Gonzo Gizmos: Projects & Devices to Channel Your Inner Geek

Overview


Step-by-step instructions to building more than 30 fascinating devices are included in this book for workbench warriors and grown-up geeks. Detailed illustrations and diagrams explain how to construct a simple radio with a soldering iron, a few basic circuits, and three shiny pennies. Instructions are included for a rotary steam engine that requires a candle, a soda can, a length of copper tubing, and just 15 minutes. To use optics to roast a hot dog, no electricity or stove is required, just a flexible plastic ...
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Gonzo Gizmos: Projects & Devices to Channel Your Inner Geek

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Overview


Step-by-step instructions to building more than 30 fascinating devices are included in this book for workbench warriors and grown-up geeks. Detailed illustrations and diagrams explain how to construct a simple radio with a soldering iron, a few basic circuits, and three shiny pennies. Instructions are included for a rotary steam engine that requires a candle, a soda can, a length of copper tubing, and just 15 minutes. To use optics to roast a hot dog, no electricity or stove is required, just a flexible plastic mirror, a wooden box, a little algebra, and a sunny day. Also included are experiments most science teachers probably never demonstrated, such as magnets that levitate in midair, metals that melt in hot water, a Van de Graaff generator made from a pair of empty soda cans, and lasers that transmit radio signals. Every experiment is followed by an explanation of the applicable physics or chemistry.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A fine selection of his best stuff and is great for an introductory gift."  —Kevin Kelly, former editor of Wired magazine

"Excellent."  —Science Books & Films 
 

VOYA
Using items around the house such as soda cans, CDs, and pennies, teens can make a spectroscope or a plastic hydrogen bomb (that turns out to be little more than a homemade water gun). For a few dollars more and a trip to the hardware store, one can create a solar cooker, film canister cannon, or a simple radio. Reading like a recipe, each project includes a shopping list, required tools, and step-by-step instructions. Principles of chemistry and physics are proven by hands-on projects and then explained in detail. Trickier experiments include troubleshooting suggestions. Field's tone is personable and informative, more like a cool mentor than a lofty professor. Reinforcing the scientific method by regaling trial-and-error tales, Field demonstrates that science is a process. The book is well arranged, with projects in each section progressing from easy to more difficult and more detailed. The index was missing from the galley, some terms are not defined in context, and a glossary is lacking. Uncaptioned black-and-white photos clarify the procedures; pictures are especially useful in the "Constructing a Van De Graaff Generator" directions. Because many projects require materials beyond copper tubing and alligator clips, an appendix of suppliers for harder-to-find items would be helpful. Most of the computer-generated diagrams look dated, and cheesy line drawings add to the overall amateurish look. The dull cover and self-published, from-lab-notebooks look might deter casual browsers, but students looking for dramatic science fair projects can find several between these pages. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Chicago Review Press, 240p.; Index. Illus. Photos., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Beth Gallaway
Library Journal
Readers who wish they could build tiny cannons, cook hot dogs using the sun, or create a handheld radio transmitter are in luck. Field, an information systems specialist and "tireless tinkerer who collects science experiments," shows readers how to create these and other unusual gadgets using common materials. Several are wacky (e.g., a solar marshmallow roaster), but each illustrates important scientific principles (described in a "Why Does It Do That?" section). The projects explore magnetism, electromagnetism, electrochemistry, radios, thermodynamics, and light and optics, with later gizmos building upon what was learned in previous sections. Some of the experiments could be potentially dangerous because of heat-related hazards, but with adult supervision, they would be appropriate for kids of all ages. This title is ideal for science teachers who are looking for new ways to hold their students' interest and belongs in most collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556525209
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 1,291,324
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Simon Field is an information systems specialist, ham radio operator, and tireless tinkerer who collects science experiments for his popular web site, www.scitoys.com.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ix
Thoughts on Safety xi
1 Magnetism 1
A Few Simple Magnet Experiments 2
Magnetorheological Fluids 4
A Magnetic Heat Engine 8
More About Magnets 11
Measures Used in Permanent Magnets 15
A Levitating Magnet 17
Levitating Pyrolytic Graphite 24
The Gauss Rifle 29
2 Electromagnetism 35
A Quickie Electric Motor 35
A Bigger Motor 39
A Faster Motor 41
A Motor with Two Coils 43
A High-Voltage Motor 44
A Rotary High-Voltage Motor 49
A Simple Homemade Van de Graaff Generator 52
A High-Voltage Ion Motor 64
3 Electrochemistry 67
The Plastic Hydrogen Bomb 67
A Solar Cell You Can Make in Your Kitchen 76
A Flat-Panel Solar Cell 81
4 Radios 85
Building a Simple Crystal Radio 86
Building a Radio out of Household Implements 93
A Very Simple Radio with Two Parts 95
A Simple Radio with Two Parts 96
A Simple Radio with Three Parts 98
Adding a Capacitor (or Three) 102
Building Your Own Capacitors 105
Building Your Own Diodes 108
Going Further 110
Building a Radio in 10 Minutes 112
Building a Very Simple AM Voice Transmitter 115
Building a Three-Penny Radio 122
Some Fun Packaging 133
5 Thermodynamics 135
Hero's Steam Engine 136
The World's Simplest Steam-Powered Boat 142
A Rotary Steam Engine 146
The Film Can Cannon 148
The Mark II Film Can Cannon 154
A Bimetal Strip Heat Engine 156
A Metal That Melts in Hot Water 164
Make Your Own Fusible Alloy 168
6 Light and Optics 169
A Simple Laser Communicator 169
Make Your Own 3D Pictures in Minutes 177
Make a Permanent Rainbow 184
A Solar-Powered Marshmallow Roaster 192
Fun with a Big Lens 198
A Solar Hot Dog Cooker 200
A Simple Spectroscope 208
The Polariscope 220
Index 228
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2006

    Interesting Book

    but, out of date. if you look to find most Radio Shack electronic parts as advertised in the book, 50% will not come from your local store. They do not carry them anymore.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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