"donald bell"

Rusty Blazenhoff recommends this industrial ice cream scoop

Over at Cool Tools (a site I co-operate) Rusty Blazenhoff talks to Donald Bell about her favorite ice cream scoop: the Thrifty “square” ice cream scoop. Read the rest

My top ten maker tips for 2019

In the spring of this year, I started a weekly tips newsletter, Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales. I had released a book of tips in 2018, called Tips and Tales from the Workshop, and couldn't shake the habit of tips-collecting. So, I decided to launch a newsletter to share what I was rounding up each week.

The newsletter has been a big success and I am thrilled with the response I've gotten. I decided it would be fun to go through the last seven months content and share ten of my favorite tips with Boing Boing readers. Here they are, in no particular order.


Details Layer Scott of Essential Craftsman shared this pearl of wisdom on an episode about using construction string: “Details layer. The more accurate you can get in your details, even with something as mundane as how you tie your knot – it all accumulates to acceptable accuracy.” This is a maker’s truth. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately because I am the king of cutting corners, lazy work habits, and fudging the details. So, I know exactly what he means. I think understanding and applying this concept is the difference between a master craftsperson and an amateur. As I work, I don’t put tools back, I don’t stop and sharpen or change blades when I should, I don’t read instructions, I try and rush things, and I try and skip doing things the way I know they should be done. Read the rest

Donald Bell reports on the DIY game goodness from the alt.ctrl showcase at GDC

Our friend Donald Bell put together an excellent little tour of some of the game designs from the alt.ctrl showcase at last week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

And here's a handy link list that Donald provides to the game projects covered:

HELLCOUCH: A Couch Co-op Game (Carol Mertz, Francesca Carletto-Leon) Continuum Bacterium (HNRY) Machinaria (Black Mamba Studio) HOT SWAP: All Hands On Deck (Peter Gyory, Clement Zheng) More details on Mechamagnets More on Alt.Ctrl Game highlights of Alt.Ctrl 2018 Make: Coverage of Alt.Ctrl 2019 Read the rest

Searching for the best wire stripper

The other website I edit is called Cool Tools, which features reader-written reviews of tools they love. For the last couple of years, we've been posting video reviews of tools (subscribe to the channel here), produced by Donald Bell. His latest video is a comparison review of wire strippers. His pick of the batch is the Irwin Vise-Grip Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper. Read the rest

Learn about Arduino with Tinkercad's Arduino simulator

Donald Bell of Maker Project Lab interviewed Becky Stern about Tinkercad's new and very cool Arduino simulator. It's a good way to teach a bunch of people Arduino in a classroom setting. Read the rest

Maker Update: Contraptions and QR Coasters

Every week Donald Bell posts a video about interesting maker projects. This week in Maker Update he looks at an animated wooden sign, new mesh boards from Particle, 3D printed QR coasters, 3D printing on fabric, and his talk with CNC router whiz Jon-A-Tron. This week’s Cool Tool is a Retractable Cardboard Cutter. Read the rest

A mini boat you can build yourself with zip ties and epoxy

Your dreams of captaining your own tiny-but-shiny electric boat are about two grand and a fair amount of elbow grease away.

Donald Bell (previously) of Maker Project Lab shared Rapid Whale's Mini Boat with me yesterday and I'm already sourcing a captain's hat.

The Mini Boat is a kit you can buy for $950 and then assemble with cable ties and epoxy. No, really, look...

It'll cost you another $510 to $1140 to complete it. From there, it's all smooth sailing.

photos by Rapid Whale Read the rest

Maker Update #46: Make an Rapa Nui 3D printed bobblehead

Paige Russell used the free, easy-to-use 3D modeling program Tinkercad to make a 3D printed bobblehead based on a Rapa Nui moai. That's just one of the tools and projects that Donald Bell presented this week in Maker Update. Show notes here.

Read the rest

How to create impressive red and blue 3D effects in Photoshop

This is so cool! San Francisco-based artist Josh Ellingson has posted a detailed tutorial on how to make a 3D illusion effect in Photoshop. This type of 3D art is called an anaglyph and it requires those special red and blue glasses to see its depth. (Interesting side note, Josh recommends wearing a pair of those 3D glasses just to work on the art itself.)

He writes:

One way to merge two images together from different vantage points to simulate the distance between your eyeballs. Another method is to have software shift the red and blue using what's called a "depth map". There are even apps that allow users to cut up a flat image into chunks and then adjust how far forward or backward to move the chunks. All of those ways are destructive to the final image and are usually done as the last step in the creative process. As it turns out, there's a much more flexible way to do this buried inside of Photoshop's 3D functionality. It's easy and I can't believe it's been right there for a long time.

Spoiler alert: As it turns out, Photoshop has a robust "3D workspace" that includes an anaglyph feature.

Josh made the 3D artwork that's featured in the tutorial for the cover of sci-fi surf rock band's Aloha Screwdriver's 7-inch EP, Above Snakes. When you buy the 4-song album, there's no need to source a pair of 3D glasses too. Donald Bell, the guitarist for Aloha Screwdriver, tells me the record comes with them, "of course." Read the rest

Check out some of Donald Bell's favorite tools

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Donald Bell. Donald runs a great website called Maker Project Lab, and he also hosts a weekly YouTube show called Maker Update, which collects interesting projects, news, tips, tools, and other stuff for the Maker community. He was a Projects Editor at Make magazine, and he spent eight years as a Senior Editor at CNET.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

Hakko FX-901 ($32) "I've had inexpensive soldering irons for years now, but they've always been ones that plugged into a wall. I came across the Hakko when I was looking for a soldering iron I could buy multiples of to do a soldering workshop, and the idea of plugging in 30 soldering irons is like plugging in 30 hair dryers. It can become a nightmare if you really are trying to do it without tripping a breaker. …It’s become one of my new favorite things. It runs off of four AA batteries, and it heats up in about 30 seconds to a good soldering temperature for accomplishing just little PCB basic electronic projects, and it’s been great."

Manfrotto 143 Magic Arm Kit ($154) "This one actually I learned about from Becky Stern, Make alumni. But before I started working at Make, when I was doing how-to projects for CNET, I was trying to figure out the easiest way to take those great shots of your work, like an overhead view of your workbench, while you're working on a project. Read the rest

Maker Update: Hakko FX-901 cordless soldering iron

This week in Maker Update, Donald Bell presents a zoetrope combined with a fidget spinner, an SLS printer from Formlabs, a Raspberry Pi weather chamber, component carnage, and a tiny OLED Pi screen. Our featured Cool Tool is the Hakko FX-901 cordless soldering iron. Read the full review on Cool Tools. Read the rest

Maker Update #31

This week on Maker Update: an autonomous beach-roving art bot, Kickstarter wants your ideas, a project that makes kits for other projects, GUIs for Raspberry Pi, stipple ceramics, and Donald Bell shows you why digital calipers are cool. Show notes here.

Read the rest

Old timey electric go-kart

My friend Donald Bell produces and hosts a weekly video show called Maker Update.

Each week in Maker Update, Donald will take a closer look at one of the tools the Cool Tools archive. This week, Donald checks out a plastic razor blade. It’s in the video above.

Full show notes available on the Maker Project Lab blog. Read the rest

Maker Update video #28

My friend Donald Bell produces and hosts a weekly video show called The Maker Update. Each week in Maker Update, Donald will take a closer look at one of the tools from the archive of Cool Tools (a tool review site I run with Kevin Kelly. This week, Donald checks out a nifty plastic glue bottle. It's in the video above, and here is Donald's companion post for this episode so you can find out more about all the things Donald talks about. Read the rest

PocketCHIP handheld Linux computer

Donald Bell of the Maker Project Lab checks out the PocketCHIP handheld Linux computer. It cost $69 and has a keyboard and color display. It's mainly for creating and playing games. Looks pretty cool! Read the rest

Stay abreast of all things DIY with the weekly Maker Update show

Donald Bell, Make:'s former Projects Editor and now a freelance writer for Autodesk, has recently launched a weekly YouTube show, called Maker Update. Every Wednesday morning, Donald presents a recap of his online explorations in making and the maker movement. He covers promising new tools and technologies, some of his favorite projects from sites like Instructables, Thingiverse, and Make:, and he includes a calendar of upcoming Maker Faires from around the world.

As someone who also covers this same territory, I've been surprised at how many cool things Donald has introduced me to. The shows always have a nice mix, all delivered by a talking head Donald in a very straight-forward, likeable, and lighthearted manner. He's only 8 episodes in, but I've already become a big fan and now count Maker Update as part of my weekly must-see maker TV. Read the rest