Boing Boing 

Hacking a laser-cutter to play real-world Space Invaders

Martin sez, "I just completed my silliest projects to date: while running the risk of turning my laser cutter into a giant fire ball I actually succeeded in turning it into a real world version of the Space Invaders game."

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Carving a spoon a day

Stian Korntved Ruud has been carving a new wooden spoon once a day. Some of them are wild.

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Hoax photos of real events


Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger normally produce beautiful commercial photos, but their hobby is recreating iconic photos -- the Hindenberg's explosion, Nessie 1934, Tiananmen 1989, 9/11, and more -- in miniature, so that their replicas are virtually indistinguishable from the originals.

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Book Preview: The Boy Who Played with Fusion

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This June, Harcourt releases The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star. Written by journalist Tom Clynes, the book got its start as a 2012 Popular Science story of the same name. I've been reading an early galley and love the way Clynes weaves tales of a precocious youngster, his wise parents, and his baffled teachers. It’s an inside look at raising a typical, angsty teen, except one who gives Ted talks on the weekends and hangs with world-class physicists.

Taylor hadn’t realized that his biggest challenge, by far, would be to create a workable vacuum. He needed enough negative pressure to create an almost empty space for his subatomic particles to travel. If any gas or air molecules were left inside the tube, the high-energy particles would collide with them and lose energy. “Imagine a freeway in Los Angeles and you want to go 100 miles an hour,” Taylor explains. “If you try that at rush hour you’re going to hit other cars. But in the middle of the night it’s wide open and you can go fast.”

To pump out the tube, Taylor used a refrigerator compressor and wired it to run backward. Then, Taylor loaded the deuterium gas he’d generated. “I was so excited,” he says. “Me and Tom got the Van de Graaff up to 200,000 volts, and with the Model-T arc we tried to get plasma going.”

But even though they used higher-tech fasteners than Lawrence did in the 1930s, they had trouble creating enough vacuum to get a sustained plasma field, and a clear enough path to accelerate particles to any measurable degree. They tweaked the fasteners and tried all sorts of sealant—silicon rubber, epoxy, “and a few other things,” says Taylor. “We were using techniques from the sixties and seventies, and we modernized them, but with our expertise and materials we could only go so far. Most of it worked. But not the big picture.”

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Astounding RC flying with counterrotating drive

Barry writes, "There's a thing called pattern flying, where pilots compete to perfectly execute an elaborate set of compulsory tricks."

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Bondic: multipurpose liquid UV-curing plastic adhesive

Bondic is a UV-curing liquid plastic adhesive that can stick together materials that usually require different kinds of glues to bond.

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A Wisconsin grain silo renovated into three-story fort

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In a great reuse of old infrastructure, a carpenter in West Bend, Wisconsin is turning his family's vacant grain silo into a play room. He started the project last summer and expects to finish in the new few weeks.
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West Bend man builds ultimate “tree house” [Fox6Now]

THIS TOOK FOREVER

A truer-words-never-spoken woven label to sew into your crafting projects. (via Making Light)

How to make a technicolor igloo

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Firefighter Jostein Alvestad built this igloo in his backyard by filling 32 plastic buckets with colored water each night. In a Chicago magazine story, he describes the fun of sleeping and hanging out inside by candlelight. The exterior issues a soft glow when a flashlight is brought inside.

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Igloos are usually built with snow that has sintered, or compacted, in the wind. A good guide to more traditional structures is How to Build an Igloo: And Other Snow Shelters.

When Life Gives Him Ice, He Makes a Crazy, Rainbow-Colored Igloo [Chicago]

Giant cat or hyper-detailed model cars?

Headquake claims this a scratch-built RC car. I'm not buying it. He's been breeding giant housecats.

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Teen makes Arduino compatible with rechargeable battery

Quin Etnyre is one of the coolest kids I know. He saved my butt a few years ago when he was my "assistant" at an Arduino workshop I gave.

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Awesome, nerdy, bookish, fannish skirts, bags, scarves and stuff


Rooby on the Isle of Wight turns nerdy fabric prints into garments and accessories: Death Star, Walking Dead BEWARE OF ZOMBIES signs, Incredible Hulk blow-up, Rocky Horror, Heroes of Star Wars, antique book-spines, and the first chapter of Harry Potter (which, sadly, is no longer available as a dress).

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Nerdy status-badges for kids


Isiah Saxon made a set of amazing badges for DIY, a program to teach kids skills.

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FedEx won't ship milling machine that makes untraceable guns

Defense Distributed sells a $1500 digital mill called the Ghost Gunner. Among other things, it can carve an aluminum AR-15 rifle body without a serial number. FedEx refuses to ship it.

“This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals,” FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler wrote in a statement. “We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations, FedEx declined to ship this device until we know more about how it will be regulated.”

But buying, selling, or using the Ghost Gunner isn’t illegal, nor is owning an AR-15 without a serial number, says Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and the author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. “This is not that problematic,” he says. “Federal law does not prohibit individuals from making their own firearms at home, and that includes AR-15s.”

Horrifying knit goods


Brooklyn's Knitrocious creates nightmarish knit goods, such as the goat balaclava and the horror clown balaclava.

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Dad builds a VW microbus bed for his daughter

“DIYDad” built a VW microbus bed as a birthday gift for his three year old daughter. The bed is on top, and a play space is below. It uses real VW parts scored for free on Craigslist, and the headlights are illuminated. [via]

Kickstarting a next-gen steampunk nixie clock


Kyle writes, "The first clock in my series of Steampunk Nixie timepieces was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year, and I've just released the next design! Sleeker, smaller, and at a lower price point, the clock is available in black walnut or purpleheart. 700+ backlight colours, and a ton of other features, each unit is handmade by me."

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Profile of Other Machine - a desktop CNC milling machine company

I'm very excited about Other Machine's desktop CNC milling machines. Unlike 3D printers, which build parts by adding material (almost always plastic, when it comes to low cost machines), the Othermill cuts away at material (plastic, wood, metal glass, printed circuit boards).

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Dancing papercraft Valentine


Siberian-born, Philippines-based paper artist Maria Dubrovskaya makes beautiful articulated paper dolls and sculptures, including this timely dancing Valentine's Day heart ($15).

Rebel Bass: Star Wars guitars with Millennium Falcon bodies


Doni Guitars of Coventry, England, has created a pair of amazing, Star-Wars-themed guitars based around vintage model Millennium Falcons, with new blue LED lights: a six-string Strat and a "Rebel Bass -- they also make custom flight cases for them.

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Zombie pancake

The Zombiecake: commemorate carbohydrates and resurrection at the same time.

A hard-fought lesson about USB cables

My pal Sean Ragan got a Seek thermal imaging camera add-on for his phone. He was excited to try it out, but the micro-USB jack on his phone is "upside-down," which means the camera faces the same way as the phone's screen. In his effort to correct this problem, he tried a variety of USB cables, and learned quite a bit about the way USB cables are wired. It's a worthwhile read for anyone who wants to make things that use UBS connectors.

About this time I discovered, to my chagrin, that micro-USB extension cables come in various flavors depending on whether they are for charging/syncing the phone or allowing it to serve as a USB host (“OTG”). The hackers and engineers reading this will immediately understand my frustration at this idea—it’s an extension cable, for f*ck’s sake: All the contacts at one end should be connected to the corresponding contacts at the other end, with continuous conductors between them. Is that really too much to ask? Omitting certain conductors just serves to fragment the market and create artificial demand for multiple purchases from individual users. Nonetheless, on a lark, I bought the complementary “charging” cable and discovered that, unsurprisingly, it does not work either.

He finally had to hand-make a connector to get it to work.

I like big books and I cannot lie embroidery


NiamhyStitches sells a variety of decorative embroidery, including this I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie hoop, which sells for $23.48. (via Geeky Merch)

Modern farm equipment has no farmer-servicable parts inside


Ifixit's Kyle Wiens writes about the state of modern farm equipment, "black boxes outfitted with harvesting blades," whose diagnostic modes are jealously guarded, legally protected trade secrets, meaning that the baling-wire spirit of the American farm has been made subservient to the needs of multinational companies' greedy desire to control the repair and parts markets.

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Humble Brainiac Book Bundle: tech books for kids!


Get more than 15 DRM-free kids tech ebooks from No Starch Press, including the amazing Lauren Ipsum, as well as a wealth of killer Lego books, books for young makers, and kids' programming guides -- support EFF and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, too!

Custom Jackhammer Jill skateboard by Andreas Ekberg

andreas-boardI love my new Jackhammer Jill skateboard deck designed and made by Andreas Ekberg. Check out his website of beautiful creations.

Kickstarting Facets, a cool granddad's magnetic, geometric wooden building blocks


Ron Worley's nearly fully funded in his Kickstarter for Facets -- wooden, geometrical blocks with small magnets that easily lock/unlock and build amazing, gemlike geometrical forms.

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Patrick Costello: the deaf, copyfighting Merry God of Banjo


BB pal and deaf banjo-pickin' dude Patrick Costello writes, "The Washington Post just did a story about my work as a music teacher: ‘Merry God of banjo’"

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Disembodied facial-feature candles


London-based Uncanny Art Shop makes realistic-looking candles containing disembodied facial features, some contorted in agonized rictii: there's a male mouth, two female mouths and a pair of ears on a featureless head.

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D20 and 20,000 Leagues ties


These gorgeous 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and D20 ties are $24 from San Francisco's Binary Winter

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