Forget duct tape and baling wire — now makers can design and manufacture things as beautiful as Apple and as slick as Dyson and Audi. We’ll show you how to conceive and visualize great-looking projects with our speed course in industrial design — then build them with tools like vacuum forming and laser cutting, and finish them with cases and interfaces that are artful, ergonomic, and irresistible.
Plus you’ll get 23 great DIY projects like the Nellie Bly Smoker, the Awesome Button, the World Control Panel, LED Little Big Lamp, Laminar-Flow Water Fountain, and Keyless Lock Box, and meet amazing makers like costumer Shawn Thorsson, flying motorcycle builder Deszo Molnar, and more.
The Titan of Toy Invention
By Bob Knetzger
While researching my MAKE article I found some interesting back and forth between the toy designs of Marvin Glass group and other toy makers.
For instance here’s the classic Mr. Machine toy from Ideal, a toy invented by a former watchmaker named Leo Kripak, designed for Marvin Glass Associates in 1960.
But check out this youtube of an earlier toy from Japan, a windup tin toy MEGOMAN. Same mouth opening and closing, bell in his chest, arm-and leg “walking” action, same spinning and heading off into a new direction feature:
It’s a big iteration from that small tin toy to a large injection molded version that the kid can actually take apart and put back together (and with an added whistling feature) but still, an obvious “homage.”
And maybe a Japanese toy maker returned the favor. Here’s another glass item, Robot Commando from 1961:
There was a number of Japanese knock offs, renamed “Thunder Boy” and cost reduced by removing various features, but retaining the basic look and missile and ball shooting features. There was even a tiny version called “Baby Thunder Boy” sold in kit form.
As we say in the toy inventing biz, “imitation is the sincerest form of theft.”
Industrial Design for Makers
By Bob Knetzger
Industrial design is the science and art of creating commercial products, experiences, and environments. Let’s take a sample MAKE project (Balloon Imaging “Satellite” from Volume 24) and see how the creative process used by an industrial designer might improve it.
The Nellie Bly Smoker
How to Smoke Fish
1. Prepare fish.
Oily fish, such as salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and mackerel, work best. If you’re cold-smoking you must freeze the fish for several days to kill parasites before thawing and smoking. Fresh, never-frozen fish can be used if you’re hot-smoking.
2. Prepare brine.
For 5lbs–10lbs of fish:
- 1½c coarse salt
- 1½c sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2tsp peppercorns, cracked
- 1gal water
Mix the ingredients in a large pot and heat until boiling. Cool the mixture in your refrigerator to 35°F–40°F.
3. Brine the fish.
Soak the salmon in 35°F–40°F brine for 6–12 hours. Thoroughly rinse the salty brine from the fish. Pat dry with paper towels.
4. Air-cure the fish.
Place the brined fish on an uncovered rack in the refrigerator, overnight.
5a. Cold-smoke the fish.
Place a couple of wood chunks on the pan in your smoker and adjust the hotplate until moderately dense smoke is generated. You’ll have to add wood at intervals, so careful attention to the process is required.
For cold smoking, the temperature must stay below 90°F, as indicated by the smoke chamber thermometers. Adjust the temperature inside the smoker by increasing or decreasing the length of the smoke duct, adjusting the firebox louver for a slower burn, and by selecting cool or cold days to smoke.
Smoke the fish in continuous, moderately dense smoke for 16 to 32 hours. Congratulations, your cold-smoked fish is ready!
5b. Hot-smoke the fish.
Hot smoking is much quicker than cold smoking. To hot-smoke, follow the directions in Step 5a but increase the heat so a thick, dense smoke is maintained in the smoke chamber at a temperature of about 200°F. Again, adjust the temperature inside the smoke chamber by changing the length of the smoke duct, adjusting the firebox louver, or choosing a warm or cool day to smoke.
Hot-smoke the fish for 2–4 hours, depending on thickness, or until fully cooked. Enjoy!
Computer Printer Salvage
Inventory and Storage
So now that we’ve begun the process of pre-owned parts procurement, let’s give some thought to keeping track of what we’ve found. I’ve tried many strategies over the years, and I’ve discovered that one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to store most electronic components for future use is in common mailing envelopes. For example, you’ve amassed a quantity of resistors of various values. Sort them by ohm rating (and perhaps by wattage and tolerance), and place them in envelopes marked with the relevant values. When you need a 100-ohm, 2-watt, 5% resistor to complete the circuit you’re playing with, you know right where to find it. This strategy works great for any components that are not potentially damaged by static discharge in handling. Complementary metal-oxide semiconductors (CMOS) and field-effect transistors (FET), as well as many integrated circuits, can be damaged by even the slightest static electric discharge. Such parts should be handled while taking anti-static precautions and need to be stored in static-free bags or containers.
Larger parts require larger containers. Pill bottles, as well as juice and coffee cans, are great found storage containers for the bigger items in your junk box. Again, clear marking with a felt tip pen or label maker makes quick location of any desired part a snap.
Sometimes it’s useful to have a container to gather all the parts you might want for a specific project. Let’s say I want to keep all the mechanical parts I found in the castoff printer for a specific robotics project. Head to your local discount or sporting goods store and find the aisle devoted to fishing. You’ll find dozens of small, partitioned containers designed to hold fishing lures and hooks. These are perfect for project parts management.
Fair warning: there is an addictive quality to parts gathering. Once, my personal junk box was simply a box. Now, it’s more like a junk room. But I know that I have all I need to make just about anything that comes to mind, and most of it was found and free. That’s the maker way!
Keyless Lock Box
Download the project code.
Laminar Flow Water Fountain
Assembly Templates and Diagrams
Download the fountain templates and diagrams.
- PVC pipe, 10″ long, 3″ diameter, 1/4″ wall—for reducing pump turbulence (Lowe’s 294917)
- Plastic drinking straws, 1/4″ (1 box)
- PVC pipe, 2″ long, 4″ ID×.080″ wall—2 spacers (same material used for nozzle & nozzle holder)
- Scrub pad disks (14)—cut from cheap pads from a dollar store
- Orbit coupling, 3/4″ (2)—water in and out (outside test cap) (Lowe’s 12931)
- Lasco schedule 40 adapter, 3/4″ (2)—water in and out (inside test cap) (Lowe’s 23856)
- Genova Insert Combination Elbow, 3/4″ (2)—(Lowe’s 22203)
- #17 O-rings (4)—Lowe’s 198974
- Test caps (2)—Lowe’s 23407
- Adhesive foam sheet, 9″×12″—from Michaels
- Stainless steel screws, #4-3/8″ (12)—6 each end to attach caps (Lowe’s 136099)
World Control Panel
Download the Drilling Template.
World Control Panel in action
Fast Toy Wood Car
By Ed Lewis
Download the body templates.
Little Big Lamp
Download the wiring schematics and template.
Toy Inventor’s Notebook
By Bob Knetzger
Hack in a Hat