Make: 68 — Pick Your Brain

In this issue of Make: we break down the latest trends in the world of microcontrollers and single board computers with the latest from Arduino, Google, Particle, and more. You’ll also learn how FPGAs will change the way you prototype with our skill builder on using these ultra-configurable devices. And don’t miss the 2019 edition of the “Make: Guide to Boards” special pullout — compare specs for more than 70 boards to find the perfect one for any endeavor!

On the Cover: A new crop of dev boards provide options for makers.

Table of Contents

Special Section: 2019 Board Guide

Tech Trends

Microcontrollers and single board computers get specialized as they grow up.Page 16

State of Arduino

The Italian boardmakers get serious about FPGA and IoT.Page 20

Meet Arduino's First FPGA

The Vidor 4000 combines the performance and flexibility of an FPGA with Arduino's ease-of- use in a small MKR form factor.Page 22

Doubling Down

Google's AIY endeavor leads to a brand new, self-contained board.Page 24

Prop Up Your Project

Add some easy effects with these super specialized expansion boards.Page 28

Prototyping Boards

Use this simple diagram to pick a board for your next project.Page 29

A Brief History of FPGA

Get up to speed on using these advanced boards for hobby projects and more.Page 30

Mini Mac

Print a minute Macintosh SE and stuff a HalloWing inside for retro nostalgia.Page 32

Connecting the Dots

How — and why — Particle developed a mesh-networkable line of microcontrollers.Page 34

DIY Swarmbots!

Build a mesh-networked mob of R/C cars with Particle.Page 36


Reader Input

Notes from readers like you.Page 05

Made on Earth

Backyard builds from around the globe.Page 06


Outsized Upcycling

The Monterey Bay Aquarium teamed up with artists to create a life-sized blue whale out of recycled single-use plastic.Page 12


Construct a Maslow CNC

Build the unique, upright CNC router that cuts full 4'-8' sheets but takes little floor space.Page 42

Build a Rescue Box

Help save lives at your beach or swimming hole - make a tamper-proof box for throwable "Rescue Sticks".Page 48

Amateur Scientist: Ionizing Radiation

Measure the background radiation in your environment with a Geiger counter.Page 56

Sun-Fueled Fun

Solar panels + bilge pump = nonstop running water for boats, castles, and water fights!Page 60

Scrappy Circuits

Hack dollar-store tea lights to make affordable electronics modules for learning.Page 64

Garden Gizmos

3D-print these gadgets to upgrade your green space.Page 66

Reproducible Ring

How one maker designed a custom 3D printed, robot-themed engagement ring.Page 68

Sound Blink

A unique DIY portable speaker and LED light show.Page 70

Skill Builder

Animation Exploration

Learn your way around the micro bit by creating moving displays of cutting scissors and exploding fireworks.Page 72



Gear up with reviews of the latest tools and kits for makers.Page 78

Show & Tell

Show & Tell

Dazzling projects from our inventive readers.Page 80