Shaper Origin is a handheld CNC router

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I just watched a few of the demo videos for the Shaper Origin. It's a handheld, computer numerical control, router that allows you to cut precise shapes into flat stock. Since it is handheld, there's really no limit to the size of the things you want to cut out. Looks really cool. It costs around $1500. Read the rest

Lost in Space prop computer remake

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Brian Mix shows off his replica Jupiter 2 computer, a remake based on the 1960s TV Lost in Space show -- which was also used as the 1966 Bat Computer in the Batman TV show. Read the rest

Great deal on Electronics for Kids book

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I have a copy of Electronics for Kids: Play with Simple Circuits and Experiment with Electricity, by Oyvind Nydal Dahl. It's a full-color introduction to electronics, and is useful for kids and adults who want to get started in hobbyist electronics. Right now, this 328 page book is on sale for just $11 on Amazon.

Why do the lights in a house turn on when you flip a switch? How does a remote-controlled car move? And what makes lights on TVs and microwaves blink? The technology around you may seem like magic, but most of it wouldn't run without electricity.

Electronics for Kids demystifies electricity with a collection of awesome hands-on projects. In Part 1, you'll learn how current, voltage, and circuits work by making a battery out of a lemon, turning a metal bolt into an electromagnet, and transforming a paper cup and some magnets into a spinning motor. In Part 2, you'll make even more cool stuff as you: Solder a blinking LED circuit with resistors, capacitors, and relays Turn a circuit into a touch sensor using your finger as a resistor Build an alarm clock triggered by the sunrise Create a musical instrument that makes sci-fi sounds

Then, in Part 3, you'll learn about digital electronics--things like logic gates and memory circuits--as you make a secret code checker and an electronic coin flipper. Finally, you'll use everything you've learned to make the LED Reaction Game--test your reaction time as you try to catch a blinking light!

With its clear explanations and assortment of hands-on projects, Electronics for Kids will have you building your own circuits in no time.

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What's inside a Tiki Bird?

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Kevin Kidney owns a couple of audio-animatronic birds from the Enchanted Tiki Room, the first Disney showcase for robotic animals, still running and glorious today -- he's decided to make them good as new, and is documenting his process. Read the rest

Print Workshop – Print up all kinds of fun stuff with this step-by-step handbook for the DIY artist

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects by Christine Schmidt Potter Craft 2010, 176 pages, 7.5 x 9 x 0.7 inches (softcover) $16 Buy a copy on Amazon

A year after moving, I am still finding miscellaneous books tucked into previously unpacked boxes. Luckily, that means I get to rediscover favorites like Christine Schmidt’s Print Workshop: Hand-printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects. With step-by-step instructions, project templates, and illustrated project and resource guides, this book serves as both an exhaustive guide for the DIY-er just starting out in printmaking, as well as a jumping-off point for artists who need a nudge toward new ideas.

Schmidt, the creative force behind San Francisco’s Yellow Owl Workshop, organizes the book into several helpful and easy-to-navigate sections. She opens with a brief but thorough introduction to the processes of printmaking, followed by a comprehensive guide, complete with photos and drawings, to setting up a home studio and choosing materials. These initial images of materials-for-making reappear in the technique chapters, plucked from the original grid shots to become part of each project, transformed into visual verbs for the printing process.

As someone who has no formal training in printmaking, I was especially interested in the breadth of the form. The “Relief Printing” chapter, for example, hosts a wax seal project, and “Image Transfer Printing” includes refreshingly simple pin-prick stationary. This book is full of fantastic gift ideas (I’ll be making the sweet-potato-printed picnic set for a wedding present, and my holiday preserves are about to get gussied-up with water-slide decal jars), and because printing is made for multiples, I plan to make a whole cache of go-to homemade presents to pull from throughout the year. Read the rest

Two new great books for Arduino and electronics projects

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No Starch Press just released two nice books. Arduino Project Handbook by Mark Geddes has 25 beginner-friendly projects that use Arduino (a low cost electronic prototyping platform), including a Simon-like memory game, a weather station, and a wireless ID card entry system. Electronics for Kids, by Øyvind Nydal Dahl, starts with an easy-to-grok explanation of voltage and current, and has a lot of practical information about components and tools and instructions on how to use breadboards and a soldering iron. The projects look like fun, too. One is a musical instrument that makes sci-fi sounds, and another is a sunrise-activated alarm clock.

Both books are full color throughout and beautifully designed.

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Interview with hardware hacker Star Simpson

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Our guest on the Cool Tools show this week is Star Simpson. She is an electronics designer whose greatest joy is designing objects and tools that are useful to others, which inspire and delight. Her previous work includes research on robotics and work in drones, PLIBMTTBHGATY, an event where people convene to try new programming languages, and an electronics reference card PCB designed for Octopart, now carried in the wallets of electrical engineers everywhere. She is also the creator of Circuit Classics -- printed circuit boards that bring to life Forrest Mims' vintage designs from Getting Started in Electronics.

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

Walking Tables: a strandbeest for your dining room

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Wouter Scheublin's 2006 design for a Walking Table echoes Theo Jansen's iconic Strandbeest: the complex mechanical linkages on the legs allow the table to walk when it's given a moderately firm shove. Read the rest

Make: Hobnailed Roman marching boots, the Caligae

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In 2010, Lee Holeva, a Roman legion reenactor, lavishly documented his efforts to create a faithful reproduction of caligae, the "ancient milspec Roman footwear" (as Bruce Sterling calls it), worn by Roman legionary soldiers and auxiliaries throughout the Roman Republic and Empire. Read the rest

John Edgar Park starts sharing his amazing maker skills

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John Park is my old friend. He's an amazing maker of things, like this giant-size Arduino board, and equally huge, clear handcuffs (to show how they work and learn how to escape from them). John was the host of Make: Television, and worked as a researcher at Disney for many years. I'm really excited that he has become a full time maker, and has set up his garage as a workshop, where he will build things and make videos that he'll share at Adafruit.

There are so many projects I’m excited to start building and sharing in videos and online tutorials. I’ll be making things to appeal to people with wide ranging passions, including cosplayers, home brewers, gamers, magicians, rock climbers, hot rodders, modernist chefs, lock pickers, kids, musicians, mixologists, Burners, escape room designers, aerialists, cyclists, teachers, animators, and coffee fiends, to name a few.

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Crowdfunding for a "live-coded" album of algorave music

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Alex AKA Yaxu writes, "I co-founded the Algorave movement. Now I'm working on an album of live-coded algorave-style music." Read the rest

Decorating a wall with a perfect, floor-to-ceiling replica of the opening of Harry Potter

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Author Meredith McCardle used a projector to project a scan of the first page of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on her wall, then painstakingly painted it in, leaving behind a perfect replica of the page from floor to ceiling. Read the rest

Man builds giant, discrete-component-based computer that can play Tetris

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James Newman's "Megaprocessor" is a giant "microprocessor" built on transistors and other discrete components that he soldered onto boards and wired together in frames that stand 2m high and run 10m long. Read the rest

Universal, CC-licensed mobile phone charging dock

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Eirik writes, "I like those old charging docks for mobile phones. But the problem is that you need to buy a new one every time your phone change. And it won't fit if you use a cover on your phone. So I just designed a dock that can be adapted to almost any phone." Read the rest

Grandad builds miniature backyard Disneyland

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Steve Dobbs grew up near the present-day site of Disneyland and was profoundly influenced by watching the park get built while he zipped by on his bike; today the reitred aerospace engineer has built a charming miniature Disney-inspired theme-park in his backyard in Fullerton, CA. Read the rest

A wonderful gallery of toy, prank, and novelty fun projects at Make: magazine

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Make: recently posted a series of fun projects to their website that are also featured in Volume 52 of the magazine, their forthcoming DIY Virtual Reality issue. I really love some of these and wanted to share a few of my favorites here.

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Make a no-3D-printer gripping, soft robot with hot glue and spreadable silicone

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Harrison Young devised a miraculously cool "fiber-reinforced actuator" -- a gripping robot-hand that can get traction on irregularly shaped, heavy objects, without any 3D printed parts and without any power-supply! Read the rest

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