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DRONES T ROBOTS T VIRTUAL REALITY

Build This Micro  


FPV Quad Racer

CYBORG
& THE SINO:BIT
BRINGING OPEN SOURCE HARDWARE TO CHINA

MAKERS OF SHENZHEN
CHINA’S SILICON VALLEY
OF HARDWARE, POP. 12M
DIY
DISASTER
RELIEF
LOTS OF
PROJECTS!
DAZZLING
RAINBOW
LIGHTBOX
DOGGIE TREAT
DISPENSER
BUDGET ROBOT
RADAR
TWIRL-A-SQUIRREL
BIRD FEEDER
BIGFACE BOX
Naomi Wu LED BROOM
aka @realsexycyborg AND MORE

makezine.com | makershare.com | makerfaire.com Vol. 61 February/March 2018


learn new things
make new things

makershare.com
workshops
build your skills
Easy Electronics

How to Use a Breadboard

Capturing Your Projects

Cultivating a Maker Mindset

More coming soon...!


CONTENTS
Make: Volume 61 February/March 2018

Courtesy of Naomi Wu, Matteo Stucchi, Adam Woodworth, Hep Svadja, Rich Nelson, Nat Heckathorn, Otto DIY

30
ON THE COVER:
Naomi “SexyCyborg” Wu shows
off the sino:bit board and
its ability to display Chinese
characters.
Photo: Theodore Kaye

2 makershare.com
makezine.com/61

COLUMNS Robot-Ready Radar 56


An ultrasonic sensor and a single
Reader Input 06 servo let your bot sense its
Notes from readers like you. surroundings for less than $10.
Welcome: Culture and Kokedama String Garden 60
Creativity 07 Transform your plants into hanging
Traveling around the world, it’s clear sculptures.

08
that making transcends borders. Fat Head 62
Made on Earth 08 Supersize your noggin with a lens and a
Backyard builds from around the globe. cardboard box.
DIY Bipedal Robot 64
FEATURES Open source and customizable, Otto
can dance and avoid obstacles.
Fighting Disasters 14
Extreme circumstances require Electronics Fun &
extreme making. Fundamentals:
Reality Check 18 Ohm Sweet Ohm 66
Make VR your own with these DIY builds. Lessons learned installing custom
LED driveway lighting.
Maker ProFile: Tipping the
Scale 20 A Clean Sweep 69
Light up your broom with LEDs from a
Scott Miller’s manufacturing insights, scavenged worklight.
and Dragon Innovation’s next move.
Build a Crappy Robot 70
DRONES Not only will it be entertaining, the
process will offer valuable lessons.
3D Printed Micro FPV
Amateur Scientist:

28
Quadcopter 22
This flyweight racer is fast, first- Small-Scale Solar Power 72
person, and fearless fun to fly. Transform a 25-watt semi-flexible
panel into a practical battery charger.
Doctoring Drones 28
Let your imagination take flight with Twirl-A-Squirrel 76
toy-inspired quad builds. Mod your bird feeder to (gently) evict
furry thieves via remote control.
DIY Drone Recovery
Parachute 29 Boost Your Bubbles 82
Sensors determine if your aircraft’s in Combine helium and air to float clouds
trouble and return it safely.. of soapy water.

SHENZHEN SKILL BUILDER


STANDOUTS The Big Finish 86

46
The when, how, and why of using paste
Cyborg and the sino:bit 30 wax for wood.
Naomi Wu creates China’s first certified
Open Source Hardware project. Make the Switch 88
Turn on or off electronic relays by
Inside Edition 36 applying or removing specific voltages.
Shenzhen’s locals leverage the
region’s assets to advance its global
maker leadership. TOOLBOX
Shenzhen Goes Pro 42 Toolbox 90
Maker Faire returns to the city with a
new venue and a pro theme.
Gear up with reviews of the latest tools
and kits for makers. 60
PROJECTS
Review: Brother SE625 94 52
Color touchscreen control makes a
Rainbow Lightbox 46 great line of machines even better.
Build a color quantizer out of mylar
and scotch tape. SHOW & TELL
Text a Treat 52 Show & Tell 96
This system dispenses snacks and
sends a pic of your pooch, all via SMS.
Dazzling projects from inventive
makers like you. 64
makezine.com 3
“There is no ‘I’ in Spelling Bee.”
— InspiroBot, inspirobot.me

E XECUTIVE
CHAIRMAN & CEO CFO & COO VICE PRESIDENT
Dale Dougherty Todd Sotkiewicz Sherry Huss
dale@makermedia.com todd@makermedia.com sherry@makermedia.com

EDITORIAL DESIGN, PARTNERSHIPS BOOKS MAKER FAIRE PUBLISHED BY


PHOTOGRAPHY & ADVERTISING
E XECUTIVE EDITOR PUBLISHER E XECUTIVE PRODUCER MAKER MEDIA, INC.
& VIDEO makermedia.com/
Mike Senese contact-sales or Roger Stewart Louise Glasgow Dale Dougherty
mike@makermedia.com ART DIRECTOR partnerships@
makezine.com EDITOR PROGR AM DIRECTOR Copyright © 2017
Juliann Brown
SENIOR EDITOR
DIRECTOR OF
Patrick Di Justo Sabrina Merlo Maker Media, Inc.
Caleb Kraft PHOTO EDITOR PARTNERSHIPS &
All rights reserved.
PUBLICIST Reproduction without
caleb@makermedia.com Hep Svadja PROGR AMS
Gretchen Giles COMMERCE permission is prohibited.
EDITOR SENIOR VIDEO PRODUCER
Katie D. Kunde Printed in the USA by
PRODUCTION AND
Laurie Barton Tyler Winegarner STR ATEGIC LOGISTICS MANAGER
Schumann Printers, Inc.
MAKER SHARE
MANAGING EDITOR, DIGITAL
PARTNERSHIPS
Rob Bullington Comments may be
Cecily Benzon
Sophia Smith DIRECTOR, ONLINE OPS sent to:
MAKEZINE.COM Brigitte Mullin Clair Whitmer editor@makezine.com
PRODUCTION MANAGER ENGINEERING MANAGER
DIRECTOR OF MEDIA Visit us online:
Craig Couden Jazmine Livingston OPER ATIONS
CONTENT &
COMMUNIT Y MANAGER makezine.com
EDITORIAL INTERN WEB/PRODUCT Mara Lincoln Matthew A. Dalton Follow us:
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LE ARNING EDITOR
@make @makerfaire
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CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Keith Hammond
William Gurstelle Bill Olson google.com/+make
makemagazine
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Alicia Williams Pravisti Shrestha makemagazine


Matt Stultz makemagazine
twitch.tv/make
makemagazine
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS
Marcos Arias, Dr. Saad Biaz, Rei Theodore Kaye Manage your account
Betsuyaku, Nicole Catrett, Dr. online, including change
ONLINE CONTRIBUTORS
Richard Chapman, Larry Cotton, of address:
DC Denison, Paloma Fautley, Akiba, Halil Aksu, Gareth
makezine.com/account
Shirley Feng, Brad Halsey, Branwyn, Vivienne Byrd, Jon
866-289-8847 toll-free
Harrison Fuller, Yuji Hayashi, Christian, Chiara Cechini,
in U.S. and Canada
Lin Jie aka 00, Adam Kemp, Lit Jeremy Cook, DC Denison,
818-487-2037,
Liao, Carrie Leung, Rich Nelson, Stuart Deutsch, Wolfram Donat,
5 a.m.–5 p.m., PST
Forrest M. Mims III, Andrew Liam Grace-Flood, Brad Halsey,
cs@readerservices.
Morgan, Brookelynn Morris, Keith Hamas, Tom Igoe, Ryan
makezine.com
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Moore, Sean Michael Ragan, Julia Kinsman, Becky LeBret, Joel
Skott, Violet Su, Sarah Vitak, John Leonard, Dr. Evan Malone, Lisa
Wargo, Adam Woodworth, Naomi Martin, Goli Mohammadi, Saba
Wu, Vicky Xie, Tomofumi Yoshida Mundlay, Jacinta Plucinski, Pete
Prodoehl, Dan Schneiderman,
Christine Sunu, Phillip Torrone,
Ben Vagle, Shawn Van Every,
Sarah Vitak, Glen Whitney, Dan
Woods, Wayne Yoshida

CONTRIBUTORS

What do you do when you’re stumped on a project?

Nicole Catrett Jazmine Julia Skott Theodore Kaye Lit Liao


Rainbow Lightbox Livingston Reality Check Cover photo shoot Inside Edition
(El Cerrito, CA) Dot Journaling (Sköndal, Sweden) (Shenzhen, China) (Shenzhen, China)
Issue No. 61, February/March 2018. Make: (ISSN 1556-2336) is
published bimonthly by Maker Media, Inc. in the months of January, I try to break the Review (Oakland, CA) I will either turn to Here in Search for
March, May, July, September, and November. Maker Media is located project down into I seek advice from the internet, or to a Shenzhen, clues from the
at 1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 240, San Francisco, CA 94111. smaller parts folks not affiliated friend who knows visionary community.
SUBSCRIPTIONS: Send all subscription requests to Make:, P.O. that I can work with it to get a new what I'm talking pragmatist A diverse
Box 17046, North Hollywood, CA 91615-9588 or subscribe online at on one at a time, perspective. If about and can help Deng Xiaoping’s community is
makezine.com/offer or via phone at (866) 289-8847 (U.S. and Canada); until I have it me talk it through. maxim still always useful to
that doesn’t help,
all other countries call (818) 487-2037. Subscriptions are available licked! Sometimes things
I switch gears guides us through get suggestions,
for $34.99 for 1 year (6 issues) in the United States; in Canada: $39.99 have to go take
and do something a time out in the problematic but one should
USD; all other countries: $50.09 USD. Periodicals Postage Paid at San else. The answers stumpers: still know there
Francisco, CA, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send Angry Cupboard,
always seem to though. “cross the river won’t be perfect
address changes to Make:, P.O. Box 17046, North Hollywood, CA 91615-
come when you by feeling the answer to your
9588. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement Number 41129568.
CANADA POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Maker Media, PO Box aren’t seeking stones.” question most of
456, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6V2 them! the time.

PLEASE NOTE: Technology, the laws, and limitations imposed by manufacturers and content owners are constantly changing. Thus, some of the projects described may not work, may be inconsistent with cur-
rent laws or user agreements, or may damage or adversely affect some equipment. Your safety is your own responsibility, including proper use of equipment and safety gear, and determining whether you have
adequate skill and experience. Power tools, electricity, and other resources used for these projects are dangerous, unless used properly and with adequate precautions, including safety gear. Some illustrative
photos do not depict safety precautions or equipment, in order to show the project steps more clearly. These projects are not intended for use by children. Use of the instructions and suggestions in Make: is at
your own risk. Maker Media, Inc., disclaims all responsibility for any resulting damage, injury, or expense. It is your responsibility to make sure that your activities comply with applicable laws, including copyright.

4 makershare.com
smallmachine
BIGRESULTS
x Make Precision
Metal Projects at
Home

x Create Parts
CNC Mill on a CNC Mill
Starting at

$4950 x 120 VAC - Plug


it in Basements,
Garages

11-20-17-EPILOG-hfpg-MAKE.pdf 1 11/20/2017 4:23:29 PM


TORMACH.COM

Make_HalfPg_July_4.24.2017.indd 1 4/24/2017 12:51:41 PM


READER
INPUT

Reader Builds and


Inspired Makers
Prison Ban of the Month
» LOCATION: Pennsylvania
Department of Corrections
Reader Dave » TITLE: Make: Vol. 59
Matthews built an
awesome looking » REASON: “Information contained
“Blooming Flower on pages 46–48; 58–61 provide
Night Light” (Make: information regarding secret cabinet
Vol. 59, page 62)
for his friend David locks and DIY thermal imager kits.”
Holmes and family
as a housewarming
gift. Great job!

pennsylvania
DE?ARTMEr�T OF CORREC
TION',,

To: Maker Media, Inc.


1700 Montgomery
St., Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 9411
1
From: Office of Policy, Grant
s & Legislative Affair
Pennsylvania Departmen s
t of Corrections
1920 Technology Parkw
ay

HURRICANE STRAIN RELIEF


Mechanicsburg, PA
your rediscovery of the inspiration that can
17050
Date: September 26, 2017

I’ve being a subscriber for a long time, be found away from the distractions of our RE: Publication Denial

normally interested in reading “electronics- electronic devices. We’re happy to be a part Please be advised that
housed in the Penns
the following public
ylvania Department
ation has been denie
of Corrections:
d to all inmates

only” related articles. Hurricane Maria of that for you. Please let us know what you Make, v. 59, Oct/Nov
2017 - Home Hack
s

destroyed our island, affecting electricity, end up putting together!


The publication was
denied for the follow
ing reasons:
Information contained

water, communications, besides others


on pages 46-48; 58-6
regarding secret cabin 1
et locks and DIV therm provide information
al imager kits.

MEETING YOUR HEROES


If you would like to
basic things, services not available for reasons why the decis
be sent to:
appeal this decision,
you have 15 working
ion to deny the public days to set forth the
ation was erroneous.

AT MAKER FAIRE
Responses must
a long time. My apartment complex did Office of Policy, Grant
s and Legislative Affair

not allow us to install power generators, My name is Diego Chavez, I am a 16-year-


PA Department of Corre s
ctions
1920 Technology Parkw
ay
Mechanicsburg, PA
limiting my activities to mostly reading in old maker from Guatemala, and I write to
17050
ra-crdocpolicy@pa.gov
.

daylight (no cell coverage, no internet, no you to thank you. Four years ago I started To review PADOC public
ation policies, pleas
e see www.cor.pa.gov
.

cable TV). During that time, I spent many having an interest in making, and it didn’t
hours reading previous issues of Make:. take me long to get into YouTube and find
I discovered I was missing “half the fun” Kipkay’s weekend projects and many other Policy Office I 1920
Technology Parkway

reading back to those non-electronics Make: videos that helped me learn and start
I Mechanicsburg, PA
17055 I 717-728-2573
I www.pa.gov

related articles. I found that everything making my own projects. When I was 13,
correlates to the real hearth of true makers. for my birthday I asked to go to Maker Faire
David Holmes

Keep doing such an excellent magazine. Bay Area, and I can only describe it as one
I won’t miss any part of it. of the best experiences of my life. I was able
–Edgar Polanco, San Juan, Puerto Rico to see some crazy things that I never would
have imagined could be made. I was able to
Make: Executive Editor Mike Senese meet my childhood hero Adam Savage and
responds: take a picture with him right after I listened Make: Amends
Edgar, first, let us express our sincere to an amazing speech he gave. It is an In Make: Vol. 60 we forgot to credit
concerns and hopes for Puerto Rico to understatement to say that day shaped me; Rob Nance’s excellent exploded
recover as quickly and thoroughly as it gave me the motivation and the drive to diagram for “iPad Teleprompter”
possible. With that, thank you for sharing keep learning. –Diego Chavez, via email on page 84. Sorry Rob!

6 makershare.com
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WELCOME

Culture and Creativity BY MIKE SENESE, executive editor of Make: magazine

P art of my job is traveling


to Maker Faires and other
Make: events, sometimes in far-
would convene in the girls’
classroom to discuss each day’s
progress. In those meetings we
off places, where I get to meet all quickly noted that, day after
the diverse and enthusiastic day, the girls’ projects exhibited
members of our community, see creativity and quality that
the projects they’re making, and exceeded that of the boys’ — in
help share their stories. spite of (or perhaps due to) the
Last year I had two big trips: limitations placed on them.
the first to Maker Faire Kuwait, The highlight of the trip
which proudly hosted a large was Sarah Dosary, one of the
number of women engineers facilitators, inviting us to her
as exhibitors, something I women-only makerspace,
documented in Make: Vol. 58 TekSpacy. We drove across
(“Standing Out,” page 18). The Riyadh in the heat of the
second was a 12-day trip to afternoon sun to get to her
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the first pristine, cozy shop, fully equipped
segment of a 3-week maker- with 3D printers, laser and CNC
education summer camp at cutters, design tools, and more.
industrial conglomerate Sabic, She explained that women could
This rotating cardboard shawarma automata is a for which we designed and ran work there without their niqabs
student project from the first week of the Sabic camp. the curriculum. and abayas, focusing on making
I embarked on that trip with projects and starting businesses.
a lot of curiosity and a little It stood in stark contrast to what
trepidation. What I found there we hear about how women in
was, in many ways, not unlike Saudi Arabia live. While unable
most other places I’ve been to drive cars and requiring a
— the hosts were great, the male escort for many day-to-day
locals were welcoming, and activities, here women could
the facilitators we worked with, work with business incubators to
recent grads from Saudi Arabia start companies and help other
and the surrounding countries, women do the same. Within the
were a warm and open group, confines of the Saudi society,
instantly bonding and quickly Sarah had found a way to express
grasping the content. herself, not unlike the girls in the
As is customary in Saudi class she was helping facilitate.
Arabia, the program had the In this issue, I’m excited for our
boys’ and girls’ groups divided spotlight on the women shaping
and placed into two different Shenzhen. There are makers like
parts of the facility, with them and Sarah all over — we
facilitators of the same gender, would love to learn about them
and a strict rule that the men all and share their stories, as
couldn’t enter the women’s side we aim to better promote the
Mike Senese

whatsoever while the students great diversity of our community.


were present. However, after Please send any suggestions my
Sarah Dosary shows off TekSpacy’s the students left, the facilitators way: mike@makermedia.com.
collection of Make: magazines.

makezine.com 7
MADE Backyard builds from around the globe
Know a project that would be perfect for Made on Earth?

ON EARTH
Let us know: makezine.com/contribute

08 makershare.com
SWEET
SCENES
INSTAGRAM.COM/IDOLCIDIGULLIVER
When your mom told you not to play with
your food, she’d clearly never heard of
I Dolci di Gulliver. I Dolci di Gulliver
(Gulliver’s Sweets) is the magical project of
Italian pastry chef Matteo Stucchi.
Stucchi’s special ingredient is a heaping
spoonful of whimsy and imagination.
Each dessert is part of a miniature scene.
The people in his tiny imaginary land of
Lilliput farm in croissants, ride in cotton
candy hot air balloons, and paint layers of
fruit onto a popsicle. His first shot, taken
in July 2016, features three miniature
whitewater rafters riding a chocolatey
wave out of a molten lava cake. “Who has
never dreamed of being able to raft in a
chocolate river? Sometimes dreams can
become reality,” reads the caption. Most of
the miniatures are purchased at a special
store, but many of the larger objects
Stucchi makes himself.
It usually takes Stucchi two or three
hours to make the dessert, set the scene,
and take the shot. Afterward, he gets to
enjoy eating the sweets with his family. He
finds inspiration in the dessert itself. “It
suggests the idea because of its shape or
preparation,” he explains.
One of the most beautiful aspects of his
work is the way Stucchi creates a sense
of motion and activity in all of his scenes.
Some capture suspended fruit flying
through the air, or depict the middle of
an explosive rocket launch. Others catch
milk being spilled or powdered sugar
being dumped. He tries to add surprising
elements to each of his creations. Many of
his pieces tell a comical story about how
the people in Lilliput make these giant
confections. “If you have fun creating each
photo then you will also be able to excite. It
Matteo Stucchi

fills me with joy to know that my creations


excite those who watch them, it means that
I have reached the goal.” —Sarah Vitak

makezine.com 09
MADE ON EARTH

10 makershare.com
THEUNCOMFORTABLE.COM

DYSFUNCTIONAL DESIGNS
Good design is often taken for
granted — it’s the terribly designed
products that call attention
to themselves. Athens-based
architect and artist Katerina
Kamprani takes this a step further.
Since 2011, she’s been designing
household objects that are
ingeniously awful.
For each piece, Kamprani
chooses a well-known, simple
object, and analyzes it, searching
for ways to “sabotage simple steps
in the interaction with it.” When
she finds an idea that makes
her laugh, she models it in a 3D
program. It wasn’t until much
later, when she was invited to do a
solo exhibition at the 2017 Zagreb
Design Week, that she figured she
ought to build physical prototypes.
She 3D printed resin parts, carved
wax for lost wax casting, sculpted
clay, and collaborated with other
craftspeople in order to bring her
different prototypes to life.
After 10 years of working as an
architect, Kamprani wanted to pivot
to a more “playful” career, so she
embarked on a graduate program
in industrial design. Kamprani
never finished the program. “After
that,” she says, “I had several other
failures in my effort to change my
career and quit architecture. It was
only when I stopped trying and
relaxed into the idea that my job
is not my artistic playground that
I started my own personal project
in a very organic way. It does hurt
to fail, but it also brings you closer
to what suits your needs better — I
needed to design for fun!”
Kamprani recently made an
uncomfortable table for a group
exhibition in Athens. The project
happened organically, so she’s not
sure where it will lead her next,
Katerina Kamprani

but she’s thinking about producing


objects for sale, putting them in a
book, or doing creative activities
with kids. —Sophia Smith

makezine.com 11
MADE ON EARTH

TREMENDOUS
TROUSERS
PETERCOFFINSTUDIO.COM
The 450-year-old Wånas Castle, nestled
in southern Sweden, is now home to an
international contemporary sculpture park that
has showcased artists such as Yoko Ono, Jenny
Holzer, and Marina Abramovic. Brooklyn-based
artist Peter Coffin exhibited an art installation
there in 2007 that indirectly led him to create his
Untitled (Tree Pants) series.
Coffin says he doesn’t take his art too seriously,
and that the project actually started as a joke
while he was preparing to install some large-
scale artworks at Wånas. “I found a giant pair
of pants,” he explains matter-of-factly, “and I
decided to put them on a tree.” Coffin let people
discover it, and the denim-clad tree had such
a positive reception that the Wånas sculpture
park asked him to install more in the woods
surrounding the castle. He dressed a dozen trees,
tucked away for people to seek out. “For some
people it became a fun experience to find them
all,” he says.
To place them, Coffin cut the seams and sewed
the pants around the trees directly. He used a
boom lift to get as high as 70 feet off the ground in
order to do the installations. Levi Strauss sent him
additional denim for the project, and Coffin worked
with professional seamsters to sew the pants on.
Since the original series was completed, some
of the pants have been reinstalled by collectors
all over the world, in California, Brazil, France,
Germany, and elsewhere.
So why pants? Coffin says, “It sheds light on
the funny habit we have of personifying inanimate
Peter Coffin

things — it’s sort of our way of relating to things …


and that tells us a little bit about ourselves.”
—Sophia Smith

12 makershare.com
A MARVELOUS MIX HOLMESYLOGIC.CO.UK
MAKERSHARE.COM/PROJECTS/WALKMAN-COFFEE-TABLE

Matt Holmes fell in love with the design supersize the Walkman. ultimately faster and higher quality than
for the Walkman after watching Star-Lord “I found some very good reference making them by hand.
dance with the portable cassette player in pictures online, which together with a few Holmes admits that the hardest part was
the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Before he assumptions allowed me to draw up some painting the table to look like a Walkman.
even finished watching the film, Holmes simple plans,” Holmes said. “Personally, I “The biggest issue I had was getting an
knew that he needed to have one. “After tend not to think the whole build through acceptable finish on the paintwork. Spraying
some fruitless searches on eBay and the before I begin. I like to have a rough idea of such a large item with spray cans meant
like, I discovered how much they actually my general plan of attack and then figure it it was hard to not have streaks in the final
cost,” Holmes said. “Once I’d recovered out as I go.” finish,” he says.
consciousness, I resolved to build my own.” The main body of the table is made from Although he’s currently satisfied with
He made a couple of models, but still medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Holmes it, Holmes says he’s not completely done
didn’t feel like he was truly finished. He cut the Walkman’s door with a thin jigsaw with the table. He’d like to give it the ability
knew the concept of the Walkman could blade and made the giant cassette tape with to play music, either via Bluetooth or by
Matt Holmes

be expanded upon, but how? As fate would a combination of laser-cut MDF and clear installing a vinyl record player inside.
have it, Holmes’ new apartment was in acrylic. The volume sliders, mic grille, and —Jordan Ramée
dire need of a coffee table, so he decided to other small parts are 3D printed, which was

makezine.com 13
FEATURES Fighting Disasters

14 makershare.com
makezine.com/61

FIGHTING DISASTERS
Written by Brad Halsey
dropped out of the sky right
over the airport was that the
iterative, moves fast, and gets
intertwined quickly.
insurgency had been shooting
down aircraft. The sketchy plane ROLL IN IT
The extreme I was crammed into belonged to As I ran around Iraq trying to

circumstances a small commercial outfit that


found a niche market getting
help as the Army’s “embedded
geek” it became very
surrounding non-military personnel into
Iraq. Because they didn’t have
apparent to me that in order
to successfully problem solve
humanitarian access to all of the fancy missile with making on-the-ground

relief require countermeasures they would


just spiral straight down to the
technology solutions I needed to
immerse myself in the world of
extreme making
FEMA/K.C. Wilsey

airfield from a height known to the soldier. I went on missions


be out of the range of insurgent to witness the issues firsthand.
missiles. Fastest (and most gut- I saw the existing tech and
wrenching) airport approach infrastructure they had to work
ever — and a great example of with and used that as a starting
BRAD HALSEY problem solving. point. I felt the odd juxtaposition
is the CEO From that moment in Iraq of terror and monotony as they
of Building
to my recent disaster relief did and rolled in all of it — the
Momentum. He
loves problem endeavors in the Caribbean, I sweat, dirt, fear, unknown,
solving in began formulating and refining sweltering port-a-potties, and
disaster/conflict zones, thrives on the process for humanitarian existing equipment — to help
teaching people how to make, is a
problem solving and making. It frame the problem’s faced.
musician turned chemist turned
maker, and is constantly in awe of is an approach I am comfortable Disaster response is no
his wife and three kids. with, and one that is being different in approach. The
pioneered by Field Ready enemy is less resolved but

THE
first thing the worldwide, allowing me to potentially no less dangerous.
Field Ready develop a rough and totally The problems can be blurrier.
team, a nonprofit non-comprehensive loose set The immense destruction is
humanitarian organization, saw of guidelines that might help overwhelming and finding a
when we got off the plane in St. others peel the orange. starting point is seemingly
Thomas this past October was These guidelines were impossible. But, again, at
the utter devastation left behind initially born from my time some point you just jam your
by two Category 5 hurricanes. creating solutions to problems thumb into it. You get off the
The problem was almost too big in a conflict zone. The airplane and find a place/
to comprehend. How does the similarities between man-made group/organization that is doing
NGO I volunteer with even begin and so-called natural disasters something related to building or
to dig in and make a difference? are striking. Turns out, there making solutions and jump in.
Well, sort of like peeling an are really only three things you Recently, in the Caribbean,
orange, you just jam your thumb need to do to successfully effect the Field Ready team found a
in and get after it. change in these areas: local workshop (My Brother’s
I learned to do this in an Workshop in St. Thomas) that
extreme place. Corkscrewing 1. Roll in it. was trying to repair roofs on a
in a dilapidated ex-Soviet prop 2. Make it/break it. few houses among other things.
plane from 20,000 feet straight 3. Deliver. Fast. We jumped in to assist and
down into Baghdad was my interact with the community
first, albeit terrifying, glimpse of Although I listed these things and their problems. We rolled in
how problem solving is almost in order, reality dictates they it. And that led to identification
entirely about understanding happen somewhat concurrently. of other problems — and then
the situation. The reason we At a minimum this process is projects — that we could make

makezine.com 15
FEATURES Fighting Disasters

and deliver. This all occurred in


the first 24 hours on the island
and generated the momentum
to create several tech solutions
during my week there.
Immersion must be with
eyes and ears open and
brain firing, but also mouth
moving. Communicating
ideas and the understanding
of the problem to others —
whether they are soldiers,
disaster victims, or colleagues
— concisely and frequently
helps in the rapid prototyping
Aerial views of hurricane damage in St. Thomas process, even if the prototype
is designed, developed,
tested, and subsequently
killed all in your head.
Not everyone can go to
conflict/disaster zones,
nor does everyone need to.
Problems and solutions can be
worked at home as long as the
environment can be simulated
and understood as much as
logistically and feasibly possible.
Losing sight (i.e. immersive
understanding) of what is

Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA, FEMA/Sadie Bynum, Michael Rieger/FEMA, FEMA/K.C. Wilsey, FEMA/Casey Deshong
helpful to the person operating
the technology results in cool
gadgets that won’t get used (e.g.
Google Glass).
An anecdote of this exact
myopia involved an Army project
that was initially designed to
help the overtasked electrical
system of the brand-new
armored vehicles that were
Workers install a temporary roof on a An American flag flies high over burned being shipped to Iraq and
hurricane damaged home in St. Thomas homes in the Waldo Canyon Fire
Afghanistan. As soldiers needed
more tech on missions the
demand for vehicle power
skyrocketed. Brownouts and
even blackouts in vehicles were
becoming common. The Army
decided to rapidly prototype an
improved power distribution
system that could augment the
strained infrastructure of each
vehicle. But as development
time wore on people added
more capabilities, more
St. Thomas features, more improvements,
residents and more scope-creep. Fast
clearing drains Tsunami damage in
to stop flooding American Samoa forward to the end, to the

16 makershare.com
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dismay of the solider, the in a dire situation.


systems were never fielded as Problems in disaster areas: Delivering quickly might
the Army optimized them to prove to be even more
death. Remember, perfect is
power (for lights, cooking, important in disaster recovery
the enemy of good, especially in refrigeration, water pumps, AC); scenarios where the population
conflict and disaster zones. clean water/fresh water; instant is already suffering, exhausted,
traffic control (ad hoc traffic lights); and feeling abandoned. Talking
MAKE IT/BREAK IT communications (when cell towers and working with survivors
Don’t roll in it for too long! are knocked out); fixing existing only becomes fruitful when
The environment is always you return the next day with
changing. The enemy is
equipment — making replacement a solution, however jury-
adapting. The food is dwindling. parts; extraction of victims (for conflict rigged. Doing so makes the
Get started making! For many and disaster zones — making litters, community feel like they
makers there is a tendency to medical equipment infrastructure, ad are a part of the rebuilding
learn as much as possible about hoc fixes for emerging problems) process even if it's through
the problem before getting to the work of someone else.
work. More information reduces This is exactly what Field
build stress and makes the Ready did in St. Thomas and
development process more to make tech solutions iteration vehicles as they passed. Our in other places ranging from
comfortable, right? Well, may be your best friend. Also, unit needed a camera solution Nepal to Syria. We were able
prepare to be uncomfortable. the people you are trying to that could see way in front to roll in and work with a
I never had the entire picture help have a high risk-tolerance. of their vehicle. A camera in great partner. Quickly finding
or all the parameters when I They are desperate for help. front could help identify these workable problems to solve,
was in the thick of it. At some You really don’t have the time pre-positioned insurgents we made useful things and
point I just made something. It to be afraid of digging in or and even possibly spot IEDs delivered them, fast.
likely sucked. I threw it out and learning a new tool, just do it. hidden around objects on The important lesson is
tried again. I would break all It’s actually kind of a luxury to the road. That’s all the info I this: all of that rolling in it and
sorts of tools and tech in the not have time to think whether had to work with but it was iterative making is for naught if
process. I have burned up whole you should or shouldn’t try enough to get started. you don’t show up quickly with
laboratories, power supplies, something … perhaps a To help solve this problem, something in hand. Not in a
furniture, computers, expensive mindset we all should adopt I worked all through the night month — tomorrow. Extreme
motors, and most power tools. more often (but that is likely the on a pan/tilt and zoom camera making demands this kind of
I have destroyed nearly every topic of another article). system that could be mounted turnaround. Because if you
piece of tech I have used at least on an already existing pole. can’t deliver quickly, the people
once. But that’s how I do it, and DELIVER. FAST. I scheduled a helicopter the in need will lose faith in your
unapologetically. I have had the privilege of next afternoon to deliver it. I ability to help them. You’ll
But really it’s about fear. Not training nearly 200 Ph.D. showed up that evening with a quickly become a marginalized
necessarily the fear of breaking scientists, engineers, crappy but workable prototype. battlefield or disaster zone
something or screwing it up, teachers, soldiers, Marines, They were astounded that I tinkerer. And that’s not cool.
but the fear of looking like a and professionals in extreme had received the email just Not all solutions can be
failure to people who need me making and I tell them that the 24 hours ago and was at their made this way, or this quickly.
to solve problems. The fear of single most important thing you doorstep, gunfire and rockets But I think elements of this
feeling like I just can’t learn the can do when making a solution aside, with … well … something rapid problem solving process
tech. I am supposed to be the for someone is to deliver it. passable as a tech solution. should be interwoven into all
professional problem solver, Show up and deliver — it’s the I installed the system at first making and creating. The world
right? And yet sometimes I single most important thing light and went out on a mission needs to see and experience
squeeze out failures (what I call you can do. I even said it twice with them that day to ensure your ideas. Life is short. Make
“tech-turds”). This can’t be how for effect. It sounds obvious but it worked. And although we something important.
extreme making is done, right? doing it is hard. And sometimes didn’t catch any insurgents or
Unfortunately — yes. That’s damn hard. IEDs (despite plenty of small
how you quickly get to the One evening in Baghdad I arms fire), I proved to them I
solution. This is probably not received an email from a unit could be counted on to deliver
a great process for learning to that was constantly taking on short notice. That trust
land a plane; with that, iteration fire and getting blown up by sprouted several iterations of
past the first time is a waste (or IEDs. The enemy would hide the camera system as well as
far worse). But when you need in alleyways and fire RPGs at other projects that helped a unit

makezine.com 17
FEATURES Virtual Reality Projects

HoloKit

REALITY
VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED
REALITY MAY FEEL LIKE THE
DOMAIN OF BIG COMPANIES
AND GAMING GIANTS, but it
should come as no surprise
that they are also playgrounds
for all sorts of DIY endeavors.

CHECK
Whatever kind of reality you
like, here are some interesting
projects to play around with.

GETTING NOWHERE FAST


Remember when virtual
reality involved some sort of
weird structure that confined
a player inside a little frame
on a moving platform? Well,
that’s still a thing — and you
can build that omnidirectional

Take VR into your own hands “treadmill” yourself, to make


gaming super-immersive.
with these DIY builds It’s definitely a big build, but
easier than a lot of other VR
Written by Julia Skott DIY. Basically, it’s a concave
octagon clad with carpet, a
support frame that can include
bungee cords crisscrossed to
keep you centered, and shoes
JULIA SKOTT with furniture carpet sliders to
is a journalist, writer, podcaster, and potter who also knits
let you glide-run in place in your
and tries to keep plants alive. She tweets in Swedish,
English, and bad puns as @juliaskott. little bowl while you chase bad
guys or gold coins or whatever

18 makershare.com
3D printed
Vive
controller Vive golf
sword club mount

Learning home improvement skills with Lowe’s new Holoroom

Polylens FreePIE controller

VR laser pistol prop HoloKit

it is you’re after. Plus some golf. Dwooder’s Vive golf club training, but it will likely be a it’s exponentially cheaper and
kind of sensor to keep track mount build (thingiverse.com/ lot more useful in the long run. probably a lot more fun.
of where you’re going. Just thing:2071035) makes clever Depending on your lifestyle.
imagine the feeling of running use of an old club handle, so VIVE LA MANO!
around in your own living you can keep your swing in line HOLO, IT’S ME HTC Vive controllers will set you
room! Details: youtube.com/ while you work the back nine. Microsoft’s HoloLens is basically back about a hundred dollars a
watch?v=oi5DU2JfRhU. augmented reality but with pop, and are still just basically
But what about other VIRTUAL TRAINING fancy mirrors to make the a stick you hold in your hand.
immersive experiences? Sword Learning by doing is usually images float in front of your (A cool stick, and with a doodad
fighting in VR may look real, but a good thing, but sometimes eyes rather than on a screen. on the end, but a stick.) Why
unless you take things into your you don’t want to learn by And those fancy mirrors not take it up a notch and build
own hands, so to speak, your messing up your new shower basically scream a challenge to a small controller that actually
Vive controller will break you or drilling into important pipes make your own, right? You can straps on to your hand and
out of even the most realistic and cords. An obvious solution find different setups online to does all the same stuff without
epic battle. For that, FredMF is to turn to a virtual room turn your phone into a personal making you hold it?
designed an ingenious 3D where you can practice without hologram projector, “help me The build,detailed at imgur.
printed sword prop controller real consequences, which is Obi Wan Kenobi”-style, without com/a/obgP6, uses FreePIE
(thingiverse.com/thing:1802871) what Lowe’s new Holoroom the multi-thousand-dollar software to merge the position
HoloKit - holokit.io, Lowe’s, Sabba Keynejad, Florian Maurer

— it even has threaded rod How To offers. In-store boxes price tag of the HoloLens. and rotation sensor data,
inside to give the right heft. let you strap on a headset and Take some inspiration from simulating an Arduino joystick
One of the harder parts of grab a controller with some Google’s Cardboard VR — make in place of the Vive controller.
VR marksmanship games is smart haptic feedback that your own from scratch using A tiny control stick sits next
keeping your hands steady while will almost have you believing craft knives and electrical to the thumb, and buttons
aiming. This adorable build from that virtual paint brush is doing tape (instructables.com/ and triggers can be placed
Gemsense combines an off-the- actual damage — that is to id/Cardboard-Hololens) or for access by relevant fingers
shelf laser pistol with a Blue say, painting. Or drilling, or buy a simple HoloKit for in a similar fashion — or
Amber Gem Board for the space performing the perfect tile job. $35 — and some, like the however you prefer and have
pistol of your dreams on Google Most people will learn better Polylens, are even sleeker the patience to program. And
Cardboard: gemsense.cool/ by getting to try something out and more sci-fi. It does take you can still type, check your
make-your-own-vr-gun. than just reading instructions. a bit of experimentation and Instagram, or do whatever else
Similarly, the right prop It may not be as cool as finagling, and most likely some you want to do, without putting
can really make a game of VR Matrix-style martial arts programming, either way, but down your controller.

makezine.com 19
FEATURES

Tipping the Scale


Scott N. Miller talks prototype to production, manufacturing insights, and Dragon Innovation’s next moves

L ong before Make:, or


Kickstarter, or Arduino,
mechanical engineer Scott N.
Miller was working on the
hardware frontier. In the late ‘90s
and early ‘00s, he led iRobot’s
Roomba technical team. He lived
in China for four years and scaled
Scot
t N. Miller the robotic floor cleaner from
functional prototype to a three
million unit production run. Miller
co-founded Dragon Innovation in
2009, which has guided over 300
companies — including
MakerBot, Pebble, Ring, and
Formlabs — through the
manufacturing process. In
August 2017, Dragon Innovation
was purchased by the technology
distributor Avnet. More recently,
Kickstarter, Avnet, and Dragon
launched Hardware Studio,
which offers a free toolkit as well
as a personalized support
program for selected groups of
Kickstarter creators.

What manufacturing terms


should Maker Pros know?
Cost, schedule, and quality.

» Cost has two components:


the cost of goods sold and
the fixed cost, which most
people forget. First-time
hardware entrepreneurs
will often take the cost of
their materials, add it up,
and say, “Okay, that’s how
much money I need.” But that
leaves out all the fixed costs:
things like tools, injection
molds, fixtures, stencils,
FCC compliance, labor,
scrap, overhead, profit for
Some of the products that Dragon Innovation has supported: the Jibo social robot (above), the factory … there’s a long
Jibo

the Pebble smartwatch (top right), and the Petnet SmartFeeder (middle and bottom right). list of unknown unknowns.

20 makershare.com
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DC DENISON is the co-editor of the Maker Pro Newsletter, which


covers the intersection of makers and business, and is the senior
editor, technology at Acquia.

» For the schedule, you must What developments are to pay a fortune, sit in week-long
know the key milestones: changing the equation for training courses, or hire people
factory selection, handover, hardware entrepreneurs? to run it.
engineering pilots, and so One encouraging trend is a
on. Then, having a rough new stack of software tools for Has anything changed between
idea of what the duration is companies building hardware. manufacturing in China versus
between each step. Make Pretty much everybody starts in the U.S.?
sure you don’t miss the by using Microsoft Excel for What we’ve seen is that there’s
Christmas season, where their Bill of Materials (BOM). more opportunity in the U.S.
so much consumer activity As companies get into higher to build lower volumes. It’s
takes place. Don’t forget the volume, they look for things relatively easy to build, and raise
Chinese New Year, when that are more capable, but money, if you’re building 100
everything comes to a stop. there’s not a lot of offerings yet. units; and it’s easy to build and
If you end up on the wrong They’re either forced to stick raise money if you’re building
side of it, you’re in trouble. with Excel or go with enterprise- 100,000 units. The hard part
level software, which is very is building from 1,000 to 5,000
» Quality is always neglected, sophisticated, and expensive, — it’s the hardware “Valley
but ultimately it can have the and difficult to learn. of Death.” I think the U.S. is
biggest impact. Everybody When we ended up putting situated to help address that.
thinks about cost first, to an enterprise-level PLM and Nobody in China is going to
figure out what their margins ERP system in at iRobot, we be interested in building 5,000
are. And then schedule. had to hire people to actually units, and it’s so much work to
Quality is fitness for use. manage it, we had to pay license find a factory and deal with the
Really understand how the fees, and maintenance. That’s language and time barriers.
customer is going to use your worth it if you’re manufacturing Whereas if you’re in Boston
product and make sure that hundreds of thousands of units, and you drive to a small factory
it’s good for that use. But but if you’re growing, that’s the in Worcester, you can sit down
there are less obvious things, last thing you want. with somebody who speaks the
like transportation testing. Is same language and say, “This
it going to survive a long trip Dragon is also working on this is what I want to build.” That
on a bumpy Chinese road, kind of software now, right? also gets rid of the 5 weeks it
and then get loaded onto a Yes, Product Planner. A few takes to ship a product across
container ship, sit in 100°F years ago, we introduced the the ocean.
heat for four weeks, and Dragon Standard BOM to give
then a flight to Miami? Then the hardware community Are there sectors that you think
there’s all sorts of abuse a professional grade BOM are overdue for Kickstarter
testings, like drop testing. template. Product Planner also projects?
uses a BOM-centric approach, People have to eat, so there’s a
So that’s the reason behind the but it’s much more than just a constant stream of revenue in
new collaboration with Avnet, spreadsheet. We’ve always said food. I love Blue Apron, but it’s a
Dragon, and Kickstarter. that we want to give our clients lot of chopping. So maybe there
Yes. The challenge of the knowledge of how to “go are ways to combine robotics
manufacturing is that the early fishing,” and Product Planner and food to create a healthy
decisions are so critical, but it’s is the fishing pole. You can have product. There are a bunch
difficult to get visibility into what tools with innate knowledge in of venture-based companies
Pebble, Petnet

you need to decide when. them that will guide you from working on that, but I haven’t
here to there, but you don’t need seen any Kickstarters.

makezine.com 21
DRONES Micro FPV Quadcopter

3D Printed
Micro FPV
Quadcopter
This flyweight racer is fast, first-person , and fearless fun to fly
Written by Adam Kemp

Hep Svadja
Hep Svadja

22 makershare.com
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TIME REQUIRED:
30–60 Minutes
COST:
$60–$80

MATERIALS
FOR THE MICRO QUADCOPTER:
» 3D printed parts: frame (1) and
control box (1) Download the 3D
models free from thingiverse.com/
thing:2037157.
» Motors, 19000KV, 6mm×15mm:
clockwise (2) and counterclockwise
(2) Get the 4-pack from Crazepony,
Amazon #B01N9ETA9Z amazon.com.
» Propellers, 31mm diameter,
0.8mm mount: CW (2) and CCW
(2) Crazepony 8-pack, Amazon
#B01MZ3UZGQ
A
» Camera, AIO type with canopy,
5.8GHz transmitter Amazon
#B01LYAW6S6
» Battery, LiPo, 3.7V 150mAh for E010
or H36 copter, such as Banggood
#1075947, banggood.com
» Screws, M1.2×3mm self tapping (4)
Amazon #B01M1CI4PA
» Rubber bands, ~1cm diameter (2) or
hair elastics B C
» Receiver, 6-channel PPM, FlySky

A
FSI6-RX compatible I used the Usmile
Tiny 6CH, Amazon #B01MXH8XQ1. lot has changed since I began building commercial micro quads is its low weight,
» Flight controller, Eachine Tiny F3 radio-controlled models as a kid. <25g, and its ability to be repaired at home
Brushed Banggood #1087648
» Cable tie, 1/8", 18lb strength
I started with a small wooden boat kit for very little cost. It takes only 45 minutes
aka zip tie propelled by a Cox 0.49 motor, steered with for my printer to make new parts (Figure
» Power connector, male JST-PH jack a single servo, and controlled with a terrible B ), so I always have a few extra on hand
Banggood #1147298
» Wire wrapping wire, 30 gauge,
AM radio. The range was very limited and for when a stunt goes bad or a tree gets
insulated the boat was slow, but man, I was hooked. in the way. Start this project by visiting my
ALSO NEEDED: Fast-forward to today and the changes Thingiverse page and downloading the
» FPV goggles, 5.8GHz are staggering. The advent of MEMS latest files for the frame and control box.
» R/C transmitter, FlySky-compatible
6+ channel sensors and autopilots for inertial sensing Print using the following settings:
and stability control, high-efficiency Plastic Type PLA or ABS, other plastics are untested
TOOLS motors, and multi-channel digital radios Layer Height 0.1mm
» 3D printer, fused filament type with receivers no larger than a penny have
(optional) You can print the parts Infill No less than 50%
yourself, or send the 3D files to a service enabled us to construct R/C vehicles that Support Touching build plate
for printing. See makezine.com/where- once we could only imagine. Brim No, unless you have adhesion issues
to-get-digital-fabrication-tool-access
to find a printer or service you can use. While the tiny quadcopter I’ll show you
» Soldering iron adjustable temperature how to build is not the most expensive, or I’ve had a lot of success printing frames out
recommended complicated, and some may even scoff of PLA. It is slightly more rigid than ABS,
» Solder, rosin core
at its lack of brushless motors, it is by far which is good for stability, but unfortunately
» Snips or flush cutters, small
» Wire strippers, 30 gauge ideal the most fun flying experience I have ever it is more brittle. I have also attempted to
» Screwdriver, #1 Phillips had. The moment you power up this quad use Tough Resin in an SLA-type printer,
» Hobby knife and don your goggles, you step into the but achieved poor results as the wall
» Tape, double-sided foam squares cockpit of an acrobatic flying machine. thicknesses of the frame are very thin and
The experience is straight out of science tend to warp while printing.
ADAM KEMP teaches fiction yet the world you are flying through Once your print is complete, remove the
high school engineering is completely real and feels 10x larger parts from the build plate and use your
and co-chairs the
Science, Technology, than life. So, gather all the parts you need snips and hobby knife to clean up any excess
Engineering, Art, and (Figure A ), a FlySky-compatible 6+ channel plastic and supports.
Mathematics department transmitter, and a pair of 5.8GHz FPV
at the Princeton International School goggles, and let’s get started! 2. ASSEMBLE THE ELECTRONICS
of Mathematics and Science. His book
Adam Kemp

The Makerspace Workbench has served Cut, strip, and solder three 2cm lengths of
as a resource for thousands. Get it at 1. BUILD THE FRAME wire-wrap wire to the receiver’s +5V power,
makershed.com. The advantage of this project over GND, and PPM pads (Figure C ). Depending

makezine.com 23
DRONES Micro FPV Quadcopter

D F

on the tiny FlySky receiver you purchase,


it may or may not have a Bind button. If
it doesn’t, you can bind to the receiver by
temporarily connecting a forth wire between
the Bind and GND pads during power up. I
successfully used a breadboard jumper wire
G to bind mine without soldering.
Strip 1mm from the three free ends of
the wires on your receiver and solder them
to the corresponding pads on the bottom
of the flight controller (Figure D ). Follow
the drawing found on the webpage for
Banggood part #1087648 to make sure you
solder to the correct pads (PPM to RX2, +5V
H to +5V, GND to GND).
Install the receiver and flight controller
(Figure E ) into the control box by first gently
pressing the receiver in place so that the
surface mount electronics face the bottom
of the box and the antenna slides into the
notch. Fold the wires neatly between the
two devices and gently press in the flight
I controller (Figure F ). There should now be
enough room on the bottom of the control
box to access the Bind button/pad.
Gather your motors and carefully twist
the motor wires together (Figure G ). This
helps reduce EMF interference and prevents
the wires from getting caught during flight.
If your motors came equipped with micro
JST connectors, cut them off close to the
connector and strip about 1mm of insulation
from the end before soldering.
Adam Kemp

Tin the ends of the motor wires and


solder them to the flight controller exactly
J K as shown in Figure H . It’s important

24 makershare.com
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N O

that you follow the color order as this battery to the quad. The blue Bind light
If you get a “Failed to open COM port”
dictates the direction the motor will spin. should illuminate and stay lit. You can now error using Windows, try opening and
Two of the motors are designed to rotate bind it to your radio. closing the port using a secondary
clockwise (blue/red, motors 1 and 4) and Double-check that binding was program like Arduino.
two counterclockwise (black/white, motors successful by powering off your quadcopter,
2 and 3). followed by your radio, then turn on your Press the Connect button and you’ll be
Strip, tin, and solder the battery radio and then the quadcopter. The blue presented with the Setup screen (Figure
cable to the flight controller (Figure I ), light on the receiver should start flashing, N ). Here you can verify that your flight

carefully following the polarity markings: indicating a successful bind. Power down controller is operating correctly by moving
red wire (positive) to the VCC pad, black your radio and quadcopter and get your your quadcopter around and watching
wire (ground) to GND. There isn’t circuit computer fired up! the visualization respond accordingly.
protection at the battery input, so you will Place your quadcopter on a level surface
likely burn out the flight controller if you 5. CONFIGURE THE FLIGHT and press the Calibrate Accelerometer
connect the battery backward. SOFTWARE button. This process usually takes about 15
Cleanflight is free, open source flight seconds. Do not touch the quadcopter while
3. ASSEMBLE THE COPTER controller software (github.com/cleanflight) it calibrates. It will complete when the Pitch
Install the control box assembly into the for multirotors and fixed-wing planes. Here’s and Roll readings stabilize near 0°.
frame with two M1.2 screws and gently how to set it up for your tiny quadcopter. Select the Ports tab to configure your
install the motors in their corresponding Using Google Chrome, visit the Chrome ports (Figure O ). Make sure that both
mounts. Web Store and install the Cleanflight UART1 and USB VCP are set to 115200
Secure the flight controller and motor Configurator. I installed version 2.1.0 at the baud and all other settings are disabled.
wires in place using a rubber band or hair time of this writing (Figure L ). Press the Save and Reboot button and
elastic attached to the tabs located at the Plug in the flight controller using reconnect your quadcopter if it doesn’t do
bottom of the control box (Figure J ). Do not a micro-USB cable and connect it to so automatically.
install the propellers at this time. your computer. Launch the Cleanflight Select the Configuration tab and verify
Secure the power cable in place with a Configurator and select the Firmware tab “Motor PWM speed Separated from PID
cable tie so that it does not interfere with (Figure M ). Select the correct COM port at speed” is enabled, “MOTOR_STOP” is
access to the USB port (Figure K ). the top right corner of the window, set your disabled, and “Disarm motors regardless of
board type to SPRACINGF3EVO, and choose throttle value” is enabled (Figure P on the
4. BIND YOUR RECEIVER AND the latest firmware. following page).
TRANSMITTER Load the firmware either online or Scroll down and verify that PPM RX Input
Follow the manufacturer’s binding locally, if you downloaded it earlier, then is selected for Receiver Mode. Also check
procedure for your radio transmitter and press the Flash Firmware button. The that Telemetry is enabled and Transponder
bind it to your quadcopter. To do this, press firmware should now be loaded onto your and RSSI (Signal Strength) toggles are
and hold the receiver’s Bind button (or flight controller. disabled under System Configuration
ground out the Bind pad) and connect the settings. Press the Save and Reboot button

makezine.com 25
DRONES Micro FPV Quadcopter

P Q

R S

before moving on (Figure Q ). moving on.


Skip ahead to the PID Tuning tab and Plug in your battery and select the Motors
press the “Reset all profile values” button tab. Here you’ll set the minimum value to
(Figure R ). This will use a pre-determined start all of your motors (Figure U ). To do
set of values that should serve as a good this, toggle the Motor Test Mode switch and
starting point and can be adjusted later move the Master slider up until the motors
to suit your flying style. (For other PID begin to spin consistently — then record that
T values, check the Thingiverse page for the throttle value.
KBWhoop or look at other users’ values for Also verify that each motor is spinning
quadcopters like the Tiny Whoop and flight in the correct direction and their labels
controllers like the Beecore.) Click the Save are correct. Move each slider, from 1 to 4,
button before moving on. individually, and cross-reference its location
Select the Receiver tab and power on and rotation direction with the graphic.
your radio transmitter. The blue light on Return to the Configuration tab and set
your receiver should begin flashing and your Minimum Throttle (Figure V ) to the
you should see bars populate the channel value you recorded; in my case the value
U indicators (Figure S ). If you move the stick was 1060. Now press Save and Reboot, and
on your radio, the bars should move as well. your flight controller is ready.
Double check that your channel directions
and trims are set so that channels 1–4 read 6. ATTACH THE CAMERA
1500 and the 3D quadcopter in the Preview Remove the micro-JST connector from
graphic moves correctly. Save before the end of the camera’s power wires and
moving on. strip and tin the ends. Feed the wires down
Select the Modes tab and select Add through the appropriate hole in the canopy
Range for both ARM and ANGLE modes. I and press the camera into place on the
configured my controller to use channels 5 canopy. You may need to use a piece of
V (AUX 1) and 6 (AUX 2) for my arm and angle double-sided tape to keep the camera from
switches. Slide the ranges so that they popping out during crashes.
correspond with your switches and you can Solder the power wires onto the large
test their function (Figure T ). Save before capacitor located near the flight controller’s

26 makershare.com
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More Interesting
Flying Projects

W X

FPV NIGHT FLYING


makezine.com/go/infrared-night-flying
Who wants to quit just because the sun goes
down? Fly your FPV drone at night with an
infrared upgrade.

Y Z

USB jack (Figure W ). Take care during this likely bend the shafts.
step as it is very easy to unintentionally Your quadcopter is now complete and
short-circuit the electronics surrounding ready for flight!
the capacitor. HOVERSHIP: 3D-PRINTED RACING
Alternatively you can solder the camera’s FLY IT! DRONE
power wires onto the same pads that the Strap on your FPV goggles and take your makezine.com/projects/hovership-3d-
battery cable uses. 3D printed micro quadcopter for its maiden printed-racing-drone
Secure the camera assembly in place with flight! I hope you enjoy your micro quad and 3D print this full-sized racing chassis and
compete with the pros.
two M1.4 screws (Figure X ). The quadcopter get many hours of use, racing it around. I
is now ready for a pre-flight check! think the best part is being able to sit right
outside your house and use the surrounding
7. PREFLIGHT CHECK area as a racetrack without worrying about
Attach the second hair elastic to the tabs harming anyone or breaking expensive
on the bottom of the control box and secure components. And when you do break this
the battery in place (Figure Y ). Plug in the copter, you can print new parts for pennies.
battery and set the quadcopter on a flat Try experimenting with motors featuring BUILD YOUR FIRST TRICOPTER
surface. Power on your radio and arm the different KV ratings, lighter cameras, two- makezine.com/projects/build-your-first-
quadcopter. The motors should begin to and three-blade propellers, and different tricopter
idle. Make sure that they are rotating in the frame materials until it’s “just right” for your With smoother flight and better videos than
correct direction and respond correctly to flying style. Ping me on Twitter (@atomkemp) quads, why not go tri?
your throttle and attitude input. if you make one — I am happy to give you
Power on your FPV goggles and search some tuning tips to get you flying right.
for the channel the camera is on. You may Don’t forget to check the KempBros
need to adjust the channel to find one with blog (kempbros.github.io) for updates to
the least interference. In my experience this project and other exciting adventures
with this camera, I have to fiddle with in the world of FPV. There’s also a huge
the channels a bit before flying, as any community flying micro-scale quads, so
interference greatly affects its range. check with your local modelers association
Adam Kemp, Hep Svadja, FliteTest

Disarm and unplug the battery on your or websites like RCGroups (rcgroups.com/
PROTECT YOUR R/C ELECTRONICS
quadcopter. Install the four propellers in the micro-multirotor-drones-984) and Reddit
FROM THE ELEMENTS
correct orientation by aligning them on the (reddit.com/r/Quadcopter) to get advice and makezine.com/projects/how-to-protect-
motor shafts and pressing straight down fly with others. your-rc-electronics-from-the-elements
(Figure Z ). My propellers were labeled As always, make sure you follow your A good day of R/C fun can be ruined by
with an “A” for counterclockwise and “B” local rules and regulations concerning even a relatively small puddle. Protect your
for clockwise. Try not to wrench or pry the flying models with FPV. Have fun and electronics from a dunk with a few readily
available products.
propellers on or off the motors, as you will happy modeling!

makezine.com 27
DRONES Props That Fly / Recovery Parachute

B
ADAM WOODWORTH
is a lifelong aviation nut
who’s been flying R/C since
childhood. He’s currently
a hardware engineer at X,
Alphabet’s innovation lab. C

Doctoring Drones
Let your imagination take flight with toy-inspired quad builds
Written by Adam Woodworth

T hree years ago I integrated


a quad rotor into an old
Hasbro Star Wars Speeder Bike,
to use a donor vehicle, or can’t
find one, there are thousands
of free papercraft plans of most
attitude in forward flight. Install
the rotors at an angle so that
the ship cruises around level.
exercise in trial and error. These
frequent encounters with terra
firma can take their toll on light/
unknowingly setting myself popular sci-fi ships. Recreating fragile structures. To address
down a path that resulted in these with plastic or foam is an DETAILS this, I’ve recently shifted from
millions of YouTube views, easy way to get a light, highly Now it’s time to decorate. using rigid foams like EPS and
hundreds of new maker friends, detailed model (Figure A ). Weathering or dirtying up is Depron to more compliant
and an insatiable desire to make the easiest way to make it look materials like expanded
things fly that simply shouldn’t. LIFT realistic, and a simple paint wash polypropylene (EPP). EPP
Now whenever I walk down a Your next consideration can add depth and bring out can be sourced in a variety of
toy aisle, I’m constantly on the should be lift, and blending details like panel lines. Add your densities, in sheet thicknesses
lookout for my next build. the propulsion system into the own touches by scoring the part from 2mm to 10mm. Thinner
model as much as possible with a razor blade, then going foams can be used to replicate
WEIGHT (Figure B ). Black rotors are back to work in the paint wash. most papercrafting techniques,
When it comes to flying, weight barely visible while spinning, Little defects add character and and hold up well to repeated
is king. Using plastic toys is the and you can now find many rotor can cover up mistakes. When abuse. As an added bonus, EPP
easiest way to create a lifelike sizes molded in clear plastic, possible, lay your parts flat for is solvent resistant, so it can
model, but they’re heavy. A which look great on display. painting (Figure C ). be painted with pretty much
rotary tool is your friend. Use Multirotors have to tilt in the anything and easily glued with
Adam Woodworth

a sanding drum to remove any direction they want to go. If the MATERIALS cyanoacrylate (super glue).
unnecessary material, and swap rotors are installed level with Your creations might have some Now get out there and get
in lighter materials for non- the rest of the vehicle, this can bizarre handling qualities, so building! We live in a new golden
structural parts. If you don’t want make for a strange nose-down getting them to fly well is an age of flight.

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TIME REQUIRED:
6–7 Hours
B
COST:
DIY Drone Recovery $55
ANDREW MORGAN is a
Ph.D. candidate at Yale University
specializing in Robotics and interested in
Dr. Richard Chapman and Dr. Saad Biaz

autonomous systems. This project was


A completed in the summer of 2016 at Auburn
University under a Research Experience
Written by Andrew Morgan with

for Undergraduates program funded by the


National Science Foundation. DR. SAAD
BIAZ, Principal Investigator, DR. RICHARD
CHAPMAN co-Principal Investigator.

A The recovery system is controlled


independently of the drone’s flight computer
through the use of an Arduino Nano
microcontroller powered by a separate 7.4V
LiPo battery, to ensure proper operation of
G
Parachute

the recovery system in the event of a drained


main battery. Each hardware component
is connected to the microcontroller via the
digital or analog I/O pins.

B Acceleration components in x, y, and


z directions are read according to voltage
values from the accelerometer module.
F E
C The GPS module is powered through
the dedicated recovery system battery and
transmits NMEA data to the Arduino via a
RS232 serial connection.

D The 5V relay module cuts the power to


D
the drone’s motors via an internal switch.
C
E The voltage sensor unit acts as a 4:1
voltage divider, providing a voltage range
within the limits of the Arduino’s analog-to-
digital conversion circuitry.

F To save battery and Arduino processing


power, the servo motor that deploys the
parachute is set to close initially and then
Sensors determine if virtually detach from the system.

your aircraft’s in trouble G A parachute is nothing more than a piece

and bring it down safely of material (nylon works great) with some
string to tie it all together — look at designs

W e have all seen a quadcopter in the sky, flying so majestically in one location — until it
drops like a rock. Unlike fixed wing aircraft, quadcopters lose lift when the battery is
depleted, or even when the craft is upset beyond its ability to recover.
and make your own. The parachute can be
constructed of a PVC tube, large spring,
baseplate, 3D printed door and servo motor
Hep Svadja, Andrew Morgan

We designed and constructed a ballistic parachute recovery system for small unmanned holder, and a cheap servo motor. The servo
aircraft. Based on an Arduino microcontroller, the recovery system uses sensors to motor merely holds the door back until
determine GPS coordinates, remaining battery voltage, and acceleration. If the system deployment, when the parachute fabric is
determines that the drone’s battery is depleted, or that it is operating outside of prescribed launched outward by the internal spring.
GPS boundaries, or that the unit is in free-fall, the recovery system cuts power to the Note: We used an older version of the Mars
motors and deploys the parachute, lowering the aircraft to the ground at a safe velocity. Mini in our original build, but premade
These are the components. Find the complete build online at makezine.com/go/drone- chutes can significantly up your cost.
recovery-parachute.

makezine.com 29
SHENZHEN STANDOUTS Naomi Wu

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Cyborg Written by Naom


iW
u

AND THE

SINO:BIT Shenzhen’s prolific


maker details
her journey, her
inspirations, and
putting together
China’s first certified
Open Source
Hardware project

I
’m Naomi Wu told we’re a bit like New York this supportive environment,
(@realsexycyborg on — people come from all over to millions of people sharing a
Twitter), a 23-year- change their life and make their common goal and value — to
old maker and hardware fortune. We are fast moving and have, and produce the products
enthusiast from China. I ambitious, but tend to be less of our own ideas. To be creators,
live in Shenzhen, also conservative than other Chinese not laborers. So when I show
known as the “Silicon cities. “Local” cuisine is from off one of my creations in
Valley of Hardware.” all over China, because locals public, be it my wearable 3D
Chances are your phone or are from all over China — and printer or skirt made of infinity
computer was made here increasingly the West. mirrors, everyone is delighted,
— maybe even by a girl I Shenzhen used to be known because as foolish as they are,
grew up with. It’s a city as the Shanzhai capital — it’s creative foolishness and
straight out of cyberpunk, on Shanzhai being our term for something we are all striving
the cutting edge of tech, and copycat or cloned products. for. Seeing some rich boss
it’s growing at an amazing Obviously, we know this pull up in a fancy car, this does
rate. I’m right in the middle business model of just taking not make anyone happy. But
of it. other people’s ideas and taking a selfie with the weird
Shenzhen is located in making them is not sustainable. local girl riding the metro
Photos Courtesy of Naomi Wu

Guangdong province, Canton We’d all be factory workers with a working 3D printer on
by the old spelling, so I’m forever if we did that. So there’s her back? Everyone smiles
Cantonese. It’s right across the been a tremendous amount of because this represents the
border from Hong Kong and, thought and resources put into creative, interesting city we
at less than 40 years old, is one fostering an environment of all want. It is also something
of the youngest cities in China. creativity and innovation. More that does not come easily
Our culture reflects that; I’m than anything, I’m the result of given many of our traditions.

makezine.com 31
SHENZHEN STANDOUTS Naomi Wu

Hikaru Skirt When I show


off one of my
creations in
public, everyone is
delighted, because
as foolish as they
are, it’s creative
foolishness and
something we are
Pi Palette
all striving for.

Poor Girl’s
Monocular Display
A CRASH COURSE
IN MAKING
I was educated locally here
in China — what in the West
you would call public schools.
I come from a fairly typical
working-class background.
I think the education I
had was good given the
resources available — if not as
comprehensive as a Western
one. It was, however, strong
on math and science which I
am grateful for now given my
involvement in tech. I was a
bit of an English geek, studied
constantly and watched English
TV late into the night, every night
since I was a child. Because of
this, I was able to win awards in
local contests for my English.
This proved to be an advantage
Infinity Skirt
when I attended college as an
English major and needed to
earn some extra pocket money,
as it enabled me to learn to
LED Heels
code online and become a
freelance web developer. Web
development exposed me to
startup culture, then to the local
Shenzhen hardware startup and
development scene. There are
many Westerners in Shenzhen
doing hardware development,
and from talking to them I heard
about maker culture, hardware
hacking, and infosec — enough
to spur my interest to study
these things more on my own
and eventually become a maker.
My first hardware project was
for a Maker Faire after-party
in 2015. It was a skirt under-lit

32 makershare.com
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Photos Courtesy of Naomi Wu


At work high
Pentesting shoes above Shenzhen Bangkok Mini Maker Faire

with LEDs based on a Japanese presentation and performance had not wanted to be the sort of of the Westerners coming to
design by Kiyoyuki Amano — the of showing off something I person who stood out in a crowd Shenzhen to have hardware
Hikaru skirt. I had access to a make, love of the build itself has it’s unlikely I would have been made were men, and most
3D printer, had completed the surpassed these elements. In attracted to making and fashion of my online friends in maker
Tinkercad tutorials, and had the following two years, I kept tech — activities that are ideally education were women. These
been using them to make some up as good a pace as I could suited to this kind of creative women knew exactly what was
small gifts for friends. A simple while working full-time, with a personal expression. needed in their classrooms —
enclosure for the control board new project every two months The Asian tradition of pretty Pi Hats and Arduino Shields,
and battery I had purchased or so. I created 3D printed heels girls doing creative things, I specialty RGB LED displays. All
was just a matter of printing and with pentesting (hacking) tools suppose Westerners would be sorts of things, all very specific,
revising the design a few dozen built in, arm-mounted micro most familiar with the Japanese and very practical ideas. But
times until everything fit. From drones, a skirt made of infinity geisha, originated in China, of they had no experience in
my software development and mirrors, a burlesque-inspired course. We’ve been doing it for manufacturing and were a bit
use of open source tools I knew top made of LCD shutters (I thousands of years and there is reluctant to get on a plane to a
the importance of attribution had something underneath for no conflict; it is our ideal. People non-English speaking country
so was very careful not to take modesty, of course), a makeup from other parts of the world, and make a go of it alone. For
credit for the skirt’s concept. palette with a Raspberry Pi built with different tastes and artistic that matter they were a bit
The creator and the Japanese concerned if they could even get
maker community appreciated it made after crowdfunding it.
this, because it’s unusual for
Making is not a purely technical There are just not many women
Chinese to be so careful about pursuit, there is a bit of performance they could speak to who had
attribution, and they reposted art to a lot of it as well. produced simple hardware in
the pictures of the skirt. This China successfully on their own.
was an important early lesson in for more network pentesting, traditions may find it all a bit This coincided with an
for me — you get more respect a device for a small drone to surprising. I do what I can to interest I had in the BBC
through proper attribution than deposit a Wi-Fi-hacking payload accommodate but I am Chinese micro:bit. The micro:bit is a
you do by claiming others ideas and fly away, and more. after all, so mostly concern brilliant piece of engineering for
as your own. Eventually, the Of course, since I became myself with our traditions. So education, but like many open
skirt made its way onto Western an adult I have had a very long as old ladies laugh, smile, source projects part of what
websites. For a regular girl from flamboyant personal style — I and take pictures with me I makes it so great is the ease
a city of 12 million, to suddenly know that played a big part in don’t worry too much. with which it can be tailored to
have her picture in the West — the exposure I received for these different needs. From talking
this was quite something. It’s projects as well. Making is not LEVERAGING SHENZHEN to maker education people
easy to feel invisible and lost in a purely technical pursuit, there WITH THE SINO:BIT here in China the first, most
a mass of humanity here. I’m is a bit of performance art to In addition to the projects I build basic step of programming
not ashamed to admit that more a lot of it as well. Presentation myself I recently collaborated in — Hello World — was being
than a little bit of vanity drove often plays a role and you the creation of an educational glossed over or bypassed
those early days of late nights can’t unscramble an egg and board called the sino:bit. entirely. “Hello World!” just
over the soldering iron. But I separate that from the technical The project came about as I does not have the same thrill
matured and while I still love the merits of the project. But if I began to see a pattern, most when it’s in a language you

makezine.com 33
SHENZHEN STANDOUTS Naomi Wu

The sino:bit Wearable 3D printer

Young Naomi

can barely read. U.K. children but Japanese, Arabic, Thai, engineering on the sino:bit to how it should work? I made
would not have much interest Hindi. Kids could experience bring the idea to life, and even certain it was challenging for
in spending an hour learning that first thrill of “Hello World!” though we are all Chinese we Elecrow — I refused to reply to
to write “你好,全世界!” on in their mother tongue. Not only would conduct and document Chinese messages when they
a display or showing it to their that, their parents could read the entire process in English. wanted something clarified, was
uncomprehending parents. So messages — holiday greetings, I would even visit the factory deliberately vague, constantly
instead Chinese kids wanted to “I love you Mom,” even religious speaking only English to the told them to do what they think
make a robot. The micro:bits messages programmed by their taxi driver, showing the address is best, and in general insisted
were almost never being children. It is hard to overstate written on a piece of paper on the sort of initiative that I
used here without an add- the role of the written word in in Chinese. knew Westerners encouraged
on board for driving motors. Chinese culture and education, All this to answer one but that we find difficult. I often
Troubleshooting the interface suffice to say it question: Could joked I was “red teaming”
between the micro:bit and is inseparable. a typical online Chinese hardware development
the connector slots on those The sino:bit “Hello World!” friend of mine — taking a joke from infosec.
boards was taking up valuable takes the just does not describe her It was my first hardware
classroom time. amazing idea and have it development project, and
I came across the German engineering that
have the same manufactured, a learning experience for
version of the micro:bit — the went into the thrill when it’s in entirely in everyone. But in the end, we
Calliope Mini. It seemed that micro:bit and a language you English? became the creators of the
many of the issues we had in Calliope Mini, can barely read. Either simply first Open Source Hardware
China — localization and an and tailors it over email or Association certified project
easy way to drive motors — the to fit Chinese with a visit to in China. The publicity has
Calliope team had already culture and educational tradition Shenzhen to oversee delivery? more than paid for the time
solved. So with their permission, — instead of expecting us to I envisioned a Western woman they put in — something that
I proposed a Chinese derivative change to fit another culture’s in maker education, capable other companies have noticed.
of the Calliope Mini — largely language and traditions. of programming and teaching Those companies have started
the same, backward compatible So with this project and the Arduino or other basic to reach out to me about how
with both the Calliope and the concerns about manufacturing electronics, but without PCB to go about getting involved in
micro:bit but with one important difficulties faced by my female layout or electrical engineering open source projects of their
difference. The sino:bit would friends in maker education experience. What sort of pitfalls own, to raise their profile in
have a 12×12 LED matrix in mind, I contacted a local were there to be aware of? Can the hardware community and
instead of 5×5 so that it could electronics manufacturing you really just have someone show they understand these
display any non-Latin language company called Elecrow. The else do all the engineering values. All this along with the
— not just Chinese characters, idea was they would do the based on your general idea of growing interest in the sino:bit

34 makershare.com
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sino:bit production line Naomi at Elecrow developing sino:bit Becky Button

as an educational tool for Marlin firmware development printers — a very large one success I hope to be able to
Chinese children, is, of course, team — that’s the program called the CR-10s. Now, I’m repeat with other companies.
immensely gratifying. that runs a lot of 3D printers — already running out of room in Tools and making are closely
was complaining that Creality my little apartment workshop. associated with men in the mind
CHINA’S OPEN SOURCE had not been publishing the I have one large printer and of many manufacturers, so it
CHALLENGE changes they made to the an additional one would just can be hard for female makers,
Recently, in order to have more code as dictated by the license be wasteful. So I was going to educators, and vloggers to get
content on my YouTube channel terms. So I thought to myself refuse but had a thought, so sponsors and review units.
in between builds, I’ve started to have a try and half-jokingly said — “Boss, everyone has I’d really like if I could help
shooting videos reviewing told Creality I’d visit the factory seen your printer reviews, address this.
local products made here in if they published the code. They but you have no community I strive to facilitate this sort of
Shenzhen. I’m quite careful not immediately agreed. This was engagement. Why not do what interaction, to talk to Chinese
to endorse anything shoddy, or quite a surprise because open Josef Prusa and LulzBot do companies and say, “This is why
poorly made, and this has lead source compliance is normally and show not just your product, people are annoyed with you,”
to local companies reaching quite tough in China. So I went but the values of the company or talk to the maker and
out to me asking me to help and did the best job I could with behind it? I know a teenage hardware community and say
make Western customers more the video, in part because it’s a maker in America — Becky “OK this is why this is happening
aware of them. This creates pretty typical Shenzhen factory Button. She’s sharp as a tack, at this company.” It’s very
some interesting opportunities and I think it’s important for makes great things, but does exciting and rewarding being
for advocacy and cooperation people to see most are perfectly not have her own 3D printer or able to act as a bridge, in even
between Chinese and Western reasonable places, and that the very easy access to one.” I took the smallest ways because
hardware communities. bad factories are few in number out my phone and showed the there is a tremendous amount
My open source interests and quickly disappearing. But boss Becky’s project that I had of miscommunication but
and video creation recently also because I wanted to do given her a bit of advice on — honestly far more similarities in
converged with one specific everything I could to support sandals that can disconnect terms of creative spirit and
interaction. There’s a fairly well- and promote a Chinese Wi-Fi around them. Well that values than there are
known 3D printing company company willing to at least was that — we are Chinese differences between China and
Photos Courtesy of Naomi Wu

here in Shenzhen — Creality 3D. take a very unusual first step after all and if a smart kid the West. I’ll always want to
They had invited me to shoot towards abiding by open source needs something educational, make things, but this sort of
a video of their factory. It was community standards. and there is face to be had by combination of diplomacy and
a little ways out of my way — I did the tour, spoke to the providing it, it’s going to happen. evangelism for the hardware
about an hour from my house, workers and bosses, and on They loved the idea and Becky and maker communities is
so I had been dragging my feet a my way out they very kindly got a printer. Culturally for us really fulfilling and something I
little. Around the same time the offered me one of their 3D this is quite a big step and a hope to be able to do more of.

makezine.com 35
SHENZHEN STANDOUTS Maker Profiles

INSIDE
Edition
Shenzhen’s locals The center of the consumer-electronics universe, Shenzhen and its
environs are a business-first mix of factories and parts-suppliers,

leverage the region’s designed to quickly manufacture the devices that the world craves.
As it has grown into one of China’s major cities in just a few short

assets to advance years, the region’s population — those assembling all your gadgets
Jess Yu / Adobe Stock

— has started to express its maker spirit, with notable individuals,

its global maker hackerspaces, maker ed programs, and even a Fab Academy taking
prominence on the global stage.

leadership We asked some of the local participants who are helping establish
the maker scene to share their stories.

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Vicky Xie I am the director of


International Collaboration
of the Shenzhen Open
Innovation Lab. I came into
I also decided to sign up
for the Fab Academy, starting
in December 2015. There,
I learned how to envision,
to take part in three week-long
residencies with some of the
U.K.’s leading makerspaces
and creative organizations
making in the most unexpected prototype, and document my including Access Space, Central
way in the past three years, ideas through many hours Research Laboratory, FACT,
helping set up Fablab Shenzhen of hands-on experience with Impact Hub Westminster,
as my first job after college, digital fabrication tools. I Lighthouse, Machines Room,
while seeing how making has started to learn 2D and 3D and Makerversity.
transformed the image of my design, electronics design In the meantime, SZOIL
native city of Shenzhen. and production, producing is also increasing its
I majored in English and circuit boards, using a engagement with the Fab
after school I got a job in the variety of sensors and output Lab and makerspaces in the
international department of devices, programming AVR emerging markets. I organized
Shenzhen Industrial Design microcontrollers, and other the Belt and Road Maker
Association (SIDA) and was interesting experiences such Summits of International Maker
assigned to work on the as molding and casting. There Cooperation in 2016 and 2017
upcoming first Shenzhen Maker were about 10 people signed bringing the makers we have
Week and the gathering of 10 up for the first Fab Academy been working with in Nigeria,
Fab Labs in June 2015. I had offering here and I was one of Ethiopia, Peru, Pakistan as well
no idea about makers and the the five who graduated. as Shenzhen partners.
Fab Lab but had to learn about Right after FAB12, I joined We would like to build
them in a short time. In the the core organizing team up a platform for better
Shenzhen Maker Week event, of the 800-square-meter understanding of the ecosystem
my team organized exhibitions Maker Workshop in the for collaboration between this
of Fab Labs including Boston, National Mass Innovation and city and the countries and areas
Barcelona, Taiwan, and Japan, Entrepreneurship Week — a alongside the “Belt and Road”
and hosted presentations by major national event to promote as well as seek more potential
pioneers like Neil Gershenfeld, innovation policy by the Premier opportunities among startups,
Tom Igoe, Lyn Jeffery, and Li Keqiang. We put together a makerspaces, and accelerators.
Tomas Diaz. A couple months full Fab Lab in the event space The latest project is working
later, I was part of the delegates and prepared workshops for with Impact Hub Accra to
to FAB11 in Boston that thousands of students and help them produce a low-cost
took on hosting of FAB12 in visitors over five days. biodigester to turn scraps into
Shenzhen in 2016. I decided In 2016, we at SZOIL kicked fertilizer and gas.
Courtesy of Vicky Xie

to learn more about making off the Hello Shenzhen program I am grateful to have the
and became the director of with the Shenzhen Foundation opportunity to get involved
International Collaboration of for International Exchange and with making in the past three
the newly founded Shenzhen Communication as well as the years and be in the position
Open Innovation Lab (SZOIL) British Council, for an in-depth to collaborate with all the
to facilitate the collaboration exchange between U.K. and amazing makers and my
between this city and the Shenzhen makers. Ten makers native city of Shenzhen.
maker community. based here have been selected

makezine.com 37
SHENZHEN STANDOUTS Maker Profiles

Vicky Xie
Xie
Shirley

SIDA, Vicky
of SIDA,
Feng

Courtesy of
Courtesy
I am the secretary general of
Shenzhen Industrial Design
Association. I came to Shenzhen
to promote the importance of
industrial design to government
and business. We have grown
get traction and Shenzhen
hosted the first Maker Faire
in China. And by word of
the honor to present the
progress of Shenzhen’s
leading the nation in the
in the 1990s and started my SIDA from 49 institutional mouth and a lot of blog posts, maker movement to Premier
career here as a computer members to over 700 in the Shenzhen quickly become the Li Keqiang during his stop
programmer. I guess this past 6 years, which makes SIDA maker’s favorite city, especially at our Maker Workshop.
makes me one of the original one of the largest industrial Huaqiangbei with its blocks The maker movement
makers in Shenzhen, as I used design association in the world. of giant malls of electronics. always will be part of the
to go to Huaqiangbei to put SIDA’s members, along with In 2014, I had the pleasure Shenzhen DNA. As an early
together computers and other over 100,000 working industrial to visit FAB10 in Barcelona arriver in Shenzhen, I have
equipment for work. designers in Shenzhen, and was very impressed with benefited from the ecosystem
In the past two decades, the have helped the Shenzhen the passion, creativity, and in the city in my career going
city of Shenzhen has undergone manufacturers continue their innovation exhibited. There from a programmer putting
drastic changes, growing into growth by moving up the value and then, I knew this was what together machines needed
a global manufacturing hub chain from OEM to ODM in the Shenzhen needed: passion, for my work in HQB, to the
and then into the global hub of past decade. creativity, and innovation! I secretary general of SIDA to
design and innovation. I have Today, Shenzhen has one of started to work with my team help and promote the Shenzhen
had the fortune to witness these the best government policies in SIDA on how we can promote industrial designers to help
amazing transformations and in the world to encourage the makers and Fab Lab here. Shenzhen manufacturers
participated in some of them. creativity and innovation in Working with the government, move up the value chain, and
Realizing that Shenzhen industrial design, and the on June 18 of 2015, we invited to now building the bridge
cannot grow forever by simply Shenzhen Industrial Design 10 Fab Labs around the world between global makers and the
producing things, I became Faire 2014 has became the to join us at the Shenzhen Shenzhen ecosystem to help
the general secretary of largest industrial design event Maker Week and I led the team more people realize their ideas
Shenzhen Industrial Design in the world. to FAB11 in August of 2015 to and dreams. I am grateful to
Association (SIDA) in 2008. This is a young city under pledge Shenzhen as the host have grown with Shenzhen, the
At that time, the government constant change. But the of FAB12 in 2016. In August city of makers.
and the business in Shenzhen change is far from over. With of 2016, I had the pleasure to
focused solely on GDP and SIDA, we have brought better welcome over 1,000 makers
revenue growth; industrial design here. And an eager from over 100 Fab Labs in 78
design was considered young city like Shenzhen is countries gathering in our city.
lightweight and unimportant. always ready to learn more When the National Mass
Over the years, my team at and grow better. In 2012, the Innovation Week took place
SIDA and I have worked hard maker movement started to here this past October, I had

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Lin Jie, aka 00


I might call myself as non-
mainstream, wandering
around, designer-who-is-keen-
SOME OTHER FAVORITES:
 My final project — a mini
soundbot: If you wave or
to-make-tangible-things type move hands in front of the
maker. As an interaction designer, soundbot, it will convert the
I’ve been interested in building distance between your hand
interactive 「smart」 gadgets. and the sensor into music
I bought my first Arduino board notes. You can play a song
in 2012, and tried to learn some with your hand but without
basic knowledge of making digital touching anything. It’s like a
things. But not until I enrolled at geeky, modern theremin.
Fab Academy in 2016 did I begin  Swiss Roll Ninja: An automatic
to treat myself as a future maker. roll cutter made by our study
After finishing all the courses group in Shenzhen Open
and projects, I finally have some Innovation Lab.
confidence to refer to myself as a  Multilayer Minion: A minion
junior maker. from the animated movie, made
My favorite project I’ve made is of stacked laser-cut pieces. 
a butterfly music stand I did during  Light detector: I made a PCB
the Fab Academy program. The with some light sensors to tell if
assignment was to make a large it’s dark in the room. 
model using the CNC machine.
I had been considering buying a My maker advice for others: Don’t
music stand for my guitar practice, be hesitant, as I used to be. Make
so I designed the style and made more and you will have more fun.
a demo first, then used a CNC Makers never get bored, right?
machine to cut out all the pieces
Lin Jie

and assembled them. Find me online at uegeek.com.

makezine.com 39
SHENZHEN STANDOUTS Maker Profiles

Carrie Leung
I am a San Francisco native who
has been living in Shenzhen for
the last six years. During the day
learning methods
 Empowering girls and
women by building
I am the director of maker ed at confidence through
Shenzhen American International experience and shared
School. We are a 100% project- knowledge.
based learning school with maker
embedded classes. What this We have just started the
means is our school’s makerspace Girls Can campaign, which
is more than just an extension is a program that creates
of a one-hour-a-week STEAM and sponsors women-
class, an elective class, or an and girl-led workshops
after-school club. The use of and events, and also
our makerspace is a learning documents and shares
method for every student’s what individual women and
full-time curriculum. girls are already doing.
It is referenced as Making has always been
often as a book, part of who I am. I’ve always
a teacher, or had that kindle of curiosity
the internet. or imagination that flames
Our school into something tangible. I
is driven remember when I was four
by class years old and I took my father’s
projects and record player apart. By the
community time anyone got a whiff of what
problems that I was doing, it was too late.
the kids work on. I had pieces everywhere! To
Our students embody my disappointment, I did not
the maker mindset and unwrap the mysteries of how
the making is part of their full time the turntable produced melodies,
education. but I did make one incredibly
When I’m not at school, angry father.
I devote my time bridging, A recent favorite project

eiX ykciV ysetruoC


enabling, and empowering was going from silly concept to
the communities in Shenzhen awesome wearable in 20 minutes.
through making, sharing, and Shannon Hoover of MakeFashion
collaboration. I have a nonprofit was in town and he showed me
makerspace, SteamHead, which how to use his StitchKit board. I
is the home base for many of wanted to be a dinosaur, so board,
these initiatives. I strive to create hot glue, chopsticks, cloth scrap,
free, bilingual, easily accessible, and some minutes later… BAM!
and open source platforms. There I was dino-glowing it up. It never
are four initiatives that are very ceases to amaze me how tech
important to me: today allows us to go from fiction
 Giving young makers to reality in a matter of moments.
a platform to express Nowadays, when I make
themselves for myself and my friends, I
 Bridging the public, private, make for fun and laughs. When
and international educational I make for the community,
SZOIL and SIDA

communities in Shenzhen I make with positivity and


 Enabling classrooms to use openness. When I make for the
maker skills and project-based future, I make with purpose.

40 makershare.com
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I run Litchee Lab


as a maker ed
education team and
myself growing confidence with
my skills about making.
And then three years ago,
mission of the education team is
helping local kids develop their
creativity by providing a platform
also as a makerspace. I quit my product design job we designed by combining
Six years ago, I joined and started Litchee Lab to international resources and
Seeed Studio, an explore a sustainable way for a local insights.
open source hardware makerspace to survive and find For three years, Litchee
company in Shenzhen, the answer to how maker ed can Lab accepted members
which brought Maker Faire grow in the Chinese community. from eight countries all over
into China. I was responsible Litchee Lab is a grassroots Fab the world. Though we are
for education products, Lab in Shenzhen that supports a startup makerspace, it is one

Lit so I’m involved in a lot of


workshops designed and run
in Chaihuo makerspace, the
itself with only membership
fees and education services,
no big company or government
of the most recommended
makerspaces in Shenzhen’s
foreigner maker community due

Liao first makerspace in Shenzhen,


and had lots of online
communications with makers
all over the world to understand
funding. We provide an as-
free-as-possible platform for
teenage and adult makers to
explore their own ideas. 
to openness and freedom (24/7
door access, super convenient
location, good community
atmosphere). Litchee Lab is
user experience when they The operation team of Litchee involved in a China-U.K. maker
Lit Liao, Byron Wang, Jin Dongjun

use Seeed’s products. Some is devoted to education. We exchange program organized


things in maker culture really are the first team in Shenzhen by the British Council since
touched me, such as its open to have included maker ed 2015. And we just registered
source ideals, and encouraging curriculum development into as an official makerspace
everyone to step out of their our mission. And so far, we are platform in SZSTI library
own comfortable area and try cooperating with 20 schools in so that members can apply
something new. With online Shenzhen to build their own for Shenzhen government
guides and resources, I found maker ed curriculum. The funding through us.

makezine.com 41
SHENZHEN STANDOUTS Maker Faire Shenzhen

SHENZHEN
Goes Pro
Written by Vi
olet Su

A longside the exhibits,


workshops, talks, and
performances at Maker Faire
Shenzhen this November were
some new elements worth
carry forward as a startup or
a skilled professional. They
come in many different forms
and backgrounds and have
experienced different journeys
celebrating and sharing. in life. Some start as hobbyists,
some as professionals, others
4 MAJOR as communities, while there are
DIFFERENCES those who were entrepreneurs
1. THEME from day one. But they share
Unlike previous years, we one thing in common — a
adopted a theme for this year’s passion for making their ideas
Maker Faire — Maker Pro. a reality, and sooner or later,
As Shenzhen is known as the taking them to the next level to
hardware capital of the world, face the market.
there have always been more
hardware startups than at other 2. VENUE
Faires, so we decided to talk We wanted this year’s Maker
about what we define as maker Faire to take place at a location
pro. We look at maker pros as with a strong connection to
those who might eventually maker pros, and we found a

42 makershare.com
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Maker Faire returns to the city


with a new venue and theme
great partner — Shenzhen and growth path, providing MAKER EXHIBITS
Polytechnic. This is one of inspiration to others about how This year we gathered 156
the top technical institutions to take their projects to another maker teams from all over the
in China, with a specific level. Through this they told world to show their projects.
emphasis on training in their tales of how they have Among the makers, 65% were
a wide range of subjects evolved as makers to maker Chinese, and 35% were from
and skills from mechanical pros and hope to inspire many overseas. The projects can be Chaihuo x.factory Maker Pro Exhibition
engineering, to automobiles, more people to begin their divided into seven categories,
to design and visual arts. And own journey. with software and hardware
with a maker center (soon projects taking the highest
to be registered as a Fab 4. MAKER ED SESSION percentage of 41%, followed by
Lab) in the school, Shenzhen We held the first-ever Maker education projects of 25%, and
Polytechnic encourages Education session at this year’s an increasing percentage (15%)
students and teachers alike to Maker Forum, co-curated of interactive arts projects.
gain hands-on experience, and by local educators Carrie
Iron Makey
to go from theory to practice Leung, Joseph Strzempka, A sampling: Robot
and eventually to business. and James Simpson. We
Organizing the Faire in an invited speakers from different  IRON MAKEY ROBOT 
institution of higher education education communities made from recycled beer
also conveys how the maker (schools, makerspaces, bottles and metal parts by
culture is strongly connected parents, government, or other mosaic artists Ziyao Lin and
with education and is an outlet organizations) to discuss Cynthia Shi with a group of
for makers to go pro in this city. the ways in which innovative local volunteers 
learning has caught on in their  DREAM CATCHER by
chungking / Adobe Stock, Rain Ye, CY,

3. MAKER PRO EXHIBITION own respective communities, Taiwanese artist Ty Chen


Along with the projects that and how these communities  PIXELMAN by Ty Chen Dream
Catcher
applied to be part of the Faire, have come together to share  WATERLIGHT GRAFFITI
organizer Chaihuo, which and collaborate, encapsulating created by French artist
also manages maker pro- the spirit of making. Antonin Fourneau
focused makerspace Chaihuo  WOLVERINE CLAW AND
x.factory, curated a Maker Pro Apart from these exciting new ARMED TRACKED VEHICLE
Exhibition that highlighted 11 firsts, here are some highlights hosted by Tangtang Cai, a
Waterlight Graffiti
maker pros and their products of this year’s Faire. maker from Wuxi, China

makezine.com 43
SHENZHEN STANDOUTS Maker Faire Shenzhen

 HUGE EIGHT-LEG MOUNT English College, Podconn


by Ziping Chen, a maker from Limited, and Chaihuo x.factory,
Jiangxi, China we managed to build the tracks
 BLOOMING by Alt+T team and add electronic sensors to
from Guangzhou, China the track to monitor the speed
 SIMPLE ANIMALS by Eunny in less than two months.
from Korea, who traveled to
many Maker Faires around DRONE EXPERIENCE
the world in 2017  COMBAT
 LASER-CUT AND This was the second time we
LAMINATED ART WORKS hosted a drone combat exhibit
by Ketian Zhang, a maker/ with D1, and this year it was
architect from Tianjin, China a bit different, with a focus
 UPCYCLED EDUCATIONAL on the experience. Instead of
AND INTERACTIVE recruiting professional pilots in
PROJECTS by the Tomonic advance to join the combat, we
team who brought 50+ Huge Eight-Leg Mount
encouraged everyone to join.
projects from Thailand There was a specific section
and took 2 days at Chaihuo where participants could learn
x.factory to build the how to control the drones from
music fountain, a main professional pilot mentors. After
attraction at Maker Faire the quick training, participants
Shenzhen this year. joined the combat to have
fun and to win prizes at the
WORKSHOPS same time. More than 500
There were 27 different participants joined the Drone
workshops this year — more Experience Combat over
than 50 if you take recurrent the three days of the
workshops into account. These Faire.
included virtual reality, PCB
making, DIY 3D printer, project- MARIO THE
based learning, woodwork, Upcycled MAKER
cardboard projects, escape Projects MAGICIAN
game jam, music, laser cutting, Simple Animals We were excited
sewing and fashion tech, to have Mario the

Shenzhen Polytechnic, Eunny, Team Chaihuo, MG Space, D1, Paola Paulino, Sherry Huss
upcycling and car making and Maker Magician
racing, etc. And the workshop join us this year. In
instructors were not only adults, addition to their own
but also kids. It’s the workshops booth in the maker exhibition
at Maker Faires that provide area, Mario and manager
the most direct, visual/tactile, Katie Marchese also staged six
and hands-on experience performances to all participants
to participants. You can find Drone in the 3-day event. Kids and
adults and kids, boys and girls Experience adults alike were amazed by the
immersed in the fun of making Workshops Combat fabulous magic performance,
within the workshops. Such a which also perfectly illustrated
not-to-miss part of Maker Faire! that language isn’t a barrier to
maker culture.
NERDY DERBY
Nerdy Derby is one of the most XTALK
popular projects at Maker Faire This was the second year we
Shenzhen. With the license from partnered with XTALK, a stage
Nerdy Derby Inc. and the joint for lightning speeches. We
efforts of Yan Chai Hospital, Lan had 24 speakers share their
Chi Pat Memorial Secondary maker stories and projects,
School, Shenzhen’s Oriental with 6 kids, including Wenjun
Mario the Maker Magician

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Sherry Huss, vice president of Make:

MFSZ crew and volunteers


Women Maker Workshop

He, a 5th-grade local student, MAKER PARTY makers to explore this maker friendships among participants.
and Lauren and Ashley, the two In the evening of November city. The (very intense!) schedule Maker Faire Shenzhen
youngest designers from the 10th, we hosted a maker party for the tour was as follows: provides us with opportunities to
MakeFashion community in at Chaihuo x.factory, gathering gather with friends old and new.
Calgary, Alberta. makers/exhibitors/speakers  DAY 1: Seeed Agile It’s a platform for us to connect
and partners. Manufacturing Center + PCB with resources local and from
MAKER FORUM factory + Molding factory afar. It’s a carnival for us to
This year’s Maker Forum WOMEN MAKER  DAY 2: Tencent + XIVO design celebrate making with kids and
consisted of four sessions, WORKSHOP/ + BGI adults alike. With the conclusion
including “Visions into the DISCUSSION  DAY 3: Chaihuo x.factory + of Maker Faire Shenzhen, we
Future,” “Making in Industries,” We also held a women maker Lab 0 + HAX + Huaqiangbei are grateful and would like to
“Platform Builders,” and meetup on the final day of the Electronic Market say “谢谢 (Xie xie = THANK
“Maker Education.” We invited Faire. This meetup gathered YOU)” to all our partners,
26 speakers to share their 14 amazing women, including 32 makers/researchers/ makers, friends, volunteers, and
insights/stories/experiences makers, educators, and journalists from 11 countries sponsors for your gracious help
at this stage. Out of the 26 community managers in the joined the tour to get a closer and support.
speakers, 11 were women, maker community, to share look at this city known for We look forward to meeting
including 8 Chinese women. their experience, ideas, and hardware and manufacturing, you all at Maker Faire Shenzhen
More than 2,000 attendees suggestions for building a better and to learn about the resources 2018 and at other maker events
came to listen to the talks, 27% ecosystem for encouraging that Shenzhen can provide around the world!
participated in the “Visions into women and girls to participate — especially the techniques
the Future” session, 26% in the in making.   available for makers to adopt
“Making in Industries” session, into their future designs and
23% in the “Platform Builders” 3-DAY HIGH TOUR production. The 3-day tour was
See more photos and videos
Xxxxxxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxx

session, and 24% in the “Maker After the Faire wrapped, we not only informative and fun, from Maker Faire Shenzhen at
Education” session. hosted a 3-day High Tour for but also helped to build lasting makezine.com/go/mfsz-2017

makezine.com 45
PROJECTS Rainbow Lightbox

Rainbow
Written by Nicole Catrett

Lightbox
NICOLE CATRETT
is an artist and co-
founder of the Wonderful
Idea Company, a
creative design studio
developing resources for
the exploration of art,
Build a color quantizer out of mylar and scotch tape science, and technology
through making and
tinkering. You can find
more wonderful ideas at
wonderfulidea.co.
46 makershare.com
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TIME REQUIRED:
1 Day
COST:
$100–$125
MATERIALS
» Pine boards, 161/4"×3"×¾"
(4)
» Wood screws, Phillips flat
head #8, 1½" long, (8)
» Acrylic, 17"×17"×1/8", (2)
» Painter’s tape
» LEE Diffusion Filter, CL216,
21"×24" sheet cut down to
17"×17" (2) I got mine from
filmtools.com
» Scotch tape A
» Wood screws, Phillips head
#8, ¾" long (27) Red, blue and Hand blocks the Colored shadows (cyan, Mylar tubes re-mix the colored shadows and
green lights light, casting magenta, yellow, blue and those re-mixed colors emerge on the other
» Mylar, 2mm a 4'×25' roll
should be plenty
colored shadows red) are projected on the side of the lightbox in every possible hue
back of the light box
» Wood dowels, 1" and 1.5"

T
diameter, 10" long (2)
» PVC pipe, 2" diameter, 10" he Rainbow Lightbox uses an array of mylar
long
tubes to create beautiful pixelated shadows
» Aluminum angle, 1½", 1½"
long from colored light. I was inspired by Taizo
» RGB LED, 3-Up Cree high- Matsumura’s “Hikari no Hako” kit, which is a
power LED with jumpers,
LEDs in series/Red XP-E2 small paper box filled with mylar tubes. I created
LED, Green XP-E2, Blue my own larger version with hundreds of mylar
XP-E2 #CUSTOM-3UP-CREE
ledsupply.com tubes and instead of relying on colored filters, as
» Machine screws, socket Matsumura’s kit did, I used multicolored light and B C
head, 4-40 thread, 1/4" long shadows to create a unique effect that brings out
(2)
» Wood block, 4"×4"×¾" every color of the rainbow.
» LED driver, BuckPuck DC By experimenting with different light sources,
LED Driver, 700mA, wired, from sunlight to televisions, I discovered that the
non-dimming ledsupply.com
» Screw terminal
mylar tubes do something surprising with colors
» Female pigtail connector, if you sandwich them between two diffusion
5.5×2.1mm jack filters. When one end of a mylar tube is exposed
» 12V Transformer, Phihong
Wall Mount, #12V-WM-1A
to multiple colors, the tube mixes the colors
ledsupply.com together to create a new color that is projected D
» P-strap, 1/4" onto the top diffusion filter. Although the colors
that go into the tube array can vary smoothly,
TOOLS because of the sharp borders created by the
» Combination square, 6"
» Pencil edges of the tubes, the image that emerges has a
» Drill bits, #43, and 3/32" beautiful pixelated appearance.
and 1/8" I also set about creating a colorful input to
» Hand drill
illuminate the lightbox, using red, blue, and green
» Countersink Nicole Catrett
» Phillips screwdriver, #2 LEDs. When these colors are combined they
» Plastic drill bit, 1/8" create white light, but if you block them they cast
» X-Acto knife colorful shadows onto the back of the lightbox. E
» Ruler The colored shadows are re-mixed by the mylar
» 4-40 tap and tap handle
array and emerge on the other side in every bit to predrill the screw holes. Countersink each
» Cutting fluid
» Hex key, 3/32
possible hue (Figure A ). hole (Figure C ) — this will keep the wood from
» Soldering iron The result is the Rainbow Lightbox: a device splitting when you screw the boards together. Line
» Small slotted screwdriver, that lets you mix colored light like paint and play up the holes on one board with the undrilled end
1/8"
with color by casting shadows. of a second board. Use a 3/32" bit to carefully drill
through the first hole into the end of the second
1. BUILD THE FRAME board. Screw the boards together with a 11/2" wood
On one end of each board, mark two screw holes screw (Figure D ). Repeat with the second hole.
Hep Svadja
Svadja

that are ¾" in from each of the long edges, and Repeat the whole process until you have a four-
Hep

⅜" in from the short edge (Figure B ). Use a 3/32" sided frame (Figure E ).

makezine.com 47
PROJECTS Rainbow Lightbox

G H

I J

K L
Nicole Catrett

M N

48 makershare.com
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O P

2. ADD THE ACRYLIC PANELS


Mark ⅜" in from the edge of each acrylic sheet, all the way around.
Evenly distribute 16 screw holes around the edge of each panel,
starting 1" in from each corner (Figure F ). Use a ⅛" plastic bit to
drill holes where the screws will go. Set your drill to a high speed
and use low pressure to keep the plastic from cracking when
you drill through. It also helps if there is something to drill into
underneath the acrylic — a piece of plywood should do the trick
(Figure G ).
Place one of the acrylic sheets on top on the wood frame and
secure it with painter’s tape. Use the 3/32" bit to drill through each
hole (Figure H ). When you’ve drilled all the holes in one side, flip
Q the frame over and repeat the process with the second acrylic
sheet. Mark where each sheet lines up (Figure I — trust me,
you’ll never remember!) Remove the acrylic sheets, and set one
aside for now.
Remove the protective covering from one side of the other acrylic
panel (Figure J ). Line the panel up with one of the diffusing filters,
and use a bit of scotch tape to hold them together (Figure K ).
Carefully cut out the holes in the diffusion filter with an X-Acto knife
(Figure L ). Place the filter/acrylic sandwich back on top of the wood
frame, filter side down. Peel the protective covering away from the
screw holes and use ¾" wood screws to attach the acrylic panel to
R the frame (Figure M ).

3. MAKE THE TUBES, LOTS AND LOTS OF TUBES!


Invite some friends over for this part with offers of cookies and
beer; the work goes a lot quicker with good company! Cut the mylar
into long, 3"-wide strips using an X-Acto knife and a ruler (Figure
N ). Lots and lots of strips. When you have a big pile of 3" strips, cut

them down into 3½", 4½", and 6½" lengths (Figure O — the three
lengths are for the different dowel diameters).
Now comes the cookies and beer part! Wrap a piece of mylar
around a dowel to make a tube. Secure the mylar tube lengthwise
with a strip of scotch tape (Figure P ). Slide the mylar tube off the
S dowel and place it in the frame (Figure Q ). Keep adding tubes until
the frame is packed tight (Figure R ). When you’re satisfied, place
the second diffusion filter on the filled frame, followed by the acrylic
panel (aren’t you glad you marked how it goes together?). Cut out
the holes in the filter with an X-Acto, and screw it together (Figure
S ). Remove the protective coating from both sides of the lightbox

(Figure T ).

makezine.com 49
PROJECTS Rainbow Lightbox

U V

W X

Y Z

AA BB
Nicole Catrett

CC DD

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4. MAKE A HEATSINK
Super bright LEDs can put out a lot of heat (along with a lot of light),
and it’s important to give your LED a heatsink to dissipate that heat
and keep your LED from burning out.
Use the ⅛" bit to drill a couple of screw holes on one side of the
aluminum angle. It helps to put the angle on a block of wood for
this part (Figure U ). Place the LED on the other side of the angle,
and mark the hole in the LED’s center, and where you want the two
4-40 screws the go (Figure V ). Drill the center hole with the ⅛"
bit. Drill the two holes with the #43 bit (Figure W ). Use the 4-40 tap
and a little cutting fluid to thread the #43 holes (Figure X ). Line
the aluminum angle up with the edge of the 4"×4" wood block and
screw it down using two ¾" wood screws (Figure Y ). Put the LED in
place and screw in the two 4-40 screws. Tighten them down with the
3/32 hex key (Figure Z ).

5. BUILD YOUR LIGHT SOURCE


Thread the BuckPuck’s LED (+) and LED (-) wires through the center
EE hole (Figure AA ). Solder them to the LED’s corresponding positive
and negative pads (Figure BB ). Use the slotted screwdriver to screw
the BuckPuck’s positive and negative wires into one side of the
terminal block (Figure CC ).
Plug the pigtail into the power supply jack and screw the
positive and negative wires from the pigtail into the other side of
the terminal block (Figure DD ). Add a p-strap to hold everything in
place (Figure EE ). Plug in your light (Figure FF )! (If it doesn’t turn on,
double-check the polarity of the wires.)

USE IT
Find a dark space to play with your Rainbow Lightbox. Plug in
your light, and shine it at the back of the lightbox (move the light
around until you find the sweet spot where the whole lightbox is
illuminated). Try casting colorful shadows by blocking the light with
your hand. What happens if you move your hand closer or farther
from the light? What colors do you see on the back of the box? What
colors can you see on the front?
Try using different objects to create colored shadows, like lenses,
FF water, mesh, crocheted lace, perforated metal … look around you
for things that might make interesting shadows or patterns (Figure
GG ). You could also try using different colors for the lights, or other

light sources, like a sunny window or a television. If you want to go


further, you could activate your lightbox with a mechanical shadow
sculpture, turn it into a beautiful lamp, or make several lightboxes
and stack them together to create an immersive environment. You
can also play with the dimensions of your lightbox. I turned mine
into a small table that several people can sit around to play with
collaboratively. I think that what makes the Rainbow Lightbox so
special is the way it reveals the beauty and physics of light through
play and exploration.
Hep Svadja

GG

makezine.com 51
PROJECTS SMS-Enabled Treat Dispenser

Text a
Treat
This smart system dispenses snacks and
sends you a pic of your pooch, all via SMS
Written and photographed by Rich Nelson

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TIME REQUIRED:
1 Week
COST:
L eaving our new pup Gus at home was
“ruff,” especially for my wife. As a maker
I saw a problem that needed solving, and the
$40–$100 approaching holiday season set a deadline
for the perfect gift. The project quickly took
MATERIALS form: find a way to check in on the dog while
» Raspberry Pi, any
model with a camera we were at work and maybe even interact
connector will work with him a bit.
such as v2, v3, Zero
v1.3, or Zero W I knew I could use a Raspberry Pi
» Raspberry Pi Camera Camera Module to take photos and control
Module, V1 or V2 electronics. For connectivity I’d seen a few
» Servo motor, SG90
projects using Twilio, a service for internet-
» Power source, 5V, at
least 2A connected, programmable phone numbers.
» Acetal plastic or This was a perfect fit — Gus could literally
alternate material
for enclosure and send us a text! Lastly, I needed a way to get
dispenser mechanism Gus’s attention for the photos … treats were
» Popsicle stick, or the obvious answer.
other material for
servo linkage For my second Raspberry Pi project,
» Flat head screws, this seemed like a big challenge. But like
#4×1/2" (16)
any complex task, I broke it down into
» Self-tapping screws,
#2×5/16" (18) manageable pieces and solved them one by
» Disc magnets, one. This made it easy to get started, and
1/2"×1/16" (2)
each small win pushed me forward. Like
» Butt hinge, 3/4"×5/8"
(4), with 4 screws John Wanamaker said, “One may walk over
each the highest mountain one step at a time.”
» Jumper wires (9)
While I made a few upgrades along the
» Double-sided tape
» Dog treats I buy Old
way, the original setup goes like this: I send
Mother Hubbard a text to my dog’s Twilio phone number.
Classic natural dog
treats
Twilio forwards the text to the Raspberry Pi
server. The Raspberry Pi uses the Arduino
TOOLS to wiggle the servomotor in order to get Gus’
» CNC machine, or attention. The Raspberry Pi takes a photo,
3D printer or
and a treat pops out for Gus while the photo
woodworking tools A
» Computer with is uploaded to Dropbox. Finally, Twilio texts
internet access me the photo. To a dog, it’s a magical white
» Router with admin
access (or a port
box that gives treats. To a human, it’s a way web address into a browser, but instead
tunneling service) to check in on your pup and get a cute pic of requesting a webpage from the server
when you’re out for the day. it sends the info from the text message
(Figure A ). Twilio supports Python, which
SET UP TWILIO is native to all Raspberry Pi boards. To get
Twilio is a game changer. Inexpensive started, check out Twilio’s guide at twilio.
electronics allow anyone to make awesome com/docs/guides/how-to-receive-and-reply.
devices at home, and now with Twilio we With just 11 lines of code I had a
can connect with those projects through text simple web server that could receive and
RICH NELSON is messages or phone calls. automatically respond to text messages!
an engineer by day at
ROAR for Good, using Uber uses Twilio to text you when your Before going live I had to expose the server
technology to make the ride is coming. The startup that I work for, to the internet with port forwarding on
world a safer place. ROAR for Good, uses it to notify your loved my router. With the basic server done, the
By night he works on
ones when you are in danger. With a few project was starting to take shape, and I
projects of limited
use and maximum lines of code and less than one cent per text, continued to add functions as the remaining
amusement. Visit we makers can extend our projects beyond features were completed. You can find the
RichNelson.me to see our households with no custom mobile app finished code on my GitHub at github.com/
more of his projects.
or web interface required. rmn388/dog-treat-dispenser.
Twilio provides a unique phone number.
When a text is received, it triggers an DISPENSING THE TREAT
HTTP request. This is just like typing a For the mechanical dispenser, I took

makezine.com 53
PROJECTS SMS-Enabled Treat Dispenser

B C

inspiration from a gun magazine (with tasty other processes can interrupt your program
treats in place of bullets). I measured some at any time.
of our dog’s favorite treats, and designed
the channel around them. I CNC cut the WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Crank dispenser assembly (Figure B and top right (OR ONE TREAT)
in Figure C ) out of acetal plastic. After plugging in the camera and installing
I designed the dispenser around a a few packages, it only took two lines of
common servo motor to keep it affordable. I code for the setup, then one more line to
D converted the servo’s rotational motion into take photos! This was by far the easiest part
Link linear motion using a crank, link, and slider of the project because the Raspberry Pi
Slider mechanism. This is similar to a crank and system is so well supported.
piston in a car engine. In this case the white import picamera
plastic servo arm acts as the crank. I cut up camera = picamera.PiCamera()
a popsicle stick for the link, and the slider is camera.capture(‘image.jpg’)
a machined plastic piece (Figure D ). That saves the file to the local folder,
Servos are driven by PWM (pulse-width but Twilio needs a URL in order to text the
modulation) signals, essentially electrical photo. Luckily Dropbox provides a simple
pulses that vary in length to control Python API to upload a photo and get a
the angle of the servo arm. To keep the shareable link. As a bonus, this also saves
hardware as simple as possible I attempted the photos in a shared Dropbox so my wife
to use a Raspberry Pi to drive the servo. The and I can browse the photos from anywhere
Pi does not have native PWM hardware, but (Figure E ).
there are some software libraries that can
emulate this signal. Unfortunately these THE ENCLOSURE
were buggy in my experience, leading to I chose acetal plastic for the box as well
jittery, unreliable servo movement. As a (shown in white in Figure C ), hoping the
quick solution I wired up an Arduino for tough plastic would be chew-resistant
servo control and it worked perfectly. This against our persistent pup. The CAD files
highlights one of the primary differences are also on my GitHub. I machined the
of an Arduino (microprocessor) vs. a parts on a CNC router, but a comparable
Raspberry Pi (single board computer). enclosure could be made with 3D printing,
Arduino can only do one thing at a time, traditional woodworking methods, or
which is great for extremely time sensitive whatever tools you have at your disposal.
actions like servo control. A Raspberry Pi All in all the design is meant to be
has a full operating system running, so unassuming so it doesn’t stand out in our

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house. Though, one notable feature is the


camera tilt mechanism. Using a live hinge
(a thin bendable section of the plastic), the
camera can be tilted up and down by sliding
the lid forward and backward.

UPGRADES
This dispenser has been useful in our day to
day, but like any project it’s not always used
exactly as you imagine. With all the treats,
Gus started packing on the pounds! To keep
him trim, I changed the default behavior
to stealthily capture a photo. Now we only
send the occasional treat with a specific text
command. I extended the functionality to
automatically send a photo every day at noon,
which is nice to get in the middle of the day.
I also added a feature so my wife and I could
have the captured photos sent to each other.
I have a few ideas to take this project to
the next level. Adding live streaming video
would be cool. Or adding a motorized pan/
tilt mechanism, or turning it into a remote
control vehicle that could drive around to
find Gus. I wired up a motion sensor as well.
Although it’s not currently being used, it’s
ready to be enabled through software if we
want to automatically take photos when Gus
moves around, or use the OpenCV computer
vision library to detect if he is in frame.

Check out makezine.com/go/treat-


dispenser to see the treat dispenser in
action and to get more info.

makezine.com 55
PROJECTS Ultrasonic Robot Radar

Robot-Ready
Written by Adam Kemp

Radar An ultrasonic sensor and a single servo let your


bot sense its surroundings for less than $10

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TIME REQUIRED:
30–60 Minutes +
3D print time
A utonomous vehicles use a wealth of sensing
technologies to calculate relative position
and make driving decisions. There are sensors
COST: that determine geolocation, cameras for real-
$5–$10 time image processing, and others that measure
speed and magnetic heading, yet the one that
MATERIALS I find the most interesting is the lidar. Similar
» Sensor holder download
the files from Thingiverse to radar, lidar continuously sweeps a high
thingiverse.com/ speed, laser-based distance sensor to generate
thing:2481918
» Ultrasonic sensor, HC-SR04
either a 2D or 3D point map of the surrounding
or equivalent RobotShop landscape. This massive amount of information
#RB-Lte-54 robotshop.com
is then processed and adjustments are made A
» Micro servo motor
#RB-Dfr-124 robotshop.com to the trajectory of the vehicle. Unfortunately,
» Servo extension cable, rotating lidar systems are very costly and require
30cm #RB-Dfr-179
robotshop.com
significant processing capability to fully utilize.
» Screw, M3 or smaller (4) Luckily the same principles can be applied on
» Cable tie aka zip tie a smaller scale using a conventional ultrasonic
» Arduino Uno or similar sensor and a single servo.
» Robot platform,
two-wheel, continuous
Are you ready to give your two-wheeled
rotation servo-driven Arduino-controlled robot some cool, smart-
sensing abilities? Great! Gather all of the tools and
TOOLS materials (Figure A ) you need and find out how
» 3D printer You can print the
parts yourself, or send the 3D
for less than $10 you can create a sweeping 3D B
files to a service for printing. printed ultrasonic sensor aptly named ultradar!
See makezine.com/where-to-
get-digital-fabrication-tool-
access to find a printer or 1. PREPARE THE SENSOR
service you can use.
Start this project by visiting my Thingiverse page
» Repo for ultrasonic library
at github.com/ErickSimoes/ at thingiverse.com/thing:2481918 and
Ultrasonic downloading the latest files for the ultradar
» Soldering iron adjustable
temperature with stand
assembly. The download includes the solid
» Solder standard rosin core models and software to run your robot. Print the
» Heat-shrink tubing, 1/16"– top and bottom models using the following
1/8"×2"
settings:
» Snips small or flush cut
» Strippers, 20–30 gauge C
» Screw driver, #1 Phillips Plastic Type: PLA or ABS, others plastics are untested
» Hobby knife Layer Height: 0.1mm - 0.2mm
Infill: No less than 10%
Support: Touching build plate
Brim: No, unless you have adhesion issues

While the assembly is printing, modify the


sensor by soldering the Trig and Echo pins
Make: author ADAM
together (Figure B ). This will allow you to use
KEMP has taught
high school technology the sensor in three-wire mode and can therefore
and engineering for control it with a repurposed servo cable. Trim D
over 12 years and off any excess material and shorten the pins by
currently co-chairs the
2–3mm (Figure C ).
Science, Technology,
Engineering, Art, Remove the male end of the servo extension
and Mathematics using your snips. Strip about 3mm from the end
department at the of each wire and tin with solder. Separate roughly
Princeton International
Adam Kemp
Kemp

2cm–3cm of each wire from the bundle and slide


School of Mathematics
and Science. His a 1cm piece of heat-shrink tubing over each
Svadja, Adam

book, The Makerspace (Figure D ).


Workbench, has served
Hep Svadja,

Solder the red wire to 5V pin, the white/orange


as a resource for
thousands.
wire to the Echo/Trig pin, and the black/brown
Hep

wire to the Gnd pin (Figure E ). Be careful not to E

makezine.com 57
PROJECTS Ultrasonic Robot Radar

overheat your wire as it will cause the heat-


F G shrink to shrink.
Slide each piece of heat-shrink over the
soldered joints. Make sure that all of the
exposed wire and pin are covered. Use a
heat gun or lighter to shrink the heat-shrink
around the solder joints (Figure F ).

2. ASSEMBLE THE ULTRADAR


Remove the support material from the
H I screw hole located on the base piece and
test fit the servo screw (Figure G ). Set aside.
Clean up any remaining support material
from the top piece and make sure that the
holes for the sensors are free of burrs.
Carefully press the HC-SR04 sensor into
one of the two mounts until the crystal
just touches the plastic support (Figure
H ). Do your best not to dent the sensor’s

aluminum cylinders.
J K Insert the servo into the mount so that the
output shaft is centered (Figure I ). Secure
in place with the two mounting screws
provided with the servo (Figure J ).
Upload the “ServoTest” program provided
with the Thingiverse ultradar files to your
Arduino and attach the servo cable to D10.
The program will start by outputting a servo
command of 90 and will center the servo.
Now that the servo is centered, attach the
bottom half of the ultradar assembly using
the appropriate screw. Be sure to align the
L M top and bottom halves so that the front of
the sensor is parallel to the bottom (Figure
K ). Once secured, you can disconnect the

servo from D10.


Route the sensor and servo wires through
the cable mount and tighten in place using
a cable tie (Figure L ). Trim off the excess
material using your snips. This mount will
help prevent the servo and sensor wires
from fatiguing over time.
Mount the ultradar sensor onto your
N O robot so that the center position is directly
forward (Figure M ). Connect the servo to
D11 and the sensor cable to D13 and you
are ready to test!
Upload the “UltraDAR-SingleSweep”
program to your Arduino and open the
Serial Monitor. The sensor should quickly
sweep 180° and the readings will be
printed to the monitor (Figure N ). If you
Adam Kemp

do not see the data stream check that you


have connected the sensor to D13 and the
orientation is correct.

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3. PREPARE YOUR ROBOT


You will need to trim your continuous
rotation servos before you run the robot.
This will ensure that the robot drives as
straight as possible and the adjustment
turns are accurate. Reload the “ServoTest”
program and attach one of the continuous
rotation drive servos to D10. If the servo
begins to rotate, use a small Phillips
screwdriver to adjust the trim potentiometer
until the servo stops (Figure O ). This will P
set the servo’s physical midpoint.
Record the software midpoint by
manually adjusting it through the Serial
Monitor. Open the Serial Monitor, set
the baud rate to 9600, and send a “-” to
decrease the servo control number until the
service begins to turn (Figure P ). Record
Q
the number. Now increase the number by
sending an “=” until the servo begins to
spin in the opposite direction and record 4. UPLOAD AND TEST far it can drive before it gets stuck. The
the number. Average the two numbers to Save and upload the modified code to the possibilities are endless! I hope you have
determine the servo’s software midpoint. robot. The servos should twitch and the enjoyed this project and explore the many
Repeat the previous two steps for the other sensor sweep servo will move to its home ways it can be used to give your robots a
drive servo. position. After 1 second, the sensor will better sense of their surroundings.
Disconnect the servo and connect the begin to sweep and the wheels will turn
left drive servo to D10 and the right to D9. accordingly.
Double-check that the sensor is connected Place the robot in an open area and
to D13 and its sweep servo connected to off it will go! If everything is installed
D11. Open the “ultradar-SingleSweep” correctly and set properly, the robot should
program and update the “leftCenter” and autonomously navigate the surrounding
“rightCenter” constants to reflect your area while endlessly trying to find the
calculated software midpoints (Figure Q ). longest path to follow.
The remaining constants determine how
the robot will respond to the surrounding A SENSATIONAL STEP
environment. You can leave them as-is Congratulations! With the addition of an
or adjust them based on the following ultradar sensor, your robot has taken one
table. The min and max values should be step toward full autonomy. Spooky, right?
acceptable for a non-geared two-wheeled Try running it through a maze made out
servo driven robot. of books, or put it outside and see how

CONSTANT FUNCTION Min Value Max Value

leftTurnTime Delay in ms per left turn step 10 100

rightTurnTime Delay in ms per right turn step 10 100

reverseTime Time in ms for reverse action 100 1000

reverseThreshold Distance in cm to trigger reverse 5 15

maxSweepAngle Max angle in degrees for sensor to sweep 0 180

sampleAngle Angle at which each measurement is taken. Should be a divisor of maxSweepAngle. 15 90

sampleDelay Delay in ms after each distance measurement. 0 10

numSamples Quantity of measurements averaged at each sample angle 10 30

makezine.com 59
PROJECTS Kokedama Plants

Written by Brookelynn Morris

Kokedama
String Garden
Transform your plants into hanging sculptures

TIME REQUIRED:
20–30 Minutes
COST:
$10–$20

MATERIALS
» Small plant
» Twine, heavy-duty
» Heavy clay mud, or
bonsai soil
» Potting soil
» Sheet moss
» Sphagnum moss
(optional)
» Peat soil (optional)

TOOLS
» Scissors

BROOKELYNN
MORRIS is an OG
maker living in the
redwood forest on
the coast of Northern
California. Find her on
Twitter @Brookelynn23.

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A B C

D E F

Nat Heckathorn
G H I

B eing a bonsai and ikebana enthusiast,


I was captivated the first time I saw a
kokedama (moss ball) string garden. I’ve
3. CREATE SOIL BALL
Hold the plant with one hand, and with the
other, pat the clay mixture all around the
as you go. Then repeat with the other end
of string, on the opposite side of the ball.
Getting a nice balance is crucial, especially
hung my kokedama outdoors, where it roots. I started at the sides, worked to the with an upright growing flower (Figure H ).
sways a bit in the breeze, and I couldn’t top, then pressed the clay into the bottom
love it more. of the plant last. Mold the clay into a round 7. DISPLAY
The steps are simple, with the most ball, making sure that the mud is against Hang the kokedama where the conditions
important aspect being the mixture of clay the base of the leaves (Figure D ). are suited to the plant’s needs (Figure I ).
and soil. Try to achieve a blend of mud that To water it, hold a container of water up to
clings together well. When encasing the 4. ATTACH MOSS the wrapped ball to submerge the roots.
plant, you will feel a bit like a sculptor, and Firmly press moss all over the clay ball. Because the plant is not in a solid vessel,
in essence, you are sculpting the earth into The soft moss should stick right to the mud it will require a bit more frequent watering
something fairly impossible — a perfectly (Figure E ). than other plants in your garden.
round hanging garden.
5. WRAP IN TWINE GOING FURTHER
1. COMBINE NUTRIENTS Cut at least 3 yards of twine. Lay the moss- Your kokedama options are boundless.
Mix a few generous handfuls of clay with an covered plant onto the center of the twine, Hardy plants that require little root space
equal amount of potting soil (Figure A ). then wrap and twist (Figure F ), wrap and work best. For additional moisture, you
twist, wrap and twist (Figure G ) until the can wrap the plant’s roots in Sphagnum
2. REMOVE PLANT FROM CONTAINER entire garden is bound. moss before creating the soil ball. Mixing
Pull the plant from its container (Figure peat, bonsai, and potting soil together will
B ).To trim the roots, tug at them gently, 6. CREATE THE HANGER up the nutrients as well as enhance the
breaking them apart, without breaking To finish the wrapping, draw one of the ends kokedama’s moisture retention.
them off (Figure C ). Rinse as much of the of twine up the side of the ball. Weave it
growing media from the roots as you can. over and under the wrapped twine, knotting

makezine.com 61
PROJECTS Bigfacebox

Fat Head
TIME REQUIRED:
2 Hours
COST:
$30–$40

MATERIALS
Supersize your noggin » Cardboard box Any box is

with a lens and a cardboard box


fine as long as it’s about 15"
deep. We used a document
holder 120 size (about
Written by Yuji Hayashi with Tomofumi Yoshida and Rei Betsuyaku 15"×12½"×11½")
» Fresnel lens from Aliexpress.
Things looked interesting with
a focal length of 500mm.
» LED tape, warm white The
same type used for cars or
interior lighting. We used a
500 LED strip. You can use
other colors, but your face
won’t be as clear. Make
sure you choose LEDs in the
3,000K–4,000K range so the
light appears “natural.”
» Batteries and holder paired
to your LED tape’s working
voltage. Our LEDs came with
one already attached.
» Wire, two colors
to connect the LED tape and
the battery box
» Heat-shrink tubing

TOOLS
» Box cutter or scissors to cut
the cardboard
» Adhesive tape to affix
the lens to the cardboard.
Transparent tape looks
better. 
» Soldering iron and solder

Hep Svadja, Daily Portal Z - portal.nifty.com


to attach the LED, electricity,
and cord
» Plastic cutter (optional) to
cut the Fresnel lens 
» Double-sided tape
(optional) if LED tape
doesn’t come with an
adhesive backing
» Sturdy gloves (optional) to
protect your hands if cutting
the lens
» Snacks (optional) eat these
when you need a break

YUJI HAYASHI
is the editor-in-chief of Daily
Portal Z (portal.nifty.com).
makezine.com/61

W e held the Big Face Mask Workshop


at Maker Faire Tokyo in August
2016. Originally, we were going to have
solder together the two ends of the LED
strips (Figure D ), one color to the positive
pads and the other to negative pads. Cover
participants make a large version of their the solder joints with heat-shrink tubing
face using papercraft. However, it took 2 to protect against pulls and shorts. The
hours per person. As a way to make it much wire to the battery holder should be long
A simpler, we decided to ask them to wear a enough to be out of the way.
box instead. Thanks to this idea, it only takes Attach one strip of LED tape on each
2 seconds now with the Bigfacebox. I have to long edge of the lens’ ridged side (Your
wonder if I can still call this a workshop. face will look better if the smooth side
This is not the only way to do it. Please of the lens faces out). LED tape with
feel free to choose your box size, lens type, adhesive on the back is most convenient,
lighting, and such to get your desired result. but you can use double-sided tape, too.
(You can also put an LED strip on the top
and bottom, as shown in the photo.)

CAUTION: Please do not look 4. PUT IT ALL TOGETHER


directly into the sun or other bright lights
when wearing the face enlargement box. Attach the lens to the box with adhesive
tape, then attach the battery holder to the
B inside of the box. Turn on the LEDs, put
the box over your head, and it’s complete
1. ASSEMBLE THE BOX (Figure E ). Let’s scare some people.
Close one set of flaps. Tape the other set of
flaps open so that they extend the height of
the box (Figure A ). Then lay the box down
so the opening is on the side.
Make a hole on the bottom where you can
insert your head (Figure B ). Positioning
your head about 6" away from the opening
makes for an interesting face.

C 2. FIT THE LENS E


Depending on the size of your Fresnel lens,
you may need to cut it to fit the opening
of your box using an acrylic cutter. Please
be careful not to cut your hands when
cutting the lens’ cross-section. (I cut
mine three times. Work gloves are highly
recommended.)
If you get a rectangular lens rather than
a circular lens you will have less work to
size it to your box opening. Make sure you
preserve the center of the lens. If you need
to cut off two inches, cut one inch off each
side (Figure C ).
D Your face will look more interesting
when the lens’ center is set slightly back
from the opening.

3. ATTACH THE LED STRIPS


Cut two lengths of the LED strip that
DC12V measure slightly less than the long edge
Please let us know if you’ve made
of the lens. Our lens was 15"×12½", so we an interesting looking face through
made the length of the strips less than 14". dailyportal@list.nifty.co.jp or on our
Then measure two lengths of wire slightly twitter account @dailyportalz.
longer than the short edge of the lens, and

makezine.com 63
PROJECTS Biped Robot Otto

CAMILO PARRA
PALACIO is an
Industrial Designer in
Shanghai, China, creator
and founder of Otto DIY,
a project that follows
his passion for robotics,
toys, open source
hardware and his dream
to be a Maker Pro.

DIY Bipedal
Robot Open source and customizable, Otto can
dance, make sounds, and avoid obstacles
Written by Camilo Parra Palacio

O tto is an open source,


Arduino-compatible,
3D-printable bipedal (two-
learning about programming
and robotics easy, interactive,
and fun!
Otto follows a line of
microcontroller-powered,
do-it-yourself, bipedal robots.
for commercial purposes, as
long as they credit you and
license their new creations
footed) robot made with Thanks to the open source under the identical terms. For
off-the-shelf components. EDUCATIONAL nature of these projects, each the full legal code of this license
It can be programmed from Otto is also a great tool for the generation is able to build upon please visit creativecommons.
any computer to walk, dance, classroom, and it’s currently its predecessors (Figure A ). org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
sing, and avoid obstacles. being used by educators The Otto project is licensed legalcode.
Standing a little under 4½" tall around the world to teach under the Creative Commons
and with fewer than 30 parts, children (ages 8 and up) about Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 PROGRAMMABLE
Otto is the perfect platform the wonders of robotics. Adults International (CC-BY-SA). This Once assembled, Otto can be
Otto DIY

for working with a robot that are, of course, joining in the fun license lets others remix, tweak, easily programmed over USB
you build yourself, and makes as well. and build upon your work even to perform several different

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A BIPED FAMILY TREE TIME REQUIRED: » Battery holder, AA


2 Hours » Switch, 8×8mm square,
self-locking
COST: » Batteries, AA (4)
$30–$50 3D PRINTED PARTS
download from thingiverse.

MATERIALS
com/thing:2398231 or
available from ottodiy.
ELECTRONICS available com, on their own or in
as a kit from ottodiy.com. If combination with the
purchased separately: electronics:
» Micro servos, SG90 (4) » Head, PLA
and included screws » Body, PLA
» Arduino Nano » Leg, PLA (2)
Atmega328 » Right foot, PLA
microcontroller
» Left foot, PLA
» Arduino I/O shield, N/A
» Ultrasonic sensor, HC-
SR04 TOOLS
» Jumper wires, female-to- » Phillips screwdriver (also
female (6) included in robot kit)
» Piezo buzzer, 12mm
» Mini-USB cable

behaviors. Depending on the modify them to prescribe other


prescribed movement of its behaviors and movements of
servos, Otto can move around in the robot.
very distinct ways (Figure B ). Not only is the software
Otto’s internal buzzer allows modifiable, Otto’s hardware D
it to communicate with the design files are too. So adding
external world (Figure C ). functionality like an arm,
Otto can interact with its wheels, or an LED, is possible
surroundings autonomously by as well (Figure E ). The project
programming it to use its built- is released under open source
in sensor (Figure D ). Find the licenses, allowing it to be
instruction manual, code, and modified to the Otto-builder’s E
more at github.com/OttoDIY. desire.
Otto is the brainchild of my
CUSTOMIZABLE team, working out of Shanghai,
Otto’s body can be 3D printed in China. Acrobotic teamed up
almost any 3D printer. Anyone with the Otto developers in
can create their own Otto using order to take the project into
any choice of color filaments. crowdfunding. They recently
Using the project’s Arduino finished a successful Kickstarter
software libraries, you can crowdfunding campaign and the
easily program Otto to perform different Otto kits of parts can be
a wide variety of motions. After purchased at ottodiy.com.
understanding the example
programs, Otto-builders can

makezine.com 65
PROJECTS Electronics Fun & Fundamentals

Ohm
Sweet
Ohm
Lessons learned installing
custom LED driveway lighting
Written and photographed by Charles Platt

CHARLES
PLATT is the
author of Make:
Electronics, an
introductory guide
for all ages, its
sequel Make:
More Electronics,
and the 3-volume
Encyclopedia
of Electronic
Components. His
new book, Make:
Tools, is available
now. makershed.
com/platt

66 makershare.com
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S olar-powered driveway lights seemed


like a great idea when I installed
them two years ago, but their transparent
Variable
voltage
power
plastic turned yellow in the sun, and their supply
batteries wore out. I decided to scrap them
and install 40 LEDs wired in parallel. If I
When lights are wired in parallel, each receives the same voltage (ignoring distribution
used an adjustable supply to provide the A losses caused by wire resistance) but some lights can draw more current than others.
recommended forward voltage, I wouldn’t
need series resistors (see Figure A ).
I will swallow my embarrassment, now,
as I explain how wrong I was.
I have a long driveway, but I determined 100
that 800 feet of 18-gauge wire would have a
WR WR
AR1
resistance of only 5 ohms. By comparison,
100 Set to
if an LED passes 20mA at 3.2V, it has an
200
effective resistance of 3.2 / 0.02 = 160 ohms,
according to Ohm’s law. Of course, an WR WR 100
LED doesn’t have resistance in the formal
AR2
sense, because it varies with voltage. But 100 Set to
the calculation gave me a ballpark figure to 600
reassure me that the resistance of the wire WR WR 100
should be trivial by comparison. (If you’re AR3
sketchy about Ohm’s law, you’ll find it fully
explained in my book Make: Electronics.) 100 Set to
I set to work pulling wire and burying 1.2K
conduit. At the end of the day it suddenly Adjustable
voltage
occurred to me (duh!) that if I had 40 LEDs power supply
B
in parallel, their collective resistance would
be around 4 ohms, not 160. In which case — Adjustable
Lights wired in parallel, with sections of voltage
maybe the resistance of the wire would not wire having resistance WR. power supply
be trivial, after all? Adjustment resistors AR1, AR2, and AR3 C
compensate for wire resistance
When in doubt, do the math. Figure B so that the same current passes through To verify the formula from
shows four lights wired in parallel. WR is each light. It can be proved that Figure B, use 100Ω resistors to
represent each segment of wire
the wire resistance of each section, while AR1 = 2 × WR and 2K trimmers as adjustment
AR1, AR2, and AR3 are adjustment resistors AR2 = (4 × WR) + (2 × WR) resistors. Any resistance may
AR3 = (6 × WR) + (4 × WR) + (2 × WR) be used to represent each
chosen to supply the same current to each light, so long as they are all the
light. What should the resistor values be? ... same. Voltage drop and current
ARn = n × (n+1) × WR will be equal for each light.
By applying Ohm’s law and thinking very
hard, I derived the formula shown. Figure C The resistance of each light is
unimportant, so long as they are all equal.
shows how to verify it yourself, if you wish.
To apply a specific voltage across each
light, adjust the power supply.
ASK AN EXPERT
My formula told me that using 10-foot
sections of 18-gauge wire, AR1 through
AR40 would range from 0.1 ohms all the an LED is affected not only by voltage but This kind of problem doesn’t arise when
way up to 105 ohms. Such a high value also by manufacturing inconsistencies. you’re building a small device that uses
seemed odd, so I decided to consult my Consequently, a voltage that is correct for an LED as an indicator. Just add a series
friend Ken, who has decades of experience most will be a little too high for some. This resistor of the next-higher standard value,
as an electronics engineer. greedy minority will suck more milliamps and if the LED is slightly underpowered, it will
“But you shouldn’t be wiring the LEDs in than they should, curtailing their own life still be bright enough to serve its purpose.
parallel,” he said. expectancy. When LEDs are used for lighting, the
Really? How else should I wire them? I found this hard to believe, so I tested situation is different. We want maximum
“In series, with a constant-current power some LEDs at their recommended 3.2V brightness, and the best way to achieve
supply.” forward voltage. Sure enough, I found one this is by ordering a constant-current
A what? that gorged itself with 31mA, exceeding the power supply from eBay for around $25.
Kindly, Ken elucidated. The behavior of absolute maximum specified in its datasheet. Set the supply for 20mA, apply it to LEDs

makezine.com 67
PROJECTS Electronics Fun & Fundamentals / LED Broom Light

Cap is made from


Constant
Constant solid block of ABS
current
D power
supply
cut from 1"×1.25"
bar stock ½"
When lights are wired in series with a constant-
Whencurrent power
lights are supply,
wired an equal,
in series controlled currentpower
with a constant-current LED tube cut from
passes through
supply, an equal, controlled allpasses
current of them.
through all of them. solid ½" ABS rod

1
Constant

½
1/2""
current ⅛" center
Constant 2
power
current hole
supplies
power supply drilled for
3 3mm LED
E End of tube
bevelled with
Common
Common ground 60˚ countersink
ground Riser is glued
Multiple serial loops may be necessary if the total voltage
G into cavity in
Multiple
requiredserial loops
by lights inmaybe
series necessary if the
exceeds the total voltage
specification base of cap
required by lights
of a single in series suceeds
constant-current the supply.
power specification
of a single constant-current power supply
Riser is ½"
PVC water pipe
24 external
22 dimension 13/16"
Current passing
20 through a white LED
18 indicator rated for 3.2V
forward voltage
16 when lower voltages
Current (mA)
(mA)

14 are applied to it by
a regulated supply.
12
Current

10
8
6
4
2
F 0
2.7 2.8 2.9 3.0 3.1 3.2 H I
DC Voltage
DC Voltage

wired in series (as in Figure D ), and every He reminded me that a series resistor will be a bit dimmer, but if you can’t see the
LED will deliver its maximum output doesn’t just impose a voltage reduction. It difference, don’t worry about it.”
without hurting itself. functions as a current limiter, because of
Unfortunately for me, this created a the way that an LED passes much more WEIRD AND WONDERFUL
new problem. If I put 40 LEDs in series, current when the forward voltage increases I did as he said, and sure enough, the LEDs
I would need 40 × 3.2 = 128V to power slightly. An increase of just 0.5V can allow do look okay. Of course, they are still wired
them all. Most constant-current supplies current to increase by more than a factor of in parallel, and even with their protective
can’t handle that, so I would need three 10. This is illustrated in Figure F . resistors, maybe one or two will overdose on
supplies, each powering a separate loop, If you pair a resistor with the LED, any amperage and die young. Only time will tell.
as in Figure E (which shows small groups increase in current causes the resistor to Bearing in mind all this aggravation,
for simplicity). impose a larger voltage drop, because voltage perhaps I would have been smarter to use
= current × resistance (Ohm’s law again). The store-bought lighting. But store-bought
ASK ANOTHER EXPERT voltage drop causes the LED to pass less products are boring. Figure G shows the
I imagined digging up the conduits, ungluing current, and somewhere in the middle, the enclosure that I designed for each LED,
them, desoldering the wires, adding new two components find a stable equilibrium. Figure H shows a finished sample, and
wires, and burying everything again. “Install 470-ohm resistors,” Graham Figure I shows the front path to my house.
I did not want to do that. advised me. “Then increase the voltage of You must agree, you’ll never find weird-
Well, if I didn’t like Ken’s expert advice, your power supply till the nearest LED is looking creepy-green miniature lights like
maybe I should try a different expert. drawing 20mA.” these at The Home Depot.
I contacted my friend Graham, who is Shouldn’t I use trimmers so that I could
another seasoned electronics engineer. adjust them to compensate for the wire
“Oh, keep them wired in parallel,” he said. resistance?
“But use series resistors.” “I wouldn’t bother. The LEDs farther away

68 makershare.com
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makezine.com/49

MATERIALS

A Clean Sweep
» Rechargeable strip LED
worklight I used 2, but 1 is
sufficient
» Insulated stranded hookup
wire, 22 ga (48" each of red
Written and photographed by Sean Michael Ragan and black)
TIME REQUIRED: » LED flashlight, 3 x AAA
1–3 Hours
I used a 130 Lumen LED
Flashlight from Defiant
COST: » Blind rivets, 5/32" diameter ×
$0–$50 1/2" length (3)
» AAA batteries (3)
» Broom I used a two-in-one
angle broom/dustpan set
from Vileda because it has
lots of features that make this
hack easier.
» Electrical tape or heat-
shrink tubing

TOOLS
» Drill and bits
» Round “rat tail” file
» Razor saw or hacksaw
» Pop rivet tool
» Soldering stuff
» String or twine (6')
» Wire stripping/cutting pliers
» Screwdriver set
Light up your broom with LEDs from a scavenged worklight

M y office looked clean 2 MOUNT THE then thread the flashlight body SEAN MICHAEL
enough under ordinary FLASHLIGHT into the optics ring to secure it at RAGAN is
lighting, but with photo lights for Carefully file the retaining lip the end of the handle. Stuff the descended from
5,000 generations
a project shoot I discovered some from the front end of the optics free end of the wiring harness of tool-using
neglected corners to be harboring ring. Screw the flashlight through the hole in the whisk primates. Also, he went to
colonies of dust bunnies. I found body into the ring, and push it socket, then screw the whisk to college and stuff. Sean is the
author of The Total Inventor’s
myself many times peering under over the broom handle until it the handle. Cut off the twine and
Manual (Weldon Owen, 2016).
a desk or behind a cabinet with bottoms out. Mark three 5/32" the tape or heat-shrink.
a flashlight in one hand and a holes evenly spaced around the
broom in the other. Clearly there circumference of the ring and 4 INSTALL THE LEDS
was a better way … remove the flashlight. Drill all Drill four 1/16" holes through the
For complete instructions, the way through the handle, LED strip PCB between the five
visit this project online at then install a rivet in each hole, central diodes. Align the strip 1
makezine.com/go/build-an-led- saving one of the rivet mandrels. at the top of the bristles so that
broom, but here are the basics: it’s angled toward the floor. Use
3 RUN THE WIRING the PCB as a template to drill
1 TAKE EVERYTHING Cut a 48" length each of red four shallow 1/16" mounting holes
APART and black wire and tie them and secure with the 4 small 2
Keep the 6-diode white LED together in a knot about 4" from case screws. Run the red and
strip and 4 case screws from each end. Strip one end off each black leads through the factory
the worklight, and everything of the black and red leads and mounting hole at the end of the
from the flashlight except the solder to the flashlight PCB PCB nearest the contact pads,
reflector, lens, and LED, which pads, black to negative, red to then trim and strip the leads
you will need to gently pry out positive. Tape or heat-shrink the before soldering them to the 3
and desolder or cut the exposed other ends together and attach pads: red positive, black negative.
leads connecting it to the PCB a 6' piece of twine. Tie the other
underneath. Carefully drill a end of the twine to the leftover USE IT
¼" hole in the center of the mandrel and snake the twine Load batteries into the flashlight
lower end of the handle and a down the length of the handle to body and click the button to
matching hole that lines up at the hole. Pull the twine and the illuminate the dark corners of
the bottom of the handle socket. wires through, take up the slack, your world. 4

makezine.com 69
PROJECTS Learn From Mistakes

Crappy Robot
How to Build a

STEP 1: Embrace Failure


The point of building a terrible robot
is to have fun while learning and to
enjoy the bumps and bruises along the
way. The best way to do this is to make
your task impossible. This takes off the
pressure to succeed.
STEP 3: Make It Think!

STEP 4: Tell It When to Do Stuff!

Inputs:
» Voltage
» Keyboard input
» Sensors:

BRAINS!
light, sound, movement,
moisture, etc.

Analog Digital
Voltage ranges Only have 2 states:
between 0V and On or Off
whatever voltage
your system
(behaves like a
regular switch) Microcontroller
is running at To execute your commands:
(behaves like a » Arduino
dimmer switch) Vin Gnd Onboard sensors? » micro:bit Pins?
Easy to use and » Makey Makey How many do
don’t take up any » Raspberry Pi you need? Inputs
Vin Gnd extra space. and outputs?
Use this criteria to find the Analog or digital?
best one for you:
Sig Language? Cost?
Can you choose what How much do you
Once a signal passes through a sensor, it goes language is most want to pay for the
back into your microcontroller which then comfortable to you, board? Can you
decides what to do with that information. In our or are the options use it again for
case, this can mean triggering an output. restricted? other projects?

Processing power? Communications? Resources?


Will it handle all of How will you send Is there a thriving
the things you want and receive data? community
it to do quickly and Bluetooth? Wi-Fi? online? Does the
efficiently? Zigbee? USB? manufacturer
UART? I2C? offer support?

70 makershare.com
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Not only will it be entertaining, PALOMA FAUTLEY


is a builder of robots, both terrible and
you will learn valuable lessons solidly mediocre. She loves learning
new skills and helping others learn
Written by Paloma Fautley them as well.

Y our first question is probably “Why? I want


to build awesome robots, not stupid ones
and I want to do it the first time and never make
STEP 2: Lower the Bar mistakes.”
Don’t expect to do something amazing on your Well, terrible robots are hilarious. Look at the
first try. Make the goal to learn something bots from Simone Giertz or HeboCon and tell
new. You also may want to change your current me that’s not great. And, building terrible robots
definition of robot — they have a wide range of helps you build awesome robots. The more you
shapes, sizes, and purposes. learn along the way, the more you can apply to
your next build.

STEP 5: Make It Do Stuff!

Outputs:
Robot’s brain sends a command
to do something
» Run at a specific voltage
» You may need an additional
power source to run it

Spinning a Turning on a light Playing a sound


motor Individual or strip LEDs » Speaker
There are a ton of » What (forward) has a wide range of tones
different types of voltage is needed to » Buzzer

Brain: Vecteezy.com, HeboCon & Daily Portal Z: portal.nifty.com


motors out there, but turn on the LED? usually is one note
to learn more about » What current is
DC, stepper, and pulse needed to run all the
width modulation LEDs at once?
(PWM) motors, visit » What signal is needed
this project online at to control the LEDs?
makezine.com/go/
LED/LCD panel
build-crappy-robots.
Multiplexing
» Stepper
» Turns on only one row
» Servo
at a time very quickly
» DC
» Looks like all of the
» DC with H-bridge
LEDs are on at once
» Motor controller
to your brain
» Saves a lot of power

makezine.com 71
PROJECTS Amateur Scientist

Small-Scale
Solar Power Transform a 25-watt semi-flexible panel
into a practical battery charger
Written and photographed by Forrest M. Mims III

72 makershare.com
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TIME REQUIRED:
1–2 Hours
COST:
S unlight may be free, but
transforming it into usable
electricity is not. I learned this
as it charges), a full charge will
consume 2.5× 0.0053 kW or
0.01325 kW/hrs.
$100–$150 back in 1965 when I bought According to the U.S. Energy
some surplus silicon solar Information Agency (eia.gov),
MATERIALS cells from dealer Herbach and FORREST in May 2017 the average cost of
» Semi-flexible solar panel, 20-watt to M. MIMS III
25-watt Rademan (now H&R Company, electricity in the 50 states was
Inc.). Those 0.75"× 0.75" cells (forrestmims. 13.02 cents per kilowatt-hour.
» Lithium battery pack with 15V–20V solar
org) an amateur
input charging port cost around $2.49 each or scientist and Rolex At this price, fully charging my
» #12 wire (red and black)
$19.30 today according to the Award winner, phone every day for a year costs
» Heat-shrink tubing
CPI Inflation Calculator. was named only 62.97 cents.
» Appropriate battery connector
by Discover
In 1975, I used nine of those This test is the first time this
magazine as one
TOOLS solar cells to make a charger of the “50 Best phone has been charged by
» Wire cutters for two AA penlight cells that Brains in Science.” line current since spring 2016,
» Soldering iron powered my flashlight during His books have when I began charging it from
» Heat-shrink tubing sold more than 7
cross-country bicycle trips. I a lithium power pack charged
million copies.
placed the cells on a 3"× 6", by a 25-watt, semi-flexible
⅛"-thick acrylic sheet after they solar panel with a combined
were soldered together, covered them with cost of more than $150. I consider this a
Silastic adhesive and placed a thin sheet reasonable expense for hikes, camping,
of clear plastic over the Silastic. I added a and emergencies.
blocking diode between the positive output
and the positive battery holder terminal to OPERATIONAL PROBLEMS
keep the batteries from discharging through Solar power works only when the sun is
the solar cells at night. This provided a shining, even when thin cirrus cloak the
waterproof solar charger (Figure A ) that sky. But thicker clouds significantly reduce
A
works as well today as it did 42 years ago. maximum energy production from a panel.
The author’s DIY solar panel from 1975. Another consideration is that solar panels
ADVANTAGES OF PORTABLE should be pointed toward the sun for best
SOLAR POWER results. This is a good excuse for me to get
Today’s silicon solar cells are more efficient away from my writing desk several times
and cheaper than those I bought in 1965. a day to adjust the position of my panels.
They are also available in a wide variety Another issue is that solar panels can
of preassembled, waterproof, and even become very hot, especially during summer
foldable and semi-flexible (Figure B ) arrays days. While I’ve not yet been able to fry
B with built-in blocking diodes. Semi-flexible an egg on a solar panel, I’ve come close
arrays are much lighter than those installed (Figure C ). Lying a panel on grass on a hot
Foldable and semi-flexible solar panels. in metal and glass frames. Non-silicon day will bake the plants (Figure D ). The
arrays are also available, but they don’t heat problem is why rechargeable battery
provide the efficiency and long life of silicon. packs with built-in solar chargers may not
Portable solar power is ideal for charging be a good idea, at least during summer.
phones and flashlight batteries during bicycle
trips, hikes, and camping. It’s especially SOLAR CHARGING CAMERAS,
handy during extended power failures. MOBILE PHONES AND TABLETS
C But solar power also has drawbacks. Compact panels like the foldable array in
Figure B are equipped with a USB port
This solar panel became almost
hot enough to fry an egg. THE COST OF PORTABLE for directly charging devices that have a
SOLAR POWER USB power port. While these panels can
Cost is the major drawback of portable be easily carried in a backpack, they must
solar power. As these words are being be used with caution to avoid overheating
typed, my iPhone SE is consuming 5.3 watts the device they are charging. Advertising
(0.0053 kW) while being charged through photos sometimes show these panels
a Kill A Watt power monitor. This phone adjacent to or even behind a phone, which
D requires 2.5 hours to be fully charged from means the phone’s internal battery pack
empty. Assuming the power consumption might overheat. Instead, it’s best to place the
A 100-watt solar panel scalded the grass during charging is constant (mine declines battery or device being charged away from
where it was placed for a day.

makezine.com 73
PROJECTS Amateur Scientist

A thick layer of
insulation will
protect a battery
pack from the heat
of a solar panel.

The author’s 25-watt solar


charger at work in Hawaii.

Connecting a solar panel’s


wires to the power plug of
E a storage battery. G

both the panel and direct sunlight. (expensive) and an ANKER Mobile Power » Slide heat-shrink tubing over the
Indirect charging is when a solar panel 79AN20L (discontinued). Like most high soldered connections and apply heat.
charges a battery pack that later charges power panels, the 25-watt panel came with
various devices. For the past year, an ATOTO positive and negative cables terminated with » Solder the free ends of the red and black
Ultra UPS Power Source has resided on weatherproof MC4 connectors designed to wires to a power plug compatible with the
the left side of my desk, where it is now interconnect two or more panels in series power input socket on a compact battery
charging my phone and a tablet computer. or in parallel. Here’s how I transformed pack designed for solar charging at 15
Every 10 days it is recharged outdoors with the 25-watt semi-flexible solar panel into a volts–20 volts (not USB). Or, to guarantee
a 100-watt solar panel. While the ATOTO is practical battery charger (Figure F ): compatibility, clip a 16" section of the
apparently no longer available, the Chafon power brick output cable supplied with
CF-UPS018 346WH Portable Power Supply » Clip off both power leads three inches the battery pack and solder it to the red
is a very similar unit with better capabilities. from the plastic terminal at the top of the and black solar panel leads.
I also have several compact lithium power panel and remove 0.5" insulation from the
packs with built-in charge controllers that end of each wire. CAUTION: Observe polarity.
can be charged by 15- to 20-volt solar
panels. While some of these are no longer » Use a multimeter to determine the You can easily modify these steps. For
available, many USB-compatible battery polarity of the leads while the panel example, you can drill out the two eyelets so
packs are available that can be charged by is exposed to weak sunlight or indoor the panel wires can fit through them.
solar panels with a USB output. Figure E incandescent lighting. Mark the upper This 25-watt system was put to the test
shows my 25-watt panel charging a power corners of the panel with the respective when I calibrated NOAA’s world standard
pack during a hot summer day when the polarities (+ and -). ozone layer instrument at Hawaii’s Mauna
temperature was 98°F. When the power Loa Observatory during summer 2016. The
pack reached a temperature of 115°, I » Slide 1" lengths of heat-shrink tubing panel was packed in the bottom of a checked
moved it indoors. over each of the panel wires. bag along with 45 pounds of electronic gear.
It was used every day to top off a battery
A DIY PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER » Remove 0.5" insulation from both ends of pack. On days when I drove down to the
When traveling, I carry a foldable solar a pair of 16" red and black #12 stranded coast for a shower and groceries, the panel
panel suitable for charging devices and wires and insert the wires through the was placed inside the windshield of the
battery packs with a USB port (Figure B ). On two uppermost eyelets from the back side passenger side of my rental Jeep (Figure
long trips and at my home office, I use 25- of the top of the panel (red = + eyelet and G ). After 64 days in Hawaii, the panel was

and 100-watt semi-flexible panels designed black = - eyelet). shipped home, where it arrived with no
to charge high-capacity battery packs at damage and has been used regularly ever
15 to 20 volts. The 25-watt panel has been » Observe polarity and solder the new since. To be sure you have a similarly good
modified to charge a RAVPower Model RP- wires to the two solar panel wires. experience, go online and carefully review
PB14 lithium battery pack, a ChargeTech portable solar power options.

74 makershare.com
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888-680-4466 • ShopBotTools.com
PROJECTS Squirrel Slinging Bird Feeder

Twirl-A-
Squirrel
Mod your bird feeder to (gently) evict
furry thieves via remote control

Written and photographed by Larry Cotton

LARRY
COTTON
has finally given
up doing anything
earthshaking. He
loves electronics,
music and
instruments,
computers, birds,
his dog, and wife
— not necessarily
in that order.

NOTE:
No squirrels were harmed
with this device!

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TIME REQUIRED:
1–2 Weekends
COST:
L et’s be clear at the outset: this gadget
throws hungry squirrels from a bird
feeder. Where we live, squirrels are a
$70 nuisance. Industrious, intelligent animals,
yes, but still a nuisance. So we spend lots
MATERIALS of time thinking of clever ways to outsmart
» Toy airplane — to extract receiver
circuit board, antenna, remote control,
them, but inevitably they’re back hogging our
battery housing and screws Amazon bird feeders within a few minutes or hours.
#B00PAHKF26, amazon.com
One of the most effective means of at A B
» Alkaline Cordless screwdriver Amazon
#B004HY3APW least temporarily dissuading the creatures
» Alkaline batteries, AA (6) is to throw them off said bird feeder, and
LED
» Wire, 22 gauge (2') you can buy a feeder that does just that. Motor housing Pushbutton
» Alligator clip
When a squirrel sits or hangs on it, its
» Machine screw, 8-32×15/8" with washer
and nut weight turns on a motor, which immediately
» Brass brazing rod, 3/32" dia. (4") or wire throws it off. Find it here drollyankees.com/
coat hanger
product/yankee-flipper-bird-feeder, at only
» Coat hanger (18")
» Spring, 4½" long, 15/32" OD, .041" wire
$165 — yikes!
» Small spring, electrical tape, etc. Unfortunately with this, if you’re not
Speaker Receiver circuit
» Aluminum, 1/16" thick (4"×4") around when a squirrel tries to gobble the board
» Acrylic sheet, 1/8" (8"×10") for arm, cover Battery housing
goodies, you miss all the fun. So I decided to Sound circuit board
top, and spacer. Scraps are usually available Pushbutton
from window glass dealers. throw the creatures off by remote control.
» Sheet metal screws, #6×3/8" (12) Sure, they still get to eat — sometimes a
» Sheet metal screws, #6×¼" (2) lot —but that’s more than offset by the fun
» Sheet metal screws, #8×7/8" (2) Antenna
of interrupting a greedy, complacent, seed-
» Microswitch, SPST, normally off
» Switch screws and nuts, 6-32 (2)
stealing squirrel by pressing a button.
» Wooden dowel, 3/8" (11/16") So the squirrel’s mad now and doesn’t
» PVC pipe, 4" 1120 SDR (10') need 4¾" for come back? Hardly; he’s very curious and C
cover. A similar plastic food (12oz Ovaltine,
40oz Jif peanut butter, etc.) or 2-liter soft-
tries to figure out what just happened. Or
drink container would work. Or you can just maybe he enjoys being suddenly ejected
put a one-gallon storage bag over everything.
from the dining table like an unruly child.
» Rigid plastic, 1/16" or acrylic for cover top if
not using food containers or plastic bag Inevitably, he tries it again, and ... well, see Antenna Receiver circuit
board
» Creatology foam sheet (9"×12") the previous paragraph.
» Foam Holy Stone! An RC transmitter and
» Wood, 1×4 (3')
receiver for $11! Yes, our remote control
» Pivot bolt, ¼-20, washers (3) and nuts (2) Battery housing
» PVC tubing ½" ID (nominal) (14")
radio comes from Holy Stone, an Amazon to be cut from the
lower body
» Cable tie, 4"(2) supplier, cleverly disguised as a toy airplane
» Bird feeder and sunflower seeds (Figure A ). Amazon also sells a squirrel-
twirling motor for $9 cleverly disguised as a
TOOLS Black & Decker screwdriver (Figure B ).
» Standard hand tools
» Jigsaw and fine blades
» Band saw (preferred)
1. HARVEST USEFUL PARTS
» Hacksaw FROM TOY D
» Phillips screwdriver, #0 for airplane screws Remove the plane’s top housing with a #0
» Wire cutting pliers Phillips screwdriver. I didn’t use its motor
» Sandpaper, 120 and 320 grit
» Hot-glue gun and glue
(Figure C , in the squarish yellow housing), NOTE: There’s a chance that wire colors
» Disk sander, hand or bench
but if you want to save it for future projects, and other details mentioned here won’t match
carefully lift both halves out together. those in your plane. For instance, look at the
» Portable drill
wires in Figure D . If, say, the red wire in the
» Drill press (preferred) Otherwise the gears will fall out and it’s a corner of your receiver board is actually green,
» Drill bits, 1/16"–3/8" in 64ths challenge to put them back in again; trust substitute “green wire” everywhere you see
» Soldering gun, small “red wire” in this text. Do the same for any
me. I wrapped a 4" cable tie around the two
» Solder, thin other discrepancies.
» Ruler, tape and straight
motor parts and stashed it with my other
» Digital calipers (preferred) surplus DC motors.
» Sharp pencil Remove the rest of the parts and don’t transmitter with no modifications. Clip
» Files, flat and rat-tail lose the screws. Save the receiver circuit unneeded bits from the receiver board:
» Masking tape
board, the antenna and, for now, the plane’s the switch, LED, speaker, the sound circuit
» Lubricating oil
» Heat-shrink tubing
lower body (Figure D ). Use the gaudy little board, and the pushbuttons.
» Heat gun (optional)

makezine.com 77
PROJECTS Squirrel Slinging Bird Feeder

Drill 1/8" hole for Drill 1/8" hole


2 wires 1 wire

E F H I

2. PREPARE THE BATTERY HOUSING battery compartment, which normally takes


AND ANTENNA 4 AA batteries.
Cut the battery housing from the plane’s In the end of the battery compartment,
lower body; don’t damage its 4 walls or 2 to one side of its centerline, drill a ⅛" hole
wires. Lightly sand the sawed edges. Overall to allow two wires to protrude. Note the
dimensions of the housing when you’re position of the terminals that fit inside the
through should be about 25/8"×2". Drill two screwdriver. Inside, drill another hole to
3/32" screw holes as far apart as possible in clear one wire (Figure G ). Locations aren’t
J K the battery area, halfway between the ends critical.
of the batteries, for mounting (Figure E ). Be Use approximately 22-gauge wire to wire
sure to allow for the diameter of the screw the battery compartment. I was able to
heads. Recycle the rest of the lower body solder only to the metal pieces that connect
and any unused parts. with the socket in the screwdriver (Figure
Hot-glue all the spots where wires exit H ), so I added a small alligator clip to

the receiver and battery housing. Since connect to a terminal at the other end. Bend
they’re somewhat fragile, make notes of the terminal up slightly (Figure I ) to make
what color wires go where in case they it easy to grab with the alligator clip.
break. Set these parts aside. Sand-flatten My purple wire, soldered as shown in
one or more sides of the antenna’s blue Figure J , will go to the blue wire on the
L M part so that it can mount almost flush to a receiver and my yellow wire, soldered as
surface (Figure F ). shown in Figure K , will go to the white wire
on the receiver. Run both wires out of the
3. MOD THE SCREWDRIVER BATTERY first hole you drilled. The additional hole
COMPARTMENT visible here is for my insurance screw in the
Make sure your screwdriver runs by next step.
installing 4 AA batteries in its battery To suspend the screwdriver from the
compartment, then alternately pressing the feeder arm, saw a slot in the center of the
forward/reverse buttons on its side. Remove battery compartment 1/8" wide (Figure L ).
and install the battery compartment a few Don’t cut more than 7/8" deep or you could
more times. Still runs? Great! Remove the damage the metal battery terminals.
testing batteries.
The airplane circuitry uses 4.5V from 3 AA 4. ADD AN INSURANCE SCREW
cells, but to give the squirrels a good spin, I Although it’s never happened to me, a
added another AA battery in series with the vigorous pull on the screwdriver might
screwdriver motor — not to the rest of the separate the orange screwdriver housing
circuit. It’s housed solo in the screwdriver (thus the bird feeder, greedy squirrels, etc.)
N O

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R Arm 1/8" clear acrylic


91/2"
3/4" 4" 15/8" 11/8"
3/32" min.
1/4"

C1 3/8"
D2 D2
7/8" 7/8"
13/8"
A B1 2 holes 5/16"
13/4 "
13/32"
C2 C2
15/32" D1

D1
P Round outside corners 7/8"
D3 D3 45/8"
45/8" 11/32"
Drilled holes (shown in red) 7/16" 3"
identification and diameters: D3
C3
23/8"
A – pivot bolt (1/4") 2 holes 11/4" 15/16" 7/16"
B1 – vertical travel limit screw (3/8")
C3
B2 – screwdriver attachment dowel (3/8") B2
C1 – lower spring attachment (1/16") 1"
C2 – battery housing attachment screws (1/16") 1/2"
C3 – receiver board attachment screws (1/16")
D1 – switch screws (3/32")
D2 – antenna cable tie (3/32")
Q D3 – cover screws (3/32")
115/16"

37/8"

from its black battery compartment. To chuck has been hardened, which will resist housing, and a new switch. It will also
prevent this, I ran a long machine screw penetration. Use a new bit if possible, and suspend the screwdriver, which in turn
through the screwdriver from one side keep its tip lubricated with a few drops of suspends a bird feeder.
to the other, passing through the battery oil. Drill until you have a hole in one side of Drill all the holes shown in red, except
compartment. the chuck. C1 (Figure R ). Be careful drilling the
Put one AA battery into its compartment. Make a hook out of a coat hanger, or holes for the battery housing, receiver
Decide where you want to drill a hole, which better, a 3/32" piece of brass brazing rod. board, and switch; those holes must match
will determine where you’ll drill the hole in Bend it approximately as shown in Figure P corresponding holes in the parts. For
the screwdriver housing. The drill bit must and twist it so the small and large bends are those parts, you could temporarily fasten
miss the battery, the compartment’s ribs, not in the same plane (30°–45° apart is fine). them in position with double-sided tape,
and all of your new wiring. Mark the spot, Loop the smaller hook into the hole you just then trace the mounting holes onto the
but don’t drill it yet! drilled and thread a small spring over the acrylic protective sheet. That will ensure
Measure the distance from the interface hook to hold it in position. Electrical tape will the mounting screws line up with their
of the two housings and the offset from do if you can’t find a spring to fit. respective holes in the arm.
centerline to your marked spot, then mark The screwdriver won’t run unless one of
the same dimensions on the screwdriver the buttons on its sides is held in, so cut a
IMPORTANT: Hole C1 is a tension
housing. Push the battery compartment button-holding strap about ¼" × 1-3/16" from spring attachment point, which takes a fair
into the screwdriver housing until it locks. 1/16" thick aluminum. It’s a small part, so be amount of (upward) force. I’ve positioned that
hole’s center 3/32" from the arm edge; don’t
Holding both parts tightly together on a careful; keep your hands away from the
drill any closer to the edge than that!
flat surface, drill an 11/64" hole all the way blade! Drill two ⅛" holes in it. Use it as a
through (Figure M ). A drill press helps with template to carefully drill 3/32" dia. matching
this operation, but it’s not critical. holes in the screwdriver body on both sides 7. MOUNT PARTS ON THE ARM
As a clearance check, push an 8-32 × of either button (Figure Q ). Mount the receiver board and the airplane’s
1⅝" machine screw from one side of the battery housing using four of the screws
screwdriver through the other. Figure N CAUTION: Wrap a piece of tape you saved from plane disassembly. Don’t
around the drill bit ⅛" from its point to keep
shows the location of my insurance screw; from drilling too deep.
overtighten the screws.
yours may differ somewhat. If OK, remove Mount the switch with two machine
the screw and screwdriver from the battery Attach the strap to the screwdriver with screws and nuts. The switch button must
compartment for now. Remove the battery. two #6×¼" sheet metal screws just until protrude past the edge of the arm. Bend
the button is held in. Don’t overtighten the switch terminal(s) if necessary. Solder
5. MOD THE CHUCK AND FORWARD/ the screws. the red wire from the receiver, and the
REVERSE BUTTONS yellow wire from the battery housing, to the
File or disk-sand a small flat spot near 6. MAKE THE ARM switch. Don’t break the black wire from the
the end of the screwdriver’s chuck, then Cut out the arm from a new piece of acrylic negative terminal of the battery housing to
drill — preferably with a drill press — a with protective sheets on both sides. It the receiver. Mount the antenna with a 4"
3/32" dia. hole into the flat (Figure O ). The will hold the receiver, antenna, battery cable tie and connect its short, stiff wire to

makezine.com 79
PROJECTS Squirrel Slinging Bird Feeder

the receiver’s wire with either a sheet metal 10. MAKE THE TENSION SPRING
Arm assembly screw or a small machine screw and nut HOLDER, SPACER AND SWITCH
Vertical travel Lower spring
(Figure S ). BUTTON PRESSER
Antenna
limit screw hole retaining hole Drill two 1/8” pilot holes into the ends of Cut the ½" (nominal inside diameter) PVC
an 11/16" long × 3/8" diameter dowel; it’ll be pipe 14" long. Later you can shorten it after
Pivot bolt hole Switch
used to lock the screwdriver to the arm compensating for the weight of your bird
Arm Cover (Figure T ). Slip the screwdriver’s battery feeder. My feeder weighs 1½lbs and the
screw hole
compartment over the arm so that its pipe length is 12".
Cover battery will be on the opposite side of the Cut the L-shape opening; it fits over the
screw
hole Airplane arm from the 3-battery holder. Insert the wooden support.
battery
Receiver housing dowel (some sanding may be necessary), Drill two 11/64" holes in the cutout end to
3/8" dowel connects then add washers and screws. clear mounting screws. Drill several 1/16"
screwdriver to arm Screwdriver
battery
Solder your two new wires from the holes near the top, through both sides,
Insurance screw hole
compartment battery compartment, as shown in Figures for a nail, which will hold the upper end
S J and K , to the blue and white leads on of the tension spring (Figure X ). The
the receiver board. Reversing this polarity location of this nail controls upward spring
Sheet metal screws will fry stuff, so be careful. Use heat-shrink force, counteracting the weights of the
and washers Screwdriver battery
compartment tubing on the soldered joints. arm assembly, the bird feeder, and — you
guessed it — a squirrel.
8. MAKE THE COVER Make the spacer from excess arm acrylic
I made the curved shell from a piece of 4" (Figure Y ). Carefully cut out the switch
Dowel
holes inside diameter, thin-wall PVC pipe I had button presser in its flat shape with a band
on hand, but a similar plastic food (12oz saw or jigsaw in a vise. Cut its slot with a
Ovaltine, 40oz. Jif peanut butter, etc.) or hacksaw and/or a file. Bend 90° as shown
2-liter soft-drink container would work. Cut (Figure Z ).
a notch in one side to clear the switch. Or
Arm you can skip the cover altogether if you don’t 11. FINAL ASSEMBLY AND TESTING
T mind putting a one-gallon storage bag over Firmly clamp the wooden support
everything — the squirrels won’t care. horizontally in a vise. Attach the arm
9"×12"×.078"
Top self adhesive I made the cover top from 1/16" rigid assembly to the wooden support (Figure
foam
plastic (excess from arm acrylic will work, AA ) with a ¼"-20 bolt, washers between
Notch 1/16"-1/8" plastic
to clear as well) and attached a piece of Creatology parts and 2 nuts (the outer nut locks
antenna
self-adhesive foam under it to form a the inner one). The 3½" side of the
17/16"
1/2"
11/4"
Cover weatherproof seal, then hot-glued the cover support must be vertical, and the arm
37/8"
and top together (Figure U ). The top won’t must pivot freely with no binding.
7/8" notch to
clear switch be necessary if you use a food container Attach one end of the tension spring to
21/4"
Hot-glue wood with a relatively flat bottom. hole C1 (refer to Figure R ) in the arm. Drop
blocks half way
between top Make two cover-mounting blocks from the tension spring holder over the spring
and bottom
43/4" scrap wood by tracing your cover’s contour. and attach the holder to the wooden support
4" thin-wall 1" Sand the mating surfaces, then hot glue arm with two #8×⅞" sheet metal screws.
sewer and Trace curve
drain pipe them into place. Hot-glue a small piece Use the acrylic spacer on the bottom screw
1/2"
3/4" of foam inside the cover to hold the 3 (see Figure AA ). The top screw also serves
batteries in (Figure V ). as a vertical travel limit for the arm. Leave
U V both screws just loose enough for the arm
9. MAKE THE WOODEN SUPPORT to move freely.
7/8" from top, 4"
7/16" (AKA SQUIRREL CROSSWALK) Bend a small hook at the end of an 18"
both holes
Cut it from standard 1×4 (¾"×3½" actual) piece of straightened coat hanger and reach
1/4" × 7/8" notch wood. Its length will depend on your keeping into the top of the spring holder until you
1/8" vertical
1/4" pivot travel limit the bird feeder about 2' away from the tree can grab and stretch the spring upward.
Wooden
bolt hole screw hole
the support is mounted on. While pulling up, insert a nail to hold the
Support Notch one end to clear the bottom coil spring at the top of the tubing. Remove the
Switch of the tension spring. Drill a hole for the coat hanger.
button
1×4 wood presser, pivot bolt and 3 pilot holes for mounting the Holding the cover in position, trace the 2
screw and
washer 15/16" tension spring holder and the switch button holes you’ve already drilled in the arm (D3
presser (Figure W ). in Figure R ) onto the mounting blocks. Drill
two 1/16" pilot holes in the blocks. Add 3 AA
W 1/8" hole for PVC spring
holder and spacer screw
1/2"

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1/16" Y AA Antenna
Spacer Tension spring holder
1/8" clear acrylic

X Pivot bolt

PVC Arm
Spring 1" diameter, 3/16"
hole in center
Holder
1/2" nom. ID sched.
40 PVC pipe Vertical travel Cover
12"
12" Z limit screw screw hole
(cover
Wooden
Switch support
removed)

Button
Presser
1/16" aluminum
Tension spring
holder screw
Receiver
circuit
Two 11/64" holes board
on centerline
1/2" 1" Spacer

Switch button
3/4" Bend 90° presser Arm
31/2" 21/8"
5/16" 1/2"
1/2"
1/2" 3/16" slot on
centerline
Screwdriver

batteries (watch polarity), then mount the


BB Adjusting the Tension Spring
cover with a couple of #8×½" sheet metal TROUBLESHOOTING
screws. Don’t seal it; you’ll need to get to Look at relationship between 1. The usual suspects: cold solder joints,
the batteries eventually. switch button and its presser
wiring, mis-polarized batteries, etc.
Mount the switch button presser with Check that one (either) side button on
a #6×⅜" sheet metal screw per Figure screwdriver is firmly pressed in.
Move upper end
W . Leave a small gap between the bottom Is button pressed?
Nope
of spring down
until button is 2. Rarely, I’ve encountered bad contact
of the button and top of the presser. barely pressed
between the battery compartment’s
Put a battery in the screwdriver battery plug and the screwdriver’s socket. The
Yep
compartment observing polarity, then push plug’s terminals can be bent outward by
the screwdriver body over it. Add the 8-32 × Remove 8oz. weight carefully inserting a No. 11 X-Acto blade
15/8"-long insurance screw, a washer and a and twisting.
nut. Tighten securely. 3. There may be too much friction
You’re done!
As already mentioned, the arm must Nope Trap the upper between the acrylic arm and the wooden
Is button still pressed? end of the spring
freely pivot a few degrees on the pivot bolt with the nail again. support. Keep the support parallel to the
— enough to push and release the switch ground, and its 3½" face vertical. The
button. It controls power to the receiver. Yep tension spring holder should be mounted
(The screwdriver won’t run until the loosely. Add enough washers to keep the
transmitter button has been pressed.)
Pull spring upward parts clear of each other. Use Teflon spray
until button is barely
NOT pressed as a last resort.
Put 2 AA batteries in the transmitter,
push down on the arm and press a button 4. Re-read the paragraph regarding
on the transmitter. One button should turn adjusting the tension spring with food in
the screwdriver fast in one direction; the spring up or down. You may have to drill the tray under Final Assembly and Testing.
other button should turn it slowly in the another hole or two in the PVC tubing for Overall weight of the rig decreases as
squirrels and birds consume food, and
other direction. a new nail position. Figure BB might help.
you may need to add weight to the feeder
Fill your bird feeder (sunflower seeds Once again, the arm must freely pivot.
to compensate. Obviously, refilling is the
are light and tasty) and hang it on the bird Remove the 8oz weight. best choice, but in a pinch I put a couple
feeder hook. Add anything that weighs The fun begins! Mount your squirrel of the larger sockets from socket-wrench
about 8 ounces (average weight of a hungry slinger close to a tree and not too far off sets into the tray. The birds and squirrels
squirrel) to the bird feeder tray. the ground. Disappear and chill for awhile ignore them.
With 8oz on the tray, the button must be to give the squirrels time to find it. Let a
barely pressed. With no weight on the tray, squirrel climb onto the feeder, then press a
the button must be barely not pressed. button on the transmitter. One of the buttons
Check out makezine.com/go/twirl-a-
Adjust this by using the hooked coat hanger will turn the feeder faster than the other.
squirrel-bird-feeder for video footage of
or rod to move the top loop of the tension Hilarity ensues. the Twirl-A-Squirrel in action.

makezine.com 81
PROJECTS Soap Bubble Printer

Boost Your
Bubbles
Combine helium and air to float clouds of soapy water
Written by Marcos Arias and Harrison Fuller

MARCOS ARIAS
is a teacher working
in North Hollywood
at Oakwood School,
where he teaches 7th-
12th grade classes
focused around STEAM
(Science, Technology,
Engineering, Art and
Math).

HARRISON FULLER
is going into his senior
year at Oakwood and
plans on majoring in
engineering after he
graduates. He started
working on the Bubble
Printer in 10th grade as
an independent study.
Hep Svadja

He also has a deep


passion for military
history and making
things that explode.
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TIME REQUIRED:
A Weekend
COST:
$380–$550

MATERIALS
» Trash can, 20 gallon
» Barb, ¼" male NPT × 3/8"
B
» Barb, ¼" male NPT × ¼"
(3)
» Elbow, 90°, ¼" male NPT ×
¼" female
» Elbow, 90°, ¼" female × ¼"
female A C
» Vinyl hose, ⅜" inner
diameter (6')
» Vinyl hose, ¼" inner
diameter (2'–3')
» Galvanized wire, 1/8", 6
gauge (5'6")
» Bolt, ½"
» Hose clamps, ¼" to ½" (6)
» Welding torch hose
» NPT plug, ¼" female
» NPT plug, ¼" male (2)
» NPT coupler, ¼" female
» Welding torch tip
» Co2 pressure regulator

Jordan Weiner
» On/Off ball valve, NPT
male × NPT female ¼"
» Plywood, ¾", 20"×20", D E
6"×14", and 3"×4.5"
» Wood, 2×2" (8')

S
» Pipe strap, ½" (2)
» Welding torch oapy water + Air + Helium = Smiles. I think (Figure B ) — you do not need to worry about
» Screws, 2" (17) the equation speaks for itself, especially when water leaking through the hole because the
» Screws, 1.25" (6) you see how people react. They first smile and waterline will be below it.
» PVC pipe, ¾" (3') then ask, “How are you doing that?” Jokingly we
» Ajax or Dawn dish soap
say it’s magic, and then say helium. As much 2. BUILD AND INSTALL MANIFOLD FOR
» Corn syrup
» Distilled water, warm
as I wish magic played a part, it’s all about BUBBLES
(1 gallon) engineering and chemistry. Stretch and clamp the 6' length of ⅜" vinyl hose
» Small air compressor My motto in the STEAM Department is “I hear onto a table. From the left side, mark 4" in and
» Helium tank (55 cu ft)
I forget, I see I remember, I MAKE I understand.” then mark with a Sharpie every ½", but leave 1"
» NeverWet 2-step kit
(optional) I love to make and so do my students. So I on the right side without holes. Drill holes at the
asked one of our students if he wanted to do an marks with the 1.4mm bit (Figure C ) — making
TOOLS independent study project to build a machine sure to not leave any plastic in the holes.
» Tape measure that made bubbles float. That was two years ago Take the 5'6" length of galvanized wire and run
» Drill
when we started and now are working on a larger it through the tube from the right side. Quickly
» Drill bits, ½" and 1.4mm
» Sharpie version that is 4'×8'. The version here uses a trash take the glue gun and put glue on the right side
» PTFE tape can but you can use any container you want and of the tube before pushing the ½" bolt in and then
» Crescent wrench adjust accordingly. tighten a hose clamp, so no air leaks out. Coil the
» Wrenches, 9/16", 11/16", 5/8", manifold like in Figure D and make sure that the
¾"
» Wire cutters, large and 1. DRILL CONTAINER AND ATTACH holes are facing up.
regular MANIFOLD FITTINGS Slip a hose clamp on the open end of the tubing,
» Flathead screwdrivers Drill a ½" size hole, 2.5" up from the bottom of the push the manifold onto the ⅜" barb in the trash
» Clamps (2)
trash can. Place PTFE tape on the male fittings can, and tighten the hose clamp. Use the glue
» Hacksaw
» Glue gun and glue of the ¼" male × ⅜" barb and the ¼" male × ¼" gun to temporarily make the manifold stick to
» Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue female 90° elbow. Connect the barb to the ¼" the trash can, so it doesn’t rise when you turn on
aka super glue female × ¼" female 90° elbow using the 9/16" and the machine and go above the waterline. After
» Duct tape
11/16" wrenches and push it through the hole from you get the machine working and adjusted, use
» Measuring cups and spoons
» Small container the inside of the trash can (Figure A ). medium cyanoacrylate glue or something that will
» Spray bottle with soapy Take the ¼" male × ¼" female 90° elbow and permanently attach it to the trash can (Figure E ).
water install it from the outside of the can and tighten
» Sandpaper (optional)

makezine.com 83
PROJECTS Soap Bubble Printer

F G H

I J K

L M N

O P

Q R
Jordan Weiner, David Sanders @ WET Design

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3. BUILD AIR AND HELIUM LINES welding torch tip (Figure K ). Tighten with covers the hose. The waterline should be
Take large cutters and trim one side off of a wrench. just below the hole we cut in step 1.
the green and red welding torch hose so you Secure the helium tank so that it won’t Take 2 cups of distilled water warm, ½
can attach two ¼" male NPT × ¼" barbs. fall over or put it in a tank stand. Attach the cup of Ajax or Dawn soap, and 1 Tbsp corn
Wrap both barbs with PTFE tape, then put pressure regulator to the helium tank and syrup and mix in a small container. Let it sit
hose clamps on the green and red hoses tighten using a crescent wrench. Attach the until needed in the next step.
before pushing in the barbs on both. green hose to the air compressor. Attach
Screw the ¼" female NPT plug onto the the red hose to the helium tank (Figure L ). 10. ADJUST HELIUM AND AIR
green hose and the ¼" female NPT coupler Make sure the ball valve is closed. Turn the air on first to check the manifold
onto the red hose. Tighten with the 11/16" and and make adjustments if necessary. You
¾" wrenches, and screw the hose clamps 6. CHECK FOR HELIUM AND need to turn the dial past 6 to push air
tight on both hoses (Figure F ). AIR LEAKS through all of the holes and then dial back
Cut 2"–3" off of the welding torch tip, just Turn the valve to the left on the green line or adjust the PSI on the regulator. Once
enough so the ¼" vinyl hose will fit tightly of the welding torch and spray soapy water done, turn the air off at the welding torch.
onto the tip. Take the ¼" hose and push it anywhere there is a connection. If you see Adjust the PSI on the air compressor to 45
onto the welding torch and tighten a hose bubbles at any connection that means there PSI on the regulator (Figure O ). Tack the
clamp around it. Slide a hose clamp into the is a leak and it needs to be tightened or manifold permanently in place with medium
other side of the hose. Put PTFE tape on the redone with PTFE tape. Make sure to spray cyanoacrylate glue.
¼" male NPT × ¼" barb, then push it into soapy water on the connections in the trash Pour the solution that you made in step
the other end and tighten the hose clamp can, both inside and outside. 9 into the trash can now and stir a little.
(Figure G ). Turn off the air (green line) before Make sure to try and pour without making
Put PTFE tape on the male ends of the ¼" checking the helium line. Make sure the ball bubbles. Open the helium valve first, and
On/Off ball valve NPT male × NPT female valve is closed on the pressure regulator then the ball valve. Now turn open the green
and the ¼" female NPT plug. Attach the ¼" and the dial on the red line for the welding and red line valves at the welding torch,
female NPT plug to the ¼" On/Off ball valve torch is closed. Turn open the helium tank green to 4 and red to 4 according to the dial
NPT male × NPT female. Take the pressure and adjust the pressure regulator to 22 PSI indicators described in step 7.
regulator and the piece from the previous (Figure M ). Open the ball valve and spray Adjust helium pressure to somewhere
step and attach them together using the ⅝" soapy water on all the red hose connection between 8–10 PSI and air to 35 PSI. Wait
and 9/16" wrenches. points, and ball valve. When all connections until bubbles rise to the top (Figure P )
have been confirmed, close the helium tank and slice (Figure Q ) using the wand made
4. BUILD WOOD STAND bottle and turn the ball valve off. in step 8. You will need to adjust the dials
Cut the 8' piece of 2×2 into two lengths of to get the bubbles to float. The numbers I
20", two of 17", and one 12". Make the frame 7. CREATE AND MARK DIAL gave are just a starting point. Keep track
by screwing the two 20" and two 17" pieces INDICATORS of your PSI on the pressure regulator to
together using 4 of the 2" screws, 1 on each Print out templates for dials or laser cut if adjust and see how much you use every 10
corner (Figure H ). possible — you can find a PDF in this project minutes. It should be about a 100 PSI every
Put the 20"×20" piece on top of the frame online at makezine.com/go/bubble-printer. 10–15 minutes.
and screw in place using eight of the 2" If printed, glue each to a 35×35mm square
screws. Mount the 3"×4.5" piece of wood and cut a notch out in the middle. Slip the NOTE: The bubbles should be dry to the
to the 6"×14" piece using 2 of the 1.25" templates over the dials on the welding touch, if they are wet then the solution is too
screws. Attach the welding torch to the side torch. Make sure valves are off and then strong: try diluting it by adding 2 cups of water.
piece with the 2 pipe straps and the four mark with a Sharpie to indicate the off
remaining 1.25" screws (Figure I ). position (Figure N ). The solution you added should last about
Take the 6"×14" piece and screw the 30–45 minutes before you have to add more.
bottom of it into the square base on one 8. BUILD BUBBLE CUTTING WAND When that happens, take 2 cups of water
side. Take the 12" piece of 2"×2" and two To help the bubbles not stick to the PVC from the trash can and go back to step 9.
of the 2" screws and attach it to one of the pipe when cutting layers of bubbles, you
sides of the 6"×14" piece. Then connect the may sand the PVC pipe to make it rough and UP THE FUN FACTOR
red line to the left side and the green line to apply NeverWet. Put duct tape on one side Create templates by cutting designs out
the right side (Figure J ). Screw tightly by of the wand to denote the handle, as visible of ½" thin styrofoam or ¼" shower board
hand and finish with the crescent wrench. on top of the trash can in Figure L . (Figure R ) to put over the top of the bubble
printer to create cool shapes.
5. CONNECT EVERYTHING TOGETHER 9. PREP BUBBLE SOLUTION AND
Attach the welding torch tip air line you FILL TRASH CAN
made in step 3 to the trash can first, Take 1.5 gallons of distilled water and pour it
tightening with a wrench, and then to the into the trash can. Make sure that the water

makezine.com 85
Paste Wax
PAUL MOORE is an avid
woodworker and the editor
in chief of woodworkboss.
com, where he aspires to
help fellow woodworking
enthusiasts pursue this
hobby.

y of
wh
, and wood
w for

g
ho

i
hen, wax

B
he w aste
T ng p

e
oore

usi
ul M

h
y Pa
ten b

T inish
Writ

F
86 makershare.com
makezine.com/61

WE MAY NEVER KNOW EXACTLY WHEN then rubbed with a soft, dry cloth to remove
HUMANS DISCOVERED WAX and thought, excess and bring out a nice luster. The wax
“Hey, this would make a great finish!” The should be allowed to dry to a haze before
Romans, Egyptians, and Vikings were all buffing. Failure to do so will simply lift it
known to use beeswax. And we’re sure off the surface. You want the solvents to
that you’ll find a good use for wax too, as a evaporate before you buff the remaining wax.
wood finish. The base finish must be fully cured before
Why so? Well, most water-based and applying wax over it. Failure to do so can
oil-varnish mix type finishes are not cause solvent fumes to remain trapped
resistant to abrasion. Things sliding across in the finish, which can result in bubbling
or rubbing against them will tend to scuff and lifting. Follow the instructions on the
or scratch them. Hard floors are the same finish’s container in regard to cure times.
way — that’s why most are protected by a
wax finish. LIGHT VS. DARK
Your wood projects will benefit from a As wood varies in lightness and darkness,
coat of wax also. Wax not only protects from so do waxes. Manufacturers provide color
abrasion, but also from moisture and dust. variation to assist woodworkers in dealing
with light and dark finishes. Scratches in a
WHAT IT IS dark finish are better hidden using a darker
Most paste waxes are Carnauba wax wax. Of course you can use a light wax on
extracted from the leaves of Carnauba palm dark finishes, but scratches and scuffs may
trees (Copernica prunifera), which are native show up.
to northeastern Brazil. Other waxes can be It’s not recommended to use a dark wax
used to protect wood finishes, but Carnauba on light woods and light finishes, as the
wax is the most commonly sold. dark wax can enhance scratches instead
of hiding them.
WHEN TO USE IT
Wax is very seldom used as a standalone EASY CLEANUP
finish. Its low melting point (140°F) doesn’t If you’ve used a disposable brush to apply
even protect from a hot coffee cup. Nor does the wax, just toss it. If not, use the solvent
it protect against alcohols. Wax is used as recommended by the wax manufacturer
a final coating on top of other finishes, new to clean the brush. If you used rags, allow
and old, for bringing a luster and abrasion them to completely dry before tossing them
protection to the finish. Waxes are often in the trash. Better yet, soak them in water
used to rejuvenate older finishes, reviving before doing so, to prevent combustion.
the shine and filling in minor scratches, and
providing a smoother finish. TOP-NOTCH TOP COAT
Waxes have also found great favor in Although waxes are not ideal as a finish
finishing chalk paints. Chalk paints are on raw woods, they can serve in a pinch,
porous and very flat. Wax provides a final but really shine best when used as a top
finish that adds some shine to the otherwise coat to final finishes. That added bit of
matte paints and fills the pores so they are protection and luster will really make your
less likely to stain with use. projects stand out. Give them a try on your
There are quite a few brands to choose next project, they just might become your
from, but don’t worry that your local store woodworking finish best friend!
might not have the “best” brand. Any of the
Полина Стрелкова / Adobe Stock

brands available locally will do the job. Your


decision will probably come down to price.

HOW TO APPLY IT
Paste wax is easy to apply. The size of the
project might determine how it’s done, but
basically it is either brushed or wiped on,

makezine.com 87
Electronic Relays

I’VE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED WITH


RELAYS — they’re so absolute, so binary.
They’re basically switches that you turn on
or off by applying or removing a specific
voltage. Relays aren’t needed for most
microcontroller-based projects, but you’ll
need them when you want to open/close an
external circuit, or where your circuit needs
to control higher voltages than your system
can provide.

ANATOMY OF A RELAY
There are two common types: mechanical
relays and solid-state relays. Mechanical
relays use an electromagnetic coil and a
physical switch; when you apply a voltage,
the switch activates. Solid-state relays
deliver the same result, but don’t have the
mechanical components; instead, they use
electronic components to do the same job.
Commercially produced relays usually

Make
operate in two different modes, Normally
Open (NO) and Normally Closed (NC),
depending on how you wire the connections
to the module.
Figure A shows a relay in NO mode. In
this configuration, when there’s no voltage

the
applied to the control circuit (the relay at
rest portion of the image), the switched
circuit is disconnected and current can’t flow
through the connection. When you apply an
appropriate voltage to the control circuit, the

Switch
electromagnetic coil in the relay activates
and pulls the switch closed, enabling
current to flow through the switched circuit.
In NC mode (Figure B ) the opposite is
true. When the relay is at rest (no voltage
applied to the control circuit), the switched
circuit is closed and current flows through
the switched circuit. When you activate the
Turn on or off electronic relays by relay by applying an appropriate voltage to
the control circuit, the electromagnetic coil
applying or removing a specific voltage in the relay activates and pulls the switch
Written by John Wargo open, stopping any current flowing through
the switched circuit.
Two attributes drive relay switch
JOHN WARGO is a professional
configurations: Pole and Throw. The pole
John Wargo
Wargo

software developer and author. attribute describes how many individual


He’s a program manager at
Microsoft Visual Studio App
circuits the switch controls. A Single
Svadja, John

Center. You can find him on Twitter Pole (SP) switch controls a single circuit.
@johnwargo and online at
A Double Pole (DP) switch controls two
Hep Svadja,

johnwargo.com.
separate circuits; there are essentially
Hep

two interconnected switches, with each

88 makershare.com
makezine.com/61

A Normally Open (NO) Configuration


connected to its own circuit; when you (which provides 3V) or Raspberry Pi boards
Relay at rest Relay activated
toggle the switch, both circuits are affected (3V–5V).
simultaneously. Control Switched Control Switched
circuit circuit circuit circuit
The switch’s throw attribute describes MICROCONTROLLER ADD-ON
the number of circuit paths provided by BOARDS (SHIELDS, HATS, ETC.)
Coil Coil
the switch. A Single Throw (ST) has only To make it even easier for you to add relays
one circuit path. With the switch thrown to your microcontroller projects, several
one way, current flows through the circuit. manufacturers produce add-on boards
With it thrown the other way, the circuit that stack directly onto the microcontroller
is broken and no current flows. A Double using the GPIO port (for Raspberry Pi) or B Normally Closed (NC) Configuration

Throw (DT) switch offers two circuit paths. the header pins that most other boards Relay at rest Relay activated
With the switch thrown one way, current support. Adafruit makes a Power Relay
Switched Control Switched Control
flows through one of the circuit paths, with it FeatherWing (Figure D ) — I’ve also used circuit circuit circuit circuit

thrown the other way, current flows through relay boards with Raspberry Pi, Tessel 2,
the other circuit path. A DT switch can also and Particle Photon. Coil Coil

have a center Off position between the two


circuit path options. So, relays are often POWER PIGTAIL
described as something like SPST, SPDT, The Power Pigtail, or PP, (Figure E ) is a
DPST, DPDT, etc. simple solution for high voltage switching C
Each relay is different, but they are all scenarios that circumvents many of the
basically rectangular blocks with at least safety issues that come with high voltage.
4 electrical connectors exposed: 2 for the It’s basically a black box with a power cord
control circuit and 2 for the switched circuit. and a relay with its switched connection
Pay attention to the voltage and current wired across one of the conductors in an
ratings for the control circuit (normally given AC power plug. When you apply a specific
as ranges that tell you what voltage and voltage (normally 3V–5V) to the input
current are required to activate the relay) connections on the PP (shown with two red
and for the switching part of the relay (which wires connected to it) the relay triggers D
tells you how much voltage and current the and AC current passes through the power
switching part of the relay can handle). cord. The PP is wired for NO operation, but
If you wire the relay into your circuit, you can configure the PP for NC operation
applying voltage across the control circuit as well.
should trigger the relay, but it won’t work
reliably — there are latching considerations VALIDATING RELAY OPERATION
and other issues that may affect the relay’s For my relay work, I created a testing jig
operation. There are actually several easier (Figure F ) I could wire into each of my
ways to add relays to your projects! projects to easily determine the state of
my relays. It’s a series of LEDs connected
RELAY MODULES to a power source (3V DC served by two AA E
Instead of buying relays and wiring them batteries) with each LED exposed through
up with transistors, diodes, and resistors, two open leads. When I need to test a relay
many manufacturers produce relay module circuit, I wire an LED’s leads to the NC
boards that include everything you need connection on one of the relays, put a couple
(although most that I’ve seen don’t include of batteries in the battery holder and test
any documentation, so you’ll have to figure my code. When the relay triggers, the LED
out your module on your own). You can buy lights or goes dark depending on the status
these with anywhere from 1 to 8 or more of the relay.
relays attached (Figure C ). Most relay
F
To relay To relay To relay To relay
modules are designed to work with Arduino LED LED LED LED

Visit makezine.com/go/electronic-relays for more info on relay connections,


add-on boards, and triggering relays with code. Battery

makezine.com 89
TOOLBOX GADGETS AND GEAR FOR MAKERS
Tell us about your faves: editor@makezine.com

DJI SPARK FLY MORE COMBO $699 dji.com


When the DJI Spark launched, I had my doubts. I’ve spent works. And it is so crazy compact, it adds no discernible
time with other small, Wi-Fi controlled camera drones weight to my backpack even with its carrying case.
over the last few years and am still a little shell shocked There are a few things I’d like to see improved or
from their wind-related performance woes and sudden added, however. The follow-me modes feel like magic
signal dropouts. Sized even smaller than those ones, when they work, but when moving quickly on my
and costing about the same, I assumed the Spark would skateboard at the park, they lose detection over half
provide choppy, nervous results with anything but the the time. There isn’t a waypoint planning function like
calmest, clearest conditions. the bigger drones have, which could hinder mapping
After a couple months with a test unit, my tune has and automated search-and-rescue. The camera
changed. Blustery day trial flights at the coast didn’t resolution maxes at 1080p. And that nice hard-foam
result in the Spark cartwheeling into the ocean, but case frustratingly leaves out a space for the separate
instead produced sharp, locked-in video footage even as controller (which you’ll definitely want to get). I felt odd
the controller screen blinked a red “high winds” warning. carrying it loose in my backpack.
I’ve flown the little thing to roughly 1,500 feet away — the Ultimately, I’m a hobbyist, not a professional drone
distance where I couldn’t really spot it in the sky — but flyer, which is something the Spark has made me realize
still maintained video and control transmissions. (It’s and even embrace. It’s now hard for me to look at my
advertised to go four times that distance, but I don’t know larger drones and feel good about their bulk. Anytime I
Hep Svadja

that the battery life, a relatively short 10 minutes in real- need to get airborne, I just want to fly the Spark instead.
world use, will take it that far, and definitely not there- –Mike Senese
and-back.) The forward-facing obstacle avoidance feature

90 makershare.com
makezine.com/61

MU SPACEBOT
$60 morpx.com
The MU SpaceBot by Morpx is an interesting addition to the
educational robot landscape. Unlike most of the robotic kits I see in
this genre, it doesn’t use locomotion as its main feature. Instead, the
bot consists entirely of a 2-axis gimbal and a camera-equipped brain
that allows it to see faces. Wrap that up in a simple wooden body and
you have a robot that makes eye contact.
The ability to track faces really does make this robot stand out in a
crowd. There’s something very captivating about moving and having
it follow you with its “eyes,” quipping little pre-recorded messages.
After playing with the pre-set actions — face tracking and musical
keyboard — you can jump into programming the SpaceBot yourself.
This is done via an Android or iOS app that works with simple blocks
for your actions, much like the Scratch programming environment.
Telling it to look for a face and then say something, for example, took
me about 30 seconds.
I really enjoyed not only the build, which was extremely easy, but
also the customization of this robot. It came with blank adhesive
panels for the body so you can make it look however you want. I had
trouble connecting to mine over USB due to my phone’s limitations,
so I highly recommend getting the Bluetooth model ($69) for easier
connectivity. This problem did allow me to test customer support
though, which responded within a few hours. –Caleb Kraft

LJD61UP KEYBOARD KIT


Starting at $105 1upkeyboards.com
As the primary tool for most of us to access our computers, of every part of your keyboard? This is all possible.
keyboards dominate a large portion of our days. While most are The keyboard I built was a stainless steel model with click-y
underwhelming, the kits from 1UP Keyboards aim to place a high mechanical keys. The GH60 PCB makes soldering easy, although it
quality device under your fingertips. can be tricky lining up the keys to keep them all nice and straight.
Made by keyboard enthusiasts for keyboard enthusiasts, these This kit takes a good bit of soldering, so be ready for it.
kits allow for an incredible amount of customization — some just I love the feel of the keyboard — going back to my laptop’s keys
for looks, some for the actual feel. Do you like your keys click-y or just felt flimsy after using the 1UP. If you spend your days typing
smooth? Should your keyboard be heavy-duty to hold up to your away, give the 1UP a try. –Matt Stultz
pounding, or light to travel with you? How about changing the colors

makezine.com 91
TOOLBOX Gadgets and Gear for Makers

BOOKS
AWK-105 ANALOG VOLTMETER CLOCK DOT JOURNALING —
A PRACTICAL GUIDE
$99 awkwardengineer.com By Rachel Wilkerson Miller
While walking through World Maker Faire this past $13 theexperimentpublishing.com
fall, I spotted a booth with people lined up I had no clue dot
watching twitching analog voltmeters. As I journaling was even
stepped closer I realized they were clocks a thing — that’s why
and I was instantly excited. I love clocks I decided to read this
and find it fascinating all the ways we book. Dot journaling
have created to represent time. takes its name from
The Analog Voltmeter Clock from the grid-like series of
Awkward Engineer has two analog dots that cover each
voltmeters on the front. These are page, like graph paper
the old school, needle-style meters but simpler. With more
that used to adorn almost every piece of versatility that regular ruled pages, Rachel
electronics equipment before the advent of Wilkerson Miller paints a clear picture of the
LEDs and digital electronics. One meter reads many, many possibilities that all these dots
the hours, the other the minutes. The time is set can create. She gives beautiful examples
and the dials are calibrated using two industrial-looking knobs on the top in stunning detail, which will inspire you to
of the device. The aesthetics of this clock feel like it should be in a nuclear practice them for yourself.
bunker during the Cold War. The warble mode adds some drama by The best part is that she makes it a point to
making the dials hop periodically instead of being locked in on the time. remind you that these are just suggestions and
If you are looking for a timepiece for your shop, lab, office, or den, the fun you are completely free to take what you will
of the Analog Voltmeter Clock will fit right in. –Matt Stultz or leave it completely. I was so inspired that I
decided to try this whole dot journaling thing
out. I’m now five pages in and I love it. The
SUCKIT DUST BOOT $80 suckitdustboot.com flexibility is wonderful and I now have a place for
my agenda items, planning thoughts, journal
Hobby CNC routers are wonderful machines
entries, and random things all neatly contained
to have in your life. They make beautiful,
in one book. –Jazmine Livingston
accurate carvings from wood, plastic, and
many other materials. They also make a
PAINT THIS BOOK! WATERCOLOR FOR
tremendous amount of noise and dust. THE ARTISTICALLY UNDISCOVERED
The Suckit dust boot can help. By Thacher Hurd and John Cassidy
Available for both the X-Carve $25 theexperimentpublishing.com
and the Shapeoko 3, the Suckit is a
z-height independent dust collection
system. This means you can set
the height of the dust boot so that
it stays level with the top surface of
your material regardless of depth. The
dust boot and support arms are machined
acrylic, and the magnetically secured dust boot
slides out easily to make bit changes and reinstallation a snap. The arms
are positioned using thumbscrews to lock them in place, and the entire
I am very artistically undiscovered, and this book
mechanism is attached to the z-gantry with just four Allen screws — the
was absolutely meant for folks like me. It has
whole assembly can be removed in a few minutes if needed.
just enough explanation in the beginning and
What’s best is that the dust boot almost completely evacuates not only
very concise directions throughout. Plenty of
the fine particulate that’s dangerous to breathe, but also the heavier
tips and plenty of room for you to do your own
matter that makes a mess of your workspace. The Suckit only accepts 2.5"
thing. I especially like the “do whatever you want
dust collection hoses, so if you are using a smaller shop vac with a 1.25"
to get acquainted with art” in the very beginning
hose you’ll need to come up with an adapter to fit it. Nevertheless, the
before any technique is introduced. It definitely
Suckit dust boot is a solid investment and a welcome addition to any CNC
helps the artistically timid (like myself) feel
workshop. –Tyler Winegarner
better about art when we are explicitly told to do
whatever and it’s totally OK. –Jazmine Livingston

92 makershare.com
New & Notable Recent
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Soldering
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While new
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as an excellent
reference and
ZERO TO MAKER, resource book.
SECOND EDITION
By David Lang $20 Getting
“David Lang … teaches us Started with
that being a maker means far the BBC
more than being able to pick micro:bit
up a soldering iron or run a By Wolfram
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a world of adventure, in which Learn all about
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Perfect for non-
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Fabric
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Create and
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MAKE: HIGH- EASY own fabric
POWER ROCKETS ELECTRONICS inventions as you
By Mike Westerfield By Charles Platt make wearables,
$35 $10 playthings,
and decorative
Starting with an overview This is the simplest, items using the
of mid- and high-power quickest, least textile arts.
rocketry, readers will technical, most
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move on up to H engines. ever. No tools — not
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AVAILABLE AT MAKERSHED.COM AND FINE RETAILERS EVERYWHERE


TOOLBOX Digital Fabrication Review
WEBSITE eyelet punch,

BROTHER SE625
brother-usa.com screwdriver, spool
TYPE OF MACHINE caps (3), prewound
Embroidery and bobbins with
Written by Matt Stultz embroidery thread
sewing
(3), extra spool pin,
The addition of color touchscreen control makes a MANUFACTURER
Brother
power cord, and
operation manual.
great new line of machines even better BASE PRICE $360 ADDITIONAL
BUILD VOLUME ACCESSORIES
102×102mm PROVIDED FOR
TESTING None
THE SE625 MAKES PUTTING YOUR tension and it started humming along, ACCESSORIES
INCLUDED AT WORK
LOGOS AND DESIGNS ON FABRIC creating beautiful patterns before my eyes. BASE PRICE UNTETHERED?
Yes, internal
INCREDIBLY SIMPLE. Part of Brother’s Multicolor jobs are not a problem. The Accessory feet:
memory, USB
buttonhole foot,
new line of combo machines, it makes machine will cut off the thread on its own zipper foot, zigzag ONBOARD
foot, button
some nice improvements on the popular and pause so you can swap out the thread sewing foot,
CONTROLS? Yes,
full-color LCD
SE4XX line. The 625 features a bright, for the next color. overcasting foot, touchscreen with
blind stitch foot, buttons
relatively high-resolution, full-color monogramming
OS Windows for
touchscreen that allows you to see what THREADING THE NEEDLE foot, embroidery
foot. CD of 200 software. Designs
your design will look like before producing. It may be silly, but one of my favorite embroidery can be transferred
designs, accessory from a Mac as well.
There are still a few important buttons features was the self-threading button. pouch, bobbins (4), OPEN SOFTWARE?
on the front, but most controls are now I’ve used plenty of sewing machines in seam ripper, needle No
set, ball point
handled with the touchscreen. the past, and we all know that getting the needle, twin needle,
OPEN
HARDWARE? No
thread through the tiny hole in the needle cleaning brush,
DESIGNS BUILT RIGHT IN can be tricky. The SE625 solves the problem
There are more than 80 built-in patterns with just the press of a lever, threading the TAKE THE BRANDING OF
and nine fonts. More patterns are available needle perfectly each time. YOUR ORGANIZATION UP A
on an included CD, and you can create NOTCH WITH THE HELP OF AN
your own and copy them over using a USB EMBROIDER ALL THE THINGS EMBROIDERY MACHINE
stick. You will need special embroidery I run a hackerspace, and one thing we
software to create your own designs that regularly do is put our logo on things to get
can be moved to the machine, but this ready for events. We make our own T-shirts,
PRO TIPS WHY TO BUY
Embroidery The bright, full-color
unfortunately comes at a hefty extra cost. A carve and laser cut signs, and stick vinyl software can be touchscreen is a
more expensive great upgrade to
free trial of Brother’s PE Design is available logos to almost everything. With the help of than the machines the popular SE4XX
though, so you can at least get started. an embroidery machine like the SE625, you themselves. Don’t family of embroidery
worry, there are machines, making
My first few attempts at getting the can take the branding of your organization some lower cost the SE625 easier to
machine to embroider a pattern ended up a notch by creating more professional- choices available. use and easier to
Read our full guide to preview what you are
in failures, but I just adjusted the thread looking shirts and fabric items. software options at going to get in your

Hep Svadja
makezine.com/go/ final product.
embroidery-software

94 makershare.com
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SHOW
&TELL
Dazzling projects from
inventive makers like you
Sharing what you’ve made is half the
joy of making! To be featured here, share
your projects with us on Maker Share!

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

1 Wes Swain immortalized his love for retro 2 This simple RFID-controlled MP3 player was 3 Looking for a way to engage passers-by,
games within this one-of-a-kind cement created so Martin Jacob could give his 4-year- Matthew Dalton and Markus Schilling
Thwomp. old musical agency. designed these data pillars to track movement,
wind, and sunlight.
4 Esya Rachma came up with this ingenious 5 Not only does this clock tower look super cool,
solution to hang-dry clothing during sporadic but 5 Volts designed it so that he’s the only one 6 This weather display can be embedded in just
weather conditions. who can read the time. about any project, or simly placed on a desk,
which is Alex Wulff’s current setup.
7 This amazing player was created by Alain 8 Tired of hauling around backpacks, Tanner
Mauer so his son who has autism could watch Packham decided to give his new rolling bag a 9 A collaborative project for People in Need
media on his own. motorized upgrade. Cambodia, this flood warning system by Rob
Ryan-Silva is saving lives.
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Carve and machine all your projects – up to 25" x 25" in one pass – from wood, soft metals and plastics with ease
using the CNC Shark HD4 from Next Wave Automation. A new electronics package expands the HD4’s capabilities and
allows attachments like Laser, 3D Printer, 4th Axis (for carving cylindrical pieces), and water cooled spindle control.

Carve Beautiful Details!

Optional Laser Module, 161352 Sold Separately.


*Imagery Shown With Optional Bosch Router 162342 CNC Piranha XL ®

For A Free Catalog Or To Find Your Local Woodcraft Store, Visit woodcraft.com Or Call 800-225-1153. 18MK03P
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