Flight, try setting SCE to AWESOME.
February 21, 2014 8:51 PM   Subscribe

This dad puts us all to shame. All I ever got from my dad was a train set.
posted by pjern (26 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want a series of switches labelled pyrotechnics.
posted by arcticseal at 8:57 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


adopt me!
posted by dabitch at 9:00 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


My dad built stuff like this with me what I was a kid. Mine wasn't as fancy, it was mostly a power supply wired up to a series of lights and switches and so when you flipped a switch a corresponding light would turn on or off. Then I think we got a label maker and labelled them things like "rocket boosters", "missiles" and "hyperspace". But this was the 80's, there was no such thing as a Raspberry Pi.

We did all sorts of fun stuff like this. I remember making hydrogen balloons (take an empty wine bottle, fill it halfway with water, pour a couple tablespoons of lye in it [you can get it in your grocery store cleaning aisle], and then throw in some shredded aluminum foil. stretch a balloon over the top, and wait for it to fill), and then tying notes to them and launching them. a farmer about 200 miles away found one in his field and called us to let us know, which was pretty cool.

And we built airplanes, and rockets... having an engineer for a dad is pretty cool.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:23 PM on February 21 [26 favorites]


my dad didn't have any electronic skills but he was a master with cardboard. When Star Wars came out, he just very carefully drew the controls for an X-Wing fighter on a piece of legal pad paper and taped it on a piece of cardboard folded into a triangle shape. I played with it for hours.

He also made a steam boat out of the boxes for our new kitchen. No idea how he did it, it had a bow and a pilot house with a smoke stack on top and a wheel.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:28 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Amazing!

Also: wonderful photo, tyler
posted by growabrain at 9:33 PM on February 21


My dad's version of this consisted of drinking beer, watching Packers games, and yelling at me. Oh the hours of fun!
posted by item at 9:38 PM on February 21 [15 favorites]


And of course the kids just use the iPad part of it.
posted by planetesimal at 9:47 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Let it be known that I was really bummed I didn't get the chance to bid on the Lunar Module Control Panel #3 recently up for auction.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:02 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


My dad's version of this consisted of drinking beer, watching Packers games, and yelling at me.

Did he make a video you can share with us?
posted by Pudhoho at 10:02 PM on February 21 [6 favorites]


* BOOP! *
posted by mazola at 10:03 PM on February 21


And don't miss the linked House With Space Shuttle Cockpit in Loft for Sale.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:21 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


having an engineer for a dad is pretty cool.

My dad was an electrician. He made something sort of similar for me when I showed an interest in rocketeering by building a few rockets. He showed me how to make my own igniters with a 9 volt battery and a match head. wrap a strand of wire around the match head, carefully wrap with tape, hook the ends up to a battery and whoosh!

Saved me a bunch of allowance money because the factory igniters were like 70 cents a piece. Anyway, he made me this really cool launch controller that had an internal batter and a series of lights and switches and whatnot.

One day I thought it would be cool to see how well the rocket flew sideways and well, long story short, I burned down a couple acres of field and some old guys garage....

Nick and his older brother used to beat us kids up and steal shit from us. I managed to convince the cops that Nick set the fire and well, he got sent to juvie for the summer. I sort of felt bad, but then, fuck that douche. Karma is a bitch.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:35 PM on February 21 [17 favorites]


Anyway, he made me this really cool launch controller that had an internal batter and a series of lights and switches and whatnot.

Mine was a length of speaker wire with alligator clips soldered on one end, and a momentary push-button switch on the other. One of the strands of speaker wire was cut in the middle with connectors soldered of for some sort of big battery, it might have been for a motorcycle or something. We also built the launchpad out of masonite with some adjustable plywoods legs screwed to the bottom of it and a steel plate that was probably out of an electrical box bolted in place as a blast deflector.

One day I thought it would be cool to see how well the rocket flew sideways and well, long story short, I burned down a couple acres of field and some old guys garage....

I burned down about an acre of field by launching one in dry grass and running off to retrieve it before I checked to make sure nothing was on fire. The fire department didn't seem too upset, though.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:48 PM on February 21


(kudos on the Apollo 12 reference in the post title. Deep cut!)
posted by ShutterBun at 11:23 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


(ah, I see he actually incorporated that scenario into the design. Extra cool points!)
posted by ShutterBun at 11:29 PM on February 21


A few years ago, one of our friends was lamenting that he couldn't wear a short sleeved shirt and tie without looking like a Radio Shack employee from the 80s.

My sister (who is definitely the coolest person in the world) suggested that instead of being down on the look, he should aim for "NASA Mission Control 1969 cool."

For a while, we made that happen, guys (and girls) sporting BCGs, short sleeved shirts, dark pants, and ties. The occasional pocket protector.

After watching Rocket Men the other night while drinking, we decided we would revive this moment of sartorial splendor.

I sent this to my sister, who replied "I love this so much it hurts."
posted by louche mustachio at 1:55 AM on February 22 [7 favorites]


I hate this guy. I have to make an askme to hang bookshelves, and this guy can make this? The world just ain't fair.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:17 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


"NASA Mission Control 1969 cool."
Though it may seem like it now, it was never "cool," I suspect. By the time I was born, the Apollo program was in mid-stream, on its way to winding down, and my dad was one of those "short sleeved white shirt, 2" wide tie, pocket protector and slide rule" kinda guys and he was FAR from cool until about 1977. (this was a different time, when "nerd" was spelled "nurd".

But what I don't like about this article (which really has nothing to do with its actual subject) is the whole "your dad sucks, this guy is awesome" condescension.

Sorry, article, my dad was (and is still) awesome. He built me a lot of cool shit, too, and for its time, it was probably about as "cool" as this is now. Obviously, today's dad has a lot more tools at his disposal (online tutorials, easy access to inexpensive equipment from all over the world, etc.) but in their era, I suspect that a lot (if not most, or indeed all) of our dads were just as awesome.

I know the headlines are all about generating interest (via shame or outrage) but give our dads a break. Mine built me a bed shaped like a pirate ship, with a working steering wheel!

(also, unlaminated MDF strikes me as a TERRIBLE choice for a desktop. That shit will go concave within a year, I suspect)
posted by ShutterBun at 3:44 AM on February 22 [5 favorites]


"NASA Mission Control 1969 cool."

Needs more vest.
posted by valkane at 4:12 AM on February 22


His other kid has an Apollo 13 console in his room. Every week the doors of the Apollo 13 console lock and a compressor kicks in, starts to suck out all the oxygen and disengages the room thermostat. The two kids have to work collaboratively together to figure out a 16 bit encryption that changes daily in order to get a proper sequence of switches and button presses to successfully "return the Apollo 13 console to the earth" and unlock the door. There is an alternate strategy which the kids can employ which requires both the construction of a simple serial communications protocol, the assembly of two appropriately tall transmitter towers, and the construction of a crystal radio. While unrealistic, the dad has found that the kids are far more invested with learning encryption and signals and systems.

Don't ask about their dog Laika though... that went wrong, horribly wrong.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:21 AM on February 22 [10 favorites]


My dad gave me a GI Joe transfer set, a fire truck AND a garnet ring he made himself, so I'll give him a pass.

That is an awesome setup, though.
posted by maudlin at 8:48 AM on February 22


I burned down about an acre of field by launching one in dry grass and running off to retrieve it before I checked to make sure nothing was on fire. The fire department didn't seem too upset, though.

Used to be the worst you would get would be a stern talking-to and maybe a paddlin'.

Now you're darn lucky not to go to jail.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:34 PM on February 22


Though it may seem like it now, it was never "cool," I suspect.


Maybe not "cool" cool.

I personally reject any definition of "cool" that does not include facilitating people walking on the goddamn moon.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:59 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


The C-net article is a little more "wow this is super neat" and a little less "go back to Dad school."
posted by louche mustachio at 7:07 PM on February 22


I remember making hydrogen balloons
Just as a heads up to anyone else following this recipe: mixing a bunch of hydrogen into enclosed air in an exothermic reaction in a sealed glass bottle might require some safety precautions.

Not that I'm not going to try it one day anyway, though, thank you. This gets filed next to my "you can make how much thermite that cheaply???" discovery on my "wait until the kids get much much older" list.

This mission control board was awesome, but needs Kerbal Space Program integration.
posted by roystgnr at 9:45 PM on February 22


I appreciate all the work he put into it and I'm very happy his family and child loves it, and his friends. And it's good it's spread such positive vibes. That being said, I just don't really get the big deal about it. This keeps popping up on social media feeds, Stumble, pinterest, everything. I guess I'm just not that amazed by it.

But yay for the child.

My dad took me fishing, and though I'm female he treated me like one of the guys many times and I learned a lot from that. I don't think it's really fair to say he puts dads to shame when there are many much more thoughtful and lasting gifts a child can get that aren't an actual object.
posted by Malice at 4:53 PM on February 23


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