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Build this brain-teasing golf ball in a block of wood

Gareth Branwyn is blogging for Make, and I've been enjoying his posts. Take a look at this golf ball inside a cage that's hogged out of a single piece of wood.

How to make cool copper wire tiaras with LEDs

The Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio has a nice tutorial on how to make tiaras/copper crowns with copper wire, solder, batteries, and LEDs.

circuit [via]

Swingline Thermal Laminator on sale for $15

laminator

My daughter Jane has been asking for a laminator so she can make bookmarks, club ID cards, and other projects. I just learned that Amazon is selling a Swingline thermal laminator for $15 (regularly $60) so I ordered it. It comes with 5 letter-sized lamination pouches. (A pack of 100 lamination pouches costs $10.)

How to tie the world’s fastest shoelace knot

Most people tie their shoes with the inefficient "bunny loop" shoelace knot. Let kindly Professor Shoelace show you the superior “Ian Knot."

Besides being faster, the Ian Knot is also more symmetrical, works equally for right or left handed people, and has fewer steps to memorize, all of which make it easier to learn.

shoelace

My kids-and-grownups project book, Maker Dad, on sale for Kindle: $1.99

My book, Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects is just $2 as a Kindle right now.

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How to hack Amazon’s $5 WiFi button to track baby data

dash

Amazon is selling Dash Buttons for $5. They contain a Wi-Fi radio and a battery. You are supposed to stick them to your washing machine, inside a cabinet door, etc, and when you run out of Tide, Gatorade, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, etc., you just push the button and Amazon will ship you more.

Clever people are starting to find moire interesting uses for the Dash Buttons, such as Ted Benson, who has written a guide that shows you "how to hijack and use these buttons for just about anything you want."

Makey Makey – turn the world into a computer interface

It’s easier to understand what Makey Makey is by watching this video of it in action than by describing it, but I’ll give it a shot. Makey Makey is a printed circuit board that you connect to any computer with a USB cable (included). You don’t need to install any software. Your computer thinks Makey Makey is a keyboard. And it is a keyboard of sorts. But it doesn’t use standard keys. Instead, you connect wires from Makey Makey to anything that conducts electricity: a piece of fruit, a bowl of water, a cup of soup, a scrap of aluminum foil, blobs of Play-Doh. When you touch the object with your finger, your computer will think you are pressing a key on a standard keyboard. You can assign the object to be a spacebar key, an arrow key, or a letter key. And you can connect several objects to Makey Makey at the same time, so that you can create game controllers, musical interfaces, and other button-controlled devices.

It might not sound like much fun, but the possibilities are endless, and Makey Makey’s ease of use encourages quick-and-dirty experimentation. My 12-year-old was instantly transfixed by Makey Makey and she started making all sorts of things with it, including a drum machine triggered by apple slices, and a game controller out of a cardboard box and bits of foil.

Makey Makey also works with Scratch, the excellent kids’ software development platform. Check out the Makey Makey games people have created using Scratch.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Makey Makey
By Joylabz
$47 Buy one on Amazon

Quick and easy DIY juggling balls

juggling-balls-1

Mike is a good juggler, and when his kids expressed an interest in learning how to juggle, he made some kid-size juggling balls out of balloons and rice. The results look excellent!

Instead of buying smaller balls or hacky sacks, I used plans from juggler.org to make several kid-friendly balls. This worked perfectly because I wanted to practice with them while their interest and excitement was high, and together we were able to crank out several balls in about 15 minutes.

juggling-balls-2

Watch: How to roll a joint

There are lots of how-to-roll-a-joint videos on YouTube, but this is one by Jolie Kerr (author of the household hints book, My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag) is one of the best. (If you find a better one, please post to comments.)

joint

Interview with Ben Krasnow, the guy who made his own electron microscope

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Every week on the Cool Tools Show podcast, Kevin Kelly and I interview an interesting person, and ask them about four of their favorite tools. Our guest this week is Ben Krasnow. Ben works at Google[x], Google’s semi-secret technology development facility, where he creates advanced prototypes. Ben previously developed virtual reality hardware at Valve. After work, he spends time on various projects that usually involve circuit design, machining, and chemistry. Ben makes things that usually require a lot of money and sophisticated equipment: an electron scanning microscope, silica aerogel, and freeze-dried astronaut ice cream (I’ve tasted it, and it’s spectacular). You can follow Ben’s projects on his youtube channel, Applied Science.

Deal: Arduino Robotic Vehicle Kit

Meet Cherokey 4WD, a versatile mobile platform compatible with most microcontrollers, and the heart and soul of your robotic vehicle. By assembling the included hardware and tuning the software, you will construct a rapid, rugged, outdoor-friendly truck controlled by an iOS app on your phone. Learn to install sensors on the robot to trigger specific movements and actions, and take your newfound Arduino expertise onto limitless future projects.

  • Enjoy high-quality micro-speed motors
  • Drive your truck on rough terrain w/ its durable & solid aluminum body
  • Expand upon the highly versatile modular design
  • Easily control w/ your iOS device
  • Write your own code to take advantage of its ultrasonic sensor, BLE-ready microcontroller, IR sensor & LEDs
  • Start your project immediately without the need for an additional motor driver or wireless shield
  • Use for educational purposes, robot competitions, home automation protyping or research projects

Make an Arduino puzzle box

"This is my first foray in the world of interactivity," says Grady Hillhouse. "It's an arcade-style puzzle box mini game. Powered by an Arduino with completely custom wooden enclosure and components, the goal was to make it look like something your parents told you not to play with when you were a kid. The object of the game is to adjust the knobs so each needle points at its respective LED, but it's not as easy as it sounds (or is it!?)." [via]

Gotcha Gadgets – A book with a built in electronic mischief maker

Build Your Own Gotcha Gadgets comes with a multifunction electronic circuit, wires, and sensors that kids can use to build a variety of pranksterish devices: A cookie jar that sounds an alarm when the lid is removed, an electronic whoopie cushion, an intrusion detector, a fake lie detector, and more. Once you try a few projects from the book, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with other ways to use the components, both mischievous and mild.

Build Your Own Gotcha Gadgets
by Ben Grossblatt
Klutz press
2015, 32 pages, 0.5 x 10.2 x 12 inches (paperback)
$21 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

LightUp Faraday: a toy to teach electronics and coding

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What is the fastest check-out line?

There happens to be a branch of mathematics that deals with this issue. It’s called queuing theory, and it deals with the behavior of waiting lines.Read the rest

Zero to Hero Game Developer Bundle in Boing Boing Store

gamesLearn to develop games through seven courses, including 30+ hours of training for creating mobile & desktop games. The entire package is just $49.

Get the complete Arduino starter kit & course bundle for 85% off

Tackle 13 different projects w/ this fully-stocked beginner's toolkit. The ARDX Arduino Starter Kit pairs a detailed, illustrated guide with all the parts you need to build your own circuits. Perfect for beginners, this kit requires no experience and teaches you to use Arduino to control lights, buzzers, and more. Once you master the basics of Arduino, you can control motors on any device you dream up—from robots, to mood lights, to self-playing instruments, and beyond.

In addition to the kit, this deal offers three video courses. Learn about everything here. ($75.99)