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References and Other Inspirational Reading

Electroluminescent Wire ("el wire")

If you live in the bay area, the easiest way to learn how to work with el wire is to take a class at The Crucible.

I buy my el wire from CoolNeon, a playa-friendly business that carries a wide selection of everything you need to create your own el wire art.

Gluhareff Engines

Plans are available from RQ Riley. Even if you never intend on building the engine, their CD-ROM and plans are very nice to look at. After talking to someone who has a real, built-by-Gluharef engine, I think it's probably a waste of time to try and build one of these if you want any sort of thrust out of it. If you want something that makes a lot of heat and light, it's pretty cool, but that's about it.

Web Sites

A few things from my bookmarks file.

Scratchbuilt Genius Types

  • Bruce Campbell's jet engine projects are documented at http://aardvark.co.nz/pjet/. His site is an excellent resource on both pulse-jet engines and how you can never be too careful.
  • Home built turbojet . A good example of something dangerous done very safely by someone who realizes this ain't just building a 1/4 scale steam engine: "It's going to take guts to fire this thing up."
  • Reliant Kitten, Jet Powered. Not much else too say about that idea.

Scale/Model Jet Engines

  • Airtoi, http://www.airtoi.com. Sells various model RC airplane and scale turbine and pulse jet engines.


A bunch of them! I'll put them in in my spare time.

Various People and Groups

  • Seemen. A group of like-minded folks making robotic and kinetic art. Much of their work involves interaction with individual humans and the audience.
  • Survival Research Labs aka "SRL". Heroes of the Revolution, Official National Treasures, and the reason zoning laws exist. They are responsible for some of the most amazing, large-scale machine art I've ever seen in person or on video.
  • A bunch of folk on The Well (http://www.well.com) keep me honest.
  • My girlfiend, Drue, is very glad I have a hobby that keeps me in the garage for hours at a time.


  • Burning Man. A wonderful art festival in the middle of nowhere. Not for everyone -- you have to bring in everything you need to live, you pack out all your trash, and there's nothing for sale save for ice and coffee. If, however, you want to know what it would be like if all everyone got to do was sit around and make art, this is the place to go.
  • Desert Blast. I haven't been, but it looks like fun.

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All original text and images Copyright 2000-2002 J. Eric Townsend.