Steve Hoefer

Steve Hoefer

Steve Hoefer is a creative swashbuckler, freelance writer and inventor. He regularly contributes projects to the pages of MAKE and his inventions have appeared internationally on TV, radio, and print. He lives on his family farm in Iowa.

Latest from Steve Hoefer


This project will make sure you brush long enough and have fun while you're at it. Read more »

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Most people own at least a handful of locks. But what happens inside of them to keep our things secure? In this episode of Make: Inventions we look at the pin tumbler lock, the most popular and enduring lock design of the last 150 years. Along the way I show... Read more »


Sometimes the sun is my friend, warming the house on cool days. Other times it’s my enemy, warming the house on hot days. Blinds are one solution to this problem, but it seems that no matter how I set my blinds before I leave for the day, the weather changes... Read more »


Hide an amplifier and speaker in plain sight with a project that gives a new meaning to bookshelf speakers. Read more »

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In this episode of Make: Inventions I build an elevator and reenact the death-defying stunt that Elisha Otis performed at the 1854 World's Fair. Otis had invented a safety break for elevators, but couldn't find any buyers. Everyone knew that elevators were only for cargo and were too dangerous for... Read more »

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Sometimes even famous inventors come up with ideas that don't turn out like they expected. Samuel Morse's first telegraph patented in 1840 was much more complex than the simple key that became common. The original device didn't require the sender to know a special code, they simply built messages from... Read more »

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The humble can opener might seem like an obvious invention today, but it took 50 years from the tin can's invention to the very first can opener. Before then a hungry person had to use whatever tools were available, from bayonets to rocks. Over the last 150 years there have... Read more »