Watch: How to build your own Nintendo Switch

Seattle maker Brennen Johnston wanted his friends to play Animal Crossing with him but they couldn't get their hands on a Nintendo Switch, a scarce commodity amid COVID-19 lockdowns. Enraged by the prices scalpers were charging for a Switch, Brennen set out to build one himself from individual components. The Internet fell in love with the build notes he posted to Imgur and now he's released the above video documenting the project! Brennen writes:

The support I received from my original Imgur post has been overwhelming. I never imagined so many people were interested in my project or had thought of doing something similar. I with I was able to answer everyone's questions but I just couldn't keep up with all the requests.

Most of the private messages asked me to do a version for the Joy-cons so I went ahead and made you that you can find here:

"How To Build A Nintendo Switch From Scratch - Building With Brennen" (YouTube)

• Previously: "'How to build a Nintendo Switch' for coronavirus #StayAtHome gaming" Read the rest

Easy Electronics book is an excellent introduction to electronics

Charles Platt's growing series of electronics books are the best I've come across. He explains concepts very clearly, and his illustrations are excellent. His latest book in the series is called Easy Electronics. It covers voltage, resistance, capacitors, transistors, integrated circuits, and more. No tools are needed to complete the projects in this book.

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Watch this impressive Lego tapas factory crank out a steady stream of snacks

The Lego masters at The Brick Wall built this fantastic contraption to crank out tapas.

Technical details: 19 Lego PF motors 5 BuWizz Bricks 4 weeks of hard work
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How to boil water in prison

When ex-jewel thief Larry Lawton went to prison, he learned a lot of useful skills, which he is now sharing on YouTube. In this video, he teaches you how to boil water with a "stinger," made from two shower drain covers, an electrical cord,  and a few other odds and ends.

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How to build a Viking camp chair

My friend Nik Shulz (aka L-Dopa) creates beautiful designs and illustrations. I hired him when I was an editor at Wired and at Make. In recent years Nik has branched out into furniture making, and his work is just as beautiful as his illustrations. 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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$3 router rebooter

On his Pluralistic blog, Cory Doctorow writes about a $3 router rebooter. This DIY gadget connects between your home router and its AC outlet. It pings Google periodically and if it doesn't receive a response, it cycles the power on the router to reboot it.

From creator Mike Diamond's website What I Made Today:

How it works In layman's terms, the process is simple. The ESP [ESP8266 01, an  Internet of Things WiFi module board] periodically pings Google through the modem. If it gets a reply, it does nothing; the relay stays closed and the modem stays on.

If the ESP does not get a reply, it will "understand" that the modem is down. When this happens, it turns off the relay, waits 30 seconds, then turns it back on, thus power-cycling the modem.

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Cool-looking DIY synth

Otemrellik made this "100% homemade" nifty modular synthesizer. Here's his video about how he built it and how it works.

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Extremely satisfying 1960s Tonka tow truck restoration video

I think this is the best restoration video I've seen. This person took a rusty, dirty toy truck and used a sandblaster, an ultrasonic cleaner, and a powder coat oven turn it into a pristine looking specimen.

Image: YouTube

[via Doobybrain] Read the rest

Revisiting Make:'s weekly Math Monday column

As the editor-in-chief of the Make: website, I got to help develop column ideas and work with some amazing contributors. One of these was the brilliant George Hart (father of Vi Hart) from the Museum of Mathematics. After George left the museum, Glen Whitney took over the column. They both did an amazing job at demonstrating mathematical concepts in the most entertaining ways, using everyday objects and maker-made creations. You can see all of the installments of the series here.

Here is the briefest of samplings. The column ran (on and off) for eight years.

Math Monday, September 26, 2011

A mathematical haircut makes an unambiguous statement to the world that you love math. Here, Nick Sayers is sporting a rhombic coiffure with interesting geometric properties.

The obtuse angles of each rhombus meet in groups of three, but the acute angles meet in groups of five, six, or seven, depending on the curvature. In the flatter areas, they meet in groups of six, like equilateral triangles, and in the areas of strong positive curvature they meet in groups of five, but in the negatively curved saddle at the back of the neck, there is a group of seven.

To make your own, Nick suggests you use a rhombic paper template starting at the crown, work outwards, and make aesthetic decisions about the 5-, 6-, or 7-way joints depending on local curvature. This instance of the design was cut by Hannah Barker after a test version a couple of months earlier by Summer Makepeace. Read the rest

How to build a hands-free Oreo dispenser

In today's edition of Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales, our pal Gareth Branwyn reminds us of The Practical Engineer's classic "Hands-Free Oreo Dispenser" project. My chin would be sore from overuse. From the project description:

The idea started as a joke where I thought it would be funny if you could eat Oreos while working with dirty hands.

I started sketching and tried a couple of different ways and figured that it would be the nicest result if you could use your chin to dispense the Oreos. The shape of the oreo, actually most round cookies, makes it quite easy to stack them and push one out at a time.

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How Pong's inventor gave Woz a hack to bring color to the Apple II

In 1977, Steve "Woz" Wozniak used a neat hack to bring color to the Apple II computer. According to IEEE Spectrum, the obscure trick, called NTSC artifact color, "allows digital systems without specialized graphics hardware to produce color images by exploiting quirks in how TVs decode analog video signals." That hack later was employed by the IBM PC, Radio Shack TRS-80, and other early home computers. But how did Woz learn about it? Turns out, videogame legend Al Alcorn, inventor of Pong, turned Woz onto the hack. From IEEE Spectrum:

Stephen Cass: Analog NTSC televisions generate color by looking at the phase of a signal relative to a reference frequency. So how did you come across this color test tool, and how did it work?

Al Alcorn: When I was 13, 14, my neighbor across the street had a television repair shop. I would go down there and at the same time, I had my father sign me up for an RCA correspondence course on radio and television repair. So, by the time I got to Berkeley, I was a journeyman TV repairman and actually paid my way through college through television. In one repair shop, there was a real cheap, sleazy color bar generator [for testing televisions]. And instead of doing color properly by synthesizing the phases and stuff like that, it simply used a crystal that was 3.58 megahertz [the carrier frequency for the color signal] minus 15.750 kilohertz, which was the horizontal scan frequency. So it slipped one phase, 360 degrees, every scan line.

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How do you like this animatronic blinking eyeball in a fleshy cube?


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A post shared by doooo (@doooo_cds) on Mar 28, 2020 at 4:00am PDT

Artist doooo made this die that looks like like a living eyeball inside a cube of human flesh.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by doooo (@doooo_cds) on Apr 6, 2020 at 6:56am PDT

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Watch this guy win a slot machine made with cardboard and toilet paper

Creativity has no bounds when you're shut in your house for weeks on end. I only wonder how he has three rolls of toilet paper to spare. Read the rest

Man builds smartphone magnifier lens to remove a nasty splinter

YouTuber Chris Notap brushed his hand against his wood fence and got a splinter in his hand. To remove it he made a smartphone magnifier lens for two dollars and used a pair of tweezers to extract the foreign object. This video provides all the graphic details. The extraction portion of the video not for the faint of heart. Read the rest

MythBusters's Jamie Hyneman explains his toolkit that nobody else can touch

From BB contributor Gareth Branwyn's excellent Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales e-newsletter:

In this video a fan rescued from the old MythBusters site on Discovery, Jamie goes through his essential toolkit, the tools he doesn’t let anyone else touch... He recommends several somewhat unusual tools, several that bear pointing out, a unibit, a telescoping inspection mirror, and Knipex cutters. Read the rest

How to make a zine from a single sheet of paper

A few months ago, my son bought a cute mini-zine from the Zine Machine vending machine at The Bindery in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury. What we noticed right away is that the 8-page zine was ingeniously folded from just a single sheet of paper. In the above video, Austin Kleon, author of the wonderful Steal Like An Artist, explains how it's done. And Umami Design posted a layout template here.

In the video clip, Austin recommends this book by Esther Watson and Mark Todd that looks like fun: Whatcha Mean, What's A Zine? The Art of Making Zines and Mini-Comics. Read the rest

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