Easy Easel

In previous Rough Science stage shows, I’ve used an easel to display diagrams, old-school.

Rough Science 2012

For Rough Science: LIFE in Adelaide, I need not only one easel, but five. Five. At around eighty bucks a pop, I need something much, much cheaper. On top of that, they need to be light, collapsable, and transportable so I can fly them in February.

I am a very big fan of PVC pipes and connectors, having used them for previous science interactives and activities. After spending a quarter hour in the PVC plumbing aisle at the hardware store, I came up the the Quick and Dirty Easel.

You will need:

o Three (3) 100cm lengths of PVC pipe;
o Three (3) 60cm lengths of PVC pipe;
o Two (2) 3cm lengths of PVC pipe;
o Two (2) T connectors;
o Two (2) L connectors;
o One (1) coupling;
o Three (3) caps;
o One (1) bolt and wing-nut.

All the parts

In the ends of the 60cm pipe, I drilled holes for the bolt. In two of them I made an elongated hole so that the legs could spread.

Holes in pipes

Connect the 3cm lengths to the L connectors. These will hold up the card/diagrams/Sunflowers by Van Gogh.

Picture holder

The bolt goes through the drilled holes. The elongated holes face inwards.

Bolted ends

Connect the pipes to the T connectors and coupling. From here, it’s like Lego. Or Mechano. Or K’Nex.

Finished easel

It is lightweight and strong enough to hold a stack of card.


Now to spray paint it!

(Don’t forget the correct PPE.)

Spray painting PPE

UPDATE: Replace the caps with rubber stoppers to make the easel non-slip.

2014-01-25 22.05.22

The 3D Printed Gun

It was inevitable. And now we need to figure out what to do about it.

I could imagine people watching ABC news tonight and being introduced to the notion of 3D printing (“Huh? That’s a thing?”) while at the same time told the news that they can now print out their own handgun.

This report is less than a week after an announcement at the other end of the ethical spectrum that a bio-fabrication unit (to research the use of 3D printing to construct human organs) is being opened at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital.

And it will be only a matter of time when ABC news reports the first shooting in the world involving a 3D printed handgun. (Possibly from a home-maker having it blow up in their face.)

It was an easy thing to find Cody Wilson’s Defence Distributed website and download my own copy of the Liberator handgun.

A component from the Liberator 3D printed gun.
A component from the Liberator 3D printed gun.

And if I could do that within a few minutes, then there will be scores of others out right now printing up their own plastic gun components.

Of course, this would be illegal in Australia.

My immediate concern is not that there is a new (and currently unregulated) source of firearms. This was an inevitable eventuality in the 3D printing field. Instead, I am concerned that 3D printing fledgling, and all of the potential uses at home, education, and especially health, would be stifled by knee-jerk reactions from our public officials.

The way forward is not immediately obvious, but a discussion needs to be started so that we can hack and experiment with 3D printing responsibly.