Beautiful, spirographian images created with metal and wood drawing machines

James Nolan Gandy is a maker/artist who has created beautiful drawing machines that create incredible, multi-spirographic abstract images. Though the machines automate much of the process, Gandy decides when to pause their operation and swap out stylii and change the settings. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Make: a solar hot-dog oven (then learn the science)

Making a solar hot-dog oven is a science fair standby, but JohnW539's CNC-milled Sundogger Instructable really digs into the classroom portion, drawing on the creator's experience as a physics/astronomy/computer science prof at Middle Tennessee State University. Read the rest

Mozart performed on squeeze-ball bottle organ

Bellowphone made a unique organ and now demonstrates it in action: "the sound of my most recent skweeze-ball instrument, with a song from Mozart's Magic Flute." Read the rest

Interview with Dan Shapiro, creator of the Glowforge laser cutter

My guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Dan Shapiro. Dan is the founder of Glowforge, the 3D laser printer. He's also the creator of Robot Turtles, the board game that teaches programming to preschoolers. He wrote Hot Seat: The CEO Guidebook, and his latest hobby is throwing his wife and twin 10-year-olds in dungeons with dragons. You can find him on Twitter @danshapiro.

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Show notes:

Cast iron skillet and Random orbital sander Raw transcript excerpt: "I love cooking for the family and my favorite cooking tool is something that my wife got me for my birthday. She went on eBay and she got a 1950-something 12-inch vintage cast iron skillet. You say, "Okay, vintage cast iron. What's the fuss?" And I wound up super geeking out on this. It turns out that nowadays cast iron skillets come directly out of the cast and they have this rough bottom. You read about cast iron being the ultimate nonstick cookware, but you've got this grating surface on the bottom of your cast iron. Modern cast iron has this, but the old stuff didn't. The old stuff they actually ground down so it was smooth on the bottom. But geeking out, I wanted to figure out, is this something you could replicate today? And I found a really cheap achievable way of doing this. Read the rest

Activist blacksmith teaches gun violence survivors to melt down guns and turn them into farm implements

For more than a decade Shane Claiborne has worked with gun violence survivors, teaching them to use a forge to melt down guns and an anvil to makes farm implements out of the metal. Read the rest

Shipping container converted into a large format camera, darkroom, and gallery

UK educator and photographer Brendan Barry converted a shipping container into a large format film camera. Inside is a self-contained darkroom to develop the photos along with a gallery to display them. He describes it as “the world’s biggest, slowest, and most impractical Polaroid camera.”

Above is Exploredinary's documentary about the Container Camera. And you can read more about the project at PetaPixel.

Read the rest

Five cool mechanisms made from simple materials

The Q makes whimsical mechanisms mainly from wood and cardboard, using basic hand tools. In this video, he shows how he made a "fully working gearbox made out of cardboard, Rock 'em Sock 'em board game, a skateboard from newspapers, incredible miniature railway with train track changes, and, last but not least, a semi-auto coin sorting machine from plywood!"

Image: YouTube/The Q Read the rest

Complete run of MAKE magazine on

I was part of the team that launched MAKE: (a technology project magazine) and served as its editor-in-chief for 12 wonderful years. I just found out that has a searchable archive of all past MAKE: issues. Enjoy! Read the rest

DIY treadmill for hamsters

The Q makes fun projects out of wood, and his latest is a treadmill for his hamsters. They like it! Read the rest

Check out this cool synthesizer based on the cellular automaton, Game of Life

I'm a fan of Love Hultén's electronic projects, which usually involve midcentury style industrial design and retro video games. In this video, he shows off his latest creation, the Evoboxx:

Evoboxx is a synthesizer based on the cellular automaton Game of Life, created by mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970. The game is a zero-player game, meaning that its evolution is determined by its initial state, requiring no further input. One interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves, or, for advanced players, by creating patterns with particular properties.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Photos from MAKE's 2008 visit to MAD Magazine

Phil Torrone from Adafruit writes, "A million internet years ago in 2008 when I was Senior Editor at MAKE Magazine, Ladyada and I went to DC Comics to meet the MAD Magazine folks for a collaboration issue with MAKE and MAD, it was the Spy vs Spy issue, volume 16 cover by Sam Viviano. Spy vs. Spy is a wordless black and white comic strip that has been published in Mad magazine since 1961. It was created by Antonio Prohias, a Cuban national who fled to the United States in 1960 days before Fidel Castro took over the Cuban free press." Read the rest

Video: review of a cool embroidery machine for making patches

The Brother Sewing Machine SE600 is an entry level embroidery machine that makes nice patches. In this Cool Tools video, illustrator Josh Ellingson talks about the machine and how he uses it.

Image: Josh Ellingson Read the rest

This device does just one thing - it plays Keanu gifs

John Park says: "I made this Keanu GIF player using an Adafruit PyGamer and SD card. It autoplays each GIF for 10 seconds before moving on to the next one. You can also use the L/R thumbstick controls to advance or go back."

Image: YouTube Read the rest

How to make a 3D printed belt

If you have access to a 3D printer, you can make a belt. No assembly required!

<em>Image: YouTube</em> Read the rest

Make a mechanical coin-sorting machine

Here's a hand-crank coin-sorting machine made from plywood. The guy who made it used conventional tools, but it looks perfect for a laser cutter.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Good price on a Raspberry Pi Zero W starter kit

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is an itty-bitty wireless Linux computer. This kit ( on Amazon) contains almost everything you need to run it, including a case, power supply, and adapter cables. You need to supply your own microSD card, HDMI monitor, keyboard and mouse. I'm working on a project that uses a Pi Zero, which I hope to share with you soon. Read the rest

Complete instructions for making a replica of the Minivac 601 educational computer kit

Michael Gardi built a nice replica of the Minivac 601 computer kit, and made the plans available on Instructables. Read the rest

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