Apr 28 2016

An Important Message From Kilgore Laboratories:

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Feb 22 2016

Simple Science Returns With a Lesson on DC Motors

Simple Science Episode #04: DC Motors

DC motors are all around us. From our computers to smartphones to the clocks on the wall, few electric devices do not contain at least one DC motor. How do they work? Ratticus explores DC motors through a series of experiments and activities that show the complexity and the simplicity of their design. In the end you’ll have a greater appreciation for these often hidden wonders of modern life.

About Ratticus:

Ratticus started performing in 1999 as the lead guitarist of the “Dixieland Possum Band.”  After a break of over ten years, Ratticus has returned with a passion for science education and video.  Inspired by the words of Jules Verne, Ratticus’ vision for science education is to present complex scientific principles in a clear and simplistic format while preserving the awe and wonder inherent to scientific discovery.

Everything great in science and art is simple. What can be less complicated than the greatest discoveries of humanity – gravitation, the compass, the printing press, the steam engine, the electric telegraph?     -Jules Verne

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Feb 8 2016

Simple Science Episode #03: Density

Simple Science #03: Density Proficiency!

In Episode #03 of Simple Science, Ratticus explores the physical characteristic of density through hands-on learning and experimentation. In Activity One, we see the variations in density between several different elements. In Activity Two, Ratticus builds a liquid hourglass to show how liquids with different densities can interact.

Like what you see? Follow Simple Science on Kilgore Laboratories as well as Simple Science at Nerd Squadron!

Jan 25 2016

Simple Science Episode #02: Resistors

Simple Science #02: Join the Resistance!

In Episode #02 of Simple Science, Ratticus returns to explore the world of electronics by studying one of it’s simplest components: the resistor. In Activity One, Ratticus uses a digital-multimeter to measure the resistance of several different types of resistors and makes an interesting discovery about apples. In Activity Two, Ratticus uses a homemade variable resistor to modify a simple tone generator into an electronic instrument.

Like what you see? Follow Simple Science on Kilgore Laboratories as well as Simple Science at Nerd Squadron!

Dec 31 2015

Leaf-Footed Bug

My wife found this little fellow in our bedroom, and I gave it a more dignified funeral than she would have preferred.  Preserved using ethyl acetate and mounted in a prefabricated shadow box with all proper identification.

Dec 25 2015

SCV Medallion Restoration

While metal detecting at one of my wife’s family home sites, I dug up the remains of an old Sons of Confederate Veterans 1928 reunion medallion. I made a silicone mold of it and cast a duplicate for my mother-in-law, the descendant of its original owner. As a Christmas present I, to the best of my ability, replicated the missing parts from clay using a couple of reference pictures I found online. I made a silicone mold of this as well and cast two medallions: one as it was found, and one as if it hadn’t been lost. I tried to replicate the original ribbon using white and gold acrylic paint on a red ribbon. The medallions were painted using several different acrylic paints and washes.

Sep 30 2015

Wooden Plaques

I made these wooden plaques to decorate for the Pumpkin Ball this year. They are standard prefabricated wooden plaques, painted flat-black. I laser printed the patterns on gold paper, then cut and glued them to the plaques.

Sep 19 2015

Preserved Octopus Beak

While visiting New York City with my wife,  we had supper at The Maze. I had the Octopus Terrine, which was neither bad nor good. The highlight of the meal turned out to be finding the octopus’ beak still intact in my supper. I spirited it away in a napkin and salted it until we got back home.  Having no real experience with octopus beak preservation, I opted to completely dry it using salt then lightly oil it using 3-In-One oil. As odd as this procedure sounds, it seems to have worked surprisingly well. There has been no degradation and the beak is still flexible under its tiny bell jar.

Apr 9 2015

Banjo Restoration

I did this project for fun when I found a family member with an old banjo hanging on their wall. The bridge was missing, the hardware was rusty, and the head was busted. I learned a lot about banjo construction and was able to buy all of the replacement parts I needed on Amazon.com. I cleaned the hardware with a wire wheel and applied a light coating of oil. Tuning the head was the hardest part.

Mar 31 2015

Wooden Juice Plunger

A coworker who enjoyed juicing things commissioned me to recreate a plunger for a juicer he bought secondhand. I eagerly accepted the challenge. Using the detailed drawing as to what he thought the dimensions should have been, I turned a relatively precise plunger from what was oak firewood the day before.