This month’s Open MAKE/Young Makers program is tomorrow, Saturday, Feb 19, at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The theme is cardboard. Featured makers will be interviewed by MAKE’s Dale Dougherty in the McBean Theater between 1 and 2pm.
Makers this month:
- The Cardboard Institute of Technology has been building a large installation in the Tinkering Studio since the beginning of the month. They will share their progress and host a “building with cardboard” workshop.
- Surfer and laser-cutting artist Mike Sheldrake will bring some of his amazing surfboards made with a cardboard core.
- Los Angeles artist Ana Serrano will talk about the incredibly detailed cityscapes she builds out of cardboard, inspired by real neighborhoods.
- Puppeteer Dan Tran-Caffee makes giant articulated puppets out of cardboard (some require as many as 6 people to operate!): he will bring some and have them roam around the museum all day long.
- And also keep an eye out for the giant cardboard robot costumes by Jason Lentz!
See the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio website for more info.
Big week for “user innovation” stories…
When Hackers Become Makers @ Inc… John Gerzema writes -
Lost in the iPad hype is the news that Microsoft has sold the rather stunning figure of eight million Kinects in the sixty days since it hit the market. In fact, more Kinects were sold in the fourth quarter than iPads. The product’s remarkable user experience is responsible in part for its success. But that isn’t the whole story behind Kinect sales number: When Microsoft released the product on November 4th, my friends Phil Torrone and Limor Fried at Ada Fruit Industries offered $3,000 to the first person who could hack the Kinect and post the information to GitHub, a public repository for code. Eleven days later when the hack appeared, officials at Microsoft didn’t go nuts. They actually went on NPR to embrace the deed.
Torrone, who is creative director at Adafruit as well as a senior editor of MAKE magazine, says that Microsoft is smart to embrace hacking’s benefit as a corporate development tool. “Microsoft quickly realized that user innovation was helping, not hurting, their biggest product launch in recent years,” he says. “Within weeks there were dozens of examples of makers, hackers, artists, engineers and tinkerers doing things that even Microsoft didn’t expect. I think we’ll see an entire industry of commercializing experiments in to games and experiences for Kinect users.” (One of the best Kinect hacks, by the way, is this Minority Report demo.)
Next up! Consumer Innovation as New Economic Pattern @ NYTimes.com…
…pathbreaking research by a group of scholars including Eric A. von Hippel, a professor of technological innovation at M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management, suggests that the traditional division of labor between innovators and customers is breaking down.
Financed by the British government, Mr. von Hippel and his colleagues last year completed the first representative large-scale survey of consumer innovation ever conducted.
What the team discovered, described in a paper that is under review for publication, was that the amount of money individual consumers spent making and improving products was more than twice as large as the amount spent by all British firms combined on product research and development over a three-year period.
“We’ve been missing the dark matter of innovation,” Mr. von Hippel said from his office in Cambridge, Mass. “This is a new pattern for how innovations come about.”
As we never tire of saying, we love it when family members get involved in MAKE. Our crack editorial assistant Laura Cochrane’s dad, Craig, is a general contractor and woodworker. He did the Dutch Wood Repair piece on Make: Projects and contributed his repair tips to our Make & Mend theme last year. Here, Craig shares some of his woodworking and lumber tips. Thanks, Craig! And thanks to Laura for the photos. — Gareth
Two pieces of 1 1/2″ thick lumber. The top piece has 8 years of growth, and the bottom piece has about 57 years of growth
Lumber with wane
Choosing Better Lumber:
Start by inspecting the end of the lumber pile. Notice and compare the growth rings of each piece. Generally, more is better. Each layer of dark and light wood (earlywood and latewood) represents a year’s growth, and tighter, slower growth means stronger lumber. Avoid heart center lumber unless you are cutting it into short lengths. If you see a round target-like pattern with a “bull’s eye,” you’re looking at heart center — the center of a tree — and heart center lumber usually twists badly as it dries. Finally, lift each piece and look at all sides. Defects such as knot-holes, twists, warps, bows, gouges, and wane (corner edges where there should be wood, but instead there’s bark or nothing at all) will be evident. Balancing this advice is a reminder that lumber is not a perfect product, and lumber yards generally do not allow pawing through and sorting the lumber piles. Be reasonable, discreet, and keep the pile neatly stacked.
Table Saw Safety:
When using any tool to cut lumber, keep body parts away from the saw blade! This is obvious but important. Table saws are probably the most dangerous. Lumber is pushed through a high-speed circular saw blade with bare hands, and many fingers are accidentally cut off every day. Use extra care to keep hands away from the saw blade. If there is less than 5″ of wood between the saw fence and blade use a push stick to move the lumber through.
Preventing Lumber Splitting with Nails:
Place the nail head against a hard surface and hammer-tap the point to flatten it slightly. This minimizes wood splitting. When nailing hardwoods, old and dry lumber, or near the ends of boards, first drill a pilot hole with a bit just slightly smaller in diameter than the nail being used. Always do this if you want to be sure not to split your wood.
Nail Removal from Boards to Be Re-Used:
The key is to minimize damage to the wood. Old painted redwood or cedar siding boards removed in remodeling projects often are re-installed. The nail heads are embedded in the wood covered with spackle and paint, and will blow out a big chunk of surrounding wood if you simply hammer at the protruding nail ends. To prevent this, place the board, nail head down, flat against a knot-free piece of soft wood (redwood, western red cedar, or Ponderosa pine). Then hammer the nail into the soft wood about 1/4″. The nail head, spackle, and paint will be exposed with minimal wood damage and can then be removed. Hammer the point end flush with the backside of the board, and pull or pry out with a nail removal tool (claw hammer, cat’s paw, pry bar, or curved nipper nail tool). Protect the finish surface side from tool damage with a wood scrap. Headless finish nails can be pulled out through the board from the backside without disturbing the finished surface.
Keep Saw Blades, Wood Chisels, Plane Blades, and Drill Bits Sharp:
Using properly sharpened blades to cut and shape wood is a real pleasure and maximizes user safety. Dull saw blades make rough and difficult cuts. A power saw with a dull blade works harder, uses more electricity, and creates lots of screaming noise. A dull hand saw requires a great deal of elbow grease for very little result. The same applies to chisels, planes, and drill bits. You can sharpen chisels, plane blades, and some drill bits with a good oil or water stone and some practice. Handsaws and circular saw blades need a professional saw sharpener (I use Walton’s Saw Works in San Rafael, CA). Replace dull reciprocating demolition and saber saw blades with new ones.
Overall Woodworking Safety:
Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes, make sure you have plenty of light to see your cuts, use the right tool for the job, and, above all, don’t do it when you’re tired or it’s very late in the day. Fine woodworking and building involves sharp, potentially dangerous tools, and users must be alert and focused on the job at hand. A high percentage of woodworking accidents occur late in the work day. Be careful and stay safe.
Be sure to check out our entire woodworking skill set
Simple and satisfying craft technique from Photojojo: Take pictures of your favorite object, print them at 1:1 scale on inkjet canvas, and sew them together to make a hollow cloth facsimile of the real thing. Use it as a pouch or slipcover that advertises what it contains or, alternately, conceals it. [via CRAFT]
I can’t wait to see all the 555 contest entries. Here’s one:
Here are the details for my 555 Contest entry. It is a three channel music synthesiser, capable of four octaves per chanel. The 555′s are used to generate each octave for each voice (or channel). There are twelve 555 timer IC’s used for the synthesiser section and two more for tempo control and paper speed. It is sequenced by a Heathkit H-10 paper tape unit and programmed with a 486 PC running QBasic (seriously, it’s easier).
There are a few reasons why I chose to use a paper tape machine instead of an EEPROM and counters, or a microcontroller. First, I wanted this project to be made with components available in the 1970′s. Also, I think it looks better to have something moving with the music and I’m not a great fan of using IC’s with bazillions of transistors in them.
[Via Hack A Day ]
Way too pricey for me at €399, plus shipping from Germany, but there’s plenty of detail in the pics to inform a re-make: Cut out the door, reinforce it from inside with two guy-wires strung to four bolts in the corners, line the cut edges with rubber edge trim, and attach a hardware-store handle and latch. Oh yeah, and fit some plywood circles into the drum’s grooves for shelves. Might add a drum dolly, to mine, to make a cool rolling toolbox. [via Dude Craft]
Oil Drum Rocker
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The Wee Blinky kit from the Maker Shed is an easy-to-solder two (2) LED blinker circuit. It comes with a 9V battery snap, but will work with almost any voltage from 3V to 12V. A 9V battery is required but not included. It’s tiny, it blinks, and it’s a great kit to hone your soldering skills since it’s cheap too!
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If you haven’t heard, Jeri Ellsworth and Adafruit are teaming up to present 26 videos about electronics, one for every letter of the alphabet. They’ve done the first three letters: A is about amperes, the B is batteries and the C video describes capacitors. The videos are really well done, very engaging, and informative. Check them out!