Sir: Your Geiger counter article [March, p. 200] is just what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve spent as much on pamphlets and other magazines, trying to find out how to build a counter, as the parts themselves would cost. But I never found out what I needed to know until your piece came along.
THE useless foot of this mouse illustrates a mutation. The chances that a mouse or a man will be born with a defect such as this are normally very small. Deleterious mutations may occur more often, however, if war is waged with atomic weapons. This mouse is one of 40,000 mice behind the fences at Oak Ridge, Tenn.
This picture previews a new job for television-teaching school. It shows how an in structor in watch-making could deliver an illustrated lecture in a new kind of classroom made possible by a new cheap, portable TV camera. On the big view ing screen in the foreground is a close-up of the works of an actively ticking watch.
THE 50-ton air liner squatting on the hangar’s apron taxied to the down-wind end of the runway, its gas turbines whining at low speed. Then, as the throttles were pushed open and the plane began to gather momentum, the jets’ roar rose until it sounded like a dozen railroad trains.
RECENT Arctic maneuvers headlined the importance of personal equipment that will permit human survival at temperatures far below zero. For the jet fighter pilot, that means not only warm clothing, but squeezing into the tight confines of his cockpit a sustenance kit that will keep him alive in case of an emergency landing or a bailout over Arctic wastes.
By trying to duplicate the movements of an expert, a tyro using this trainer should be able to improve his skill at golf and similar sports. A movie film showing correct form Keeping tap water just at the temperature you want would be no trick with this thermometer designed to be clipped right on the nozzle of a conventional mixing faucet.
This new smaller Nash is a plush job, not a stripped-down midget. It seats five, gets 30 miles to a gallon.
Fork-Lift Truck Gets Canopy
Funnel Warms Plane Faster
Giant Valves Hold Dam Water
Tiny Shovel Digs and Dumps
W. W. Morris
THE smallest “standard” American-made car offered the public since automobiles began swelling out before the war was introduced last month by Nash Motors. A convertible, it seats five persons, cruises nicely at 65 m.p.h., and gets 30 miles to the gallon of gas.
THIS odd-looking flying machine is described by its designer as “the world’s simplest helicopter.” All its power comes from a pair of slender pulse-jet engines mounted on the rotor tips. They weigh less than 25 pounds apiece and have only one moving part—which can be replaced by a mechanic in five minutes.
TELEVISION, already the lustiest brat in show business, soon may become just as important to industry and education. A new kind of camera “eye” can do it. Called the Vidicon, this RCA image tube is the basis for the lightest, cheapest, simplest TV camera made.
Backstage visit to Hollywood’s most unusual set reveals special-effects tricks that make rocket ride look real.
Coin Lump Tans As You Wait
Car Clock Winds Itself
Radiation Detectors Fit Pocket
tty Andrviv ft. ttonnc
WHEN Hollywood movie producers decided to make the forthcoming Technicolor film “Destination Moon,” they ran into a few problems they hadn’t bargained for. In outer space, where much of the action takes place, gravity becomes negligible and bodies drift aimlessly.
A new Navy ejection cockpit capsule, completely enclosed, pressurized, and insulated, will enable pilots to escape from supersonic planes at high altitude. A lever releases the pod, as shown at right. 2 As the pod-and-pilot is blown free of the speeding plane, stabilizing tail fins are extended to prevent the capsule from tumbling through the air during descent.
DRY-LAND yachting provides exciting sport for Palm Springs, Calif., enthusiasts, who boast a fleet of six fast land "sailboats." The novel craft were designed and built by Ray Miller, one-time musician and NBC musical director. While they will run on hard sand or dirt, best sailing is along concrete strips of a nearby Air Force base, now largely abandoned.
EVERYTHING comes in kits these days— television sets, furniture, even houses —so why not a car? That’s just what Frank Kurtis thought one day as he tuned up racers for the Indianapolis Speedway. Not only would it cut the cost of the car, but it would let the tool-happy tinkerer add a few ideas of his own.
APAIR of new synthetic-rubber compounds is taking the place of thousands of rivets in the Air Force’s far-ranging B-36 bomber, saving weight and smoothing its skin. Used in Consolidated-Vultee’s Metlbond process, they stick metal parts together better than rivets or spot welding.
Staffed with Gus Wilsons, this place is a multiple one-man shop, where the customer talks with his own mechanic.
Mechs Are De Luxe, Too
TAKE a dozen or so one-man auto repair shops, locate them side by side under one management, and you’ve got something new in service stations. This, in effect, is what you’ll find at a big shop recently opened in New York City. Every man who works there is an all-around mechanic, well qualified to give Gus Wilson a run for his money.
A DESERTED ship will soon stand guard over the southern approaches to New York Harbor. An experimental new Coast Guard lightship, named the Exp, it is completely unmanned. Instead, it has a "crew" of electronic devices operating automatically or controlled by radio from shore.
OFFICE furniture is one of the few things the Du Pont Company does not make. But, faced with the problem of getting more comfort and utility out of big, open "bullpen" offices, the chemical concern's engineers tried their hands at that, too. And they came up with an unusual desk unit that is a whole semi-private office for one man.
THE Army's 2½-ton truck is a pretty solid piece of equipment. But the type shown above is different. To ride in aircraft with airborne troops, it has to come apart. After the frame has been cut just behind the cab, tie plates are welded to each of the frame halves and bolted together for normal use.
HERE'S an umpire even a Dodger can't talk back to. General Electric developed the electronic version of the man in blue for the Brooklyn spring-training camp. A metal box, about four feet long, 2l inches wide, 1½ inches deep, encases home plate.
Mighty midgets called hydraulic accumulators deliver stored mechanical energy to lighten heavy tasks.
Snubbing Bumps Another Job
Soils Test Mine Detectors
Hot Torch Has "Co1d" Flame
Scoop Retrieves Golf Balls
Tube Protects Roof Gutter
ARUBBER balloon in a steel cylinder is rapidly earning a reputation as one of the most useful modern inventions. Called a hydraulic accumulator, it is a simple but highly ingenious power package that puts the strength of Hercules at your service.
ADOBE-sun-dried mud-is a fine building material, so long as it doesn't rain. Too much water can turn it back into mud. But now adobe can be made waterproof. The secret is Bitudobe, a sticky chemical technically termed an emulsified asphalt stabilizer.
Lou Meyer Builds New Engine for Indianapolis "500"
Escape Suit for Sub Crews
"S1ingshot" Throws Practice Soccer Balls
T AKE a good look at the engine being put together on these pages. Come Me morial Day, it may win the 500-mile race at Indianapolis. - - - If it does, the engine will be another feather in the cap of Lou Meyer, first three time winner of the big race. His firm, Meyer and Drake, of Los Angeles, designed and built the engine.
Here’s how the bright red boxes send the right engines to the right place —in less than a minute.
LAST year New York citizens turned in more than 60,000 fire alarms. Yet probably not one out of a thousand of those who pulled alarm boxes had any idea of the complicated mechanisms, electronic devices, and human activity he set in motion to start fire equipment rolling within 40 seconds.
Shelf Swings Down. For installation over a conventional closet shelf, this auxiliary ledge can be pulled forward and downward so you can reach it, as shown in inset above. Space Saver Industries, of Detroit, sells cadmium-plated shelf hinges and a handle, which are screwed to a 10-inch board.
EVER since talkies made the movie directors give up their megaphones for shouting stage directions, they’ve been longing to get them back. Now two Paramount Pictures sound engineers have developed a 1950-model “megaphone” that lets a director prompt actors—yet keeps his cues out of the sound track.
If you store children’s socks and stockings in egg cartons, you can tell at a glance how many pairs are clean and ready for use. Cut the cover off the carton first. For efficient protection against moths, drill three holes in your wooden coat hangers and place a moth ball in each hole.
A heat treatment teaches Mr. Pennypincher that you can’t be tight when it comes to brakes.
Jerry Makes a Proposition
They’d Just Been Checked
No Leaks and No Air
Freezing Isn’t the Answer
Brake Fluid on the Hot Plate
New Engine for Dodge Trucks
Homemade Jet Propels Auto
Silas Boils Easily
The Vapor Vanishes
Hydraulic Ram Straightens Damaged Car Frames
SERGEANT Jerry Corcoran sat on his motorcycle parked just off the hilly main highway from the north where it crosses what we townspeople call “the outer road.” He had just about decided it was time to go to a call box up the hill and make his afternoon report to the state police barracks.
Stopping a Radiator Leak. When a leak developed in one cell of his honeycomb type of radiator, Joseph C. Cappetta, New Haven, Conn., stopped it as shown. The brass pin must be longer than the depth of the cell. The rubber washers seal the leak.
YOUR car was designed and built primarily to haul passengers, not to tow a heavy trailer coach. That it can and will do the towing job too is an extra dividend tossed in your lap. But as the car stands, it’s not ready for the job. You must take up where the designers left off.
For Solid Comfort Build This Magazine and Smoking Stand
Drying Reel for Fishing Line Clamps to Rod
Magnet Latches Cabinet Door
Doorstop Has Spring Cushion
WITH this stand beside your easy chair, both your smokes and favorite magazines are within an arm’s length. It’s built of clear white pine, stained and waxed. You have your choice of joints—rabbet, miter, or butt—held together with dowels and glue.
MANY a craftsman has been prevented from making ceramics by the cost of a high-temperature kiln. But nowadays you can get synthetic clays that can be “fired” or matured in a kitchen oven at temperatures from 150° to 300°. There is no odor, and the use of a kitchen oven for this purpose is not dangerous.
MOTHER will be proud to receive either one of these gifts—the coffee table with mirror top or the gleaming aluminum tray with polished hardwood handles. Both are simple projects. Table. Dimensions of the top depend on the mirror—in this case an inexpensive 14" by 20" size.
AS THRILLING a craft material as acrylic plastic is, it’s doubly so when used for out-of-the-ordinary projects like these. The lighter above demonstrates a new technique in sealing photo cutouts into acrylic objects. Below is a vanity-table accessory that will strikingly display your skill in internal carving.
IF YOU’RE tired of emptying wastebaskets by the handful, you’ll appreciate the cleanliness and convenience of this basket. It looks like any other handsome waste receiver, but the sliding bottom pushes the contents out in a jiffy. The basket shown, built of stock-size lumber, is convenient for most rooms.
HERE’S a rugged, good-looking table that’s a little bit different from the usual cocktail table. It’s made of clear white pine, stained, and given three coats of wax. The top is glued up to get the proper width. There’s a half-lap joint where the legs cross.
EVER need a glass disk—for a circular picture frame, instrument dial, or perhaps a flashlight lens? With this simple, inexpensive tool you can make such cutouts. You can use it with the pipe bracket shown above, or you can chuck it in a drill press.
If the siren sound of a circular saw or the thump of a jigsaw makes your shop a nuisance, here’s what you can do.
Basement Easiest to Soundproof
Retrieves Snagged Plugs
Nylon Reinforces Plane Wings
Family Wash Hangs High on Junked Auto Parts
Arthur C. Miller
DOES your family complain when you run your bench saw late at night? Have you been kept from enjoying your shop by someone’s illness? Or are you getting along without power tools because you live in an apartment and don’t want to annoy the neighbors?
IT’S HARD to work up a sweat with this mower, but mighty easy to trim your lawn. With a motor spinning the cutting reel, pushing the mower where the grass grows greenest is as easy as taking a stroll. The electric motor is pivot-mounted on the front tie bar.
DOES your home have what the realestate agents glibly call an “expansion attic”? Poorly lighted and ventilated by undersized windows at each end? Adding a peaked-roof dormer to put an extra bedroom, den, or playroom into that attic space is likely to be difficult and expensive.
WITH a magnetic broom, you can quickly recover bolts, washers, tools, and other bits of ferrous metal from hard-toreach places. It can be used, also, to separate iron or steel from nonmagnetic material, and to pick up and carry small parts. This battery-powered model, which can be made in an evening, is better for these jobs than permanent-magnet rigs, since it can be shut off to permit easy removal of filings and scrap.
FOR a summer cabin or hunting camp, a lamp like this one is more appropriate than one with a frilly shade. I used an old brakeman’s lantern and a second-hand bridgelamp stand. First remove the wick and oil reservoir from the lantern, then cut the bottom out.
SOON after Paul E. Matous completed his $50 tractor, a friend’s automobile got stuck in the mud. “As a gag, he yelled to me to come and pull him out,” says Matous, a building contractor at Orangeburg, N. Y. “He thought I couldn’t possibly move the car.”
A GOOD-LOOKING fence helps make a house a home. But the fence must suit the house. Look these over - and those on the next two pages-before you roll up your sleeves. To forestall rotting, always creosote the bottom offence posts, whether they are set in soil or masonry.
Put together in a few minutes, this wiggler indicator does a good job of centering punch marks on work in the four-jaw or on a faceplate. The needle is 1/8 drill rod, ground to a 60° point at one end and a long taper at the other. A collar with a convex face is driven on, this face away from the point.
WHICH of these three pictures is the best photo for Mother’s Day? All three were taken by W. W. Morris, POPULAR SCIENCE chief photographer. One illustrates many of the mistakes amateurs often make. Another focuses the attention in the wrong way for the occasion.
NO JOINT surpasses the dovetail in strength and reliability. Named for its resemblance to the spreading tail of a dove, it consists of a wedge-shaped pin locked in a socket. Such a joint has rigid strength independent of the holding power of glue.
RUNNING ice water sounds de luxe—and it is. It’s also one of the most economical luxuries you can name. You save all around when you draw cold water from a tap without opening the refrigerator door: • You save water: No need to run it till it gets cold.
Junior Tractor for Junior. Ross W. MaY, of Acampo, Calif., built this half size model of a tractor for his son. It's the spittin' image of the real thing. A 1¾-hp. Briggs and Stratton engine supplies the power. The transmission is a two-speed one taken from a motor scooter.
This push-pull stage can be hooked to any receiver. It by-passes the tiny speaker, takes advantage of set's FM sound.
PULLING pictures out of the air seems to have dulled the ears of many Americans to the sound accompanying those pictures. If you look inside a table-model teleset, you'll probably see a 3to 5-inch loudspeaker fed by a single output tube-just about what you'd get in a cheap AC-DC radio
WANT to direct visitors to your house without once gesturing or saying "You can't miss it"? Give them a photo-print map made from a carbon-paper negative. The essential gimmick is a fresh sheet of one-shot carbon paper, the kind used in sales books.
They make big holes—round or rectangular—out of little ones•
Enlarges TV Pix on Demand
Screwdriver Pulls Tight Tubes
Double Twist Improves Stylus
The Height of Ingenuity
ONCE you graduate from the breadboard stage of radio building you sometimes run into metal-working problems that are tougher and more time-consuming than the wiring itself. The job of cutting holes in a chassis to take tube sockets, filter condensers, transformers, meters and the like can be a poser if your shop lacks an important yet simple piece of radio-making equipment.
Everybody has his own pet idea of some gadget he would like to see in general use. What is YOURS? Popular Science will pay $5.00 for each one published. Use government postcards only. Contributions cannot be acknowledged or returned. Fishing-tackle box with a built-in, doubleended flashlight.
Cutting down the box makes a bulky piano as attractive as a spinet in a modern living room.
Tool Digs, Covers Furrows
Portable Sprinkler System
OLD upright pianos often have better tones—and cost much less—than small spinet-style ones. If you’re handy with tools, you can reduce the bulk of an old piano and make it look as attractive in your living room as a new model. And you don’t have to tamper with the action of the piano.
IF YOU’VE accumulated a number of old bundle grips, here are a few ways you can put them to use. The container for needles or pins is made by cutting off a section of the tube and gluing a piece of dowel in it to form a cap. The skipping rope is made by gluing the rope in the handles.
SIX wooden boxes, an equal number of 6-foot bamboo poles, and a roll of tropical matting provide the materials for this bookcase. The tools you need are a hammer, scissors, saw, and drill. Use a fine-toothed saw to cut the bamboo. A hacksaw will do.
Surprising even to farmers is the finding of a recent U. S. Dept, of Agriculture survey that one out of four farms in the country has a trailer. Nearly half have either a truck or a trailer. These carry 45 percent of all farm tonnage to market. Another 30 percent is hauled by hired equipment; 22 percent, on buyers’ equipment.
THE U. S. Army has many 16-mm. sound films available for nonprofit, nontheatrical, educational screenings. The following titles are among those that may be borrowed from your nearest Army Area headquarters. Previous issues of PS have listed films from the Navy and Air Force
BUILD A BUNKROOM REMODEL THE ATTIC with the WESTERN PINES
Kit Modernizes Old Lamps
Auto Fuel Pump Bails Bilge
Machine Makes Cement Blocks
Cast Iron Bends and Twists
How Old Is Sandpaper?
Tipped File Saves Fingers
Drill Runs Hodge Trimmer
Tipless Porter Lugs Luggage
Rugged, he-man quarters for your young buckeroos are a cinch to build with colorful, easy-to-work Western Pines*. Or turn an idle attic into a cozy and hospitable guest room by building double-deck beds of these attractive, economical woods.
These clamps, made by the Robert J. Kelly Mfg. Co., Waterford, Conn., can be quickly snapped on or off work. After the spindle is adjusted for the approximate thickness of the work, the clamp is slipped into place and the locking arm closed. The holding force is 600 lb. Prices range from $2.50 to $3.95, depending on the size of the clamp. The company also makes a welding c1amp that has an undercut, removable spindle and a copper welding shroud.
J. Kelly Mfg. Co.
Electric Paint Remover.
Heat from a resistance element in the blade of this tool blisters and softens old paint so it may be peeled off as you push the tool back and forth. It operates on 115-volt AC or DC, weighs ¾ lb., has an 8' cord, and is 12" overall. The maker is Lectro Weld, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio. The tool removes old paint down to the bare wood in one operation but will not scorch the surface of the work. Price is about $5.
J. Kelly Mfg. Co.
Variable Speed Changer
With the Vari-Speed Jr. you can change speeds on workshop tools without stopping the machine. Turning the handwheel moves the motor forward or backward. This causes the belt to ride in or out on the two conefaced disks on the motor shaft, changing the effective pulley diameter and therefore the speed. One disk moves laterally under spring tension as the belt rides in or out. Reeves Pulley Company, of Columbus, Ind., makes the unit to fit motors from 1/8 to 1½ hp.
J. Kelly Mfg. Co.
The end of the Cope-Saw is used to drill through wood, plastic, or sheet metal. Then the inner part of the bit is pressed sideways against the hole, sawing along the stock in any direction. The International Twist Drill Corp., of Kansas City, Mo., sells the tool, which is made of high-speed steel. It fits any standard drill press or ¼ electric drill.
J. Kelly Mfg. Co.
Tool Drills Glass
This hand drill for glass, plus a bottle ot cutting fluid, is sold for $1.90 by the Smith Engineering and Tool Co., of Glen Ridge, N. J. In use, the tool is held as you'd hold a screwdriver. You twist it back and forth, using light pressure and applying cutting fluid as needed. The tool also is available without the handle so it can be chucked in a drill. It comes in four sizes-8/1", ¼", 3/8", and ½". The tool also will drill tile. When used in a power tool, the slowest speed is recommended.
J. Kelly Mfg. Co.
Here's a sim pie gauge to measure the pitch of screw threads from 8 to 48 t.p.i. You press the screw on the grooves and move it along until the pitch of the grooves coincides with the pitch of the screw. The screw drops into engagement with the gauge grooves at that point, indicating the number of threads per inch. The tool is priced at $1.50 by the O-Vee Spring Gauge Co., of Los Angeles. These wet grindstones have a constant rim speed even after the wheel wears down with use. A self-adjusting friction roller drives against the rim of the wheel, increasing its speed as the wheel wears, so that a rim speed of 280' per minute is maintained. The Boice-Crane Company, Toledo. Ohio, is the maker. One model has two grindstones—one coarse and the other fine—driven by a single motor. The hand-operated model is for field use.
NEWBORN ELEMENT. University of California scientists, who only recently announced discovery of berkelium, element No. 97 (PS, March, '50, p. 298), have now discovered element No. 98. They propose to name it "californium," in honor of the university and state.