It’s tonight! Our holiday episode features some fun project ideas for this festive time of year, and we’ll give away some seriously cheerful electronics prizes to live viewers in the chat from Digi-Key:
Make: Live 22: Holiday Giveaway
Wednesday December 14, 9pm ET/6pm PT
Watch at makezine.com/live or on UStream
Please join us in the UStream chat or mark tweets with #makelive to interact live with the show.
Get your LCD display off the breadboard and onto your Arduino! The LCD Shield Kit from the Maker Shed provides a simple, inexpensive way to mount and use your LCD. It is compatible with all Arduino compatible 16 pin or 2 x 8 pin modules and works perfectly with the ‘LiquidCrystal’ Arduino library. You can even mount up to 3 buttons for use as inputs. This shield was designed to work with the 16×2 LCD and the LCD included in the Ultimate Microcontroller Pack. (Note: LCD and Arduino not included.)
Works with ALL 16 pin straight line and 2×8 pin LCDs
Includes space for 3 additional buttons on the PCB, allowing use as an IO shield.
Richard James came up with the idea of controlling a 48 piece string section and a 24 strong choir by remote control, using midi controllers, lots of headphones and some remote visual cues, after being commissioned to write some pieces for the European culture congress in Poland. There was only one opportunity for a rehearsal to see if the idea worked, it was in the morning, the day of the concert! This is the result. Programming by weirdcore & andrew benson.
Adrianne Wortzel first saw Tickle-Me-Elmo-TMX during her residency in the Artificial Intelligence Lab in Zurich, Switzerland, and noticed something interesting about the robotic toy. It wasn’t long before she amassed an army of them. And what army is complete without synchronized maneuvers…
St. Louis artist Sarah Frost exhibits some of her intricate cast-off keyboard key mosaics at art galleries, and has done at least one architectural installation, specifically a stairwell at The James hotel in NYC. [via ScrapHacker]
One thing we’ve encountered in Weekend Projects, our weekly beginning electronics series is that there are several ways to fabricate the same circuit. Working from a schematic, some may choose to quickly test a circuit on breadboard, while others may opt for a more-permanent perfboard solution. And some will want to etch their own PCBs – a very rewarding experience. Since we’ve now worked with every type of through-hole circuit board, I thought it would be fun to issue another challenge. It’s quite simple: build any of our board-based Weekend Projects on a different type of circuit board than the one originally demonstrated in the project. For example, build a perfboard project on stripboard, transfer an etched circuit design to breadboard, and so forth.
David Lang, something of a reluctant maker, is on a journey, intensively immersing himself in maker culture and learning as many DIY skills as he can, through a generous arrangement with our pals at TechShop. He’s regularly chronicling his efforts in this column — what he’s learning, who he’s meeting, and what hurdles he’s clearing (um… or not). –Gareth
The holidays. There’s nothing like a little time with family to give you an honest assessment of yourself. My experience this past week was especially illuminating.
Having lived across the country from my family for many years, the holidays always involved a lot of explaining of what I was up to. This year, I had the unique challenge of trying to explain my quest to start making things. I realized the complexity of this when, in reference to the Zero to Maker column, my younger brother asked me, “So, David, how’s your writing going?”
“It’s going pretty well!” I replied, genuinely excited that he’d taken notice to what I was doing, “I’m really learning a lot and enjoying the process. Have you been reading the updates?”
“Yeah, they’re really good,” he replied. He had a pleasantly surprised and slightly impressed tone to his voice.
“Wow. Thanks, bro. Did you read the last one about the side project I was working on?” I asked. I was really curious. I don’t get that much feedback on it, especially from people outside the MAKE community, so I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.
“Uh… No I didn’t actually read that one, yet.” He replied.
The confidence drained from his voice. I sensed he may have been bluffing with his enthusiasm for my writing, so I pressed him, “I see. So which ones have you read?”
“Well… to be honest, I haven’t read them recently. I try to read them. It’s just that, well, sometimes you start getting all technical and you lose me.”
Interesting. Too technical? I hadn’t really thought about that. Of course, he could have just pulled that out as an excuse, but I thought it was valid enough to investigate further. I asked my mom what she thought and she, too, that there was too much maker jargon to follow along.
This was a bit of a blow. Not a huge one, though, as I’m getting fairly used to being the least informed person in the room, but I thought this might be something I could work on. As a new-maker who’s had the privilege of getting such an intensive, whirlwind tour of the maker world, I should be doing a better job of translating this experience to other new-makers.
I thought back to my journey over the past few months. I looked at my first post and then compared it with my most recent. My brother and mom were right. My tone and word choice had changed. Things that are obvious to me now – what “CAD” or “CNC” stand for or that I can vector-cut acrylic with a laser cutter but needed a water jet to cut metal – are the same things that the pre-maker me would have gotten tripped up over. I wondered how much of what I’d learned could be attributed to understanding more of the vocabulary.
Before I started this column and my crash-course in making, I had still been paying attention. I had been to a few Maker Faire’s and read the MAKE website. So even then, I was starting to get comfortable with the lingo. I thought back to when I had first heard about Maker Faire in 2009 – to the specific conversation and recommendation to attend. I didn’t understand what “Maker” meant. I had to ask twice. And now I’m the one repeating, explaining what a Maker Faire is. No matter how many times I try, I’m never able to capture the magic of it. It’s still something I think you have to see to understand.
It turns out that “make” is the 69th most common word in the English language. The word means something completely different to me than it did in 2009. I need to do a better job of explaining that new definition to other.
So, my question to all of you is: How do you define “making?”
This project is no exception. Most people think of a thermocouple as a junction of two dissimilar metals. In fact, the only metal in the thermocouples that make up Nyle’s small, radial thermoelectric generator is copper, strategically oxidized in places to form a layer of CuO that provides the necessary dielectric junction. Nyle writes:
I have spent my entire life reading whatever technical books and articles I could find and can recall seeing only one book that tells how to make something like this and none that explain how this device works…Touching the two oxidized wires together forms a junction of copper oxide to copper oxide. This is not where the action is. The copper oxide on both wires should be thought of as one solid conductor between the two copper wires – a very short one at that. This can now be seen as the classic two thermocouples back to back circuit. We have a copper – copper oxide junction on the hot wire and an opposing copper oxide – copper junction on the cold wire…It is easy to wonder how this device could work at all because of the copper oxide, that is between the two wires, being almost an insulator. Copper oxide however, also acts like a thermistor with a very high negative temperature coefficient. Even the “cold” wire still gets hot enough that the resistance of the copper oxide drops relatively to a very low value – enabling current to flow.
See all our past coverage of Nyle’s work here. [Thanks, Eric!]
At the end of every semester, NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program opens house and shows the public the latest in their students’ work in physical computing, interactive media, and design. Above is a smattering of the types of projects and people you can expect to find at an ITP show (full disclosure: Matt Richardson and I are current students and will be in attendance).
If you’re in the New York area, come check out the variety of creations ITP has to offer:
We’re giving away amazing kits from our new Make: Ultimate Kit Guide EVERY DAY — thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, including MakerBots!
To celebrate the release of our latest publication, the Make: Ultimate Kit Guide 2012 (and its companion website), we’re giving away at least one of the cool kits reviewed in the issue each day during the holiday season. Today, we’re giving away our third MakerBot Thing-O-Matic (a $1,300 value!), featured on the cover of the Ultimate Kit Guide. Here’s Make: Labs intern Eric Chu’s review of Thing-O-Matic from the issue:
If you want to get into 3D printing but don’t know where to start, the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic Kit is the way to go. It’s a complete kit, so you need no additional parts, and a large user community can back you up if problems pop up (not to mention Thingiverse, where you can find awesome open source designs). It took me about 20 hours to build the Thing-O-Matic and start printing, and I improved its accuracy with more tuning, calibrating, and tinkering with settings in the ReplicatorG software. If you have any trouble, read the discussion at the bottom of every build step. I’ve since 3D-printed many fun and handy things (everyone loves a 3D-printed gift!) and the MakerBot is now by far the most-used machine at Make: Labs.
To be eligible for today’s giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment below in this post. The entry period for today’s prize will be until 11:59pm PST tonight. We’ll choose one person at random, you’ll be notified by email, and you’ll have 48 hours to respond. The Winners List is kept on the Giveaway landing page. That’s it! No purchase necessary or anything else to do.
Please leave only one comment per giveaway. You can enter as many giveaways as you like until you win. This giveaway is for US residents only. You also must be 18 years old to enter (Kids: Ask your parents to enter). See the Kit-A-Day Giveaway landing page for full sweepstakes details and Official Rules.
Important Note: If you enter this drawing, when it’s over, please check the place where you registered to comment (eg. Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter). Some people are winning these kits and then not responding when we send them a message using the available means of contacting them. We want to make sure you get your giveaway!
Winner Announced on Make: Live! The winner of this MakerBot will be announced on tomorrow night’s holiday episode of Make: Live! Tune in to find out who won!
When I first got to play with the EZ-Robot Controller I thought it was just another microcontroller. I assumed I would have to take time to learn it’s programming syntax and the on-board Bluetooth would be hard to set up. I was wrong. Wonderfully wrong. Once I paired the device to my computer and fired up the EZ-Builder software, I was greeted by a friendly drag and drop environment. I hooked the EZ-Robot Controller up to a Boe-Bot chassis and proceeded to play around. In under 5 minutes I was able to have my crude-looking robot chase my dog around using voice commands! I was and still am blown away by the simplicity of the system and how even complicated things like object tracking and face detection (bring your own camera and servos) are built into the software. After spending several hours with the system without realizing it because I was having so much fun, I knew we had to get this in the Maker Shed. The EZ-Robot Controller and it’s creator DJ Sures were featured in Make:Volume 27 and are constantly popping up on tech sites with a new and exciting robot. The newest robot to make the rounds has been the Omnibot 2000.
Normally, I would list the features of the the EZ-Robot Controller here but they are so numerous you’ll have to read them on the Maker Shed product page. If you are the least bit interested in building robots, hacking toys, and giving “brain transplants” I urge you to check this thing out. Just add your own wireless PC camera, sensors, and servos to bring your creation to life. You won’t be disappointed!