RSS Feed

Things-To-Do / DIY



Make Your Own Natural Toothpaste

health benefits of coconut oil, homemade skin care

Making your own natural toothpaste at home is easier than you think. With just few ingredients, you can create your very personal toothpaste for yourself and your family, control what goes in and achieve the flavor you desire. The following natural toothpaste recipe is my personal favorite, using peppermint essential oil with both grapefruit seed and myrrh extracts for a more refreshing taste.


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 small packets Stevia powder
  • 15-20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil
  • 10 drops grapefruit seed extract (optional)
  • 10 drops myrrh extract (optional)


  1. Melt or slightly soften coconut oil.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients; mix and stir well. If using semi-hard coconut oil, use a fork, otherwise use a spoon. If using completely melted coconut oil, stir several times while mixture cools to integrate baking soda properly.
  3. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Store mixture in a small glass or plastic jar with a lid.

When you’re ready to use your homemade toothpaste, dip your toothbrush into the mixture until a small amount attaches to the bristles, or use small spoon to spread the mixture onto your toothbrush.


DIY Mosquito deterrent.

This was submitted by Gallactronics; 

Original (insanely clever and beautifully simple) article:

Hypothesis: By devising a surface aeration system for small water bodies, it should be possible to control mosquito breeding.
More than half the world’s population is vulnerable to vector-borne diseases. These diseases, namely malaria, largely affect children and poor people and there is no promising solution to eradicate it. As the aerator needs to run perpetually, it is not practical to make it battery-powered. Thus it is solar-powered.

Picture of Building the Device

Picture of Get your hands dirty

This is the best part of the project…building the circuit! It takes no time to build this circuit which could potentially save you from those nasty mosquito bites. So get tinkering!

Electronic Parts:

  1. 6V 450mA Solar Cell
  2. Portable aquarium aerator
  3. 2 x AA Rechargeable Batteries
  4. Piezo Buzzer
  5. Perfboard
  6. 555 Timer
  7. 3 x 2N3904 NPN Transistors
  8. BD135 NPN Transistor
  9. Heat sink
  10. Capacitors – 470 uF, 0.1 uF
  11. Resistors – 220 ohms, 470 ohms, 2 x 10 k, 100k, 1M.
  12. Indicator LED
  13. Toggle switch
  14. Jumpers

Other materials:

  1. Casing
  2. 3 x 2″ Stainless Steel bolts (that will serve as water probes)
  3. PVC pipe and fittings
  4. Miscellaneous tool
Picture of Observation, Experimentation and Results

To test the device, I installed it in a small pond where rainwater had recently collected.

I waited until mosquito larvae began appearing in the pool to ensure that the pool was suitable for mosquito breeding. About three days after the larvae were born, I installed the aerator in the pond and observed the larval population in the pond. The results of the experiment are tabulated in the image above (I did not provide photos of the experiment as the larval population in the pond was not visible in the photos).

The experiment shows that while the aerator was not sufficiently powerful to suffocate and kill the full-grown larvae, within two hours it wiped out the majority of the young larval population and ensured a mosquito-free water body thereafter.

Picture of A Mosquito-free Tomorrow

My observations have shown that, by preventing water stagnation by means of aeration, it is possible to control mosquito breeding and thereby control the proliferation of malaria.

The aeration device that I have built costs less than $ 10. Considering that every year, the global medical expenditure on malaria control amounts to over US$ 6 billion, ubiquitously installing this device in villages and cities would cost only a fraction of that amount.
I hope that, one day this cost effective and sustainable device will save the world valuable money and priceless lives.


Here is my Youtube project presentation: Solar Scare Mosquito

Note: You will have to see this video to fully understand and appreciate the project.

Check out this blog for more cool projects:




DIY solar panels with damaged solar cells

Here’s how an astronomer made his own solar panels on the cheap with damaged, inexpensive materials from eBay and lots of elbow grease.

Original article ;

By  Michael Graham Richard  Wed, Jan 16 2013 at 10:48 AM

 Mike Davis is an astronomer. To practice his hobby away from the light pollution of cities, he bought some land in a remote part of Arizona. But there was a problem: No electricity. But he’s a resourceful fellow. He built some solar panels using inexpensive blemished and damaged solar cells from eBay!

DIY PV panel

Read on for more photos and some technical details to give you an idea of how he did it. (The following is quoted from his website, with edits as noted.)
I bought a couple of bricks of 3 X 6 mono-crystalline solar cells.

E-bay page of prices – eye-candy to some guys.

It takes a total of 36 of these type solar cells wired in series to make a panel. Each cell produces about 1/2 volt. 36 in series would give about 18 volts which would be good for charging 12 volt batteries. (Yes, you really need that high a voltage to effectively charge 12 volt batteries.) This type of solar cell is as thin as paper and as brittle and fragile as glass.

Boards to carry PV cells.

A solar panel is really just a shallow box. So I started out by building myself a shallow box. I made the box shallow so the sides wouldn’t shade the solar cells when the sun comes at an angle from the sides.
Next I cut two pieces of masonite pegboard to fit inside the wells. These pieces of pegboard will be the substrates that each subpanel will be built on. […] To protect the solar cells from the weather, the panel will have a Plexiglas front.

Finished product presented 9+ Volts

I laid out the cells on that grid pattern upside-down so I could solder them together. All 18 cells on each half panel need to be soldered together in series, then both half panels need to be connected in series to get the desired voltage. […]
I used a low-wattage soldering iron and fine rosen-core solder. I also used a rosen pen on the solder points on the back of the cells before soldering. Use a real light touch with the soldering iron. The cells are thin and delicate. If you push too hard, you will break the cells.

I drilled a hole in the back of the panel near the top for the wires to exit. […] Each solar panel in a solar power system needs a blocking diode in series with it to prevent the panel from discharging your batteries at night or during cloudy weather. […] I added a polarized two-pin jones plug to the end of the panel wires.
finished solar panel
Here is the finished product, producing 18.8 volts and 3.05 amps in the sun.
How much did it cost?
solar panel cost breakdown
Not bad, though of course there’s a lot of labor needed to actually build the thing, and you need the skills in the first place. Not a project for everybody, but those with the courage will certainly have a lot of fun.
This is just a quick overview of the project. If you want more, please visit Mike’s website, which has a lot more details and more photos about how he built his inexpensive solar panels.


One Hour Atlatl.

Throwing the arrow/dart.
Altatl and ‘arrows’.

Loop for wrist.

Throwing the arrow / dart.

Holder for arrow.

Original article;

Plastic fletching (tsj tsk). I have a fletching kit to do it right.

As simple as it gets.

Read for action.

One Hour Atlatl.

By ‘Old_Alex’ author of this Instructable.

This is old before I discovered instructables, we  went to the Pequot Indian Museum in CT with the scouts and I saw one of these in the museum. We even got to use one, and figured I could make that. On that trip I made a tee-pee and at camp and 3 scouts slept in it (14 ft poles, 10 ft diameter). I am going back with a new group of scouts (this is about 4 years ago) and will try to document the Tee-pee.

Materials: Altlatl

2’ of a broken broomstick or 1inch dowel
2-3‘ of  ¼ or 3/8 inch clothes line.
3’ of twine.
2 ¼ ‘ ‘   ¼’’ dowel (scrap)
Wood glue.

4’ fiberglass winter driveway marker (it was cheaper than a 4 ft dowel).
Craft Foam.
Hot glue

Hand Saw
Sand Paper
1/16 ¼  inch drill bits

Step 1: Atlatl Build

Complete kit.



Note; the Irish ones I’ve were at least 600mm long and the arrow about 1m.

The ‘point’ that holds the ‘nock’ of the arrow. Must be very secure.

6mm dowel glued into shaft.

6mm dowel in shaft – traditionally this would simply be a small branch cut back and pointed slightly.

Cut the broomstick to length, drill a ¼ ‘ drill bit drill a ¾ inch depth hole at 45 degree angle about 1’’ from the end of the broomstick.. Take the  ¼’’ dowel  coat the end of the dowel with wood glue and put it into the hole as far as it will go, about 1 ½ ‘’ should be protruding. Use a knife to round the end slightly, use sand paper to finish it.

Finishing the Atlatl take the twine ant tie a clove hitch about ½’’ from where the dowel meets the broomstick towards the end.. Loop the long end around the shaft and up the dowel about ½ way up keeping it tight finish it off by wrapping it again around the broomstick ending in another clove hitch.

Take some wood glue and smother the twine, set it aside to let it dry/cure.

Once dry take the rope and tie a clove hitch such that the knot is in the center of the rope about 6’’ from the hand end. Make a 6-7’’ loop using a square knot, this will go over your wrist to make sure you don’t throw the Atlatl with the dart.

Wrist loop to avoid throwing the Atatl with the arrow/dart.

Wrist Loop.

Original article from ‘Old_Alex’ at ;

I’ve used these to great effect but generally the throwing stick – Atlatl – was almost as long as the ‘arrow’, (perhaps an Irish/European thing).  Certainly I would figure that the longer the atlatl the better the force but more difficult to use. The Aboriginal peoples of Australia call ‘em ‘throwing sticks’.

Wikipedia says throws of 850 FEET have been recorded! That’s something to shoot for!  Also “Another important improvement to the atlatl’s design was the introduction of a small weight (between 60 and 80 grams) strapped to its midsection. Some atlatlists maintain that stone weights add mass to the shaft of the device, causing resistance to acceleration when swung and resulting in a more forceful and accurate launch of the dart. Others claim that atlatl weights add only stability to a cast, resulting in greater accuracy.” I’ve heard (from a researcher/archaeologist that there is a You-Tube clip of an 11 year-old killing a deer with one – arrow exited the far-side of breast.


Green Tourism – the App;

Green Travel App

GreenTravel App- Catherine Mack

• Ireland Green Travel App is written by leading Irish Travel Writer, Catherine Mack, who specialises in green and responsible tourism.

• Featuring over 120 entries of green accommodation, activities, transport options and local food experts, this guide will have you hiking, biking, canoeing and sleeping in some of Ireland’s lesser known green spots.

• Price €2.39, £1.79, $2.99. Published by Sutro Media.

For further information about Ireland Green Travel see preview or to request a download code for a review copy.

You can also follow Green Ireland Travel


Reducing your carbon footprint – a checklist

Posted by Murielle in Climate & Changeclimate changegreen livingHealthSustainable livingsustainable living, 28 Mar 2012. Original article;

reducing carbon footprint 300x199 Reducing your carbon footprint – a checklist

Image by Parksy1964 (source: Flickr)

The key to a green future is doing a little at a time, and considering all the options

At this point we’re past the stage where energy saving and renewables are talked about as something futuristic and unobtainable or something for sandal wearers and lentil-eaters. Solar panels are appearing on many suburban homes, wind turbines a common site on farms and new commercial buildings and wind-farms, heat pumps and tidal power generators and a smorgasbord of clever new technologies are popping up all over the UK, Europe and beyond.

But what, as a normal everyday consumer can you or I do to make significant inroads to our personal carbon footprint?

The low hanging fruit

If you’re reading this blog then I think it’s probably safe to assume that you’re at least aware of the simple stuff: energy saving light bulbs (80% less electricity); recycling cans, tins, bottles and cardboard (1 tonne CO2 / house / year) and using public transport, walking or cycling instead of the car where practical (over 2 tonnes / person / year). Plus turning down your thermostat, switching off appliances (not standby) can easily save 10% of your heating and electricity bills. These steps are reasonably easy to take, and can have a dramatic effect on your personal energy usage and carbon footprint. The 10:10 campaign advocated these simple steps as a great way to start lowering your energy usage and personal emissions substantially within 12 months.

The next steps

As the name suggests, the low hanging fruit should be easily available for everyone. Indeed many are now viewed either economically or socially as the norm and have widespread support from governments, energy suppliers and public opinion.

For those wishing to take their commitment to the environment further, there are additional steps available.

Energy efficient home insulation is a fantastic way to save a surprising amount of energy in your home. The Energy Saving Trust has some detailed figures on exactly how much can be saved. Even the really dirt cheap initiatives such as draft proofing and fitting jackets to hot water pipes and tanks (no more than £100 – 120) can start paying you back in 2 years or less. Bigger jobs such as cavity wall insulation and loft insulation can payback up to £150 each per year in lower electricity and gas bills.

Both home insulation and more recently solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have benefited from government and local authority grants to enable homeowners to make the leap with much less outlay from their wallets. This has also led to a much larger network of certified installers so you can be assured that the job is being done by professionals. Solar panels are now available for free from many installers, who will also maintain the panels. In return they take the government backed feed-in-tariff rates, and you can benefit from the bill savings of around £120 – 150 per year. Or buy your panels outright and expect returns of 8-10% of their price each year for a guaranteed 25 years.

If you’d rather support solar and other renewable electricity elsewhere rather than on your own roof, you can now also choose to switch to a green electricity tariff. Many suppliers, including all the big utilities companies are now offering this, although do check that your money will be going towards new investment in renewables rather than buying up existing capacity.

Still not enough for you?

If you’ve made it this far, you’re clearly committed to seriously reducing your carbon footprint and energy use. Given the levels of expert knowledge and relative difficulty in making these changes as well as the costs involved, these are definitely for the highly motivated.

Wind turbines don’t get as much coverage as their solar panel compatriots.

Things to do Difficulty / cost(1-5) Benefit (1-10) Total score
Energy saving light bulbs 1 6 5
Recycle 2 4 2
Change your transport habits 3 6 3
Turn down thermostat / switch off appliances 1 6 5
Home insulation 3 8 5
Buy green electricity 2 3 1
Solar PV 2 6 4
Wind turbine 4 4 0
Renewable heat 3 4 1
Electric car 4 6 2

Create your own checklist

The examples here should give you a good start, but to really personalise your carbon beating efforts you should create your own list – use the items here as a starting point and then add your own, setting a score for the difficulty and cost of making the change, and the benefit of the change on your overall energy consumption and carbon footprint. To get the total score subtract the difficulty from the benefit. You can then use your checklist to inform your green decision making – start by considering the items with the highest score, and work your way down from there. Good luck!


I used to have some great articles on DIY but the last time I looked at th page it vanished. Dunno what happened – So I’ll start again with a couple of articles directly from Mother Nature Handbook; Mother Nature Network | 191 Peachtree Street | Atlanta | GA | 30303 Follow MNN;

FaceBook link;


Loans at 3% from Irish banks – IF you use it for insulation/renewables. Honest – up to 80% of value of home. Guaranteed by Irish government.


The war on slugs starts at home

This DIY slug killer taps into the power of a natural soil predator, says Toby Buckland .

Search for slugs during the day under pots and stones<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Search for slugs during the day under pots and stones
 By Toby Buckland. 4:00PM BST 03 Aug 2011

Thanks to the phenomenally dry April, gardeners haven’t had much of a problem with slugs this year. It’s only now, with the wet weather of July, that numbers are on the rise. In summer, it takes about 10 days for the clusters of tiny, pearl-like eggs to hatch, so more slugs are definitely on the way.

There are 29 species of slug in Britain, but just four give the rest a bad name: the common garden slug, a leathery gunmetal grey and the length of your little finger; the fat, sickly grey field slug; the black slug, the biggest (and sometimes rust coloured) and keeled slugs, which have a ridge along their backs and a taste for potatoes.

Snails do their fair share of damage too, but, while snails chew the edges of foliage and open up the holes already made by slugs, it’s the slugs’ rasping mouth parts that scrape away and puncture the surface of foliage and turn your hostas into doilies.

Their other calling card is slime. The sparkling silver trails they leave behind aren’t just a way of getting around. Slugs read them like Braille, to find a mate and new chomping grounds.

When they encounter few trails — as in our gardens following the dry spring – the slugs take it as a signal that there is virgin territory to be plundered. Where the matrix of slime is dense, however, it’s a warning to disperse and lay eggs where there is less competition for food and less risk of being attacked by predators. Slugs are prey to not just frogs, hedgehogs and birds but microscopic bacteria and nematodes that live in soils.

It’s these nematodes (microscopic eelworms) that gardeners have been buying as a form of biological control since the early Nineties. They really work on those slugs that you don’t tend to see, but which do a lot of damage to underground shoots and potatoes. In a garden, micro-predators live in symbiosis with their slug hosts and only significantly dent the population when slug numbers become disproportionately high.

The mail-order sachets of nematodes infected with deadly mollusc-killing bacteria temporarily raise the proportion of nematodes and brings down the slug population. I’ve been an advocate for years.

However, there is also an allotment-owner’s trick for making your own slug-killing nematode potion, using nothing more than a bucket, some weeds, tap water and the slugs from your own garden. If you are already used to killing slugs by drowning them in a bucket, you’ll find this method right up your street.

How to make your own slug killer

In any average garden some slugs will be carrying bacterial diseases or be infected by nematodes, but their low density means that they won’t devastate the rest of the population.

But, catch and confine the slugs and, if the disease or nematodes are present, you can concentrate these micro-predators and harness their natural slug-killing power.

Collect as many slugs as you can find in a jar that has a few small air holes punched in the lid with a hammer and nail – and a few weed leaves for them to eat. The best time to hunt for slugs is after dark. In the gloom, slugs become quite brazen and eat on top of leaves as opposed to holing up in cool, dark and damp places as by day.

If stumbling around with a torch is a bridge too far, look for slugs during the day in the drainage holes of pots, beneath stones and hunkered in long grass. If they evade your efforts, set traps. A classic that works brilliantly for hard-to-find small ground-dwelling slugs is to place the scooped out half-shells of grapefruits near the crowns of vulnerable plants.

Come dawn, the slugs make for the damp yellow domes, as they love to chew the pith inside. Slugs also make a beeline for cardboard. Lay a sheet on the ground among long grass. Check your traps daily and gather your slimy harvest into a jar.

Once you have caught around 10 to 20 slugs – the more you have the better it works – decant them into a bucket with an inch or so of water in the bottom for humidity and a few more handfuls of leaves to make an edible floating island for your catch.

With the slugs safely inside, place a concrete slab (or any firm cover) over the top to seal them in. The bucket is the perfect environment for the nematodes and bacteria to breed. Nematodes spread in water, so check regularly, giving the slugs a stir with a stick. The idea isn’t to drown them but to keep them moist so the nematodes can hunt them out.

Top tip: This is cheating a bit, but you can use a bought pack of nematodes to “seed” the brew. Tap about a teaspoon of powder into the bucket to help it along.

After a fortnight a high level of nematodes will have built up inside the bucket and the slugs will have died from infection. Now, you can dilute the brew: fill the bucket to the top from the tap and decant into a watering can fitted with a rose.

Prevent the weed and slug mixture from falling into the can with a filter of chicken wire folded over the can so it stays put while you pour.

Water the sieved brew around vulnerable plants – the raised nematode population will seek out resident ground-dwelling slugs and see them off.

Like the shop-bought version, this slug killer gives up to six weeks of protection. Save the contents of the chicken wire sieve (uurrgh!) to start off your next nematode brew.


Uses for WD 40

I’ve heard it was War Department 40 – here’s another take on the name. It has 101 uses – but here’s 43 to be getting with.

 Ever wonder what the main ingredient is??

WD-40 Uses:

1. Protects silver from tarnishing.

2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.

 3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.

4. Gives floors that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.

5. Keeps flies off cows.

6. Restores and cleans chalkboards.

7. Removes lipstick stains.

8. Loosens stubborn zippers.

9. Untangles jewelry chains.

10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.

11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.

12. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.

13. Removes tomato stains from clothing.

14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.

15. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.

16. Keeps scissors working smoothly.

17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.

18. It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows to help with the smell!

19. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!

20. Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.

21. Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers…

22. Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.

23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open..

24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.

25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.

26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.

27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans

28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.

29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.

30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.

31. Removes splattered grease on stove.

32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.

33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.

34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).

35. Removes all traces of duct tape.

36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.

37. Florida ‘s favorite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.’

38. The favorite use in the state of New York , WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.

39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.

40. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.

41. WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.

42. Also, if you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! The lipstick is gone!

43. If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start.

P.S. The basic ingredient is……….. FISH OIL.


Many fruits and vegetables taste better eaten the day they’re harvested from the garden. But what if you need to store your crop before you can prepare it? It’s possible to store your fruits and veggies using old technology and avoiding plastic altogether for zero waste storage. Original article – with photos;

How­To: Store Fruits and Vegetables.

Tips and tricks to extend the life of your produce without plastic.

The Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets produced a large list of ways to store your produce without using plastic to push the markets and customers toward zero waste. Below is a sampling of the plastic-free tips and tricks of vegetable and fruit storage.


Apples– Store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage, put in a cardboard box in the fridge.

Citrus– Store in a cool place with good airflow, never in an air‐tight container.

Apricots/Nectarines– On a cool counter or fridge if fully ripe

Cherries– Store in an airtight container. Don’t wash Cherries until ready to eat, added moisture encourages mold.

Berries -­Don’t forget they’re fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a single layer if possible. A paper bag woks well, only wash before you plan to eat

Strawberries– Don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.


Always remove any tight bands from you vegetables or at least loosen them to allow them to breath

Asparagus– Place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. Will keep for a week outside the fridge.

Basil– Basil does not like the cold or to be wet. The best method is an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper inside, left out on a cool counter.

Broccoli -Place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.

Carrots– Cut the tops off (but save them for tea) to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days, if they’re stored that long.

Cauliflower– Will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it’s bought.

Lettuce– Keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge.

Zucchini– Does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.

Beth Terry of My Plastic-Free Life skips the damp towel for carrots and stores them in containers of water that she frequently changes. According to Beth, the carrots, cut or whole, keep for weeks. The complete list of tips on vegetable and fruit storage is available in a downloadable PDF.


A great little idea for a DIY iPhone charger is below. Wish I’d seen it before I left for Jordan to play music over the St Patrick’s weekend. I kept running out of juice as I use my iPhone as a camera. With thanks to haikuordie it’s his article.

Use cheap solar landscaping lights.  They produce more than 3V each in direct sunlight, but that’s not enough to charge all four batteries.  So I decided to make them charge two sets of two batteries.  This is possible with a DPDT (Double Pole – Double Throw) toggle switch.

You will have to prewire your USB socket.  This is how I decided to wire it.  Black and yellow are optional if you don’t want to use this on Apple products.  They require you to wire these so that your USB emulates a typical Apple charger.

Red (1): +5VDC
Black (2): Data (~2.4VDC)
Yellow (3): Data (~1.8VDC) 
White (4): Ground

Another subscriber sent in this one as the first mightn’t use great PV’s ;

I know there are plenty of USB chargers out there for you to build.  But here’s one that doesn’t use a voltage regulator or an IC chip to power it.  The basic concept is to use 4 – AAA rechargeable batteries (1.2V a piece) to power the USB and a couple of solar cells to charge the batteries.  If you’ve done the basic math you’re probably wondering how 4.8V (4 x 1.2) is going to power a USB device which requires 5VDC.  Well that’s actually how I came up with the idea.  I have another charger I made using a 9V battery and a 5V regulator.  It will charge my iPod until the battery runs low.  When I test the voltage output at the USB with a spent 9V, it will be spitting out 4.7V.  So that’s the cut off point.  4.8V is still within the tolerance for a USB device to charge.  So I tried a 4-cell setup on my breadboard and it worked!  I tested the voltage at the USB socket and (to my surprise) it was at 5.2V.  I put my voltmeter on each battery and they were cranking out 1.3V at full charge.  This is great!  The tolerance of a USB happens to be just right for these four cells.  So the solar part was sort of an afterthought for charging the batteries (they are rechargeable anyway).

If you’d like to try to make one yourself, here’s what you need:

4 – AAA Battery Holder

USB Socket (female)

Solar Panel (3V output minimum, around 5V max)

Blocking Diode (not LED)

Some resistors (This is somewhat optional.  You need them if you want your iPod/iPhone to recognize your charger.  I’ll explain exactly which ones to use later.)

DPDT Toggle Switch

Small Perf Board (Also optional)

Soldering Iron

Wind generation was at a record high of 7,049 GWh while the traditional Scots hydro-power also reached records at 5,310 GWh. As far as solar power is concerned, there has been a more recent take up because of the FiT scheme, where households can feed in their energy. The total photovoltaic capacity is now 937MW (only about 1% of the total renewable energy.)


3D scan your head and use it as an chess piece.

Author:John.Tweetonig(Tweetonig (dutch only, sorry!))

Small (industrial) design office.


Playing chess (or Monopoly) with your own custom pieces. That is happing right now.
It’s awesome, we know, but calm down and follow the instructable since we are talking you trough.

We are a small industrial design office in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. For over some time now we are experimenting with some cheap and low entry 3D scanning. It all began with that new nifty tool from Autodesk, 123Catch. Off course things didn’t work right away but after a couple of good scans we came up with this idea to fix it on a chess piece.

We go trough 5 steps, some more detailed, some just mentioning. We will credit and redirect to more information in each step so you can follow this intructable with different levels of know-how before you start and still end up with a great result!
Original Link;

Step 1What do you need?


What do you need:
-Camera (dslr preferred but not necessary (use a fixed focal length lens if you got one, wide angle = error)
-Windows pc (you could use a Mac but we advise to use the 123catch offline tool wich isn’t around for Mac (yet)).
-Someone to scan

Software:  –123Catch (on or offline), Meshmixer, Blender

What you want (optional): –3D modeling software (alternative is to use our stl parts)

-3D Printer (alternative is shapeways or other print service)


Step 2How do you take the pictures?

Taking the pictures for 123catch.

Some tips:  – Work in a order, follow first the circles around the object (awesome person), after that take some vertical array shots, and finish of with the detailing.
– Make sure your object isn’t wearing his glasses or a cap or something. We will add those later on.
– Aim on shooting around 70 to 80 pictures.
– Clear diffuse lighting
– Walk around your object, don’t turn it (him) around.

More tips? Check this site out.

Step 3How to convert the pictures into a 3D model

So the hard work is done, now it’s all desktop from here.

In overview:

Pictures to 123Catch to *.obj to Meshmixer to smooth mesh!

In 123Catch,

We are assuming that after the upload everything will look like image 2, and you just export the whole scene to an *.obj file.

If not, check this page for manual stitching or try step 2 again.

You could also try to just upload everything again. It remains a Beta version so sometimes this really does the trick (Einsteins definition of insanity doesn’t apply here.. (Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.).

In Meshmixer,

Import the scene and start to delete al that is unwanted. Use the Select > Lasso tool > delete.

After that use Inspector > Autorepair all, to make your sheet a solid (Already printable!)

Now you can fix any imperfections from your scan with the smoothbrush.

End with a Save project (for your backup) and then export to obj.

Step 4How do you make your own attributes?


The attributes.  DIY

This is the place where you can add your imagination. Want custom Risk pieces? Monopoly car? Or custom pepper and salt shaker?

Here you model the attribute, we used Autodesk Inventor, but you can use (free alternatives) 123D or SketchUp. Now, if you never used such software before, we are not going to learn it to you. Those have steep learning curves, but are perfectly doable with some tutorials.

Be sure, when you do model, to use the right dimensions. We use these attributes to give scale to the scanned head later on, so if this isn’t perfect, you’ll be in for a surprise later on.
Also check the 3D printers limitations. Detailing and wall thickness. If you’re planning on printing on Shapeways, this page can be helpful. Note: we tried a lot of different materials but overal the standard flexible white comes out best (and cheapest).

Let us do it for you!
Just because we are that nice, we uploaded a bunch of files to use with your custom scan. There is a complete chess set, and some glasses. This will cover your basic needs for your chess set without bothering about modeling software.

Bishop_mm.stl548 KB Glasses_mm.stl862 KB King_mm.stl613 KB

Knight_mm.stl511 KB Pawn_mm.stl465 KB Queen_mm.stl795 KB

Rook_mm.stl479 KB



From Earth-Techling;

DIY Wind Turbine Like A Whirligig Mounted Inside A Funnel


Wind turbines are a wonderful way to generate electricity, but most of the wind turbines installed in the United States and elsewhere are, figuratively speaking, monsters, requiring a special truck to haul the base unit and a crane to lower the turbine portion into position. Fixing them is even more iffy, since it requires working from a platform 200 feet or so off the ground in rain, sleet, snow or high winds.

Engineers have come out with a few smaller wind turbines, both vertical and horizontal – and one intriguing design even involves reciprocating motion with horizontal airfoils, but size and height remain issues. Not so with design engineering student Michael Tougher’s wind turbine, featured on Coroflot. This turbine, which looks like a whirligig mounted inside a funnel, tucks neatly into small areas and can reportedly be mass produced cheaply enough to make it ubiquitous in those off-grid locations that require electricity – areas like highway overpass directional signage, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras monitoring traffic flow, even electric car charging locations, or any area designed to smoothe the morning and evening commute.

image via Michael Tougher

Tougher’s turbine is cleverly designed to fit within structures like bridges, columns, even abandoned buildings, and these elevated location offer much easier access than the typical 200-foot turbine and greater safety, both for the turbine and for people. In addition, their much smaller footprint means they can be wired in tandem to deliver off-grid electricity, which avoids the inevitable power losses of grid transmission. Finally, these wind turbines are unobtrusive, their mechanism and blades hidden behind a nozzle, and the blades virtually invisible at high speed.

These versatile, compact wind turbines have several other features that make them interesting for possible use of small wind generation, the first being that they avoid the long shaft and bearing issues of tower turbines, and the other being an external control system that helps keep these turbines compact and easy to handle. Tougher’s design seems to be a clear winner, and for those who want to try a hand at building their own, you can find instructions for doing so at Instructables. There’s even has a video at the end of the tutorial showing the actual turbine doing its thing.


10 foods that fight spring allergies

Work vitamin C-rich foods (like citrus and broccoli) into your diet and turn to stinging nettle as a potent natural form of allergy relief.

By Rodale NewsFri, Mar 16 2012 at 5:28 PM EST


broccoli in a strainer Photo: cyclonebill/Flickr

Thanks to climate change, every allergy season is the worst allergy season ever. Warmer temperatures have led to earlier springs and longer allergy seasons, while higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have led to more potent and allergenic pollen.

This year is no different. A mild winter — the fourth-warmest on record — means that trees have started budding and releasing pollen earlier. While that certainly bodes well for birds and cherry-blossom festivals, it could leave you feeling miserable if you suffer from spring allergies. The good news is that natural allergy relief is within an arm’s reach of your refrigerator: Foods rich in vitamin C and folic acid help reduce the inflammation associated with allergic reactions, and studies are finding that some herbs are just as effective as expensive drugs.

Grab your grocery cart and stock your produce bin with these 10 natural allergy remedies:

1. Broccoli

This precious piece of produce serves two purposes in annihilating your allergy symptoms. It’s high in allergy-relieving vitamin C and it’s a member of the crucifer family, plants that have been shown to clear out blocked-up sinuses. Researchers have found about 500 milligrams (mg) of Vitamin C a day can ease allergy symptoms, and just one cup of raw broccoli packs about 80 mg.

2. Citrus fruits

To hit that 500-milligram vitamin C level from whole food sources, you can also turn to oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. A large orange contains nearly 100 mg of C, while half of a large grapefruit contains about 60 mg.

3. Kale

Don’t just admire kale as a garnish. Eat it! This superfood packs a one-two punch against allergies; like broccoli, it’s a member of the crucifer family, but it’s also rich in the carotenoid department, pigments believed to aid in fighting allergy symptoms.

4. Collard greens

Highjacked by hay fever? Put collard greens on the menu for the same reason as kale. Their phytochemical content, mainly, carotenoids, eases allergy issues. To increase the amount of carotenoids your body absorbs, eat the veggie with some sort of fat source. One idea? Lightly cook it in olive oil.

5. Stinging nettle

You can’t discuss natural allergy remedies without hailing stinging nettle. It helps stifle inflammation that occurs when you’re experiencing allergy symptoms. Stinging nettle contains histamine, the chemical your body produces during an allergic reaction, so it helps you acquire tolerance. Look for 500-mg freeze-dried nettle capsules in your natural health store, and take three times a day. That’s the best form for allergy relief; it won’t sting because it’s freeze-dried. Long-term use of the herb is not recommended, since it can deplete your potassium stores.

6. Butterbur

Leaves and roots of the butterbur shrub contain compounds called petasines, which can block some reactions that spark allergies. Does this plant really work? Science says yes, though its use is not generally recommended for young children, people older than 65, or those with ragweed allergies. A large British meta-analysis of six studies looking at butterbur as an allergy reliever found five studies supported the claim. The roots of the perennial shrub generally contain high levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can damage the liver, so herbalists recommend looking for butterbur products that specify no pyrrolizidines, or ones that use a CO2 extracting process, which limits the amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Swiss and German researchers found that butterbur was just as effective as the prescription antihistamine cetirizine (Zyrtec) after two weeks of treatment. It’s also been shown to relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose, stuffiness, and watery eyes in just five days.

7. Elderberries

Immune-strengthening elderberries are often hailed as a natural flu treatment, but the berries serve a purpose in natural allergy relief, too. Try elderberry wine, juice, or jam to tap the fruit’s beneficial flavonoids that reduce inflammation.

8. Onions and garlic

Quercetin is another secret weapon that helps fight allergies by acting like an antihistamine. Onions and garlic are packed with quercetin, as are apples. (If you go with eating apples, just make sure they don’t stimulate oral allergy syndrome.)

9. Parsley

According to Michael Castleman, author of “The New Healing Herbs” (Rodale, 2009), parsley inhibits the secretion of allergy-inducing histamine. (Parsley is a diuretic, so talk to your doctor before taking supplements or eating large amounts of it.)

10. Anti-allergy soup!

There’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup when you’re feeling sick, and while this usually pertains to chicken soup for the flu, an expert on herbs developed this soup to naturally battle allergies. In “The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns” (Rodale, 2008), herb expert James Duke, PhD, recommends this allergy-fighting soup recipe:

Boil an onion (with skin) and a clove of garlic. Add half a cup chopped leaves and diced taproots of evening primrose. After boiling for about 5 minutes, add a cup of nettle leaves and a cup of diced celery stalks, and boil gently for another 3 to 10 minutes. Before eating, remove the onion skins and eat the soup it’s while still warm. Season with wine vinegar, black pepper, hot pepper, turmeric, curry powder or celery seed. Enjoy!

How to reuse silica gel packets

This annoying packet has a multitude of household uses.

By Cy Tottleben, Local CorrespondentTue, Jul 27 2010 at 4:29 PM EST


DON’T THROW AWAY: They’re reusable, just not edible. (Photo: jorho123/Flickr)

We find them everywhere, popping out of all sorts of packaging, lurking like an ugly bug in vitamin bottles and new shoes. Working freight at my store, I touch dozens of silica packets each day and often ask what I can do to recycle them. Couldn’t we collect them and send them off to a manufacturer for reuse?

Silica gel is a desiccant, a substance that absorbs moisture. Despite its misleading name, the silicate is actually a very porous mineral with a natural attraction to water molecules. Manufacturers utilize the gel to keep goods from spoiling, molding or degrading due to humidity. The gel itself is nontoxic, but can have a moisture indicator added (cobalt chloride) which is a known toxin that turns pink when hydrated and is otherwise blue in its dry form. Most silica found in our food and household purchases looks like tapioca beads and is benign unless combined with certain chemicals.

Although silica gel has massive potential for reuse, I haven’t had any luck finding a recycler. But I did discover several great suggestions for using these packs around the house and keeping them from the landfill just a wee bit longer.

Put packs in your ammo cans and gun cases/safes to keep dry.

Protect personal papers and important documents by putting some gel in a baggie wherever these are stored.

Keep with photos to spare them from humidity. Tuck a small envelope in the back of frames to protect even the ones hanging on your walls.

Store in camera bags and with film. After snapping photos in cold or wet conditions, silica gel will absorb moisture to keep your lens from fogging or streaking.

Leave a couple packs in your tool box to prevent rusting.

Use the material to dry flowers.

Place with seeds in storage to thwart molding.

Stash some in window sills to banish condensation.

Dry out electronic items such as cell phones and iPods. Remember after the device has gotten wet, do not turn it back on! Pull out the battery and memory card and put the device in a container filled with several packs. Leave it in there at least overnight.

Slow silver tarnishing by using the gel in jewelry boxes and with your silverware.

For items in storage, such as cars or anything prone to mildew. Popular Mechanics offers a good suggestion for use in engines of sitting vehicles.

Tired of buying big bags of pet food only to have it get soggy? Store your kibble in a bin and tape some silica packs to the bottom of the lid.

Cut open the packs and saturate the beads with essential oils to create potpourri.

Use in luggage while traveling.

Tuck some in your pockets. Hide them in your closet in leather goods such as coats and shoes, and even handbags, to help them survive life in storage.

Gather your razor blades and keep in a container with several silica packs to stave off oxidation.

Video tape collections will last much longer with these to help keep them dry.

Litter is now made with silica. With its fantastic absorption qualities, this litter requires fewer changes and sends less mess to the landfill.

And my personal favorite:

Squirrel some away in your car, especially on your dashboard. This will help maintain a clear windshield and leave it less foggy during times of high humidity.

While these packets are annoying and seem like a waste of resources, they can extend the life of many items. Another reason someone needs to be collecting them to recycle: they can be reactivated repeatedly. To recharge, you just need to bake the saturated beads on a cookie sheet, as detailed on


One response »

  1. Fabian Stenslien

    anti-allergy medications are really helpful when i have severe allergy attacks.’

    Remember to check into our very own web site


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: