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Projects

Other Projects I Have In Mind To Tackle:

I want to make a machine that paints pictures - either a big paint plotter, or something that works as (some kind of) robotic analogue of the human arm.

Wind turbine - I want to see if it can be done on next to no budget.

Parabolic mirror array (or some kind of mirror suitable for solar experiments, including cooking)

Rudder autopilot for the boat - I think I actually have all the parts for this; I've got microcontrollers, servo motors, an electronic compass module...

Something that makes use of the glue lamination techniques I learned when I made the boat - maybe a rocking chair, maybe a sledge... I don't know, but something curvy.

A MAME arcade cabinet

Something that makes use of wooden gears

Some kind of musical automaton - maybe an automatic xylophone

A Backpack Tubulum - that is, a musical instrument as used by the Blue Man Group - one of these:

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An underwater webcam, or maybe a remote-controlled underwater vehicle, with a camera built in.

A lobster/crab pot - how hard can it be? (Getting it out into the water might be more of a challenge though).

Similar to Lost Wax Casting - I'm told that it's easy to make the moulds out of cuttlebones - either carving the voids by hand, or pressing the cuttlebone onto an object to create a copy mould.

Paper making - using a variety of different fibre sources.

Something steam-powered. I don't have any heavy engineering tools - it is possible to make a steam engine without them?

Experiments with natural dyestuffs

A digital microscope. I have one already, but it;s little more than a toy and is let down by insufficient illumination and a poor quality image sensor - it must be possible to make a slightly better one

Blacksmithing - I want to make something out of metal, by heating it red hot, then hammering it.


Theodora Children's Trust brings music, magic and laughter to children in hospital through bedside visits from Giggle Doctors.


Flagship Project: Building A Boat

This was a long and tough project - I built my own boat - The Snow Pea - starting completely from scratch, with no experience of boatbuilding

The Snow Pea

Other Projects And Craft Articles

Cohesive Dendritic Painting

Cohesive Dendritic Painting

August 2014 - This is a spin-off from an interesting effect I noticed in another project where I pulled apart two glued boards and spotted that the glue had formed a branching, treelike pattern.

In this article, we'll put that effect into use to create decorative painted effects.


Drink Can Tinwork - Metal Sign

Drink Can Tinwork - Metal Sign

July 2014 - Another project with embossing sheet metal cut from discarded drink cans - this time, to make an embossed metal sign


Cray-con - Bacon Coloured Crayon!

Cray-con - Bacon Coloured Crayon!

April 2014 - Colouring by numbers - Ho Hum. Colour this part red. Colour this part blue. Colour this part bacon. What?

We've all been there - right? - well, now there's a way to colour things in bacon without all that tedious hand-drawing of bacon rasher texture - introducing Cray-con - the bacon coloured crayon.


Moth And Lightbulb Automaton

Moth And Lightbulb Automaton

March 2014 - I love moths, but there are times of the year when they are seldom seen.

To make up for this shortfall, I decided I will make a fluttering moth automaton.


Bronze Effect Book

Bronze Effect Book

March 2014 - Another pocket notebook makeover - this time, I wanted to create the effect of a panel of cast, burnished bronze with an ornate organic design of vines and tendrils.


Blue Panelled Door Book - TARDIS Style

Blue Panelled Door Book - TARDIS Style

February 2014 - Spurred on by the success of a previous project to make a vintage-look notebook, I decided to try making a book with the appearance of a blue panelled door - TARDIS style.


Distressing A Book With A Worn, Vintage Effect

Distressing A Book For A Worn, Vintage Effect

February 2014 - We saw an old-looking journal in a film and my daughter wished out loud that she had a book like that.

So I set about making one - starting with a brand new book and applying vintage effects to it.


More Plastic Moulding - Re-Making A Missing Handle

More Plastic Moulding - Re-Making A Missing Handle

Here's another plastic moulding project - this time, to make a new handle for a broken horn serving ladle.


Making a network cable basket

Recycled Network Cable Basket

I was commissioned to make a trophy for a Christmas quiz party for the IT department where I work - I wanted something that was zero-budget and nice-looking but slightly weird and super-geeky.

So I made this colourful coil basket completely out of scrap network cables.


Making a cider press

Making A Cider Press

September 2013 - here's a project to make a cheap and simple press for apples (and maybe cheese), from readily available materials and components.

This is going to differ from some of my previous projects in several ways, but most notably - it needs to be quick (at the time of starting, the apples are already nearly ripe), and it's going to be properly designed - there will be no guesswork or cut-first-then-measure.


Making a replica Roman Dodecahedron

Making A Replica Roman Dodecahedron

All across Northern Europe, curious dodecahedral objects have been found at Roman archaeological sites. The original purpose of these intricate objects is not known.

In this project, I will attempt to make a replica dodecahedron - to see if I can work out what they can and cannot be used for.


Invention Dice

Invention Dice

Even the most creative people get stuck for ideas once in a while.

Here's a way of generating brand new ideas - Invention Dice - a method for making the Muse less fickle.


Making a plastic lid

Plastic Moulding - Replacing A Broken Lid

Alas! The plastic lid on one of my kitchen jugs broke.

This snap-on lid was one of the main reasons for buying it - as it makes the jug useful for storing leftover gravy or custard in the fridge.

So I set about making a replacement - out of my new favourite material - recycled HDPE.


Stirling Engine

Making A Stirling Engine

This is a project to make a small working model Stirling engine - designed to run off a small heat source such as a candle or cup of hot water.


Travelling Spice Kit

Travelling Spice Kit

When I go camping, or when I cook foraged food in the field, I've often wished for a little pinch of some kind of spice or condiment, only to have forgotten to bring it.

So I set about making a compact, all-purpose spice kit, containing a basic, but dependable inventory of seasonings, that I can keep packed and ready to go.


Atomic Shrimp

The Atomic Shrimp Atomic Shrimp

No, you're not seeing double - this project really is the Atomic Shrimp Atomic Shrimp!

An experimental attempt to make a giant version of a childhood favourite - Pink Shrimps.


Pressure Diver Fish

Pressure Diver Fish

Back when I was a kid, we never had the Internet, or even computers - we had to entertain ourselves.

Here's a slightly up-to-date version of a cool science toy that I made way back then - the Pressure Diver.


Reverse - Engineering The Rowntrees Nutty Bar

Nuttish - Reverse-Engineering The Rowntrees Nutty Bar

Up until some time in the 1980s, there was a confectionery bar made by Rowntree Mackintosh, called 'Nutty'. Sadly, it's just a memory now - discontinued years ago.

Well, I thought it was time to try to bring it back - so here's my attempt to reverse-engineer it.


LED Tealight Lanterns

LED Tealight Lanterns

Here's how to make charming little hanging lanterns from LED tealights.

This is a great fun craft - quick to make - and the end result is safe for kids of almost any age.


Making a recycled plastic boat

Making A Recycled Plastic Boat

Many of my past projects have thumbed their noses at convention or have been absurd, foolhardy or otherwise non-conformist, but this one extends the boundaries further than ever.

I'm going to try to make a boat by recycling plastic bottles.


More Plastic Moulding - Experiments

More Plastic Moulding - Experimental Stuff

Spurred on by the resounding success of my project to mould a replacement kitchen knife handle from recycled HDPE, I thought it might be worth a little experimentation, to try to get a measure of the potential for small-scale, amateur remoulding of this material.


Plastic Moulding - Using Recycled Bottle Tops

Plastic Moulding - Using Recycled Bottle Tops

Although modest in scale, in concept, this may well be my most ambitious recycling project yet.

This is an attempt to mould a new plastic handle for my favourite kitchen knife, using recycled plastics, without any of the proper injection moulding equipment.


Recycled Paper Butterflies

Recycled Paper Butterflies

These colourful paper butterflies are great for brightening up a dull wall, or pinning on a gift - they're easy to make, using any colourful paper - even an ad page from a magazine.


Project Wholegrain - Garden-Scale Cereal Crops

Project Wholegrain - Garden-Scale Cereal Crops

Most vegetable crops that are grown commercially are also popular with small scale home gardeners, however, this doesn't seem to be the case for cereal crops. So this year - 2011 - I'm going to give it a try - growing grain on a very small scale


making a model hand

That's Handy - Model Hand Project

The objective of this project was to make a life-sized humanoid hand that can be controlled with wires or cables - and hopefully to achieve fairly realistic finger movements and grasping action.


orange peel box

Orange Peel Box

I've noticed that citrus peel dries out to form quite a tough, leathery material.

This is an experiment to see if it can be made into anything useful - starting with this small trinket box.


Lard Lamp 2

More Lost Wax Casting - Silicone Moulds

Pewter has a sufficiently low melting temperature that it can be cast into natural or silicone rubber moulds. But the materials to make these aren't always cheap or easily obtainable... Or are they?


copper plating

Copper Plating

Electroplating with copper is a classic science experiment that is easy to set up, but loads of fun and can produce highly attractive results - something I haven't tried since my schooldays. I decided to give it a go again.


Lard Lamp

Lard Lamp

This is a simple little oil lamp specially designed to burn fuels that are solid at room temperatures - such as leftover fats from cooking bacon, sausages, duck or other greasy foods.


The Beadmen are back

The Beadmen Are Back

Years ago, before the Atomic Shrimp website existed, I made some little bamboo and wooden mannequins, which I called The Beadmen.

Now, at last, it's time for them to come home.


More Drink Can Tinwork - Star-Shaped Box

More Drink Can Tinwork - Star-Shaped Box

More tinwork fun with drink cans. This time for a star-shaped box with a convex profile - the design is still a bit half-baked, but I'm putting it online in case anyone wants to experiment with it.


Drink Can Tinwork - hexagonal box

More Drink Can Tinwork - Hexagonal Snowflake Box

Building on the basic techniques I developed to make decorative metal boxes out of empty drink cans, let's get a bit more clever and try different shapes - here's how to make a hexagonal one.


Making an electric motor

A Simple Electric Motor

"Dad, I'm bored! What can we do?"

"OK, let's make something, how about an electric motor...?"


The Triumph Of The Snow Pea

The Triumph Of The Snow Pea

August 2010 - We took a trip to picturesque Lulworth with my little boat - the Snow Pea - and spent a couple of very pleasant and serene hours sailing around the cove.

So why is this a 'triumph'? - read on...


Project Samwise - Grocery Gardening

Project Samwise - Grocery Gardening

This year, 2010, I'm going to be growing vegetables in a small plot in my garden, but I'm going to do this without visiting the garden centre or hardware store for seeds - I'll be starting using nothing more than seeds and vegetables from my kitchen.


More Drink Can Tinwork - Printing

More Drink Can Tinwork - Printing

My page on making little decorative boxes out of recycled drink cans was enormously popular - but what else can we do using these techniques? - I've been experimenting with printing.


Christmas Card Boxes

Recycled Christmas Card Gift Boxes

These little gift boxes are made from recycled Christmas cards - they're easy to make and can be filled with tasty treats or small gifts for the tree or as stocking fillers.


lost wax casting

Lost Wax Casting

I fancy having a go at metal casting - I'm going to start by trying the lost wax method.


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Lucet Cord Making

The lucet is a device of ancient origin, used for knitting yarn into strong, slightly elastic cord that has historically been used for many purposes, including lacing clothing


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Using A Braiding Board

I made a braiding board out of a piece of coconut shell (they can also be made from ordinary wood, or even just stiff card).

In this article, I'll demonstrate how it can be used to produce a variety of decorative and useful braided cords and ribbons.


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Out Of A Nutshell

I like coconut - I was opening one the other day and started wondering what I could make out of the tough, durable shells.


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Prospecting For Micrometeorites

My roof guttering downpipe was blocked - I collected the trapped soil and sediment blocking it and searched it for micrometeorites.


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Plastic Bag Recycling

Another bash at recycling plastic bags by knitting with them, but this time with a couple of differences - I'm only going to use bags that are at end-of-life - that is, otherwise to be thrown away, and I'm making something sturdy durable and useful - a basket.


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Natural Clay

I collected some natural clay from a river bank - with a view to making a pot and firing it in a wood or charcoal fire.


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Drink Can Tinwork

Soft drink cans are easily recyclable as scrap metal, but I fancied trying something a little more direct - a simplified form of tinwork


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Working With Plastic Bag Yarn On A Knitting Loom

I'm using a knitting loom designed on the same principles as the French knitting bobbin, but larger - and this time, I'm going to knit with a recycled material instead of wool - plastic bag yarn


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The Two-Hour Trebuchet

Using only scrap timber, I built a tennis-ball-launching trebuchet in less than two hours.


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French Knitting

French knitting has been around for centuries - here's how to make and use a French knitting kit


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Berry Picker

I can't quite decide if Heath Robinson would nod approvingly, or run away screaming - my berry picker isn't going to win any design awards, but will it actually work?


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CD Spindle Case Propagator

How to make a mini propagator from an empty CD spindle case.


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Tuna Can Oil Lamp

How to make an emergency oil lamp from a can of tuna.


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Braided Friendship Bracelets

How to make braided friendship bracelets


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Spin Art Machine

Building a zero budget spin art machine


Comments: 16 (Add)

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I am so glad people like you exist in the world, I hope you continue to inspire others for many many years. Thanks for all the great ideas you have given me so far, but mostly, thanks for sharing with everyone.

Posted by Joe Haddon on Aug 7 2014 at 14:57
I love your brain! That's a lucky kid you have there. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Kiran on Jan 7 2014 at 19:06
When my kids ask what we are going to do this summer, MOM? I'll say, hmmm. I know...let head over to Atomic Shrimp.
Great site!!! I love it, want to try everything here!!

Posted by Darlene on Jul 9 2013 at 06:41
great site. tin can inspires me to try to make cutting die. will let you know. thanks

Posted by kishimojin7 on Jan 14 2013 at 19:00
Love your site. Found your "tin can box" video there. Keep up the great work. Very inspiring.

Posted by David in Ireland on Jan 9 2013 at 14:56
Found your site on Wimp.

LOVE IT!

THANKS A BUNCH!!

Posted by John on Jan 9 2013 at 03:59
Wonderful! Keep the projects coming!

Posted by shamrockcamper on Mar 12 2012 at 22:49
What an absolutely fantastic site. As it happens we had a power outage last night, hence searched on battery powered laptop w/dongle and found the tuna oil lamp. A can of Asda smart price tuna in oil burned for just under three hours (though actually the power came back on after 45 minutes). Looking around your projects and feeling quite enrgised. Drink can boxes next, I think. All the best. T

Posted by Tommy Udo on Jan 28 2011 at 11:48
Just discovered your site through LifeHacker. I love it, your projects are fantastic, very inspirational and so nice to see such industrious and fastidious work. Kudos my friend :)

Posted by Craig on Jan 23 2011 at 04:49
Found yor site on instructables.com.

Your site is Awesome

I am going to try some of your projects.

Posted by Steve on Jan 7 2011 at 04:56
I came across you on Artfire.com [ love your stuff!!!

Posted by Susan on Nov 18 2010 at 08:26
Same here. I just saw your drink can tinwork. Looks awesome but time consuming. I'm going to try some of your other projects.

Posted by Darman12 on Nov 17 2010 at 23:52
Hi.
YOU ARE AWESOME.
IVE BEEN LOOKING FOR A SITE LIKE THIS FOREVER. ALL OF YOUR CRAFTS ARE AWESOME.

Posted by Vince on Nov 6 2010 at 19:01
Came across this site via StumbleUpon. Excellent! Some really interesting projects that I'm certain to attempt (if only to keep the kids quiet for a while!) Keep up the good work! Bookmarked!

Posted by Dave J on Nov 6 2010 at 00:31
i shared you on fb

Posted by hahn on Nov 4 2010 at 23:14
Spotted your site from a project on Instructables.Com and liked what I saw. Thank you for being a person who dreams and then just "goes for it!" You inspire.

Posted by DIY-GUY on Nov 2 2010 at 09:48