Latest from Donald E. Simanek


Historical legend tells us that seamstress Betsy Ross was visited in 1776 by George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross, who asked her to make an American flag conforming to a resolution of the Continental Congress. Washington’s design had 13 alternating stripes of white and red, and 13 six-pointed stars... Read more »


Simple tricks of illusion make the impossible a reality. Read more »


MAKE readers hope that the things they make will work as intended. That doesn't always happen. Meet the fool's tackle. Read more »

RIDING HIGH: Threshing machine, 1940s. Note the drum pulley on the tractor; It's the smaller cylinder between the front and rear wheels.

Real-world problems in physics sometimes take quite a while to figure out, unlike the contrived problems in textbooks that must be solved by next week. Read more »

Chinese 'south-pointing' chariot, c 2700-1100 BC.

Many ingenious mechanisms are devised with no “practical” purpose in mind. Read more »


The five-pointed “golden star” is widely used around the world in flags, heraldry, coats of arms, and other decorations. Read more »