Review: The Best of MAKE

Geek Culture

best of makebest of make“Void your warranty,” MAKE Magazine urges its readers. The best DIY magazine ever, MAKE has been engaging and inspiring thousands of readers for the past two years. Now, in the The Best of MAKE they have collected their coolest 75 articles thus far. Here are a measly ten that caught my eye:

Your Electronics Workbench: What you need to get started in hobby electronics by Charles Platt. A lot of people interested in getting into electronics find themselves facing the puzzle of what equipment they need. This article answers those questions, and it’s followed by a comprehensive list of various gadgets and where to get them,

Rumble Mouse, by Greg Lipscomb. Add a cell phone vibrator to your mouse to let you feel those caps you bust!

Two BEAMbots: Trimet and Solarroller, by Gareth Branwyn. BEAM robots are, like, a kajillion times cooler than those battling robots you see on ESPN 6. Among their many unqiue attributes, BEAM bots are built without expensive microcontrollers, which, until the development of cheap units like the Arduino, was a huge stumbling block to amateurs trying to break into the hobby.

Hack a RoboSapien, by Dave Prochnow. As I mentioned in a previous review, Wowwee’s line of robots — including the Robosapien — were largely created by Mark Tilden, a robotics guru who encourages the hacking of his creations.

Gun-Operated Alarm Clock, by Roger Ibars. Forget banging the top of your alarm clock to turn it off, shoot it with a video game light gun.

VCR Cat Feeder, by James Larsson. Hack a VCR to dispense kitty food at a certain time. Everyone over thirty just made a joke about flashing 12:00s.

Making Biodesel, by Bob Elam. Make diesel fuel out of french fry oil!

Rocket-Launched Camcorder, by John Maushammer. Anything rocket launched is cool. Add a disposable drugstore camcorder to the mix and record your flight for all time.

Building an Ornithopter, by William Gurstelle. Author of such classics as Whoosh Boom Splat: The Garage Warrior’s Guide to Building Projectile Shooters, Gurstelle describes how to build a model aircraft that flies by flapping its wings!

Microcontroller Programming, by Sparkle Labs. One of the most mindboggling innovations of the past few years, and which has not gotten a lot of press, is the development of dirt cheap microcontrollers. Granted, it’s not the sort of story that can be sandwiched between “puppy saving kid” stories on the 5:00 news, so I suppose it’s not surprising it hasn’t sent weeping crowds into the streets. But trust me, it’s big.

Plus 65 others! Whether it’s inspiration or just enjoyable reading, this book is chock full of cool stuff. Each story includes a description of equipment and supplies you need to do the project, followed by step-by-steps. But my favorite parts are the writers’ asides where you get a flash of the DIY spirit that made these projects possible in the first place.

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