How-To: Rolled Sheet Metal Yakitori Grill

Yakitori Grill from MAKE Volume 30

When longtime MAKE contributing writer Bob Knetzger took a trip to Japan, one of his most memorable experiences was sampling the sizzling street-side grills. In his intro he writes:

Unlike big American grills that cook anything from burgers to ribs to steaks, these specially sized grills were designed to do one thing and one thing only: skewers. Short skewers loaded with chicken, asparagus, meatballs, and other simple ingredients spanned the narrow troughs of red-hot coals. The suspended foods cooked quickly and without burning or sticking to a grate or grill surface.

Bob was particularly fond of the yakitori (marinated chicken on skewers), and designed this simple grill with sheet metal body, cake pan end caps, L-strap legs, wine cork feet and handles, and special roll-proof, double-crook skewers. He shares his step-by-step on the pages of MAKE Volume 30 and on Make: Projects. And yes, the tasty yakitori recipe is also included.

Yakitori Grill Assembled

From the pages of MAKE Volume 30:

MAKE Volume 30Until recently, home automation was gimmicky, finicky, and user-hostile. But today, thanks to a new crop of devices and technology standards, home automation is useful, fun, and maker-friendly. In the special section of MAKE Volume 30, we’ll show you: how to flip any switch in your home with a smartphone, home automation without programming, controlling your HVAC with an Arduino, a webcam security system, and a wall-mounted Notification Alert Generator (NAG) that plays timely reminders as you walk by. Plus, you’ll build a Yakitori Grill, a robust R/C flying-wing airplane, sturdy furnishings from PVC, and more!


Thoughts on the 7th Annual Maker Faire

Another Faire has come and gone, leaving thousands of people hyper-inspired and super tired. I no longer have a voice, but I’m sure it’ll be arriving any moment now at my front door, like a piece of hand-delivered lost luggage.

I’ve been to every Maker Faire Bay Area from the second one (and both World Maker Faires in NY). Every Faire seems “special,” but this year’s was special in some unique ways to me. I could feel something stirring, amongst the 3D-printed tchotchke and ‘Duino blinky-things. The maker movement keeps growing, expanding into new corners of society, and in many ways, this year felt like a true rite of passage, a Débutante ball or Bar Mitzvah for makers. Here are some of my notes and takeaways from the weekend, with emphasis on those areas of expansion:

* From makers of things to makers of tools and hardware for making things – Those who’ve been involved in making for awhile now are starting to focus their attention on passing on what they’ve learned, creating new tools and hardware that bring making to more people; they’re interested in “going pro.” Tuesday and Wednesday’s truly inspiring Hardware Innovation Workshop featured dozens of makers who’ve become maker pros and are doing well at it.
* Pros are understanding the R&D value of the maker movement and maker tools – One of the goals of the Hardware Innovation Workshop was to introduce mainstream tech companies to the innovations of makers and to show them how they too can use the tech being developed for more rapid R&D. The maker movement can, on a whole, be seen as one big and playful rogue R&D department. A stellar example of this is the development of game company Toys for Bob’s Skylanders title, which was very much inspired by maker tech (and used prototyping parts purchased from Adafruit!). Skylanders is now one of the best-selling video games in the world. (See some of my takeaway notes from the Hardware Innovation Workshop.)
* The distance between imagination and physical expression is getting shorter and ever-cheaper – Repeatedly, makers showing me their wares were excited to tell me how quickly they’d gone from having an idea to having a physical rendering of it. There really is a magical cocktail out there now of knowledge communities and resources that can teach you what you need to know, and then affordable, powerful, and accessible tools to render your ideas into atoms. Every year, the resistance between imagination and physical object gets lower.
* The four C’s of being a maker: Curiosity, Control, Confidence, Connoisseurship MAKE Editor-in-Chief Mark Frauenfelder shared a list of four hallmarks of making during one of his talks that I really liked. They are:

Curiosity — How do things work? How are they made? How can I learn the skills I need to make them?
Control — I want to have more control over my environment, the tech in my life. I want to be able to solve problems myself instead of always buying solutions.
Confidence — As I learn to make things, I develop a sense of self-efficacy. With every mistake, and every successful build, I become a better maker.
Connoisseurship — Making things myself has opened my eyes to the manufactured world around me. I appreciate things other people have made, and I am more observant of the designed and built world.

* The audience is starting to look like all of us – Several of us commented on the diversity of the audience this year. More and more, Maker Faire is starting to look like America — with people of all ages, all walks of life, all colors and cultures.
* Arduino and 3D printing won – The market penetration of Arduino is amazing. And 3D printers are not far behind. It seems as though every table at the Faire, if it displayed a tech project, involved an Ardunio microcontroller, and frequently, 3D printed components. (See our 3D printer census from the Faire and Shawn Wallace’s 3D Printer Trading Cards series.) It’s exciting to think of what the next big thing in maker tech might be.
* Kid makers are coming into their own – Increasing numbers of kids have discovered making in a major way and kid maker “stars” are breaking out. Super Awesome Sylvia, Joey Hudy, Schuyler St. Leger, Caine of Caine’s Arcade, the teens from Team Viper, and many others were out in force at this year’s Faire. And talking to these kids, you realize that they’re as smart and engaged as any adult maker. It’s staggering to think where they, and all of the maker kids they represent, will be in ten or twenty years.
* Moving beyond “Hello World” making – One of my obsessions these days is about us moving beyond “I can do it” making (aka the “Hello World,” blinky-light, 3D-printed whistle phase of making) to making for the day-to-day world. If the maker movement is more than a hobby, more than a curiosity, more than just about having fun (and there’s nothing wrong with any of that), many of us are already armed with the tools we need to more deeply impact the quality of our lives, to make things that make a difference. I talked to a lot of makers about this and everyone agrees. I asked a fairly large number of people: How many Arduinos or other microcontroller projects have you done that you now use in your day-to-day life? The answer was sadly few. This is something I’d like to see change and something I want us to help change, in the magazine and here on the site.
* The world of education has discovered MAKE and making – Every year we see increasing numbers of school groups, educational initiatives, after-school clubs, and other educational groups getting more heavily involved in the Faire. During the week of the Faire, the Maker Educational Initiative was announced. This is a non-profit we’re involved in, with Cognizant and Intel, designed to support educational programs that get kids making. Even the White House chimed in with a congrats.
* More media leaking out of the Faire and into the world – There were more media crews on the ground and video feeds beaming out of the Faire than ever before. This was the first year we streamed the entire event live, through a windowed “fishbowl” studio we built in the MAKE booth in Expo Hall, and via a roving team with a wireless streaming camera. In the past, we’ve had something of an attitude that you need to be here to be here, but this year, it felt right to pop the lid off of the event and let it pour out into cyberspace. We consider this test a great success and will be doing more live event streaming in the future. We also teamed up with Google+ and did a Hangout from the Make: Live fishbowl on 3D printing that was a lot of fun and showed us some of the possibilities for this sort of remote engagement for future events.

Photos by Eric Weinhoffer

This year I had a palpable sense that we’re standing on the threshold of a much larger maker-embracing world. We’re breaking out with the potential to significantly impact formal (and informal) education, tech development, the business of technology, and the overall quality of people’s lives. As computer pioneer Alan Kay once said (and Tim O’Reilly quoted during his Innovation Workshop talk): “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” We now have powerful tools to do just that. One of the many challenges is going to be doing this without losing the heart, soul, and child-like wonder that sparked all of this in the first place. I love a challenge, how about you?

If you were at the Faire (and/or the Hardware Innovation Workshop), I’d love to hear your thoughts and top-level takeaways. Please leave in the comments below.

One Week Left to Submit Proposals for the Open Hardware Summit! #openhardware @ohsummit


Only one week left to submit your proposals for talks, posters, and demos at the 2012 Open Hardware Summit!

The Open Hardware Summit (OHS) invites submissions for the third annual summit, to be held on September 27, 2012 at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in New York City. The Open Hardware Summit is a venue to present, discuss, and learn about open hardware of all kinds. The summit examines open hardware and its relation to other issues, such as software, design, business, law, and education. We are seeking submissions for talks, posters, and demos from individuals and groups working with open hardware and related areas. Submissions are due by May 31, 2012 BY 11:59pm (EST). Notification of accepted proposals will happen by July 8th, 2012.

Submission topics
Topics of interest for the summit include, but are not limited to:

  • Digital fabrication
  • DIY bio
  • Soft circuits
  • Wearables and fashion tech
  • Quantified-self hardware
  • Means of supporting collaboration and community interaction
  • On demand and low volume manufacturing
  • Distributed development and its relationship to physical goods
  • Software design tools (CAD / CAM)
  • DIY technology
  • Ways to share information about hardware that’s not captured in source files
  • Business models
  • Competition and collaboration
  • Sustainability of open hardware products (e.g. how to unmake things)
  • Industrial design
  • Open hardware in the enterprise
  • Specific product domains: e.g. science, agriculture, communications, medicine
  • Legal and intellectual property implications of open-source hardware
  • Open hardware in education
  • Addressing the gender imbalance in the open hardware community
  • And any other topic you think relates to openness and hardware. We want to hear all about it!

John who is helping out the summit wrote -

This year there are three types of proposals you can submit. You can propose a talk, a poster, or a project demo. The talk concept is self-explanatory. The demo sessions are just what they sound like: show off your open-hardware project! In case you need examples, here are two from last year by RobotGrrl and Chris Novello.

New for this year is the poster presentation concept — I think this has a lot of potential for sharing great ideas that might otherwise be missed. Posters fill the gap between project demos and talks. They’re less formal than plenary talks, but more conceptual (as opposed to hands-on) than demos. They give you a chance to exhibit a project or organization that you can’t physically present or which is beyond initial hardware design but not far enough along to be an auditorium presentation. If this sounds like you, consider submitting a poster presentation!

Manga Helps You Learn Surface-Mount Soldering

As electronic components get smaller, look to see more and more hobbyist kits utilizing surface mount technology (SMT) components, which attach to the surface of the PCB rather than having their leads running through holes on the board. The tininess of the components and the perceived difficulty in placing them accurately turn off many people. Hopefully, this 18-page instructional comic by Greg Peek and Dave Roberts will change their minds!

So, if reading the comic gets you amped to try it out, pick up a SMT kit and give it a try! If you can’t find anything you like, Wayne and Layne are offering two SMT variants of existing products: the Blinky Grid matrix and their Blinky POV persistence-of-vision toy are both available in SMT now.

Readers, if you know of any other cool SMT kits, leave a link in comments!

Apple iPhone Charger Teardown

iPhone charger disassembled

Great article by Ken Shirriff on the circuit and build of the iPhone charger. Like most people, I think I have taken this little device for granted for the years that I’ve owned an iPhone.

Disassembling Apples diminutive inch-cube iPhone charger reveals a technologically advanced flyback switching power supply that goes beyond the typical charger. It simply takes AC input anything between 100 and 240 volts and produce 5 watts of smooth 5 volt power, but the circuit to do this is surprisingly complex and innovative.

Ken Shirriff’s blog: Apple iPhone charger teardown: quality in a tiny expensive package

Hammered Coin Ring

Shane Walton posted up a tutorial on Make: Projects outlining how to make hammered coin rings. It’s neat how you can still see some of the official coin relief design on the inside, while the outside is smooth and shiny.

Bio Computer Germinates Plants

With every passing project I feel like my basement is being converted from a living only area, to a work and project area. Computers being built, gadgets being taken apart, Lego projects all around. I’m not complaining by any means, but I do feel as my basement becomes populated with more and more tech based projects that the environment is missing something organic, something natural to balance things out.

… at some point I started wanting to use the heat from a computer as a way to warm the soil and help with germination/growth. I’m about as far from a botanist as it comes, I did some reading online and became pretty interested in the effects of soil temperature on germination/growth. I read different studies and papers from various universities. It was not too long into that process that I became hooked on the idea of using computer heat as a way to control the soil temperature of some sort of living plant life.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

$49 Android PC from Via

For the price of a cheap date you could pick up Via’s new APC all-in-one computer. It’s about the size of a smartphone and about as powerful. It comes with Android 2.3 pre-installed, so it could make a decent media streamer or Android development platform. It comes without a case, but conforms to the mini-ITX and MicroATX formats. They’re taking pre-orders and expect to ship in July. [via]

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