Lego Saturn V Rocket

Picture of reading Lego instructions

We finished our Lego Saturn V! Just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

I like to pick projects to do with my kids. Sometimes it’s just a puzzle, and other times it has been Lego. This was one of those projects.

You can find a ton of reviews for this set online, and it seems like I am the last person to complete the set. The reviews are true – it’s a great set, well thought out, and very large. You can even add some lights and sound if you want.

Motivating your family

I have found my kids don’t necessarily want to do something if I ask them. Instead, I have had a lot of luck just starting a project in a common room, and they kind of gather on their own. For instance, I’ll start a puzzle and pretty soon someone shows up. They usually start by asking me what I’m doing. They might make fun of it. Soon they start watching. Then they start helping me. Coincidentally, this also works on my significant other 🙂

How to find one

These sets used to be hard to find, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. If you are having a hard time find this set or another set like it, there are some websites that will alert you when a set is back in stock. In hindsight, I probably could have waited longer for a used set to show up online.

If you are looking to save a little money, you might do well to find a used set. For me, I was only interested in the rocket – I did not care too much about the lunar lander and stand. If I would have waited an extra year I could have saved a lot of money. You might do well to find a set that is missing some of these accessories. At least for me, tracking down missing parts can be part of the fun of constructing a set.

Here are some other Lego projects I have worked on:

Disable the beep on your Mr Coffee

Silencing your Mr Coffee FTX21 (or FTX25) for good

After 9 years, I finally had enough of the loud beeping coming from my Mr Coffee machine. Like most things, it started out small and built up until I couldn’t take it anymore. I often wish these things had a mute button.

During my research, all I was able to find were others complaining about the same problem. This was comforting, but didn’t solve the problem. The following link got me started on the solution I came up with: Disable the obnoxious beeping on a Mr. Coffee, Model JWX27


I thought it might be a clever idea to find the speaker and disable it. The coffee maker could continue going about its business and never make a noise again. I discovered the electronic components (circuit board) are sealed inside the machine. I guess that’s a good idea considering how much moisture it deals with on a daily basis. But it would not help me with my problem.

Working towards the solution

I did not give up. I brewed a few test-cups and listened to determine the location of the speaker inside the unit. My wife walked into the kitchen and saw me with my ear against the coffee maker, and didn’t even flinch. I guess she is used to this behavior by now.

So it’s come to this, MR BOND

After I determined the spot where the speaker was, I drilled a pencil-width hole into that spot. To my luck I discovered there was some space between the outer wall and the circuit board. This allowed me to drill a couple more holes (3 total) to get a better look.

I discovered a circular disc below where I drilled the holes – this was the speaker! While it was beeping, I poked it with a screwdriver and the sound fluctuated with my prodding.

To finish the job, I brewed another test pot and while it was beeping. I carefully pried the disc away from the circuit board until the machine fell silent. No more beeping! I feel both ecstatic and lame at the same time!

You can make out the plastic disc speaker below the surface


My only hope is that this inspires more people to take ownership of their electronics. Also, keep in mind that there are plenty of good coffee machines for sale at your local Goodwill.

I know this is kind of lame, but I think it’s a good example of having the courage to take ownership of our electronics. Drilling a hole to remove a speaker is a lot cheaper than buying a new coffee maker. Buying a new coffee maker so it won’t wake up your entire household is a waste.

Also, keep in mind that there are plenty of good coffee machines available at your local Goodwill. You will spend less money, produce less waste, and help a good cause at the same time.

Downspout water wheel

I built a downspout water wheel for my yard. I did it in my spare time over the course of a few months. There’s not much to tell that a few pictures and videos can’t explain much better.


I was walking my dog around the neighborhood and we got caught in a rainstorm. We waited out the storm on the porch of a grocery store, and I noticed they had this downspout waterfall. I knew I could never afford one as nice as the one they had, but I thought I could put something together that was similar.


My first idea was to build a wheel out of spoons. I attached some 2×4’s to a post for the stand, and made an octagon-shaped piece of wood to hold all the spoons. I found the huge funnel on a website that sold equipment for brewing beer.

Here is a video of my first test:

Final Result

  • I found the bike wheel in front of a house with a free sign
  • The cups are from Goodwill
  • I designed the shelf that holds the funnel to be somewhat adjustable. I wasn’t sure what the correct angles would be once everything was together. This made it very easy to make last minute changes. You can see plenty of clamps holding everything in place.
  • The water pours into a classic-style tin garbage can that came with the house. I painted its interior with bright yellow rust-proof paint. I installed a small nozzle so I could attach a hose to lead the water to a nearby drain pipe.

I must give some credit to my friend for helping me push the project over the finish line. He’s a structural engineer, and helped me build a very stable stand.

It was a neat project. I learned a lot, and I get plenty of compliments from passers by!