Gadgets I made in high school
Small fun projects that I made with my peers
Besides numerous weekend-long hackathon projects, I have worked on a few fun projects that take about an hour or less. All of them are created at my high school, Upper Canada College, with my schoolmates and teachers. I have witnessed tremendous progress in the maker resources at the school, from using the first 3D-printer to the first dedicated maker space. I enjoy taking a break to express my creativity, mentoring younger schoolmates, and learning new techniques.
Mechanical T-Rex 🦖
Something must be missing on my diffuser. Hmm, how about a T-Rex head? How about a mechanical T-Rex breathing out steam? I 3D-printed this mechanical T-Rex head, painted it, and installed it on my diffuser.
Materials: blue PLA filament, paint, white glue
Equipment: MakerBot 3D printer, Paintbrush
Makers: Myself with supervision from Thomas Sharpe, Kerry Dupuis, and David Holt
Credit: CAD model from Thingiverse
Flashing Pumpkin 🎃
For Halloween 2018, we decided to put the new laser cutter to the test. A face is carved on the pumpkin, and an LED is inserted in one of its eyes to blink every second controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. Looks scary in the dark hallway! However, the laser cutter smelled like pumpkin.
Materials: pumpkin, wires, resistors, Arduino Uno
Equipment: laser cutter, screwdriver, glue gun, soldering iron
Makers: Ryan Archer, Paul Miskew, Will Finlayson, and myself
Coin & Gear Clock 💰 + ⚙ = 🕰
Time is money. — Benjamin Franklin
But how about a clock that is driven by money? We found this kit resembling Leonardo da Vinci’s clock idea, a clock entirely runs on weight and gears. We assembled the kit and tweaked around to configure a more accurate time.
Materials: da Vinci Clock kit, coins
Makers: Luke Stevens, Eugene Ye, A.J. Shulman, Nate Finney, James Weekes, Michael Farah, and myself
Credit: Academy da Vinci Clock
Electric Turn Table
The Year 8 Design class has made a bunch of dragsters, and some of the exceptional ones need to be displayed. A turntable undoubtedly is the best way to demonstrate every single detail in 360°. Based on a 3D-printed turntable, we attached a motor to the axis and battery powering it to make it electric. In the future, we will attach a joystick to control turns and enclose the table in an acrylic case.
Materials: yellow and black PLA filament, DC motor, wire, 9V battery
Equipment: Luzzbot 3D printer, hand saw, glue gun, soldering iron
Makers: Ryan Archer, A.J. Shulman, Nate Finney, Sloan Sobie, and myself
Credit: online CAD model
Literally a “Small Token of Appreciation” 🎁
For every guest speaker in assemblies, we present them a small token of appreciation, which is usually a water bottle. I thought it might be more original and memorable to literally create a token, that is a circle with our logo on it. I gave one to the librarian leaving my school and she loved it. I then printed a bunch more to give it out during our open house. A laser-engraved wooden version is coming!
Materials: orange and blue PLA filament
Equipment: Prusa 3D printer
Makers: Myself with supervision from Brittney Pakkala
Coin colours are confusing. Why don’t we make it more confusing by turning them into other colours? Using the technique of electroplating, we gave our dimes and pennies a new coating and appearance!
Materials: Canadian dime, U.S. penny, copper strip, copper ion solution
Equipment: power source, beaker, multimeter, timer, banana wires
Makers: Ben Alberga and myself with supervision from Tayyabah Ahmed, Lulu Wang, and Norm Breton
Foggy Christmas Tree 🎄
Christmas trees are all the same. How we make them cooler? With some chemical reactions and lights! By placing multiple beakers around a lab stand, we constructed a “tree.” Then, we put dry ice, water, and various colourings in beakers. When the room is dark and a light source is aimed at the tree, our version of Christmas tree comes to life with colourful vapour!
Materials: solid carbon dioxide, water, colourings
Equipment: lab stand, beakers, light source
Makers: Nixon Sinnathurai, Angus Webb, Alexander Romundt, Reed Jeffrey, and myself