Small ballista, about 14" long, I made when I was 13 or so. I made a few catapults around that age. The first was an onager about 8" tall. The second was a trebuchet shortly after, about 20 feet tall with 2 - 4 60 lb sandbags for weight. Sadly there are no pictures surviving. I really did build it myself, sort of designing it as I went with suggestions from dad. I knit the sling pouch for it with big wooden knitting needles I made from dowels. The fulcrums were two 2" steel pipes. We shot apples and potatoes down the hill where we lived.
This ballista was made after the trebuchet; I was 14 or so. The release mechanism is an artifact from the welding phase of my life.
Dad let me make deck balustrades on the clock so I could save up for a Victor oxy/acetylene rig I really wanted. In my memory it was all kinds of difficult once I got it. All I knew was how to weld from taking a class. I didn't know where to get metal or how to cut metal without the torch, and I didn't have money to spend. Dad bought me some hot rolled steel once the threat of me going after "Free Scrap Metal" offers on Craigslist was real enough. Nobody I knew had much knowledge on the subject of metalwork, so I spent a bunch of time on the Hobart Weld Talk forum. Sorry guys.
Regardless of the situation, I loved being under the helmet. I used that oxy/acetylene set-up sporadically till I was 16, when I took some more welding classes for FCAW structural welding and aluminum welding. I did GTAW for robotics in high school, and applied to several welding jobs for the summer. I ended up in a machine shop doing GTAW now and then, my favorite part of the job. I haven't welded since due to my illness, but I might still do welding outside with SMAW/oxy-acetylene if I find a need.
Below is a number I cut out of 1/8" sheet with the torch, the same sheet I made everything else out of.
And a duct tape dispenser. I sold duct tape wallets in middle school for something like $4 each. I needed to increase the efficiency of my operation so I made this. It worked well, although the blade screwed onto the front cut me a few times.
I made this moped thing in 4th grade or so, digging through dad's hardware drawers. The allure of metal was strong apparently. The wheels do spin.
A working wooden lock and key I made from instructions in a library book. Fifth grade or so?
A big clothespin I made around the same time. It works! I think coiling the spring inspired me to make chainmail. I made two coifs around 7th grade, but have no pictures.
This was made when I was ~16, but I thought I should include it:
A little set of finger jointed fir drawers done on commission. 13" w x 2.75" h x 6" d. I made the brass knobs. Joinery is tight, I don't think I could have done better. Finish is alright, I learned a little this time. Not bad though.
Below are some fir shelf supports, made from what was sitting in the firewood pile. Just linseed oil for the finish. Turns out I don't actually need them, so I will sell the set of four for $35 + ship if anyone's interested. The joinery is good but the finish is lacking so they don't get a maker mark. I still think they're nice.
A business card holder done on commission. This took five weeks of engineering and eight hundred sixty eight prototypes. The card angle was optimized for high contrast and a gentle color balance at its operating latitude, compensating for desk height and average humidity.
The original plastic timer knob cracked. The shaft coming out of the timer is an unusual 3/16" diameter D-profile. Instead of buying another one that would crack in three years, I machined one of white delrin. Stainless setscrew.
Below is a picture of the second operation on the drawer knobs. They will be installed soon.
And some machining-area ventilation I rigged together. The air is still in the basement, which does not go well with machining and tool repair. If I open the door the air blows inwards along with mosquitoes. This is the solution:
Here is a pretty humble V-block made mostly with hacksaw and file. It holds 1/4" shank boring tools in the Taig toolpost at the correct elevation.