some Googling found several variations. Some had a full length ruler instead of the knurled grip seen here. You can get one for $8-10 on Amazon. A bulk supplier, selling a version almost identical to this, has the pens listed for than $2 if you’re ordering a bunch. The features of all of the versions were common:

  • Pen
  • Ruler (inches and centimeters)
  • Stylus (use with a touch screen)
  • Level
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver

Since I got 3 of the pens, I put one in my car, one at my hobby desk, and one at my garage workbench.

Kacilia Tru-Align Body System

When I worked a booth at the National Wellness Conference a couple of months ago, I came across Kacilia at one of the other booths. The idea of this system/technique is to lay face down on a bunch of pads, which set the spine into a neutral position, and let gravity work. I tried it out for about 15 minutes while I was there and it felt really good. The inventor did an eval on my body positions before and after, which showed significant improvement. She claims to have had people reverse their spinal issues after several months of using this for 20 minutes a day. My issues come from a compressed L5 and she was confident her method could help me.

There was no way I was going to pay $400 for a fancy mat and some pads though. I figured I could create my own version. I already had 2 foam rollers, a yoga block, and a yoga mat. I purchased a few more items:

I bought this other stuff several weeks ago, but hadn’t used it yet. Yesterday I tweaked my back pretty bad again, so it’s time to try something new.


It may not work at all and I don’t know that I’ll use it daily, but it’s worth a shot. Having an excuse to take a 20 minute nap sounds pretty good too. Here’s a demo video of the actual system.

100 Pound Sandbag

Ever since seeing the CrossFit Regional workouts, I’ve been wanting a bigger sandbag to do cleans, holds, squats, and carries. Rogue has been sold out of their strongman sandbags for months, so I bought one of the StrongFit sandbags for my garage gym. The Gorilla tape pictured is mine and I added the second zip tie, but the lacrosse ball, ring, and one zip tie all came with the bag.

It was less than $6.50 for two 50 pound bags of Play Sand at Home Depot.

Filled up the bag, followed the instruction video, and it seems solid.

Mini Tesla Coil Quartet

The Tesla Orchestra did a show with their mini Tesla coils almost every hour at Maker Faire Detroit.

Each spark unleashes a bolt of plasma that makes the air explode. Repeat these explosions fast enough and you get a musical note. Four coils, four notes. Custom electronic hardware and software convert MIDI encoded music to pulses of light. At the other end of four fiber optic cables, the powerful amplifiers in the bases of each coil transform 300 volt DC power into hundreds of thousands of volts of musical lightning.

Even in slo-mo, lightning is fast!

2017 Maker Faire Detroit

On Sunday I spent almost 6 hours at the Henry Ford Museum for Maker Faire Detroit. It was a great venue for it because attendees had access to the museum as well.

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Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects.

We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.

Glimpse the future and get inspired!

Maker Faire Detroit

It was inspiring to see all of the makers and I had a blast geeking out.

Other posts about the event…