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BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Marshall Lee + Fionna from Adventure Time

In our Epic Halloween DIY Costume thread, Boing Boing reader slippy0 shares these snapshots and says, "Mine really isn't that fancy, but the stars aligned and gave me a week of time to work on props. I was Marshall Lee from Adventure Time, and decided to make his axe-bass instead of just painting a 2D cutout. The results aren't amazing, but they're more than I planned to do, and very DIY. I went with my friend who was Fionna. We got a lot of compliments. :) "

BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Gotham City Rockers

In our Epic Halloween DIY Costume thread, Boing Boing reader eyesfingerstoes says, "Me and about 30 of my cronies are hitting the Portsmouth (NH) Halloween Parade this year as the Gotham City Rockers - all hand made interpretations of Denis Medri's Rockabilly Batman concept drawings. Link to the process I used to make my Leather Batman Cowl here."

BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Weeping Angel and Tiny Dalek

In our Epic Halloween DIY Costume thread, Boing Boing reader Christine Cobos shares snapshots of the "Weeping Angel" she made for her daughter, and the Dalek she made for her son, an obvious Doctor Who fan.

BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Seymour from "Little Shop of Horrors"

In our Epic Halloween DIY Costume thread, Boing Boing reader Charles Pieper (tumblr, Twitter) says, "This year I am going as Seymour from 'Little Shop of Horrors' and yes indeed I made Audrey II as well!"

So very brilliant, Charles!

BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Living Roy Lichtenstein painting, by Gina Menduni

BB reader Gina Menduni made this genius Roy Lichtenstein costume for Halloween 2012. We are gobsmacked, Gina! Thanks for sharing it in the epic DIY Halloween costume thread!

BB Readers' DIY Costumes: Animal and Son of Anarchy, by BrotherPower

Boing Boing reader BrotherPower shares this work-in-progress shot of the Animal costume he's making for his 8-year-old.

"I just finished the oversized drumsticks and the spiky wristbands today."

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BB readers' DIY Halloween costumes: Narwhal, by Sarah Jones

Brava, Sarah! "Sorry to be a party pooper but it should probably be attached closer to your mouth since it's actually a tooth," wrote one commenter. "Yes, but it would have interfered with my beer drinking," replied Sarah.

More: Share your DIY Halloween costume in our epic 2012 thread!

Open thread: your DIY Hallowe'en costumes?

Each year here at Boing Boing, we invite you, dear readers, to share your plans for fun home-made costumes. So what’s it gonna be? Frankenstorm Sandy? A Mars Rover? Honey Boo Boo? Do tell, in the comments.

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Candy Corn on the cob

An Instructable exists for this. It must be made. Alaskantomboy writes, in the prelude:

I experimented with fondant first, that was completely unsuccessful. Then I though of gluing it together with caramel (since I had a fresh bag of that around too). Too messy and too hard. Then, another light bulb went off.....cookie dough! Sugar cookie dough works perfectly (don't attempt with chocolate chip dough, the chips just get in the way and jeopardize structural integrity). It only took about 4 minutes to assemble and looked authentic.

Vegans: it can be done vegan.

(Photo: alaskantomboy. Thanks, Tara McGinley!)

How to make a "cancer medal" for a patient in your life

I recently wrote about a meaningful gift I received from my friend Michael Pusateri, at the end of my primary treatment for breast cancer: this wonderful medal. So, today, Michael explains how to order one yourself. Give one to a cancer patient in your life! It's a really cool way to recognize what can be a confusing, ambiguous, strangely depressing milestone. Before all the "what's next" and "what if" thoughts take over, taking a moment to acknowledge the importance of that milestone is really beautiful. Xeni

A t-shirt jam session with Generation T's Megan Nicolay

(Video link) In non-entertainment news, I am a huge nerd for a cool t-shirt. Sometimes I buy them (usually from Busted Tees or Headline Shirts), and sometimes they find me. The latter shirts are generally men's sizes -- too big and shaped like a rectangle, but so groovy that I don't have the heart to throw it away. Fortunately, there are people out there who know how to fix such things! One of those people is Megan Nicolay, author of Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt (Workman Publishing) and its sequel, as well as the companion blog. Megan and I hung out in the Workman Publishing office recently to put together a instructional video on how to alter a gigantic potato sack of a shirt into something acceptable to wear in public. After the jump, a quick walk-through of another design.

T-shirts ahoy!

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Homebrew Nintendo laser zapper is powerful, awesome

"The plan was simple. Take a nostalgic NES "duck hunt" Zapper, and retrofit it with a ridiculously powerful laser."

A project from North Street Labs. In case it's not obvious, this is dangerous, and could lead to death or blindness without safety precautions.

Components: "2.1A input buck driver, 2x 750mAh 35-70c Lipo batteries, M140 445nm diode, G2 lens. homemade custom heat-sink, turn key safety switch."

Learn how to build your own, here. But remember, kids, always wear protective safety goggles. And, wear the right kind for the laser you're working with. [Video Link].

How to build "The Most Useless Machine"

NewImageA couple of years ago I was on The Colbert Report showing some fun projects from MAKE, and Stephen fell in love with a project called "The Most Useless Machine." (Watch the episode here.) The Most Useless Machine is a box that shuts itself off when you turn it on. (After the show Stephen hinted that he wanted to keep it, so I gave it to him and he was really happy.)

Make:Projects just posted complete instructions for making your own Most Useless Machine. It's the simplest version yet, and is sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who tries it.


NewImageLast year I saw a video of the "Leave Me Alone Box" built by Michael Seedman. Flip its switch on, and an arm reaches out of a door to turn the switch back off. To paraphrase The Terminator, that's what it does, that's all it does, and it will not stop until its circuit is dead.

I had to have one of my own, so I made one. Seedman's design uses a microcontroller to run two servomotors: one to open the lid, and another to push the switch. This makes for an impressive performance, but seemed too complicated, and actually, his circuit remains powered even when the box is idle.

For existential purity, I wanted a super-simple machine that really turned itself off. So I came up with a single-motor design controlled by a 555 timer chip, with a curved arm that both lifts the lid and flips off the switch. I called it the "Most Useless Machine" and posted it on Instructables along with a YouTube video of the box in action. The project soon went viral, attracting millions of viewers, thousands of comments, and many builds and design variations. Whew!

Along the way, Instructables member Compukidmike came up with an even simpler version that dispenses with the 555 circuitry entirely by using a gearmotor and two switches. The resulting project, presented here, is the ultimate in technology for its own sake, a minimal assemblage of parts that, through its one meaningless act of defiance, speaks volumes.

How to Build the Most Useless Machine

You can buy a kit for $30

Something new under the sea

Drug cartels are building their own diesel submarines in the jungles of South America. A recently caught version wasn't fully submersible—the engine needed to bring in air via a snorkel that stuck out above the waterline—but it did have a range of 3000 miles. (Via Mo Costandi) Maggie

Astronauts fix the Space Station with a toothbrush

When NASA's Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide couldn't seem to get a bolt attached to the outside of the space station, ground crews came up with a clever solution: Fix the problem with a toothbrush. At Space.com, Denise Chow explains the details:

On Aug. 30, Williams and Hoshide completed a marathon spacewalk that lasted more than 8 hours, but the astronauts were thwarted by a stubborn bolt and were unable to finish connecting the so-called main bus switching unit (MBSU). The stuck bolt forced NASA to add [yesterday's] extra spacewalk.

But, following last week's unsuccessful attempt, flight controllers, engineers and veteran spacewalkers worked around the clock at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to devise a solution to the problem. Using only the supplies available on the space station, the teams came up with creative new tools for Williams and Hoshide to use to install the MBSU.

One was a modified toothbrush that was used to lubricate the inside of the bolt's housing after debris and metal shavings from inside had been removed. Another improvised instrument included a cleaning tool that had been made from wires that were bent back to form a brush, explained Kieth Johnson, lead spacewalk director at the Johnson Space Center.

Read the rest of the story at Space.com