Boing Boing 

New Makey Makey Go converts almost anything into a touch interface

Jay Silver is a very cool guy, and I loved the original Makey Makey, so I know the Makey Makey Go will be awesome. The video is terrific.

Small enough to fit on your keychain, book bag, or bracelet, Makey Makey GO turns everyday objects into touchpads and combines them with the internet. It’s a simple tool-slash-toy that allows beginners and experts to make countless art, music, engineering, and science projects. It comes ready to use out of the box with no setup and no installations. Just plug and play.

Jig for making paracord bracelets

Paracord bracelets (or survival bracelets) are a popular, fun-to-make fashion accessory, and can also come in handy if you suddenly need to unravel the bracelet and use the cord to make a tourniquet, secure a tent, tow a lifeboat, make a pair of snowshoes, or… fill in the blank here (choose from hundreds of emergency situations in which paracord saves the day). And making these bracelets is really easy, especially if you’ve got a jig to keep your cord taut while working the knots.

I just got this EZzzy-Jig ($14), which comes with 12mm and 15mm attached buckles to plug your own buckles and cord into, as well as an adjustable ruler on its side to help you make the exact length you want. If you’ve made these bracelets before, the instructions for the jig should make perfect sense. But if you’re a newbie like me, you might also want to check out Beadaholique’s How to Use the EZzzy-Jig Bracelet Maker on YouTube. The instructions that come with the Paracord Planet cord (which you will need since the jig does not come with any cords or buckles) will get you started on a basic cobra braided bracelet. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to whip one of these bracelets up in 10 minutes flat.

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Encyclopedia of Electronic Components

When I was one of the editors at Make: Books, one of the projects I was proudest to have helped conceive of and edit was Charles Platt’s Make: Electronics (which has now been a best-seller for years). Growing up being absurdly visual and suffering from mild dyslexia, I found it incredibly difficult to learn electronics using the books of the day. They were usually very poorly written, with bad editing, dark and dreary photos, and crude diagrams. Forrest Mims’ 1983 Getting Started in Electronics, beautifully hand-drawn on graph paper, with succinct and clear text and playful examples, was a revelation to me.

For Make: Electronics we wanted to create a Getting Started for the early 21st century – well-written, beautifully photographed and illustrated, and in high-quality, full-color. Charles Platt and Make: delivered on that promise, in spades, with Make: Electronics and its follow-up volume, Make: More Electronics. And Charles continues to knock it out of the park with Encyclopedia of Electronic Components, currently in two volumes, with a third on the way.
 Volume 1 covers batteries, power supplies, motors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, switches, encoders, relays, diodes, transistors, and more. Each entry describes what it does, how it works, variants on the component, how to use it, and what can go wrong with it. Each entry is illustrated with well-shot photos (the components are shot on a graph paper background, so you can get some idea of their size), charts and graphs, and cut-away diagrams. The writing is very approachable while not shying away from technical rigor. These are fun books for picking up and scanning a component listing to learn more about the component, its variants, applications, and how it might fail. And, the books are an invaluable reference if you’re working on a project and want to gain a deeper understanding of the specific components you’re working with.

Volume 2, subtitled Signal Processing, covers LEDs, LCDs, audio, amplification, digital logic, and more. The two books together cover a lot of the common components you encounter in most basic-to-intermediate electronics work. Volume 3 (available now for pre-order) will fill in the one major missing component class – all manner of sensors.

I cannot imagine what it’s like to be growing up today with an interest in electronics and DIY high-technology. Smartly written, visual, and well-produced books like the Make: Electronics series and these Encyclopedia of Electronic Components volumes open up the world of electrical engineering and high-tech tinkering to a wider audience than ever before. – Gareth Branwyn

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Gigantic tub o' 22,000 Perler beads

My 12-year-old and her pals like making thing with Perler beads. They go through them quickly, so I bought a tub of 22,000 Perler beads for $15.

What are Perler beads? They are tiny colorful plastic cylinders. Each bead is a pixel that you place on a Perler pegboard to make a piece of art. Once you've placed all the beads down, you use a clothes iron to fuse the beads together, so your artwork doesn't fall apart.

The above video shows you a smart way to stack beads on a toothpick for faster beading.

Here are some great Perler bead drawings from around the world:

Perler Bead Majora's Mask by EP-380

Floppy disks by larrieking

Mario Perler beads by TheBeadLord

Mobile phone case by Lovely CraftsDIY

Perler beads Stormtrooper Star Wars by L000lz

Perler bead camera coasters by Maker Crate

Perler beads tree and mobile by Idee Creative

8-Bit Pixel Art Christmas Baubles by adamcrockett

Time lapse: making a cruiser skateboard

My friend Andreas Ekberg, who made this great Boing Boing deck for me, made a Happy Cloud cruiser for his pal Steve Guyer. Steve shot and edited the video above.

Andreas tell me he uses a Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter to create the stencils for his designs. The design is painted with acrylic paint and coated with a water based varnish. He went to Uncle Funkys in Manhattan for the hardware.

Here are some of Andreas' other boards:

Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection just $14

I reviewed this beautifully designed Minecraft boxed set of four hardcover handbooks in December. The price has since dropped to $14, which is a great deal.

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Make this display frame that holds 10 comic books

I was sick of storing my comics in cardboard magazine bins: they're ugly, dusty and don't protect the comics--and worst of all you can't even see the cool comic book covers!Read the rest

Jamie Hyneman tries to trim the tops of trees with a quadcopter

Jamie Hyneman attached a rotating saw blade to a quadcopter and tried topping some trees with it. It didn't really work, but it was worth a try!

Be in a Treehouse: design and construction tips for arboreal living

Thanks to his TV show, Treehouse Masters, Pete Nelson is probably the best-known treehouse designer and builder in America.

His book, Be in a Treehouse, has photos of 27 beautiful treehouses from around the world, including many of his own design. He includes sketches, design notes, tips, and general observations useful to anyone contemplating building their own backyard treehouse.

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Arduino starter kit and course bundle

This Arduino kit ($85) from Seeed Studios includes an Arduino and a bunch of components, plus a 25 hour course on basic Arduino concepts.

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Adventure Time's BMO made from Raspberry Pi

From MAKE: this cute BMO replica with a Raspberry Pi brain.

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What is a puzzle jug, and how to make one

Artist Michelle Erickson reveals the secret of an 18th-century amusement called a puzzle jug by making a beautiful replica.

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How to make a smartphone microscope

Kenji Yoshino of MAKE shows you how to make a powerful microscope from "the focus lens from a cheap laser pointer or two, and about $10 worth of materials from the hardware store."

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How to make your own sliced deck of cards

A few hours after I ordered a box of half-wide playing cards I realized I had the tools and materials to make my own.

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Magic Books - the secret art of book hacking


What is a book? The commonly held notion is pretty simple: it is an object made of pieces of paper, glued or bounded together, with stuff written in it. Indisputable. But, maybe, there is more than meets the eye.

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7 electronics kits for kids

The Guardian reviews a selection of fun kids' electronic kits, including littleBits Space Kit, and the Raspberry Pi based Kano computer.

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Interview with Mike Evans of the Secret Dad Society

Kevin Kelly and I interviewed Mike Evans of the Secret Dad Society on the Cool Tools Show podcast. He recommends a bunch of toys and tools for family fun. Check out his picks here.