Cub Scout Pack project – Rocket Car!

I have found this cool project on Home Science Tools  and was really pumped to share this with the Cub Scouts for which I am the new Cubmaster. Here’s a quick step by step for how to build a balloon powered rocket car.

First off we need a plastic water or soda bottle (500ml or 16.9 oz depending on your favorite measurement system).

You will also need 5 beverage straws, one wooden shish-kabob skewer, 4 water bottle caps (wheels), a balloon, and duct or masking tape.

Tools will be a nail, hammer, knife, and scissors.

First step is to cut one beverage straw into two bottle width lengths.


Second step is to use a hammer and small nail to put the hole in the wheels (bottle caps).


Make sure the nail is a bit narrower than the skewer.  If it is not, you will need some modeling clay, or some form of glue to adhere the wheel to the axle (skewer).



After putting one wheel on each axle, you will then attach the cut straws on the bottom of the bottle and attach the other wheel on each axle.



Following this, you will then stretch out the balloon a bit, by pulling it, and then inflating/deflating the balloon several times to prepare it.DSCN0656

After doing this, you will insert four straws into the balloon and then tape them together.



After this you will cut a small x in the bottle about 4 inches from the mouth of the bottle and then insert the straws from the cut through the mouth.



You will then blow into the straw, between breaths pinch the balloon above the straws to seal it and let you inflate another breath into the balloon.

After it is full, set it on a hard surface and let her go.  She should move along the ground powered by the air from the nozzle you built with the straws and the balloon.

Your rocket can be decorated with stickers, paint, or other light weight objects.

Send me pictures of what you have made here

The watch that Bret built…. With the help of Adafruit!

I built a watch yesterday from a kit I ordered from Adafruit.  It is called the TimesSquare watch, and it is really cool the way time crawls across your wrist.  It also shows date, phase of the moon, battery levels, and is a binary watch as well.

Here’s the overview video from the gang at Adafruit.

Another cool thing, is this Arduino compatible, which means that you can modify the code, so that you can change the way the watch works, so that it can either reflect your personality better, or perhaps be easier to read based on how old your eyes are or aren’t.

The instructions on the Adafruit site are perfect for a beginner, and hold your hand through the entire process. Since I am a relatively new solderer, it was helpful to get the very basic steps, as well as photos of each step as well.

I will be showing this bad boy off to the other folks at work tomorrow, and I think there will be a few more built in the next few months for birthday presents for friends and family…. Perhaps another one with different color leds (I got red this time).

Thanks Adafruit for a fun and attractive project! Perhaps someday, I’ll be able to convince one of their engineers to allow me to interview them. We’ll see what I can do.

Darkness has Fallen…



For my readers and listeners, a sad time has come.  The autonomous robotic boat named Scout has gone dark, and this time, it looks like it is final.  She last transmitted more than 24 hours ago, after some rather interesting couple of days where she tracked against current and wind, and at last looked like she was picking up a route.

Scout — Transatlantic Autonomous Robot - Chromium_001

According to Scout teammate Tom Schindler,  “[The] best case scenario someone picked her up [otherwise] the backup tracker could be waterlogged or otherwise disconnected from the hull, or she sank.”

It looks like at this point, unless she has been picked up, we may never learn of her fate unless she happens to make landfall at some point.

-30- Presents Singer Songwriter Scott Peoples

ScottPeopleCover is proud to present Scott Peoples.  Singer, songwriter, outstanding guitarist, Scott is in the trenches promoting his project which is to fund his first full length CD, This Moment.

Scott is from the South Central Pennsylvania area, and you can see him at various venues in the mid-state.  Check out Scott’s Facebook page for more information on where you can see him, play some of his music, and to see what’s new in his world.


Things that make you say "Interesting" or "Cool!"