Make: 69 — Space Geek

There’s never been a better time to be an amateur space explorer! From high school programs designed to send real student-led experiments to the International Space Station, to building a working VTVL (vertical take off, vertical landing) model rocket like the one from SpaceX, this issue is packed full of projects with actual space applications. And if a space aesthetic is more to your liking for your earthly abode, we’ve got a giant light-up full moon to hang on your wall and desktop orreries to simulate the movement of the planets around the sun.

Plus 38 more great projects:

  • Program a bot that points to the ISS when overhead
  • Learn to laser-cut EVA foam to customize any cosplay creation
  • Build a light-up acrylic rainbow that changes colors to tell the weather
  • Make a cardboard camera that uses sun prints for film
  • And much more!

On the Cover: NASA’s Astrobee robots are ISS-bound semi-autonomous helpers that students can access and control on the space station, as part of the Zero Robotics competition.

Table of Contents


Reader Input

Notes from readers like you.Page 05

Welcome: 15 Years of Make:

Make: Founder Dale Dougherty reflects on the impact makers have had over the last 15 years.Page 06

Made on Earth

Backyard builds from around the globe.Page 08


Sin City Cleans Up

Seven years in, the Downtown Las Vegas project — and a bevy of makers — have transformed a forgotten part of the city. Page 14

Fur Sale

How an Exploding Kittens vending machine sparked convention joy, one random item at a time. Page 18

Around the World

No matter where you are, there’s a Maker Faire happening near you. Page 22

Special Section: Space Geek

Space Geek

With so many incredible opportunities — amateur and pro — there’s no better time to build something for space.Page 24

Fly Like SpaceX

Build your own thrust-vectored model rockets and learn the same tricks as Elon — even vertical landings!Page 30

Imagination Exploration

Bring the cosmos closer with these space-themed projects.Page 36

Lunar Mission

No power tools necessary to make this impressive, giant backlit moon.Page 38

Where in the World Is the ISS??

Build your own gadgets to locate humanity’s only space outpost as it hurtles overhead.Page 40

Build an Easy ISS Notifier

Fly an astronaut flag every time the space station passes over your home.Page 42

Galactic Gears

A multitude of materials lend themselves to creating orreries — mechanical models of the planets.Page 43

Experimental Thinking wants to make it easy for kids everywhere to access science in space.Page 44

Habitats for Humanity

The Martian bases of the future may be made from 3D printed dirt and ice.Page 48

Bioinspired Bots

Many NASA-funded soft robotic rover concepts evoke living creatures.Page 50

Skill Builder

Cosmic Cosplay

Customize any costume with realistic details using laser-cut EVA foam.Page 52

Galactic Garments

Find cosplay inspiration in these space-themed fashions.Page 55


Edge-Lit Acrylic Rainbow

Explore light piping and color mixing in edge-lit acrylic with this fun LED weather display.Page 56

DIY Cyanotype Camera

Use blue “sun print” paper to take unique UV photos with a cardboard camera.Page 62

Sat-Dish Bird Bath

Upcycle a TV satellite dish and give back to nature.Page 69

DIY Kaleidoscope Fabric

Use this easy app to create your own custom fabric prints from images.Page 70

The GoonieBox

How one maker built an intriguing, interactive puzzle table inspired by the cult classic movie.Page 72



Gear up with reviews of the latest tools and kits for makers.Page 76

Show & Tell

Show & Tell

Dazzling projects from our inventive readers.Page 80