Wednesday, 17 March 2010

DIY Mad Scientist Chalkboard

What does every mad scientist share in common? I can't believe it's been overlooked for so many years... everyone's always trying to say that it's the folds in their brains, or intense academic upbringing. But after long, hard, extremely rigorous research... :-) I have concluded... that every mad, brilliant scientist has one thing in common:

They own chalkboards.

I hate whiteboards. They're horrible, they're a strain on my eyes, and they reflect fluorescent light in conference rooms and class rooms, blinding me, and making me want to look elsewhere, and that's defeating the purpose of having a collaborative, large writing surface.

So I decided to do something about it, and I looked around online for how to buy large chalkboards to replace the whiteboards, but they're way too expensive, so I decided to make my own...

Step 1: Buy wood

I found these nice square sheets at home depot. They're about a quarter inch thick, and are artificial:

Step 2: Get Tools and Primer

First, I got a kit of brushes and rollers:

And then I got Latex based primer, and Kilz odorless primer:

Step 3: Apply 2 Coats of Primer

This was actually a bit tricky. The trick is to let the latex sit over night, and also the basic trick is to make sure you're using latex. The reason is that the latex fills the holes and pores in the wood. One coat covers the basic pores, but the grain shows through. The second coat covers the grain of the wood as well, making it ready for the blackboard paint.

Step 4: Get Blackboard Paint

I bought Rust-oleum blackboard paint, because that's what they had at Home Depot. I'm sure there are many other types of paints out there, but I didn't really feel like testing them all out this time, so I went with the easiest solution:

Step 5: Apply 2 Coats of Blackboard Paint

I did this for a total of 4 blackboards :-) I also let this sit overnight, which naturally meant that it took 3 days from start to finish for me to have nice blackboards...

Step 6: Write Genius Equations

Naturally, I found that as soon as I had chalk in my hand, ideas started to flow like wine from the fountains of gods and goddesses...

That, or I just looked these up from my old physics notes to make it seem like I'm smart :-)

The point is, they look infinitely better on a blackboard than on a white board!

And here's me writing on the surface, after erasing a few times, and brainstorming about how to make the crash test sensor car with Justin:

I uploaded the other pictures up over at my flickr photostream...


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