Man with no fingers on one hand is making his own mechanical prosthetic hand, and it's incredible

Three years ago, Ian Davis was diagnosed with a cancer that weakens the bones. Shortly after, the engineer had an accident in his machine shop that resulted in physicians amputating four fingers on his dominant hand.

“When I was still in the hospital I started designing a prosthetic hand," Davis told KOBI News last year. "It was kind of my day job. That’s what I used to maintain my sanity.”

Davis's work-in-progress is an elegant feat of engineering. Coincidentally though, this isn't new maker territory for him. Long before he lost his fingers; he built a prosthetic arm as a high school science project.

You can follow the project's development on Davis's YouTube channel and Instagram.

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Out in the wild, figuring out different hand gestures.

A post shared by Ian Davis (@acmeworksfab) on Jul 23, 2020 at 9:52pm PDT

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After many weeks of designing and prototyping, I finally have the splay feature pretty well dialed! There were points during this process that I was getting concerned I was chasing a frivolous function, but after using it for half a day so far, I have no doubt that it was completely worth the time and effort.

A post shared by Ian Davis (@acmeworksfab) on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:52am PDT

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Watch this glass pipe expert create a trippy toothy creature

SALT is one of America's best-known innovators in making glass pipes for smoking marijuana and other substances. Watch him answer audience questions in this relaxing livestreamed creation of a trippy alien bong with his trademark teeth. Read the rest

Making aerogel at home is unsurprisingly difficult

Aerogel, the synthetic material made of about 1% microporous silica and 99% air, has extremely low density, extremely low thermal conductivity, and extremely low chances of turning out OK when made in a home lab. It took YouTuber NileRed many months of trial and error. Read the rest

Maker turns a river rock into shiny beetle jewelry

Bobby Duke doesn't let anything stop him from transforming a common river rock into a gorgeous artwork of an iridescent scarab beetle. Read the rest

Watch this expert woodturner make a coffee mug from an apple log

Matt Jordan takes viewers through the complex process of making a wood coffee mug on a lathe. Read the rest

Watch this maker restore a WWI lighter made from a bullet

During World War I, skilled craftsmen stuck in trenches would fashion useful items from spent bullets and other war materials. Watch Canadian maker Steven from the Steven's Fix YouTube channel restore a century-old bullet lighter back to working condition. Read the rest

Giant 3D topographical wood map of Westeros ('Game of Thrones') made by a cartographer

Wow. This is a thing of great beauty. A giant 3D topographic wood map of Westeros, the world of Game of Thrones, by IMGURian @ARUNK55. It's 60"x35". Read the rest

Ingenious robotic basketball hoop helps you not miss

Last month, engineer Shane Wighton of Stuff Made Here impressed the Internet with his curiously engineered wooden basketball backboard that helps the ball into the hoop. (Video below.) His latest version, above, employs computer vision and robotics to track the ball and tilt the backboard to direct the ball through the basket.

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Exquisitely engineered coin contains a mechanical beating heart

Russian artist Roman Booteen modifies coins with incredible engravings and feats of mechanical engineering. This coin features a beating heart. Other exquisite examples of his work are below. He also customizes Zippo lighters.

(via Kottke)

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#hobonickel #goldinlay #morgandollar #engraved #engravedcoin #hobonickel #hobonickels

A post shared by Roman Booteen (@romanbooteen) on Aug 7, 2017 at 8:02am PDT

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A post shared by Roman Booteen (@romanbooteen) on Nov 17, 2017 at 12:50am PST

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This space geek built a DIY radio telescope for $150

David Schneider built his own radio telescope out of roof flashing, an empty paint thinner can, a free software-defined radio app, USB receiver, and a length of coaxial cable. The whole project cost him less than $150 and he's already used it to detect galactic hydrogen and monitor the motion of our Milky Way galaxy's spiral arms. (With a radio telescope, you look for and measure radio-frequency radiation emitted by astronomical objects.) From IEEE Spectrum:

Point at Cygnus and you’ll receive a strong signal from the local arm of the Milky Way very near the expected 1420.4-MHz frequency. Point it toward Cassiopeia, at a higher galactic longitude, and you’ll see the hydrogen-line signal shift to 1420.5 MHz—a subtle Doppler shift indicating that the material giving off these radio waves is speeding toward us in a relative sense. With some hunting, you may be able to discern two or more distinct signals at different frequencies coming from different spiral arms of the Milky Way.

Don’t expect to hear E.T., but being able to map the Milky Way in this fashion feels strangely empowering. It’ll be $150 well spent.

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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

How to turn a chocolate easter egg into a pinhole camera

In this delightful project, Will Gudgeon turned a frozen chocolate easter egg into a fun and effective pinhole camera. The first step is to eat the contents. "The main challenges were it melting, cracking and light leaks around the seal," Gudgeon writes.

"How to Make a Pinhole Camera Out of a Chocolate Easter Egg" (PetaPixel)

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How to make your own camera lens from sand and rocks

Andy George made his own camera lens with borax, river sand, and soda ash. From PetaPixel:

“It has been one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever done,” George says after completing his lens. “Every single step in the project has been a huge pain.”

Making clear glass took over a dozen tries, annealing the glass pucks took at least four attempts, and grinding the lenses themselves took at least 30 hours of continuous grinding.

Sure, the lens is cloudy and, er, imperfect, but HE MADE HIS OWN DAMN CAMERA LENS FROM SCRATCH!

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Young engineer upgraded the LEGO bionic arm he built for himself

Bioengineer David Aguilar (aka "Hand Solo") continues to upgrade his DIY LEGO prosthetic arms that we posted about previously with this fantastic fourth generation model. From Reuters:

All the versions are on display in his room in the (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya) residence on the outskirts of Barcelona. The latest models are marked MK followed by the number - a tribute to comic book superhero Iron Man and his MK armor suits....

After graduating from university, he wants to create affordable prosthetic solutions for people who need them.

“I would try to give them a prosthetic, even if it’s for free, to make them feel like a normal person, because what is normal, right?”

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Watch this loving restoration of a rusty old hammer to its former glory

Steve of Miller Knives found an extremely rusty old Estwing hammer at a flea market and restored it beautifully. The process is the product. Read the rest

Antique phones lovingly retrofitted with Alexa functionality

Artisan maker Dick Whitney modifies beautiful antique phones to offer Amazon Echo functionality. His goal with the "Alexaphones" and other creations is to "combine classical design and usability with the most salient elements of your modern world." Unlike other spying smart speakers, Alexaphone only listens when you lift the handset. Absolutely stunning work.

• Secure. Alexa can only hear you when the handset is off the receiver; all of the microphones are physically disconnected otherwise, so you’re not depending on a mute button to be trustworthy.

• Speaker Compatible. Each Alexaphone comes with a 1/8" auxiliary out port, so you can connect it to your home speakers.

• The Lights Of The Future. Status LEDs are carefully made visible in a way unique to each phone, striving for minimal disruption of the original aesthetic. Know when your Alexaphone is connected, listening, and more.

• The Sounds Of The Past. On some phones we’ve been able to preserve or rebuild the antique earpiece electronics, so you’ll hear the original voice of the phone.

• Easy Setup. Just plug in the USB power cable and set up with the Alexa app.

• Uncompromised Experience. These works of art function with your Alexa app and any of Alexa’s skills.

Alexaphone (Grain Design, thanks John Park!)

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Mom crochets badass glow-in-the-dark Slimer costume for her son

Crochetverse's Stephanie Pokorny is putting all us moms to shame with the crocheted Halloween costumes she's made for her six-year-old son Jack. Recently her all-yarn Predator costume made the rounds and now she's back with this glow-in-the-freaking-dark Slimer costume. (You may remember when Jack was two, she made an adorable E.T. costume for him.)

Here's a look at her son in the Predator costume:

And here he is in the Slimer costume:

Also, get this, she freehand crochets her costumes. That means she doesn't use a pattern. If you know anything about crocheting, you'll appreciate what an incredible feat this is.

See more of her creations here.

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