Upgrade Your Water Gun Fights With Sugru!

Sugru Water Gun

Apparently the folks at Sugru never sleep. Just a week after I shared their cable-wrangling solution that involved LEGO minifigs and Sugru, they’ve gone and released another fun video involving water guns. I won’t spoil it… just take a look below. And the video afterwards shows you the How-They-Did-It portion. Just in case, you know, you might want to try and duplicate it before July 4th weekend. Pro Tip: You’ll need a LOT of Sugru! Continue reading

Create Your Own Snap-Together Plastic Models

Framed

Last week I had the opportunity to conduct a camp titled Beginning Electronics and Robot Building (BERB) to a group of 21 kids, ages 8 to 12. It went great, and I’ll be holding the camp again for another group in late July. In addition to learning some basic electronics skills (such as soldering and breadboarding), the kids also got to build a full-fledged Arduino-based robot that they took home. It was a great week, and it also gave me an opportunity to introduce the kids to some other concepts and tools, including 3D printing. Continue reading

Yet Another Reason to LOVE Sugru…

Sugru

I’m not a paid spokesman, but I sometimes feel like it! Ever since discovering Sugru so many years ago, I’ve become a devoted fan of this great little product. If you’re not familiar with it, it starts out a bit like PlayDoh — you can mold it, roll it, and even mix its basic colors (black, red, blue, yellow, white) to make more colors. But what’s cool about it is that it begins to cure… but not harden. When the curing process is complete (about 24 hours, but you have a solid 30 minutes to mold it and experiment), it not only has a rubbery feel to it, but it also pretty much sticks to anything. This means that it can not only be used to attach different materials together, but it can also be used to mold unique parts, repair broken parts, and hundreds more solutions. Continue reading

Fun Weekend Project — Superhero (or Supervillain) PowerUp Juice Bottle

Finished Bottle

For Father’s Day, I wanted to do a special project with my boys. We started but didn’t finish it on Sunday (paint sure dries slow in the Atlanta humidity), but the wait was worth it. For both my boys (and two nephews), we followed the instructions provided by author Scott Bedford in his new book, Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff, and this dad and two boys are quite happy with the final results. Continue reading

GeekDad Walkthrough: Unboxing and Using a New Printrbot Metal Simple

Metal Simple

I’ve built a number of 3D printers over the last few years, and I’ve had a chance to sit down and actually use even more of them… all mix of brands and models. One of the questions I hear most often from friends and colleagues about 3D printers is “how hard are they to setup and use?”

The answer to that question depends on the printer, of course, but the amazing thing about 3D printers over the last few years is just how out-of-the-box simple some of these things have become. I thought it might be fun to actually document the unboxing and setup of a 3D printer for GeekDad readers, so that’s what I’m going to do here with the new Metal Simple from Printrbot. I’m going to shoot some photos as I unbox, unpack, setup and begin printing… and hopefully convince anyone nervous about purchasing a 3D printer (or at least the Simple) that they needn’t worry.
Continue reading

Building the S.S. Coraline Spacecraft Simulator

Daniel H. Wilson spacecraft simulator

This is a guest post by Daniel H. Wilson, author of Robopocalypse and the upcoming Robogenesis. But he doesn’t just write books about robot uprisings—he’s also a geek dad himself. Check out this awesome spacecraft simulator he built for his kids. Continue reading

Fun Weekend Project — IR Gun/Target Game

PVC Gun

I met a lot of people and saw a lot of cool things a few weekends back while at Maker Faire in San Mateo, California. I also spent way more money than I should have on a lot of electronics components and books and gifts. But it was an enjoyable event, and I learned a lot of new skills. During the last few hours of the event, I was doing my final walktrough of the Expo Hall where the majority of vendors and booths are located and I found myself stopping at one particular booth (sewn up by his daughter, Meg, and based on the Bioshock Infinite game’s arcade design — cool!) where kids were having some real fun. Because I’m teaching a beginner’s electronics camp in just a few weeks, I was on the hunt for anything new and interesting to possibly add to electronics projects I want to share with the kids. And I found something… from Senseless Devices. Continue reading

Project Kid — 100 Great Craft Projects For Kids and Adults

Project Kid

I’m not an infinite bank of craft ideas for my son, however, so lately we’ve been working through his copy of Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun by Amanda Kingloff. It’s 270+ pages of full-color steps for creating all sorts of wondrous things — Cotton Ball Sheep, Yarn Birdcage, Robot Bank (we’re almost done with this one, and it’s awesome!), Low-Tech LED Banner (no LEDs, but round stickers), Tube Train, the Bottle Rocket (seen on the cover), Newspaper Pirate Ship, Arrow Through Head (a classic accoutrement), Homemade clay (done, and he LOVED it!), and even Salad Spinner Art (you have to see it to believe it). And 90 more. Continue reading

(Don’t) Bring the Noise! — Sugru and Silence

Sugru

If you’re not familiar with that wonderful product called Sugru, now’s the time to grab some. Bonds to pretty much anything and after it cures (up to 24 hours, but usually faster) it retains a soft rubbery feel. Fans of Sugru have been using it for years to repair things and add grippy-like texture to slippery tools and objects. Continue reading

Host a Rocket Party — Rick Schertle’s New Rocket Launcher 2.0

Rocket Launchers 1.0 2.0

Back in 2010, I hosted a Rocket Party at a nearby school’s playground for my son and seventeen of his friends from daycare. A few days prior to the party, you would have found me at the dining table with a small block of wood and a 15″ length of PVC pipe stuck down the block’s center — I was using this setup to create 20 rockets that would be launched from a custom rocket launcher I had built the previous weekend. Continue reading

Countdown To Maker Faire 2014 — Get Prepared

Year of Maker

Just a few more days… and it’s Maker Faire Time! I know a lot of geek dads and moms make the trek each year to attend what is called The Greatest Show (And Tell) On Earth, and there’s are solid reasons for it. Two days of open-mouthed staring and double-takes. Two days of access to experts (self-taught and otherwise), makers, inventors, tinkerers, dreamers, builders, hackers, and hobbyists. Two days of sightseeing, hands-on activities, and pure surprises. Continue reading

GeekDad Crowdstorming — Assembling An Ultimate Kid Craft Box (Plus Contest!)

Crafts

Geek dads and moms… I need your help. My son’s 7th birthday is around the corner, and although my wife and I have gift ideas that he’s provided to us, I find myself wanting to offer him something that will feed his creativity. For some time now, he’s shown a solid interest in just making things. Duct tape, scissors, glue… these are his tools. Construction paper, string, cardboard, popsicle sticks… these are his materials. Continue reading

Just Two Weeks Left to Enter MoonBots Robotic Competition

MOONBOTS_MAIN

Registration for the 2014 MoonBots competition is coming to a close. It’s a great way for kids to get involved in robotics… and it doesn’t cost anything. Sign up today! Continue reading