Larry Cotton

Larry Cotton

Larry Cotton is a semi-retired power-tool designer and part-time community college math instructor. He loves music and musical instruments, computers, birds, electronics, furniture design, and his wife — not necessarily in that order.

Latest from Larry Cotton

blue jay on feeder

Birds make lousy subjects for digital photographs. But you can perfect shot, thanks to a long shutter-release cable and a gadget that typically controls model vehicles: an R/C radio. Read more »

Photography by Larry Cotton.

Lots of folks think that quaffing a cup of coffee from boutique beans comes close to nirvana, but roasting your own beans will bring you even closer. That’s why I call this roaster the Nirvana Machine. I didn’t drink coffee for most of my life, and I even survived without... Read more »

fig 03

Three cordless screwdrivers and a microcontroller = perfect small batch coffee roasting. Read more »


First-time Bondo'er? Start with these tips for mixing, preparing surfaces, and finishing. Read more »


Body filler is a thick, two-part polyester resin, commonly called Bondo. Cursory Googling reveals a universe of mostly automotive applications, primarily for repairing body damage, but we’ll leave that to the experts and show you a few creative uses for this versatile stuff. Read more »


A “few” years back, as a final-semester project at the NC State University School of Industrial Design, I made a kit of plywood parts from which could be assembled several useful pieces of children’s furniture. I called it “FUNiture.” Thanks to help from my good friend, prolific author and skilled... Read more »

This sturdy table assembles in seconds without tools, and stores flat in a closet or under a bed. You can make it over a weekend from a ½”×4’×4′ sheet of finish-grade plywood. The table shown is intended for children ages 5–7. For bigger kids or adults, change the box panel... Read more »