MAKE Newsletter for June 13, 2007
Happy Father's Day from MAKE: Stories, a Gift Guide, and Specials
In this special Father's Day newsletter, we asked a couple of our MAKE authors how their Dads influenced their making. William Gurstelle and Joe Grand share their stories. Also in this newsletter: Our "DIY for Dad: Happy Father's Day from MAKE, a Gift Guide for Dad." Happy Father's Day from MAKE!
Senior Editor, MAKE Magazine
My earliest recollections of making things with my dad is from the early 1960s. Dad decided to make his own telescope, including grinding the mirror. I was perhaps 6 years old. Grinding a telescope mirror requires nothing more than two glass mirror blanks, a bunch of abrasive powder, and time -- lots and lots of time.
Basically, Dad would place abrasive carborundum powder between the mirror blanks and slide them on top of one another. Over time, one blank becomes convex and the other concave. Slowly, Dad's mirror took shape. For the final grind, he'd use a super-fine abrasive called rouge to grind the mirror to an accuracy of 1/4 the wavelength of light. (To say that a mirror is accurate to 1/4 wave means that a beam of light does not vary by more than 1/4 the wavelength of light as a result of being reflected by the surface of the mirror. That's a pretty small amount!)
We took that mirror and mounted it in a tube and then built a homemade mount. When we looked through it for the first time, I still remember the thrill of seeing the details of the moon's surface. We could see craters and mountains on the moon, the satellites of Jupiter, and the rings of Saturn. Thirty years later, when my own sons looked through it and saw the moon, they felt what I felt, and what my dad felt.
Bill Gurstelle is an author (and former engineer) living in Minneapolis, Minn. His first book, Backyard Ballistics, is about "making interesting things that go whoosh, boom, or splat," and his fourth book, tentatively entitled Adventures in the Technology Underground, will be published in February. He appeared on the television show Win Ben Stein's Money, and with Ben Stein's money built a full-size wooden catapult. He is currently laying seige to the people next door, and says, "If all goes well, soon the whole neighborhood will be mine."
This isn't exactly a Father's Day "Maker" story, but an extremely important part of my history brought to you by my dad. As you know, back in the 90s, I was a member of L0pht Heavy Industries (or just The L0pht), the famed hacker collective in Boston. At the time, the seven of us each had to contribute money to help pay for the artist's loft space we were renting in the South End (later on, we became self-sufficient by selling T-shirts, CDs of our various hacker file collections, and electronic kits, like the popular POCSAG Pager Decoder). My only problem was that I was in high school and then college, and was too busy hacking, building electronics, playing around with technology, and training/competing in track & field to get a job (really, I wasn't just lazy). My dad has always fully supported my somewhat eccentric hacker lifestyle and involvement in underground hacker communities. The L0pht was no exception. Besides partaking in our annual parties, my dad paid the required vig to help support the L0pht, and I am forever grateful for that. The L0pht changed my life in more ways than one and I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without my dad's support.
Joe describes himself as "anal, goofy, high-strung, and obsessed with work." He grew up in Boston and has been involved in electronics since he was 7 years old. "Hardware hacking is, to me, a perfect example of 'anti-establishment.' Make a product do something it was never intended to do, add a personal touch, and make it your own. Not just buying a product and using it as is (which is what The Man wants you to do!)." Besides working on secret projects involving video games, toys, and consumer electronics for his company, Grand Idea Studio, Inc., Joe lives in San Diego where he runs, swims, cycles, and plays the drums.
Show your fearless Maker pride with our bestselling MAKE shirt: "MAKE: Void your warranty, violate a user agreement, fry a circuit, blow a fuse, poke an eye out..." Now available in 4 new colors and more sizes! And now through Father's Day, get 20% off this must-have and everything else in the Maker Store using promo code FATHER. We've got kits, books, hats, sweatshirts, everything your dad could want.
From the MAKE Blog
Father's Day is Sunday, June 17, 2007. Started by Sonora Dodd to honor her father who raised five children alone after the Civil War, President Coolidge supported the idea, Lyndon signed a proclamation, and in 1972 it was official. Father's Day is over a week away, but we're putting out suggestions and ideas early so you have time to make something (and save $ on shipping). The MAKE team has put together some fun gifts to make, buy, and give this Father's Day. That said, simply telling Dad some of the things he's done in your life to get you where you're at now is perhaps the greatest gift of all. Over the years, many of my friends seemed reluctant early on to become Fathers, but now, I cannot imagine them without children, and neither could they; their kids are the center of their lives and it's wonderful. I think the hesitation comes from all of us never quite finishing being children ourselves. We were all children once, even Dad. Dad might be a little grey, but he's still young at heart, curious, and playful. Happy making and Happy Father's Day from MAKE! - Phil Torrone, Senior Editor
Picture Frame: Lots of people give Dad a frame with a photo, but this is 2007, c'mon! And you're a maker so hack up a digital photo frame and swap out pictures every once in a while for Dad! Here are a dozen or so different ways to make a photo frame, most of them super cheap.
- The $11 LCD photo frame - Link.
- LED Popsicle stick picture frame - Link.
- Cheap 'n easy digital picture frame under $100 - Link.
- Homebrew picture frame - Link.
- Digital photo frame - Link.
- Digital picture frame - Link.
- The DIY digital photo frame - Link.
- $20 Juice Box photo frame - Link.
- Juice Box picture frame - Link.
- DIY CD jewel case photo frames - Link.
- Monochrome digital picture frame - Link.
- Make a digital picture frame out of an old laptop - Link.
DIY for Dad: Get Dad a MAKE gift subscription! A gift subscription to MAKE starts with the latest issues AND Dad gets the Digital Edition for free! A gift of MAKE is one that gives all year long. The latest issue of MAKE (Volume 10) has our editor-in-chief, Mark Frauenfelder, and his daughter Sarina on the cover doing a fun project together--how timely! - Link (Use code CMAKE and get an additional $5 off, just for Dad!). Oh! And when you order a gift subscription, we'll send a notification to your recipient. But we want to give you the option of notifying them in style. Here's a special PDF just for Dad that you can print out and give this weekend. - Link
Ties: For eons, Dad will get ties, but don't give Dad a boring tie--go handmade. Designed and made by Bethany Shorb, each of these ties is "handmade of the finest and most unusual materials in our top-floor studio in downtown Detroit. Formed in 2005, the Cyberoptix TieLab has fashioned a line of neckwear appropriate for both outed and closet rockstars." See tons and tons of photos - Link & get one @ Cyberoptix - Link.
DIY Tie Rack: Get one of those cheap wire tie racks and mod it up a notch, MAKE-style for Dad. - Link.
Cuff Links: If Dad wears a tie, he might need some cuff links too. Here's a nice set (made with microchips) that you can buy or build - Link. Here are some more to think about, to buy or (re)make....
Level cufflinks - Link.
Watch gear cufflinks - Link.
Ethernet cufflinks - Link.
Wallets: Make Dad a wallet! Ah yes, the venerable gift for Dad each year ... the wallet. There are dozens and dozens of wallets you can make for Dad, and here are some of our picks.
- Make a wallet out of tape - Link.
- Make a paint chip wallet - Link.
- Make a knobby, all-terrain rubber wallet - Link.
- Make an inner-tube wallet - Link.
- Make a duct tape wallet - Link.
- Make a Tyvek FedEx wallet with change pocket - Link.
- Make am EMI-shielding wallet - Link.
Smokey Meat: Dad likes meat, charred, burning, smokey meat--well, most Dads seem to--so why not cook up a DIY smoker for him? Heck, you can build it together and make a feast!
Tool Belt for Grilling: while we're on the subject of high temperature food prep with fire, Dad will totally flip (meat) with the Grillslinger. It's like a tool belt, but for BBQing - Link.
Mmmmm, Beer: Dad likes Beer, it goes with the territory. The "Mr. Beer" DIY Brewing Kit - (starting at $39). Give him the gift that keeps on fermenting - Link.
MAKE Pocket Reference: We kept asking ourselves, "If there was just one tool that no Maker (Dad) should be without, what would it be?" This may just be the tool we'd pick. This great little book is a concise all-purpose reference featuring hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants & conversions, and it still fits in your shirt pocket! Packed with mathematical formula, tables, standard conversion ratios, scientific facts, technical specifications, electric wire size vs. load, resistor color codes, Morse code, sun & planet data, earthquake scales, nail sizes, geometry formulas, currency exchange rates, carpentry, automotive, physical science, water friction losses, charts for battery charging, lumber sizes & grades, floor joint span limits, insulation R values, periodic table, and as they say, much, much more! It's no wonder The Pocket Ref was featured in MythBusters - Link.
Matching Shirts: Good for younglings, this is still one of my favorites, a shirt idea for Father's day from the Craftster forums: matching "Who's your Daddy" and "I'm your Daddy" shirts. Here's are some how-tos and articles on making shirts to get you started, all super cheap.
- How to silkscreen shirts - Link.
- Make T-shirt stencils from freezer paper - Link.
- How to silkscreen posters and shirts - Link.
- Cheap screen printing - Link.
MAKE: Warranty Voider: Leatherman "Squirt" P4 (plier version) or E4 (electronics version). Small enough to fit on Dad's keychain, the MAKE Warranty Voider is the perfect companion for mobile fixing, hacking, and MacGyvering. This is a limited offering with custom "MAKE: Warranty Voider" lovingly etched with care using a 35W laser - Link.
MAKE Dad a Hammock: an instant hammock! In MAKE, Volume 09, page 41 (Heirloom Technology) we showed you how to make an instant hammock--here's how! - Link.
MAKE Gift Cards: Give Dad a gift card he will REALLY like ... you enter the amount and delivery method after you add to cart. Unlike gift cards from the big box retailers, ours never expire! - Link & gift PDF (just add the gift card part). And that's it for now! Previous DIY for Dad @ MAKE:
- Father's Day Duct Tape Festival - Link.
- Happy Father's Day from MAKE - Link.
- MAKE's Last Minute DIY Gift Guide for Dad - Link.