Checkin’ In: The Prolific William Gurstelle

Checkin’ In: The Prolific William Gurstelle

When it comes to checkin’ in with prolific Maker William Gurstelle, the hardest part is where to start. Bill has contributed to 14 out of 17 volumes of MAKE, been a presence at our annual Bay Area Maker Faire (and started the KIng of Fling catapult contest), and is the workshop producer/writer of the Maker to Maker segment of Make: television. Take a gander at the dizzying array of projects on Bill’s MAKE author page for an overview of the types of projects he’s written for the magazine. The major projects he’s contributed include the Night Lighter 36 stun-gun triggered, high-powered see-thru potato cannon (in MAKE Volume 03):


The Jam Jar Jet pulsejet (from MAKE Volume 05):


The rubber band-powered Ornithopter called Orly (from MAKE Volume 08):


And that’s just to showcase a few. Bill has also provided how-tos for a Rodent-Powered Nightlight, a Two-Can Sterling Engine, a Bullwhip, a Taffy-Pulling Machine, a Pole Camera, as well as the Barrage Garage series detailing how to build the perfect workshop. Did I mention he’s written features and compiles the Maker’s Calendar?

In his infinite spare time (haha), Bill writes books, lectures, and provides professional engineering services. Bill’s latest endeavor involves adding a new title to the series of books he’s authored (which include Backyard Ballistics, Whoosh, Boom, Splat, and Adventures from the Technology Underground). His newest title is Absinthe & Flamethrowers:


The book includes such scintillating chapters as “Why Live Dangerously?” and “Thrill Eating.” Find out more about Bill and his many undertakings on his site and on his blog, Blowing Things Up. Can you tell the guy likes to live on the edge?

The Maker Shed has a great deal going on right now on what we’re calling the Ballistic Bundle, which includes 2 of Bill’s books, MAKE Volume 03, and the Barrage Garage DVD. (And while you’re there, you can also pick up back any back issues of MAKE you may not already have.) Get em while they last!

2 thoughts on “Checkin’ In: The Prolific William Gurstelle

  1. hurf durf says:

    How long did he have to search for those thick-ass specs in order to complete his Gordon Freeman look?

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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