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I suggested this in chat

"We should start a series of challenge questions on the site. give a list of random materials, and see what people can make with them.".

And @Aarthi Devanathan Ψ suggested we do it on the blog , and also offered to help fund a prize. So all we need now is a list of random materials. I figured I would ask here on meta for suggestions, and let the community vote for the junk that will be used. I'm thinking top 3-4 items will be good.

So to make this work, please enter one thing (2x4, bucket, coffee can, duct tape, whatever) per answer and up-vote the ones you like.

In about two weeks (or whenever we secure a prize) I'll post a blog entry defining the challenge, and I'll use the top voted items from this question as the Bill Of Materials.

  • We also need to define: How long the contest will run (start Date, End Date), how entries will be submitted, and the best way to choose a winner. – Tester101 Oct 7 '11 at 16:55
  • How broadly can we define "materials"? – The Evil Greebo Oct 7 '11 at 16:58
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    This sounds like a great idea, something to have fun with. I like it! – Rebecca Chernoff Oct 7 '11 at 17:06
  • @TheEvilGreebo I was sort of thinking it should be like a recycle type of thing, so things that are "garbage" (coffee cans, milk jugs, etc) would be good. But basically anything that is legal, easily obtained, and relatively cheap would be great. – Tester101 Oct 7 '11 at 17:10
  • Cool. Any limit on # of answers per user? – The Evil Greebo Oct 7 '11 at 17:14
  • @theevilgreebo nope, answer as many times as you like, the items will be selected based on votes. – Tester101 Oct 7 '11 at 17:17
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    wouldn't it be better to post practical, actual DIY problems? maybe ones you solved yourself, but are looking for different alternatives? – Jeff Atwood Oct 8 '11 at 2:21
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    @JeffAtwood I think it might be more fun to leave it open, and see what types of contraptions people can build. I wouldn't want it to turn into a "How can you jerry-rig this using only these things". The site is about doing things right and building within codes, so I don't think we should reward people for hacked solutions. – Tester101 Oct 8 '11 at 20:55
  • the underlying goal of this "challenge", is to show people that stuff they would normally toss in the trash can be repurposed and become useful again. – Tester101 Oct 8 '11 at 20:58
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    I'm not sure doing a nonsense Rub Goldberg contest is really in the spirit of home improvement. it may be fun, but how does this help promote serious use of this site? – shirlock homes Oct 17 '11 at 22:58
  • I have been away from the site for the last month or so renovating two houses at once, bit stressed, but would like to think about this a bit. Leaning towards challenging folks to create realistic solutions to common projects. maybe put out a list of materials and ask what they were used to create? Lots of smart folks on this site, I bet we can come up with something fun and informative at the same time. – shirlock homes Oct 17 '11 at 23:05
  • @shirlockhomes As I mentioned, the spirit of the challenge would be to reduce waste and reuse non standard items in an interesting way. I agree the idea could use a bit more polishing, maybe we could all discuss it more during the project update chat on Thursday. – Tester101 Oct 18 '11 at 10:50
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Milk Crate

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Duct tape:

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A single 8' stick of 3/4" CPVC

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    All we need is a funnel, and we could make super long beer bongs. – Tester101 Oct 7 '11 at 17:04
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    makes a great bottle rocket launcher when cut into 12" pieces and mounted into a 2X8 – shirlock homes Oct 17 '11 at 23:08
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Six pennies

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  • Do they have to be American pennies? – Chris Cudmore Nov 18 '11 at 15:57
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Door hinge:

enter image description here

  • Does that include hardware (screws), or just the hinge? – Tester101 Oct 13 '11 at 21:42
  • Hmm, I think we should include the 6 screws, but at least 3 have to be used on the hinge. Thoughts? – BMitch Oct 13 '11 at 21:52
  • I was thinking that maybe projects could include other materials, but had to "feature" the selected items. So, in that case it would't matter either way. Bonus points for people that use only the selected items. Still need help defining the challenge, so any suggestions are welcome. – Tester101 Oct 13 '11 at 21:57
  • Well, if duct tape is included, I'm having a hard time thinking of things you couldn't make. :) – BMitch Oct 13 '11 at 21:59

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