HackSpace mag takes safety seriously, which is why whenever we include a box in a how-to marked Danger, Warning, or similar, you should pay attention. Colin has a few nuggets of safety advice for us all.
“It’s only dangerous once you’ve messed up… Jet bikes and stuff are alright as long as they don’t break, but that’s true of a lot of things. If they don’t break, you’re fine. The dodgem, the scooter, the fast vehicles, everything’s OK as long as it’s upright and going in the direction you intend it to.
“The real dangerous ones are things like the 360-degree swing, because if you fall off it, it’s not so much the fall you’ve got to worry about; it’s because there’s a counterweight on the other side of the swing. That’s going to come swinging down to the ground pretty fast, and there’s no way you’d stop that. If that hit you, I don’t know whether it would kill you, but it’s a 25 kg tub of water swinging down. Not only have you got to land properly, you’ve got to get the bloody hell out of the way as well. I’ve never fallen off it. And I’ve never felt like I was going to fall off it, but I suppose you could.
“The hover bike was pretty dangerous. I had a polycarbonate shield around my legs. Obviously, if one of the props or something let go, that would deflect it from going straight, but they could still flick up bits and bobs, and obviously the thing could tip upside down.”
Just as dangerous, in a different way, is the shredder Colin’s just built. “They’re fascinating machines, the way they crush stuff up. The big ones obviously that they chuck cars into, they’re incredible really. You kind of do wonder whether everyone should have one, because it’s a great way of reducing waste down from a large amount to a small amount.
“The problem is that you’d also have loads of people getting stuff stuck in it. Plenty of people have asked me why it doesn’t have an automatic switch, so that when you put the letter up to it, it automatically turns on. I’m like, ‘nah, I want to be able to have my hand on a switch just in case.’ It’s on the back of my garage door and it’s staying there; it’s not plugged in just in case, because when [ my son ] goes outside he can probably reach the button for it. That just sends shivers down me, the thought of coming outside and your kid’s got his hand pulled through it, because that would be it, a hand gone, you’re not going to be able to rebuild that. Things like that could give you nightmares, but you know… just don’t put your hand in it! [laughs]. That’s my answer to it. And if you do, let go of the switch.”
For the complete behind-the-scenes look a Colin's work and 132 pages of inspiration, tips and guides on making, check out HackSpace magazine issue 15 available to download for free or buy in print from https://hsmag.cc/issue15