Back to school giveaway – POCKET REF!!

Back to school giveaway – POCKET REF!!

It’s time for another back to school giveaway – POCKET REF!! “If there was just one tool that no (back to school) Maker 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 ratio, scientific fact, technical specification, 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…

To win one TODAY 8/30/07 – post a sentence or so in the comments, tell us something you’ve *made* or the first thing you remember making, post up by the end of the day (11:59pm PDT) and I’ll pick one, make it good, be honest! If you missed out today, we’ll do this again soon – or just get a Pocket Ref in the Maker store…Link.

238 thoughts on “Back to school giveaway – POCKET REF!!

  1. QWERTZ says:

    I have made a lot of things. Not the material “make zine” stuff but “human” stuff like happiness and saddness and indigestion. I guess the first thing I “made” was happiness for my father and relief then happiness for my mother when I was born. I also just made a nightlight with a 555 timer.

  2. Andreq says:

    Back when I was about ten… I didn’t knew anything about electronic.

    In my clueless mind, I’ve tryed to build a small little LEGO (Yaay !) car running on 120v. The only part where it got bad was that I’ve used a small “dollar store” fan motor (3volt DC !) directly on the 120v AC wall outlet.

    The sparkle/fire/spinning machine was born !

  3. whatup.dub says:

    The first thing I remember making? I remember taking an old handset phone (the type with a cord), breaking it open and adding headphone and mic jacks to it so I could use a headset w/boom mic (that I made w/bread ties) while trading guitar tips with my buddy in the next state. We were too young to drive and I used bread ties because I was limited to what I could find around the house. The wiring for the project was “salvaged” from some old strings of Christmas tree lights!

  4. ahains says:

    I made a water injection system for my turbocharged Eagle Talon TSi. I used a $40 shurflo water pump, adjusted it to ~80-100psi, plumbed to the intake system with polyethylene (IIRC) and brass mini mister nozzles from MCMaster Carr.

    I’m not the first guy to make a system like this, but I did it for cheaper than I have ever seen anyone else do it. The secret was in finding a shurflo pump for a heck of a deal when northern tool had them extra cheap :)

    Afterwards I was able to adjust my boost controller a few psi to increase power output. Woot!

  5. G_C_F says:

    I once made a talk box out of an old amp and a child’s toy. It was the cutest little thing with a tube popping out of its head. Eventually I pushed him too hard and he spoke his last words: “Quote me on this.” I assume he was going to say something after that, but ran out of life. The world may never know.

  6. JPavleck says:

    I made a drawing that was the end all be all solution to road problems, particularly pot holes. It filled pot holes, repaved, repainted, and more all at 55mph – and it had an awesome stripe on it too. Only problem was I drew it when I was 7 with crayons, not so sure how feasible it is now.
    As for stuff I’ve made, well I just finished up a remote ipod display using a big beautiful crystal fontz LCD and I’m almost done making a coffee table out of the playfield of a 1977 Buck Rogers pinball machine!

    I’m trying to build an ultimate go-bag, and the pocket ref would come in handy with my Cold Heat soldering pen, multimeter, and the selection of solder-on-the-go-gear I’ve assembled. Not to mention, it’s my birthday next month, so come on!

  7. StealthToilet1 says:

    The first thing I remember making was a very small model rocket with an “E” engine. I unintentionally glued the nosecone on so it exploded mid-flight.

  8. Jerkyjones says:

    When I was 12 or so I made a little light show type thing with some salvaged LEDs and speakers collected/torn from a variety of toys there were/were not mine. I didn’t know squat about resistors or anything so the LEDs just got hooked up to the speaker wires. Some worked for a while, others not so much.

  9. T3chAtty says:

    When I was about five, I commandeered my father’s hammer for the first time and cobbled together a killer soda can and plywood airplane: the soda can fuselage was surrounded by a (roughly equilateral) triangle of chipped plywood and the wing structure was comprised of a foot-long, razor sharp, 1.5-ply strip of wood. By the time I was done, the can was mangled twelve shades of unrecognizable and there must have been 25 half-bent nails sticking out. The contraption ‘flew’ by swinging it overhead by a piece of twine affixed to the topmost nail. The entire thing was a giant ball of splinters, rusty nails, and pure Maker inspiration.

  10. speedy2171 says:

    One of the first “real” project I made when I was about ten was an attempt to hack my bicycle. I locked out the steering wheel and moved the sprocket to the front wheel. I also was able to steer the bike by swiveling the seat to turn the back wheel. It worked for short amounts of time before falling apart. To this day, that bike is still one of my favorites.

  11. uberhosen says:

    A couple of years ago, I made a big wooden fish for my dad. It was a rainbow trout about two feet long with 3 pegs in it for him to hang his stinky fishing gear on. I’m not sure who appreciated it more – my dad or his wife.

  12. turbotron says:

    When I was still in college, my roommate and I wanted to enter some beer pong (Beirut) tournaments, but we sucked at it. So we built a beer pong training apparatus, so that you could take practice shots and have the ball instantly returned to you (same idea as the golf putting practice green). We used a big lampshade to act as a funnel, the cup in the center (with the bottom removed) to drain the ball into a “series of tubes” fashioned out of cut portions of water bottles, so that a miss would result in the ball bouncing into the funnel and rolling back towards your feet. It worked reasonably well, and we named it “Sputnik.” In the end though, we didn’t care about beer pong as much as we thought we did, and spent more time with video games than practicing. But the legend of Sputnik lives on.

  13. jachim says:

    In grade school (for a science fair at one of the local high schools), my father helped me make an IR transmitter/receiver pair. We plugged a portable radio into the transmitter and a speaker to the receiver. With the circuit board mounted on a 1×4, you could block the signal with your hand and hear the music stop. We knew enough about electronics to get it to work. We basically used a transistor on each end to drive the IR LED and phototransistor. However, we ran the whole thing on 2 9-volt batteries. The poor little components got seriously hot after only a short time.

    I ended up getting an honorable mention. I think one of the judges commented later that I would have done better, but the batteries had run low by the time they got to my exhibit (we were kept out of the gym during judging).

    Every once in a while, I wish I still had the circuit diagrams we drew up to go along with the display. I could see where I could have improved the simplistic design we came up with.

  14. foofighterx says:

    The first thing I remember making was a shell out of styrafoam for a teenage mutant ninja turtle costume with my dad when I was in 1st grade….

    The last great thing I made was a snowman with penis that dispenses beer for a kegtap. His name is Stubby.

  15. mlangston says:

    When I was a little kid, we didn’t have a lot of money, and I didn’t get a lot of toys. What I did have an ample supply of was paper, scissors, and glue. So when I wanted a cassette recorder, I made one out of paper. It had working buttons, the cassette lid opened and latched shut, and I even made a microphone and carrying strap. I used to carry it around with me everywhere, pretending to record and listen to things.

    The same was true of other things I wanted. A few of my friends had the nice plastic spaceships from Battlestar Galactica (yes, the frightening first incarnation!). I couldn’t have the toys, so I made both Cylon and Colonial fighters out of paper, and enjoyed hours of imaginary dogfights. They were lovingly put together with attention to detail (well, as much attention to detail as a 10-year-old can muster), and hand-colored with markers. They were mine, and I loved them, and they were better than the store-bought versions. I could modify them however I wanted.

  16. njbarker says:

    When I was about 10, I taped together a pair of model car tires and put them in an Altoids-like mint tin so they popped up when the lid was opened. Googly eyes in a box!

  17. paxswill says:

    When I was in 4th or th grade, I saved up a bunch of money for a Lego Minstorms kit and the extra software to get it on my Mac. The first working thing that I made was a little robot that moved back and forth across a table, stopping at each edge to go the other way.

  18. paxswill says:

    When I was in 4th or th grade, I saved up a bunch of money for a Lego Mindstorms kit and the extra software to get it on my Mac. The first working thing that I made was a little robot that moved back and forth across a table, stopping at each edge to go the other way.

  19. cjtenny says:

    I’d use when working on our DIY Segway (which was featured on MAKE:blog!), since it still needs a bit of work, and for awesome electronics projects with my spiffy blue arduino that arrived earlier today.

  20. Souliere says:

    One of the first things I made that actually worked was back in 7th grade. In our apartment I had very bad radio reception. A long wire out the window worked but the apartment manager complained. So I fastened a metal slinky (the old kind) inside a tin can with a weight on the end. A piece of wire connected the radio antenna to the top of the slinky. A piece of fishing line ran from the weight through the slinky through a hole in the can and into the apartment to a fishing reel. When I wanted better radio reception I just lowered the weight extending the slinky. When done (or if I saw the apartment manager was around) I retracted it.

  21. CSynthare says:

    I was watching GI Joe at age 4, and I was inspired to create my own zipline. I used some string (as strong as I could find) and a coathanger, reinforced with super strong scotch tape.

    I don’t remember much of the rest of that day.

  22. bone$head says:

    We made just last month a small wooden base with a 3v fan integrated into it. We then fashioned a thin metal frame up top such that we could fit our wet zip lock bags over it. Wash the bag, place it over the frame, and turn on the fan. Fifteen minutes later – dry clean reusable zip lock.

  23. PhirePhly says:

    My dad came home from work with an answering machine that didn’t work. He gave it to me to tear apart in blissful learning style. When I opened it up I saw a broken wire, so I got out some scotch tape and taped it back in, and the answering machine started working again!

  24. rglenn says:

    Best recent project was a giant (about 6 inches tall, 8 feet long) countdown clock as an Engineering graduation “prank”. Had 9 digits to countdown days, hours, minutes and seconds to next year’s Iron Ring ceremony (Canadian engineering tradition). Each digit was made of about 32 blue 5mm LEDs, and had a PIC microcontroller and RS485 networking. A central unit controlled the entire network of digits.

    The really amazing thing about this project is, while the design was mostly worked out ahead of time, the bulk of the programming, construction and debugging occurred over one 20-hour period prior to the ring ceremony. I’m talking milling the circuit boards, soldering the 9 digit boards (32 LEDs, 32 0805 resistors, and a bunch of other components), getting the wiring and power supply figured out, and the firmware to run everything. I don’t think I got to leave the lab until about 6am. About a half dozen to a dozen of us were working on it at any given time, most of whom had never done an actual hardware project before.

    Unfortunately, at the end of the 20 hours, it didn’t quite work (there were two small problems – a shorted reset line and the central unit shutting down the transmitter too early), but we were all too tired to see what was actually wrong. Got it fixed as soon as we sobered up from the celebration, though, and now it hangs in the Engineering Lounge at McMaster University, telling the graduating class exactly how much longer until it’s all over.

  25. Aud1073cH says:

    Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!

    Who’s that sneaking into my bedroom?

    One of the first things I made was a simple alarm system for my room.

    My lightswitch was on the same wall, and right next to my door. This lightswitch controlled an outlet in the room. I also had a hat rack just above the lightswitch.
    I would tie a string to the door knob inside, and run the string over top of a peg on my hat rack (now a pulley), and down to a small loop around the [turned off] lightswitch. By making the string just long enough to reach the switch when the door was only open a crack, I could set the system, and close the door behind me.
    I added an audible alarm by taking my little electo-mechanical alarm clock, and activating the alarm, and plugged it into the same outlet.

    When the intruder (usually myself) entered the room, without disabling the alarm, The doorknob would pull the string, which would lift the lever of the lightswitch. The light would go on and the alarm clock would buzz to my parents’ annoyance until The system was disabled.

  26. silvrbak says:

    I made this comment. ;)

  27. AscendedDaniel says:

    One of the coolest things I made was a model rocket that takes video during flight.

    I was working as a camp counselor teaching model rocketry, and the director wanted footage from onboard a model rocket. Commercially available rockets only took 7 fps, which is hardly video. So, I decided to make my own. I got one of the cheap, “one-time-use” CVS camcorder, put it under control of a microcontroller, added some switches to the side of the rocket, and it worked. All the plans and videos are available at

  28. mrbill says:

    My dad was a Maker; I remember him adding a
    headphone/speaker jack to the TV, then putting a
    car stereo speaker in a box so we could “extend”
    the TV speaker across the room to the couch and
    watch Saturday-morning cartoons at a low volume
    without having it up so loud that it would wake
    him up.

    My first “Make” project was probably as a young
    teenager; my grandma’s “Press down to activate”
    orange juicer broke, so I “fixed it” by adding a
    “flip to activate” switch. She of course used it
    a couple of times while I was watching, then
    stealthily threw it away when I left. But I was
    proud! I’d Fixed It!

  29. EJCrews says:

    A couple years ago I was really into speed racer. I had just started getting into electronics, so I wanted to make something SR inspired. I First burned the entire opening to the show onto a cd that was able to play in my CD player. I cut the battery compartment out of the back of the player and duct taped it to my door. The wires coming from the plastic compartment were positioned so they made contact with the original wires that were now exposed (I used some light wieght scrap metal to make the contact area larger). All of this was rigged just so that when my bedroom door was opened, the speed racer opening would play.

    I never got it to work perfectly.

    Go speed racer, go.

  30. botsRfun says:

    When my daughter was an infant (1985) I made a “blue box” that had switches, LEDs, and a noise-maker from a greeting card, so she would have something to play with in the car on long trips. I used things with bright colors so it would be entertaining. She loved playing with it. (It was made out of a blue Radio Shack project box.)

  31. laughlinbarker says:

    The first thing I ever made was an electric mouse trap. I was seven years old, and had been carrying electrical extension cords around since I was 3. The design was simple, I hammered together what resembled a wooden box with an opening at one end. I left two cracks in the center of the side walls, and through there i carefully laid the two exposed conductors of an extension cord I had stripped. At the end of the box I would have placed a piece of cheese, and simply plugged the cord into the wall socket. You can imagine what would happen to a mouse walking across the two wires! Needless to say my parents didn’t let me try it (they thought it was inhumane, and rightfully so). But alas, about 3 years ago, I saw battery powered electric mouse traps in Albertsons!

    As I write this post, I am building a flying lantern. I’m working on streamlining the process so I can make lots for Halloween.

    I’m a bit low on cash, but once I make some more dinero, I’ll be purchasing some micro controller hardware :)

    Happy Making!

  32. DiGiTALMADDOG says:

    built a nixi clock that doesnt work yet !!! along with a few other failed attempts to diy and a some really cool work bench / shelve units

  33. rocman48 says:

    I’ve been making things for a long time. One of the first was a homemade black powder cannon that could shoot glass marbles quite a ways. I made the black powder from ingredients from my chemistry set (that sort of dates me).

  34. reddeye says:

    When I was around 10 or 11, I made a contraption that would drop M&Ms from above my desk down a chute to the lower part of my desk. I thought it would be less work (?).

  35. jsoyland says:

    In 10th grade my school I was really into photography – not digital – my school still had a chemical darkroom. The following summer I kicked it up a notch and decided to MAKE holograms. I built a vibration isolation table in my bedroom (in the basement).

  36. HlfShell says:

    The first thing I ever designed myself was a Centrifugally Automated Transmission, or what I lovingly called a CAT. This was during my sophomore year of high school while on a FIRST robotics team. It never left the prototyping stage but I’m still proud of its design. I was playing with those old snap wrist bands that were popular in the 80s and my father began telling me about centrifugal snap springs – springs that snap out when it reaches a certain amount of centrifugal force. The design was for the transmission to automatically be in low gear until it reaches a certain speed – thus the centrifugal force would shoot out the innards of the gear (twas similar to a planetary gear) outwards to shift into a higher gear.

    The prototype was left in a point where we were trying to get the centrifugal snap springs fine tuned when, low and behold, we decided to go a different route. Oh well. But I do stuff like this all the time so a pocket ref would be useful as heck when designing this stuff.

  37. rcox says:

    While my Dad would fiddle around in his workshop when I was 7 or so, I would often make one of my favorite projects: “Scrap of 2×4 Full of Nails.” Good times! Eventually I got more creative with the 2×4 scraps and made a tiny “stool.”

    Someone gave me a secondhand “100 in 1 Electronics Projects” kit, with which I spent hours connecting wires according to the diagrams without understanding what I was doing. The turning point for me was in 5th grade when I actually learned how to build circuits.

    For my science class I made a quiz board about the solar system. On the left side of the pegboard were questions, glued next to the heads of bolts that extended through to the back. On the right was a list of answers (all numeric, to give as few hints as possible) next to another column of bolts. The back of the board was crisscrossed with wires that connected the question bolt to the corresponding answer bolt. There was also a lightbulb hooked to some batteries that were strapped to the back of the board, connected to two wires that hung out the front. The player would touch one wire to a question, and the other wire to their answer, and the lightbulb showed if they were correct. This was one of the first projects that I made totally on my own (even typing up questions and answers in Letter Perfect on our Atari 800!), and I was *so* proud of it. I kept it in my closet until I left for college.

  38. atomicthumbs says:

    The first thing I ever made was a cooling device. I was about 5 years old (I’m 15 now) and I had recieved a computer cooling fan as a gift from the brother of a friend. I hooked it up to a nine-volt battery and remained cool for as long as the battery lasted, and as long as the scotch tape holding the wires to it stayed on.

    Also I’ve always loved taking things apart. I had a tendancy to use the hot-glue gun to make weird sci-fi looking things out of various VCR, stereo, reel-to-reel tape players and misc. electronic components. I wish I hadn’t taken apart the Xerox 6060 IBM PC clone though. Most of my stuff came from an electronics place on the main street in the next town over that people would leave stuff in front of. Sadly, the store moved and people don’t do that anymore.

  39. perko says:

    I made a backpack from a plastic hagning file cabinet, easily the most logical way to hold books if you can stand having your back constantly tweaked. I never lost a handout the two terms I used it. Perfect for the student who digs feng shui. I reinforced the holes in the plasic with the bottoms of old french press coffee makers.

  40. sdedalus says:

    when i was maybe eight or nine i made a robot out of a remote control car a toy gum ball machine, some lights, wire and allot of tape this was maybe 82 so predates tom servo.

  41. RDAC says:

    One of the first things I built was a Crystal AM Radio. I still remember picking up signals from far, far away late at night. One of my first mods, too. I figured out that by attaching the antenna wire to the return post on the phone in the living room, I could get even greater distance. Back in the day, that return post on a rotary phone lead straight back to the ground, so I could literally use the phone network’s cables as an antenna.

    I also remember doing sprite programming when I was 5 on an old Commodore 64, that was better than recess…look teacher, I made a 8px x 8px tree! Hahah.

  42. alohapussycat says:

    The first big project I made was a digital to analogue power box that controlled eight AC jacks from a Commodore 64 user port (whose 9V DC outputs activated eight optoisolator switches). I controlled my lamps, my stereo and my television using a series of increasingly complex basic programs (peeks and pokes) on the Commodore. Programs started as “push a button to turn on/off”, and proceeded to add things like software dimmers for the lamps and digital voice control. Unfortunatly, the voice control worked so poorly back then that the television would turn random items on and off until it eventually turned itself off.

  43. rmccoy says:

    I just made a photo booth by cobbling together assorted hardware,software and an Arduino board.

  44. JoeRowley says:

    Two years ago for the 7th grade science fair I created the wind turbine from make. You guys featured it too.

  45. ph5ild says:

    The first thing that I made was a model rocket and the super cool launch platform that my dad and I crafted w/our own wired launch control (with a switch with RED button cover!) still one of the best things that I have made and nothing better than father son rocket propelled fun!

  46. says:

    The first thing I remember making was a lightbulb circuit using a 9V battery, a torch bulb, and an unfolded paper-clip as a switch between two thumb-tacks. I was around 6 or 7, and I’d gotten a book of science projects for Christmas. We lived out in the country, and were prone to black-outs during winter storms. A day or so after Christmas, as I was working on the second project (“hydraulic brakes” using syringes), the power went and the house descended into blackness. I remember proudly carrying my little lamp into the kitchen, and mass producing more by the light of the first so my younger siblings could have night-lights to fall asleep by. My first success story :)

  47. Cane54 says:

    When I was 8 I made a small catapult. When ever I could convince my parents to take me to the hobby shop I would get pieces of wood. One day I finally figured out what I was going to make out of my collection of wood…a catapult. It first started out with rubber bands but I got tired of replacing the broken ones I once again convinced my parents to take me to the local hobby shop so I could get a powerfully spring. Needless to day the spring was powerful and the force broke my little catapult. Never giving up I rebuilt it with some structural improvements. I finally had a well working catapult that could throw a penny 40 feet.

    My being a want-to-be ninga I eventual stole my little brothers remote control truck. I took out the steering servo and receiver and affixed it to my catapult so that I could have a way to remotely fire pennies from a distance. It was a great build that drove my parents crazy, but they keep all the money I hit them with. That catapult is 16 years old now and still works great:)

  48. MacModder says:

    When I was in third grade I used to make small movies with a extremely low quality camera on a lego tripod I made. The videos usually were made with Spider-Man action figures moving/swing/fighting around my room on a makeshift fishing line string spider web. I just wish the data on the video tapes didn’t get damaged.

  49. scott-bot says:

    My first robot was a 5 axis articulated arm (at the time it was state-of-the-art) designed and built in Canada by some of same guys that designed the Space Shuttle arm. After training for two weeks in Ontario, I returned home and rented an equally up-to-date IBM PC to run the programming software. I hooked everything up and flipped the switch …nothing. Back at the computer store, “Oh sorry, here you’ll need this” the technician hands me a single 5.25″ floppy, it was Microsoft’s latest version of DOS. The IBM had no (Winchester) hard drive.

    The robot worked for years in an industrial application.

  50. wizardbyte says:

    As part of a science project in junior high a friend and I built a cannon out of tin cans. We used about 3 or 4 used tin (soup) cans and cut half of the bottom out of each except for the end one. We lined the cans up so the half bottoms alternated to act as baffles and duct taped them all together. We punched a small hole in the side of the very end of the closed end of the cannon. We made projectiles of differing materials (wood, paper, styrofoam, etc.) to stuff in the end. The open end would be plugged with the projectile and the fuel would be added through the small hole at the closed end. This hole would be covered with a finger and then we’d gently shake the cannon back and forth to agitate and diffuse the fuel which would then be lit by holding a match up to the small hole. We started using hairspray and other flammable aerosol items for fuel but the projectiles would barely go past the end of the cannon. My friends father flew model airplanes and so it was in his basement that we first tried using model airplane fuel instead. He soon had several holes/dents in his basement walls and we had to take our project outside to accurately measure distance. It was a very cool and cheap project that I still think about building again some 15 years later. Maybe in another year or two when my son gets old enough to understand what danger is I’ll build one with him.

  51. CCarlson says:

    Back in the mid-80’s I helped my father assemble a pair of HeathKit projects: an LED alarm clock (which survived for over fifteen years), and a digital scale.

    Recently-revived memories of those two projects led me to purchase an Arduino board and related bits and pieces, and I now have a 4-LED Cylon-like display (mounted on a mini breadboard) which speeds up or slows down depending on the light level, and which sends the information to my computer where the levels are charted.

    Is it simple? Yes. Is it useless? Yes.

    But I made it myself!

  52. flyboy1015 says:

    I once made a water balloon booby-trap out of some string and paper clips. It was hanging from the ceiling and triggered when the door opened a certain amount. It would then swing down and hit my brother right in the chest. It worked great and was great fun.

    I also made a time-delay fuse with two pieces of string frozen together with an ice cube. I used it to hang something in my brother’s closet that would make noise (ah! a ghost!!!) at night after the ice melted. I didn’t ever hear about that one.

    That was back in my early teen years.

  53. tuckerch says:

    One recent MAKE I’m absurdly pleased with is the DSL filter in the wall phone.

    In July of 2005, I had Verizon DSL installed. DSL requires that one install inline filters on all the phones on that line, to prevent problems with the digital and analog sides of the phone line. My apartment only has two phone jacks in it. (Yes, it IS a terrible hardship.) One jack is a wall phone jack between the “kitchen” and “livingroom”. The other is in the bedroom.

    So, I wound up with an ugly assembly of a DSL filter and splitters and cables hanging off the wall jack.

    This Would Not Do!

    I decided that the optimum esthetic solution would be to install a DSL filter inside a wall phone in such a way that the wall phone would be DSL filtered, as well as providing both a DSL filtered line for the phone by the computer, the answering machine and the phone by my recliner, and an unfiltered DSL line to the DSL modem/router, by hanging a dual jack module off the phone. Off to eBay to find the cheapest wall phone I could find, as well as the needed dual jack module.

    I found the ideal phone, a “new old stock” 2554 TouchTone wall phone.

    And of course, eBay being eBay, I also found the needed dual jack module as well. Yes, the DSL filter hack works perfectly.

    You can see the before and after images HERE

  54. mkenyon2 says:

    I was 5-6.

    Using a Radio Shack learn electronics kit (with wooden sides, and the springs to attach wires to various components) I made a light activated alarm to protect my lunchbox full of change. I stuck the whole kit (12″x18″?)in a drawer with my lunchbox, and if my brother opened it it would squeel real loud.

  55. DaveBarak says:

    I made a digital ringer for a landline phone many years ago. I had no clue how to do it, but I had this “brilliant” idea to allow people to record whatever they wanted onto a chip, and then to use that as their ring tone.

    I took a Radio Shack “phone flasher,” used to alert hearing impaired people to see that the phone was ringing, and mated it somehow (I can’t remember what I did) with one of those old Radio Shack voice recording ICs (the big ones). The flasher device was the only way I could think of to deal with the 80 Volt (I think) ring voltage that comes through the phone line.

    The whole thing worked — sort of. The sound quality was terrible, but it did work, and I knew next to nothing about electronics.

  56. byJamesDeRuvo says:

    I made my first thing last night. The Microphone is from Podcast Factory by MAudio. The small tiny tripod broke this week, so I took an old swing arm lamp, dumped the lamp part and modded a plastic pencil sharpener to hold the microphone!

  57. icanryme2002 says:

    The first thing I remember making was a six foot tall model rocket the only problem was the parachute was held on with masking tape. You haven’t had fun until you fire a missile into a field of mustard filled with people collecting rockets. I would use this book to help me in physics class and when im building a maglev train project, more on that later.

  58. Duffadash says:

    A few weeks ago I actually made something myself for the first time in my life. Or rather, I had help.
    Y’see, I’ve never been very good at finishing things I start, here goes everything from trying to sew stuff for when I roleplay, to the simple crafts we were forced to do in middleschool…
    But anyways. A few weeks ago I finally finished something myself. I’m using a rather worn laptop. And while it still works most of the time, I’ve been seriously considering saving up for a new one. I’m in high school by the way, so this isn’t really something I normally have the economy for.
    However, my laptop have recently had this problem with overheating and suddenly shutting down. making me lose all my data, and everything I’ve worked on. This is, as you can probably guess, a rather bad thing when it happens to the computer you do all your school work on.
    One of my friends however, found a solution to this problem. He found an old cooling fan from a computer he once had, and connected the red and black cables from it with the similarly coloured cables of a USB extension cord (which we cut in half), removing all other cords. Then we simply duct-taped it together, and suddenly I had a mobile fan for my computer. Using a few pieces of steel wire, we then mounted it on the back of the laptop with some duct tape, and my lappy haven’t spontaneously shut down ever since.

    This feat not only gave me a new shot of confidence in my own abilities, but also got me heavily interested in making stuff on my own. Currently I’m secretly plotting to steal a digital cam we’ve got lying around at home (which nobody have ever really used, since the latest driver for it only works on win95), and turn it into a nightvision device. If nothing else because I have learned that making stuff is cool, and to up my own skills.
    Thank you kindly for all the help and inspiration you’ve given me in the last few weeks MAKE!

  59. hipnerd says:

    I remember being inspired by an episode of “The A-Team” to build a machine that used a leaf-blower engine and a pair of rubber tires to launch large metal washers at a piece of plywood in our garage. Eventually, my parents discovered that I was in danger of killing a friend, a pet or possibly myself and they made me disassemble my washer-chucker of doom.

  60. Dro_Kulix says:

    (I know that the following isn’t particularly original or even creative, but working on it started a chain reaction in my brain that currently has me working on creating electronic and microcontroller projects, and I bought my first Dremel ever to pull it off…so it was kind of important!)

    The first genuinely cool thing I ever made was a 1970s-consumer-electronics-style PC case.

    It involved butchering one of the cheapest ATX cases imaginable. The major victim was the front face, the lower half of which was removed Dremel-style (it had a misaligned, ugly “let’s make the floppy drive look like part of the case” floppy drive slot that had to go) and replaced with a piece of bent Lexan. I epoxied metal brackets onto Playstation controller extension cords to make controller connectors for the front. They even worked—at the other end was a PSX-to-USB adapter fixed inside the case with an egregious excess of cable ties. A USB bracket was similarly cannibalized for the front panel.

    Now, for the touch of class: The parts of the case that weren’t spray-painted matte black were covered in cherry wood Con-Tact plastic. The only thing that was really missing was brushed aluminum accenting, and then this faux-wooden thing would not have been at all out of place among the TV, VCR, VHS cassette drawers, particle-board home entertainment center, wood-paneled walls, and so forth that I grew up with.

    There’s nothing quite like a computer that pretends to be furniture.

  61. [AVH] says:

    One of the first things I made was a “bullshit detector” when I was about 7 years old. I saw my father watching the French movie “Delicatessen”, in which a similar device occurs.

    I took the electronics circuit from a musical postcard (not sure how to say this in English) and I put it inside a small plastic box. A piece of stiff wire was attached to the mechanism to act as a switch.
    I then asked the people in my neighbourhood to tell me something, and then I pressed down the piece of wire, which activated the circuit, and a loud laughing sound came out of the box.
    “You’re talking rubbish”, I told them then, “since my bullshit-detector has been activated by your speech”.

    Yeah; that was nice ;-)

  62. rsmith2020 says:

    The first thing I built was my Bass Guitar, I got the kit off of the Carvin website. After building it, I took apart an effects pedal and installed the electronics in the body and put a dip switch on the face to turn it on and off.
    The link to the picture below is the only one I have of it, I was teaching my daughter to play.

  63. sketchylemming says:

    Back in high school I was in a robotics class that used Lego Mindstorms for the most part. Me and my team-mates were assigned to make an autonomous exploration robot but I decided to do something different and programmed artificial stupidity. The robot would slowly become stupider as it progressed, each time it hit a wall its sensors were de-sensitized a bit and it’s accuracy with turns and distance was lessened. Eventually it ended up bashing it’s self to pieces against a wall.

  64. ataindre says:

    When I was four, I made my grandmother a pop-up sympathy card when my grandfather died. The pop up was a drawing of our (extended, very large) family crying. Apparently, I worked on it for a long time without anyone knowing and I was really proud of it so they didn’t have the heart to tell me just how wrong that card was. I still cringe thinking about it.

  65. ravuya says:

    At the moment, I make independent computer games and libraries for developing them.

    One of the first physical things I “made,” though, was an attempt to use a grade-school electromagnet project to play music by hooking the magnetic terminals up to a cheap Radio Shack speaker.

    It didn’t quite sound like music.

    Later, I’ve made a variety of electronics projects using the Z-80 and a few cheap breadboards. I also made a napkin holder shaped like a duck in middle school wood shop, if that counts for anything.

    Speaking of leaf blowers, I did make a tennis ball launcher from a leaf blower. Then I used the PVC piping left over from the project with a barbeque lighter and hairspray to construct a few potato cannons.

  66. computermatt says:

    the first thing I remember making was a 555 chip TV jammer (that actually worked! Well, with most TV’s anyways).

  67. x6d696168 says:

    I made a crazy cat condo using four old milk crates, my dremel, some zipties, and old carpet. The crates had holes cut into them to give the cats tunnels to crawl into, as well as caves to hang out in, with carpet inside and out. They had a blast.

  68. christopherslatt says:

    I made a Tiki Bar in my apartment. :)

  69. aarastas says:

    When I was 14 or so our Scout troop decided to have a “no limits” pine wood derby race. I made a model rocket engine powered car that would occasionally burst into flames. It took some time, and a lot of model rocket engines, to get weight balanced right to keep in on the track.

  70. kpjoyce says:

    I was pre-kindergarten. My dad was enjoying a lazy weekend. When I bugged him to build something with me with the shop tools, he told me that he couldn’t unless we had detailed plans. He thought that he had successfully discouraged the idea, but I returned hours later with my plans. I had filled a few pages with half-blueprint, half-cartoon instructions for building a simple toy boat from scrap lumber. There were drawings of the tools and the parts … and cartoon descriptions of all the fabrication and assembly required. Both the plans and the boat (my dad happily helped me build it after my planning effort) are still around somewhere.

  71. TheCheatOSX says:

    One of the earliest things I can remember making that worked well and all the classmates thought was ‘cool’ was the automatic pencil eraser. I took apart of lot of Stompers (small battery-powered monster trucks) back in those days to get to the little motors they contained. Take a small motor, stick on a pencil eraser to the shaft, use lots of tape to secure the AA battery/switch/motor to a pencil and viola! Automatic Eraser.

  72. gmunchkin says:

    well, i havent actually made many things, despite reading make like the bible. i think the first thing I made was a modification of Mousey the Junkbot for a science fair (1st place school, 2nd place statewide)

    but i noticed that a lot of people are mentioning what they took apart, so… i take apart tons of mechanical pencils and pens.

  73. Dirkus says:

    Earliest thing I remember making? Roll back to early grade school (not sure exactly when any more). I had a couple little battery operated wired-remote controlled cars, and neither really worked anymore. I had damaged the remote on one, and the other had a bad motor after a misadventure into a puddle. I managed to tear them both open when my parents weren’t looking, and mashed the working parts of each together. When my dad discovered the newly scotch-taped-up MacGuyver-ized car and the pile of discarded parts, instead of going ape on me he decided to help me solder the thing up properly to make it more permanent.

  74. Tercero says:

    I think the last thing I won was a pack of gum. In the 5th grade. I’d like to win this, but I haven’t got 134,345 years, so hopefully, through perchance, and a certain amount of blind luck.
    You’ll pick my post. I doubt it though.

  75. insert_expletives says:

    When I was in the first grade, I took apart a toy truck that moved and made noise and made a “drill” out of some d cells and the motor and a sound and light toy out of the rest–and lots of electrical tape!

  76. technofrog says:

    When i was about 4, i decided that i wanted to be an inventor when i grew up. My first invention was to take every piece of yarn from around our house and tie it into one long string, and roll it into a big ball. It was dubbed “the long thing.” The idea was that my mom could hold onto the end, and I could take the ball with me as I roamed the house, unravelling it as I went. That way, I was free to explore, but knew where she was in case the bees/snakes/evil skeletons began to chase me, as they are wont to do.

    A couple years later, I built a complex booby trap in the tree in our front yard out of capsela (anybody else have capsela?) designed to dump a large bucket of water on the paperboy, who lived in the house behind us and had been throwing water balloons at my dog earlier that week. Bastard.

  77. a_swan89 says:

    I once made a ultralight camping stove from a soda can and a few other miscellaneous household items that used denatured alcohol for fuel.

  78. scb3131 says:

    Only a couple months ago i made my own video projector out of a PSone LCD and some Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. It works great, i can now watch movies on an 80″ screen. It cost less than $100 (if i remember correctly).

    You can take a look at it here:

    Also, i wanted to play my Gamecube on a 7″ portable dvd player, so i created an RCA extender out of K’Nex and three small pieces of wire (it worked great!)

    K’Nex are great for anyproject (i even used then in my projector.

  79. TerraPlop says:

    A crystal radio.
    I used a piece of galena that my dad brought home from work.
    A cat whisker he claimed he got from the cat.
    A bunch of wire, a toilet paper roll, some screws and head phones. I was about 8 at the time.

  80. cbleslie says:

    I remember “Making” my dads drill back together after I “Un-Made” it.

    He never found out.

  81. AndyM-S says:

    OK, most recently: I build an LED headlight to run off of my road bike’s hub dynamo. I used a pair of 3W Luxeon K2 LEDs wired in series, with a small rectifier bridge feeding them from a Shimano 3W dynohub. I built the whole thing into an old Sanyo bullet headlamp (minus the reflector), and put fairly narrow lenses on the LEDs to get a good pattern on the road. It works nicely, and the metal case of the light, plus some additional metal and thermal epoxy used in mounting the LEDs keeps things cool and efficient.

  82. says:

    Just recently, since the Age of MAKE, I have made some pinhole cameras (before I saw your great article on them), the crackerbox amp (and now how have a couple of more complex versions on the bench), as well as some RC airplanes made from corrugated plastic (Google the Mugi EVO for details). I have made some hand made Moleskine-type books and a book press to make the job easier. And everyone in my house but me knows how to knit.

    And I made a crystal radio when I was about 9, too.

  83. Berge says:

    An Electric Bike
    Small Hydroplane Boat
    Steam Engines
    Pellet Guns
    Hunting Knives
    Parts for Quickmill Machining Centers

    No plans on stopping anytime soon

  84. Berge says:

    An Electric Bike
    Small Hydroplane Boat
    Steam Engines
    Pellet Guns
    Hunting Knives
    Parts for Quickmill Machining Centers

    No plans on stopping anytime soon

    The pocket reference would be killer for work

  85. anthony amerman says:

    I’ll tell you about two things.
    The first is my most recent make, I built a forge out of some copper pipe, an old air compressor and a weber grill. It worked great, it could get a railroad spike red hot. Did it to work with some buddies on making knifes out of old files. The pipe was from something I found in the house I just bought, in a closet. It was a neat part, elbow connectors on a 1/2 copper pipe with a garden hose attachment at one end. It worked great with the tube from the compressor taped into the hose end and the other worked up under the weber grill through the ash holes on the bottom. The charcoal I used was chunk charcoal and it worked great. Can’t wait to fire it up again with some improvements.
    The second one I want to tell you about, would be my first real make. I was about 11 years old and wanted to make some medallions out of lead, so I carved out what I wanted to do, a triangle with a peace sign in it, on a two by four and melted some lead shot in a coffee can with propane torch. Poured the melted lead into the area I carved out and had blocked off with other pieces of wood, and got a nice triangle with a peace sign in it medallion. Found it the other day in some old stuff at my parent’s house and now it is up on my workbench in the garage as my real first metalwork.

  86. bonzobuilder says:

    An automatic light turner-on-er:

    0) Close door.
    1) String, tied to the door knob.
    2) Drive in push pin at top corner of door frame above door knob.
    3) Loop string behind push pin and let hang down.
    4) Cut string at about light switch length.
    5) Tie rubber band to that end.
    6) Attach rubber band to light switch.
    7) Open door. String will now pull on rubber band, flicking light switch to “On” position.

    Tah da! I was 7 years old at the time and thought it was cool.

  87. rafal_M says:

    few days ago connected Intel 8051 to latch and ROM 2764.
    i added one more latch, 8 LEDs and DIP switch to Port 1 of the 8051.
    wrote a program to read the in-port and write to the out-port P0 in endless loop.
    org 0000h
    mov dptr,#8000h
    start:mov A,90h
    movx @dptr, A
    ljamp start

  88. unununium says:

    OH, Pocket ref If only I had you when I made that Popsicle Stick log cabin in pre-k, Id Gaze among your pages looking at familiar such as “it” “as” and “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” and somehow figure out if that paste the person next to me was eating was in fact poisonous. But there is still time, for if I had you now my electronically reloading ballista may actually work!

  89. masterwombat says:

    The first thing I’ve ever made on my own (I’m not counting a lot of cable-building and board repair in high school) is the stroke testing system based off of a 4:16 demux and a bunch of fun code (read: crazed and hairy C++). I’ve been doing research with it for a couple years – and the only other system out there that does what it does cost three orders of magnitude more!

  90. Ceroill says:

    One of the first semi useful things I recall making was a simple door closer for my bedroom door. I think I was about 14. I used a couple of small hook eyes, some fishing line, and a plumb bob. One hook eye went into the door at the upper corner. The second one at the corner of the doorframe. One end of the fishing line was tied to the hook on the door, the other to the plumb bob. The line was draped over the other hook eye. So, when the door was opened the weight would be pulled up, and when the doorknob was leg go of it would fall again, pulling the door closed. Well…ajar anyway. It wouldn’t pull it all the way closed and latched, but it made the point that I was tired of folks traipsing into my room and just leaving the door open when they left.

  91. Redbluefire says:

    I remember making a ‘robot’ for elementary school…

    I took a neighbor’s garbage can, rinsed it out, but two tent stakes on it for arms, a christmas tree stand for the neck, and basketball for the head.

    And my mom’s hair extension for the hair…glued on; She wasn’t too happy, and my robot literally STUNK to high heaven of garbage.

  92. mhafter says:

    The first thing I made that actually worked was when I was about 8. It was a two-way closed circuit intercom using two telephones, a 9v battery, a resistor, and a buzzer for ringing. I ran the wire from my room to the living room so I could call downstairs anytime I wanted. I used the red/green pair for voice, and the yellow/black pair for the buzzer. My latest project has been a bike electronics system. Powered by two 12v 12Ah batteries, it has two 20w halogen lights, an LED gear illuminator, backup systems, aux power, a garage door opener, and a siren. I have also added ham radio gear (I am a licensed operator) such as an APRS tracking unit, and rode 50 miles with the entire thing plus my voice radio!


  93. soundonsound says:

    According to my parents, when I was a wee child, I’d take a pair of diagonal cutters and cut apart the lamp cords in the living room. I guess I scared them half to death. And there was the time when I was five, where I got in trouble for taking a heavy insulated pair of pliers and using them to shove 1/2 watt carbon comp resistors into outlets to watch them blow up. I suppose it’s lucky that I’ve managed to reach the ripe old age of 29 (today, as a matter of fact, is my 29th birthday).

    I don’t think I ever had a toy where I didn’t immediately take the thing apart to see how it worked. Probably the first thing that I remember “making” was this little combo amp right after I got my first guitar. My friend had a peavy combo amp that was really weak on the bass, and I had a decent sized 12″ 3-way speaker. I took the chassis out of the amp, cut a hole in the speaker cabinet, wired the amp to the speaker and shoved the guts inside. I realize it’s not the most complex thing, but I was a whole 12 years old and it stands out in my memory, anyway. A nice side effect of the thing was since the reverb tank was inside the sealed speaker cabinet, the thing put out this awesome ratty phasey distortion when the reverb was activated.

  94. unarueda says:

    i just made a sandwich

  95. filosofer says:

    I “make” inspiration. I teach high school Technology Engineering Education. Every day I “craft” a love for invention in young minds. By using Make Magazine and Make Blogs as project guides, the entire Make community has helped “make” TSA state conference champions for two years running ( Last year’s winning “Electronic Research and Experimentation” contest was Mousey the Junkbot! Thank you for your magazine, and thank you all for your ideas!

  96. Spooger says:

    I made a test stand for car motors to check them out before actually installing in a vehicle. Easily modified to take different types of motors as well as bolted together to allow easy dismantling for storage.

  97. mycroftjw says:

    When I was about, 4 my father and I made our first of many projects together. We made a bow out of the wood in the back of the house in North Carolina. At the time I loved and still love the Robin Hood stories. I have been making bows ever since.

  98. howardroark says:

    when my old car stereo didn’t have an aux in i made emulated a CD changer with a PIC to allow my iPod to play through the CD changer input

  99. Panzernights says:

    When I was in Grade School I decided it would be Great is if I could run a Battery Charger on the “On-Hook” power of the Phone Lines… It was a Horrid Failure… I then made one that that Plugged in a Normal Power Outlet… Due to poor planning and little Electrical Knowledge, all I learned from this Experiment was How the Fire Extinguisher Worked…

  100. johnmcdaniel says:

    My father and I built a lot of stuff together. He was an excellent barterer and managed to “trade up” a Lionel train set to a Heathkit color television. The kit was a hoot. I think we had to build an oscilloscope and multimeter that we then used to build the TV. I remember having a heck of a time soldering the rotary channel selector switch wiring.

  101. DakCourtois says:

    Well, I made something for a teacher once. It was based off something in a textbook, but I made it more robust.

    It was a wooden slab, with 4 bolts on one side, and 4 on the other. Underneath, one side connected to another side to make a question-answer type board.
    On top, was a buzzer and battery box connected to two nails (they were cut off at the point.)

    To use it, a card had on one side 4 questions, and the other side 4 answers. You touched one nail to the question, and the answer on the other. Sort of like a matching game. If you were right, it buzzed.

    There was one overlooked flaw in the idea, though… changing answers required unbolting the wires underneath and re-wiring the board.

  102. shmagoogin77 says:
    that is my portable cable television. It runs on a 7.2v battery and is very reliable. Hope you like it.

  103. gallamine says:

    Ever since the July 1997 Issue of National Geographic, which featured the “Robotic Revolution” as its cover story, I have been fascinated with robots.

    For my 13th birthday my parents gave me a copy of, Mobile Robots, by Joseph Jones. It was many years over my head, but I religiously read it cover to cover.

    I eventually worked up enough cash to purchase a BasicStamp II. I scrounged around for some CD player motors and eagerly hooked them directly to the output pins on the BS2. Nothing happened.

    It took me a while longer to realize just how a motor worked and what you had to do to get them to move.

    I still remember those days. It was exciting. I hope I never lose that excitment for making things. Hooray for having a passion in life!

  104. biznacho says:

    Back when I was still involved with the Boy Scouts, we would regularly make (or at least, attempt to make) siege equipment out of rope and poles. I think the best range we ever got was around 30 feet. I also too apart pretty much every electronics device in the house, with the exception of the TV’s.

  105. TechnoGeek95 says:

    I’m in middle school and I find duct tape amazing. You can do anything with duct tape. So I found out about duct tape wallets on here and I decided to make one. So that was the first thing I made. My first one wasn’t that great but I kept trying and it ended up looking great! I know it isn’t anything advanced or something but hey I’m in middle school. This pocket ref book could really help me all the way through college.


  106. JoeBrandner says:

    I made a 4 shelf bookcase with Milk Crates and half of a ping pong shelf. Also, I made a closet rack out of two wall points and a old pipe. Resourceful, I think so….. In vogue, I think not.

  107. fatkid says:

    The first, and most recent, thing I have ever “MADE” was an lcd picture frame using a Mattel Juicebox. I then loaded my portfolio onto it (I am a designer) and mailed it to a potential employer. They were impressed, but I didn’t land the job. They did send me back the picture frame though!

  108. tecpatl4 says:

    I spent a good bit of Sunday night at the sewing machine. I made a pile of heating pads (microwave for 2 minutes, stays warm for 30-45 minutes). Nothing but a flannel bag full of dried corn. Also started working on a lightweight sil-nylon camping tarp. Almost done, just need to add a few more tie points. Found the material on the clearance rack at wal-mart… USMC digital camo pattern for a buck a yard woohoo!

  109. weirdscreenname says:

    First Make – I was about 8 and i had this hand-held TMNT video game. The problem was i was out of batteries and i couldn’t find any around the house. So i went out into the garage and grabbed a random power cord that had been ripped out of a lamp (probably by me), electrical tape, and some alligator clips. I ran the ends of wire into the clips, taped it up, and connected the clips to the spiral battery connections on the game. Thinking that i had everything solved i plugged the cord into an outlet. The results: a small scorch mark on the wall, all power knocked to the house knocked out, a video game that would never play again, and a sore butt when my dad came downstairs and found out what happened. I still tell that story when people asked me what i was like as a kid.

  110. stilldavid says:

    One of the first things I remember making was a “robot” on an RC car chassis I read about in an issue of Boy’s Life when I was 11 or so. I’m now in college and am taking it one step further with a homemade robot chassis powered by a gumstix with GPS and sonar and some crazy behavior algorithms. It’s fun to look back and see how far I’ve come :)

  111. whoha says:

    The first thing I made was a hydrogen powered rocket car.
    It was basically a piece of wood with wheels on the bottom and a plastic bottle strapped to the top. I was going to fill the bottle with Hydrochloric acid and put zinc powder in with it. Shake it. Open the nozzle and light a match. But my aunt (who is a science teacher) saw it, and told my parents about the dangers of my idea. That was the end of that project. Now I am making a deuterium fusion device.

  112. GriDLoc says:

    The first thing I remember making was an automatic LED dimmer project I found in a british “how things work” book that I had been given. my dad and I spent a good three hours sitting at our kitchen counter troubleshooting wiring and various problems with photo-resistors. the end result wasn’t very impressive (the kind of thing that makes your mom say “that’s very nice” in that half-sarcastic tone, then walk away after a few akward moments of silence), but it got me started in electronics. the most recent thing I’ve made is sort of an ongoing project of restoring an old french bicycle we found in the trash to different states of being spoiled rotten with parts it’s own mild-steel frame doesn’t remotly deserve. the latest addition being an old beat-up deraliur that I compleatly overhauled, cleaned and re-greased.

  113. BobofBobs says:

    The first thing I remember really making was a robot with LEGO mindstorms when I was 10 or so–but I got limited with just the plastic bricks, so I started taking small electronics items apart, including an antique rotary phone which was turned into a wheel. Needless to say, my parents were displeased, especially when no one could figure where all those resistors I had used for “decoration” were supposed to go! I had a bunch of twigs and things in there…it was pretty crazy.

    I’ve now started learning about elctronics and have started to use advanced robotics like a modded VEX system which I used to terrify small children; the pocket ref would be great to make the robotic onager with the perfect length ratios.

  114. sam666 says:

    When I was 5ish I got a box of little wood scraps and pieces with random holes and dowels and little wheels in it. Using the included “child size” hammer and nails and glue, I made a miniature semi trailer out of it. My first project made with good old fashioned wood and nails!

  115. connors934 says:

    This evening I made a bunch of lasercut tags with names and addresses on them to help reclaim lost luggage (5 bags lost this summer). While making the tags, I also wrote up a basic process that will be combined with pictures and screenshots on how to use the lasercutter in a fab lab. See the rough text here

    My Pocket Ref is gone now because I gave it to one of my graduating seniors back in June…I miss it.

  116. WAFletcher says:

    You know those corporate logo’d foam squeeze toys companies give their employees? I started a company-wide racing league for them. (We have bones, fire hydrants, and the most popular VW Beetles.) A basic boil-down of the rules is that each axle must be mounted independent of each other, and the power source (and RC receiver board, if there is one) must also be mounted separately to the squeeze toy (thus making the squeeze toy the primary structural component.) Our third race is coming up Sept. 21st and I spent this evening putting finishing touches on my entry (a 3 wheeled, 3-wheel-drive RC bone.) It’s packed with electronics (as foam racing bones go) with an RC receiver and a scratch-built voltage regulator for the RC board. I spent a lot of time looking things up (and went through a lot of scratch paper); I can’t help but think a MAKE pocket ref would be as valuable as any tool in a foam toy racer’s tool kit.

  117. samurai1200 says:

    The first real project I did was not too long ago. My car has no alarm, so being inspired by the flood of 555-timer projects on MAKEblog, and then the article in MAKEzine, i decided to make a blinky LED to dissuade anyone from breaking in. I bought the two or three-dollars worth of components from my local shop (not a radioshack, haha!) and made it blink! taped the proto-board under my dash, and taped the led and wires where my dash ends… i wasn’t about to do no drilling!

    anywho, that’s the first one.

    p.s. pick me!

  118. MrAutomation says:

    Hmm, the first thing I remember making (or trying to make) was a robot. I was about 5 years old and I got my dad to trace out my foot on a piece of wood and cut it out. From there my imagination went wild and I started finding bits of wire around and nails and such. I think I managed to put one of those big wiring staples into the foot and had a piece of 14 gauge wire coming up as a leg. I wanted to use a 4×8 sheet of plywood as the body and I hadn’t decided what to use as a head yet.

    Needless to say, my 5 year old mind wandered before getting too far with it, but 22 years later (and now having a diploma in Robotics) I still remember fondly the huge plans I had for my robot.

  119. SonicReducer says:

    the first thing i ever made was a mess, the latest thing i have made was a comment on make’s website an hourlate because i had to work.

    a pocket ref would be a real help for my engineering classes though, i want to be an EE

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Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).