The Best of Make


My friend Gareth Branwnyn (who was senior editor at bOING bOING, the zine) is now a book editor at O'Reilly Media. I'm proud that the first book he edited there is called The Best of Make, which contains 75 projects from the first 10 issues of the magazine. Gareth wrote about it for the Provisions Library.

Here's what he had to say:

At the risk of having too many of my Provisions DIY pieces being about me, or flogging my own projects, I’d like to… er flog my latest book project, my first title as an editor for Make: Books. It’s called The Best of MAKE and it’s a collection of 75 DIY projects from the first ten volumes of MAKE magazine. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, MAKE is a magazine created by Dale Dougherty of O’Reilly Media (the computer book publisher of record) and Mark Frauenfelder (of Boing Boing, former Wired editor). Each issue has a theme (alt.vehicles, home electronics, backyard biology, etc.), news, views, and profiles related to the growing DIY movement, creative reuse and recycling, hardware hacking, and the like. And each issue has a number of projects, from quickie hacks you can do in a few minutes to weekend-long endeavours. For the book, we went through the first ten issues and chose our (and the readers’) favorite projects. Here are a few examples of some of what’s covered in the book:
  • How to make a guitar out of a cigar box and an amp housed in a cracker box
  • How to turn an analog computer mouse into a light-seeking, obstacle-avoiding robot
  • How to run a car on fryer grease
  • How to build a soda bottle rocket
  • How to create a small wind power generator from a treadmill motor
  • How to make a mint-tin headphone amp

    There are also tutorials on getting started in electronics, outfitting a workshop, using microcontrollers, circuit-bending, and other DIY skill sets.

    I’m really proud of this book and think it offers an amazing collection of fun, useful, and educational projects. Reading through the list above, some may sound silly, the kind of projects seen in old Popular Mechanics issues that nobody, maybe not even the author, actually bothered to build. This is not the case with MAKE. These projects are built and re-built to make sure they perform as advertised. I also incorporated any feedback/glitches found from the forums on the website into the book, so these are the most trouble-free version of the projects to date.

    If you’re not familiar with MAKE, or haven’t been a subscriber, this collection would be a great way to get up to speed. Okay, I’ll shut up now… (and promise that next week’s column won’t even mention my name).



  1. “The Best of . . .” would make a nice Christmas gift.

    But when is the next actual MAKE coming out? It’s been ages!

  2. It’s a real testament to Mark’s foresight and that of his co-editors of The Happy Mutant Handbook–including Gareth–that at least one of the MAKE best-of projects remains so relevant after a similar DIY project (the Fat of the Land Project biodiesel car) appeared in said book 12 years ago. Congratulations!

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