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wp2012 Best of 2012: Weekend Projects

Over at Weekend Projects are 20 beginner-friendly electronics projects, ranging from audio circuits, solar-powered projects, basic breadboard experiments, to advanced homemade etched PCBs. Throw in last year’s projects and there are actually 35 projects to choose from. Some you could assemble in as few as 30 minutes, others will take a whole weekend (or more) to build.

If there’s a true “best of” project from the series this year, the award would have to be chopped in half and shared between two projects. The Optical Tremolo Box has been extremely successful, with its accompanying video recently surpassing 1.9 million views! This is the type of project audiophiles love working on, and makers are free to experiment with the visual patterns and art on their spinning discs, which in turn effects the audio. The other standout project would have to be A Touchless 3D Tracking Interface, because it is easy to make and great for those getting started with Arduino. Any tinkerer likely already has all the components needed to build this project in their shop. Solder up a few connections, plug in the Arduino, upload your first sketch and within a couple hours you’ll have a completely touchless interface a la Minority Report operating on your computer!

weekendprojects playlist Best of 2012: Weekend Projects

One of the great additions to the series this year was undoubtedly our Weekend Projects videos, all conveniently located in one playlist on YouTube. Each video acted as a visual primer for the project, and also allowed us to demonstrate various tips and tricks when required. We also engaged a wider audience on YouTube who otherwise weren’t following the series here on MAKE. In doing so we got some great feedback, and hopefully inspired a few people into becoming makers along the way! A couple notable comments included:

That was a great video! You said what to do, you said why to do it, and you showed how to do it. Wonderful job. I look forward to more of the same.

You just gave me inspiration to create something awesome I had in mind for a long time!

Optical Tremolo GIF

As already mentioned, one of the hits of this year was the Optical Tremolo Box, above. When the project was announced, one reader wrote in saying,

Three words- O…M…G! I know what I’m doing tomorrow.

chucks optical tremolo Best of 2012: Weekend Projects

And he wasn’t kidding. Chuck not only modded his version of the project inside an electrical dry box, but he also got his project blogged here for all to see!

at world maker faire nyc

Also congratulations to the winner of a Mintronics: Menta kit that we gave away for solving an Easter egg hidden inside one of our newsletters, a cypher requiring morse code translation! And thanks to everyone who stopped by the Weekend Projects booth inside Maker Shed during World Maker Faire in September. We gave out over 1,000 instructional postcards and are certain we excited some people to become makers, like this kid above interacting with the Touchless 3D Interface and realizing that air itself is hackable!

Lastly, one of the best comments of the year came from JDG who said:

You guys could start a new world if one ends.

It’s safe to say if the world did end, any survivor would require more than an infrared bass guitar or a breadboarded pocket repeat game. Still, aspects of the battery-less Bottle Radio, the Talking Booby Trap, or Mini Rover Redux do seem applicable. And the PIR Sensor Arduino Alarm is readymade for the (imminent) zombiepocalypse!

So whether you were recently preparing for the end-of-the-world that didn’t happen, or you just want to have fun tinkering, we hope you enjoyed 2012’s Weekend Projects as much as we have!

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Nick Normal

I’m an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!


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