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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: What is one project on your list or in your mind that you’d like to tackle at some point in your lifetime? It doesn’t have to be innovative, or even useful, just a pet project that would give you satisfaction for having finished it.

My family has a tradition of boat-building that has gone back at least three generations. Actually, due to my namesake we’ve often speculated that we’re descended from Columbus, but that’s never been verified. I would love to build a wooden boat at some point. I want to make the steam box and bend the wood myself — the whole thing from start to finish.

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. Bart Patrzalek says:

    One of the biggest projects on my bucket list is to build my own super car from start to finish except for the main components like the engine and trans. Probably won’t happen until I’m really old and actually have time for it but I always think about it in the back of my head. Another project that I really want to do is to build an LED cube from the ground up.

  2. randomjnerd says:

    One of the things on my list, a kinetic sculpture racer. For those that haven’t heard of them before, the are human powered amphibious vehicles, in a decorative shell.

    Racer is a concept held rather tounge in cheek by the event organizers. For example, while there is a trophy for the first across the finish line, it’s a tiny thing. The big trophy is for the machine that finished closest to the middle of the pack…

  3. How big of an LED cube are you talking about? They’re not so difficult to make, but get, umm, cubically more tedious and time-consuming as you scale up.

  4. asciimation says:

    I am designing and want to build a house that looks like an old British railway signal box. Simple, two stories but with a Victorian iron spiral staircase inside descending down one extra flight underground with storage cupboards and wine racks around the outside of the stairs. That’s reasonably achievable. The slightly less realistic part is building it near a hill I can tunnel out to create a large workshop/garage area, the entrance to which would be built to resemble a stone railway tunnel portal.

    Simon

  5. jb says:

    I got to help out last year with a Geodesic AiroLITE build at my local Makerspace. I learned a lot, but I still have a way to go learning the foundational basics. I found myself remembering and relearning knot-tying abilities that I hadn’t used in many years, learning key terminology about boats and a little about boat history, learning about different types of wood, learning about heat-bond adhesives, getting more experience with general labor, and learning firsthand about working on a collaborative DIY project with others. This was a great project led by brilliant and patient team leaders and I would recommend larger collaborative projects like this to anyone. I’d really like to see Make drill down even deeper into boat building, it’s an exciting craft.

    One personal project I would like to get going or help create is an open source text translator that can take text and automatically create a printable STL file for a plastic placard in braille, either using Thingiverse’s Customizer or something similar, as long as the braille STL sign generator is open source and always open source.

  6. Frank says:

    Nothing much; I want to build myself a house. An earth ship probably, but something like a strawbale construction might be an acceptable alternative. Of course like most bucket list things, this will likely never happen without some major lucky breaks… but you never know! Just need a few things… like some land, either around the south of Sweden where I live, or perhaps southern europe for a nicer climate, say Spain or such… And the social skills to scrounge the materials. Money enough for any materials I can’t scrounge up. Social skills to gather the help needed to get the thing built in time.

    Oh, and someone to live in it with me, or it’ll be pretty lonely in the long run.

    Just a few things.

  7. Alex says:

    - MAME cabinet
    - Holiday house
    - Kit car (Cheltenham 7?)
    - Delta arm 3D printer

  8. Walter says:

    I want to Build an Autonomous Lawn Mower. Nothing too special just a gas push mower on a custom frame driven by electric scooter components. I’ve seen people do RC before but I’d like to give mine some boundry points and then let it go like a roomba. I know it’s dangerous but I’d build in a kill switch and make sure it is not faster than a running person. I’ll probably actually to the RC part of it soon and then add in the Autonomous brains after that. I’d also like to be able to fit a plow to it and have it plow my driveway.

  9. klschuff says:

    My bucket-list make project would be my own personal pin-ball machine, from the ground up. Complete w/ software, lighting, design, graphics, etc, all personalized for my own amusement.

  10. chuck says:

    The Radioisotopophone! A musical instrument consisting of individual Geiger counters with their probes in sealed containers containing various radioactive samples. Each probe is connected via a momentary push button arranged like keys. By carefully selecting your samples you can ‘tune’ the rate of the clicks to create a tunable static effect. Post apocalyptic rave!

  11. Alex says:

    * finish my CNC machine
    * add 3D printing capability
    * and my ultimate dream – build (and fly) a Cri-Cri (probably never happen, as plans are not available in NA).

    1. AviatorX says:

      You can build a Cri-Cri in the US from drawings that are readily available.

      1. Keith says:

        I second the Cri Cri, what an awesome aerobatic design! I saw a version powered by small (Model?) jet engines.

  12. AviatorX says:

    Finish my Van’s RV-7 build. Build a biplane.

  13. Build a wooden sailboat or kayak from scratch.

    1. chuck says:

      Go for it! I built a 14′ sharpie-ish hull with a leeboard and plastic tarp sail a few years ago. I fretted over it for months and when I finally got it in the water I couldn’t stop giggling like a school girl. Sailing a boat I made from scratch was the coolest thing I’ve ever done! Now I’m in the design stages of a 16′ mini houseboat using plastic barrels for buoyancy, recycled corroplast signs laminated for light weight wall panels and other recycled materials. Do it- you won’t regret it.

  14. Sean says:

    Complete telescope from top to bottom. Grind my own mirror (started on that at one point and put aside), build the robotic finding/tracking mount all from scratch and write the code to drive it.

    1. My father was an amateur astronomer and had the fortune to meet John Dobson during a mirror-grinding workshop. I recall Dobson made a video explaining how to make a telescoping from scratch, using zero off-the-shelf parts. I think getting the mirror silvered was the only thing he didn’t do himself (he used a thick porthole salvaged from an old sailboat.)

  15. t1285 says:

    Tended many flowers my home, family home to water the flowers fairly convenient, but during the Golden Week, the whole family to go out and spend on the home, no one a week watering, travel back, Huadu listless to his familyadd a lot of trouble. To this end, I want to invent a device continuous watering the flowers.

    Structure: this automatic watering structures such as the figure on the right by a small tank, bent crude hose, the Infusion hose and pulley device (available abandoned Diaoping infusion hoses made​​). Infusion hose and faucet connection (tap water may be appropriately adjusted to smaller), the flow velocity is controlled by the pulley device, the other end of the hose is connected to a smaller tank (also by plastic bottles restructuring), reservoir the tank upper end leaving a wear orifice of the infusion hose, and the remaining portion is sealed, the bottom of the tank has a larger hole, and the remaining portion is also sealed from pierced into a coarser hose in the tank is bent.

  16. fuffkin says:

    I’ve always been a fan of robotics, so in my lifetime, I’m hoping that there will be some significant new advances in Artificial Intelligence to the point where I can build my very own robot helper. Rather than something like C3PO, I’ve always been a big fan of the repair droids Huey and Louie on Silent Running. I think we will have robots with that intelligence within 30 years, so I reckon I might just make it….

  17. Ever since I was a junior in college, studying naval architecture, I’ve wanted to build a 1/35th scale model of an IOWA-class battleship. At 1/35th scale, it would be over 25 feet long, 3 feet wide, and a bit over six feet tall from the bottom of the keel to the top of the mast. There’d be more than enough room for me to sit inside and operate it.

    If I remember the math, it would displace about 1.1 ton of seawater, and require about 2 applied horsepower at the propeller to move at a scale speed of 33 knots.

    The best part: at 1/35th scale, the secondary battery of 5-inch guns would have a bore of 0,19″ which is close enough to .22 caliber that nobody would notice the difference. Better still: the main batter of 16-inch guns would have a bore of 0.41 inches, so I could use three.410-gauge shotgun blanks to put on a show when I want to fire a broadside.

    Then I can cruise the river in the little version of the USS MISSOURI.

    I will call her “Mini Mo.”

    It’s just a matter of time…

  18. design and build every piece of furniture in my house. create any type of large scale kinetic sculpture.

  19. James McLain says:

    I would love to build a practical, solar powered, or mostly solar powered, self driving car. It would have Mars age (the age that begins when human walk on Mars) batteries and panels, able to collect enough energy in one sunny day to drive for 3 or 4 average days of driving, and it will have a simple plug, in case you would like to drive to Alaska during winter. Also, it would have sensors, computers and drive by wire system capable of driving itself.

  20. Barry Morgan says:

    My number one thing is to self build either a Ultima Can-AM or a SuperLite SLC… That and respectable space shuttle so my kids can build a decent space cruiser…

  21. Steve Williams says:

    I would love to create a portable, tube amplifier-based, stereo disc cutter. This would be a machine to cut on lacquer discs either one-off records or the masters needed to press vinyl copies. Something of a revival of the last generation machines from the 50s form companies like Rek-O-Kut and Presto, but in stereo. I would like to use this machine to do location direct-to-disc analog recording of small ensembles with minimalist micing techniques, in nice acoustic spaces.

  22. jason says:

    I’ve seen homemade underwater ROVs and wish that I went to school for marine biology or engineering. I’d love to build an ROV with a robot arm and HD camera and experiment platform. I’d love to put it’s controls on the internet and have anyone from anywhere in the world control and experiment with it. I know this is all old news but hey, it’s a dream. Isn’t that how any of this starts?