Mark on Skillshare AMA

At 1pm PT today (in 5 minutes!) I'll be on a Skillshare Ask Me Anything. As the title suggests, you can ask me anything, but I'll primarily be talking about Arduino and DIY tools and techniques for makers. Read the rest

The best book on learning electronics just got better

When Make: Electronics was published about five years ago, it was widely hailed as the greatest book about learning electronics ever written. With beautiful photos, easy-to-read schematics, clear, jargon-free text, and dozens and dozens of fun and educational projects, author/illustrator Charles Platt made a book that has ended up in every makerspace and library I've visited.

A few weeks ago the Second Edition of Make: Electronics came out, and it's even better than the first edition. Charles rewrote the text, replaced the photos of breadboarded circuits with diagrams showing component placement, included new projects, added new photographs with a ruled background to indicate the scale of tools and components, and included a chapter on Arduino.

This is the book to get if you want to learn electronics.

(Disclosure, I was Charles' editor when I was editor-in-chief of MAKE) Read the rest

Best of MAKE, Vol 2: 65 cool DIY projects from the magazine

My favorite part of MAKE has always been the how-to projects, and this second volume of the Best of MAKE contains complete instructions for 65 projects ranging from a sous vide cooker, to a beginners Arduino Robot, to a helium balloon imaging "satellite," to a cigar box guitar (written by yours truly). Most of these projects were published while I was editor-in-chief of MAKE, and it's great to see them available in one low cost volume. The Kindle edition is just $(removed). The first volume of the Best of MAKE is still in print, too. Read the rest

You can make almost anything with a Glowforge

The dream of desktop manufacturing is now a reality. Take a look at the incredible variety of things you can make with a Glowforge laser cutter, from wallets to leather sandals, lamps to dollhouses, jewelry to phone cases. In this video Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro shows how easy it is to make a laser cut item simply by drawing your design on a piece of material. Visit glowforge.com/boingboing to get $100 off a Glowforge today. [Sponsored Post] Read the rest

How to make things with a Glowforge laser cutter

Glowforge is a 3D laser printer that uses a beam of light the width of a human hair to cut, engrave, and shape designs from a variety of materials. In this video, Glowforge founder and CEO Dan Shapiro shows us how to make an acrylic Jackhammer Jill (Boing Boing’s mascot) in a matter of minutes. Check out glowforge.com/boingboing to find out what else you can make with a Glowforge and get a special $100 discount on top of the 50% off pre-order price. The offer expires this Friday Oct. 23 at 6pm PT, so order yours today! (‪sponsored post‬) Read the rest

The new Glowforge laser cutter is amazing

[Sponsored Post]

Laser cutters are machines that cut and engrave flat material – such as plywood, acrylic, chocolate, leather, cardboard, seashells, glass, even sheets of dried seaweed. Today, Glowforge introduced a low-price laser cutter that blows away the competition at a much lower price.

Glowforge is a game changer in many ways, and I haven't been this excited by a technology in a long time. The things you can make with one (see images below) are orders of magnitude better looking than things you can make with a 3D printer of the same price, and the Glowforge is much easier to learn how to use than a 3D printer.

Dan Shapiro, the founder of Glowforge (he's the creator of the Robot Turtles game), gave me a Skype video demo of the machine in action earlier this week. He showed me how to make a votive candle holder out of two different materials. He placed one sheet of thin walnut and another sheet of frosted acrylic on the Glowforge's cutting bed (which has a 12-inch x 20-inch working area). He opened his iPad, which had a live image of the cutting bed displayed on it (the Glowforge has a camera and is conected to Wi-Fi). Dan then dragged the cutting patterns for the pieces of the candle holder onto the video image of the walnut and acrylic pieces. This neat software solution for aligning material was developed by Dean Putney, who was a contractor for many years at Boing Boing, and now works for Dan in Seattle. Read the rest

This $(removed) illuminated jeweler's loupe comes in handy

Early this week I gave an online Arduino sensor workshop, and without this LED jeweler's loupe, I wouldn't have been able to read the tiny markings on many of the components. The battery has lasted for years. It's $(removed) on Amazon with free shipping even if you aren't a Prime member. I'm very happy with mine. Read the rest

Build this brain-teasing golf ball in a block of wood

Gareth Branwyn is blogging for Make, and I've been enjoying his posts. Take a look at this golf ball inside a cage that's hogged out of a single piece of wood.

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How to make cool copper wire tiaras with LEDs

The Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio has a nice tutorial on how to make tiaras/copper crowns with copper wire, solder, batteries, and LEDs.

[via] Read the rest

Swingline Thermal Laminator on sale for $(removed)

My daughter Jane has been asking for a laminator so she can make bookmarks, club ID cards, and other projects. I just learned that Amazon is selling a Swingline thermal laminator for $(removed) (regularly $(removed)) so I ordered it. It comes with 5 letter-sized lamination pouches. (A pack of 100 lamination pouches costs $(removed)) Read the rest

How to tie the world’s fastest shoelace knot

Most people tie their shoes with the inefficient "bunny loop" shoelace knot. Let kindly Professor Shoelace show you the superior “Ian Knot."

Besides being faster, the Ian Knot is also more symmetrical, works equally for right or left handed people, and has fewer steps to memorize, all of which make it easier to learn.

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Makey Makey – turn the world into a computer interface

It’s easier to understand what Makey Makey is by watching this video of it in action than by describing it, but I’ll give it a shot. Makey Makey is a printed circuit board that you connect to any computer with a USB cable (included). You don’t need to install any software. Your computer thinks Makey Makey is a keyboard. And it is a keyboard of sorts. But it doesn’t use standard keys. Instead, you connect wires from Makey Makey to anything that conducts electricity: a piece of fruit, a bowl of water, a cup of soup, a scrap of aluminum foil, blobs of Play-Doh. When you touch the object with your finger, your computer will think you are pressing a key on a standard keyboard. You can assign the object to be a spacebar key, an arrow key, or a letter key. And you can connect several objects to Makey Makey at the same time, so that you can create game controllers, musical interfaces, and other button-controlled devices.

It might not sound like much fun, but the possibilities are endless, and Makey Makey’s ease of use encourages quick-and-dirty experimentation. My 12-year-old was instantly transfixed by Makey Makey and she started making all sorts of things with it, including a drum machine triggered by apple slices, and a game controller out of a cardboard box and bits of foil.

Makey Makey also works with Scratch, the excellent kids’ software development platform. Check out the Makey Makey games people have created using Scratch. Read the rest

Quick and easy DIY juggling balls

Mike is a good juggler, and when his kids expressed an interest in learning how to juggle, he made some kid-size juggling balls out of balloons and rice. The results look excellent!

Instead of buying smaller balls or hacky sacks, I used plans from juggler.org to make several kid-friendly balls. This worked perfectly because I wanted to practice with them while their interest and excitement was high, and together we were able to crank out several balls in about 15 minutes.

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Watch: How to roll a joint

There are lots of how-to-roll-a-joint videos on YouTube, but this is one by Jolie Kerr (author of the household hints book, My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag) is one of the best. (If you find a better one, please post to comments.)

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Interview with Ben Krasnow, the guy who made his own electron microscope

Every week on the Cool Tools Show podcast, Kevin Kelly and I interview an interesting person, and ask them about four of their favorite tools. Our guest this week is Ben Krasnow. Ben works at Google[x], Google’s semi-secret technology development facility, where he creates advanced prototypes. Ben previously developed virtual reality hardware at Valve. After work, he spends time on various projects that usually involve circuit design, machining, and chemistry. Ben makes things that usually require a lot of money and sophisticated equipment: an electron scanning microscope, silica aerogel, and freeze-dried astronaut ice cream (I’ve tasted it, and it’s spectacular). You can follow Ben’s projects on his youtube channel, Applied Science. Read the rest

Deal: Arduino Robotic Vehicle Kit

Meet Cherokey 4WD, a versatile mobile platform compatible with most microcontrollers, and the heart and soul of your robotic vehicle. By assembling the included hardware and tuning the software, you will construct a rapid, rugged, outdoor-friendly truck controlled by an iOS app on your phone. Learn to install sensors on the robot to trigger specific movements and actions, and take your newfound Arduino expertise onto limitless future projects.

Enjoy high-quality micro-speed motors Drive your truck on rough terrain w/ its durable & solid aluminum body Expand upon the highly versatile modular design Easily control w/ your iOS device Write your own code to take advantage of its ultrasonic sensor, BLE-ready microcontroller, IR sensor & LEDs Start your project immediately without the need for an additional motor driver or wireless shield Use for educational purposes, robot competitions, home automation protyping or research projects

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Make an Arduino puzzle box

"This is my first foray in the world of interactivity," says Grady Hillhouse. "It's an arcade-style puzzle box mini game. Powered by an Arduino with completely custom wooden enclosure and components, the goal was to make it look like something your parents told you not to play with when you were a kid. The object of the game is to adjust the knobs so each needle points at its respective LED, but it's not as easy as it sounds (or is it!?)."

[via]

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