When I was a ten year old kid I used my pocket money to buy job lots of old broken clocks from Maidstone Market. I would take them home and spend hours in my Mum and Dad’s cellar taking them apart ostensibly to get them working again. They never did but hey I never let failure deter me.
Nowadays, being happily retired (and no gloating intended), I have many an hour to while away in my shed. Nothing that I can get away with, gives me greater pleasure than recycling old bits of metal, plastic, wood and abandoned technology - for astronomical functions. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t – so no change there then!
My latest project, to construct a thermometer for taking the temperature of stars or as it might be described a ‘Chad Valley Spectrometer’, is well under way. It remains to be tested but what with the transit of Mercury and the sudden outbreak of rain which followed, I await a clear night with mounting excitement.
The ‘Starthrotch Analyser’, catchy name ehh, has been constructed from a vandalised Logitech E3500 webcam, a section of chromed tubing, some aluminium plate left over from a DIY yard gully, 3 BRE hardwood samples from my late and great mate Barry Shulver, a piece of galvanised mesh, half a dozen screws, some pieces of black felt, Gorilla glue and lots of Evostik impact adhesive. I did have to purchase from ‘Edulab Scientific Supplies’ for about £10 - 3 slide mounted 100 lines/mm transmission gratings. All in all and if it works, quite a‘thrifty’ piece of kit!
My daughter, Rachel, was quite impressed. She thought the general appearance of the ‘Starthrotch Analyser’ was very ‘1960s Star Trek’, my partner Toot believes it would not have looked out of place in ‘Blake’s 7-the cardboard years’. Praise indeed!
I will let you know in a future post whether it works or not, although my best guess is it probably won’t!
I wonder if I could make an operational ‘photon torpedo’ from a second hand Halfords top box and an obsolete Tom Tom - SATNAV? Anything is possible in a shed.