I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with "pink girly engineering kits." From Medium: Read the rest
Imgur user PapJ06 created these interesting Lichtenberg figures by electrocuting wood blocks with a modified microwave transformer, then applying glowing powder and resin. Read the rest
After his daughter complained her toy car was not fast enough, YouTuber ThatHPI GUY decided to mod it so it could pop wheelies.
Read the rest
Over at Backchannel, Andy Warner's delightful comic about how a naval engineer invented The Slinky. Read the rest
I asked Lenore Edman, the founder of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, the open source hardware, hobby electronics, and robotics company, to write a Medium post about what it's like being a badass female maker
. Her comments are inspired and inspiring. From Medium
My hope for young women is that they’ll find meaningful work in an environment where they can flourish. It doesn’t matter to me if they choose a technical field, but it does matter deeply that they know they could choose one. For that to happen, it will take deliberate work on the part of all of us who work in technology to make our communities welcoming. There are many efforts going on toward this, and I think the maker communities have a wealth to share.
"Flourishing in the Maker Community"
And of course, check out Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories Read the rest
The Ryhthmicon was the world's first drum machine, built in the 1930s by Leon Theremin (of Theremin fame) for avant grade composer Henry Cowell. Read the rest
This fellow made a 40W laser shotgun that is quite powerful and, yes, ridiculously dangerous. Read the rest
Colin Furze made a nutty electrified “knife that can toast as you cut the bread." And then the butter will go on...like butter.
Read the rest
Mike Harrison has been experimenting with tiny flexible LED filaments found in LED bulbs that mimic incandescent bulbs. He came up with this cool light cube and a very bright clock display. Read the rest
Maker Ben Saks of KinetiGear is crowdfunding BoXZY
, a desktop fabricator bringing micromanufacturing to the masses. Users can shape wood, plastics, and many metals using most commercial CAM programs. Read the rest
Tinker Crate is a monthly subscription service, delivering cool toys to encourage engineering-style skills in kids aged 9 to 14. Instructions are included, but they also produce slick videos like the one above to further engage little minds. Project kits include parts and diagrams to make a trebuchet in one month, and a simple motor the next.
The site doesn't list more projects than that, but since they're offering subscriptions up to 12 months, we'll just have to sign up and be surprised. Read the rest
Not since the Amphicar has a boat led such an interesting double life. The short film Skate Heads shows a number of wooden structures that transform into skate ramps and accessories (including a cooktop for snacks). Directed by Vancouver-based Zenga Bros, the film is a collaboration between blog Booooooom and hat manufacturer Flexfit.
Skateboarding is inherently about adapting and repurposing the urban landscape, but somehow even skateboarding can settle into a complacent state, where certain approaches become the norm. When street skating first started it was weird and abrasive, and that’ll always be there with wheels rattling down the sidewalk, but it’s good to remind ourselves to maintain a sense of foolishness, exploration and wonder; that is skateboarding.
"Portable Skateboard Ramps Double as Train Car, Boat" [Make] Read the rest
User Toulouse shows off a fairly slammin' cell phone dock on the OnePlus One Android smartphone forum. Even though it's for the new OnePlus One phone, the build can be recreated for any handset.
(Side note: I do hate his use of the word "ghetto" in the description, common among some makers. Does he honestly live in a poor neighborhood where improvisation and thoughtful use of materials reign? If not, what's it saying?)
Read the rest
One of the most versatile tools and fasteners is the humble hose clamp, invented in 1921 and marketed as the Jubilee Clip. Besides their intended uses in plumbing and automotive, they can be used to fix an exhaust, fasten parts on a bike, and make DIY camera parts. I've used them in prototyping: for instance, quickly holding together parts for a rainwater pump.
Who knew that hose clamps were such big business? Not one, but two reports recently came out on this growing segment: "Global Hose Clamps Market Size, Trends, Forecasts, Market Research Report 2015" and "Global Hose Clamps Industry Report 2015". They both make for exciting reading, through of course, not as gratifying as the masterwork, "The 2009-2014 Outlook for Wood Toilet Seats in Greater China". Read the rest
Artist Rebecca Baxter of Halifax, Nova Scotia makes noisy, grating, often ethereal sounds from machines she designs and solders herself. Demand has been high for her one-offs, including those used in recordings and performances by Flaming Lips, Electric Wurms, New Fumes, Mike O'Neill, Panos, METEOROID, Holy Fuck, Buck 65, and Oscillator Sunshine Machine.
Now she's launched a campaign to raise money to build more sophisticated handmade instruments. So far her devices have been stand-alone, creating sound from oscillators inside, but her next model, the Omega, is slated to have inputs for a guitar or keyboard. More videos: 1, 2, 3. Read the rest
I'm a firm believer in a household repository for sundry electronic parts, adapters, and bits of wire. Everyone needs an attractive kitchen basket/box to reduce detritus.
Pretty much the best looking receptacle for this purpose is this wood and leather number made by woodworker David Waelder. The only thing it's missing is a wireless charger installed in the lid. He tells you how it's done in this video from February 23:
Read the rest