1922 house and furnishings made entirely from varnished paper

Having successfully invented the paperclip-bending machine, engineer Elis F. Stenman set out to build a new summer home for himself in Rockport, Mass in 1922, entirely from paper. Read the rest

"Artisanal" Nintendo console cartridge hacker creates impossible alternate history games

Josh Jacobson is a Nintendo cartridge hacker who makes homebrew cartridges for games that were never released for NES/SNES, complete with label art and colored plastic cases that makes them look like they came from an alternate universe where (for example), there was a Nintendo version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Read the rest

The MakeShift Challenge (or what would MacGyver do?)

For its first five years, Make: magazine ran a column called "MakeShift," edited by Lee D. Zlotoff, creator of the TV show MacGyver. The idea was to present Make: readers with a MacGyver-esque challenge in each issue, collect all of the submitted solutions, and then publish an analysis, along with all of the top submitters' notes and sketches, on the Make: website. The "MakeShift" challenge asked readers to ponder such conundrums as how to contain a viral outbreak on a plane, how to charge your phone with nothing but camping gear and a propane torch, how to fend off a zombie attack, and how to get help after a very bad fall.

The reader-responses were impressive. People really put a lot of thought into their solutions, sending copious notes and drawings. And in fully explaining the challenges and ranking the solutions in the follow-up website articles, Lee and Make: editor Bill Lidwell shared a lot of great MacGyvering tips and nutshell science and engineering.

Sadly, years ago, the "MakeShift" columns disappeared when a dedicated magazine area of the Make: site was discontinued. So, a few weeks ago, Make: decided to bring back "MakeShift," now publishing re-constituted columns every Wednesday. Here are the first three posted.

Dead Car Battery You're 50 miles into mountainous woods, your battery is dead, and there's a big snowstorm bearing down. How can you revive your dead battery? On, and it's a automatic transmission. Potable Water You're in a village in East Asia and the water has become dangerously contaminated. Read the rest

Make: Soviet themed launch-code box complete with missile switch covered toggles

Love puzzles, crypto, making, control panels and nuclear extinction? John Edgar Park has a maker project for you! Read the rest

Drug catapult found attached to Arizona-Mexico border fence

The taller the wall, the farther catapults like these will be able to fling bundles of drugs. This one was found at the Mexico-Arizona border.

From KVUE:

When agents arrived, they searched the area and located two bundles of marijuana, weighing more than 47 pounds combined, as well as a catapult system attached to the Mexico side of the border fence.

Read the rest

Hacking a $2 voice recorder

I'm really enjoying Donald Bell's Maker Project Lab videos on YouTube. They are short reports on cool things happening in the world of making. This week, Donald talks about a circuit-bent voice recording intercom, a $500 laser engraver, a Raspberry Pi robot arm, Flick Face electronics project, Pi Cams compared, and a PocketCHIP review. Read the rest

How an old camera flash became the first Star Wars lightsaber

The legendary lightsaber that Obi Wan passed on to Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope was actually a modified battery tube from a 1940s Graflex camera flash. Once that was known, prop recreators drove up the price of the flashes, frustrating vintage camera geeks who appreciate the elegant gear for a more civilized age.

Read the rest

Bake: a Queen of Hearts cherry pie for V-day

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) (previously) writes, "Happy Valentines Day! If your readers are looking for a last-minute gift idea for their significant others, they may want to check out my new pie tutorial. It's a Queen of Hearts cherry pie baked in a heart shaped cake pan." Read the rest

Make: a $5 ACLU-donation Dash button you can press every time Trump makes you angry

Nathan writes, "Wanting a more immediate and responsive way to do something about the outrage a friend and I felt every time we read about the latest assaults on civil liberties, I built an Amazon Dash button that sends $5 to the ACLU every time I press it. Repurposing the technology to do good, not just buy goods." Read the rest

The Bathgate Artifact Spinner: a beautiful, hand-machined fidget toy

Machinist/sculptor Chris Bathgate (previously) continues his foray into collaborations to make gorgeous, hand-machined fidget today (see: the slider; spinning tops, slider mark II): his latest is a "spinner," made in collaboration with Mike Hogarty and Callye Keen from Revolvemakers. Read the rest

Make: a wifi internet Valentine

Becky Stern writes, "Send your valentine a note through the net! This DIY electronics project uses a small vibrating motor to gently wave a tissue paper heart and flash an LED when it receives instructions over the internet from another device. I built two versions of the ESP8266 wifi circuit, also equipped with two buttons for triggering the two commands. The devices talk over the Adafruit IO cloud data service to communicate with each other from anywhere with wifi, and I'll show you how to activate your valentine with the API gateway service IFTTT as well, in case you only want to build one valentine circuit." Read the rest

Punk tech versus consumer tech

The interview I recently did for the Working Together Podcast is live.

Here's a link to the episode with lots of detailed shownotes on Stefan's Working Together blog.

We talked about my upbringing, the Maker Movement, "punk tech" versus "consumer tech", the blockchain, and some of the books and mentors who have inspired me over the years.

If you like what you hear, you can subscribe to his show through the usual directories: iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn and so on.

The host of the show, Stefan, also encouraged anyone using iTunes to rate and review the podcast as he welcomes your feedback and support, and it helps the show get discovered by more listeners! Read the rest

Dial-a-Grue: play Zork with nothing but an old phone

The first iteration of Dial-a-Grue, in 2011, was to kit out an old rotary dial phone with an embedded computer and text-to-speech engine so that you could play Zork with nothing but the handset. The new, 2.0 version of the project, is "to port Zork I (via a z-code interpreter) to an embedded platform, and enclose that and an old modem inside a telephone, so that the game can be played from a teletype, TDD, or old computer with an acoustically coupled modem." (via JWZ) Read the rest

Crazy "Slip N Slide"-esque contraption made from clothesline and electric motor

Daniel Jacob and friends "built a spinning water slide ride for Australia Day down at the river in Canberra."

Below, a 1980s TV commercial for the original Slip N Slide. Which one looks more fun?

Read the rest

Make: an Arduino-based soda vending machine that fits in your school locker

Mistablik is an American high-school student who put his mind to finding alternate uses for the lockers that lined his school's hallways -- lockers that sit empty as students switch over to electronic textbooks -- and decided to build a tiny, secure, Arduino-based vending machine that would sell soda to his fellow students. Read the rest

Three states considering "right to repair" laws that would decriminalize fixing your stuff

Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it both a crime and a civil offense to tamper with software locks that control access to copyrighted works -- more commonly known as "Digital Rights Management" or DRM. As the number of products with software in them has exploded, the manufacturers of these products have figured out that they can force their customers to use their own property in ways that benefit the company's shareholders, not the products' owners -- all they have to do is design those products so that using them in other ways requires breaking some DRM. Read the rest

Bake: a pixel-art Mario pie for National Pie Day

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) writes, "It is National Pie Day in America tomorrow (not to be confused with "International Pi Day" - the cooler big cousin of pie holidays on March 14th...) In honour of this occasion I've posted a new tutorial video that is very attainable for any novice pie-geeks out there thinking about whipping something up nifty. It features our favourite 8 bit plumber hero, with a special guest appearance at the end." Read the rest

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