MAKE Volume 28 Web Extras and Downloads

MAKE Volume 28 Web Extras and Downloads

MAKE Volume 28 hits makers’ passion for play head-on with a 28-page special section devoted to Toys and Games, including a toy “pop-pop” steamboat made from a mint tin, an R/C helicopter eye-in-the-sky, and a classic video game console. You’ll also build a gravity-powered catapult, a plush toy that interacts with objects around it, and a machine that blows giant soap bubbles. Play time is a hallmark of more intelligent species — so go have some fun!


Coffee Table MAME Console

By John Baichtal and Adam Wolf

Emulate the raw fun of classic arcade games, wirelessly on your TV. (Page 48)

Check out the full Coffee Table MAME Console project build.

Code – Arduino sketch

Arcade Controller Arduino sketch

System schematic:

PNG image

Scalable vector graphic

Materials Sources

Wayne and Layne Bluetooth Arcade Shield


Classic Arcade Joysticks from Jammaboards

Sanwa OBSF-24 Arcade Buttons from DJ Tech Tools

WT12 Breakout Board (for DIY Bluetooth Arcade Controller)


Build your own Arcade Controls wiki — good general resource

MAME Emulators

Official MAME site

Zophar’s Domain directory of emulators

Wikipedia directory of emulators

Game ROMs (public domain)

iPac Arcade Controller (not wireless)

Front End software (manage emulators and ROMs)

ERRATA: In Volume 28’s “Coffee Table MAME Console,” the arcade buttons can be OSBF-30 or OSBF-24. Also, quick disconnects are a nice upgrade from spade connectors: 0.187″ for joystick, and 0.110″ for buttons.


Pop-Pop Steamboat

By William Abernathy

Build a toy steamer that runs only on heat and the water it’s floating in. (Page 70)

See how MAKE Labs engineering intern Daniel Spangler made a Copper Pipe Alcohol Lamp for the Pop-Pop Steamboat’s heat source, instead of a candle.


Gravity Catapult

By William Gurstelle

Get medieval with this portable, stowable, gravity-powered trebuchet. (Page 84)

Bill Gurstelle at Maker Faire Detroit with the Gravity Catapult

YouTube player



Gigantic Bubble Generator

By Zvika Markfeld

Arduino-controlled Bubblebot blows enormous, undulating soap bubbles. (Page 94)

Check out the full Gigantic Bubble Generator project build.

Arcade Console Materials

  • Plywood, 1/4”–3/8” thick (7mm–10mm or so), 3’×1’
  • Pushbuttons, arcade style (OBSF) (2)
  • Switch, toggle, with safety cover
  • Joystick, arcade style, 4-way digital (i.e. on/off, rather than variably sensitive)
  • I/O expander chip, 16-bit, MCP23017 Get the MCP23017-E/SP through-hole version rather than a surface-mount package.
  • Connectors, female (aka jacks), RJ45 (Ethernet), with PCB mounting posts (2)
  • Breakout boards, RJ45 (2)
  • Cable, RJ45 (Ethernet), 6’
  • Speaker, 1/4W

Bubble Mixture Materials

Note: Depending on the brands you use, you may need to experiment with quantities for your soap mix to achieve optimal bubble performance.

  • Distilled water, 1 gallon (4 liters)
  • Bubble solution, 1 gallon (3.2–4 liters) from a toyshop or online
  • Dishwashing liquid, 14oz (400ml)
  • Liquid glycerin, 14oz (400ml) available from some drug stores, natural foods stores, or online


Labeled layout


General schematic

RJ-45 cable to 16-bit I/O expander (MCP23017)


ArcadeControllerTester] — zip file

BubbleBot_MAKE – zip file

Materials Sources

SPDT microswitches

Continuous rotation servomotor

RobotMarketplace — another good source for gearmotors

Servo extension cables


L298N H-Bridge motor controller

Breakout board for L298N motor controller

Arcade-style pushbuttons

Arcade-style joystick

MCP23017 16-bit I/O expander chip

RJ-45 female connector

RJ-45 breakout board

Wacky Noodles (optional, for decoration)

Making Your Own Frame

building bubble machine frame

Tools and Materials

  • Clamp or large clip (2)
  • Saw, for wood
  • Screwdriver, to match screws used
  • 1×2 lumber (nominal), 3′ (5)
  • Wood screws (10 or so), 1″
  • Hinge (2), about 1.5″ long
  • Wood screws (12), 1/2″ to attach hinges
  • Wood glue

1. Screw and glue together two 3′-long sticks into an uneven X shape, making the cross at about 3/4 of the length.

2. Now do another pair. Make sure the two Xs come out as identical as possible to one another, for maximum stability. Don’t worry about excess wood. You can trim it off later.

3. Connect the two Xs with a horizontal stick, using both screws and glue.

4. Leave an extra 4-5″ sticking from one side, for the kit box housing the Arduino.

That’s it! Now you’re ready to dress it up (I used pool noodles) and add the giant bubble blowing workings.



Arduino Software

Great H-Bridge Tutorial

Great bubble making tips

Tying a bubble string

Last (and favorite): the “Giant Stinson Beach Bubbles” clip that inspired this project


Charlie’s Bear

By David Harris

Make a plush toy that talks to other objects — and you. (Page 106)

Check out the project build.

Maker Shed RFID Teddy Bear Project Bundle





Arduino IDE



Beatjazz Controller

By Onyx Ashanti

Wearable, wireless control network adds movement to musical performance. (Page 116)

Code and Configuration

XBee Profiles

Arduino test patch

Beatjazz controller patches – multiple patches modularized

MIDI continuous controller assignments for configuring Pure Data – PDF

Fingering chart – PDF

Schematic Diagrams

All schematic files are in .fz format, created and viewable in the free Fritzing application.

Left hand unit – Fritzing file (save and open in Fritzing application)

Left hand unit – Fritzing breadboard view (PNG)

Right hand unit – Fritzing file (save and open in Fritzing application)

Right hand unit – Fritzing breadboard view (PNG)

Mouthpiece unit – Fritzing file (save and open in Fritzing application)

Mouthpiece unit unit – Fritzing breadboard view (PNG)

Templates for Hand Cases

Beatjazz controller left hand case template

Beatjazz controller right hand case template


Onyx Ashanti’s website

Pure data


FTDI drivers for Arduino

Digi X-CTU XBee programmer (Windows only)

Arduino Fio Programming


Simple Van de Graaff Generator

By Adam Wolf

Shoot electrical sparks with a soda can, rubber band, and PVC pipe. (Page 124)

Check out the project build.

Further Reading

Bill Beaty’s Static Electricity pages

Simon Field’s Electromagnetism Toys


Plant Light Stand

By Thomas R. Fox

Shed some light on a growing problem. (Page 132)

Check out the full Plant Light Stand project build, and collaborate.

Full-sized drawings

Drawing 1

Drawing 2

Drawing 3


Water Leak Detector

By Jeff Tregre

This simple circuit saved the day when an attic water heater failed.

Check out the full Water Leak Detector project build.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!


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