As of 5/9/05

Various Extra-curricular Projects
CompletedI built the walking forklift from Aliens as my Halloween 06 costume.
CompletedI built a costume for Halloween 05, I was the APU fighting walking-tank from The Matrix movies.
Hiatus I have R/C aircraft (slope gliders, electric, glow powered trainers, and even a rocket powered X-20) that sit unused for the past two years, but I expect to restart working on them RSN (real soon now).   Update: 10/07 - Maybe not RSN.  Flying real airplanes is more fun right now.
Working I am now a PP-ASEL, Private Pilot, Aircraft, Single-Engine, Land!  I'm flying as often as I can now, and I hope to buy or build a plane soon.  Flying is GREAT!  I wish I had done this years ago.  I'm checked out in Piper Cherokees and Cessna-152s, more to come.  As soon as I get checked out in the local 172, I'm going to go for my tailwheel endorsement, then my complex.  After that, time to start working on the instrument rating!

Update: 10/07, I now own my own airplane.  I'm in the process of upgrading the panel to begin instrument training.
Aborted/Hiatus I also have an interest in electronics and made significant progress towards building an autopilot to I could convert one of my planes into a UAV, but once I had solved most of the technical hurdles and had a working inertial guidance box w/ digital compass & GPS, my interest flickered and I moved on to something else.

12/31/04 - Status update: I'm starting to think about this again, this time using the FMA CoPilot training assistance device to keep the plane level.
10/07 - No movement on this.

Completed I've built a number of potato cannons, both flame powered (The fuel lifecycle: hair spray -> starter fluid -> propane -> (then logically acetylene, right?  Partially why I stopped at Propane, so I could retain as many limbs as possible) using a BBQ igniter and also some others that are pneumatic.  The pneumatic ones are by far my favorite because, and this is important, they fire reliably.  I use an electric solenoid valve built for sprinkler systems, and it's beautiful.  I pump the reservoir up from my electric compressor, pour a little water down the barrel, and when I press that fire button, I get a nice blast of aerated water, not 20 minutes of clicking the igniter, checking the fuel air mixture, then clicking some more.

Click here to see more.

Completed I converted one of my pneumatic cannons into a flame cannon.  I'll post diagrams and pictures on a separate page later, the basic idea is that it shoots an aerosol of denatured alcohol through the flame from a MAP torch (propane works fine too).  When fired straight up, it makes a fireball that goes up 30-40 feet and turns into a mushroom cloud of flame.  Within 5 minutes of firing it, police showed up, so it seems to be a functioning attention getter.

Click here to see more.

Hiatus Building a computerized Stargate model.  I really like the show Stargate SG-1, so I thought it might be neat to make a stargate model that turns electronically and 'dials' different sequences.  I build two prototypes, one out of foam board, then another out of hardboard.  Both were powered by a modified aircraft servo which is in turn being controlled by an OOPIC micro controller.  I started to lose interest when I had problems making perfectly round dialing disks.  I'm sure that I could have something made by a professional type, but what's the fun?
Completed I actually started a project and stuck with it to completion, much to the surprise of all my friends and family.  It was a 'mech-suit' costume for Halloween that I wore and my son 'drove'.  To see more info, click here.
Aborted I installed a navigation system in our RV (comprised of an LCD monitor, half a laptop, a GPS) but neglected to finish the wiring.  I've got something like 20 minutes of work left, but it's sat in its current state for almost 6 months as of typing this, so... don't hold your breath.

12/31/04 - Changing to aborted for now, I don't know that I'll be finishing this, the RV is a bit of a mess.

Working I've installed a computer in my car and I am continuing to refine it.  I've got a touchscreen on my dash, a big hard drive full of music and movies, and it's connected to my onboard engine computer & more.  I'll make a separate page for it sometime.
Completed I've mounted a camera on an R/C tank for exploring the dark mysteries of...  the crawlspace of my house.

Click here to see more.