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$75 Sous Vide Immersion Cooker

MAKE 25 Sous Vide Cooker

Sous vide cooking, immersing vacuum-sealed foods in temperature-controlled hot water, is all the rage in culinary circles, touting incomparable results achieving optimal doneness. But the price tag on most commercially produced machines is a bit steep, with $300 being the bare minimum, on upward to the thousands. Seattle Food Geek Scott Heimendinger was intrigued, but decided it was a steep investment for something that essentially keeps water warm, so he DIYed it for about $75 in parts, and shared it with us on the pages of MAKE Volume 25.

Apparently cooking an egg sous vide style yields incredible results, with perfectly soft whites and a yolk the consistency of rich pudding. Scott took it to the next level and quickly deep fried the egg to add a crunchy shell (his recipe).

sous vide deep fried egg

Hungry yet? Interested in making your own? We’ve shared the entire project in our DIY library, Make: Projects. Check out all the detailed instructions, see the images in a variety of sizes, add comments, and collaborate. Check out the sneak peek mini version here below but head to Make: Projects for the more robust version.

Sous Vide Immersion Cooker

Check out MAKE Volume 25:
MAKE Volume 25: Arduino Revolution
Give your gadgets a brain! Previously out of reach for the do-it-yourselfer, the tiny computers called microcontrollers are now so cheap and easy to use that anyone can make their stuff smart. With a microcontroller, your gadget can sense the environment, talk to the internet or other hardware, and make things happen in the real world by controlling motors, lights, or any electronic device.



Shelf Pod is Both Bibliophile’s and Cat’s Dream House

The Kazuya Morita Architecture Studio in Japan designed this bookshelf-lined Shelf Pod house for a lucky book collector. I know plenty of people who have homes lined with ordinary bookshelves, but this Wonderland-esque design takes it to a whole new level. I’m ready to move in! [via inhabitat]


Make It Last Build Series #3: Finishing the Stepper Motor Drivers for the Drawbot

Today, the latest newsletter went out for the Make It Last Build Series, sponsored by Microchip and Energizer. The goal for this week was to finish getting the stepper motor controller for our Drawbot working. By the time you’re finished, you should have at least one stepper motor turning in both directions on command. Check out the Build Series landing page for full info on the build, prize details, and the rundown on the first two builds in the Make It Last Build Series. If you’re not signed up for the project newsletter list yet, hit that link and sign up!

breadboards and stepper motors
OK, so maybe this wasn’t the easiest circuit to build on a breadboard! If you’ve succeeded in building the stepper motor driver, your breadboard should look something like the above photo. To hook it up to the controller we made in the second newsletter, grab that breadboarded control circuit and follow these steps:

  • Take the 4 LEDs off the controller circuit board
  • Connect lines C1 to RA0 and C2 to RA
  • Connect the GND of the driver circuit to the GND of the controller circuit

Then connect the motor to the driver circuit on the following pins:

  • Black to H-Bridge Out 1
  • Green to H-Bridge Out 2
  • Red to H-Bridge Out 3
  • Blue to H-Bridge Out 4

Note that the pinout of your stepper motor may be different if you are using a salvaged or different brand.

Now, download the modified Hello World Stepper code, compile, and upload to the controller. The motor should turn one revolution in one direction, then reverse itself. Once you’ve gotten one to work, build a second driver for the other motor, following the instructions in the last newsletter.

Next week, we’ll actually hang our Drawbot on a wall and rig it up to start drawing. And don’t forget to submit your progress images to the MAKE Flickr pool, tagged “makeitlast.”


DIY Projection Screen Paint Tests

Movie theater and other high quality screens are often surfaced with tiny glass beads to provide high “screen gain,” which is a measure of the screen’s reflectivity versus a reference surface. It occurred to me it might be possible to DIY this effect on the cheap using 80-grit glass bead sandblasting media from Harbor Freight. So I bought 25 lbs and ran some tests. The short version? It works! But, as usual, not quite like I expected it to. Keep reading for all the gritty (ha) details, or just hang tight and wait for the full tutorial, coming soon!

The title image shows my twenty-three test samples against a blank white projected screen. The unlabeled white image, as well as red, green, and blue screens, are available in the gallery at the bottom of this post.

  1. Bare 3-ply cardboard. Same material used for middle board.
  2. 1 coat white paint, unsanded.
  3. 1 coat white paint, sanded.
  4. 2 coats white paint, unsanded.
  5. 2 coats white paint, sanded.
  6. 1:15 beads:paint, unsanded.
  7. 1:15 beads:paint, sanded.
  8. 1:7 beads:paint, unsanded.
  9. 1:7 beads:paint, sanded.
  10. 1:3 beads:paint, unsanded.
  11. 1:3 beads:paint, sanded.
  12. 1:2 beads:paint, unsanded.
  13. 1:2 beads:paint, sanded.
  14. 1:1 beads:paint, unsanded.
  15. 1:1 beads:paint, sanded.
  16. Beads sprinkled over 2nd coat wet paint, excess blown off when paint dry.
  17. Beads sprinkled over 2nd coat wet paint, excess blown and brushed off when paint dry.
  18. 1:7 beads:glaze.
  19. 1:5 beads:glaze.
  20. 1:3 beads:glaze.
  21. 1:2 beads:glaze.
  22. 1:1 beads:glaze.
  23. White melamine shelf section, sprayed with adhesive, sprinkled with beads, blown and brushed off when adhesive dry.

Bead/carrier mixtures were prepared (volumetrically) in disposable plastic cups and stirred for 1 minute each with a popsicle stick before application. Sanding was performed with a wooden block covered in 100 grit dry-use garnet abrasive paper. All carriers and bead/carrier mixtures were applied with 1″ disposable foam brushes. A fresh cup, brush, and stirrer was used for each mixture. Paint was “Kilz Casual Colors Ultra Bright White Flat,” clear glaze was “Valspar Signature Colors Clear Faux Protector Satin,” and spray adhesive was “3M Super77.”

My first concept, represented by the board to left, was to apply various mixtures of glass beads in common white interior latex paint, and then expose the embedded beads if necessary, by sanding. I prepared one too many cardboard blanks and, as an afterthought, decided I would see how well the process worked if I just sprinkled beads onto the wet paint instead of mixing them in beforehand. As a trained scientist, I should know better than to be surprised by the serendipitous results this method gave. As is evident, the bead/white paint mixtures show little if any increase in screen gain with increasing bead content, and little if any improvement over plain white paint, whether they are sanded or not.

However, the sprinkled-on beads of sample Q show a dramatic screen gain over all other samples. When the paint under the sprinkled-on beads was dry, the completely loose beads were easily removed by inversion of the surface, blowing, and light tapping. The beads that remained were not well fixed to the surface, but would not fall or blow off, either. Very light rubbing with the sanding block (or with a fingertip, as evident in sample P), was enough to remove these lightly-persistent beads and expose a thin layer of tightly-bound glass beads with the texture of sandpaper. This was the most effective surface I tested.

The middle board represents my attempt to achieve the effect of surface Q without the “sprinkling” contrivance. A clear liquid carrier was used this time. These samples R-V do show some noticeable screen gain over the opaque-carrier samples to left, but still do not really compare to sample Q. My tentative conclusion was that a thin “monolayer” of beads over a white surface is required for the high-gain effect, and sample W represents my attempt to test that hypothesis.

However, even though the spray adhesive is translucent and the underlying surface is bright white, the screen gain seen in sample W is still noticeably lacking compared to Q. My best hypothesis, at this point, is that a monolayer of glass beads each partially embedded in a white reflective medium is crucial to achieving the high-gain effect: Light enters each approximately-spherical bead from the viewing direction, and because the back of the bead is surrounded by a reflective white medium, bounces around and is reflected back out towards the viewer. In the absence of the reflective white medium surrounding the back half of each sphere, light from the viewing direction can exit the back of the bead and be trapped behind it.

test-boards-blue test-boards-red test-boards-white test-boards-green

Hack the WM+ to Talk to Arduino

Our new Arduino projects contributor, Riley Porter, has posted another cool project to our Make: Arduino page. In the project, he shows you how to hook up a Wii MotionPlus motion capture device to your Arduino to easily get 3-axis gyroscopic data onto the Arduino platform. You can use this set-up to control up to three servos, create a cheap inertia measurement unit (IMU) for a quad copter, and many other motion-control applications.

Thanks to the fine folks at element14 for sponsorship of the Make: Arduino page and this project.

Hack the WM+ to Talk to Arduino

Arduino Drum Pad and Game


555 Contest is Almost Over

For those of you interested in submitting a 555-based project to the contest, I hope you get a lot of work done soon because Monday, March 1st marks the deadline. The prizes are considerable, so don’t hesitate!


How-To: Teardrop Camper Trailer

Sweet! Make: Projects author Werner made an epic how-to on his teardrop camper trailer built on the frame of a cheap Craigslist popup camping trailer.


In the Maker Shed: Prototino ATMega328 Kit

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The Prototino ATMega328 kit is designed to make a permanent version of your Arduino project once you have perfected it on a breadboard but without the expense of embedding your original project. The Prototino also makes your project more reliable and robust. With the prototyping area integrated with the microprocessor, your project will have fewer boards and fewer wires.

Hint, Hint – Follow the Maker Shed on Twitter, or Subscribe to our Deal of The Day RSS feed to keep up to date on the latest deal!


How to: Turn Perfect Wooden Spheres on a Lathe

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