I’m a little robot, short and stout. What is my handle? Just call me Spout.

A couple months ago I spent several hours (over a period of days) on the Khan Academy site, reviewing and practicing topics in Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry and Precalculus. (Why?  Well, that’s just the kind of guy I am….)

A couple days ago I logged back in to see what other kinds of topics I could learn about. Imagine my delight when I stumbled across a video series on Robots! (See https://www.khanacademy.org/science/discoveries-projects/robots) At the present time, the series shows how to assemble 3 different robot designs.  In order of increasing complexity, they’re called

  • Spout
  • Spider
  • Bit-zee Bot

Spout consists of batteries, motors, switches, wires and paperclips (and optional LED “eyes”) and is held together by solder and hot glue. (A “no solder” version of the bot is also covered.) I had all the necessary parts, so I decided to build my own variant of Spout yesterday.

Homemade robot "Spout" - inspired by Khan Academy project

Homemade robot “Spout” – inspired by Khan Academy project

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DIY Camera Stand

I recently volunteered to teach an Electronics merit badge class for Boy Scouts in my area. I tried to anticipate challenges that might arise when describing small components like resistors and capacitors to a large group, or demonstrating how to use a soldering iron.

That made me think of a 37″ LCD TV that a friend gave me a few months ago when I was scrounging for “used electronic devices”.


They said that it tended to go haywire in the middle of movies, etc. Without even testing it, I had left it out on my (covered) deck where it acquired a nice coat of dust … but now I wondered if it might work well enough to serve as a poor man’s projection screen.

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