Introducing Boing Boing's Maker Box

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Quarterly.co is launching a brand new Maker Box subscription. This new Maker box features DIY kits and hands-on projects perfect for makers of all ages. You’ll receive kits to build your own gadgets, electronics, quirky tools, and more. Each quarter will feature a new curator, new ideas and new projects. The first curator is Boing Boing! Each box will contain at least 3 kits and will cost $100. The box ships in February. Read the rest

How to separate and stack frighteningly strong neodymium magnets

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Brainiac75 made a pair of wooden tools that he uses to separate and stack large neodymium magnet discs. I've pinched my fingers quite a few times with tiny neodymium magnet discs and have learned to respect them. These big ones are very dangerous. You could easily lose a finger if these magnets were to smack into one another. Please get some thick gloves, Brainiac75! Read the rest

How to turn a plastic bottle into 20 yards of string

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I don't think I'll make string from a plastic bottle, but I enjoyed watching how this guy made his PET bottle-cutting tool with some screws, washers, and a pencil sharpener blade. Read the rest

Favorite tips from Gareth Branwyn, former editorial director of Make

My old friend Gareth Branwyn is the former Editorial Director of MAKE. He was also the senior editor at bOING bOING print, a section editor at Mondo 2000, and a Wired contributing editor for 12 years. Gareth has also written and edited over a dozen books. His most recent book, a combo best-of collection and “lazy man’s memoirs” is called Borg Like Me (& Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems) Kevin Kelly and I recently interview Gareth for the Cool Tools Show podcast.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Podcast on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show Notes:

Notebook Keyword Index

"As you generate subjects, you write down those subjects along the outer edge of the back page, and then … as you write the subject in the content of the book, you just mark the corresponding area on the outer edge of the notebook — just a little black mark — and so then as you look through the edge of the notebook, you can see all … the black marks that connect to that line of the back cover index." Bonding Plastic with a Dremel

"The basic idea is you just take a Dremel tool. If you want to bond 2 pieces of plastic, like you’ve worked on a 3D print that’s broken or you want to combine 2 pieces of a 3D print, you just slot a piece of plastic rod into a rotary tool and just place it as it spins around. Read the rest

I used this cool liquid plastic welding material to repair a broken butter tray door

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Our refrigerator has a bad butter tray design. If you forget to lower the butter tray door and then close the refrigerator door, the butter tray door will get pinched between the refrigerator door and the refrigerator. If you close the refrigerator door too quickly, the butter tray door will crack.

This happened a few months ago, and I couldn't find the piece that broke off. But it still had enough of the hinge left on it to function. Today, I forgot to lower the tray door again and the whole corner snapped off, rendering it non-functional. This time, I was able to find the broken piece. I reattached it with Bondic, a liquid plastic welding material that cures in 4 seconds when exposed to the UV LED. It creates a strong bond, especially if you roughen the surfaces of the broken pieces with coarse sandpaper. The resulting blob of plastic doesn't look good, but it beats paying $31 to buy a new "dairy bin assembly."

This video shows you how to use Bondic and gives examples of what you can repair with it:

Read the rest

James Gurney made a neat 3D model from craft foam to help him paint a robot

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James Gurney is the creator of the Dinotopia book series and is one of the best book illustrators alive today. His work is in the league of N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle.

James has a new instructional painting video called Fantasy in the Wild: Painting Concept Art on Location for sale as a direct download and on DVD. In the excerpt above, James shows how he made a small model of an excavator robot out of craft foam to assist him in painting an urban attack scene. James' teaching style is so friendly and warm. I have met him a couple of times, and this video captures his personality perfectly. Read the rest

One of my best purchases in 2015: magnetic tool holder

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I bought this wall-mounted magnetic strip to have easy access to tools I need for simple household tasks: opening packages, hanging pictures, assembling furniture, tightening loose nuts, installing door locks, measuring things, simple plumbing repairs, etc. It's much better than keeping the tools in a kitchen drawer, because I can instantly find the tool(s) I need. The magnet is very strong, so I don't have to worry about a tool falling off. The strips come in various lengths. The one I bought is 24 inches long. The shortest I've seen on Amazon is seven inches. Read the rest

Hello Tokyo! is jam-packed with Tokyo-inspired images, ideas and fun craft projects

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Born in Australia, Ebony Bizys made the move to Tokyo five years ago and hasn’t looked back since. As the founder of the popular blog Hello Sandwich, Ebony has always been obsessed with Japanese culture, as well as cute stationary, colorful home décor, and all things DIY. This 224-page book manages to cram in as many pretty images, kawaii ideas, and adorable craft projects as it can hold. From a whimsical look into Ebony’s daily life and apartment in Tokyo, to tutorials for pom-pom cardigans and handmade camera straps (among many others), to insight into ‘bento’ and even tips for entertaining, Ebony is certainly one talented and creative lady.

For those who aren’t familiar with Ebony’s blog or even Japanese culture, they’re still sure to enjoy this publication for its overload of cute images and inspirational ideas. Ebony’s aim in producing Hello Tokyo was to inspire people to bring more fun and beauty into their everyday life. After reading this book numerous times, I truly believe that she has achieved this. – Melanie Doncas

Hello Tokyo!: Handmade Projects and Fun Ideas for a Cute Tokyo-Inspired Lifestyle by Ebony Bizys Murdoch Books 2015, 192 pages, 7.1 x 9.5 x 0.9 inches (paperback) Read the rest

How to make a toothbrush out of tissue paper

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"Meet Lyss, a chipper tissue paper enthusiast, as she guides you step-by-step in how to make essential items out of the world's most versatile material: tissue paper!" Read the rest

The Official ScratchJr Book: help your young kids learn to code

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You're probably familiar with Scratch, the introductory programming language that allows kids (and adults) to create interactive stories, games, and animations. Scratch doesn't require lines of code to write programs. Instead, you build programs by snapping together colored blocks. (My book, Maker Dad, has an introduction to Scratch that shows how to make retro-style video games).

Scratch is perfect for kids 8 and up. Recently, MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten Lab announced the release of ScratchJr, an even simpler programming language for young children (ages 5-7) to create interactive stories and games. It's free and runs on iPads and Android tablets.

Mitchel Resnick, who runs MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten Lab, and Marina Umaschi Bers, a professor in the Computer Science Department at Tufts University, have a new book out called, The Official ScratchJr Book: Help Your Kids Learn to Code. The publisher sent me a copy, and it looks like a great way for parents to learn about ScratchJr so they can get their kids up to speed and let them go off on their own. With full color screenshots on every page, it provides a thorough overview of everything ScratchJr is capable of doing. Read the rest

Easy 1+2+3 projects from the pages of Make

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Back in 2004, when designer David Albertson and I were creating a prototype for the magazine that would become MAKE, one the things we came up with was an item called 1+2+3. It was a one-pager with instructions for making a simple project in three steps. We ended up incorporating 1+2+3s into every issue of MAKE. This book collects 69 fully-illustrated 1+2+3 projects (including several that I wrote and illustrated) from the pages of MAKE.

Have you ever wanted to make your own "dice popper" (as seen in the game Trouble)? This book will show you how. You'll also learn how to make a projector that shines an alien head on the wall, an amusing "wobbler" made from two coins, a box that makes a great "boing" sound effect, a light-up hoodie, a simple motor, a $5 smart phone projector, and many more projects. This is a great book to go through with your kids. I guarantee they will say "Let's make that!" at least a few times. Read the rest

Mark on Skillshare AMA

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At 1pm PT today (in 5 minutes!) I'll be on a Skillshare Ask Me Anything. As the title suggests, you can ask me anything, but I'll primarily be talking about Arduino and DIY tools and techniques for makers. Read the rest

The best book on learning electronics just got better

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When Make: Electronics was published about five years ago, it was widely hailed as the greatest book about learning electronics ever written. With beautiful photos, easy-to-read schematics, clear, jargon-free text, and dozens and dozens of fun and educational projects, author/illustrator Charles Platt made a book that has ended up in every makerspace and library I've visited.

A few weeks ago the Second Edition of Make: Electronics came out, and it's even better than the first edition. Charles rewrote the text, replaced the photos of breadboarded circuits with diagrams showing component placement, included new projects, added new photographs with a ruled background to indicate the scale of tools and components, and included a chapter on Arduino.

This is the book to get if you want to learn electronics.

(Disclosure, I was Charles' editor when I was editor-in-chief of MAKE) Read the rest

Best of MAKE, Vol 2: 65 cool DIY projects from the magazine

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My favorite part of MAKE has always been the how-to projects, and this second volume of the Best of MAKE contains complete instructions for 65 projects ranging from a sous vide cooker, to a beginners Arduino Robot, to a helium balloon imaging "satellite," to a cigar box guitar (written by yours truly). Most of these projects were published while I was editor-in-chief of MAKE, and it's great to see them available in one low cost volume. The Kindle edition is just $8. The first volume of the Best of MAKE is still in print, too. Read the rest

You can make almost anything with a Glowforge

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The dream of desktop manufacturing is now a reality. Take a look at the incredible variety of things you can make with a Glowforge laser cutter, from wallets to leather sandals, lamps to dollhouses, jewelry to phone cases. In this video Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro shows how easy it is to make a laser cut item simply by drawing your design on a piece of material. Visit glowforge.com/boingboing to get $100 off a Glowforge today. [Sponsored Post] Read the rest

How to make things with a Glowforge laser cutter

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Glowforge is a 3D laser printer that uses a beam of light the width of a human hair to cut, engrave, and shape designs from a variety of materials. In this video, Glowforge founder and CEO Dan Shapiro shows us how to make an acrylic Jackhammer Jill (Boing Boing’s mascot) in a matter of minutes. Check out glowforge.com/boingboing to find out what else you can make with a Glowforge and get a special $100 discount on top of the 50% off pre-order price. The offer expires this Friday Oct. 23 at 6pm PT, so order yours today! (‪sponsored post‬) Read the rest

The new Glowforge laser cutter is amazing

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[Sponsored Post]

Laser cutters are machines that cut and engrave flat material – such as plywood, acrylic, chocolate, leather, cardboard, seashells, glass, even sheets of dried seaweed. Today, Glowforge introduced a low-price laser cutter that blows away the competition at a much lower price.

Glowforge is a game changer in many ways, and I haven't been this excited by a technology in a long time. The things you can make with one (see images below) are orders of magnitude better looking than things you can make with a 3D printer of the same price, and the Glowforge is much easier to learn how to use than a 3D printer.

Dan Shapiro, the founder of Glowforge (he's the creator of the Robot Turtles game), gave me a Skype video demo of the machine in action earlier this week. He showed me how to make a votive candle holder out of two different materials. He placed one sheet of thin walnut and another sheet of frosted acrylic on the Glowforge's cutting bed (which has a 12-inch x 20-inch working area). He opened his iPad, which had a live image of the cutting bed displayed on it (the Glowforge has a camera and is conected to Wi-Fi). Dan then dragged the cutting patterns for the pieces of the candle holder onto the video image of the walnut and acrylic pieces. This neat software solution for aligning material was developed by Dean Putney, who was a contractor for many years at Boing Boing, and now works for Dan in Seattle. Read the rest

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