MAKE 31: Punk Science

The maker movement is making science exciting again. Forget the lame baking soda “volcanoes” and the zillion-dollar supercolliders — just as punk rock took music back from the supergroups and big studios, “punk scientists” are making inexpensive new tools to conduct real experiments in garages, schools, and hackerspaces. In MAKE Volume 31, you’ll learn how to make DIY laboratory equipment (even a scanning electron microscope!), create high-voltage sparks from falling water, control a cockroach electronically, get started in biotech, and see how individuals and schools are networking their data for real scientific discoveries. Plus: Get started with multicopters or servo controllers, and build an automatic dog ball launcher, great-sounding speakers with flashing LEDs, a classic folding-wing Rocket Glider (a new MAKE kit), an iPad music desk, a levitating solar Mendocino Motor, and much more.

Table of Contents



Three test tubes and the truth. By Gareth BranwynPage 11

Reader Input

Automation UPStart, bacteria battery, stone grinding.Page 12

Maker’s Calendar

Events from around the world.Page 15

Making Makers

Failure only happens when you give up. Page 17

Making Trouble

The year of cheap robots. Page 27

What’s Cool in Arduino

Meet the Arduino Leonardo.Page 29

Special Section

Anarchy in the Laboratory

Real science happens everywhere.Page 36

Rules for Successful Citizen Science

Ariel Levi SimonsPage 38

Lord Kelvin’s Thunderstorm

Create high-voltage sparks from falling water.Page 45

Building Living Machines

A kitchen-table biotech company is born.Page 50

Drive-By Science

The evolution of Safecast’s bGeigie radiation logger. Page 52


Creating your very own cockroach cyborgs.Page 61

Mendocino Motor

Make a solar-powered, magnetically levitating electric motor that turns photons into motion.Page 64

26 Hacks in 48 Hours

The creative explosion of Science Hack Day.Page 70

Renegade Researchers

Lego bone-tissue maker, Chinese meat monitors, and more.Page 74


Sound-O-Light Speakers

Surprisingly simple, these clear PVC pipe speakers are shining performers.Page 80

Rocket Glider

The classic toy, remade. It rockets up, then glides back down!Page 88


Build your own automatic tennis ball launcher for dogs.Page 98


Page 112


iPad music dock.Page 118


Arduino film processor.Page 123


Multicopters explained.Page 128


True mirror; auditory illusions.Page 134


Made on Earth

Snapshots from the world of backyard technology.Page 18

Blissful Bedrooms

DIYers team up to create cool rooms for disabled kids. Page 34

1+2+3: World’s Cheapest Monopod

Page 111

Build Notes: Rocketship Treehouse

Learn about the joy of making with this 15-foot backyard rocket.Page 144

Country Scientist

Transform objects into sounds with the optical PunkPAC.Page 152

1+2+3: Trash Can Composter

I like to pick things out of trash cans and reuse castaway items. Here, I repurpose the trash can itself...Page 155

Howtoons: Small Step for Man

Page 156

Electronics: Fun and Fundamentals

Ching Thing.Page 158


A classic drill, the latest in nail guns, a mom-and-pop shop, and the synthesizer experience.Page 162

Remaking History

Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg hemispheres.Page 170

Toy Inventor’s Notebook

Breadboard bots.Page 172

Homebrew: My 50-Acre Wi-Fi Network

Page 176