The 2013 Deconstruction Awards

posted by: on March 7, 2013


After a round of voting by participating teams, a diverse panel of over 30 judges, and a 19 hour consultation with a world-renowned psychic’s one-eyed cat…we are now ready to announce the 2013 Deconstruction Awards.    Drum roll please.

-The Deconstruction Award:  Judging for this award is based on a combination of overall concept and creative repurposing of objects and ideas. (This is the award for the Full Spectrum 40W Hobby Laser)

LI4E And Urban Conga



-The Deconstruction “Awesomeness” Award:  This award is given to the most fun, amazing, inspiring, and just makes you happy entry. “Awesomeness” cannot be defined, but you always know it when you see it.  This is the “make the world a more fun place award”. (This is also the award for the world famous Deconstruction trophy, which recently recently caught fire, but is doing much better now)

North Street Labs 



-The Deconstruction “Student Award”: Given to a team of students who best use teamwork, and collaborative problem solving skills during the 48 hours. This is the “you give us all a lot of hope for the future award”

The Carrots of Patagonia  



-The Deconstruction “ Problem Solving” Award: This award is given to the team who best isolates a real problem and deconstructs a real solution to that problem.   This is the “make the world a better place award”.

The Experimentalists  



-The Deconstruction “Best in Internets” Award:  This award is given  to the team who produces the most fun and entertaining 48-hour live stream during their build.   Costumes, karaoke, jousting, streaming kitten cam. This is the “make the internet a better place award”.

The Bedroom Laboratory



 -“The Deconstruction on Instructables Award”:  This award is given to the team who participated in the Deconstruction and created an Instructable, demonstrating what they made step-by-step, and how others can make one too.

 The Carrots Of Patagonia  –  Read their really great Instructable here 



-“Best Marriage Proposal”:  This is a new category we created to celebrate one of the more romantic moments in maker history. Congratulations you two!

Team Midnight Invention 



We will be announcing a second round of (really fun) awards soon.  Again many thanks to everyone who participated in the event.  You’re all winners in the game of making the world a little awesomer-er .




Rabbit Hole – Post Script

Rabbit Hole

posted by: on March 1, 2013

We’re still cleaning up the Rabbit Hole from all of the excitement – and thanks to inspiration from The Deconstruction, we’re actually reverse engineering the circuit of one of the projects (Solar Lantern) for a Learning-to-Solder class we’re hoping to host in the upcoming future:

Solar  Lantern2

The fun never stops!!

The group also agrees that the Recyclotron would be much improved with a laser….in whatever form it comes ;)

DRAFT Vagines Sans Frontier – CLAM JAM '99: a Deconstruction of Hopper's 'Nighthawks'

Vagines Sans Frontiers

posted by: on February 27, 2013

This is our first draft of “Clam Jam ’99: a deconstruction of Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks.'” It’s only about half of the full length and still needs tweaking…but we wanted to give our fellow Deconstruction teams an idea of our work and participate in the sharing aspect of this event. We hope to be completely edited in the next few days and will post on Vimeo.
Thanks for watching.

Here is the link:

Finally Video and Instructable !

Yeah !

We edited our video and it’s now available on YouTube (did I mention we won the “Best use of the Kinks award” and “Best use of sugar cube award” ?)

We also wrote an instructable to let you know some tips & tricks about making Rube Goldberg Machines :

We had a lot of fun participating The Deconstruction and we wanted to thank all the organizers. Thank you for this awesome atmosphere that made anything possible !

The Deconstruction 2013 Submission

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North Street Labs has done it again! We took old and broken equipment that was passed along as trash and transformed it into something loud, ridiculous, and fun.  In the very first worldwide Deconstruction event, the mad scientists at North Street Labs have created the TriFly; a propeller driven, reverse trike in only 48 hours.  Check out the link below to see it in action

We had 48 hours to make something for “The Deconstruction 2013.”  For our build, we took junked items apart and transformed them into something fun and awe inspiring!  The end result is The TriFly, a 3 wheel electric propeller driven land vehicle!

Basic build details:

  1. 20 HP (continuous) 72v neodymium motor
  2. 36×12 cheapo mass produced beechwood hobby propeller.  Wish we could have got larger!
  3. 2 junked golf carts kindly donated from ODU.
  4. Ultra powerful demonic red projector LED’s from a scrapped theater projectors
  5. speaker housing for mounting lights
  6. Glass shower knob adapted to throttle
  7. “Racing” Ford Bronco bench seat practically given away on Craigslist
  8. We custom machined adapters with our metal lathe to mount the atypical motor to the propeller
  9. 2.22 kWh 74v nominal LIPO battery pack, 400A controller
  10. Old 4 AWG car stereo wiring and distribution blocks from highschool a decade ago
  11. Probably a lot more we are forgetting, we are still recovering!








These parts were aligned by custom machining an adapter of varying diameter down the shaft to perfectly center the pieces so it could be drilled out perfectly.




Loading it on the truck after the build!


Battery Chaos.  30 5AH 14.8v nominal packs in combination series & parallel.  2.2kWh of fury.


Demonic front end.

IMG_2874 DSC00099

CNC machined an aluminum disk for the prop.


Grunt work from random helpers!


Cheap prop balancing tool.


Fabricating things up.  These seats caught fire about 9 times during the process of welding around it.



George Norris adding some character


Welded together our own hardware for prop mounting because nothing was available to fit our needs locally within our time constraints!


Thanks for reading!

Be Careful!

Wheelchair controller joystick interface

The FABricators

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Deconstructing an electric wheelchair to use as our robot platform worked really well.  It saved us a lot of time because it already solves many of the hard problems associated with building a robust outdoor robot.

In order to interface with the wheelchair’s controller, we replaced the signals generated by the joystick with our own signals generated by an arduino.

The wheelchair’s joystick has some interesting features to improve safety which make it more difficult to interface with.  For one, each axis of movement has a pair of differential voltage signals.  When idle, each reads 2.5v but when the joystick is moved, the voltage on one signal goes up while the other goes down.  Also, the minimum and maximum voltage for each signal are not 0v to 5v but instead are 1v to 4v.  Both of these features enable the wheelchair controller to detect a broken or shorted wire so that it can produce an error rather than send the rider off in some undesired direction.

Once we understood how the joystick signals behaved, we designed a setup to reproduce them with our own controller.  We used 4 PWM outputs on an arduino and a custom RC low pass filter board to implement our interface.  If we had used an inverter as part of the low pass filter circuit to generate the differential voltage pairs, we could have just used 2 PWM outputs but there was no need to in our case.

Here are the eagle files we used for the board.

joystick drive PCB