My Hydroponic Experiments- Kratky Method

June 22, 2015 by  
Filed under build, Gardening/Farming, Hydroponics, Maker DIY

I grew up on a farm and have always been interested in technologies to grow more of safer crops.  One technology that has always intrigued me is hydroponics, or growing plants in water.  In an effort to effort to learn more about hydroponics I started by reading many books and watching allot of youtube videos. I also talked to people I knew that had experience with hydroponics, one friend in particular was very helpful and even gave me allot of supplies to use for my first experiments.


Notice a couple of these books are on auaponics.  Aquaponics uses only fish waste as the feed for the plants.  I eventually hope to set up an aquaponic system, but I live in a location with a cold winter and do not currently have a space indoors to keep the fish alive during the winter months.


Kratkey Method

My first experiments are with the stagnant water or Kratkey method.  I first heard about this method on the MHP Gardner Youtube channel.

This is the absolute simplest hydroponic method and thus where I started.  To grow plants with this method I started out by filling a coffee can with water and a mix of nutrients.  I drilled a 2 inch hole in the coffee can lid using a 2 inch Forster bit.  I placed a 2 inch netcup into the hole and placed a pea plant inside the netcup.  I previously started some alpine strawberry seeds in paper towels and lettuce seeds in rockwool.













Solder Snaps onto an Arduino Lillypad

June 1, 2015 by  
Filed under build, Crafts, Electronics, Fabric, Maker DIY

I have been researching the best way to make some interesting costumes for my kids.   The most popular microcontroller for wearables currently is the Arduino Lillypad.  I picked one up to start experimenting with, most people sew the Lillypad to the project, but I noticed others were using snaps.  I had an Arduino Lillypad I had ordered earlier and I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and picked up a pack of snaps to see how hard it was to solder a snap to the Lillypad.

Arduino Lillypad- Link to buy at Amazon

Drtitz Snaps- Link to buy at Jo-Ann Fabrics,   Link to buy at Amazon



How to Make a Sock Puppet

April 13, 2015 by  
Filed under build, Crafts, Fabric, featured, Maker DIY, Toys and Games

In an effort to amaze my children with my puppet making abilities I made this puppet from one of my old socks and now I am going to show you how I did it.  You can watch the video or follow along with the pictures below.

The only tools needed for this project are a scissors, and a heat gun.

Tools and supplies2

The main ingredient of this puppet is a sock, pick a sock that fits your hand and has some nice puppet like texture. Be careful not to pick a sock you are going to miss, as I did. I used one of my old sock and I love the puppet is has become, but I have to admit I also miss my socks.

The other materials I used are some felt, an old cereal box, a couple googly eyes and 2 wooden balls.

To start I flattened a cereal box and traced my fingers on one of the seams to make the shape of a mouth. I am using the cereal box paperboard to stiffen the mouth so it’s not as floppy as the rest of the sock. Test fit and trim the paperboard as needed.


After doing some final trimming to size I then cut a piece of felt slightly larger than the cardboard mouth. I then used my hot glue gun to glue the felt to the the paperboard mouth.


Again I did a little test fitting and finally it’s time to glue in the mouth. I applied glue to the back of the mouth and held it in position till it was dry. Now this was a thick sock that isolated my hand from the hot glue. I would not attach the mouth this way with a thinner sock, I would have either used a lower temp glue or not have my hand so close to the hot glue.


I apply a seam of glue around the mouth to keep looking good and not show the layer of felt or paperboard.


Now the finish touch is the eyes. I had 1” wooden balls in my pile of craft parts so I used those, I was originally looking for ping pong balls.  I glued the wooden balls on the top of the puppet, by just shooting some hot glue on the sock and then pressing the ball on.


The googly eyes went on much the same way. As you can see a little glue and stick on a googly eye.


And that’s it the puppet is complete. Very simple but I like it. And, I assume that sooner or later my kids will stop being annoyed as I walk around the house talking in puppet voices.

DIY Ceiling Mounted Projector Bracket Made from PVC

February 23, 2015 by  
Filed under build, featured, Made From PVC, Maker DIY

This is a video of how I made a simple ceiling mounted projector bracket out of PVC pipe.

I purchased an inexpensive Sharper Image Wonderwall projector on ebay and I wanted an easy and inexpensive way to mount it.  I rounded up the pvc parts I had in my garage and came up with this projector bracket.  The Wonderwall projector is very light, if  you have a heavy projector I would not recomend trying something like this.

ceiling_mounted_projector bracket

Link to watch video on youtube.

An excel file with links to buy the parts at Menards is attached below.

projector parts list

parts list



Use a PVC pipe cutter to cut PVC pipe to correct lengths.



Slide the 2 4.25″ pieces into the tee fitting. Do not glue them, this is where the bracket pivots.


Glue the 4 elbow fittings to the pipes.  In this situation I used super glue to glue all the joints as I do not care if the joints leak, I only care they are bonded well.




Screw the projector bracket into the ceiling.  Take care to find a stud or ceiling beam, drywall and most ceiling panels will not support the weight of a projector. Also make sure you are not screwing into wires, pipes, ducts or anything else in the ceiling.


I used cable ties to attch the projector to my pvc bracket.


Assemble a MAX7219 Dot Matrix Module for Arduino Scrolling Display

November 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Electronics, Maker DIY

I ordered some max7219 dot matrix modules from ebay in order to make a scrolling display powered by an Arduino. I took some video of soldering a module together.  If you would like to try to make your own module you will need the components below.

  • max7219 dot matrix module kits- Search ebay or Amazon (you can also get these presoldered and ready to play)
  • Soldering iron (only needed if you are soldering the max7219 dot matrix module kit yourself)
  • Arduino
  • Jumper wires
  • Breadboard

Music used in video is-
“Theme for Harold” Kevin MacLeod