Tablesaws, Jointers, and Pinhole Routers, Oh My!

Another truckload of equipment rolled in yesterday.

Here we are scrambling to unload it.

If you think that’s something, imagine the scrambling we’ll have to do in order to find a place to put it!

a DIY chemical desiccator

Is it a desiccan, or a desiccant?

Is it a desiccan, or a desiccant?

You know those pesky packets you get in new shoes that say, Do Not Eat? Well, the Nutty Chemist tore a bunch of them open to make this dessicator. The substance drying inside is copper nitrate, a pretty blue crystal and the byproduct of their ventures into anodizing.

a casual LumShop hack goes viral

Gentle heat for tender chemicals

Gentle heat for tender chemicals

Check this out – the Nutty Chemist needed a hot plate for their lab, and threw one together out of an old clothes iron and a clamp. They blogged about it, and the next thing anyone knew, LumShop made its HackaDay debut! It’s since been all over the internet, including on LifeHacker!

power suprise

Need a power supply for your hobby electronics projects? You can find your answer in a former pack of cancer sticks; they’re just the right size to hold AA batteries! Pad things out with aluminum foil, and add some tension to keep good contact, and you’re in business Shocking, amirite?

A power supply built from trash.

A battery pack built from trash.

what to do with our waste wood?

LumShop generates a lot of scrap wood. What can we do with it? Here’s an idea: turn it into useful heating and cooking with a small woodgasifier stove!

A woodgas stove and the meal it cooked.

A woodgas stove and the meal it cooked.

From right to left, there is the stove, built from upcycled steel food cans. Beside that is the tasty meal and the cup of tea which the nutty chemist brewed up on a single handful of scrap. Next, our cup overfloweth with charcoal generated by the stove. You can burn it, but this mugful is getting crushed up and added to the compost with the cooking waste. This actually buries carbon, so you can warm your baked beans without warming the globe.

It has its limitations, of course – it produces carbon monoxide and smoke, and can’t be used indoors without ventilation. It’s a little ricketty and comes apart at inconvenient times. But for a few dollars and an hour of work, it’s been incredibly useful. Also, although this model is small, the technology scales well. Here’s a great example from some other makers:


nuts, bolts, and chemistry

Hey there! Around here, they call me the Nutty Chemist. What’s so nutty about me, you ask? Well, my job is to organize all the hardware in the building. The nuts, the bolts, the screws, the nails, the washers, the flywheels, the spark plug gap meters, and so on. My chemistry skills come in handy, because one of the tools we use in chemistry is a concept called entropy. My job is to move entropy out of the warehouse. The problem is, people keep bringing it back in!

Bolt Village.

Bolt Village.


Our warehouses don’t have air conditioning, and that’s a summer bummer. There are no windows to install a unit in either. Problem?

No sweat!


This DIY air conditioning setup keeps the shop cool in the hot summer months

Here’s our solution: a piece of plywood becomes a new wall with the AC unit embedded inside, and we covered up one of the doors. Don’t worry – it pushes out; the rectangular frame in front has wheels to let it roll. That way, it’s not a problem in case of a fire.

Pretty cool!