MAKE, Volume 20 is out (and will be on newsstands and in bookstores next week) and it's one of my favorite issues. The special theme of this issue is kid-friendly projects.
Our projects editor, Paul Spinrad, sat down with Adam Savage to talk about his childhood as a maker. Adam is on our cover, which was illustrated by our pal Ape Lad (aka Adam Koford). Here's an excerpt:
Paul: I think of enthusiasm as the opposite of coolness, and adolescence is a turning point for this. Children are all enthusiastic, they're into what they're into, and it's great and they love it. But then something happens, and suddenly some of the kids start looking down on that enthusiasm and seeing it as immature or dorky. So they invent coolness as an alternative. I always gravitated away from that because I was interested in too many things. Adam: Yes, and enthusiasm also makes you vulnerable. When you like something, someone can take it away from you. I once gave a sculpture to some friends as a wedding present, and they turned it down. That was really upsetting to me. And that vulnerability itself is also embarrassing. The two emotions are deeply linked, which is why people try not to cry in public.
One of my favorite articles in the issue is "Productive Plastic Playthings," written by toy design Bob Knetzger. He takes a look at 1960s "maker" toys like the Vac-U-Form, the Time Machine, the Thingmaker, and the Mold Master. I had a lot of these toys when I was a kid, and when I read Bob's piece, it brought back the smell of Plastigoop.
Of course, we've got a bunch of great projects in this issue, including a hydrogen-oxygen bottle rocket (use electricity to split tap water into the two gasses), a laser light show you can fit into vintage metal lunchboxes, a DIY van Leeuwenhoek microscope, a guide to lashing, and much more. For a look at the complete table of contents, go to the MAKE Vol. 20 page at makezine.com
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.