Welcome to The Hopeless Hobbyist - random articles on random topics that I find interesting




The Latest Car Camping Gadget

posted Jun 18, 2012, 7:47 PM by William Kranz

I spent a lot of my free time over the winter working on my latest car camping gadget: the fold away wooden camp kitchen.  Its still a work in progress but on the first two trips of the summer its worked out well so far plus its a good conversation piece around the campsite.

Holiday Break Reading

posted Jan 1, 2012, 9:39 PM by William Kranz

Its been a busy year at work but over the holiday break I finally made some time to do a little more reading and update my engineering books list.

The Pile

posted Apr 18, 2011, 8:11 PM by William Kranz

The first spring garden project of the year was a new compost bin for the backyard. The idea was to make something that could be moved around easy and would also blend in with the preexisting raised beds and sandbox.

Version 2.0

posted Jan 16, 2011, 6:49 PM by William Kranz

The Lego collection grew significantly over the holidays so I decided the kids and I need a bigger Lego table. This time around I decided to build in some storage drawers and give it wheels. It took about two weekends worth of my limited free time but the result was exactly what I was hoping for. 

Batteries Be Gone

posted Dec 19, 2010, 9:35 AM by William Kranz

The kids and I have been spending lots of time building Lego trains. Lego's latest train system relies on battery backs built into the train cars which I really don't like. The kids burn through toy powered batteries at a wallet breaking rate.

Lego used to make electrified tracks but discontinued them a few years ago and I didn't want to invest in an obsolete system or the expensive rechargeable battery packs (at least not yet).

I wanted a way to motorize the trains without having to rely on battery packs so I put together a Lego train electric tower.

The tower is ugly but functional and the kids don't seem to mind and it works great with the 9V Lego motor drive I put together previously.

Still on the Lego Kick

posted Nov 6, 2010, 10:17 PM by William Kranz

The kids and I are still on the Lego binge. To save on batteries I decided my next project would be a 9V Lego Motor Drive to power all the various creations we come up with. To complete the enclosure for the power supply I had to "borrow" a few bricks from the kids but I promise I will pay them back...

Lego Mania

posted Oct 30, 2010, 9:50 PM by William Kranz   [ updated Oct 31, 2010, 8:34 AM ]

My kids have discovered Legos, which were/are my all time favorite toy. Their enthusiasm has prompted me to go on an all out lego mania bender. Thus far I have five orders incoming or delivered from brinklink (funding from the sale of my old motorcycle jacket). My obsession seems to be contagious as my kids seem to want to spend every waking hour building Legos in my basement workshop.

To accommodate the new building blocks I decided that me and the kids needed a new table so I set off to the hardware store for supplies...

Story Re-Org

posted Sep 23, 2010, 9:02 PM by William Kranz

I spent a little time organizing the engineering story section. Rather than one big page I split them into a page per story so I can get a better idea of what stories are being read via the google analytics report. Also added some more pictures so its just not all text.

Sea Stories

posted Sep 14, 2010, 9:24 PM by William Kranz

I have started to put together collection of stories that are at least semi-related to engineering.

Many of these stories center around my engineering misfortunes because I think those stories are much more entertaining and instructive than the successes. Also when you do a lot, you screw up a lot so I have lots of that type of material available.


posted Sep 11, 2010, 12:04 PM by William Kranz   [ updated Sep 11, 2010, 5:00 PM ]

I added an engineering section to make the layout of the site a little cleaner. Previously those items were spread throughout the site.

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