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MAKE Asks: is a weekly column where we ask you, our readers, for responses to maker-related questions. We hope the column sparks interesting conversation and is a way for us to get to know more about each other.

This week’s question: There are many electronics kits available from both the Maker Shed and beyond. What is a gadget you wish existed in kit form so you can put it together yourself at home?

I would be delighted to assemble a robot similar to the Yellow Drum Machine, but with a twist. I would want it to roam around autonomously, store the noises it makes, then organize them into note names once it docks with my computer so I can make melodies with it.

Post your responses in the comments section.

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


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Comments

  1. cottewmitch says:

    a shop tool kit, like one of those jewlers lathes in a kit with instructions. or stuff like that.

    Oh! a crucible kit, like one of those little fire brick forges in a kit!

    more or less, kits that focus on heritage making.

    hm… or what about a really basic carpentry kit? some basic tools, like hammer and nails, and just a book. that would be nice for kids.

  2. Corey C says:

    I’d love to see a kit based on the Souse Vide Immersion Cooker project from Issue 25. People seem to have a lot of trouble finding all the right parts and often have to cobble together other solutions.

    The ultimate would be a Venturi-effect powered chamber vacuum sealer to go with it. Modernist cuisine heaven on a budget.

    1. Corsairr says:

      That is indeed an brilliant idea!
      And why not making a second kit for the vacuum sealer instead of getting it ready to go? After all … we are makers!

  3. davad says:

    How about upgrade kit for those of us that purchased the previous Arduino kit. A special kit that adds some of the goodies for Arduino projects.

  4. chuck says:

    I’m working on a ‘Noise Zoo’ kit that comes with components, mini bread boards and an instruction book to make some basic oscillators and noise circuits. The kit is designed for electronics beginners or crafters and artists who want to add sound to their projects. I’m still waiting on some components, but I’m planning to debut the kit at the Tampa Bay Mini Maker’s Faire in March.
    My goal was to make the kind of kit I wish I could have had a while ago when I was starting out playing with musical circuits- all the parts and schematics to get started right now without having to deal with Rat Shack or wait for parts in the mail. Right now I’m planning on having 40 kits ready for the faire and etsy, but if there’s interest I’ll make more.

    1. grnt says:

      that was the first thing that i thought of! some kind of “synth kit / noisemaker kit” that would start with the APC & a sine wave generator & an arduino controlling a digi-pot – maybe a little crossover into basic circuit bending. if that’s not enough, bring a little midi control into it.

      i’d buy one.

      1. chuck says:

        I’m going old school with 555s and 40106 Schmitt inverters. I wanted all of the circuits to fit on the small 170 hole bread boards so I’m using board mount trim pots and switches and tiny speakers sold as replacements for the Nintendo DS. I’m also including photoresistors and a few simple blinking LED circuits to do light controlled projects. The idea is to have as low of a price tag as possible. I’d like to do a 4017 sequencer kit to go along with this one. We’ll see how it goes.

  5. Ernest Abell says:

    I would like to see a software defined radio kit, that would start out with basics and build into a full fledged transmit/receive all mode power house. Useful for controlling quad copters, controlling house automation, HAM radio, scanner listeners, something for all interests.

  6. chuck says:

    I’ve been thinking about this post and I don’t want to ruffle any feathers but considering recent legal precedents in Colorado and Washington and undeniable medical benefits maybe it’s not so outrageous- How about a kit for an herbal vaporizer? These things are retailing for $200-600. We as makers could do better! I guarantee the first one to come up with a decent kit will do well.

  7. Bryan says:

    I’d like to see a Ubuntu desktop computer that I could put together with my daughter as a learning project.

  8. Alan S. Blue says:

    Bells & Whistles Alarm Clock Radio kit. (Battery backup, radio/wireless auto sync, etc.)
    Multimeter kit. (+ testing/calibration options).
    Oscilloscope kit.

    5-axis arm kit.

  9. Mbk says:

    I would love to see LAB kits, mostly to put together equipment, both difficult and easier pieces (bell jar, hand vacuum pump, etc.).

  10. Ron says:

    18 watt guitar amp kits like http://gdsamps.com/kits/

  11. Pinewood derby timer kits. They typically sell for hundreds of dollars and there is just no reason for that. With either a Pic or Arduino would be a great scout project and incredibly practical for every one of the thousands of Cub Scout packs (and other clubs) that race. Cheap and easy, and in a kit form you don’t get killed in individual shipping costs.

  12. Ken says:

    I’d like to build a multi-stage air lift pump for an old well. The well is 35 feet deep and the water level can drop to twenty-five feet below grade by the end of the summer. Maybe one stage to lift to 15 feet, another to 23 feet and a final stage to boost the water out of the hole?

    1. Ken says:

      Also where can I get a shock proof low pressure sodium lamp to use as a bicycle head-light and what circuitry would I need to run it off of a 12 volt battery? yes, I know the color rendition is horrible but there is still nothing I know of that can touch its’ efficiency.

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