The Balanced Guy: On Tinkering

If you’ve ever been a tinkerer, or you’re some kind of mechanical-electronics whiz kid, or you just like neat-o gadgets, you definitely need to check out kipkay.com.

In a nutshell, hacker-modifier extraordinaire Kip Kedersha takes fairly common household items (often electronics) then shows you how to, via a short video clip, modify, hack, and combine them in unique ways that result in cool stuff. Like a Bic lighter turned into a laser lighter that lights fireworks and cigars. Kip also can save you a load of money by, for example, modifying a $5 flashlight to outperform a $95 high-end model. With a little bit of knowledge and some extra parts readily available at places like RadioShack, Kip does some pretty remarkable things. He’s also got a few pranks up his sleeve, of course. How about a calculator that talks to the user when they hit the = button? Or a stapler that squirts blood? Brilliant.

Two of the cooler hack-tricks? Jimmying a “single-use” digital camera so that you can use it again and again … for free (instead of paying the fee to retrieve your pictures only to toss it out). And the night-vision headset was sort of bad-ass, too, with the quality far better than most commercially available models.

Granted, most of the hacks require that you have some more-than-basic tools at your disposal and at least a rudimentary knowledge of electronics. For most of the projects, he provides parts lists (and links for where to get them) in addition to the videos, along with detailed directions. Personally, I think they it’s a great way to figure out how things work, and since the projects all result in fun gadgets, it’s also the perfect way to spend time with your kids while you both learn.

I’m thinking my first attempt will be the modified flashlight. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The writer of The Balanced Guy, Roman Horoszewski, is not particularly balanced but he’s trying to be. He makes an effort by not only doing “guy stuff,” but also by spending time with his three sons and wife while attempting to remain informed about the world around him. He and his family live in the Princeton, N.J. area. His blog is at thebalancedguy.blogspot.com.


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