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Here is a recap of the 25 projects that I built for the MAKE blog in 2008. It’s been a great year at MAKE, and I look forward to doing a lot more builds in 2009. If you have any build suggestions for the upcoming year, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!1 fe_smoke2.jpg
A fume extractor uses an activated carbon filter and fan to remove the smoke, and noxious fumes, created from soldering. The average price of a small hobby version is about $100, this one will run you about $10. This fume extractor will not be as effective as a larger one, but it is better than nothing, and extremely portable. Remember, always work in a well-ventilated area.
How to: Candy tin fume extractor

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This week I am actually going to be making something that does not require electricity. Although, you may be able to fool people into thinking it does. We are going to be making Heron’s fountain out of common household materials. This is a really easy build and would be a perfect project for to build with your kids. Maybe you could even sneak in a lesson on fluid dynamics or perpetual motion?
Build: Heron’s fountain

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Everyone likes toys that fly. Unfortunately, most R/C planes are hard to control for people without any experience. Why not make an easy to fly blimp? It’s really quick to make, and many people have at least one of the R/C helicopters used in the build. Even if you had to buy (2) helicopters your cost would be less than $60. Best of all, it is completely non-destructive and can be reversed in a few seconds. So if you have kids, are a kid, or just act like a kid, give this a try. You will love it.
Make Projects: DIY Blimp

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The MintyBoost has been a very popular project here at MAKE, most likely because it is a perfect kit for anyone interested in learning to solder or electronics. It also happens to be very useful for anyone who owns an iPod or any type of MP3 player that is charged via USB. This is my little how-to, with a few extra twists.
Making the RuntyBoost

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Jim sent me one of his Solar Theremin kits for this weeks build. My initial impressions of the kit are really good. It is very well documented and everything you need is included, except for the mint tin or case. In particular, I like the full color build instructions and schematics. I highly recommend building this kit.
Build: Solar Theremin

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This is a really easy project for anyone to tackle. All it takes is about an hour of your time and some patience. You can pick up your own DIY clock kit from the Maker Shed. It is available with red or blue LED’s.
Build: No solder LED clock kit from the Maker SHED


James Watt, the creator of the Solar Theremin, has another great kit that I am going to making for this weeks build. This time it’s a kinetic horse made of paper. The final horse is able to gallop, thanks to a small hidden motor insi
Build: Kinetic Horse Sculpture

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In this build I am going to be making the XPort shield that is available from LadyAda’s web site. The shield will allow you to connect your Arduino to the Internet and check your email, interact with Twitter, send SMS messages, and a whole lot more.
Arduino XPort shield build

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Controlling audio with a micro-controller can be difficult, really difficult. The Wave Shield, from LadyAda, makes it simple. There is a bunch of sample code on the LadyAda website to get you up and running fast once you build the kit.
Build: The Wave Shield for Arduino

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This week I am going to be building a Boarduino, which is an Arduino clone that can easily plug into a solderless breadboard. It comes in 2 versions, the DC version and the USB version. I am going to be making the DC version. It is slightly less expensive and I already have the proper USB to TTL cable available for programming. More information can be found on the Ladyada website, including detailed build instructions.
Build: Make a Boarduino


It’s Tuesday again! This week I made a Danger Shield for my Arduino. If you went to Maker Faire in Austin you might have tried it out it in the Maker SHED. I brought mine and everyone loved it. It’s a great addition to your Arduino arsenal.
How-to Tuesday: Danger ShieldThis week I made a USB7 6 Digit LED Display Kit from the Maker Shed. It’s a really cool electronics kit that can be controlled from your computer via USB. I decided to modify it a little so it’s easier to read while it sits on my desk. Nothing too fancy, but I think you’ll like it.
How-to Tuesday: USB7 build

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The Proto Shield from LadyAda makes creating project for the Arduino a breeze. The Arduino Diecimila comes a lot of female headers for connecting simple sensors, but that’s about it. If you really want to expand your capabilities, the Proto Shield is the answer.
Build: Arduino Proto Shield


The Animated Ghost kit is a great way to learn more about electronics and soldering. It’s really easy to put together and the end result is a great addition to your Halloween decorations.
How-to Tuesday: Animated Ghost Kit


It’s Tuesday again! This week I am making a scary pumpkin. Nothing gory or disgusting, just something that will scare the kiddies and hopefully score me some candy. How? Well, I am glad you asked. I rummaged through my parts bins and came up with an idea. What if I connected a horn to an Arduino and let out a nice blast when someone came around trick-or-treating. Hopefully they are so scared they drop their bag-o-candy and run away, leaving me with plenty of treats.
How-to Tuesday: Scariest Pumpkin Ever

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This time we are going to be making a Zoetrope from a bunch of junk.
Build: An Electrified Zoetrope from recycled parts


This week I built a Mechamo Crab by Gakken. I have wanted to make one of these kits for a long time, and I finally got my chance. I made a time lapse-video of the entire build, it took about 3 hours to complete, but now it’s just a bit over 5 minutes. I hope you like it!
Build: Mechamo Crab & Halloween Hack


This week we are going to continue with the “moving picture” theme and build a Phenakistoscope. Luckily for all of us, it’s a lot easier to build than it is to pronounce. Even better, you the first thing you need to do is eat a lollypop! Why? Well, read on.
Build: Phenakistoscope

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A while ago I converted a 1934 folding camera into a USB web cam. I brought it with me to Maker Faire Austin 2008 and a lot of people seemed to like it. In fact, a lot of people wanted to know how I made one. I promised them I would do a how-to on the blog, and I always keep my promises, so let’s get started.
How-to Tuesday: 1934 USB web cam

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This is an alternate build of the Brain Machine by Mitch Altman. I really like the Brain Machine, but I wanted to make a version that does not mount the electronics to the glasses. Also, Gareth send me a bunch of the new Make Project Tins and I wanted to full one up with electronics. [Thanks Gareth!]
Build: Hacking the Brain MachineI have 2 really cool projects for this weeks How-to Tuesday. The first one is the Drawdio developed by Adafruit Industries and Jay Silver, the other build is a modification of the Drawdio that I call “Unruly”. These are great projects to make with your kids. Although, when you are done you most likely will not be too willing to share it. It’s just that much fun!
How-to Tuesday: Drawdio meets Unruly [2 for Tuesday]


This week I made a project with parts from the Arduino Starter Kit. I skipped over building the Proto Shield from the kit, since I made a how-to a while back. Otherwise, it’s a simple build that doesn’t require any soldering.
How-to Tuesday: Fun with the Arduino Starter Kit


This week I made the open source Trippy RGB Waves Kit by Mitch Altman. I like this kit because it’s perfect for someone learning to solder, yet it has programming headers so the advanced user can hack it up. The original video was about 18 minutes long. Too long in my opinion, so I sped it up a bit. OK, a lot!
How-to Tuesday: Trippy RGB Waves kit v1.0


This week I made the tinyCylon kit from the Maker Shed. It’s a fun little project that has a lot of cool light patterns programmed onto the chip. You can purchase a tinyCylon kit in the Maker Shed.
How-to Tuesday: tinyCylon kit


This week I am going to show you how to hack a MAKE gift subscription card. Actually, it’s showing you how to interface a 7-segment display with an Arduino. I just happened to make it into a gift card subscription.
How-to Tuesday: Hacking a MAKE gift subscription card

Also, I took a few MAKE related trips to places like AS220, American Maker Chicago, Maker Faire Austin 2008, ITP Shows Spring & Winter, FIRST Robotic Competition, The Last HOPE, Gizmodo Gallery, and the Engadget reader meetup to name a few.

It was a great year at MAKE, and I can’t wait to see what 2009 will bring.

Marc de Vinck

I’m currently working full time as the Dexter F. Baker Professor of Practice in Creativity in the Masters of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship Program at Lehigh University. I’m also an avid product designer, kit maker, author, father, tinkerer, and member of the MAKE Technical Advisory board.


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