JUNKies: Beer Fridge Build

by on Oct.16, 2011, under technoPHILE

After enjoying major success with his Beer Fridge in Popular Science, The Graham Norton Show, and on YouTube, I had the good fortune to meet Ryan Rusnak and found he was also living in NOVA (that’s Northern Virginia, to all you SOVA’s, and others). He was approached by the production company for JUNKies which was airing on The Science Channel. They wanted a beer fridge, but bigger and better. Ryan was kind enough to ask Jay@TheCapacity and I if we wanted to help prep/prototype a build he would be doing at Jimmy’s Junkyard for the show. We were happy to oblige!

Premiere: Thursday, September 8 at 10PM e/p
At Jimmy’s Junk two inventors need help turning a fridge into a beer launcher, and Hale lands himself in hot water. Later a high school class’s hopes may go crashing into a watery grave when they ask Jimmy to come up with an engine for their hovercraft.


Cutting metal for the ramps that will load the cannon

3am the day of filming, Ryan checks the fridge, Jay considers the code.


Here are shots from the airing on The Science Channel. How Ryan and Josh got everything integrated in Jimmy’s Junkyard, and used stuff from the yard to make it work is nothing short of a miracle! I can confirm it involved coding in the car, and one very tired Ryan driving up to New York.

Josh wheels the fridge in while Ryan looks on cautiously.

Jimmy “The Junk Genius” Ruocco

My favorite shot: From my whiteboard, to a build, back to a whiteboard for TV.

Behold the fridge in its glory!

Cannon, ioBridge, and the careful observer will see a Construx piece on the power circuit.

Three brave souls face the firing squad without blindfolds.

Jimmy preparing to fire. Josh is thinking: "Please don't crash, software", and Ryan hoping the PSI is not going to kill Jimmy.

First Launch: Shower time

2nd Launch: Great snag by Ryan Rusnak!

This build was a lot of fun, but reinforces several of lifes important rules:

1- Never send 4 software engineers to do a Mechanical Engineer’s job

2- Never send 4 software engineers to do an Electrical Engineer’s job

3- Whatever your estimates are for working out the motors/mechanical and getting into “just software”: Multiply them by at least 3.14159 (thank “Making things Move” for that observation)

4- When an air cannon with too much PSI goes off at 2am in your neighborhood and sounds like the Horn of Gondor, and nobody complains, you know you’ve got good neighbors (thanks Ken, and Jeff).

5- Building things together is a hell of a lot of fun.

6- Rule 5 is all that matters.

Thanks to Ryan for roping me and Jay@TheCapacity into this build.  My dremmel was collecting dust, and my garage needed to be turned into a lab for a little while.

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