Saturday, October 10, 2009

Super Tritone Shop Whistle

Super Tritone Shop Whistle
William Gurstelle | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 10 pgs | 3 mb

Decades ago, whistles were used in
factories, on railroads, and aboard ships.
At noon, whistles of every pitch could be
heard informing workers that lunchtime
had arrived. Railroad engineers used
whistle codes for communication both
within the train and with other trains.

Shoot the Stars

Shoot the Stars
Michael A. Covington | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
Today's digital SLR cameras can easily photo-
graph more stars in the night sky than you can
see - as well as picking up star clusters, nebulae,
and galaxies.

Here's how to shoot the stars with just a camera
and tripod.

Solar Xylophone

Solar Xylophone
Rory Nugent | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 10 pgs | 3 mb
Solar cells gracefully link technology with
the Earth's natural resources, bringing
projects out of the dank, dusty workshop
and giving them a sustainable home with
the plants outside. This autonomous
xylophone uses Solarengine circuits and
pentatonic chimes to play in tune with
that big nuclear power plant in the sky.


Jerome Demers | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 4 pgs | 2 mb
The Beetlebot is a very simple little robot that
avoids obstacles on the floor without using any
silicon chip - not even an op-amp, and certainly
nothing programmable. Two motors propel the
bugbot forward, and when one of its feelers hits
an obstacle, the bot reverses its opposite motor to
rotate around and avoid it. The project uses only
2 switches, 2 motors, and 1 battery holder, and
it costs less than $10 in materials (or free, with
some scrounging).

The Atlatl

The Atlatl
Daryl Hrdlicka | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 4 pgs | 2 mb
Before the bow and arrow there was the atlatl^, or
spear-thrower, an ancient weapon that could throw
a spear or dart with enough force to penetrate a
mammoth's hide. It was used in North America for
about 10.000 years, and used by native Australians
and Aleuts as recently as 50 years ago.

It's easy to make your own atlatl, and throwing
with it is fun and very satisfying. Here's how to make
one in the style of the Kuikuru (kwee-KOO-roo) of
the Amazon Basin, who still use the spear-thrower
today. I'll also explain how to make darts for it, and
how to throw. But never forget that the atlatl is a
weapon. It is dangerous. A dart will go through a side
of beef. So I'll go through some precautions as well.
^Most people say "at-LAT-I," or "AHT-laht-I" but pronuncia-
tions vary. Find one you like, get your friends to pronounce
it the same way, and you'll be right.

Bike Scrounging

Bike Scrounging
Thomas Arey | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
I'm going to venture a guess that many makers' earliest
experiences working with tools and trying to figure
out machines involved a bicycle. Eden today it's the
rare kid who hasn't tried to fix or even modify their
bike. It's one of the reasons I still have great hope
for humanity.

Cycling is good basic transportation, a boon to the
cardiovascular system, and most of all, fun! But have
you ever considered that cycling can also be free?

In the course of the trash picking and dumpster
diving I do to bring these occasional articles to MAKE,
I often run across bicycles left at the curb with other
signs of our society's tendency to toss away what
might be repaired or repurposed.

20-Watt Solar Panel

20-Watt Solar Panel
Parker Jardine | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 8 pgs | 3 mb
The sun is a renewable energy source that's free
and plentiful. Some people power their entire
home with solar energy. A few even sell back the
energy to the electricity grid for a profit.

I decided to start small and built my own solar
panels to supplement my workshop power needs.
Here, I'll explain in detail how to build a 16.5-volt,
20-watt solar panel.

In the next volume of MAKE. I'll show you
how to integrate the solar panel(s) into your
electrical system.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chasing the Godshot

Chasing the Godshot
John Edgar Park | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 4 pgs | 2 mb
Godshot. That's the elusive goal of espresso fanatics
everywhere. Thick with micro-bubble crema and a
velvety mouth-feel, and packing explosive flavor,
the godshot is pulled too infrequently for my liking.
A perfect shot of espresso is the product of many
variables, so anything I can do to lock in one of
those variables is a good thing. Think scientific
method as applied to epresso.

As a home barista, the five factors I worry about
most are: beans, water, grind, dosing, and tamping.

Building the Barrage Garage

Building the Barrage Garage
William Gurstelle| Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 6 pgs | 3 mb

Boombox as Platform

Boombox as Platform
Mister Jalopy | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
The Good Old Days Are Yet To Come

Being a collector of old issues of Popular Mechanics,
Mechanix Illustrated, Modern Mechanics and Invention,
Popular Science, and Science and Mechanics magazines.
I can attest to the awesome breadth of the handy heydays
when every home garage had at least a modest workshop.
But with MAKE magazine as our beacon, I am cuite certain
that we have not yet seen the Maker Golden Age. As the
Internet has connected like-minded individuals and the
availability of intormation has exploded, the real catalyst in
the maker movement is the staggering abundance of
dirt-cheap high technology.


Cy Tymony | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 1 pgs | 1 mb
Have you ever wondered how birds fly or how sailboats can sail into the wind? In the last issue, I showed how to make a flying disc using the Bernoulli principle to generate lift; now let's use the same principle to create a boomerang out of ordinary stuff like cardboard.

Hydraulic Flight Simulator

Hydraulic Flight Simulator
David Simpson | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 4 pgs | 2 mb
One time I saw a desktop gadget filled with
colored liquids that see-saws back and forth, and it
reminded me of the exchange between airspeed
and altitude, aka kinetic and potential energy.
I wanted to put a control stick on that gizmo to show
the cadets I taught, and this inspired me to build a
more complete flight simulator that used colored
water to represent energy. So I created my Hydraulic
Flight Simulator, which models the behavior of fixed-
wing aircraft in flight along the vertical or "pitch" axis.

Boing Box

Boing Box
Mark Frauenfelder | Make Vol. 12- 2007 | Pdf | 1 pgs | 1 mb
A 1951 book called Radio and Television Sound Effects, by Robert B. Turnbull,
shows how to make a "boing box." (It's reprinted at I made a modified boing box using a wooden cigar box and some scraps I had around the house.

Wealth Without Money

Wealth Without Money
Matt Sparkes | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
all over the world, an organization is working to bring the means of
production to the masses. Their motto. "Wealth without money."
implies a political motivation, though they're not socialists, Marxists,
or communists --- they're hardware hackers.

Adrian Bowyer, at Bath University in the U.K., leads the RepRap
project ( to develop a design for a very special
rapid-prototyping machine. The device treads a fine line between
being capable enough to produce complex goods, and simple
enough in design that it can produce its own parts. The result is
a self-replicating machine, with the potential to spread across
the planet at an exponential rate.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tight-Fit Workbench

Tight-Fit Workbench
Todd Lapin | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
It's hard to be a maker if you don't have a good place to do your making. Yet two things often stand in the way of building out a basic home workbench: high cost and limited space.

Industrial-grade fixtures and spiffy garage storage systems cost a pretty penny. Likewise. domestic real estate is a scarce commodity - garages must still be used for parking cars, basements for storing stuff. and utility rooms must shelter washing machines and assorted whatnot.

I faced those constraints and a little more when I set out to build a simple workbench in my narrow garage. To avoid getting in the way of my car, the bench had to be shallow - no more than 2' deep. I needed lots of storage for tools, small parts. and bulky boxes of big stuff.

Your Electronics Workbench

Your Electronics Workbench
Charles Platt | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 5 pgs | 2 mb
First, you will need a breadboard. You can, of course. call it a
"prototyping board," but this is like calling a battery a "power cell."
Search RadioShack online for "breadboard" and you will find more
than a dozen products, all of them for electronics hobbyists, and
none of them useful for doing anything with bread.

A breadboard is a plastic strip perforated with holes 1/10" apart,
which happens to be the same spacing as the legs on old-style
silicon chips --- the kind that were endemic in computers before
the era of surface-mounted chips with legs so close together
only a robot could love them. Fortunately for hobbyists, old-style
chips are still in plentiful supply and are simple to play with.

Tabletop Biosphere

Tabletop Biosphere
Martin John Brown | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 9 pgs | 4 mb
The Tabletop Shrimp Support Module
(TSSM) is a fun demonstration of the
ecological cycles that keep us alive - and
an enticement to muse on everything
from godhood to space colonization.

Solar-Powered Bike GPS

Solar-Powered Bike GPS
Brian Nadel | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 3 pgs | 2 mb
I've spent much of my adult life dealing with either
computers or bicycles. Writing about computer
technology has put food on my family's table and a
roof over our heads, while riding helps me unwind,
clearing my head of the jargon that accumulates
throughout the workday.

During the summer. I'll disappear for hours on
long rides to nowhere and back. But I have to admit
on some rides I've gotten so lost I have trouble
finding my way home. Happily, I was able to build
a solar-powered GPS mapping machine, mostly
from old computer parts and software I had sitting
around my office. I've seen motorcycle-mounted
GPS navigation screens. but have never come
across one on a bicycle, even though it seems
like a natural mix of appropriate and functional


Andrew Turner | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 5 pgs | 2 mb
My house is a robot. It thinks, reacts, predicts, and informs. Throughout the day it lets me know how its inhabitants are doing and takes care of all the little things I forget. If I'm worried that I left the front door open or that the heater is turned up too high, I can view my house's website or RSS feed through a browser or my mobile phone.

In addition to making my life easier, my house is concerned about saving the planet and my wallet. It can turn off unused appliances and lamps and
intelligently control my heating and air conditioning systern according to when someone is home and where it's coldest or hottest in the house.

The Biggest Little Chip

The Biggest Little Chip
Charles Platt | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 6 pgs | 2 mb
Back in 1970, when barely half a dozen corporate seedlings had taken root in the fertile ground of Silicon Valley, a company named Signetics bought an idea from an engineer named Hans Camenzind. It wasn't a breakthrough concept, just 23 transistors and a bunch of resistors that would function as a programmable timer. The timer would be versatile, stable, and simple, but these virtues paled in comparison with its primary selling point. Using the emerging technology of integrated circuits, Signetics could reproduce the whole thing on a silicon chip.

This entailed some handiwork. Camenzind spent weeks using a drafting table and a specially mounted X-Acto knife to scribe his circuit into a large plastic sheet. Signetics then reduced this image photographically, etched it into tiny wafers, and embedded each wafer in a half-inch rectangle of black plastic with the product number printed on top. Thus, the 555 timer was born.

Burn to Learn

Burn to Learn
David Pescovitz | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 6 pgs | 3 mb
The Crucible industrial arts school's community of practice

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Mark Frauenfelder | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 1 pgs | 1 mb
When my 3-year-old daughter dropped the $1 battery-powered fan I bought her, the plastic case cracked, ruining it. I promised her I'd make something even better using the fan's motor. I'm a fan of Chico Bicalho's wonderful windup toys, so I made a robot inspired by his designs. I call mine the Vibrobot, and you can make one in a couple of hours or less.

Tire Sandals

Tire Sandals
Tim Anderson | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
Solve multiple global problems at once when you
make your own sandals from an old tire.

An accumulation of old tires is an increasing problem
in the United States. Tires can't be easily recycled,
and mosquitoes breed in the water that collects in
them. But you can solve multiple problems at once
when you make your own sandals from an old tire.

Radar Speed Detector

Radar Speed Detector
Ken Delahoussaye | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 5 pgs | 3 mb
I was browsing through a department store one day,
in search of a gift for my 8-year-old daughter, when
I came across Mattel's Hot Wheels Radar Gun
($30). The box said that this toy could clock the
speeds of not only miniature Hot Wheels cars. but
also full-sized vehicles.

I figured the toy must have severe limitations, but
decided to buy one for my daughter anyway. It turns
out that she (we) loved it, and we found that it could
accurately measure the speeds of toy cars. cars on
the road, even joggers. To my amazement. the detector
even measured the speeds of spinning objects
like bicycle wheels.

Plastic Fantastic Desk Set

Plastic Fantastic Desk Set
Charles Platt | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 10 pgs | 4 mb
Last night I dreamed of a magical material
that would be bendable like metal, as easy to
shape as wood, and would never warp, split, or
splinter. It would be washable, would never need
painting, and would last almost forever.
*)Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

Cool Photo Websites

Cool Photo Websites
Mark Frauenfelder | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
Thanks to the rise of inexpensive digital cameras and photo sharing sites like Flickr. photography is more popular than ever. I've come across a number of useful and free web-based services that make it easier to save. share. organize, and edit your digital photographs.

How can I download many Flickr photos at once?
You can batch-download multiple photos from a Flickr set with a free utility. It's tedious work downloading a bunch of full-resolution photos from a Flickr account to your computer, requiring a lot of back-and-forth mouse clicking. Windows users have it much easier: they can grab a copy of FlickrDown (, a nifty utility that makes it easy to download dozens or even hundreds of photos from Flickr in one fell swoop.

After launching FlickrDown, enter the Flickr username you're interested in. After the thumbnails load. you can check the ones you want. or select "All photos" (if the user has lots of photos this could take a lot of time and consume quite a bit of hard disk space, so be careful). Then select a directory to store the files in, and click Download.

Making it with The Make Controller

Making it with The Make Controller:
Our board does art, robotics, music, and more
William Gurstelle | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 3 pgs | 2 mb[/center]
The MAKE Controller Kit is a powerful and easy-to-use hardware platform that can interact with the physical world. It's based on a microcontroller, which is essentially a computer-on-a-chip. Unlike general-purpose microprocessors. here the memory and device interfaces required to run a simple (or not-so-simple) application are integrated onto a single board.

Bare Metal Game Design

Bare Metal Game Design
Brian Jepson & Kipp Bradfor | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 3 pgs | 2 mb
Andre LaMothe's creations have a neo-retro bent that's hard to resist. Combining the sensibilities of game systems from 20 years ago with the DIY appeal of a microcontroller board. LaMothe's XGameStation Micro - a compact video game hardware kit - gave hobbyists the opportunity to write games that are closer to the bare metal than most programmers have been in decades.

The XGameStation Pico Edition 2.0 ( takes you even closer. Modern game programming environments use collections of code libraries and high-level design tools to hide the complexity of the hardware from programmers. The Pico lets you duplicate the experience of writing games for a retro system like the Atari 2600: hardware and software fuse into a single platform, and in pushing the limits of that platform, you challenge yourself to come up with creative hacks that you would never need on today's ultra-powerful systems. Want to draw something on the screen? You'll have to understand something about video signaling first.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Sweet Sound of Particleboard

The Sweet Sound of Particleboard
David Battino | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
After transforming a record player and some plumbing
parts into a spinning speaker (seeMAKE, Volume
05, page 24), George "the Fat Man" Sanger is back
with a new way to enhance yourguitar sound.

His Goodwill Amp Enhancer is a DIY version of
the commercially available Enhancer. which beefs
up the tone of open-back amps by redirecting the
"lost" sound to the front.

The nicely finished commercial versions start at
$150 (, but the Fat Man built his
enhancer out of a $15 computer desk he scavenged
from a thrift shop. "It took just an hour or two," he
reports, "and adds wonderful tone to my amp."

Sketchup Workbench

Sketchup Workbench
John Edgar Park | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 5 pgs | 2 mb
Google SketchUp is my favorite design tool, and if
all goes according to plan. it'll soon be yours, too.
Even though I use higher-end 3D software all day at
work, SketchUp still blows me away: it enables fast,
fun, and accurate 3D sketching unlike any other
program (it's free too!).

Makers will find SketchUp useful for all sorts of
things. from furniture design to workshop layout.
from project enclosures to robotic exoskeletons. It's
good for this kind of stuff becauseyou can rough out
your designs quickly. using real-world dimensions.

I decided to use SketchUp to design a much-
needed workbench. The first phase was to create
the conceptual model, which is a rough 3D sketch of
the form. The second phase was design engineer-
ing, where I figured out the real-world materials list
and construction plan for the project.

Roomba Hacks

Roomba Hacks
Phillip Torrone & Tod E. Kurt | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
In May of 2006, Robot. makers of the Roomba
robotic vacuum, announced they had shipped
more than 2 million cleaning robots, making Roomba
one of the (if not the) most successful domestic
robots in history. With 2 million of anything that can
be taken apart, it was only a matter of time before
dozens of Roomba hacks hit the net.

Courting this audience, Robot opened up the
interface to all current Roomba models. and released
an educational version called the Create. With so
many ways to hack these suckers. makers responded
by building more projects and developing software.
Here's a roundup of some of the interesting projects.

Fail Early! Fail Often!

Fail Early! Fail Often!
Tom Jennings | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 4 pgs | 2 mb
this is wrongheaded and foolish. Mistakes are synonymous with
learning. Failing is unavoidable. Making is a process, not an end.
It is true that deep experience helps avoid problems, but mainly
it gives you mental tools with which to solve inevitable problems
when they come up.

It all begins with a mental toolbox, filled with useful items you
can't buy. but can only obtain through the act of failing again and
again. Here are mine.

Downhill Makers

Downhill Makers
Jason Verlinde | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 3 pgs | 2 mb
SOME MODES OF TRANSPORTATION WERE destined for garage builders.Think of the thousands of wooden canoes, dune buggies, and steel-framed road bikes that hobbyists have created over the years. Modern, high-performance downhill skis, on the other hand. seem to be an entirely different beast. the kind ofstate-of-the-art product that only a big factory production process could churn out. Who else has the ability to fuse together all those exotic materials into a sturdy package that will safely get you down icy slopes, powder runs, and even the occasional cliff huck?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Propeller Chip

Propeller Chip
Dale Dougherty | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 9 pgs | 3 mb
The head guy at Parallax, Chip Gracey, is truly self-taught, which means
that he has had to find his own way. Twenty years after teaching himself to program the first generation of personal computers, the creator of the new Propeller microcontroller still speaks with the enthusiasm and amazement of a bright teenager: "The tools are out there. These days with the internet, it is so easy; you can learn anything. What used to be obscure stuff that only a few people were interested in - well, today those people put it on the net to share among themselves, and the rest of us have access to it."

Origami Flying Disc

Origami Flying Disc
Cy Tymony | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 1 pgs | 1 mb
Understand Bernoulli's principle of flowing fluids and gases with a paper flyer.

Nice Dice

Nice Dice
Charles Platt | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 5 pgs | 1 mb
For me, a good construction project should create an object that is fun, functional, and pleasing to the eye - and if it teaches me something interesting along the way, so much the better. I managed to satisfy all these requirements when I designed and built a pair of electronic dice. Although dice simulations have been around for many years, I was able to simplify the project while at the same time making it more interesting.

Electronic Test Equipment

Electronic Test Equipment
Tom Anderson & Wendell Anderson | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 9 pgs | 3 mb
Take a look at a printed circuit board. You can see components such as resistors and capacitors, but where is the voltage? Where is the signal? How do you tell if the circuit is working correctly? What if you want to change it?

Electronic test equipment lets you probe and "see" the voltages and currents running through electronic circuits. This article covers four basic devices: oscilloscopes, power supplies, function generators, and multimeters. Learning to use these tools - especially the mighty oscilloscope - requires patience, but it's an absolute requirement for building, trouble-shooting, and hacking electronic gizmos.

Make0806: DIY - Home

Make0806: DIY - Home
Pdf | 9 pgs | 2 mb
Build a bright, low-powered desk lamp. By Charles Platt
Motorized lazy Susan aims the screen where it's needed. By Alan Mellovitz
Energy-efficient A/C knows when you're in the room. By Dave Mabe

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Blastoff

Happy Blastoff
William Gurstelle | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 6 pgs | 2 mb

Lucid Dreaming Mask

Lucid Dreaming Mask
Nathan True | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 1 pgs | 1 mb
YOU'RE SITTING IN YOUR CAR, DRIVING to work. Al a stoplight, the car across the way starts flashing its lights al you. Squinting, you think: What's thisguy's problem? Lazily, you recall something about bright lights ... and then you remember. Flashing lights mean I'm dreaming? You take a moment to confirm it (yes, your glove compartment is filled with goldfish, as expected). then step calmly out of your car and decide to fly through the air.

This is the "lucid dreaming" state, which lets you interact consciously with your dream worlds and break the rules of reality. Lucid dreaming is fun, and enthusiasts have developed many ways of trying to induce the phenomenon, from simply repeating statements of intent ("I will realize I am dreaming tonight") to using hypnosis and brain wave analysis.

Art Work: Illuminated Circuits

Art Work: Illuminated Circuits
Douglas Repetto | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 2 pgs | 1 mb
The art and craft of circuit design is an openended endeavor, with
enormous potential for both pragmatic invention and playful creativity.

The Brain Machine

The Brain Machine
Mitch Altman | Make Vol. 10- 2007 | Pdf | 12 pgs | 4 mb
You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to meditate, or a Sleeping Beauty to sleep well. Achieve these altered states of consciousness, and others, with this simple microcontroller device.

What would happen if you could play a recording of brain waves into someone's brain? That question popped into my mind one day while I was meditating, and it turns out that there are devices that can do this. Sound and Light Machines (SLMs) produce sound and light pulses at brain wave frequencies, which help people sleep, wake up, meditate, or experience whatever state of consciousness the machine is programmed for. The first
time tried one was a trip! Not only did I follow the sequence into a deep meditation and then out again (feeling wonderful!), but along the way I had beautiful, outrageous hallucinations.

Make0806: DIY - Music

Make0806: DIY - Music
Pdf | 10 pgs | 2 mb
Triggering sound from video images. By Tom Zimmerman
iBump crossover lets you crank it up without distortion. By Tom Anderson and Wendell Anderson
Turn your Xbox into a mobile media monstrosity. By John Riney