A few weeks back, we did a show on garage inventors and DIY culture, and that meant spending the first half of the show hanging out in the backyard shop of inventor Ben Krasnow, a man whose list of garage creations includes homemade Pop Rocks, an ice cream freeze drier, a keyboard that can be played inside of an MRI machine and what we think is the first ever home-built scanning electron microscope. (You can hear the podcast here.)
Want to know what all of that stuff looked like? Well, come along for the ride! First of all, meet Ben Krasnow. Here’s the inventor in his natural environment, a classic DeLorean.
Just kidding. That’s a real DeLorean, but all know that the natural environment of the inventor is here…
… in the garage. This is Ben working at his lab bench on a project that involves putting an LED into a contact lens.
And here’s the rest of that garage, 850 square feet, nearly as big as his house next door. You’re looking straight through from the door to the back of the shop, where there’s an array of cutting and sanding devices. To the left, you can just see the welding and table saw set ups. Near the front right, what looks like an ordinary desk lamp is actually the top of a partially-dismantled homemade freeze dried ice cream rig. (It wasn’t operational when we saw it, so we don’t have any pictures of it in action.) And in the lower left, that’s the scanning electron microscope.
Here’s a larger shot of the scanning electron microscope in all of its B movie glory:
And a close up of the bell jar on top:
The rest of the garage was an eclectic mix of projects in various stages of completion and neatly arranged tools and supplies. For example, Ben has the only at-home ceiling-mounted packing peanut dispenser we have ever seen. (Sorry, not pictured, I was too awestruck.) Need a vise or two?
Or some hardware?
Now one of the parts of the tour that didn’t make it into the show (for timing reasons — we needed to leave some room for the most excellent interview with Jack Hitt!) was walk we took through the interior of Ben’s actual house, which, of course, he’d hacked to make into the perfect inventor’s hangout.
Like, for example, what if you want a nice cold drink while you are watching TV, but don’t want to have to get up to go to the kitchen? Then you would enjoy this refrigerated end table! Take the lamp off, flip up the top, and grab a cool drink from the interior.
Or what if you’re having some friends over for dinner and don’t want to have to leave the table to serve everyone another round of beers? No problem, use the beer tap installed in the dining room wall!
And is it hard to feed the cat while you’re out of town? Then just invent an automatic cat feeder! (Partially pictured: cat. Not pictured: Hidden channel cut into wall that allows cat to access a litterbox inside a closet, thereby keeping litterbox smell out of the rest of the house.)
Now we know what you’re wondering: did Ben invent a flux capacitor for his DeLorean? Well, yes! Or, at least, it had this where the flux capacitor should be:
That’s it — thanks for coming along on an other photo tour. You can hear the podcast here, and don’t forget to stay in touch! Please help spread the word about The Field Trip Podcast by liking us on Facebook or following @FieldTripLog on Twitter. You can also subscribe (free) to us on iTunes to automatically get downloads of future episodes.