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Move over R2D2! BB-8, the adorable new Star Wars droid, stole the show when it rolled on stage at this year’s Star Wars Celebration. In Make: Vol. 46 we show you how three Makers approached building their very own working BB-8 bots, and how you can build one, too!

Then, look at ways to trick out your favorite vehicle in this issue’s special section. From detailing electric car and bicycle builds to customizing your connected car dashboard to clever bicycle hacks for riders on the go, there’s nothing as DIY as hot-rodding your wheels.

Plus, get these full how-tos: Build a million-color flashlight using NeoPixel LEDs, 3D-print a sweet R/C race car, craft a surprisingly realistic rose out of duct tape, and much more.


Take a sneak peek at projects and articles from the issue!

 

Build a PVC Water Balloon Cannon

Build a PVC Water Balloon Cannon

Let's add a new weapon to your water fight arsenal and build a pneumatic water balloon cannon. This is an easy project to put together. For about $20 and 20 minutes of time you can return fire across the street, down the street, or even to the next block if you want.

8 Easy Bike Hacks to Build Right Now

8 Easy Bike Hacks to Build Right Now

From a simple spoke amplifier to monitors that gather useful data, there's sure to be a bike hack out there that will elevate your ride.

Power Your Project: How to Choose the Right Battery

Power Your Project: How to Choose the Right Battery

There are many types of battery chemistries, and each one has its own different characteristics. So which one to choose? We’ll cover the basic features for each battery type in order to help you decide which one is right for you.

How Henry Bessemer Helped Forge the Age of Steel

How Henry Bessemer Helped Forge the Age of Steel

While looking for a way to strengthen cannon barrels, Bessemer discovered better ways of making steel.

This High-Performance Electric Vehicle Kit Can Be Built in a Week

This High-Performance Electric Vehicle Kit Can Be Built in a Week

What started as an idea to produce our own simple, fun, affordable electric vehicle has evolved into a DIY project easily assembled by nearly anyone. The Switch defines a new class of auto — a lightweight, high-capacity, versatile electric vehicle (EV) that requires minimal resources to construct, assemble, and drive.

Build a Burly Wooden Scooter That Can Haul Hundreds of Pounds

Build a Burly Wooden Scooter That Can Haul Hundreds of Pounds

Build the Congolese workhorse that can haul hundreds of pounds of cargo.

How to Build a No-Screws, Snap-Together, 3D Printed R/C Car

How to Build a No-Screws, Snap-Together, 3D Printed R/C Car

3D print and snap together this little race car with a brushless motor, Flutter wireless microcontrollers, and a few bucks of filament.

Sourcing Parts to Create the Cutest Racing Go-Kart Ever

Sourcing Parts to Create the Cutest Racing Go-Kart Ever

Designing and building the Chibi-Mikuvan go-kart for the Power Racing Series was no easy feat.

Review: Printrbot Metal Plus

Review: Printrbot Metal Plus

Following the metal-framed makeover of its smaller simple sibling, the Printrbot Metal Plus transitions from a laser-cut wood frame to a new, beautiful powder-coated metal housing. The sturdy frame offers a number of upgrades over the previous generation, getting great results in our tests. It holds a z-axis that’s been […]

Carbon Origins: From Hobbyist Rockets to a Space Tech Business

Carbon Origins: From Hobbyist Rockets to a Space Tech Business

The founders of Carbon Origins moved to the desert to launch rockets. It was harder than they expected.

Maker's Dashboard

Maker’s Dashboard

Don’t let the limited features of your car’s dashboard get you down. Here are nine projects that will help you customize your cockpit.

Over the Top: A Brief History of 21st Century BattleMechs

Over the Top: A Brief History of 21st Century BattleMechs

When historians of the future look back on the history of giant mechanized robot warriors, they'll say it all started with BattleBots.

Maker Pro Q&A: Stuck on Sugru

Maker Pro Q&A: Stuck on Sugru

Sugru is a “moldable glue” that has found a place in many Maker toolboxes. Inventor Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh talks about finding her product’s niche.

How Middle Schoolers Reinvented the First Text Message System

How Middle Schoolers Reinvented the First Text Message System

Looking at historical inventions is a way for students to interact with technology and understand it.

40,000 Balloons Compose This 5-Story Indoor Seascape

40,000 Balloons Compose This 5-Story Indoor Seascape

The Amazing Air-Filled Under-Sea Adventure used more than 40,000 balloons to fill the building’s five-story atrium.

MacGyver a Semi-Auto Coffee Roaster from 3 Cordless Screwdrivers

MacGyver a Semi-Auto Coffee Roaster from 3 Cordless Screwdrivers

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

Will a Vague Copyright Law Keep You from Hacking Your Car?

Will a Vague Copyright Law Keep You from Hacking Your Car?

Will a vague copyright law affect the scope of what hobbyists and modders can do with their vehicles?

What's Inside: Anatomy of a Monowheel

What’s Inside: Anatomy of a Monowheel

Monowheels, by their very nature, are fairly simple machines; after all they only have one wheel! They work by driving a seated base around the inside of a circular track to push it forward — you might think of them as a perpetual roller coaster.

Learn to Solder the Adorable Pixel Pal Chip

Learn to Solder the Adorable Pixel Pal Chip

Soldering is fun and with a little practice it is a skill that anyone can master. Lets start with assembling Chip and his Pixel Power base and then we can plug him into an Arduino and program his eyes.

Howtoons: Build a Pinewood Derby Track at Home

Howtoons: Build a Pinewood Derby Track at Home

There are not many kids (or adults) who don't know what the Pinewood Derby is, but if it wasn't a part of your childhood, here is your chance to build your own pinewood derby track and car right at home.

  • Posted by | June 24th, 2015 2:38 PM
Track Night-Launched Projectiles with LEDs

Track Night-Launched Projectiles with LEDs

Have fun and do science by flying toy rockets with an LED tracking light.

Build a Delay Timer that Doesn't Suck (Energy)

Build a Delay Timer that Doesn’t Suck (Energy)

Build a clever timer circuit that draws no current at all between cycles — zero power!

Heat-Treat Steel for a Rubber Band Shooter

Heat-Treat Steel for a Rubber Band Shooter

Learn how to heat-treat and toughen the metal that built our world: carbon steel.

Intricate Paper Sculptures Make Microbes Beautiful

Intricate Paper Sculptures Make Microbes Beautiful

Rogan Brown makes four-dimensional paper sculptures of microbes. He calls himself a scientific surrealist, and the fourth dimension is time.

5 Techniques to Spray Paint Like a Pro

5 Techniques to Spray Paint Like a Pro

Using spray paint may seem like a straightforward process, but if you’re not familiar with it, the results can be disappointing. Here are some tips and tricks to ensure that your paint job comes out as beautiful as you’d expect.

Skill Builder: Know Your Rivets

Skill Builder: Know Your Rivets

Rivets are one of the oldest, most reliable methods of permanently fastening two materials together. Like many simple inventions, time has brought new and more complex features to rivet technology, which has resulted in a variety of different types of rivets. Here we’ll cover two of the most common rivets used in the home workshop.

Learn the Basics of Spread Spectrum R/C

Learn the Basics of Spread Spectrum R/C

Entering the world of radio-control (R/C) hobbies can be a little daunting. To make it a bit easier to get started, we’ll cover the basics of 2.4GHz spread spectrum radio control, and the different pieces of a typical R/C system.

How to Choose, Cut, and Bend Sheet Metal

How to Choose, Cut, and Bend Sheet Metal

Sheet metal comes in many varieties and sizes. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get that shiny sheet into your desired shape.

Toy Inventor's Notebook: Footstep Sand Stampers

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Footstep Sand Stampers

Here’s a fun and easy project for summer: Hack a pair of flip-flops so they make designs in the sand as you walk. Just add a bit of Sugru to your sandals and start stamping!

Make a Waterproof Bike Light from Soda Bottle Caps

Make a Waterproof Bike Light from Soda Bottle Caps

This automatic bicycle light from recycled and found parts is about the most eco-friendly DIY bike light in the world.

Million Color HSL Flashlight

Million Color HSL Flashlight

Bring fun back to the flashlight with Arduino and full-color NeoPixel LEDs. Just twiddle the knobs and dial up any hue, saturation, and light level to create millions of colors — and 10 fun flashlight modes to play with.

How I Built My First Electric Bike

How I Built My First Electric Bike

My goal was simple: build an electric bike that everyone can replicate with minimal cost, without electrical know-how, but be powerful and reliable at the same time.

Cycle Chaser

Cycle Chaser

Project animations from the rear of your bicycle using a Raspberry Pi and open-source software. The framerate of the animation depends on the speed you are moving at.

Custom Soda Cooler

Custom Soda Cooler

The heat of summer is upon us. With this DIY build, you can take your whole 12 pack out of the fridge, stick it in your cooler, and go.

Realistic Duct Tape Rose

Realistic Duct Tape Rose

It’s surprising the number of things you can do with duct tape. This project is my attempt at creating a duct tape rose that is as realistic as possible. Here’s a video of the build: And here’s how I did it, step by step.