Energy & Sustainability
MAKE Fire Truck – Help Us Mod It, Hack It and Name It!

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MAKE now has a 1981 Mercedes Benz 508D Diesel Doka fire truck! It has 47,274 kilometers, a heavy duty military/commercial grade 6-cylinder diesel with a 5-speed manual transmission. It has two bucket seats up front, 7 seats in the back seating area, tons of storage racks and bins, and the roof is covered in diamond plate and accessible by ladder. It can go up 55 miles per hour and can carry 9 passengers.

You’ll see it at Maker Faire, but we need your help! We need to mod it (of course) and we also need to name it. If we use your suggestion(s) or mod(s), we’ll send you some cool stuff from the Maker Store!

MAKE Fire Truck (photos) Link.

Note: The truck is at MAKE HQ; we’d never actually park it like that.

How to help:

  • Post your suggestions for naming and mods in the comments and/or in the MAKE forums – Link.
  • Post your sketches, drawings, 3D models, clay models, whatever in the MAKE Flickr photo pool – Link.

54 thoughts on “MAKE Fire Truck – Help Us Mod It, Hack It and Name It!

  1. The image of this thing parked in the handicapped spot, I must admit, made me snicker quite loudly. It’s got none of the appeal of your traditional American fire trucks. However, it appears to be a truly fearsome platform for *something* and it’ll be cool, as long as it’s turned into *anything* other that what it is now.

  2. A few ideas off the top of my head:

    – APRS tracking so we can follow you around on google maps

    – A cellular broadband to wifi relay to rescue stranded makers with free wifi

    – A generator or two to power your exhibits.

    – A high power laser to turn your water canon into a photon canon (check local FAA regulations first!).

    – And of course it needs to be converted to biodiesel or veggie oil!

    What a fun project!

  3. Awesomely, I just “met” that exact (model) truck about a week ago!!! The fella who owned it had an (italian made?) pop up camper top on it. He also had a portable blacksmithing shop in back with a (propane?) forge, anvil etc… He had just driven it from Seattle to Massachusetts, It was way loud and wicked sweet!

  4. As mentioned before it needs biodiesel, and turbos, and probably LED tails. Also, have a new paintjob thanks to Graffiti Research Labs (like that awesome school bus last year). I’m thinking matte black with Make:Fire on the side. That would be awesome.

  5. A killer DIY audio system (everything from speakers to amps, natch) is a necessity in my book.

    Maybe a few soldering stations and a reprap so people can make custom mp3 players with cases from scratch.

    I wish I could be working on that firetruck right now.

  6. Imagine rolling that side door up to reveal a massive plasma display or LCD. Now you have a rolling audio/visual presentation platform, minimum setup required. Take Maker Faire to the streets, it’s like the bookmobile!

  7. Some things you should do:

    Turn it into a greaser (run on veggie oil)
    Add a turbocharger (I can’t drive 55!)
    Add a generator, projector, and screen for portable presentations
    Add a trailer hitch for bringing back more projects
    Add a transmitter, router, and other toys to make it an emergency-useful portable communications system.
    Repaint it Make:Moble
    Rework the plumbing into a wicked potato launcher or ladder into a rocket/mobile pland (drone) launcher

  8. how about

    MAKE: R.E.V.

    or if you go greaser

    MAKE: R.E.V.V.E.R.
    Vehicle with
    Vegetable oil

    as for mods… I like the wifi idea and the gps logger idea. I also like the plasma tv and sound system idea. No water cannon visible, so i guess a wifi sniper rifle is out…
    -put a lifting arm/claw on it, like they have on lumber trucks.
    -make it USB powered… lol
    -make it amphibious/all terrain.
    -put a 3d printer in it.
    -put a hot tub in it.
    -paint it with diy e-ink or thermally reactive paint with heat sources underneath, or something similar.

  9. do what the hardcore towers do:
    DIY propane injection kit for cheap HP with or without a vegtable oil conversion.

    • A G.R.L. L.A.S.E.R. Tag setup is a must have.
    • A couple small pneumatic cannons on top (think t-shirt/LED Throwie launchers!)
    • Mologogo Tracking, using the new 1.3 client that includes Twitter messaging.
    • WiFi connectivity, maybe even with a PTZ network controlled camera.
    • One roll-up side just screams for a small set of shop tools in some kind of fold-away arrangement, including a jigsaw, circular saw, small drill press, and a soldering station with racks for sorting parts and bins for used PCBs for recycling, and MAYBE a really small laser etching rig.
    • The other roll-up side screams for a more CRAFT: oriented makeover, with fold away sewing machine, shelves for thread/ribbon/yarn and all the requisite accessories and a nice big work table.

    The “Greasel” engine mod sounds good too.

  10. I understand why you have to do it, but the spam filter killing anything with more than 2 links in the text gets irritating sometimes.

    Anyhow, do a google search with the extra keyword “” for most of the terms used above and you can find related links on the makezine blog. What better place to go for ideas for the biggest MAKE: project yet?

  11. You lucky buggers, I’d love one of those trucks. They’re practically bombproof which I guess will suit most of the Make: staff… I dont suppose you’re hiring are you?

  12. Here’s an article about the small german town your truck is coming from:
    “Freiwillige Feuerwehr” means Voluntary Fire Brigade. The article says that the fire brigade has 8 trucks (7 now…) and 74 active members.
    Congratulations to your new Feuerwehrauto!

  13. I come from a german town called grossefehn, 5 miles from Wiesmoor. I was very surprised to see this car in here.

    Have a lot of fun with this eastfrisian firetruck!

    Hendrik Kahmann,

  14. I’d say add an AuraGen6500 for portable power. That would probably require a fair bit of hacking, and would make for a good article.

    Some people have suggested that the truck be something along the lines of a rolling display of various projects. I envision it more as a rolling workshop, with some high-tech tools for enabling MAKEing in random places. I’d look to add things like a 12″ Sticka vinyl cutter, a Roland EGX300 (or similar), a soldering station (including hot-air rework), some smaller tools (dremel, small chopsaw, etc).

    Additionally a set of instruments (scope, laser rangefinder, weather sensors) would allow for various experiments to be carried out in remote locations.

  15. The rolling workshop is the way to go. Make that back end a portable fab lab. And grease-burning is the way to go. But it’s not a Mercedes truck, it’s a UNIMOG. Is there really a cooler name than UNIMOG out there somewhere?

    FWIW – my buddy Dennis bought one for his brewpub ( with plans to do the grease-burning conversion and make it a rolling catering truck with yakitori grill and multiple keg taps. UNIMOGS rule.

  16. 1) Graft some spoke POV’s on to the wheels.
    2) DIY Audio system (mentioned above), but have the source be the Daisy Mp3 player, natch.
    3) Biodiesel lab in the back so you can brew as you go.
    4) A little touchscreen kiosk that has all of the Make podcasts on it.
    5) A remote controlled spud gun on the roof, controlled by a Make Controller.

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