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Maker’s Corner — Summer’s Here

Maker’s Corner — Summer’s Here

One comment I hear constantly from makers is, “I have more ideas about things I want to make or repair than I have time.” Sadly, I can relate all too well. Here I am, surrounded by hundreds of cool maker-made project kits, amazing tools, inspirational makers … but oh, so little time.


This summer, I’m doing something about it. The Woods family is planning at least two MAKEcations: time away from the office, without email or cellphones, no Facebook (the horror), and no TV. So I polled my Maker Shed comrades: what would make for the ultimate MAKEcation with three kids and a wife who loves to repair things? What must-have tools and kits would you take on a MAKEcation?

Make: Electronics Book

This book’s cover says it best: “Burn things out, mess things up — that’s how you learn.”

Charles Platt’s primer for the new electronics enthusiast is wildly popular, because it’s all about learning electronics by discovery. Start working on excellent projects the moment you crack open this unique, hands-on book. Build the circuits first, then learn the theory behind them.

And if your dream MAKEcation is more about making and doing than scouring the internet for supplies, consider these companion packs to our Make: Electronics book. We’ve spent hours sourcing these parts so you don’t have to. Pack 1 includes everything you need to tackle the first two chapters, experiments 1–11. Pack 2 covers experiments 12–24. The awesome thing about these kits is that they aren’t limited to just one experiment or outcome, but rather support a myriad of different projects. Perfect for the aspiring electronics enthusiast.

Deluxe Make: Electronics Toolkit

Do you want to learn to solder? Does someone in your family? This toolkit takes the trouble out of searching for the right tools.

The kit includes everything you need to get started in the wonderful world of electronics — from a 30-watt adjustable soldering iron to a digital multimeter to the Panavise Jr. for holding those PCBs while you solder. We even included your first project, the WeeBlinky, and a Maker’s Notebook to help you document your next project.


One of the hottest products at Maker Faire! If you haven’t played around with ShapeLock yet, you owe it to yourself to buy a sack and check it out.

ShapeLock is a space-age plastic that melts at 160°F then remains safely moldable by hand until locking rigidly as it cools to room temperature.

The stuff is reusable (just reheat and remold), tough, safe, and nontoxic, and it’s machinable (easy to saw, drill, tap, and mill) and paintable (readily accepts acrylic hobby paints, dyes, and pigments).

Prototype your invention right now — without machine tools. Create super-strong custom parts, prototypes, molds, servo brackets, robot housings, sculptures, science projects, and more. No maker space or workshop should be without ShapeLock.

Now in all honesty, in their zeal for the MAKEcation concept, the Maker Shed crew nominated more than a dozen fabulous tools and kits they considered indispensable for a range of interests. But alas, I’m allocated just so many words. For the complete list, check out

Happy MAKEcationing!

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Dan Woods

Dan is CEO of TechShop, Inc. Before joining the team, he spent nine years at O'Reilly Media and was the co-founder of Make: Magazine, which focuses on how-to projects for makers. In this role, Dan oversaw marketing, media relations, circulation development, community outreach, and sales for the magazine. He helped establish Make: as the premier media group and voice of the DIY market. He also conceived and launched the Maker Shed store, growing it to one of Make:'s most important assets. Dan has a BS in Aeronautics from San Jose State University and studied business administration at Santa Clara University's Graduate School of Business.

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