Make: 82 – We’re All MacGyvers Now

Responding effectively to emergencies, from short power outages on up to natural disasters lasting weeks or months, is almost always a result of preparation. With a little forethought, know-how, and advance planning, makers with a DIY and community mindset are fantastically positioned to help themselves and others in extreme situations.

In this issue of Make:, get a crash course in emergency prep with our HUGE maker’s survival guide filled with projects and resources that you can get started with today. Next, MacGyver creator Lee Zlotoff explains how a maker mindset can help you manage when a crisis seems overwhelming. Get an overview of how the growing Internet of Production helps communities respond faster and cheaper to disasters with locally-sourced resources and rapid manufacturing. Then, build a solar-powered lamp out of a soda bottle that’s both decorative and resourceful. And, learn how to “nuke-proof” your ride from EMPs with superfast surge suppression. 

Plus, 55 projects, including:

  • Build a light-up kaleidoscope using wireless LEDs
  • Make an easy solar-powered phone charger
  • Twist bamboo to make a Japanese shiorido garden gate
  • Make a weather station using battery-free perpetual computing
  • Halloween projects: Smoking skull mask, edible eyeballs, spooky costumes, and more!

On the cover: Shradha Piri delights in the light of the Solar Bottle Lamp, in Baripada, Odisha, India. Build it on page 44. Photo and project by her uncle, Debasish Dutta. Additional photos by Mike Warren and Adobe Stock-Lumos sp

Table of Contents


From the Editor’s Desk

Notes and news from around the Make: world. Page 06

Welcome: Who You Gonna Call

In an emergency or disaster, a preestablished network of neighbors can be more responsive than 911. Page 07

Made on Earth

Backyard builds from around the globe. Page 08


A Crack in the Hourglass

A maker family in lockdown helps to engineer a memorial Covid artwork. Page 14

Special Section

Emergency Prep!

How makers can prepare for the unexpected, with DIY power and radio projects, food storage and water purification, emergency kits, and more. Page 22

DIY Solar Bottle Lamp

Reuse waste plastic bottles to make this 3D-printed solar lamp. Page 44

Nuke-Proof Your Ride

Harden vehicles against EMP blasts with superfast surge suppression. Page 50

A Modern Watchmaker

Creating a private, open source smartwatch that anyone can build, repair, and program. Page 52

Cyber Prep

Harden your digital domain against disasters and bad actors. Page 58



So shiny! Use free-floating, inductive wireless LEDs as glowing, moving elements in this mirrored acrylic kaleidoscope. Page 60

Build a Bamboo Garden Gate

Cut, join, and weave bamboo to make a beautiful Japanese shiorido tea garden gate. Page 68

Solar Power on the Move

Experiment with mini photovoltaic panels and turn your phone case into a mobile solar charger. Page 74

Song Spotter

Program a Raspberry Pi to identify 3,000 birds by sound alone, using an AI neural net. Page 81

Perpetual Battery-Free Weather Station

Batteries not included — ever! Use perpetual computing to build an energy-harvesting weather transmitter that can run CircuitPython virtually forever, despite power failures. Page 82

Custom Fabrics

Design your own fantastic fabrics and have them specially printed or woven. Page 90

Amateur Scientist: Get Barreled

Emergency water storage is an easy project. Build a 55-gallon drinking water drum. Page 94

Open Smart Security Cam

Free yourself from the corporate camera cloud with this private, motion-detecting, notification-sending Raspberry Pi/Arduino mash-up. Page 98

DIY Fingerprint Scanning Lock

Add some real biometric security to your doors and drawers, using an Arduino, a solenoid lock, and an optical fingerprint sensor. Page 104

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Mini Glowboard

Make a little light-up message board that gleams in the dark. Page 108

Halloween Hacks

En Fuego!

Add awesome smoke and fire effects to this realistic Ghost Rider — or any costume — using an e-cig and flickering flame LEDs. Page 110

1+2+3: Floating Specter

Build a 10-foot-tall spooky ghost costume and ride a Segway or hoverboard to glide through the shadows. Page 113

Edible Eyeballs

Elevate your spooky libations with these easy treats made from shiratama sweet rice flour. Page 114

Cursed Objects

Jumpstart the season with motion-sensing scare props, monster house toppers, and a bike-riding skeleton. Page 116

Skill Builder

Making Calculus With Lego

Use the venerable building bricks to intuitively learn and demonstrate key calculus concepts. Page 118

Speed Up Your 3D Prints

Change a single slicer setting to save hours on your long 3D prints. Page 122



Gear up with the latest tools and kits for makers. Page 124

The Last Word

The Humpbacks of Notre Dame

Combining science fiction and climate advocacy, this pedal-powered racer takes first place. Page 128