An inventor, maker, and toy designer shares his favorite projects

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The first thing that struck me about Make Fun!, a collection of toy and game projects from former Mattel designer Bob Knetzger, was how many of my favorite projects from the pages of Make: magazine were his. Bob has contributed to the magazine for over nine years, and this collection represents a best-of from that run (with some original projects as well). WINK’s own Mark Frauenfelder (founding editor-in-chief of Make:) also contributes the book’s introduction.

Make: Fun! features full step-by-step instructions for some 40 projects. They range from the very simple, fun, and ephemeral, such as the actuated “Ouija Be Mine” Valentine’s Day card and “Gnome Holiday Hats” to a classic “Diving Spudmarine” bathtub toy to more elaborate builds, such as constructing your own “Kitchen Floor Vacuum Former” and building a “Desktop Foundry.” Some of my favorite projects include the “Monster Candy Snatch Game” (think: Operation), the “E-Z-Make Oven” (think: Mattel’s Thingmaker), and vacuum forming your own “Tiki Masks.”

Make: did a really nice job on the production of this book. The projects are well photographed, in full color, and the instructions are well laid out and easy to follow. And there are fun little “gimmicks” that serve the playful spirit of the book (a flip-book animation on the page edges, QR-code videos for some of the projects, and colorful templates and paper project components in the back). You can see the videos, view the templates, and find out more on the book’s companion website. Read the rest

Parent Hacks: illustrated guide is the best kind of parenting book

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The latest incarnation of Parent Hacks is the best yet: Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids, with illustrations from Craighton Berman.

Studio sculpts giant coin, photographs it alongside normal objects to make them look tiny

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In 2011, the Norwegian design studio Skrekkøgl scuplted a massive 50-Euro-cent coin and shot it from above with a tilt-shift lens alongside numerous full-sized objects to make them seem to be cunning miniatures. Read the rest

Kids celebrate their 3D printed prosthetic hands

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Kevin writes, "Peyton Andry is a Cincinnati boy who was born with symbrachydactyly, a condition that caused the fingers of his right hand to be shorter or missing entirely." Read the rest

Trains Botting: twitterbot posts a new emoji train landscape every 4 hours

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Trains Botting/@choochoobot is a new twitterbot from prolific botmaster and EFF staffer Parker Higgins. Read the rest

Amazing fan-made Wonder Woman sweater pattern to download and knit

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Natalie Bursztyn created this fantastic pattern for a Wonder Woman sweater, which she has prototyped and modelled herself. Read the rest

Playable records laser-etched in cheese, eggplant and ham

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Artist Matthew Herbert has successfully created edible record albums that he laser-etched into a variety of foodstuffs, then played and displayed at London's Science Gallery.

Read the rest

Beautiful, improbable, amazing electronic sculptures from Maddscientist39110

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Maddscientist39110 is a sculptor and electronic artist who creates beautiful, functional, and, above all, improbable synthesizers and lamps (and such) out of shiny metal and found objects. Read the rest

30% off O'Reilly's Open Source Convention in Austin, May 16-19

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O'Reilly's venerable, essential OSCON is in Austin, Texas this year, meaning that you'll get to combine brain-thumpingly good talks and workshops on free/open source tools and techniques with some of the world's best BBQ, millions of bats, my favorite toy store anywhere, and one of the best indie bookstores you could hope to visit. Read the rest

Bake: homemade Jabba the Hutt peeps

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The perfect accompaniment to your home-made poop emoji peeps: a marshmallow Jabba the Hutt. Read the rest

Bake: poop emoji "peeps"

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Just in time for Easter, an easy recipe for making your own marshmallow poop emojis! Read the rest

Edible flowers preserved in lollipops

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Pittsburgh's Sugar Bakers preserves gorgeous edible flowers in clear lollipops: root beer daisies, blueberry stained glass, candied pink rose-petals, watermelon violas, giant ice pansies and many more, in wrapped six-packs for weddings and such. Read the rest

Watch: iron bottle opener being forged by hand

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Rigoni Ironworks of Spring, Texas, forges bottle openers. They cost $28.

[via] Read the rest

Makers: take this survey and help with a master's thesis on making

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David Proctor writes, "I'm a Master's candidate at Minot State University doing research for a thesis on the Maker Community. Specifically I am trying to understand what motivates people to make and how the community defines itself. To that end I have created a short 7 question questionnaire that I need your help with. The questionnaire is here. Read the rest

The Car Hacker's Handbook: a Guide for Penetration Testers

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The 2016 Car Hacker's Handbook expands on the hugely successful 2014 edition, in which the Open Garages movement boiled down all they'd learned running makerspaces for people interested in understanding, improving, penetration testing and security-hardening modern cars, which are computers encrusted in tons of metal that you strap your body into.

No Starch Press has taken on the task of turning The Car Hacker's Handbook into a beautifully produced, professional book, in a new edition that builds on the original, vastly expanding the material while simultaneously improving the organization and updating it to encompass the otherwise-bewildering array of new developments in car automation and hacking.

Author Craig Smith founded Open Garages and now has years of experience with community development of tools and practices for investigating how manufacturers are adding computers to cars, the mistakes they're making, and the opportunities they're creating.

The Handbook is an excellent mix of general background on how to do threat-modelling, penetration testing, reverse engineering, etc, and highly specific code examples, model numbers, recipes and advice on how to put a car up on a bench, figure out how it works, figure out how to make it do cool things the manufacturer never intended, and figure out how to understand the risks you face from people doing the same thing without your best interests at heart.

A lot of the advice is theoretical, but there are a bunch of highly practical projects, from improving and customizing your in-car satnav and entertainment system to tuning your engine performance. Read the rest

Fellowships for "Robin Hood" hackers to help poor people get access to the law

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New York City's Robin Hood Labs at Blue Ridge Laboratories have opening for paid fellowships to develop apps and technologies to give low-income people legal assistance in civil proceedings, like evictions, debt collection, and immigration procedures. Read the rest

3D printed battle-armor for cats

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Carrying on the ancient, honorable tradition of armoring your cat, Print That Thing designed a suit of 3D printable cat armor and uploaded it to Thinigverse for anyone to download and print. Read the rest

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