On Thanksgiving I had my family over and my nephew was mesmerized by my K’nex end table. I think he loved the idea that a grown-up had used toys to make something so functional and had it proudly displayed in the house. He asked if I had any more K’nex left over because he wanted to play with them. I dug my box of K’nex parts out of the closet for him, and it got me thinking about building with K’nex again. The table was the only thing I had made with it, and that was over ten years ago.
The light element
used in the lamp.
A few nights later I found myself sleepless again and in the mood for some good old fashioned pen-on-paper writing and illustration. Normally I’d do that during the day at a coffee shop, but it was late and I found myself without a desk lamp! I rummaged through my lighting box looking for something suitable and came across a little IKEA-style accent light.
Immediately I thought of rigging up something with K’nex to hold it in the air so that I wouldn’t get long shadows when writing. A few hours later the first version of the K’nex lamp was complete. Of course, by then the mood to write had passed. The next day I spent a few more hours refining and improving it. It’s stands about two feet tall. Like the table, it uses no glue.
posted in Crafts, Design |
The K’nex coffee table / end table is my own creation dating back to 1995. It was very late at night and, as usual, I couldn’t sleep. I had needed a coffee table for quite some time but hadn’t gotten around to buying one. I did however, have a huge collection of K’nex toys.
K’nex is like a plastic version of Tinkertoys, with two basic types of pieces: rods and connectors. They snap together and their sizes are mathematically designed to make triangles and boxes and whatnot. Unlike LEGO, the color of a K’nex piece determines it’s type, for example all the rods of one color are the same length. This means creating something with specific colors is somewhat of a challenge. K’nex pieces fit together pretty snugly, — in fact, after playing with them for a few hours my fingers hurt from all the pressure needed to connect and disconnect them.
So, back to that sleepless night. I had a disassembled K’Nex kit of the Big Ball Factory. There were a lot of pieces in it. I figured there were probably enough to make a decent coffee table. I didn’t realize the task I was taking on though; because designing a table that won’t sag in the middle or collapse when any kind of serious is put on it is a challenge. While building it I had to redesign it several times to make it strong enough. The sun was up when I finished, and the table stood proud at 5 feet long and 1.2 feet tall. It uses no glue, but it holds a lot of Weight. I never got photos of it in this configuration. Weight
A few years later I moved to a new location and decided what I really needed was an end table. So I took a bit out of the middle, and increased the height of the legs, and the coffee table was transformed into an end table. It’s now about 2 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide. Every once in a while I’ll clean it and fix a few disconnected rods. I use it like a real table, and it works fine. It uses no glass, but the surface works well even though it’s got plenty of holes. Containers with non-flat bottoms like Coke or water bottles need a coaster, and that’s about it for special treatment. Although it’s been through a lot (including the ire of disapproving tastemakers) it has never collapsed. Enjoy the photos. -Hanford
posted in Crafts, Design |
I don’t think I’ll be dong this any time soon…
… I’m more of an electric pickle girl, myself. How long ’til we see it on MythBusters? My money’s on Busted.
posted in Science!, Tech |
If you’re in the San Francisco area, come out and join us for Tiki Central’s 7th Annual Tiki Bar Crawl. And if you’re not in the San Francisco area, watch it live on our mobile webstream, 3:30pm – late on Friday, 2:00pm – really late on Saturday, and 3:00pm till evening on Sunday.
Details available on tikiweekend.com!
posted in Midcentury, Tech, Television |
I had a last-second idea for a super-quick Halloween costume: the Gold Paint Huffer guy. For those not in the know, the Gold Paint Huffer guy is an minor Internet Celebrity made famous by his unfortunate mug shot (image on the left). He’s seen staring blankly into the camera in a way that only a true huffer can, his face covered in gold paint, and wearing a creepy scowl reminiscent of an angry stroke victim. The photo is both tragic yet hysterical.
The costume idea popped into my head literally right as I walked by
a party store Halloween Headquarters on the day of. Five minutes later and two bucks poorer I was the proud new owner of a do-it-yourself Gold Paint Huffer kit: a tube of gold facepaint. However, later that night I realized my friend Chad Spacey was a much better fit for the look, and he was really into it. At the end of the evening we busted out the camera for an impromptu photo shoot:
posted in Crafts, Miscellaneous |