Boing Boing pal and maker superhero Mitch Altman, creator of the amazing TV-B-Gone, spent several years designing a simple-yet-powerful DIY music synthesizer that he could use to teach creative electronics and also digital signal processing to kids and adults. The result is the ArduTouch Music Synthesizer! And it's only $30! Demo videos below. Mitch wrote about the method behind his maker madness in IEEE Spectrum. From his essay:
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As a kid with a lust for music, I was rocked by the Moog synthesizer sounds of 1968’s Switched-On Bach. I needed to learn how to make those sounds! Thus began a lifetime of learning and synthesizer making while I made my way in the tech industry, where I ultimately created the TV-B-Gone, a gadget that lets you turn off almost any model of remote-controlled television. Since the popular success of the TV-B-Gone, I’ve created many fun, open-source, hackable hardware kits for the maker workshops I give around the world. In these workshops, newbies learn to solder, tinkering their way into electronics and microcontrollers. Remembering my own youth, I wanted to provide them with a kit that was simple to assemble [PDF] and use but still a fully fledged music synthesizer.
The result was the US $30 ArduTouch. This project incorporates, on a single board, a touch keyboard, an ATMega328P (the same processor used in the Arduino Uno), and an audio amp with a speaker. It also has a software library that can serve as an entry point into the world of digital signal processing.
Is a wooden lock as tough as one made out of metal? Nope. Is buying a lock easier than building one? Absolutely. Is a lock you made with your own two hands significantly more badass than anything you can purchase, ready-to-use? Without a shadow of a doubt.
If you're looking for an unusual woodworking project to undertake, Matthias Wandel has you covered. You can buy the plans for his wooden mechanical lock, here. Once you do, you'll also get access to the plans for a laser cut iteration of the project. While it might not provide the level of security that you'd want for keeping your valuables safe, the level of whimsy that this project could bring to a woodworker's life looks like it would be hard to beat. Read the rest
Dischord is to punk and indie rock what Def Jam and Death Row Records are to rap. Read the rest
Dustin W. Burns, 33, of Springfield, Missouri, on probation after violating a restraining order, was arrested again after he allegedly made an instructional video on how to remove an ankle monitor with a butterknife and posted the clip on Facebook.
"This is how you take an ankle bracelet off," says the voice in the video, "without breaking the circuit." From Springfield News-Leader:
In August, the Facebook account posted a video of a man who looks like Burns walking through what appears to be a large marijuana farm with the caption: "Dream come true."
Court records show several probation violations were filed this summer against Burns and a warrant for his arrest was issued...
Burns was charged this week with tampering with electronic monitoring equipment, a felony, court records say.
Future brides and/or Halloween costume makers take note: cement bags can be repurposed to create long-trained wedding dresses.
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28-year-old Lili Tan has never taken fashion design courses, and spends most of her time farming, not creating wedding gowns, but looking at the amazing dress she created on a rainy day, when she couldn’t work in the fields, you could swear she makes dresses and accessories for a living. Using 40 discarded cement bags, the contents of which had gone toward renovating her village house near Longnan city, in China’s Gangsu province, Tan was able to create an elaborate wedding dress like the ones she saw in magazines, an impressive train for it, as well as a fancy hat. She showed them off on social media in a video which instantly went viral with several millions of views.
As a teenager in the 1970s, hip hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash hacked together his own DJ mixer in his bedroom. At the time, he was attending a vocational high school in the Bronx where he had developed some electronics repair chops. Flash needed his Sony microphone mixer to have a cueing feature enabling him to preview his mix through headphones before sending the audio to the speakers for everyone to hear. So he hit Radio Shack for the parts to make his own musical tool, and history.
For more on the development of DJ mixers, see this classic Cuepoint feature.
I've never had a problem with plugging a cable into my smartphone to charge, but a lot of folks feel it's an inconvenience. If you're one of those and own an older iPhone, you're in luck! Thanks to some sketchy grey market parts from China, nerves of steel, and a devil-may-care attitude towards any warranty you might have left on your handset, you can totally add wireless charging to your phone. Read the rest
In the north of Burgandy, France, a group of history buffs are hard at work building a castle, from scratch, using traditional building methods and materials--and they've been at it for TWENTY YEARS. The project is supported entirely on the backs of donations and hard, dedicated, manual labor.
Incredible. Read the rest
Given that I started a keto diet last weekend, I couldn;t have stumbled across this video at a worse time (farewell, carbs. I knew thee well.)
But just because I can only stare at this video longingly doesn't mean that you can't partake. Read the rest
My 12-year-old-son had a long weekend of fun with the original Nintendo Labo Variety Kit for the Switch. The cardboard contraptions truly embody some marvelous engineering and creativity. Admittedly, the novelty wore off fairly quickly but that doesn't mean we won't be buying the new Toy-Con 03 Vehicle Kit when it comes out in September. You can pre-order it from Amazon for $70.
Buying a casket from a funeral home can be damn expensive. The average one costs a little over $2000. And while selling your soul to get one cheaper from Walmart may be tempting, it's not as inexpensive (or as awesome) as making one from a kit sold from Northwoods Casket Company in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. For $599 and some manual labor, you can make their simple pine box model with your own hands.
This casket kit comes complete with all wooden parts pre-cut. No cutting. No clamping. Kit includes Casket Kit Assembly Instructions, screws, glue, and a piece of sandpaper. The parts are smooth, but sanding is one of those tasks that is never finished. The kit assembles in 1-2 hours. Extra hands make for light work. Keep the blue-stained pine as is, or finish with oil, varnish, paint, or any creative method that inspires you.
Now, if $599 is out of your price range, perhaps you should consider cremation and putting the ashes in this Modest Urn?
All kidding aside, do check out the website for Northwoods Casket Company though. They've got all kinds of interesting things to look at.
I can see no way in which modifying a kitchen knife to run a high voltage current through it could ever be a bad idea. The red glow of the blade's cheap steel is synonymous with safety. Breathing the fumes from a melting Rubix Cube? Totally cool.
Cool cool cool. Read the rest
After watching this video of the gazillion stages it takes to make wood ash cement, not to mention all of the hand-made tools required to do it, I'll never complain about having to stir up a bag of instant cement from Home Depot again. Read the rest