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


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


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


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.

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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


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


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


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


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

Projection: Cylindrical (1)
FOV: 227 x 78
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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


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


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

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


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

Kickstarting open source steampunk clocks that use meters to tell the time

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Kyle writes, "The Volt is a fully open source, arduino-based, handmade analog clock that tells time with meters. Available in a DIY install kit, 2 pre-made models, and a mix & match hardware option. The clocks are but with solid black walnut and maple, with faceplates produced in brass, copper, and steel. Only on Kickstarter!" Read the rest

The polyamorous Christian socialist utopia that made silverware for proper Americans


Lisa Hix of has written a lengthy piece for Collectors Weekly on the Oneida Community of the late 19th century, and how it morphed from a group of men and women who "believed the liquid electricity of Jesus Christ’s spirit flowed through words and touch, and that a chain of sexual intercourse would create a spiritual battery so charged with God’s energy that the community would transcend into immortality, creating heaven on earth," to a company that was famous for its flatware.

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3D printed sundial projects digital time


Mojoptix designed and built a sundial that displays the time in its shadow. You can download the 3D printer files on Thingiverse, or buy one on Etsy.

Fun fact about this sundial: You will most likely never see it in a supermarket or a department store. The swiss cheese inside the sundial is so intricate, that you can’t realistically use injection molding, or some other mass-production method. 3D printing seems actually to be the only practical way to build this digital sundial ! (is that really true ?? let me know what you think in the comments !)

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Adam Savage announces the White House's upcoming National Week of Making


In a new video, Adam Savage celebrates the upcoming National Week of Making that the White House is hosting again this year. To kick off his week in the sort of unique way that only Adam Savage can, he has been asking his social media followers to tag pictures of their personal workspaces, the happy places where they go to create something from nothing.

In the video above, he shows off a number of these wonderfully diverse shops (see a few below) and talks passionately about the joys of making and how we should all yield to the hands-on imperative.

The National Week of Making kicks off on Friday and includes the second annual National Maker Faire, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the UDC-Van Ness campus in the District of Columbia. This is one of Maker Media's full-blown flagship events, joining the long-running Maker Faire Bay Area and World Maker Faire in New York. Unlike those events, the National Maker Faire is free to the public.

You can find out more about the National Week of Making and how to get involved on the event's official website.

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