I Think It
Then I Build It

My nickname in college... " Wires "

Video Production
Equipment

I could spend $1000+ online, or
just a few hours in my dad's shop.

Jib

The night before our first day of shooting the music video I Never Did I was browsing online and found a picture of a camera crane. I immediately knew I had to have one and after looking at a couple pictures of some other cranes I thought, "Well that doesn't look too hard to make." So the next day I drew up a design and bought all the parts. Another day later in my dad's shop and "voila!", I had myself a crane, or jib, or whatever you want to call it.

Cost

Real World Price: $500-$1000
My Cost: $50

Features

  • 13ft height
  • 360° crane rotation
  • 120° crane tilt
  • 180° camera tilt
  • Shelf for camera monitoring display

Dolly

The use of a dolly instantly creates a professional looking shot. I wanted one and so once again looked at a couple pictures online of a few different types.

How It's Built

After deciding on one, I drew up a simple design and ordered the parts I could find cheapest online: 16 skateboard wheels and bearings, and 4 small lazy susans. Four wheels were attached to a peice of L-channel steel which was then bolted to a block of wood. A lazy susan was screwed on between the block and a sheet of plywood in one of the corners. Repeated another 3 times and my dolly was finished. I use either PVC pipe or metal tubing for the rails the dolly glides on.

Cost

Real World Price: $300-$500
My Cost: $60

Features

  • ABEC-5 bearings for smoothness
  • Usable on straight or curved tracks
  • Cutout handle for easy transportation
  • Optional seat attachment

Steadicam

You'll have to pay close attention to the "behind the scenes" features on dvds and blu-rays to catch a glimpse of these amazing devices. Very expensive, Steadicams* consist of a vest and spring-loaded arm designed to hold a heavy video camera, monitor, etc. and keep it all very steady and stable while allowing the camera operator to walk or run on any terrain, including up and down stairs.The camera gently floats infront of, behind, or on the side of the light footed cameraman. Used almost every time the camera needs to traverse over a distace, steadicams have become essential in filming.

How It's Built

Too expensive, I decided to build one. After a few drawings I bought nylon fabric, webbing, and padding to make the vest (yes, I sewed it myself!), and aluminum U-channel, steel and springs to make the arm. The camera mounts to what's called a sled. The sled pivots on the arm through a universal gyro. Instead of making the complex sled, I use a real one called a Glidecam.

Cost

Real World Price: $2000-$12000
My Cost: $120 + the HD Glidecam ($300 used)

Features

  • Padded shoulder and back support
  • Adjustable length straps
  • Adjustable spring tension

Stabilizer

A problem with shooting video with DSLRs is image stability. Because the cameras are so small and lightweight, they are hard to keep steady. So a few companies have come out with lightweight sturdy rigs to help support the camera against your body - the more points of contact, the more stable. The products are great and produce amazing results. The only problem is that they are way overpriced.

Following the same designs as the major companies, I built my own in my dad's shop.

Cost

Real World Price: $500
My Cost: $12

Features

  • Three points of body contact
  • Adjustable with finger screw
  • Bicycle handle grips

Pinewood Derby Cars

"No Rules" derby. Two years in a row...

Still no one even close.

CO2 Powered Car

2011

Every year our church has a "no rules" pinewood derby car contest. Most people think no rules means extra weight. They are definitely underthinking the entire thing. Enter propulsion.

I'd heard of people using CO2 cartridges from bb-guns before, but after looking at pictures online, I didn't like any of the designs I saw. So I came up with my own. First, I wanted two cartridges. Second, I needed something to puncture each cartridge's air opening. Third, I needed the puncturing device to fall out of the way of the air opening after puncturing in order to let the air burst out freely. And fourth, I wanted the pucturing to happen without any touch from me, right when all the cars started down the track.

How It's Built

I decided to use a mouse trap to provide the power behind the puncturing because as everyone knows, mouse traps are very quick and powerful, while at the same time only requiring the lightest touch to set the whole thing off. The fulcrum of the trap is placed on the bootom of the car right behind the rear tires. As the trap arm fires up upon realease it also pushes up another arm holding the sharp points of two screws. The screws are slammed into the CO2 cartridges' air openings, puncturing them and releasing the pressurized air. However, the trap arm and the puncturing arms' fulcrums are not in the same place. Thus, the trap arm is slipping off the puncturing arm the entire time it is pushing it towards the air openings. By way of design, right when the puncturing happens, the trap arm slips off the puncturing arm and continues its path until it rests on top of the car. The puncturing arm then falls back down, freeing the path of the air stream. To set this whole thing off, just like a mousetrap, a long hook from the back of the car lies on top of the spring-loaded arm, extends along the top of the car, and finally rests in the car's cockpit. To hold it down, a rod lies on top of it and extends toward the front bumper. The bumper is spring loaded so that when the starting pin on the track is holding all the racing cars back, the rod is pushed over the trap hook, holding it down. When the track's starting pin is released, the springed bumber pulls the rod off the long hook, allowing it to flip up, which in turn releases the trap arm which pushes the puncturing arm's screws into the cartridges. Bam! and the car flies down the track.

Cost

Real World Price: who knows?
My Cost: $1 mousetrap, $.50 per CO2 cartridge

Features

  • Lightning fast
  • Self-releasing
  • 2 CO2 cartridges
  • Chick magnet

Airplane Propellor Powered Car

2010

After seeing a few "No Rules" pinewood derbies in the past, it was finally time for me to compete. And given the pressure from those who knew a thing or two about me, I had to come up with something that would guarantee me victory.

How It's Built

So I needed to figure out how to get my car to go faster than everyone elses. When I thought of propulsions, the first thing that came to mind was an airplane. Well, I just so conviently had a crashed RC electric plane in the garage, so that was the answer. After taking out it's guts, I drew up a quick sketch of how I could attach the engine and propellor to the car. And of course the receiver would also be attached so I could turn the throttle on and off from the remote control from a distance. In addition, while drawing up the designs I realized that the receiver had a servo mounted on it for adjusting the rudder of the plane for turning. I quickly detirmined that my car could use the same servo for turning the front wheels of the car. Now a pinewood derby track doesn't allow the cars to turn, however I knew there would be some off-the-track time where some ground control would be a sweet feature.

Cost

Real World Price: you find it, you tell me
My Cost: $150 for original flying plane with controller

Features

  • Remote control operated
  • Steering!
  • Variable steering and thrust
  • Optional: wings

Ian's Halloween Costume

How could I say no?

The Karate Kid returns

In the original The Karate Kid, Daniel didn't have a halloween costume for the school dance, but Mr. Miyagi made one for him. A one man portable shower.

Cost

$40

Features

  • Same as original red with white polka dots shower curtain
  • Real shower head
  • Adjustable backpack straps
  • Fits one man and one woman with curtain closed

Carpentry

My whole life I thought I would never want to do construction...

Now I do it for fun.

Sailboat

I love sailboats and always wanted to make one. So back in junior high for the woodworking merit badge I decided to do it. It looks pretty cool. But it's too heavy, leaks, and won't stay upright unless I attach a very large heavy keel. Someday I'll build another one and make it remote control.

Cost

Just extra wood my dad had lying around

Features

  • Real wood planking
  • Cloth sail