Dollar Store MacGyver Conference

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Dollar Store MacGyver Conference (D.S.M.C)

After the E.P.I.C. conference at LVL1, the participants were rounded up for another event on April 12, 2013. This event shall hence forth be known as the Dollar Store MacGyver Conference (D.S.M.C.). The conference was designed to test the ingenuity of its participants when constrained by costs and materials. The results are presented here as a warning to those who wish to follow in their footsteps.


The conference's goal was to see what the LVL1 members and visitors could build if trapped in a dollar store. Several members, independently visited local dollar stores and acquired items at random. The items were then stored away from view until the start of the conference. Once the conference attendees were sequestered, the collected materials were dumped on a table and it was a free for all to build.

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Materials Available
  • Pedometers
  • Fans
  • LED lights (stick up, clip on and tea candle)
  • Steel Wool
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Window Alarms
  • Salad Tongs
  • Plastic Containers
  • Yoyos
  • Batteries
  • Laptop Stands
  • Water Squirt Toy
  • Strap and Cables
  • Cap Gun Caps
  • Water/Wet Bead Soil Replacement Weird Stuff
  • Funnel
  • Fish Bowl
  • Water/Spray Bottle
  • Mouse Traps
  • Punching Balloons
  • Rubber Bands
  • Picture Hanging Kit
  • Spikey Ball
  • Toothbrushes
  • DVD


Safety Goggles


When preparing for any build, safety is job one. So how do you build safely when you have stuff/material/debris but no eye protection? You build your eye protection. This safety gear is made from packaging of the items bought. Rubber bands supply the attachment mechanism. The googly eyes add an extra level of safety by protecting the pupils from danger and direct viewing of your work.



All projects at the LVL1 hackerspace involve a fire, whether they meant to or not. This project was designed to show our mastery over one of the four basic elements. The materials in use are steel wool, batteries, popsicle sticks, tape and baking pan. They put batteries together and lit steel wool while using the popsicle sticks as kindling. The controlled test inside lead to outdoor bonfire.

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Put any number of hackers on a project and someone is going to make a weapon. This project spawned a weapon as expected. This project was the most complex. Instead of describing it, I'll post a testimonial from one of the creators:

Had a great time last night! Mike and I made a projectile launcher out of a laptop stand, toothbrushes, popsicle sticks, binder clips, rubber bands, and a strange water toy. We had a successful launch of a creepy pink wet sphere (what were those things anyway?) I'm looking forward to more adventures. :) Sara

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Night hunting is supported by this device.



Once you have weapons, you need soldiers. To satisfy the soldier deficiency, a marionette was created. The marionette consisted of a container for a hat, funnel for a face, tea candles for eyes, spray bottle nozzle for a nose and laptop holder for a body.

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Mouse Trap Car


Transportation was on the mind of one conference attendee as they created a car powered by a mousetrap. The vehicle has wheels consisting of a yoyo and tea candle bases. The body is the mouse trap with binder clips holding the pencil axles.

Salad Tongs for Pacifists


There was controversy. Rumors of DARPA involvement lead one hacker to take the pacifist path and create specialized salad tongs. The tongs have a digital counter made from a pedometer. An alarm was affixed and sounds off when the tongs are open as a indicator of use (think beeping when a vehicle backs ups). Finally, a light was incorporated for those times when salad is retrieved in darkness. A lanyard is included for easy transportation.

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Words can't describe the conference ending, so here are two pictures.

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