Can your teenager use a hammer?

Here’s an interesting article on what’s up with kids these days.

Another article.

What do you think is going on?

I think it’s not just kids that are loosing touch with making things but the image at the upper right has something to do with it.

That’s why I started this cool project. Excellent for a school project or just for fun.

LED Blinker Kit

Today I showed my friend Dannie how to solder.

I helped get him some basics (solder, flux, a multimeter, magnifiying glass with clamps and such.

I picked up the CanaKit LED Blinker Kit.

This proved to be a great platform for learning soldering.

Only two LEDs, two transistors, 5 resistors, a capacitor and a battery connector. That’s just 24 solder connections.

Just enough to demonstrate, let him try, then demonstrate some more with some finer points.

Dannie really impressed me. He was soldering connections after I had done the two transistors.

6 in 1 Educational Solar Kit

This morning Dannie (13) and I picked up an educational solar kit.

You can make 6 different projects.

The kit was pretty fun. Dannie had no problems with the instructions or assembly. The little solderless connections that use a spring are tricky but I think that’s the sort of challenge we’re looking for.

The projects in the kit are:

Solar Revolving Plane
Solar Air Boat
Solar Plane
Solar Car
Solar Puppy

Dannie got the Puppy running. We tried it with a lamp and with real sunlight.

Puzzle from familiar objects

I’m making an easier puzzle than my previous ones for fun.

This is sort of fun since you can take any objects. So if someone gives me a collection of objects, then I can make a puzzle out of them.


Brothers Dube

Check out this band of kids.

Kids get up to a lot of annoying things these days. I think this in an example of very constructive channeling of energy.

Parentz and other kidz take note. 🙂

These kidz raised over $100,000 for charity, $1600 for for for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa during Bluesfest.

As far as taking care of themselves: Their debut album “ONE” will be on iTunes over the next couple of weeks…

Brothers Dubé when I grow up I want to be like you.


Hey, anybody want to do some flying? I was out yesterday for a couple of hours. Got some sun. Got some shade.

Did a little running around.

Some after-social.

Remote Control 6″ Hockey Puck

My friend Rob’s kids have formed a band. They are doing some PR at hockey games. They are using a puck platform for their drum kit. The challenge is to make it remote control or automatic or to have it self powered or something. This way the kids would not have to tow it.

Any ideas or suggestions?

I’m thinking of a few things:

-add a third kid who can be in charge of “motion control”

-make it programmable

-make it follow a beacon which is attached to one of the kids on foot.

-make it remote control so a 4th party can control it remotely

Squirrel Model Airplane

I do a lot of volunteer work at community centers and such. I do workshops to teach people how to make simple rubber-power model airplanes. The issue was that the designs that fly well were all complicated to build.

I would prefabricate some of the parts so that the children would not have to carry out the more complicated or dangerous steps.

One day when I was preparing a workshop for a bunch of children at Jack Purcell Community center (I was in a rush because my ballroom partner Susan was picking me up soon), I cut myself.

It was a nasty cut and I should have gone to emergency. I didn’t want to miss my ballroom so I did that instead. The next day I was able to carry out my workshop but it was obviously quite difficult with a huge dressing on one of my fingers.

I decided to re-invent the simple model plane. After a couple of months (or a month) of contemplating, I finally sat down to finish the design. I started with a list of all the current issues (I had a lot of experience with the various models). For each issue I made another list of candidate solutions. I spent about 80h doing prototypes over the holiday season of 2004-2005. It was fun. I made prototypes with friends, at parties and at home.

I eventually settled on the design that is now known everywhere as the Squirrel. It’s a great flyer and is very easy to make.

If you want to make one, here is a video of how easy it is:

If you want to build one, you should try the video series at The 6m build is to show off and it’s not the best way of building for a beginner.

You can get a kit at

Here are a few flights:

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