O’Reilly Radar on Dale Dougherty’s White House Visit

On today’s O’Reilly Radar, Alex Howard has a really nice write up about Dale being recognized by the White House yesterday. The piece includes a brief interview with Dale and an embed of the streamed event at the White House conference center. Dale’s comments can be found at 58:18. Here’s some of what he said:

“You mentioned tinkering,” said Dougherty, responding to an earlier comment by Chopra. “Tinkering was once a solid middle-class skill. It was how you made your life better. You got a better home, you fixed your car, you did a lot of things. We’ve kind of lost some of that, and tinkering is on the fringe instead of in the middle today.

The software community is influencing manufacturing today, said Dougherty, including new ways of thinking about it. “It’s a culture. I think when you look at MAKE and Maker Faire, this is a new culture, and it is a way to kind of redefine what this means.” It’s about seeing manufacturing as a “creative enterprise,” not something “where you’re told to do something but where you’re invited to solve a problem or figure things out.”

This emergent culture is one in which makers create because of passion and personal interest. “People are building robots because they want to,” Dougherty said. “It’s an expression of who they are and what they love to do. When you get these people together, they really turn each other on, and they turn on other people.”

The maker movement’s potential for education, jobs and innovation is growing


Tesla Special Event Ham Radio Stations, November 5th

November 5, 2011 is the 66th anniversary of the first FM transmission in 1935 from Yonkers, NY, by Carmen “Randy” Runyon W2XAG. On Saturday, a network of Tesla special event ham radio stations will be on the air helping to raise awareness of the effort to purchase the Wardencyffe laboratory and restore it into a science museum. A list of the stations is below:

  • N3Y – New Yorker Hotel, Tesla’s last home in Manhattan SAT (satellite) and possibly HF (1:30-5:30 pm EST)
  • W0RAA, W0EM, WV7T, and KG7UFO – Colorado Springs home of Tesla’s lab that served as a prototype for Wardenclyffe!
  • W2XAG – The Yonkers PAL Amateur Radio Club will be transmitting a few blocks away from the original station which sent the first FM transmission in 1935 using the same call W2XAG.
  • W3T – Wardenclyffe, Shoreham NY, Nikola Tesla’s last laboratory on 40/30/20 SSB/CW
  • YU0TESLA – Tesla Museum, Belgrade 20 meters and other HF bands

If you are able to make contact with these stations, you will be able to collect some of these great Tesla QSL cards. But don’t forget, you need a license to operate a ham radio.


Open Source Music Hardware: Got Gear?

Pt 26

Open Source Music Hardware: Got Gear? Fill Out Our Survey as We Look at the Landscape. Peter writes in…

We’ve followed open source hardware – and generally hardware that is more open to user customization and modification – on this site since the beginning. As I prepare for a talk on theMeeBlip at Berlin’s Create Art & Technology Conference, though, I think it’s time to do a proper survey of the hardware that’s out there.

The ability to modify music gear is something that’s important to a lot of people as musicians. It means the ability to learn how the technology we use works, and therefore to have a deeper musical and compositional understanding of it. And it can mean the ability to make music hardware more expressive of your sonic imagination and creative ideas. Finally, it adds an additional avenue through which you can share your understanding and use and modification of musical instruments with other people.

…or just skip to the survey, or live event in Berlin.

There are a few efforts right now to try and get a list of all the open-source hardware, I think that might be impossible at this point – so lists of specific types (like music) sounds like an attainable goal :)


Knives Handmade in Brooklyn

Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn talks about the value of handmade, and how that extends to his line of kitchen knives that he builds in his studio in Brooklyn, New York. Joel was a writer by trade who, after taking a three month sabbatical, discovered the desire to make physical things instead. He worked with wood, jewelry, and eventually ended up making hunting knives. After finding that the knives were being displayed as works of art rather then functional tools, he switched to making kitchen knives, and catering to the New York food scene. My favorite part of the film is how he talks about moving into a work studio with others and the creativity that was fostered there.

via Kottke


Water Level-Controled Video Installation

Our own Matt Richardson is up to some fantastic things at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU- check out his group project, digidrench:

digidrench is an interactive video installation in which the user controls video playback by filling and draining three tanks. As the water level rises, the video plays forward; as it lowers, the video reverses. The user gets to interact with the very same materials that are used on screen. As the user pours, liquid falls on screen. There is a direct correlation between the user’s action and the video content, allowing for more playful and meaningful engagement with the project.

Inside the tanks, fluid level sensors relay water levels to an Arduino, which in turn passes those values along to a computer running Max with Jitter. Max uses the data from the Arduino to “scrub” the video playheads back and forth.


Portal Pumpkin!

A not-so-little slice of genius from Instructables user DracoGT.  The legs and frame are PVC pipe and fittings, painted black.  The eye is an inkjet printer transparency illuminated with an LED Tap Light.  And the body, of course, is the predominant seasonal gourd, artfully cut to suggest armor plate.

Inspired to make something for Halloween? Be sure to enter it in our MAKE Halloween contest to win cool prizes. Costumes, decor, food, whatever you create for Halloween, is welcome in the contest.

Read our full contest page for all the details.


The Many Methods to Reading Resistor Values

In working on the builds for Weekend Projects, we’ve been dealing a lot with resistors of different values (indicated by the color bands on the resistors themselves). Trying to figure out the values of these common components can be confusing to new electronics hobbyists, so I thought it would be helpful to share some tips and tools for identifying them.

It seems like at least once a year here on MAKE there’s a “How-To Read a Resistor” post. They’re all incredibly useful in their own ways. I, in fact, use no less than four ways to read them, depending on where I am in the world and whether I’m trying to decipher a resistor’s value, or know the value and want to find the color scheme. If you’re fortunate enough to have a Maker’s Notebook, on page 162 is the Resistor Color Codes matrix. You can cleverly hack your own notebook with markers or colored pens like this so that the grid is more colorful and easier to reference. I also keep a printed-out version of this same matrix on my workshop wall, so all I have to do is look up to figure out “violet = 7″ or whatever value/color I’m hunting down. When working with beginners, I’ve found the resistor matrix to be a bit frustrating. It’s time-consuming trying to add up values in your head, and if you can’t write something down for whatever reason, it’s easy to forget. Which is why one of my favorite tools for beginners is the resistor color wheel [PDF]. I also keep a version of this pinned to my wall which I can easily spin, so when I’m looking for a 47k resistor, I quickly and easily know I’m looking for Yellow, Violet, Orange for the first 3 bands. But like I said, I have four ways to read resistors up my sleeves! The fourth is this HTML5 resistor calculator, which is incredibly handy when I’m neither in my workshop nor have my notebook with me to reference. As the name implies it only works with HTML5-compatible browsers, but all you have to do is scroll the dials into place and voila, you’ve calculated your resistor value. (NOTE: these color wheels are useful for standard four-band ‘carbon film’ resistors.)

Work with enough of the same resistors and you’ll start to memorize the color sequence and its value, but in the meantime these are some great ways to get started.

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See all of the RadioShack Weekend Projects posts (to date)


DDWFTTW: Rick Cavallaro

Rick Cavallaro and his team at DDWFTTW succeeded in making a wind powered vehicle that travels downwind at a speed faster than the wind itself. The vehicle is at Maker Faire Bay Area 2011, having newly accomplished a feat that was considered impossible by many. The vehicle is made from a combination of steel, carbon fiber, bicycle and windsurfing parts.

Watch more videos from Maker Faire Bay Area, Detroit, and NYC.

Subscribe to the Maker Faire Podcast in iTunes, download the m4v directly, or watch it on YouTube and Vimeo.


New in the Maker Shed: iNecklace

Sophisticated. Elegant. Open Source. The iNecklace, now available in the Maker Shed, is a gorgeously machined aluminum pendant with a subtle pulsating LED. Made for women who celebrate art, science, engineering and great design. For any lady who loves technology and wants beautiful, geeky jewelry. It’s subtle, fun, and classy all at the same time.


  • CNC Machined Aluminum
  • Easy Battery Access
  • 18″ long sterling silver 1.6mm diamond-cut curb chain
  • Comes in a black, velveteen gift box.

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