Like many great Make: ideas, the centerpiece of the latest issue, an homage to Mondo 2000’s iconic “R. U. a Cyberpunk?” poster (located in the forthcoming Make: Vol 62, page 24), all started in the Video Lab. Make:’s Senior Video Producer Tyler Winegarner and I like to sit around and bounce ideas off of each other, and sometime around last Christmas, we had begun making jokes about EDC (Every Day Carry) circuit boards and what kinds of things makers had in their bags at all times (safety glasses, specific gauge wire, paracord, etc.). Running across the poster again sparked an idea: what would a modern cyberpunk look like, and what would they have in their bag? With a powerful net-connected computer in almost everyone’s pocket these days, what differentiates today’s cyberpunk from the masses? And where was the cool scene art that would inspire today’s kids to become the makers and hackers the way I was inspired?

A man stands dressed in a black leather jacket looking over his mirrorshade sunglasses holds a fist full of cash while surrounded by 1990s computer gear on the floor.

As Tyler and I started pitching the idea back and forth we formulated the basis of a piece: an updated spread of the latest gear and gadget must-haves that any self-respecting/deprecating cyberpunk wouldn’t be caught without.

A woman stands in front of strobe photography lights while another woman with her back to the camera takes a photo.

With the relaunch of Mondo 2000, I had been revisiting a lot of the art that impacted a much younger me. I don’t even know where I first came across the “R.U. a Cyberpunk” poster; it’s just a piece of media that has always been present in my pop culture awareness. It did however, have an immediate and permanent effect on my worldview: the idea of on-the-go computing mixed with the ability to really get inside your electronics fundamentally changed the way that I interacted with the world. Even though this piece was intended as a gentle self-parody at the time, the ideas it inspired were real. From becoming an early adopter of the Sidekick (former Danger Hiptop) with which I finally embraced permanent connectivity, to my love of breakout boards, micro cameras, and electronics, I credit that piece with encouraging and instigating an early love of technology, making, and breaking.

A woman in a black jumpsuit stands with the sun behind her wearing a split computer keyboard in a harness.

>Initilizing the run…

Make: contributor (and former Mondo writer) Gareth Branwyn connected us with the mysterious Mondo 2000 editors, who gave us their blessing to pursue the piece and helped track down Chris Hudak, the digital nomad tech journalist who had crafted the original writeup. Skype convos and late night texts ensued as he worked on the story from an undisclosed overseas location in true cyberpunk style.

Putting together the list of items was easier than expected. Today’s cyberpunk carries on the same ethos as in the past, so tools that facilitate intrusion both digital and analog, with an emphasis on style. I knew I wanted a well-rounded set of hardware penetration tools, like the JTAGulator, the Bus Pirate, and the DSO Nano along with signal tools like the Hack RFOne and a cell jammer. Erring on the side of prankster versus malicious, we chose to include the Malduino, a Macchina, and several Make: builds like the Rasperry Pirate Radio. The most important items for me to get were the Pi-Top and the Dieselpunk Cellphone. You might use off-the-shelf gear for mundane communications, but good opsec demands full access to all parts of your hardware. On the style side things like LED work gloves, 3D printed TSA keys, and an amazing ErgoDox split keyboard with a custom harness were includes so that we had the look of the cyberpunk, as well as the feel.

The location had to be the perfect mix of grimy and cool, and American Steel Studios in Oakland, California seemed the logical choice with its long history of Bay Area artistic contributions. Diversity has been a huge focus for Make: and I wanted this modern update to show a new representation of cyberpunk as well as reflect the diversity found in the maker scene. Having someone comfortable with the aesthetic who also is technology familiar and a part of the maker community was extremely important. Melissa Lamoreaux was my immediate pick for the subject, she teaches coding and Arduino robotics to middle schoolers, and is constantly creating beautiful inspiring projects for family and friends. She has previously modeled Anouk Wipprecht’s 3D printed dresses, and is also someone who still lives the daily cyberpunk lifestyle.

View of various electronics arrayed on a blue and green blanket in preparation for photography.

Cyberpunks and spies share a common motivation, unauthorized secret access to information, so as our piece came together it started to influence the style of the section. Once it grew in scope, we got the go ahead to shoot it for the cover as well. This shoot has been the culmination of an aesthetic photography dream that I have been pushing around in my brain for my entire career. As we go forward into the cyberpunk real world from our childhood dreams, I hope you enjoy this update to maker spycraft and the high-tech lowlife.

The cover of issue #62 of Make: Magazine. A woman wearing computer boards and red sunglasses looks into the camera.

Special thanks to the production team: Jun Shéna, Brian Ford, Amy Martin, and Pedram Navíd.

What’s in the Issue

COLUMNS

Reader Input  05
Notes from readers like you.

Made on Earth  06
Backyard builds from around the globe.

FEATURES

Mechanical Masterminds  12
The awe-inspiring Les Machines de l’Ile are planning incredible surprises.

Rural Radio  18
Open source toolkit RootIO is helping communities create their own micro radio stations.

Tech Trends  20
Keep an eye on these emerging developments.

DIY SPY

Spies Like Us  23
The hackers, phreaks, and cyberpunks from the dawn of the internet can give us a glimpse into the future.

R.U. Still a Cyberpunk?  24
Here’s our modern update on the classic Mondo 2000 poster.

Jeepers Creepers  26
Hidden cameras abound! Be aware of what might be peeping on you.

Hide and Seek  28
Make these clever devices and get your covert career underway.

Invisible Touch  30
Build a magic frame that turns any surface into a giant touch interface.

Urban Ore  34
Fill your parts bin with valuable scraps, freely available to those in the know.

Light Security  36
Perfect your evasion skills with this laser-armed maze.

PROJECTS

Craft a Creeper  38
Build a motorized “mob” robot and attached controller.

Go, Dog. Go!  44
3D print a custom wheelchair for a pet in need.

Toy Inventor’s Notebook:
Vari-Tone Mini Cajon
  47
Make this bass box drum with a wah-wah effect.

Corgi Keyboard  48
How I designed and sewed my first musical plushie.

Dragonfly Helicopter  52
Scratch-build a wind-up flyer that darts into the sky.

Curing Cuteness  56
Embed and embellish electronics in molded resin to craft adorable accessories.

’Sup Brows  58
Ping your bud with the lift of your eyebrows.

Novel Nails  60
Modernize your manicure with twinkling LEDs.

A Good Sign  62
Create inexpensive, suspended LED signage for your makerspace.

Power Ranger  64
Get notified by SMS when the electricity goes out.

Remaking History:
Gimme Shelter
  66
Build a model Mayan-style structure to learn how lime was used to construct buildings in ancient times.

1+2+3: Simple Succulents  69
Brighten your home with these easy to make, zero-maintenance paper plants.

SKILL BUILDER

Brace Yourself  70
Learn about melding electronics and leather with this light-up project.

Meddling with Metal  74
Customize your work with a variety of finishing techniques.

Fab Fillets  76
Get up to speed on designing the most common joints for CNC construction.

TOOLBOX

Toolbox  78
Gear up with reviews of the latest tools and kits for makers.

SHOW & TELL

Show & Tell  80
Dazzling projects from inventive makers like you.