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.


Pinball wizard and Tested.com team member, Jeremy Williams, provides the full details on building his digital pinball VR cabinet for Occulus Rift. Pictured here is the gorgeous version of the cabinet put together by Jim Burke and Anthony Lam of Make:.


In this project, Charles Platt shows you how to build a classic test-your-grip carnival game. Charles' projects always feature clear instructions, well-drawn circuit diagrams, and sharp photos.


When I was a kid, I was terrified of monsters under the bed and fetal-headed aliens in the black glass of my semi-rural bedroom window. As a tween, reading a book on witchcraft, I read that a vanilla bean under your pillow will chase away all ghosts and monsters. I got a vanilla bean. It worked! This project is a 21st century version of the vanilla bean. It uses the Adafruit Trinket microcontroller to create a monster scanner/repeller that sends out an ultrasonic sound that no monster can stand, chasing them out of your room. When the display turns green, all monsters are gone and the room is clear.


The Rumblebot Raceway was created by middle high school science teacher Doug Stith. His idea for a vibrating raceway with passive racers was actually inspired by a previous toy covered in Make:, the Hog Holler, designed by toy inventor Bob Knetzger. The Hog Holler used the human voice to generate the vibrations on the track. Doug Stith's track uses a gear-crank striking the paper-board track. Watching the race video is surprisingly fun and makes it clear what a great design teaching tool this is.


Speaking of the brilliant Bob Knetzger, he has a regular column in Make:, called the "Toy Inventor's Notebook." In this installment, he shows you how to use polycaprolactone (e.g. ShapeLock) to create fake spills of things like ketchup, mustard, and cream to prank your friends.

There are a number of other projects in this issue that look cool, including a Raspberry Pi photo booth, a WiFi-connected "light turner-onner," and how to build an inductive phone charger. Look for the print version on newsstands July 19th.

(Disclosure: I am a regular contributor to Make:)