Casper's Craft Blog and Hobby News
Craft News
Water Lens
Focusable Mirrors
Solar Cooking
Biking Gear
My Bikes
Climbing Gear
Floating Sails
Alcohol Rockets
Motor Controllers
Hobby Directory MA
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Creative Quotes:

"Core methods you can use to create and repair everyday objects, make "arts and crafts". Traditionally this is called artisan craft. I developed most of the crafts and techniques on this site to demonstrate easy ways to do complex projects; like pottery and metal casting on a budget starting with mostly raw materials. I believe crafters can gain a greater understanding of their craft by starting from the ground up."

"Larry E. Smith Springfield MA musician DJ performs the Music you Want to Hear Acoustically and amplified (Over 150 Selections Available). We perform at any event, bar, or wedding. We also offer DJ services (with light show). I recommend checking out the Band Bio page to learn a little more about OFTS and the people involved."

"Mahogany Collectibles is a retailer of hand crafted mahogany desktop models and military models. We pride ourselves in the quality of mahogany models that we sell."

"So people go out there and spend years of their life researching and applying strict scientific method, all in good faith, only to have their body of work discredited with sound-bite sized arguments in which they are accused of having some nefarious agenda."

  Welcome to Casper's Mass Craft News and Hobby Directory! This my gallery of projects in Massachusetts, you can find nerdy crafts, a crafts directory for finding hobby supplies in your area and if you are looking for more check out my site on core crafting skills. This site also brings together craft news from all over the web. Look around and you might find something to help you earn that next merit badge. Enjoy!

Water Lens

water lens water lens cooking
These are useful for solar cooking experimentation and general fun with a big magnifying glass.
Made From: A rusted out old barrel, 1 Yard of clear vinyl and some twine. More about Water Lens...

Focusable Parabolic Mirrors

Focusable Parabolic Mirror Focusable Parabolic Mirror Focusable Parabolic Mirror
This is a simple way to build large focusable mirrors.
They are great for quickly making large inexpensive parabolic reflectors for solar cooking
and general experimentation with optics... More about Focusable Mirrors...
Made From: an old bucket, camping mylar, sticky spray, twine and a break bleeder vacuum pump.

Solar Cooking With Parabolic Reflectors

Parabolic cooker baking bread under a plastic dome. A line of parabolic solar reflectors used for cooking. Parabolic reflector working with a solar box oven.
This page is about my experience researching simple methods for achieving
high temperatures (350F +) for solar cooking. For this I recycled shallow parabolic
satellite dishes and other materials. These projects are also compatible with other
home made dishes such as the Focusable Parabolic Mirrors described in my
previous article. I like shallow parabolic reflectors because food doesn't drip onto
the mirror, they are simple to make and highly effective for baking bread or boiling
water even in the winter. More about Solar Cooking...
Made From:Shallow Parabolic Form, Mylar, Sticky Spray, and Box Cooker Oven.

Bad Weather Gear for Biking

Easy to make wind and rain guard to make biking easier during difficult weather. Easy to make wind and rain guard to make biking easier during difficult weather. Cheap breathable rainsuit from Wal-Mart, very nice quality.
These pictures illustrate some of my bad weather gear for biking. Keeping rain out
of the eyes is a must for biking in bad weather as is a nice breathable waterproof shell.
Wal-Mart sells cheap waterproof shells that are perfect for most conditions and it is easy
make a wind guard to keep rain and cold wind out of the eyes. This wind guard is simply
a piece of coat hanger wire, double sided tape or sticky spray, and crystal clear shrink film
used in sealing windows. A very easy project to make a helmet for bad weather. And if you
want to be fancy you can use different materials, the concept works very well and is
interesting to try.

My Bikes for Hauling Groceries

Blue 3 speed bike with BMX gearing made in Westfield Massachusetts Red 3 speed bike with nice gearing made in Massachusetts Cool motor bike for sale for high price.
My collection of bikes changes fairly frequently but I'll outline my interests and style here.
I like mountain bikes but presently I don't have one, but I do have a modified blue 3 speed that
handles like a mountain bike and carries my groceries. Like most of my bikes this was an old
perfect condition bike that no one used because of a design mistake, in this case strange
gearing. Once I fixed the gearing I found it to be a really nice bike. Also here is a picture of a
red bike I fixed, everything was broken! I can see why the person kept that bike eventhough
they broke everything on it. After I fixed it it was such a great ride, I didn't have any trouble
giving it away. The third picture here is just a cool idea someone had. The person took a
cheap steel mountain bike ($100) and strapped on a cheap engine ($100)... And they were
charging $1200 for the thing! Hey why not, I just thought that was cool and worth sharing.
That's not my bike yet but maybe someday I'll make one.

Climbing Gear - Releasable Grappling Hook

Releasable grappling hook. Releasable grappling hook diagram.
This is an interesting piece of climbing gear I designed, a releasable grappling hook.
It's handy when you want to climb or rappel down and you want to take your rope with you.
It doesn't get caught up and is simple and light. In my opinion it is the best grappling hook period.
However you can't order it from me, I hold rights for several designs but I'm not manufacturing it
right now. But if you want one they are fairly simple to build so why not build one and try it out!
Keywords: Climbing Grappling Hook, Dredging, Ninja Grappling Hook, Swat Grappling Hook

Floating Sails

Model ship with Floating Sails. Model ship with Floating Sails. Model ship with Floating Sails.
Floating Sails are cool! A sail is just a point of resistance in contrast to the water that a ship
directs it's mass against. A sail does not have to run up the mast of a ship. By anchoring the
floating sail to the deck instead of to a long lever, the ship becomes more stable in the water,
less tipping over. A floating sail is a hollow bag anchored to the deck of a ship that floats
though various means. These sails can float though solar heating as a solar heated dirigible,
hot air, steam, or with lighter then air gasses such as Helium or Hydrogen. More about Floating Sails...

Alcohol Rockets

Alcohol bottle rocket. Alcohol bottle rocket. Alcohol Rocket Car!
The "Whoosh Rocket" is a simple alcohol burning rocket that that can be built using many
types of containers. This is a fun kind of rocket that you can make out of readily available
materials for learning or enjoyment. More about Alcohol Rockets...

Motor Controllers

Motor Controller modules Motor Controller module close up Motor Controller schematics Motor Controller schematic for toy Motor Controller example circuit image
Here are two simple motor controller designs. You can see this in operation on youtube here: "Homemade Robot Demonstration". The first design is excellent for making controller
modules for high and low voltage applications. The second design is excellent for making simple
control systems for small electronic devices like toys or desktop items. Both designs work off
of the computer parallel port and incorporate features for monitoring input or feedback. So for
example if you wanted to build a device were the user pushes a sequence of buttons and a lock
for a gate opens. You could use a pc or mini-pc board and one of these motor controllers
depending on the specifications of the motor you are using to open the gate or lock.
I go into more detail on the programming of motor controllers in the documentation for my robot.

Author: Michael Casper


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MA Hobby Directory:

Click here for a directory of Hobby stores in Massachusetts. This is a directory I put together arranged by town for hobbiests and toy enthusiasts. It's great to know all the things around where you live. This is a directory of hobby stores for photpgraphy, Kites, Games, Ceramics, Toys, Remote Control, Collectibles, Collectables, Doll House Shops, Magicians Supplies, and Miniature shops. Contact me to be added to the directory.


Copyright 2003-2012. All photos on this website are my photos (except for the Craft News Images) and you may use my images as Royalty Free Photos, Creative Commons, Open Stock Photography, as images free for business or for personal use. I allow derivative works. If you have any question about the use of an image, please contact me.