Automatic Nerf Sentry Gun

I built this Nerf Sentry Gun by grafting a couple of Arduinos, a power supply, a motor, and an ultrasonic distance sensor onto a Nerf Vulcan machine gun. I posted these build notes on Make: online. I’ve never compiled them all in one place, however, so this post serves to tie the whole project together in one place.

Part 1: Wiring the trigger

The first step was to add wiring and a two-wire connector to control the trigger circuit. I opened up the Nerf Vulcan (about 30 screws) and soldered an 1/8″ female jack to the fire selection mode switch. This way, I can retain all the regular functions of the gun when it’s unplugged from the Arduino. To control it from the Arduino, I’ll flip the orange switch on top to “off” and then wire the trigger into the “pulled” position (done here with a classy twist tie). Whenever the Arduino’s trigger circuit closes (bypassing that orange “off” switch) the gun will start firing.

To add the connector, I drilled a 1/4″ hole in the gun’s hand grip, fed the sleeve through, and secured it with a couple of zip ties inside for strain relief.

Next, I’m planning to build the Arduino’s trigger circuit using a MOSFET transistor wired to a male 1/8″ jack I can plug into the gun.

Continue reading


J. Edgar Park’s Aromatic Bitters No. 1

J. Edgar Park’s Aromatic Bitters No. 1
Make your own bitters to invigorate your beverages.

Aromatic bitters 5

  • 375ml of 151 proof grain alcohol
  • 375ml of 100 proof bourbon
  • zest of one lemon, peeled with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 tsp. quinine extract (from a health food store)
  • 1/8 tsp. wormwood extract (from a health food store)
  • 2 tsp. Tellicherry peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a 2″ piece of fresh ginger root
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/8 cu. dried cherries
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, with its seeds scraped and reserved to add to jar
  • 1/4 cu. raw sugar
1. Put all ingredients, except for sugar, in a large glass jar, closing it tightly.
Aromatic bitters 3
2. Store jar in a cool, dark place for thirteen days, shaking it daily.
Aromatic bitters 4
3. On day thirteen, filter liquid into a clean jar through a sieve, reserving solids.
4. Place filtered solids into a saucepan, along with 1/2 cu. of water. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, in order to extract maximum flavor.
5. Strain simmered liquid through sieve or cheesecloth, and then combine with other jar of liquid.
6. Filter liquid through a coffee filter or Aeropress to remove small particles.


7. Heat sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until it caramelizes and froths.
8. Add burnt sugar to the bitters liquid. Shake jar until burnt sugar dissolves, then let bitters cool.
9. Bottle the bitters using a funnel and or squeeze bottle.
10. Apply bitters directly to your tongue to relieve the fantods, or enjoy a dash or two in most any drink for added flavor harmony.


Klein Tools Bag

kleinBag by JohnEdgarPark
kleinBag, a photo by JohnEdgarPark on Flickr.

Great unexpected gift from a friend a work who knows my style down to a T.
I’ve already used it to transport Bloody Mary fixings and tools to a brunch party. It’ll make a great weekend bag, too. Plus, I’m sure I’ll use it to haul actual tools around when I’m fixing things on the go. Thanks Charlie.

Klein Tools bag

Clyde Common Egg Nog

I’m also making this nog from Jeffery Morgenthaler:

Our tequila-sherry egg nog at Clyde Common has been so overwhelmingly popular that I figured I’d share the recipe here. It’s based on my original egg nog recipe from years back, just slightly modified to incorporate the lower-alcohol sherry into the mix.

Añejo Tequila and Amontillado Sherry Egg Nog

12 large eggs
18 oz (by volume) granulated sugar (~2 1/4 cups)
3 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
12 oz anejo tequila (533 ml. or a little under 3/4 of a bottle)
15 oz Amontillado sherry (443 ml. or a bit over 1/2 a bottle)
36 oz whole milk (about 2 1/4 pints)
24 oz heavy cream (1 1/2 pints)

In a blender or stand mixer on low speed, beat eggs until smooth. Slowly add nutmeg, and sugar until incorporated and dissolved. Slowly add sherry, tequila, milk and cream. Refrigerate overnight and serve in small chilled cups. Dust with fresh nutmeg before serving.

Makes one gallon.