Out of the 30 volumes of MAKE we’ve produced over the years, which project holds the record for taking up the most number of pages? The Atari 2600PC by Joe Grand, which spanned a jaw-dropping 35 pages back in Volume 02 (2005). Having worked on MAKE since the beginning, this project is legendary in my mind. Why did Joe decide to build it?
From his intro:
Wanna check it out? Here’s a PDF of the full project for your viewing pleasure.
We still have some copies of Volume 02 in the Shed if you need them for your collection.
The Power Racing Series (PPPRS), where grown men and women ride around on souped up toy cars (like the pink Power Wheels Jeep shown above) is gearing up for another season. The phenomenon, mostly centered around the Midwestern U.S. hackerspace scene, has been around since 2009 and seen an impressive growth every year since then.
Trophies awarded include the Tesla Cup, the grand prize of the PPPRS, as well as the Moxie Cup, which rewards style, and the Chapman Cup for those who score well in the position competition. There is also a few assorted prizes like the Crash & Burn, who flame out spectacularly.
The 2012 Competition
The hackerspace that created the PPPRS is still very active in leading the series. Check out their throwdown as they try to lure non-participating spaces Arch Reactor, Freeside Atlanta, Workshop 88, Quad Cities Co-Lab, and NYC Resistor into the fray. It sounds like they’ll be gunning for the Moxie Cup with their Blues Brothers impression. It’s golden!
The Hack Factory
Karen and Ted of team i3Detroit released the above video showing off their cool factor. Are they also making a run for the Moxie Cup?
Did I miss your team? Leave an update in comments! — JB
Jim finished up by saying he’d love to see more participation by spaces new to the PPPRS. Are you itching to join the PPPRS? Build a car and do it! Check out the Power Racing Series site and find all the information and rules you need to participate.
Concrete that uses chunks or beads of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam as aggregate has lots of interesting applications. It’s lighter, for one, so if you’re casting something intended to be portable (like Halloween yard tombstones) “EPScrete” can save you some lifting and groaning. It would also be expected to have better thermal insulation properties than plain-Jane concrete, and of course there’s the green angle: EPS is tough to recycle, and any that gets cast into concrete objects doesn’t end up in landfills (at least not immediately).
And while there is rather a lot of general discussion about EPScrete, online, there doesn’t seem to be much by way of hands-on instruction. That’s why I was pleased to discover this series of short posts from Nori Lamphere at her personal blog Our House, who did a great job, around this time last year, of keeping an online notebook describing her construction of an EPScrete wall using shredded foam slabs recycled from packing inserts. There are eleven posts in the series, which starts here.
Though you can make EPScrete using new polystyrene beads, Nori wanted to use directly recycled material, so she needed a way to grind up the foam slabs quickly. She started out using a wood chipper with a screen fitted over its exhaust port to keep the chunks inside until they’re small enough, but eventually switched to a homemade electric foam shredding machine, and developed a specific volumetric mix which includes recycled latex paint added to improve workability and flexural strength. Besides the recipe, she gives a detailed mixing protocol, and goes on to describe the construction of the wall itself. [Thanks, Nori!]
Many makers and crafters rightly see an environmentalist side to the way we reuse things and get creative with trash. The Sierra Club agrees. For over a year now, my wife Wendy has been having fun writing the “Repurpose” column for their magazine Sierra. It’s a beginner-friendly craft column that shows people how to turn common household throwaways into new useful objects.
I think it’s unusual for a major environmental organization to give regular space to craft how-to, but it shows that switch-flipping people’s self-image from helpless consumer to empowered and enlightened maker can be as much a part of environmentalism as fighting headline political battles over large wilderness areas.
In the print version of Sierra, “Repurpose” is a one-page overview, and complete instructions for the projects are published online. So far, our favorites are the Cassette Tape Purse and the Blazer Backpack, but they’re all neat, and Wendy has been enjoying getting to know the Dremel (among other tools). Here’s a link archive:
Lego builder Yaya Lu created a prototype voice-controlled wheelchair out of Lego Mindstorms NXT elements, along with such 3rd party add-ons as Rotacaster omniwheels and a Dexter Industriues NXTBee module.
[via the NXT Step]
Absolutely epic maker tale from former Atari dev Scott Williamson, who writes:
Back story: Porting Star Castle to the 2600 was the first assignment of now-legendary Atari game pioneer Howard Scott Warshaw, who eventually decided that “a decent version couldn’t be done” on the console hardware, and reorganized the core gameplay elements of Star Castle into Yar’s Revenge, which went on to become Atari’s best-selling original title for the 2600.
Now story: Williamson, who worked for Atari starting in ’87, became fascinated with the Star Castle challenge. He dug into the attic for his old Atari notebooks, cobbled together a development environment, and after much head-scratching and code-crunching, managed to pare Star Castle—sprites, sounds, AI, and all—down to 8K ROM / 128 bytes RAM (yes, that’s individual bytes, with no prefix). Then he designed fantastic retro Atari-style packaging for the game, including a clear-cased custom cartridge with internal LEDs that flash during gameplay.
That’s right: The cartridge lights up.
Don’t miss this one, folks. Link below. [Thanks, Scott!]
More Recent Articles
|Your requested content delivery powered by FeedBlitz, LLC, 9 Thoreau Way, Sudbury, MA 01776, USA. +1.978.776.9498|