Stuff I Built – old

Home/Stuff I Built – old

This is a sampling of things I have built. This collection represents the gamut from afternoon projects (like the desklamp) to major undertakings (the Legotar and garage cabinets). Click through on the images to see them full size on flickr.


A fully functioning electric guitar built out of Lego. I must’ve been nuts to decide to do this, but now that it’s done it’s one of my prize possesions.

Full description is here.

Lifeguard Chair

Lifeguard Chair I Built

The chair was built from redwood that I recycled from a deck that we tore out. It’s very large, two people can sit in it comfortably (if they’re friends).

I made an Instructable for it:

Black Box Lightshow

Black Box Lightshow
Black Box Lightshow Circuit

Based on an original design that I built in college, this is an LED lightshow that plugs into any audio source.(I have it on top of our home entertainment system, so it shows whatever we’re listening to or watching.)

The display is divided vertically into left and right channels. It displays the top half of the waveform of each channel with their zero levels in the center. The two knobs control the amplitude and the sweep speed.

When set to the right speed, a strong bass note will show up as a floating red bubble. A note an octave up will be two bubbles. Notes inbetween will be a series of bubbles floating up or down the display. Of course, all the other frequencies are in there, too, so you get a much more complicated display, but the bass tends to be the most prominent. Dynamics from drums, etc. cause the width to pulse. It all ends up being quite hypnotic.

Camera Intervalometer

New DIY Intervalometer
I didn’t want to spent over $100 for a professional intervalometer for my camera to do time-lapse photography with, so I built this one for about $20 (not including the empty Altoids tin). It’s a snug fit between the electronics, switches, 9V battery and wires, so the rubber bands keep it securely shut.
The switch on the bottom is on/off, other switch is for long or short periods between pictures. The potentiometer varies the time from 3 to 30 seconds (short setting) and 30 seconds to 4:30 minutes (long setting). At the other end is a 3.5mm phone jack that the camera plugs into.

Desk Lamp


Made from an outdoor walkway lamp. A piece of pipe and a flange painted black make the stand, with small bolts and rubber feet. There is also a switch mounted on the bottom of the lamp fixture.

With a 60W bulb it works great on my desk.

CD Player


The hardware for this unit started life as a Panasonic portable CD player. I chose this player because it had a small remote, which I needed since I was planning to remove the main controls. The remote is resting on the base.

The rest of the unit is a decomissioned gooseneck desk lamp, minus the lamp. I built a plexiglas plate to hold the CD hardware to the lamp neck.

Output is from the headphone jack. It’s fun to watch play, as the CD seems to just spin in space. Because of the shock buffering, you can remove the CD while its playing, and the music will continue for about 40 seconds.

cdplayer3 cdplayer2

Welded Creatures

Metal Moose

These were created in a welding class at The Crucible.

The moose lives in our garden – his rebar neck works as a stake in the ground. The antlers were found as-is in the scrap bin and were the inspiration for the rest of him.

The fish is about 24″ long. The rainbow along the back was created by heating the metal with a torch.

The dinosaur was made with materials from the scrap bin. He stands about 12″ tall.




I had to build a workbench before I could build our garage cabinets. I love this bench – it’s made of 2x4s, a door, some plywood and a few feet of birch board, yet it’s incredibly sturdy and has plenty of storage.

The plans are available at Plans Now. They call it a “weekend workbench” because that’s how long it’s supposed to take to build. Plan at least another day for buying the materials and putting a strong varathane finish on it at the end.

Garage Cabinets

Garage cabinets

Garage cabinets - left side Cabinet Pulls Hammer Handles

This was my first time building real cabinets. I designed them as a custom fit for the space using other cabinet plans as a guide for the cases.

The doors and drawers are birch veneered plywood. I bought a few sheets that matched and lined them up to get the grain patterns to be consistent. The sheets had a beautiful “flame” pattern that I took advantage of. The top of the workbench is 1/4″ hardboard screwed onto 1 1/2″ pressboard. The top is rock solid, and I can replace the tops whenever they get too beat up.

For the cabinet and drawer handles I wanted something that was appropriate for a garage workshop. I ended up creating the cabinet handles from spikes – they look like giant nails. The drawer handles are hammerheads. I bought inexpensive hammers at Home Depot and cut off and mounted the heads. They look great and are very comfortable to use.

I also covered the exposed walls with peg board to provide plenty of room for hanging things.

Work Stool

Work stoolWe had one of these when I was growing up. It was built by the carpenter who built the cabinets and workbench in the house I grew up in. This was built from plans drawn from that memory.

Easy to build out of 3/4″ plywood, it carries stuff, is very sturdy, and should last forever.


IMG_7773I built these bookshelves for my office/music room. There are three of them screwed together to make one long system.

I designed them based on pictures of other shelves I liked, and sized them for exactly the space I had. They are built out of 3/4″ plywood with veneer banding along the edges, and then painted black. The individual units seemed a little flimsy, but once they were screwed together and attached to the wall they became incredibly sturdy.

Interested on what all that junk is on them? Click trough to the flickr page where I’ve notated the picture.

Picture Frame

Marshall Poster Picture FrameMarshall Poster Picture Frame - detail

In 2005 I met Jim Marshall at the NAMM show and got a signed poster of 40 years of Marshall Amps. I built this custom frame for the poster – modeled off Marshall Amps. Same vinyl, and authentic Marshall corners.