Linux for Makers, by Aaron Newcomb

I've had very little experience with Linux but now that I'm using Raspberry Pis (a cheap single board computer that runs Linux) I need to know how to use Linux. Online how-tos are good, but Linux for Makers, by Aaron Newcomb, is better. In fact, this book is pure gold. It assumes zero prior knowledge of Linux. Everything is clearly explained. I learned how to install Raspbian Linux on an SD Card (Raspberry Pis use SD cards as their hard drive), log the output of a script, schedule jobs with cron, use lots of different commands, write scripts, use PI with IFTTT, and lots more.

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Strange Parts visits an industrial production materials market in Yiwu, China

Scotty of the Strange Parts Youtube channel says, "today we're exploring the Industrial Production Materials Market in Yiwu, China, which is filled with all sorts of amazing factory machines and tons of other strange parts of all shapes and sizes. We see injection molding machines, plastic bottle machines, looms of all shapes and sizes, zipper machines - even a machine that makes face masks!" Read the rest

Barbie ride-on toy car modded with real engine goes 70 mph

Edwin Olding hacked together a Barbie Power Wheels Ford Mustang chassis with an old go-kart frame and a customized Honda dirt bike engine. This hot pink whip now races at 70 mph. From The Drive:

Olding told The Drive, "I wanted to find the cutest Barbie Power Wheels car online and turn it into a drift kart."

With the miniature Mustang's tiny electric motor and plastic tires, that would not be an easy task. Instead of trying to boost the Power Wheels' weak performance, Olding decided to chop out everything that wasn't the car's outer shell and drop that onto a pre-built go-kart found on Craigslist. That, however, presented its own problems. The kart's frame couldn't fit into the Mustang's 36-inch wheelbase, so it had to be cut down and welded back together.

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How do pinball machine solenoids work?

Solenoids are common electromechanical devices. They're used in pinball machines to make the ball shoot away when they hit a bumper. If you've ever have the opportunity to touch an energized pinball bumper, you will immediately gain an appreciation for its explosive power.

In this video, famous hardware hacker Jeri Ellsworth takes apart a pinball machine solenoid to show how it works.

[via Hackaday]

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Adam Savage at Maker Faire: the importance of sharing

Adam Savage gives a talk every year at Maker Faire. It's one of the highlights at the Bay Area event. This year, Adam talked about why sharing is such an important part of the maker movement.

I'm here to defend sharing as a vital aspect of maker culture that is intrinsic to the underlying ethos of what it means to be a maker, and by extension, a human being.

Some people don't want to share

I once attended a gallery show where the artist had done some fairly novel executions of portraits using common materials in a way that was really surprising. I asked them about their process and they told me they didn't want to share it with me. They wanted to keep the technique a secret

At one point, when I was working in a special effects studio, a friend of mine was making these large round forms using a very specific set of techniques. He was doing it for a week and a half, and it was fascinating -- all the levels that he went through. I asked him if I could take pictures of the process and he said yes, but he would withhold key parts of the information from me so that I could not learn how to do this. He considered it part of his job security

For years the makers of Barbie dolls have shut down any and all Barbie themed art shows and artwork. This is a grossly misguided form of copyright and trademark protection.

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Delaware! Tonight, a public vote will determine the fate of one of the state's most important libraries

Walter Stabosz writes, "Delaware was the first state to ratify the US constitution, giving it the moniker 'The First State.' It is also the second smallest state, and has only three counties. Tonight in Delaware's most populous county, New Castle County, there will be a vote that may decide the fate of a library built in one of New Castle's most underserved and at-risk communities. Read the rest

How to make a tiny spy transmitter

TomTechTod has plans for making a very tiny radio transmitter which could be used to eavesdrop on a conversation at a distance. At the end of the video, he demonstrates how it works at a distance of 120 meters. Not to get all Gene Hackman, but it's a good reminder to be careful about what you say.

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Good explainer video for how servo motors work

A servo motor has a rotating shaft that can be controlled to rotate to a specified angle. They'e used in a lot of industrial applications, and also in hobby electronics to control robots and remote control models. This video does a good job of explaining how servos work. It also goes into using Arduino to drive multiple servos.

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Laura Kampf's trip report for Maker Faire Bay Area 2018

German maker Laura Kampf came to Maker Faire Bay Area 2018, which took place last weekend. I interviewed her on stage there on Saturday and really enjoyed meeting her. I highly recommend her YouTube channel. In this video, she presents the highlights of her visit to the Bay Area. Read the rest

Learn about Arduino with Tinkercad's Arduino simulator

Donald Bell of Maker Project Lab interviewed Becky Stern about Tinkercad's new and very cool Arduino simulator. It's a good way to teach a bunch of people Arduino in a classroom setting. Read the rest

Ampli: A construction set for medical diagnostics

Our team of researchers at MIT’s Little Devices Lab have developed a pocket sized laboratory for biology that allows anyone to invent and deploy rapid diagnostics to detect diseases like Zika and Dengue, as well as everyday biomarkers like cholesterol. Using plug and play reaction blocks, it can be as easy as snapping Legos together. The current approach to developing diagnostic tools involves shipping out samples to faraway labs for the development of tests that take too long and cost too much - but what would happen if everyone could have the tools they needed to design and make diagnostics? If the ability to diagnose disease was directly in the hands of those who most needed it?

Magical video for kids: How to make a duct tape coin pouch

In this lovely video by Joel Fox/Smile Mountain, young instructor Sally explains how to make a duct tape coin pouch with a ziploc bag closure. The video has serene, calming quality to it due to the colors, background imagery, and, of course, the stunning synth sounds by my pal Mikael Jorgensen, keyboardist for Wilco and Quindar.

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Learn Electronics With Arduino - a good book

Many Arduino books assume you know at least a bit about electronics. Learn Electronics With Arduino by artist Jody Culkin and Eric Hagan is written for people who want to learn about electronics but are complete electronics newbies.

The 384 page book covers basic electronics equations, components, and circuits, as well as how to use and program an Arduino microcontroller. It has many step-by-step instructions for projects and the authors do an especially good job of explaining each line of programming code used in the examples. You'll also learn how to use a solderless breadboard and a multimeter. It's full-color with lots of photos and clear illustrations.

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120 small disc magnets for $10

I used eight small disc magnets in this Raspberry Pi computer case that my daughter and I designed for playing the early 1980s game Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, and I have 112 magnets left over. The pack of 120 costs $10. I don't know if they're neodymium, but they're strong for their size. I'm planning to use them, whenever feasible, as a superior substitute to screws in every 3D project I make.

If you're attending Maker Faire this year, come to our talk and say hi. I'll give you a magnet, if I remember to bring them with me.

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Watch Adam Savage build a Blade Runner blaster in one day

Blade Runner superfan Adam Savage and Norm Chan build exquisite Blade Runner snub-nosed blasters:

Norm and Adam both work on their kits, each taking a different approach to the paint and finish. Adam goes one step further by adding machined metal parts to his blaster, giving it a brilliant look and some real heft.

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How to make a pocket slingshot

Chris Notap shows how to make a pocket slingshot (inspired by the Pocket Shot) from a balloon and plastic plumbing parts. It's surprisingly powerful and accurate, even when you use mini marshmallows as ammo. Read the rest

A LaTeX mod to draw coffee cup rings on your technical papers

LaTeX is the venerable, gold-standard layout package favored for scholarly papers, especially technical papers; back in 2009, Hanno Rein released LaTeX Coffee Stains, an extension to draw a variety of coffee-cup rings on your paper; the code has been improved by community contributions over the years and is very robust and full-featured! (via Evil Mad Scientist Labs) Read the rest

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