MAKE Asks: Most Grandiose Projects

MAKE Asks: Most Grandiose Projects

MAKE Asks: is a weekly column where we ask you, our readers, for responses to maker-related questions. We hope the column sparks interesting conversation and is a way for us to get to know more about each other.

This week’s question: Many of us have project ideas that are on a larger/more complex scale than what we are used to building. What grandiose project do you wish to make?

I would love to make a backyard tableau of sculptures that turn into a stereoscopic image when the user looks at them through the comfort of an interior couch. It would be an interesting art piece as well as a conversation starter.

Post your responses in the comments section.

32 thoughts on “MAKE Asks: Most Grandiose Projects

  1. Jay says:

    Oh man, I have a long list. At the top right now is a trebuchet with an 8-foot arm. Should come to about 13 feet standing up, and have the capacity to throw reasonable projectiles several hundred yards.

  2. MAKE Asks: Most Grandiose Projects | My Daily Feeds says:

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  3. Tom Bales says:

    I’m helping students build the world’s largest telescope. It’s a global array of cosmic-ray detectors in classrooms and museums, all connected together to our central database. Construction of the instruments and most of the project’s administrative work is done by students. Instruments are being supplied to schools around the world, currently at no cost, and we have over a hundred detectors out in the field. We’re working on an open-source, Arduino-based next-generation instrument that will cost much less to build than our custom-designed timestamper-internet interface box, so we can greatly expand the network. Our goal is a thousand instruments. You can see how it works at Facebook page is ERGO – Energetic Ray Global Observatory. It started out as a hobby and got out of hand.

  4. seamustt1 says:

    Actually, after many years of kicking it around in my head, I’m finally building a roverbot with teleoperation capability, video feedback and telemetry, and autonomous GPS navigation. It’s far above and beyond the sorts of things I usually tackle, but I’m taking it in small bites and learning a lot as I go.

  5. J. Simmons says:

    At Mach 30 (, we are working on developing an entirely open source and community built spaceflight program. Right now that means developing a hosting site for open source hardware projects ( and rocket test stands (, figuring out how to deal with ITAR (, and raising the money needed to pay for project materials (

    We meet weekly on Google+ Hangouts ( to work on these projects and more.

    ad astra per civitatem – to the stars through community

  6. chuck says:

    I have several notebooks worth of shipping container house designs just waiting for the money to build. I’ve also been working on a design for a house boat. Someday…

  7. asciimation says:

    I’ve been wondering if I could build something like this in my garage one day, a kind of railway simulator (see from 19 minutes on):

    Also, following in the railway theme, I have vaguely been designing a house I would like to build one day based on an old British railway signal box. That wouldn’t be much bigger than several stacked shipping containers actually.

  8. Ryan says:

    For the past few years, I have been wanting to build a “Drawing Automaton” like the one built by Maillardet. I have always been fascinated by those complex automatons, and now that I understand how every part works in one of them, I would love to build one. If I did build it, I would want to build it like Maillardet would have back then. All hand built, no power tools or cnc machines, hand cut gears, all made out of brass except the case and the body, etc. Unfortunately I don’t think it will ever happen, I don’t have any of the tools, or supplies that it would take to build such a complex machine, let alone having the money to undertake such an ambitious project. I have some designs in my head, so I will keep dreaming, and maybe one day I can make it happen!

  9. Lisa Q. Fetterman says:

    I want to make my own DIY audio system that recognizes patterns in speech so that the music changes according to the mood of the room and tweets about how a party is going.

    1. J. Simmons says:

      I love that idea. If you decide to KickStart it, I would totally back you. Any chance you would consider open sourcing this project if you get around to it?

    2. Laura Cochrane says:

      That sounds really cool!

  10. Joe Rodgers says:

    The DeLorme map company has a large 1:1,000,000 globe of the earth in their company headquarters. My dream is to build a half-dome globe with those same dimensions and envelop it with ONC and WAC aviation maps at that scale.

  11. raster says:

    At Milwaukee Makerspace we’ve talked about building a full-size functional Dalek… my dream is to have it be in the annual holiday parade our city puts on, since Dr. Who and Christmas seem to go together. It would also be an electric vehicle piloted by one of our members.

    1. J. Simmons says:

      I think some folks over at Quelab ( in Albuquerque are also looking into making a life size Dalek. Maybe you all could share notes, etc (or post the projects as open source hardware) and help each other out.

      1. Adric Menning says:

        You can keep up to date with the Dalek build here. its still just a motorized wheelchair base right now, with a arduino/bluetooth control. Aaron is looking at possibly building an object avoidance neural net.

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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