The Countdown to Maker Faire Bay Area is On!


Your Comments

Computers & Mobile
Your Comments


And we’re back with our eighth installment of Your Comments. Here are our favorites from the past week, from Make: Online, our Facebook page, and Twitter.


Simon suggests assembling your own DIY Retro kids tool sets:

The earliest memory of tinkering I have is taking apart an old telephone with a butter knife when I was very little. Another time I remember reasoning that if a little electric motor ran faster on 3 volts from two cells than 1.5 volts from one cell then it should run really, really fast on the 240 volts from the wall. So I wrapped the wires around the pins of a plug, plugged it and and flicked the switch. Needless to say – BANG! No more motor. As for kids tool kits I say make your own. I love putting together tool kits. Had great fun finding the perfect minimal set of tools to carry about in the boot, sorry trunk, of my MGB just recently. All the tools I need fit perfectly into an old ammo tin. And where possibly I found old, good tools from second hand shops. You could put together something similar for a kid I imagine.

On Facebook, Eraina Pope-Moller wondered about restoring other toys after reading about How-To: Restore the color of old Lego bricks:

Great info. Any ideas on how to restore dolls hair to like new condition. ie Barbie dolls. My daughters dolls all have frizzy dry hair. Don’t know what to use on it to condition it without leaving it oily & smelling unpleasant.

Also on Facebook, Nina Bianchi’s Repository of objects reminded Richard Freeberg of something a little closer to home:

Kinda sounds like my barn…

Shadyman is interested in Funky-fresh 3D printing on an old HP 540:

Interesting. You could do fairly nice-sized objects depending on the width of the printhead… It could sure use some kind of stepper motor to raise/lower the platform though, and maybe a little arm to spread the powder. I’m awfully tempted to try it with this old printer of mine, if I’m not making a D2G rig out of it…

Did you know that you can leave comments on MAKE magazine articles? WayneZ suggested an improvement for the The Most Useless Machine, featured in the latest issue:

I’ve seen several versions of these machines, and I truly love the concept. But the purist in me still hasn’t seen one that quite does what it’s supposed to do.

As the article mentions, some actually use some current while waiting to be turned on, and so aren’t really off. This version addresses that problem, which is nice, and certainly comes closer to the ideal.

But it still uses a little sleight of hand, because the switch it appears to e using to turn itself off isn’t really turning itself off – an internal momentary switch does that and is held in the off position by the arm.

Of course, the challenge if it really did turn itself off at the outside switch is getting the arm to retract. So I have to wonder: Why doesn’t anybody design a circuit that includes a capacitor? Before turning itself off, it would charge the capacitor. Then it would move the arm up and turn itself off. Using the charge from the capacitor, the arm could then be moved back down into the box. Any “warm-up” delay needed to fully charge the capacitor before movement begins would actually add to the mystery because people aren’t used to a delay when they turn on a motor. In fact, the longer the delay (within reason) the better. A random amount of delay would be icing on the cake.

Scobu was inspired to try some Club Mate hacking:

God save me I’m going to try doing this tomorrow

Finally, on Twitter, Sector67 solves the debate about kids in hackerspaces, once and for all:

Do kids have a place in hackerspaces? @MAKE Magazine wants to know. We say only if they bring LEGOS!

Like these comments? Be sure to sound off in the comments! You could be in next week’s column.

Photo above is Bike Tools by Florian.

2 thoughts on “Your Comments

  1. Dug North says:

    Love for The Most Useless Machine continues! I created one of my own with a few modifications. Instead of a simple wooden box, I used a decorative miniature trunk. Rather than the pusher coming out of the top of the box, I oriented mine to open the chest and come out of the front. Finally, I replaced the simple pusher with a small human-like arm that I carved from basswood. The fist comes out and assertively punches the switch.

    A video of my version of The Most Useless Machine can be seen at:

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 30% off early bird ticket sales ends August 31st, 2023!

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

Prices Increase in....