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>Our Guide to Cool Kits:

From Robots to Ukuleles

Electric Cigar BoX Guitar

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technology on your time uM

Volume 04

7: Crafter Maniifesto

The rnagicot making things. By Ulla·Maaria Mlltanen

10: Welcome

Managi lig Editor Shawn Connally on lazi ness as the ulti mate motivator.

12: U'fe Hacks: The Palper Chase

OLlr real challellge today is 110t to use less paper but to keep I,ess paper. By Merli n Marm and D3IlilY O'Brien

15: Tiim O'Reilllly

News fromthe futLlrB: A reporton the labs and garag,e projects changi ng the way we live.

16: Made on Earth

Amazing tili ngs YOLlr neighbors build ill their bssernents.

26: .Bruce Sterliing

MLlltito.ols are for people who neverstoptinkering.

28: Maker: Dean Kalmen

Wasting time is an unspeakable crime. says Segway inventor Dean Kanriel"!. By Wi lliam Lidwell

~Heiirloom Technology

Chinese Ingenuity: Bamboo scaffolding and sneaker-toam ratts. By lim Anderson

,42: How to Make a Flillm,Wlithout Money,Whille Being Bombed

Shooting a documentary in Belgr.ade is risky business. By Jasmina lesaliovic

45: Maximoolg

A hi bute to Bob Mo,og. the man who gave LlS so many good vi bratlons, By Jimmy Guterman

46: 'The Pilayf1uII Scientist

Call me crazy. Just don't call rTlle mad, By Saul Griffith

48: Let the X Games Begiin

if YD~ ever wanted to try l1Iliaking a video game. here's your chance. By Alex. Handy

52: Mister Jallopy's Garage

1hS1'de a garage-sale treasure trove, By Mark frauentelder

54: Worldfs Biggest MP3 Pla,yer

filling a retro hi-f with an MIP3 ripplngand playback system. By Mister Jalopy

59: Film Jockey

Julie Meitz uses old film projectors to create co I I.ages of light and color. By R.oss Orr

60: Proto: Where Bits .Meet Flesh l8'1:fs Thomas Zimmerman and the "thrill ,of the make" By David IPesoovitz

2 Ma ka Volume 04

create innovate


do-iit-yoursa,lf Apple notaboo----thousands of parts and upgra I'ree online Fixlt Guides

p bfixit. co I1!'IJ

Make: Projects

IVI'I ,.. r"'o""'" ,... r"'IrI r r"'o ,...11 n r"'o '"'I U,", VI 111,,1 VII """ I


How to program chi ps, 8y Sparkle Labs

4 M.ke: Volume {)4

Volume 04

64: Kits 'for the Holiidays

OLlr guide to the coolest kits to make and give.

152: Sneaky Uses 'for Everyday 'Things

Turna cup i lito aspeaker and a microphone. By OJ Tymoriy

154: Owner's Mani'festo

if YOLl can't open it you don't own it. By Mister Jalopy

_l_6_6_:_HowToons: Balster Fllute By Saul Griffith. Nick Dragotta and Joost Borrsen

168: 'Toolbox

Tile best tools, software. gadgets. books. magazines .. and websites.

179: 1-.2-3: Wizard Crackers 'Start the holidays with a bang. By Charles NeveLl

180: Tales from MAKE:, Bllog CVS Haekathon, By IPhilli P Torrone

181: Ma,ker's Corner

Alrnosteverythi ng YOLl need to know about MAKE.

182: Retrocomputing

c.onsOlieiating your computer peripherals. By Tom Owael

.18_3_:_ Cory Doctorow ~ lIP; ~ip. Mi x~ Burn.

184: Dale Dougherty

·l7vilbi·Sabi: TIle Japanese have adeep appreciation for things humble and handmade,

Coffee Bottomless portafilter, toaster tea popper. espresso th srmcstat. XlO coffee pot.


Mi nt-tin amp. V Ji ng 101. webcam music. Game Boy as musical instrument.

• Mobile

Anonymous megaphone,

_'_' "_Workshop

Tandem dog cart.

,. Robotics

Robosapien hacking.

l§.§.:..Blalst From the Past

Li ndsay lPubli·cations' unique catalogof hard-to-find lore, By !Dale Dougherty

188: MakeShift

Dea.n Kamen challenges you to crea.te an irrigationsystem for a small tanml. By Willi.am '-ielwell

190: Reader Input 192: Homebrew

My Lego Electronic Lab Kit Bricks. By Claude ~ leth

I). Ma ke: Volume 04

'II )..,.



Ulla-Maaria 'Mutanen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Helsinki in Finland, has been thinking about why we enjoy 'making things. Creator of the HobbyPrincess blog, she developed a Crafter's Manifesto that could just as easily

, be read as a call for makers to unite. We present it here as our holiday greeting to celebrate the universal urge to do-It-yourself.

• People get. satistaction for being able to create/craft things because they can see themselves in the objects they make. This is not possible in purchased products,

• The things that people have made themselves have magic powers. They have hidden meanings that other people can't see.

• The things people make they usually want to keep and update, Crafting is not against consumption, It is against throwing things away

• , People seek recognition for the things they have made, Primarily it comes from their friends and 'family, This manifests as an economy of gifts,

• People who believe they are pro-

, ducing genuinely cool things seek broader exposure 'for their products. This creates opportunities for alternative publishing channels,

.Work inspires work, Seeing what other people' have made generates new ideas and designs.

• Essential 'for crafting are tools that are accessible, portable, and easy to learn,

• Materials become important IKnowledge ot wnat they are made of and where to get them becomes essential.

• Recipes become Important, The ability to create and distribute interesting recipes becomes valuable .

• Learning techniques brings people together. This creates online and offline communities ot practice ..

• Cratt-ortented people seek opportunities to discover interesting things and meet their makers, This creates marketplaces,

• At the bottom. crafting is a 'form of play.

- -

Ulla-Maaria Miltanen IS a Finnish crafter who publishes the Hobbyf'rincess (ullamaaria.typepad.com/) blDg about fashion crafting, and technology.

M~"": 7

Give the geelk on your list a truly unique gift this holiday-their very own subscription to MAKE. (And get a gift for yourself.)

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Your gift reclpleni's subscription willi:legin witll1AJlume 04, Tiley will bav,e trle opportunity to addl digital at no additional cost il th,ey wish todo ;'0, US, subs "r.e $34,95, Canadian: $39,95, "ndl all ,)fth,er ccunfries: $44,95for 4 quarterly issues (lift ord'ers "n,d gift notificatlons begin mailing on 12109/2005, We cannot guaranteeerrlval prior to tile h,o,liday5 for non-u.s. orders or For any orders recelved after 12/0912005,


I'-I:WfOR A I"1D PU9 LISHIeR Dale Dougl1lerty

EDllOR·II"1·C Hli tr Mllrk Fr,lluenm,elder mCflrikr@<JJ'eiliy,cam

MAI"1AGING [DITOR SlTIawlill eonlillllly , 5!tl2iJ.~:fi@:J:r'eil!y.~

ASSOCIATE E_DllOR Phillip Torron e --El@(n,~Ke2"ne,mm

PROJI'-CTS [DITOR Paul Spililmdi ip-~p.irlJad@t~keZiirlri3.~


COPYCl-lleF 'Goli Mo,hllmmlldi

COPY ICOITOR:SiR ~SICARCI-l Terry Bmnsonl Keiilh Hammond MicliI'llel Shapi~o


Terrie Miller

C RE.ATIVE_ OIRE_ClOR DllviCill.Alberbon david@;ill:"'lS<Jflde~ill.r1 ,~om


Kirk VG,n Ro,hr


Kris'Ey McKoy


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ASSOCIATe P1l9L1S~e.R, MARKlCflNG D,lllill Woods

Al)V~RTI:SING 01 R(ClOR BiII1JiaklIcs

JfJ"l,B21·Jffi2, ~:"n®<l"'''iny,'''m Al)V~RTI:SING COORDINATOR Jessica Boy,d


pUBLI:SFfim BYO'RmLYMrr>IA, It'{C, 1Jiim O'R,eilly, -CEO

Laura Baldwilill, 0000

Visiil' us onllns ,1Iil mllkezineicom

MAK.E lECl-ll"1lCAL ADVISORY BOAR D Gll ret IiII Br,llnwyn, Joe Granlill,

Saul Grifilith, Willi,llm Gursfuelle, TGm lgoe, Mis!·er Jalopy, Nllil'lllie Jersmljenko, Si[eve Lodeffink

Copyrig'l;t@.20050'R.eillyM'edia, Inc,

All righrts reserved, Reproduct ion w itholJlt per mls slon is pro hi bi t(>i], Printedl in the USA by sehumsnn Prlnters, Inc,

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Subscriber copies ot r:.AJ\~1E volume 004 were shipped in recyclable plastic bags,

Plea5e note: Technologv, th e laws, and lim itatiDns irn posed by manufacturers an d content owners, are con stantly changing, Thus, some ofthe projects described may n ot work, may be' inconsistent with current laws or user agreements, ur may damage Dr adversely affect some equipment,

'r\:>ur satetv is YDU r own responsibility including proper use of equ iprnent and safety gear, and d eterrn ining wrletrler 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 illu strati .... e photos do not depict s.afety precautions ur equipment, in order to show the project steps more clearly, These projects are not intended for use by children.

Use of the instructions and sugge5tions in MAKE is at your own risk, O'Reilly Media, Inc, disclaims all responsibility for any reSUlting darn age, injury, Dr expense, It is your responsibility to make su re that you r activities complv with applicable laws, including copyright,

Irell years ago. Mis~'er Jalopy (World's Biggest M'P3 Play.er and Own Your Own) decided to be handy. "People ar,e 110t born craftsmen; they just havs the courage to screw things LUp:' he says. "Embrace your inlier a,m,ateur and try everytlii l"!g_lrhere will ,8Jlw,ays be 8JlleXpert to take your money alld fix. the mistakes" Mister Jalopy is a mediocre welder. a fair shade-tree mechanic. a cI urnsy designer. and has never touched a pieoe of wood that he hasn't ruined, However.he still gets a lot done ~ hooDtvrides_colll_

A new kind of activist. Ulla,Maaria Mutanelill (Crafters Manifesto) started her blog.

J:tQbJJ\lpDnDEili.5 corn bscauss she "thought girls ShOLUld get mope active in dstining where society and tech no lcgy ,are goi Ilg_"The Helsi nki native is also building a free product code systsrn and an opan database tor prcducts.Thingl.inks. wliile working toward ,a PhD_ i n the social sciences. [n her spare time. she likes to "scavenge second-hend shops for wonderful things. Sing. and ride a green bicycle" Note to Dean ~\alTIen: She thinks youshould invent a flying SeW/ay_



! •


)L ~:, '111(,-...,"

.... _ .. _ .... -

William Lidwell (MaJi,eShut) is an artist. author. andentrepreneur, ~or fLU11. he Gall be found practicing martial arts. playing ping-pong, or workingonesoteric problemsover pizza and beer with friends, !'or work. he splits his tim,e behveen writi Ilg.consulting. and worki ngon bizarre design projects at the Stllff Creators DeSign Studio. Wi lliam is author of the book Universal Principl,es of Design _

Bot h mot lvated and broke. D lilsti n Am 0 r y H ostetl e r (Ciga r Box Guitar and ,Retmcompu ting i llustralions) loves club soda. thecolor yellow. cats and dogsequally. and any tree with a tree houss.A prolific i llustrator. this Toledo. Ohio, native juststarted a design studio with his wife (studiosansnom_com) and is the publisherofthe ,annu,a.1 art magazine F'aesthetjc_ He also admits to holdi rg grudges. 50 be careful about criticizing dub soda in his presence,

Ed Vogel (Cigar Box Guitar) describes himself as "an ,aging punk who likes musical theater" and makes one-string pizza box. guitars with kids at leollardosbaselllenLorg ("fill tile belly and then fill the mind! "), He ,OIiCe bet lie could make a transistor using late 19thcentllry materials and built a deviceoutot a photoconductive cell. a neon glow bulb. ,and a resistor, He's now working on a solar-powered adsorption ice machine and can't decide if he likes chocolate cake or broccoli more.

His morn bought him his first no camera WhM he was 6. and Tephsr Lucas (coVE:rphoto) has been shootingever since.A photographer who describes liis job as being"somes,ort ot license to meet completely random strangers" he's currently working on a project documenting the characters ot the Lower Haight. his neighbors in San IFrancis.oo_ Calif.. and is goi ng to Vietn.arn for a shoot early next year, lFie al so enjoys yoga. the oce an. and riding his motorcycle. but does not likechocolate.

Contributing Writers:

Tim Anderson. Tom Anderson, V'Iendell Anderson, Thorn as Arey N2EI_ Da vid Batti no, Sabastian Boaz. Joost Bensen. Gareth Branwyn. Rob Bullington, Cory Doctorow, Daniel East_ Jeffrey Goldsmith, Saul Griffith_ Jimmy Guterman.A lex Handy, Amy Horton, Andy lhnatko. Mister Jalopy. Daniel Jolitfe, Peter K.irn_ Willi am Lidwell. Steve l.odefink. Dave Mabe, Merli n Mann, Bob Mill er. John Murphy, Ulla -Maari a Mulanen, Marc H_ Nathan. Charles Neveu, Johnathan Nighti ngale. Danny O'Brien. Wi II O'Brien, Meara O'Reilly, Ross Orr, Chri s O'Shea, Tom Owad. Bob Parks. David Pescovitz_ Dave Prochnow, Claude Reiih_ Matthew Russell. Fred Sandsrnark. Bob Scott. Sparkle Labs, Bruce Sterling. Bruce Siewart_ Jasmina Tesanovic. Adam Thornton. Cy Tymory, Pacllo Vel ez. Ed Vogel. Patrick Webb_ Cristiara Yalllbo_ Warren Young

Contributing Artists:

Onna AI bertson. Bit Shifter. Nick Dragotta. Dustin Amory Hostetler. Timmy Kueynda. Andre LaMoihe_Gerry Manacsa_ Jenny Pfeiffer. Darnien Scogin, Derrick Story, Carla Sincl air. Mark Watkinson_ Robert Ulllllan

S I, ,"',." n"'.. r» ,... r""\ r"'\ ,.,.1 II I

I .... "YII '-'VIIII .... III~





I'VE GOTTEN GREEDY, I'VE GOTTIEN LAZY, AND I expect too much. I mostly blame Tivotor taking me down this path. If liVo can figure out what I !ike to watch and let me rewind a scene to figure out what that mumbling actor is saying. why can't my car stereo let me listen to a song from the beginning if I jump into the car as it's ending? Why can't my special shampoo chemically enhance the roots of my hair and keep my. urn. natural blonde highligh ts lo oking n atural?

The marvels of 21st century technology have made me look at my microwave. toaster. and yard sprin k~er with dlsd aln. I t's a bagel. stupid. not atrozen waffle. I'm defrosting chicken. not fish. My kids are outside playing - don't you even have a motion sen sor, you dumb hydro-d urnplng apparatus?

Way back [n the 20th century. I resisted the mind-rotting capabilities of programming my home phone to remember all my important numbers tor me. But now I demand a speakerphone on my cell-

"So now I'm casting aside my guilt and embracing my laziness.'

Everyone wants technology to work fur them in hipper. better. more logical ways. laziness is actual~y a terri ftc motivator for corning up with creative solutions: "How can I come up with a way to never have to dean my ran gutters again? VI/hy, I could build a little robot that shovels out the debris as it rolls along!"

Makers on every continent in every wa~k of life. and in every age bracket are creating - better yet. making - the things they crave. A regular alarm clock doesn't get Gauri Nanda out of bed. so she makes one that crawls around the bedroom. Cold fu sio n trumps retrernen t: neoprene gets a new Ii te: that thermostat ~s fuoled with just a nightlight and some ingenuity!

So now I'm casting aside my guilt 21M embracing my laziness. I'm going to improve the quality of my life by making the technology I paid for work the way I wan t it to. Our VI/i-Fi doesn't wo rk in the guest cabin - it's a liWe too far away from the house

and. as such. cannot be used as the home-officeaway-From-home that my husband craves. Recently. I decided to ju mp tn to my techn ology and create

a Wi-Fi mesh network (see IAJlume 01, page 132). This is going to be his Christmas present. and my headfirst jump into the maker world. And I'm making a blog tor my sister so she can easily document her trip across the coun try_ I t's no t coldfu slon or

ph one. rerno te access to the messages on my 0 ffice printed elreu it board s, but it's a star t.

ph one. and one-button access to my answering I challenge you to look around an d make you r

machine when I'm sitting on the couch and too lazy to walk into the other room.

I can't believe I used to wait three days before getting to see the photos from my last vacation. And I actually snail-mailed prints of the new house, k[d, or car to each famHy member, instead of doing a mass email pointing to my latest on~!ne photo album.

Yet all this leaves me wanting more. more. more.

One day, while looking through the galleys of the soon- to-be fourth vo~u me 0 f MAKE. it struck me - I am not alon e in my greed and slo th fulness.

liD Ma ke: Volume M

world. or someone else's wortd, a better. cooler. easier place to be. It's the time for gift-giving. and it's more fulfilling and a lot cheaper to make something. whether it's as simple as a personalized photo album or as complicated as devising a way to make the rad ar detector in the car talk to the gas ped 211 so speed ing tlcke ts are a th ing of the past.

I'd love to hear about the things you make: edl tm@rnakeLme_corn.

Shawn Connally is managing editor of MAIKL

The University of ,~dvallcing Technology creates til ill kers who u nderstar cl tec 11 nology. all d tea ches them ho\;v to apply that thinking no mat.er 110'.'1' til e \VO rl cI avo lves. It's a ceo I e rated lea rn In g

in an innovative envronnentvoi won'ttind

a nYI'vll ere e Ise-a sel eet g ra d LI ate c I) II ege combining business kllowledge with technology.

Cheese from specialized areas suell as. >:> I nlo rill at io n Sec II ritv »Artificial Life Programming >:> r3arne Development >:> Technology ~/lanagernent » Database Development >:> Soltware Eng i neeri n g

Learn more.

W',W.r.U at.ed LI

Life Hocks. Overclcckng Your Froductivity


DER-rl-I ro I)RIJEI~!


'f _'fA JA J .:. ~I



By r\4erli n Mann 8., Danny 0' Brien

i2 Make: VoImrle 04

Y au MAY RECALL, SEVERAL YEARS BACK, when the coroner's report on paper came bad. with rtncUngs as grave as they were decisive. Owing to its purported cos t, unwleldlness, and ut ter obviatlon by widely available clusters of zeroes and ones. the proud and pulpy sheet was reportedly as dead as Trotsky. Four thousand years in the loyal service o.f pharaohs. tovers, and chdd-artists just terminated without ceremony or recompense - made redun-

d ant. we were told, because srmply everyone was using computers nowadays - so, why (God. why?) would any sensible person ever want to write something down again? I mean, really.

Visualize the bafflement among the peperphilic staff of life Hacks Labs upon heerlngfrorn many or these same (albeit sligh Uy round er and greyer) fu turls tas tha t paper is now apparen Uy "back" And apparently paper has really caught on with geeks, Can you believe it? The same scoundrels who were placed in charge of all those computers that supposedly replaced paper back during the Clinton Adrninistratlon' The very idea. The mind reels.

There is 110 Lumber Cartel. Friends. we're here today to unveil the august secret that we hope will save potent!aHy dozens of Important Technology Writers from needing to produce another wide-eyed report on how very odd it is tha t all these geeks seem to love paper so much. The trick is that there is no paradox. no more so than suggesting that people who buy screwdrivers must necessarily hate drills.

G eeks rely on paper for the same reason that the normals do: paper - along with conceptual cousins Hke whlteboards and magnets - is srmply the most eN[cient tool ror completing certain kinds of cognitive work. And no amount of enhanced technology win Hke~y dimnish this anytime soon.

Paper's in tine room with you. The physicality of paper invites us to stack and tear and tape and fold and occasionally even rashlon a missile to hurl at a beloved family pet. Paper is there, and it inarguably represents the purest and most durable instance of the WYSIWYG interface.

A pile o.f st1cky notes and a blank wa[1 brings a brains terming session to. life. while the modest index card lets us capture. pile, analyze. and qulekly reorganize our thoughts in cognitively satisfying ways.

Paper likes a day off as much as anybody. This is not to imply that our tasks can't all be accornplished with the help of an appropriate digital device. We've each seen the outsize functional yield of one beardy hacker. a Perl install. and a couple of

spare afternoons. It's more to suggest that paper altords presence and irnrnedlacy for the tasks that require our minds to be open. ductile, and generative. If you've mastered an electronic tool to the extent that paper seems to impede your flow, then more power to you.

But even in the rarified geek subculture oif Extreme Prograrnmlng. we find paper to be fron t and cen ter. Index cards are employed in abundance. with clients writing user stories, developers tracking tasks, and

HOur real chal.cnge today is not to use less paper but to keep less paper,"

the cards themselves serving as physical rernlnders of progress and next steps.

Does thls make my FedEx look fat?

Unfortunately. the physicality that makes paper

so ideal for "thinking" tasks is the very quality that makes it ill-s ui ted for storage. recall. and trsn srnisslon over physical distance: paper takes up space, weighs something, and can, in time, degrade in quality. Plus, un til theyfinaHy bu rid out that tn tern ational network of pneumatic tubes we've been asking for. it's Hkely that gz.ip and sftpwill continue to ~ap faxing and shipping for both cost and efficiency.

Farmer and cowman should be friends. As Malco~m Gladwell noted in hls 2002 New Ybrk,er review of The Myth ot me Paperless Office, our real challenge today is not to use less paper but to keep less paper. Paper stlll has a role in our lives - just not as the sole information tool we have at our disposal. We don't throw out our wallets when we buy a new suitcase. and no one seems to. mind living in a home that con talns both a televlslon and a radio. Ukew~se. there's plenty of room for paper and digital to live alongside each other so long as we remember and respect 'what each is better at.

For ubiquitous capture. planning. and brainstorming. paper's tough to beat. For storage, searching. and editing, the point goes to digital. As tor organizing and outlinlng? Your call. But whatever you decide to use and r"Or whatever purpose. it's comforting to know that the chance f-or afresh start is always waiting at arm's length on a penny'sworth oif plain old paper.

l£!,8mll~tlW to reel in your mindat Danny O'BriBn'sJjfelJacks~cQl]]_ a.nd Merlin Millin's 43folders.colll.

M~"": 13

Join us for MAKE


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::- Meet expert Ma.kers and MAIKE contributors ::- Hear from O'Reilly's Hacks authors >Attend IDlY tutorials ::-lExplore DIIY projects and demonstrations >See the Ultimate Workshop

Bl"il1g your family and friends to the Sa.11I Mateo Fail"gr;Dunds (centl".ally' IDeated ill the San Francisco

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urtderaecempanled lYyal1l adwlit .. Maker-friendly family tickets and full II weekend passes available as well!

I n puzzling out the ahcpe of the future, it's not the

Is tories themselves that rna tter so. much as the pattern. Once you've recognized that. the stories jump out at you.

Take this morning's New York Times. A story on the increasing competition among the paparazzi for celebrity pho tograph s describes th e qu ality ot th e information at one lead[ng celebrity photo agency:

"He opens a drawer. puHs out a few stacks of paper. Here. he says. are this week's scheduled movements o·f every famous passenger of a major limousine company in los Angeles. Here. too .. are ... passenger manifests of every coast-to-coast flight on American Airltnes. the blggest carrier at los Angeles International Airport. 'I get the full printout: he says. 'If they fly any coastal flight. I know. I can also find anybody [n the world within 24 hours. I guarantee it." He says he has law enforcement officers on his payroll. too. and can h ave a license plate checked in an hour on weekdays. 20 minu tes on weeken ds"

There's money in tracking celebrltles, and the tracks they leave are bigger than those left by you or me. but don" t be fooled: in formation about where you are and what you do is also available. [ncreasingly in real time. Porous access to huge electronic databases containing the tracks we a!! teave in cyberspace - credit card purchases. travel arrangements, what we read. and who we talk to - ensures that those who have the time for a deeper look can find plenty oif tnformation.

Here's where the makers among us come in: rather than just bemoaning the loss of privacy. the ract that b[g businesses use this data to drive marketing into every aspect or our private ~ives. or the warn[ng that the po~ice state ~s coming. makers figure out how to ride the trend and tum it in a positive direction.

So. for example. during last year's presidential election. maker Michael frurnin of New York technology/arts group Eyebeam bum an amazing site called fundrace.oui. which mined the public databases of the federal E!edion Commission and built vlsu allza tion tools to s how the pa ttern s of contribu tlontor each candid ate. right down to the local level. Before fund race. this data was theoretically available to the public. but because access was dlfficult, it was large!y the province of political organization s, lobbyis ts, and other indu stry in siders. Frumln and his col~eagues at IEyebeam struck a blow

Tin1 Ol~eilly





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for democracy.levellng the playing field and giving equal access to all.

What"s interesting is that even when you can see the direction the trends are taking us .. there are many variations in the possible shape of the seemingly inevitable future. Police state. maybe. Intrusive commercialization. almost certainly But you can aisoframe this pattern as the glo.bal small town.

They say tha t rn a small town. there's no privacy.

The blogosphere is tcday's town newspaper and town gossip rolled into one. and digital cameras. cellphones, and SMSfrom the front lines make sure that breaking news ge ts picked up q u[ckly. Just when pundits were bemoaning the centralization oif radio and television by giant companies ~ike Clear Channel. pcdcasting 21M vlogglng have flung open the doors of cornpetltfon once again.

An d th at's ano ther pat tern: this alterna tion o.f cenlrellzatlon and decentralizatlon can be seen aga[n and again. A new technology springs up from th e edges. breaking th e strangleh old 0 f en trenched players and lowering the barriers to innovation. Entrepreneurs capitalize on the new technology; eventually. the wnners of the economic competition consolidate their power and shut out newcomers. But then (paraphrasing poet Wallace Stevens). "the s tory begin s again. in th e yes or the maker. spoken because he must say yes, because beneath every no lay a yes that had never been bra ken:"

You can get URLsfor the relerenced stories (and others) at makeLine_corn/04/nff.

Tim 0' ~eilly ftilll_oOroeilly.oolll} is founder .and ClEO ot O'Reilly M&di.a.1 nc. Se,e what's on Hn,e '0' Rei Ily Radar at mdaroreilly-,cDIll_,

M~"": 15



Report from the world of backyard technology

.Ir you're walking through your local perk and happen upon a devlce looking like something out of Yellow Submarine with loud random voices blaring from it. you've round Daniell Joilliffe's "One Free Minute."

Designed to promote anonymous public speech.

One Free Minute a~~ows calls to the ce~lp~lone inside the sculpture to be connected 'for exactly one rnlnu te to a 2 OD-wa tt amplifier an d speaker. The resul ts can be empowering. funny, touchlng. and downright loud. The speech produced by JoHiHe's sculpture can be heard clearly for more than 15,0 feet

The 41-year-o~d Canadian artist created One Free Minu te for his master's thesis project at Ohio State U nlvers ity. I t's at tached to a bicycle tor easy movement and he's taking it on tour throughout the U.S. and Canada.

There's dearly a political aspect to One Free ~\'1Iinute. By creating a tool that allows anonymous 'free speech in public places. JoHifre hopes to let actlvls ts speak withou t 'fear or recrlmln a tlon at a tlmewhen governments everywhere are lrcreaslngly vigilant O'r who is saying what and where.

The sculpture was design ed in Phln 0 CAD.wtl ich offers a wide range of visuallz atlon options. Once JoUiffe settled on the look he wanted. he used a process similar to bu ilding a wood en boa t. creating the sheil out of fiberglass and epoxy and then sanding = lots of sanding.

The electronics turned out to be the easy part.

JoHiffe assembled the embedded controller by han d. threw in an 0 f roth e-sh elt car stereo arnpllfler, a couple of gel ceil ba tterles, a 2 DO-watt compression driver. and a serially controlled MP3 player. The sculpture was ready to make some serious noise.

from the woman who called to say she had pancreatic can cer an d wan ted to te~1 her children she bved them before she died. to pontical renters, to silly singers. JolnHe credits them all. "The people who call up and lay their guts on the ~ine. saying what they really think - this piece was bum for them and they are the real creators o'fwhat is good about One Free Minute."

I'f you wan t to s pea k Ii ve. s end email to. lnfocWonefreernlrlul.e.nel' and you'll receive the live number before the next performance. You can also call a number anytime to record your message (see website to r nu mbers) or sen d MP3 'riles for

pubilc broadcast. -Bruce Stewart

TiJ make your own cellular megaphone. see page 129.

» One Free Mim.lt,e: oneireeminute.net

.• See Ona Free MinUJfbe ln actton at _II1Bkez inELGDLTI LDAico.ade.

M.ke: :17

SI2P Tl ... Str[ng

Sitting behind a laptop is boring, but how do you in ven t a new rnu sical in s trumen t fo r " playing" the computer? Musician and lnteracttve designer Bell Dov'e needed a new solution, and he didn't want to simply mimic tradltlonal instruments. So he started with the sensing technology first. Hlis "StringThing" uses a combination ot laserpowered motion tracking. metal rods 'for sensing finger pressure, and even a vibration system 'for physical feedback P~ug it into a computer. and you can expressively piay the rods with your 'fingers: position controls pitch, and pressure con trois volume. The result may look like a strange robotic cello, but playing it is a totally new experlen ceo

If this so unds hard to per feet. it was. Dove admi ts getting the posltlo ning system to work was a nigh tmare "I spent so long trying things," he says "I just could not beleve it was such a big deal!" The current model, Dove's thesis project at Italy's Interaction Design lnstltute Ivrea, is the latest o'r a long string

of prototypes. The 'first was con structed 'from a clothes hanger, guitar string. an d DV tape. Later, he settled on suspended metal rods 'for pressure. The motto n tHack~ng system uses a webcern connected to the free PC software EyesVVeb, which "watches" retlecteo laser dots on the player's nngers.

The work has paid off: while Dove has more refinements planned. the instrument is already 'fun to play Dove's own playing has been "trance inducing. very d roney" bu t others have successfully tried it, too. Some attempted to pluck it which won't work, but 0 thers "seemed to instantly get

it - [their playing] sounded better th an my ef-foHts!" Move over, Strad ivariu s, Th erernln , an d l.es Paul;

there's a new axe in town, -FHer'Kim

»Shing Thing 's construction: people_interactior1-ivre3J_ itlb_doveJstring thi ngJ

!]I Hear Skil1llgThil1lg at m~kezine,.comJ04Jrll3de.

HIe digging stick was a neat invention. and stone to ol-rnaki ng t rad itions carne in han dy for a few million years. But metallurgy. speci'ficaUy humans' d ~scovery of h ow to tum lumps 0 f red d rrt in to workable slabs 0 f lro n, really 0 pened up the technologlcal 'flo cdga tes, Bla cksrnit hs h ad to have skWs as d esign er, engineer, an d me ta~worker in ord er to make best use of this precious commodity.

With the Industrial Revolution, blacksmiths became nearly extinct A 'few skilled artisans prospered by adorning the mansio-ns of the new industrial barons with beauttrul hand-forged ironwork. loc:iay, Seattle artist blacksmith Maria Cristall i wtelds her hammer primarily in the service of pounding out incredible

h and -forged architectural me lalwork for the pal <Ices of todey's Silicon Revolutlon tycoons,

formally edu cared in fine arts. C ri staltl s tarte d a career as a photographer, bu t when she took

a welding class one day. metal got under her skin an d ttl ere was no. looking back. C ris taltl's metal-

working skil~s have evolved through a long series of apprenticeships. workshops. and time at the anvil.

The hand forging process ~s much like it has been 'for hu nd reds 0 f years. A bar of metal is h eared up in a fu m ace un til it reach es its red -hot working temperature. and the blacksmith then works the piecewith hammers, anvil. and huge amounts of skill until the design emerges.

Cris talli's architectural pieces are in high demand. and her cornrnlss [o,ns in dud e an elaborate iron

wis hi ng-wetl cover wi th stylized acan th us leaves. an Anto-nio Gaudl-fnsplred home interior, numerous 'fireplace su rroun cis, ga tes, and variou s h orne an d gard en accessories. When C ris tam ge ts burned ou t on botanical designs and scrollwork. she turns out clean con temporary fum ish ings and seu Iptu reo Ironing realty is women's work

-Steve iodefink

» Maria Crlstalll's slte: III ari acri.siilJlli .. colll


» :::tJ

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Talk about stubborn. larry Cotton, OJ retired engineer from. \Jew Bern, \J.C., didn't want PC hardware anywhere near hls e~egant marimba, even though it would have made things a [0 t easier. Most makers can nee tins tru men ts to a corn purer via VlID I or

so me a th er co rnrn on interface. Co tton ~121d to rig up a [ow tech optical reader inside the marimba

to play custom piano rolls .. "I Wi:;S just kind of doing my 0 wn thing: co mmit ted to us lng no th ~ng tha t existed already," says Cotton

1-1 e started Witr-l pho tad i odes and 300 po un d fishing line, He shin d spotHgh ts through the thick mono lilamen t, creating a cheap fiber a pti c system. \-Ie lined up 40 spots across 4 inches of makeshift mil, each one accounting for one of the 37 hand mad e oak bars arou nd th e ci rcular ~n s trumen t. An inkjet printer turnlshed black dots on tr-le trans parency, and Wrl en the do ts blocked ligh t, a vo ltage change lrcm the photcdlodes registered to Schmitt triggers and 555 timers

20 Mahe: vcturne 04

Each hand soldered circuit drove relays and high er current solen old s (fa rmer CC5 sette player rnechan ism s bo ugh t s urplu s)

Cotton makes custom rolls himself by playing songs on hls piano and capturing the audio on

his workshop PC. By running it through C21kew.:Jk 6.0 software Co tto Ul is able to rete rrna t the MID I co rnputer do ts to play in his machi ne ..

The oddly shaped marimba pounds out a mean version of Flight: of the Burrlble Bee, along with the o! d Carm en Miranda tune "Ilea Ti co" and a th er songs, But like near~y all player instruments, you can tell the difference. Asked if there are times you carl alrnos t clos e yo Un eyes and hear 2l h urnan player Cotton laughs, "Oh. yeah," he S2;YS. "A pretty bad one"

- G o,b Parks

IJrlrol1 YOlJr Ovvn

I'f C~nderefia had used duct tape to tashton her gliwn, she wouldn't have needed those 'fairy god mothers, and two teens fn Oklah oma have proved it. For their winning entry in the 2004 annuel Duck Brand Duct Tape "Stuck at Prom" Scholarship Contest, h~gh school students Casey Isril1lglJiouse and Krystal, Long construe ted royaity-th erned prom 'wear OIU t ot dud tape to 'win ithe prize. a $.2,500 college scholarship. Interested in entering next year? Read the Contest FAQs 'for itips, such as thls: "the entire outfit does not have ito be 100% duct tape, However.. 'fuH duct tape attire [is] a pius,"

-Arwen O'Reilly

»S~~C~lI~ Prom Scholar shjp COliiibesi:: rn ak8.zi 1"18.. eorn/go/due ktape

Art-O-Matlc~ Reflex

Clark Whittingtoll'l began repurpostng vlntage cigareitte-vending machlnes in 1997 to vend art fnsteCld. of smokes. Now Art-o-mats are available in cities ol!lover the Un fted. Sit 01 tes . .At ~5 a pop. it can hardly be called a dangerous addrction. AUld, more ~mpoutan itly, irs a u niq ue transac tion: yOlu have an original wock of art in your hands. But VVhittington ~s q lUick to polntou t "I t's th e artists who are doing whiz bang work. And many times. it's the 'first [aut] purchase 'for the buyer."

Artists submit itheirwork, V\lhil1t~ngton and 'friends eva!u ate it (Is it worth 'fwe bucks? \lvm it 'fit in a box the size of <I cigarette package'?), package it and su pply th e tar-flung mach ines. Th e low prlce tag erasesthe elitist assoclations many people have with art. and the machine, by making explicit the relatlonsh ip bNween art an d men ey, pokes tu n

at more preten tious gaileries.

AlthOUgh th e Au t-o-mel t h as in 'fact led to gaHery sh ows 'for some of its artists, the mach rnes are doing just 'fine, thank yo u, In Chrcago alon e. there are 3,000 sales a year. Not q uite enough to retire on. maybe. bu t then. that's not the point the art is.

-Arwen 0 "ReJlly

Mo,,": .21

I'f you 'find you rsel f cons tan tly tapping you r desk. you'll tove this: Beatbox, created by Andy HUriltington while studying at the Royal College of Art. london Beatbox is a series of tapping boxes. You can teach each box a rhythm by tapping ~t. and it will replay by tapping any surface you attach it to.

"I had been working wi th tapping toys for the ~as t 18 months. based around solenoids. and became interested in being able to use them to release the acoustic properties o'f everyday items." he explains.

10 teach a box. you press the record button. turning the LED inside red. lap a sequence. and then press the p~ay bu tton, turning the box green, Hie box will then accura te~y tap your rhythm until you record a new one or te~1 it to stop. By attaching boxes to a variety of surfaces. it is possible to. create a wide range o'f sound textures. so get out your kitchen pots, pans. and pizza boxes:

Beatbox has l'\NO modes: the 'first has eactl tapper box looping around its own clock. and the other

22 M 0 ke: Voiume 04

syncs all the tappers to a central loop trne.lt is also possible to change the overall rhyth m speed 'from the central box

Developed using PIC chips. solenoids. computer keyboard buttons.Lffrs, sell-assembled acrylic boxes. and some cus torn PCBs. the boxes gbw white upon each tap. creating a mini ~ight show and a visual indicator 'for each beC'IL

Hu ntington. wh 0 is curren tly looking at tu rn ing Beatbox into a commercial product. wanted to get away 'from a computer-based ttmetlne metaphor by creating a physical interface, The result: an instrument that's easy to pick up and play, yet f!exib~e enough to create more complicated beats.

Simple bu t perfect. -Chris O'Shea

» Beatbmcextraversian_co_uk/beatboxl

.. See a video, of Beatbox ln action at ITiakezilie_CoITil/04/ITiade.

What does someone who is equal~y serious about UEGO and Bach do in their spare time? Make a 'fu[ly 'functional LEGO harpsichord. of course

Requiring around 100.000 LEGO pieces and two years of theorizing, designing, collecting parts. building, testing, and rebuilding. Henl'), lim's harpsichord was definite~y a labor of tove, Urn is a proUfk LEGO ar tis t (see_h em0 i r'1"I ,orr;/l EGOS cu Ipl.u res, htrnl), but the harpsichord was the most difficult and ambitious LEGO project he's taken on so 'far

The most important design considerations were strength, e'['fic!ency. and durability. The instrument had to be stro ng en oug h to support th e tens ion of the strings. as we~1 as be able to withstand the repeated movements required of a keyboard instrument, Th e 'final design rejied heavily on the larger 2 x8 and lx15 bricks an d 5x8 and 5x15 plates to achieve the necessary strength, With the exception of the strings, every single part of l.lm's harpsichord is mad e of LEGO,

"UEGO as a medium holds rather well. not to mention it's heavier than hell on a cornpoundedly large scale." points out the 33-year-old Lim. who currently has the life-sized harpsichord on display in his living morn in Redondo Beach, Cam.

Acou stically, the harpsichord need ed to be as smooth as possible. so in stead 0 f h <wing the standard LEG 0 stud s exposed. Lim covered these up with smooth-topped f~at tiles. The end result is a sou nd as resonan t as LEG 0 wm ge t.

While musically the LEGO harpslchord leaves a little to be desired - "Tuning it is a bitch," explains lim - that really wasn't the point. Lim's working harpsichord is 21 majestic LEGO engineering 'feat.

-Bruoe Stewart

»LEGO Harpslchord; hel'1rvlirn .org/Ha.rpsichordJltrnl

D Hem- Linn's harpslchord at rni'.kezine,mrn/04lrn3de.

s:: » c ITI

Light ~/1akes Right

Most people would consider the Westfield Megabuscl. a 1.000-poulld sports car with 175 horsepower. a scari~y 'fast car But when Dennis Palatov rlnlshed building his Westfrelc:i, it just whetted his appetite for an even more extreme car. He started designing his own, the dpl, His goa~: a trackday car with an insane power-to-weight ratio and a top speed of 160 MPH How to do it: increase power or decrease weigrlt. Palatov ru lhlessly attacked the latter. setting the target weight tor the car at just 700 pounds

The res t a f the dpl's design f~owed from the we[g"lt target. Two people weig h more than on e. so it's a single sea ter. A smaller frarne is ligrlter. so he located the engine beside the driver. pu~led the ends of the car closer together, end used tiny. 13-ineh-d iarneter wheels. Instead of a drive shaft. the dpl uses a chain drive like a motorcycle and a lightweigtlL turbocharged Suzuki Hayebusa motorcycle engine. The body is carbon fiber (what else?) on a stee~ space trame, The car h as no radio. air cond ~tioning. carpet.

24 M" ke: VOlume {)4

root trunk. winds~lield. or place to hang your fuzzy dice. Its ligh tness d oesn' t get in the way a f high performance. though: it has a full undertrsy to generate aero dynamic dowrrlorce, and all-wheel drive to claw its way o-u t of corners.

Th e d pl's design process tlas been ju st as h tgrltech as the dpl itself He parts were 'fabricated from CAD 'files designed by Pelatov, and the car's aero dynamics were sirnula ted in a so ftware win d tunnel. He's posted progress reports. enginering drawings, an d photo son his blcg, an d h as used LazyWeb (online requests for help) to solve design problems and 'find specialized fabricators.

Tbree years into the project. th e d pl is alrnos t re8Jdy to roll. Best of all. Palatov is now a rnanutaclurer. He'll build a dpl for you. too.

-Bob Miller

»Dermis Palatov's d.p,u. [mild. rag: dpc2rs_netJdp!bl d

» Palatov's daslgn log: dOG?C; rr.ndgrnre'5Ap.rch cnm'!dD~

Build and Prog(.o. your own Robot!

The IBoe-IBoit® robot is built on a high-quality brushed cjurnlnurn chossls that provides a sturdy platform for the continuous rotation servo motors and BASIC Stomp" module's Boord of Education corner board.

Many mounting holes and slots may be used "10 add custom ro botlc eq ulpms-rt or off- the-shelf Porn II ax odd-ens. What reollv makes the iBoe-Bot unique is the BASIC Stamp mlcroccntrollers flexibllity of plrOgramming when coupled with breadboard circuit construction.

Following along in Robotics with the Boe-Bot. users quickly learn about embedded projects, from wiring and components. to proglramming and chanical de endencles,

The Boe-Bot robot tokes about 1-2 hours to put together, though each project in the text provides a unique new experience of wiring and source code tuning. Completing the entire set of projects takes 50 hours and is sultcble for anybody over 12 years of age. The Board of Education® (and #BS2-1C) may also be removed to be used as your platform for other projects.

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ec>e-Bc>r, BASIC SIClmp,(lM BO{lrd of ~ucallo~ ore re9~rerecl trademark; o! Par"I1",," Inc. Pm",I1"", end the Parulltlx I<>g<> me traclemm'" "I Pm"I1"", Inc.

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P'ocke t tool s. 1-1 and tool s. Swiss tool s. \1um pi iers , vlost tools are designed to fulfill one explicit function, so they have one name and a single efrici,ent form But multilools are different: they're compact. ~lilrlgey, clumsy, ungeinly: loldmg. pronged. crickety clackety

A rnultitool haunts It'-Ie body in d pocket or purse.

I ts game plen is to Stdy with you around the dock. ready for anything. Professionals' tools exist lor people who need to get a job done, vlul li tools are for people wrw card dsfine their jobs. anc1 who never stop tinkering

The original Sw~ss Army knife of 1891 was buillt to do lour deaf things in one package: it opened mWltdry canned toed. it punched holes iul mW tary horse harnesses. it unscrewed Swiss rmes, and it could cut Howeve r, Cli1ycme who can do four things wilth one gizmo naturally wants ilt to do eight things, or ten, or

a thousand. Outside the landlocked Swiss Army, the world market for multitools turned out to be huge, comprehensive. anel ever expanding Toddy, there are hund red s 0 f mod el s a f Swiss ,Army knives They shuf f~e their features like a Vegas d eal er shu ff~es cards,

vtultitools belong, by nature, to ingenious people in conditions of mayhem, where nothing is working right but everything needs doing right away That meens soldiers (of course), but also emergency workers rescue personnel, explorers, extreme spor ts freaks,

astronauts. survvalists anybody forced to rnake do,

VVrleul everybody's fmced to make do, then rnultitools appear all over the place,

The Leathermen pocket tool was invented by an American engineer wClrr1c1ering through Europe cmc1 lran. Tim Leatherman, harassed by broken renta~

cars and malodorous fmeigrr1 plumbing. created i:l

rn ullipronged super interface for a won! d of S \J AFU.

A Leatherrnsn offers a single handful that is pliers: a Wire cutter. knives. d saw. a file. scissors. screwdrivers:

et multiple cetera but it's not a mere set of irnple

merits. I l's a state of mind.

Once a l.eathesrnan is in the user's hand. it's veuy lilkel,y that the so called "screwdriver" willi become a chisel, or the stainless steel butt of the thilng wi~1 be

10M ultitools are' for people who can't define their jobs, and who never stop tin keri ng,"

used as an impromptu hammer. The specific design of the sub tools within a rnultitool is well ul~gh irrelevant vlultitools aren't buillt to solve specific pr oblerns: instead, they provoke ingenuity It's hard to give up

and despair with d l.eetherrnan, because the thing offers such a cornucopia of possible actions G~ven hrne and de term ination. you could escape jail with one. Or perform braiul surgery, Or construct an entire castaway geek desert island utopia like iul Ju~es \'erne's Mysterious Is/and

\ki~Utools are a postrnodern technology, They offer chances to refr arne the issue. to think outsirl e trle box, to red eline contexts, drll1 to do a rapid, cnappy fob at patcrliulg up a makeshift hack It's not the ulltirnate huth but it might last long enough lor the user to cash in quick and run awayi

'v1u~Utool$ lack punpose. Theine alii about repurpos irr1g other stu ff t~mt has lost or m~sp~acec1 ills purpose. or that has the wrong purpose at some critical time. or that has succumbed to Cl general disaster wrlere dill hurnen purpose has been crushed The original multi tools were super tough: they were created for would be ornni competent guys who were redl~y up agdinst

the wall. A Leatherman has a 25-year warranty Its p~ier jaws can soak up 600 pounds of crushing 'force The Swiss Army knife (SAK) outfit is a century-old model of socialist ~ifetime employment. The SAK

is not a military weapon, bu t a 'force for good ~n the world.like the Ped Cross.

H owever as it becomes obvious to people that

no real-~ife technology can ever <lctU<llly "work" rnultitools become the people's friend. A certain

pop decadence is setting in. Today. there are HarleyDavidson multitools that let bikers pretend to be real mechanics. Caterpillar mu~t~tools strut their stuf I~ke bu~ldozers_ The Gerber ProScout has a "camouflage 'finish." (Hey, what use is a tool you can't see?) The Fros t Cutlery D<lle Earnhard t #3 H midi-Mechanic couldn't stop the race car hero 'from meeting his own high-speed doom.The GerberTerminator III: Rise of the Machines rnultitool is a movie tie-in product: it's 'from a dystopic 'world where angry hardware kills 0 r-f the puny humans.

They're getting skinnier - with cred it-card sHpcases - and 'fatter. like the Leatherman Surge. that chromed SUV of rnul titoo~s. too big to to te handily bu t packing enough torque to crack a Swiss Army knife Hke a w<llnut. They're else adding on a host of extra twiddiy bits - no t just the removable SAK toothprdt but drill bits. screwdriver tips. chromed sockets. p~us the newfangled LED f'ashlights and f'ash memory p~ugs. They're appearing in flashy chrome yeHow.

and red. and hot pink. and with finger-friendly rubber

"Tim Leatherman, harassed by broken rental cars and malodorous foreign plumbing. created a multipronged super-i nterface for a world of SNAFU:'

in'ays. The rnuititool wars are a ml~1 soup o-f product profusion. 'from Vict orin ox. Leatherman. Ka-Bar, Kershaw. SOG. Gerber. Seber. and now the Chinese are getting in to the act, with a swarming host (if dirtcheap 'fakes and downmartet workalikesl Where can it end? [very one of these thngs is a mobile puddle of improvisation!

Then there's the d ark side: the rnischlef 'factor.

Since a multitool can do almost anything, it's !mpos-

sible to design a harmless one. The Transportation Safely Agency has been convinced by grim example that anyone can use small blades to make jets smash skyscrapers. Therefore. they arrest all multitools on sight. You can buy the detainees on eGay now. in heaps. offered ror resale by the government these ex trernely personal devices. the treasured dar~ings of pockets. packs. and purses. stroped away 'from their embarrassed owners and cynically sold of in buckets-fullThet's such a shame but ... wowl Six big Swiss Army knives 'for just six. bucks?' Imagine what you co-uld do with thatl

The more you 'fix. the more you get to fix.

BrLU(::e Sterling Cbruce@well.cDm) is a science fiction writer and part-time design professor.

M.ke: 27




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30 M<lko: Val urn " 04

Dean Kamen holds more th.m 150 patents o'n revolutionary inventio'ns

r :::mg mg from por table d ~a~ysis mach ines

to so ph IISti ca ted rn 0 b~ IHy d evices to hi ghl y efficient and compact Stirling engines In ad diti on to n urnero LI s ho rIO r MY degrees. Karn en

h es n ecejved su ch hen ors as the Lernel son \1111 Prize: Heinz AWdei. Kilby Award. and the \latiould \Aledal 0 f Technology A tireless ad vocate for scien ce and tech nol ogy edu ca lio n. Ka.rnen

fo Lind ed F I PST (For I nspir dt~on and Recogn ~ tion of Sc:ilence and Technology) to encourage kids to pursue careers as scientists and engineers. as well as to reset societal vd.u es so ttld t peopl e aspire to be thinkers and inven taus. "Our culture celebrates em e thing: spor ts hero es." he says. "YOLI tldve teen agers thin king they're going to

rn <Ike mil~i ons 2~S \l EA s tars W~len-l tha t's no t nedl istic for even one percent of thern. Becoming

a scientist or an engineer is.

Armed wHh d crack photographer and an

iPoei recorder running ilP'odLirluX (see MAKE 02. page 135). I met with Kamen at hb company in \Alanchester. \l.I-I .. and at ~l~S home in 8ec1fouc1.

\l H His company, DEKA Research and De\ie~op rnent Corp. (DEKA lrorn DE<~n KArnen) is lo cated in d sed es 0 f renova ted mill bu il dings 0 n the shore of the \..1errilrrldck R:iver. The buildings are simple and nondescript on the outside. reved~ing little abou t the kind of work that goes on inside Hie interior. by contrast. is dot corn office meets 'Aonster Carage. It is d casuel environment dClmned with to ols and technology testaments to PdSt and presen t in ventions an d d wi de v,,~r i ety 0 f exceptional ar lwork created by Kamerl's father. one of the legendary EC corrnc book

dr tis ts. Jack Kam en. After a few hours at DIE KA. we moved to his horne. called 'liVest VI/ind 5uilt

ar ound dn 87.000 pound steem engine once owned by Henry Ford, liVest V',lind is as much homage to innovetion as ~t is a Hving work space. o esigned and built by Karn en in 1997. \Nes t V!"iin d featu res multiple wo rksho ps. an ex tensive ~ibr ary: helicopter hangar. and d sufficient number 0 f interesting gadgets and gizmos to quallHy it as a sort of technology museum.

Dressed in his customary cotton work shirt and

Levi's. Kamen wasted ~iWe time in gethng things started: "You know how a slide rule works?" he asked without context or wdHling I sheepishly con lessed t~ldt I di L1 n't. "Sllilde r Lilies were d bit before my time," I said. Clearly dissatisfied w~th rnlY res ponse. Karn en spr dng from h is chair and Cluilckly located a six loo t slide rule ~yiflg against a wall in his office He then proceeded to show rne how to use this giant s!ide rule to per form <I~~ manner of calculations. simple end complex end frequeUlUy inserted commentary on the design elements that made the ei~lde rule wonk. K:lfnen WdS never condescending or mean spirited dur ing wh <It turned ClU t to be a 30 rnjnute u rlso~i c ilted exposi ti on on s~id e r ules Hi s expl an ati on had the en thus iasm th <It you helve ttl e firs t tim e you leClm something new and want to share it with others. lhough this was surely "m explana

li OUI he had given hund reel s o f times S u ffi ce it

to say lhat I now have a deep and unanticipated appreci dtkm 0 f sli de rul es.

\1.uch of t~le inteuvilew went this ,'lay. I carne ~n <I skeptic of the SegwelY I ~eft exploring financing options for the new CuOS5 country model. Can 21 Stirling engine rei:l~ly save the world? I came in

lh mking the fl otjon ri eli cui ous. \low I arn t~nker ing with Stirling engine models. One lhing is for certain: Kamen's unique mix of world saving idealism and inventive genius makes fon a very addicfive confection

it is said that £dison ,ernbraceden,!!ght,ened t(lal a.nd erro« t'O achleve the rnajor/tv ot his .breakl:hmughs. whe~eas his conl:ernporary N.iko.la Tesla l.vo.r:ked through ,eve.rythl;ng in his head before getting his nsnas di.rlyin t.he s.hop How w'oulet you cnsrsctertze your approach to irmovetion relative 1:0 Edison and Tes/a?

Unfortunately. I would put rnyse]f closer to the Edison end of the continuum: the tinkerer trle get your hands dirty and keep screwing w~th it

++ ++ +++ +++

Make: 3i


U ITl til you make It work SKi e. I am rn uch more In <!We of people like Gameo. \lewton. and Elnste~n than I am of the tinkerers who just kept working with the tools dnd technology of their cldy until ttl ey got some thing to work. I am jus t in i:!We 0 f those people. I wish I was one of them. bu t ~t's not ~n the cards So I work hard to succeed dt the o then end of the scale

This relal'es 1:0 what you caN "frog.kissing"in your research and cieveloprneni"?

Yes. EngiITleers are taught to t~lllrik and work in

d risk averse Wely: ~ers avoid making mistakes. let's only c10 what has been documented to work. let's pldy it safe "lNe~~ that's great. but it will never result in significant innovation .. So I try to get my team to tuy things that aren't Ilke~y to be success f u~ l.e .. to kiss a lo t 0 f frogs. The prmeess went out and took d chance. She kissed d lrog \1lost

of the time wh en you kiss d lrog. you end up wllth warts But every once lin a while. you kiss d frog and you get Cl prince or princess It is OK to get wdrts. I t ~s OK to f ail. You ~,~Ug~l dt it. I earn fro rn

it. and move on. And lh en. every on ce in d wh I~e. you'll kiss a frog and get an iBOT. or d Segway. or d d~at.;s~s machine And thats a big dea].

I unaerstenc: thai: someor your engineers .b1.:rat" you a l~efJUca of a C.hinese south-point.ingchariot as a gift:. \iJ!hat Is tne story .beh ind I"hal:?

Every year the peopl e at 0 EKA sene tly go 0 ff and buil d d spectacui ar ~lo~~clay gift lo n rne A.n (1 smee I ~ldve "In incredibly tCllented team of engineers dnd designers. and an extr eordinary machine shop that can litera~lly make c:nyth~ng. t~ley come up w~th some truly E:md,:ing things.

We~1. everyone at DEKA has heard rne talk moue than once about an ancient Chinese inven lion cdl~eci the SOLI th pointing charlo t. lrnagine you have a two wheeled char iot drawn by house Each wheel of the chariot b connected to d cWferentidi. both 0 f wh ich tum d centr al sha ft a veri dbl e am oun t as the ch <~n 10 t tur "15. A pom ter

is connected to the central shaft. HIe gears "ire con figu reel to tum the CNI tr d~ sha ft so tha t lh e pointer always ends up pOllnting t~le same ,Vdj as if you had gone stmig~lL So you couldlook elt the pointer an d puill yoursel f bdCk on co urse. It I s an

3.2 Ma ke: Volume M

In credible pi ece 0 f techn 01 ogy ~iter al~y an ami

log cornpu ter. d su mrning mach In e It is a greClt piece 0 f techn ojogy except for one thing: it 115

weH documented in rl~Stmy that the Chinese had knowledge of lodestone [iron] well before they weue building these chariots They knew that ~f

lh ey took a littl e piece 0 f lodestone and pu t It em d COnk in a bowl of water. it would ellwdyS float to th e same sid e 0 f the bowl, To Lid}'. "'Ie call this d compass. but they were building these huge~y complicated chariots to tell lhern which way they were gomg. rather than using something simple anc1 elegant like a corn pass. So when we evaluate possible 2ppmaches to a technical chellenge at DEKA.. the engineers eCidl have a pdssion to use their Clred of expertise to create d solution I'll

1.0 ok at these sol uti ClU1S and ask. "I l's grea t. but

I.S ~t a south poin ling chariot?" \1eaning: due we reveling m a particular technology that we ~ove. or did we nea.l~y dPp!Jy the best aV<1Ii1lable technol ogy to solve the real problem'

So one yea~. the gift that they made me WdS

a beautifully Grafted. stainless steel geared south pointing chariot. I pulled it around "mel

the pointer always pointed in the same direc lionIt was d marvel to watch. Then they told me. "Dean. go sq ueezs that littl e j ack ~n ttl e box on the pointer" I did, and out popped a doll of A~bert Ellnstein with a compass pinned to his chest.

An L1 they saki. "Dean. we Wi:lrl t you to kn ow that ,'Ie red~~y do listen to you. And though we ~ove technology. we uedHy do try to separate our love for the technology from the objective of bringing th e best So lu Uon to t~le problem. D EKA"s goal

IS not to build monuments to engineer ing Our goal is to bring the best dVdi~dble sojution to solve irnportant problems liVe Lise the Ilesson of the south pointing chariot to help us keep our perspective

South-pointing chariot built by DEKA engineers and given to Kamen as a Christmas present. It bears a placard that reads, "In Case You Ever lose YOUlr Sense of Direction. From the Technology Zealots of DEKA. Christmas, 1996."

+. + • ••• •••


The Segvvayis a /)eaul',ifu,! piece ofcteslgn anci engineering, no doubt'. Hmv,eve( 1;1' com,oet'es w,;i'I"l some p.r;etly sImple andefHden l' a./tenlatives. !.ike scooters, bicycles, and walking. Do you ever wonder if, wi1:h the Segway, you crested 8 .rnoden1-day south-pointing chariot?

I worry about this with every product we make 10 me, a south pointing chariot IS dUlY product trial. even when It wa';; f~rs t conceived was not the best solution to the problem. R:lght now. peopl e use cars fo" most 0 f th el" travel for any thing beyond a few hundred ydH_ls" \~Iost people that we know won' t ,vdlk one or two mil es to get

somewhere they just won't To walk d couple

of miles would take d half hour to an hour and we live In em era where tirne IS compressed and so valuable. Over 50% of the Car trips In lhe United Stdtes are less then three rniles The aver age speed within the city Ilulllts between any two points ,vHhln ttle 20 largest cities of the worhl is less than 9 mph Hlen why does everybody use his or her car to get around? BecaJu,;;e \;Va~klulg is less than 2 mph i

So what If you could give people If] cities an alltematlve to walking lor distances greater than 100 yards arul Iess than a few miles? People gen enally don't wa~k, because even In d congested city, wi:'Jklng IS lour times slower than taking

a cdb But, what ~f they could get on a Segway and cruise from start to finish at 8 mph)lhdt's the same speed at which d taxi trdvel,;;, And, It's cost effective, energy efficient. environrnentally fflendlly, and fun In tllghly dense urbanized areas whene buses and cars do not work well ttley have milly been used to fill the gdp for I ark 0 f a good dlltemdtlve H'-Ie Segwioi}' shines l would argue that a car: wtleul used If] the City, ~s m fact

a sou ttl pointing ch ar iot If d be tter solu U on

corn es along ~n the nex t 20 years to dde! ness

the n apid V worsen ing ~n ner city tr anspor ta lion problem. th en the Sepvay rnay become a sou ttl po In ling chariot. Bu t so far. I have not seen dI better SO~U lion

So \t..:hat about' a .bicycle? It is cheap, ~'eliab/e, and inexpensive.

A. bllcyc~e cannot mix effectively In a congested pedestrian environment. It can't move at wdlklng

34 Mi'ike:Valur""OJ

speeds witrl humans. then stop, bdck up, and spin around. I th in k bicyc~es are \;','0 nder f ul. And there are hun dreds 0 f millions 0 f lhern ou t there. I don't think lhat they compete with the SegwdY because whll,e they have many 8Jllvantdges at higher speeds and longer distances, they are poor at low speeds ~nvol\lling lots of stops and Ugh t tur ns. By co n tr ast, i:l Seg,vdY is des~gned

to use the same ~n fn as tructure Hid t pedestr I clUl S use, occupy the sarne foo tprint as a pedestrian. be hlght-l flexlb~e, mobile, and safe. while increas ing th e use" 's tn ansportation effilci ency 300 400% I think that's pretty tsr rific

TheAutoSyringe. Segway; ,iBOr. Stirling generatnr - aI/ of tJ"lese products a.ctct,·;es..sed nuances of problerns l:hal:nobodyelse :seetned 1'0 recognl;ze. For ,example, l:he iBOTenables 1:h,e wheelchairbound to intersc: wlth people a1: ,eye level, ;traverse stairs and unev,en j:,errain, and ,be renwtely operated so that its owner can navigate it ,into a vehicle, HOI-V do you attaIn such a deep understanding.of the pmblems yOLI seek to solve?

I try to und ers tand the basi c laws D f na tu reo Beyond this. I do very little r esezrch as to INhi:lt the product srlOukl be. You would never get

the IbOT by d oing research 0 n wheel chairs If you do "produ ct reseerch" the pro duct Hid t

you end up \VHrl will be similar to what already exists .. For example.if you went out to people who make wheelchair s and said. "I \.vant to

make lh e nex t great Improvement," they WCl ul d typlcClllV conduct focus groups with people who use wheelchairs ,And these wheelchan users: oper etjng wlthlln the context of their existing wheelchairs might disk for things Illke d new cup holder. They SdW a great cup holder In a rniniven. and real! Led tha t lheir wheelchair di dn 't h dve one. So they ask for a cup holden, or some other incremental impr overnent. You hdve to start with

Kamen twiddles an oscilloscope in his home electronics 'Worksh op,

+. + • ••• •••


, "lf I could-ask God for one, •

~ thing, I would ask for- :

~ assurance, tlhat a problem .t~

· . is solvable given existing ".'

· teclhnology, t8ols,·:

aril~ I esou rces.'

"I try to understand the basic laws of nature. Beyond this, I do very little research as to what a product slhould be.'


36 Ma ke: Val~me {)4

basic q uestion 5: if thi s person is now rni ssing thlls amount of functi,ondl~ty, is tr-lere some aiteunative to d wheekhc::ir that is both dramatically better dnd not prohibited by the ~C:lWs of physics dnd the current state 0 f eflg~neeriulg and technology?

Focusing on the probl em in this fund drnentd~ WdY alloweelus to understand trial wheelchem users need to have the same small footprint on the ground as you d[](_i I so they Cdul uM'.Iigdte around areas and obs tades cIS we d o HI ey need to have their eyes and hands at the same level as d s tand ing person, so th ey can see over counters and get things down lrorn shelves They need to be able to get water out of d faucet And so on. In order to achi,eve any of these things, \Ne looked at how fuHy lunctiorung humans do ~t They cia it by being dymrnkaHy stdble by constan t!y adjust ing themselves to rnlClllrltairl balance. 8d~ance rs d prerequisite condition to living in a wor ld that is &chiltected by people who walk around balanc ing themselves So \Ne decided to fonget about wheelchairs and focus on the real problem. The

real problem isn't locomotion wheels solve

that problem line. Hie real problem is ttldt these people lost their abiliity to "nove around wtlille also physically elevating themselves within a small footprint. which requires dynamic stability Solving this problem would dramatic<llly improve the~r lives

Rumor has i1' 1:hai' you don '1: sleep rmxh. What keeps you liP at nigh I:?

\J ot knowing H a problem is solvable I f I could ask God fon one ttlilng, it wouldn't be lor a solu

tim] to a p<lrtkul<::r problem tha t wO ul d make

IHe boning I would dsk fon dssurcJr]ce that d problem is solvable given existing technology. too Is, an d resou rces I don 't Weln t answers or

DEKA is home to many Stirling engine prototypes. Here, IKamen is discussing the issue of the size-to-energy-density problem common to Stirlings, and how this model makes significant inroads to overcome this problem.

clues, just assurance that a p~oblern 1.$ solvable.

I f I go to bed lrustr a ted, it i sn' t because I did n t solve a pmb~em: its that I don't know whether

\Ne are d'I<lS~llg some windmill Over the horizon

on whe th er we are lear ning an L1 making real progress. I get emotionally stuck between two con flicting lines 0 f thought: (lJ I sh ouldn' t give up al t~]~S G ~v ing up is for peo pi e wi th no cou rage, no vision. end no convi c tin n Yo LI don't give Lip

em an irnpor tan t pnob~ern ever: and (2J I rl:::lve

failed anel failed and fdilecl. An-III just being stub bor n? Stu pi d? People are tired ,lUI d fru str ated 'liVe cion 't seem to be makmg progress Am I just no t quitting because I am in deni el?

Then I think back on pc:st projects where \Ne were very close to quitting bu t \; .. e wen t just d lit tie further and had a Dne:d-;thwugrl It re,llly gives rne d chil~ to thmk how close we were to quitting an d what would have been los t. And th en 0 th er times, we'd spend a year Or two, spend a million dollers, and fail to solve a problem I'd think to rnysel f, "I sho ulld tlave qui t over a yean ClgO. I knew over a year Olga that this wou ld n't work Look O1t

lh e hu man rrusery dnLi dnx~e ty :::m d en ergy we pu t In to this to just shut II t d own. \fi./e could rl ave sri u t ilt clown over a yean ago."

An unexpected success 8Jrter you are that close to quitting redl~y rnekes it hare! to quit anything else. It's like trying to disprove the existence

of aliens You can't So how caul you prove to yourself Hldl you can't do something? f.specld[~y because 0 nee lui eft wh~I,e, on e thd t yo u d Kin' t

lh ink you coul d do. you d 0 i It's that" once m

a while" event that distorts your judgment and perspective so then you rectlly start to second guess your sel f For eXdrnple, we are working on d system to bning potable wdter to 20% of the popul atl on 0 f this pi anet. For 60 years, huge

in tern ali on al organi Ld ti ems such as the \Norl d Ban k ,lUI d the U ru ted \j a tio ns have tr ied and failed at this. Yet. I think a few people rle,e at DEKA Can solve ~t_ Part of me thinks: "You're

nu ts I" Bu t dnO ttl er par t 0 f me thinks, "You Cdn cia this Hie world needs this. Be courageous."

H Read rno~e of VVi/Ham Lid we II's interview wit'h Dean Kamen at makezine.com/04/ini'ervie'Vif,

*+ +*


*+ +*

M~"": 37

+H H' I ti E" +H E

I, .& ~ ~ ~' , - ~ ~'- ~' ~'~ ~ - - * ,- -.& ~ F - - - '

"'Ii" II I "'Ii"

", '." Mt'

-'....+'::,: ':', +~*'I

By Tim Ancersori


I recen try took my camera on a trip to the coast or China near Taiwan, Quanzhou weo, described in glowing terms by \Aarco Polo.

I twas th e terrninu s 0 r the .. \~a"itirn e S ilk Road" 0 f lrad e between Far and Near Eas t.

The fishing junks I saw in the walled harbor of

C hongwuwere similar to a reco ns lructio n 0 f <: 1200 year 01 d ship un earthed near trl e 'vlari t[me museum ~ sculpted eyes at the bow to see theway, water

tigrlt bulkheads.wings at the stem, kick up rudder, transom bow an d stern. Sorn e h ave a socket to step lh e mast for sailing, but small gasolin e engines n (IW power most of these boats.

Besides their obvious beauty, these boats impressed me witrl how smoothly they cut through thewaves and th good speed they achtevedwlth their little 6hp .. \,11 ao" engines, I saw one sailing into a sharp chop and the sail was very still. which is d s~gn o f 2i good sailing design.

Many 0 f the beats I carne across were at war with worms. Gribble and Teredo, the boring worms. feast on wooden beats mwarm water VValled harbors <'lre built into the mouths or rivers. Freshwat r lrorn the river kills the worms, W~l~Crl are saltwater creatures, Th ese boats are careen ed (left higtl and dry) with

38 M"k~: VoIurrla 04

every tide. The drying and oxygen that en tars t"-le planking kills theworms. too, The tung oil and lime mixture is lmpervious to worm larvae.

Paint doesn't appear to adhere well to these boats. Possib~y they are soaked with an oily vermi toxic compound prior to painting. or possibly they are mad e 0 f t ropical had wo ods co nt aining oils naturally toxic to the worms

\j(_"t'd c bo..l did <:11 you .... ''=' gulls conduil did slyr o rUdll) Just wei d a boat shaped condu it cage around )/OUf foam and head out to sea.

No boat built of temperate species can survive in tro pical seas with out a coating of antifouling (toxic} paint. hence the custom of every wooden boat being the same green color below the waterline.

Bamboo scaffolding lash lngs are made with a seemingly weak plastic fibrous material. One shan d is easily torn off with a thumbn ail. but a few tu rns of i1 are apparently plenty strong.



A'l II ibe evab e 8'1 ounl or CU T"l'lIC I U 1 ~ue::, U 1

'1 C 1 'k (right') The scarrDld~ng is lashed bamboo. 'iNay up in th air on two bamboo ladd rs tied endto-end, 21 rnanweloswith one rland, rlanging on with the other (far (igl1l:).

Co 1::' l 'liC I 0 1 wwke'::, wee' I:; 2:'111:;00 w eke' lG'd

1 e.l 0; ke I 1 0; They cos t abou t 80 cents an dare surprisingly sturdy. Probably fine to stop a rl'lUing wrench .. Motorcyclists also wec~r them, but they lack padding at the back of the head.

401 Mnku. Valurroe~




81 cycl e SI J ecar rI ckshaws C& ry rn aler 1,,11 S and people acros s town (above) There's no ~imit to what one of these can carry - a load of ~ogs or granite blocks, or a dozen school kids. The cargo capacity of these ricksha .... s exceeds any I've seen in the world. I saw one bike with a small motorcycle engine under the sidecar. It used an IV bag to drip

water on the motor to keep it cool going IUphill on

.Inderside or another motorized nckshaw showing a hot day.

r r <lrll e s lr uclu re and power lr "In srru SSI on (above) Some times a motorcyclist will put out his too t to

This one has an air in take hose going to' a larger give one a power assist up a hill.

air 'filter canister. A layer ot shoe 'foam lnsu ~a tlon

makes a load of ice blocks last longer.


+ SHOE rOAM n.OAiIi"S +

H <~I r the wor I d 's runru ng shoes <~re m <~de m llu S province (left) This dinghy is made from shoe foam. I saw people carrying these bundtes of foam blocks on their bicycles and didn't realize they were dinghies. This man paddled to shore from his boat uslng pieces of plastic f~otsam as paddles. He bobbed up and down on the waves as they smashed against the seawall and then climbed up with help 'from his wife.

Tim Andersen, founderof Z Gorp .. has a. horne at stllff.rnit. edu/peopleJnJboUhome. 1111111. Wliellilot ice-kits-butt-board-

i 11£ ina rooster-crested motorcycle helmet, hecan be found .~II over theworld using and documsrfirg heirloom technologies.

M",I<s: 41



Be'~ng a pol itica id iot has its acvantages.

By JasminaTesanovic

BdCk In 1999. while my hometown 0 f Belgrade was being blown up by 19 different countries. I was writing and uploading a diary One clay, a producer from German national Tv phoned me She'd been uei:lJCi~ng my online jour nal (DL~ry ot a PoliNcai Idiot) anLi thought ~t might rn ake a good f~lrn.

Unfortunately. since her country was so busy bombing rnine she couldn't give me dny practical help. However. she thought that If my mm somehow got made, she could promote and distribute it. and show it at lilrn festivals

Immediately. I said yes: VV-hat a great occasion to make d medul~ngfLiI European art flilm. wilhou t ttl ose tiresorn e co rnrnercial res tri cti on s. backers. pro d ucers and 0 ther dr tistic br akes th <it every true cineaste fearsl

First: I found a Cameraman who had somehow survived Bosnia w~t~l his equiprnen t intact He was a Serbian C\j\j stringer, which was perfect SIITIce everyone In 1999 thought that wars could only be won by and /or through C \j \J.

Because everything around me WdS d "military secre l" unci en th e 'Allosevic regirn e. I hcJCI no "r igh f' to shoot a rlilm cit aliI. So I declared my own me to be the intellectual property of the world famous Bell gri:K1e cinema archive. Once the anchlvllsts had gllven me t~le alii irnpor tan t movie per mit. the mliHtan y

42 Make: Volume 04

authority was even obliged to help me shoot (for example. while the river bridges QUI the Danube were being blown to pieces).

Soon a new, dai~y problem emerged: get

t~ng e~ectdcal power \jA.IO efficiently bombed t~l e power pi an ts ClUI d regul ar basis so we ran from one power plant coverage area to arto ther. Conveniently the \JATO bombing schedules were r egul ady publish eel by C \j \j.

Local volun teerlciUzen vol tage hackers soon ledrnec1 how to climb broken power poles elnd reconnect the wiring. and we learned how to follow them drld pi ug In OLl" eq uiprnen t This mean t tha t my nln""n's plot and scenery were strjclly associated With dvaHdb~e wattage.

V1Ios t 0 f the mrn's ex tr as were ho bos. d ereli cts. and animals. because nobody else wanted to show up ever y cI a::l for a pro] ec t tha t rrllig rl t well ~l ave no tcrnorrow.

After 19 days of hectic shooting. our Germ.dfl sponsor IrnpaUeult~y asked for d linal edit. con

cer ned that the Wdr might end at drlY moment and we would lose our target audience Ofl German TV. So we had to make do With the editing. too A. 1.0 cal Anc1yVVmrlo~ fan vofunteered lor the job. His film studio had been heaVily damaged by a famous missile "aiel on the Serbian mtional rv building

but he'd managed to turn some serni-functional machinery into a prjvate s ludic O'f his own. lhe 'film's editing was patchy, but at least the price was right

W~th a completed film. we now had the finai hurdle: smuggling the product through the military and border cus toms in to an en erny WIU ntry,

Two blond es in miniskirts. with two underage !-ii d s, jumped into a car 'flU~1 of Walt Disney cartoons. They pretended to be headlng to Budapest for a "visa arrangemen t," On e 0 f the lDisn ey films was my diary 'film. Th e cu sterns 0 fficers were too lazy to screen a whole bunch ot kids' cartoons,

So my 'film an d I en ded up at th e Veni ce 'mm festival together with Antonio Banderas. Melan~e Griffith. i\Jicole Kidman. and Tom Cruise.

Eventually. my film. dubbed into German and titled Jasmina's Diary. was shown to L5 million TVwatching Germans, It still airs. every once in a while. in various corners of the world.

In 1999 Granta 61puh/ished an excerpt of Tesanov.ic:S The Diary of a Ptlliticalldiot )Iou can read.it online at }!ranta.com/extracts/494

Jasmina Tesanovic is a wrirenm:i fi!mmakerfrom Belgrade, -Serbia.

Jasmina Tesanevie's online journal, Diary ofa PoJi!irn! Idiot, became th e basis ,o~ an auteblographical ,doGumelilllary anda book, published by Cleis Pr,ess ilill.2nOO.

M,kB: 43

The Perfect Gift for Makers, Aspiring Makers, and Those Who, l.ove Them

+ ••• • •• • +

A beau t~tu I h ard boun d book eel sbra ti ng ttle creativity and resourcstulnes s ottne DIY movement. Author Bob Parks and the editors of MAKE profile 100 peop~e and ttlejr homebrew projects-people who make ingen ious things in their backyards. basements, and garages.

Technologies old and new, used in service otthe serious and the amusing, the practicai and the outrageous. Makers: explores both t'tle inventions and ttle characters behind them in living color. Retail price: $24.95.


makezirlle.,comima ~ers



A tribute to the man who gave us so many good vi braf oris.

8yJ~mmy Guterman

I'r you knew Bob Moog, chances are you strll associate him with the synthesizers that bear

his name (which, by the way, rhymes with "vogue"). He started experimenting with his landmark electronic-music instrument while at a Columbia-Princeton joint program. By 1963. he had developed a machine that could be played in real time. and by the late 60s, he'd developed enough

of a 'foHowing among musicians that hls synthesizer was being featured on hit albums

by everyone from the Monkees to Wendy Carlos.

Those early ana~og synthesizers were modular. controlled by an almost infinite variation of patch-cord combinations. but the devices went mainstream in 1971 with the introduction of the Minimoog. The devi ce's leap in ease and func tlonaf Iy made new sounds and possibilities avai~ab~e to nongearheads. That's when art rockers became Moog's most re~iable and populerizjng clients. 'folks ~ike Rick Wakeman of Yes and Keith Emerson of Emerson. lake & Palmer It's a period well documented in the delighttul short film, Moog.

Moog's synthesizers led to an explosion ot the

i mag in ation an d were stut fed wit h DIY ad d -on opportunities. Unfortunately. much oif the most popular music produced with synthesizers was more interesting technically than musically. As someone who has written books about Jerry Lee lewis, the Sex Pistols. and Bruce Springsteen, I'm not the sort of guy who adores the tlatulent art rock tha t made th e Moog synth es izer tarn ous. Bu t b~aming Bob Moog for the not-so-great music made on his great invention is like blaming Jimi Hendrix 'for Yng wie Maims teen. You can't control wh 0 wi~1 be influenced by your genius work And. to be fair. Beck and others have made stellar records with Moog synthesizers at the center.

In recen t years, Moog circled back to his first love,

RIP Bob Moog. 1934-.2005. The electronic music pioneer died in August of a brain tumor a t age 71.

the theremin, the only instrument that makes music out of th in air. I've been a semi-com petent lherernin playertor several years now. so it's been a treat to see the most famous maker oif therernins this side oif Leon Therernln return to hls inventing roots. The therernin's rna st tamou s con tribu tion to. pop rnu sic is in the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations:'

Moog bum therernins for fun. going back to the Truman administration. After describing how to build one in Electmnic World. ~le returned to manutacturing and selling kits and fully made theremlns in the 90s; even th e fu [Iy constructed mod els come with notes on how to "ho trod" your therernin. soldering iron in hand. showing that Moog's DIY ethic was still with him. As he met his fimll challenge.

I suspect it served him well.

Ji rnmy GLUterl"ncul\gLUiermarLcom) is thssdltor-i n-chlst ·of Fortes lie r rnagaz i lie. IH i s most recent boo k is RUI1aw<'Iy AmeriCan Dream_

M."": 45


I) I ,., I I f I II I~I~ UI




Ca,l,llll1e crazy, but just don't calrne mad .. BySauIGrif!il~l

This month. lve been ranting to everyone I know abou t Uk ter rn "rn ael sci eul tis t," I d on' t like it. I fee~ like it is used to hivicdiLe logicdt rdtklUldl thought and to undermine scientiJfic results and the won der ful pursuits cane fully adding to the sum total of h u rna n kno wlleclge.

\~Iy fdends te!~ me that I might be a mUe overboard on thi s one, anel that "mad sci en tis t" is a p~ayful sa tife or fictioUldlstereotype They then argue that uatrler ttl an d cam paign dgainst ttl e use 0 f "rn &1 sci entist" I should encourage its reclamation in the same INay t he gay co rnrnun i ty has, eel aim eel "q ueer " as a pos ilive term.

"PIClyfull scientist.' I say, woukl be a term welill wor th neddirning, bu t "rnad" is a ten rible adjective iul &1 era where conservatives seem to be making gro und in unci errnin iulg su ch things as edu cation on the theory of evojuhon I blarne comic books. \J 0 wailt a second I blame g rea t men ature like S he!~ey's :F(8nkenst,ein or 'vi dr lowe's Dr Faustus

Perhaps I should blame myself. I kjtesur! lts Ci

f an tastic sport: kind 0 f like waterskiing behind d jumbo jet. as I'm wont to say. Pre 2001. it was the domain of cr anks and lunatics who experimented with the irnrna lure equiprnen t 0 f a new spor t. (lhe,e. you see: I just used the words "CnE!UlkS andlunat~cs"

but neally. I meant it affedioncltely) Prior to the

h ighlly cornrner ci alizec1 ind us try that kitesur ring is toddy. anyone who dld ilt had to bui~cllmodifyAepain the equipment I twas wonderful: you were d~ways

46 Make: Volume 04

happy to see another "freak" at the beach tryilng to jerry rig something safer or faster Of bigger Hlarl the IdS t thing lhey tried. It WdS great communi ty_

Th en t he mad scien lists D f l he eady days were replaced wilh adrenaline junkies who consumed U'l e corn rnerci ell gear and th ought th Ci t any th mg

"S I I II "_JJ

- no" nf Ir ( 1- Q u/OII"'"nos

... __ " U\.I\, _ yy_ I uu_ ..

- the "1 II IC ,..,nrl ",.,Ic

\, _ ~ \.I ~ w \,;n I \.I ~ \,;11 w

\A, 11 n h oil" 0 \I 0 r 11 n r

YY U U _I _ v_\, \,;1 \,

having fun is the goal and hccklnq stuff is

the c~ I refire nonllro \, _ w\.ll _ I _ I U\.I\,_

.. "

rn n 111"'\ /n nn \, _ I I I V .... 11 I \,;1.

noncommercial WdS tantamount to heresy The crew of j okesters I sud with were viii fled at the be a ch by people who arrived in shiny SU\fs with brand name stickers on everything they owned. "That WOUl't work:' "That's too dangerous."] gave up on giving them my rant on why basic hydrodynamics showed that the filns on theilr shiny boards they thought were giving thern lift were real~y just giving trlern elrdg. I stopped

explaining tha t a rectangle 0 f $10 plywood wou Id be more ettectlve than their $500 carbon fiber. advanced. PCB-rmpregnated dolphin killer.

So now I go to the less popular beaches and seek out the werdoes - the guys and gals who believe that having fun is the goal and hacking s luf is the surefire rou te to nirvana. Failing is fun. after a[1. Try sornethlng new. and even i'f it doesn't work. it's likely to be hllarlou s, I was reminded of this jlUS t yesterd ay when I met two new 'freaks. One had a parr of sunglasses with only one lens. Unperturbed. he iust keptgoing.look1ng like a one-eyed pirate arrfdst the E21Jst 8ay'fog.

His trien d 'farms e8ay for u sed sports st utf to modify into wind-powered car-park dragsters, and we had an excited discussion lnvolving theobvious link between jet boats. wind-slUrfing sails. paragtld lng Ii ft1ng winch es, an d wha t we shou Id do nex t weeken d. I cou Id tell he was my kind of 'freak because he'd recently sold his Porsche in favor of a VW transporter with a pop-top roof conversion and retrofitted water cooling. "I t's way more fun than the Po rsche, and it said The best thing about meeting thewelrdoes is that the conversation works to communicate rn'formation 'first NDAs la ter, if ever. I t's a~1 abou t sharing each other's excitement and experience.

There I go again. guilty as charged. characterizing myself and my glorious peers as eccentrics, cranks, werrdoes .,. "mad scientists."

So let's go 'with "playful scientis ts" ins tead, INhere do you 'find them'? Bumtng Man is an obvious repository. blU t there are even ls every weekend po pulated by the sort of people you want to know. Oshkosh's yearly AirVen ture has all the hornebutlt airplane nerds that you could ever want to' meet. Keep your eye out 'for bicycle and car swap meets and carnivals - always a rich source. Try ernail1ng or calling people who built some cool thing tha t you found on the web. Odds are that they want you to come over and rnee t them: that's why they put it upon the web. A few weeks ago. I learned an enormous amoun t by visiting the A~ameda workshop 0 f a custom bike frame blUrlder. I've never seen so many handrnad e jigs and working Bridgeports in such a small space. I guess I'm coming around to the opinion that it's time 'for everyone to come ou tof the closet and celebre te being play ful scientists. We may be crazy. but we are not mad.

S,aul Griffith thinks about open source hardware while working with the power-nerds at Squid tabs [sguid-I abs.corn).

M.ke: 47



If you've ever wanted to try making a video game, here's your chance, 8yA!ex Handy

For an engineer. designing consumer electronics is a nerve-wracking endeavor. Years of preparation and research are requ ired to crea te and manufacture new equipment. and nowhere is this more evident than in the video game market. Zero hour for the EE nlnjas of the video game world ~s looming on the horizon. as Microsoft Sony. and Nintenc:io prepare to launch next-generation gaming hardware for the 2005 Christmas season.

Independent video game hardware designers are a dying breed. however. The th ree big game companies have something of a monopoly on the talent in this limited pool. as evidenced by the relative~y small market proliferation of fresh video.garne hardware. This ~s primarily due to the fact that almost all video game-oriented edu cational institu tions tocu s exclusive~y on the software an d art sid e 0 f th e industry.

Andre LaMoth e wants to change all that. At 37.

LaMothe is fond of griping about the kids today: they can't read binary. they never finish what they start. and they constantly bitch about the quality of games tha t they could never h ope to crea te th emselves,

"" What these guys do today:" he grumbles, "rnos t 0 f them shouldn't even be camng themselves programmers. They write scripts. The APls do everything for them so th ey never need to learn the hardware."

W~th around 15 books under his belt and hundreds of games published. thanks to his know-how. LaMothe"s earned the right to complain. He often receives email from aspiring designers who"ve read

48 Make: ValurneM

his books and want to make the next Halo, LaMothe replies to everyone of these inquiries with the same command: ""I tell them to make Pong. If you can make and finish Pong, you can make a real game."

lrouble is. most of them can't.

LaMothe has something of a reputation within

th e games lnd us try as th e Yod a of game design. He doesn't work at Electronic Arts or publish mrliiondo ~~ar titles. but he does encourage and teach the nex t generation of prodigies, and those that prove themselves will be rewarded. Do or do not - there is no try.

Yoda carries a staff: LaMothe wrelds the XGameStation (XGS). a 3;200 video game console kit (xgarnestatmncom). With all those billions of dollars and trillions of yen wrapped up in new console launches. it would seem that anyone else trying to se~1 gaming hardware would be do orned to failure

- especially ~f your console has on~y 128KB of RAM and an 80 million ins tructlen soper-second processor. But then. there's a lot about the XGS that doesn't quite m with traditional console design wisc:iom.

lhe XGS ~s not made for playing games so much as it is for making games. The simple demos included with the console. such cIS Pac-Man, Tetris. and a basic racing game. are offered up not for entertainment, but for hacking. Indeed. the XGS manual. written by LaMothe's apprentice A~ex varanese, has a section that explains how to easily modify these demos and games. varanese also wrote a number

The XG,ameS~afioI1ITIeatures a readablecircult board and basic garnesfor h acking pu rposas.

Muke: 49


of XGS programs. including the newly created tilebased graphics engine that allows developers to. create platform games in the vein of the old Nintendo Entertainment System. W~th a light touch. XGS users can change the blacks in letris into smiley faces. or modify the background of the Pole Position clone to

then swapped back and forth. creating the illusion of simultaneous existence. This is why some old games. especially an the Atari and NES consoles. seem to flicker when a lot a f actio n is going on.

Obv lou s~y. this sor t 0. f workaro un d i sn' t used much a nyrnore, but i rnple men ting in terlacing in a

video game is still a terrific way to learn how to. interact directly with the video generator an a piece of hardware. lhis is a trick you'll have to team wh ile programming the XG S_

To the uninitiated, theXGS looks jus t like any ather circuit board. But to the trained eye. there are dlstlnct fea tures tha t stand o.U t upon first

U-I-I )(~S""" I ,..'

'9 . u, IS noe ITIC\.l9 TOr

1"'\ I ,.,. ."11"'\'" ,., ,., 1",1'IIc:a S S " I T\. ." I, 1-'1 ""I~ I I~ ~""I II"".. .. V II\.Iv

("II S... I" r I" S.... T'" r"'\ IT\ ,., 1'"1 r"\'" ,., ,., IT\ 0 S n

". \. VI 11""1 '- I I~ ~""I II"" "" "

!ook like a cityscape. Bath of these simple hacks are explained in the XGS manual -LaMothe and Varanese know that the easiest way toget into prograrnrni ng is to rna di fy pre-exis ting co d e_

"\Illhen I had Alex write the manual. I gave him

t he old do csto r th e Apple cornpu ters that Steve Wozniak wrote. I handed those to him and said. 'Write it like this:" says LaMothe.

l.aMothe longs for those distan t days. when electrical engineering and programming were sign ifican tly closer d isciplines - th e lone programmer creating his or her own vision with perfect clarity and dedication. The XGS software scene is homegrown and almost exclusively staffed by one-man dev teams. New hacks. games. and demos appear every day on www our ye [] et an d all of them are labors o.f love. Each one is a solution to the problems designers encounter while using the XGS_ Each new game created is a triumph over th e hard ware's limltatlons.

And this is exactly what LaMothe wants. The XGS was specifically designed with these limitations in mind: what it can't do is more important than what it can. As such. developers must rediscover the tricks o.f the trade used by their predecessors,

Take lnterlacing, for example. Many moons ago. if a game designer wanted to draw more than two moving objects on screen at once. interlacing was the on~y way to get it done.

Every time the screen displays a moving image. it's really putting up many single motionless images. each on e swapped aut qu ickly for th e nex r, like a tllpbook. The human eye can't really di s lingu ish between each oif these still frames_ Using interlacing requires drawing Pang paddle one and Pang paddle two rn one frame. then drawing the ball and score on the next frame. These twa divergent frames are

50 Make: ValurneM

glan ceo fo r starters. yo u can read it. Mos t mad ern circuit boards are a snarled mess of mysterious inputs. illegible 2-pointfont. and unlebeled pln outs. But the XGameStation's various bits are labeled well enough that even a newble can differentiate between the video processor and the sound filters.

Pop open your Xbox and try to find where the board processes sound - you'll need a magnifying glass and an engineering schematic. As a hackable platform. Microsoft's game console is impenetrable to all but the savviest hackers. but the XGS begs to be rewired. did died wi th . and mod ifled_

The XGameS tation requires the sort of programming that just about anybody can !earn with a liWe time and effort. Your humble au thor. for example. has only a rudimentary knowledge of both BASIC and 8085 assembly ~anguage - yet within a few minutes. ten years of brain rot vanished as vague memories of if-then loops began to return to the fmntallobes_

LaMothe and varanese have created compilers for many different programming languages. and even th e hu rnble BAS I C is us abl e here. No mat ter wha t you remember from you r heady an d youthfu I days at computer camp. you "II likely find a way to app~y it to design on the XGS_

While there's absclutely no chance of the XGS replacing yo Ur Xbox. it cou Id quickly take a beloved position on your workbench. next to the unfinished birdhouse and the old Apple II you've kept since you r ch ildh cod. I f you really wan t to get in to game design. there's no better W"IY to gain ato undation of knowledge for the endeavor than by diving headlong into the XGameStation_

Alex. Handy isa purple-haired newlyv..ed whocan't put bricks to SiMp by looki I1ga.t them, He live-s at~


:)4 Make: Volume 04

-rl-IE "VOI~LD'S

Play and dlg~tlze your LP' cclIcctor with this rctrornodcm wonder macine.

By tvlisler Jalopy

Aften "leans of garage sales. I have amassed a trea sure trove 0 f scr atdw 78 R F\~ records OUI obscure regilclrldlldbels by even more obscure artists. vtost will never make it to d commercial CD. as the market is restricted to a few like minded kooks that don't like to I eClVe the hou se. And Ule old Urney s lu rr that has rn ade ilt on to CD has been scrubbed and optimized to remove the pops, skips. scr atches, arid other aud ito ry loibl es.

Bu t what if YDU like those de fects) Aren't those pops arid scratches part of the fun-I of listening to an origjnal pressing of Duke Ellin-Igton's '''-.Aooe! In eI ~go "? An d So rt Cell's" \j on S to p Ero U c Cabaret" Or AC/DC's "For Those About to Rock" sounds exacUy dS you remernbered when you rledr H in the correct order with t~le scrdtchy pauses between tracks A whole 99 cents for d s~ngle ilunes lr ack? Forget itl

.A well s pen t gar age sal e q uar ten w ill buy an entire dlburn of Dirklrl V\.ldsrl~ngtoUl, Three Dog \jight. Dr DevD.

Of course. there are significant downsides to vinyl records. The endless flippin-Ig of the album. the steady sound degradation with every pllay. and the spClce required for record coHecUons are all legend ary_ So, with the ever present bar ndpkin,l started L1 esign ~ng my dream rnachin e It had to be able to digitize <:iny input mono or stereo .. It should have a radio, preferably with time shif] recording like a Tivo: sho uld sync to my ilFo d. have a d ecen t turntable, and a big hard drive Anel ~t shouldn't be ernban assingjy ugly

Yo u Can rest assured tha t you word get mugged

c2lHying this behemoth on a subwdY build the

world's biggest \!1P3 player I

Amass the Components Ninja Garage Sale Style


Make: 55



It almost always makes sense to break individual components from theu or(g~nal housings Every thing just gets so much smaller.

Install the lumtabl.e

\1ake d cardboard template and use a coping SdW to tdrn the turntable wood top to fit

II Install the IUllIer

HI e tuner should be ~l dil dy, so I d eel ded front and center would be perfect. I removed the wooel speaker grill and lr imrned the verticals to clear the tuner Th en. I add ed a new h orizon tal wood crossbar.

II Replace the Speaker Grilill

Hie original l?" speaker was ~ong gone. dild replace rnent rnultirange 12" speakers dre no longer avail able A. 55 SOrr1Y bookshelf speaker is sitting on top of ttl e tuner behiln"lci th at f aurilc

II Use the Chassis

A tter rem ovilng end less capacitms and tubes. th e odgiml chassis is lhe pedect p~dtfmm for your new rnod ded rn achine. AI~ t~l e con nectmg hardware is there. everything lines up. and it is constructed to Ilast until the next ilce age. The \~Iac rnini is hek1 in with hmdwme 5 to re Vekro ear th qu ake str aps.

II Liberate the Screen

Like the turntable. the LC D panel is consider aD~y moue svelte when you free it from its pldstic case. Don' t te~~ anyone. bu t to reu se the R F sh i el d mg.

I just sn"nearec1 sorne silicone adhesive to secure it

III Mournt the LC[)

Hie rnonitor is screwed rigrl t to th e tum table Ii Lt. To find the co rrec t s pacer: rn easure the d epth 0 f the monitor and find something just d shade longer at the hardware store.


II iMac

Hie original amp~if~en/tuner chassis is reinstalled but now Wittl the \~ac mini in its p~ace. Those buttons were rcJCI~o presets. but now they wm control the LPmJ

Ell Study What's There

\~ornentary swiltch: d swilterl that returns to its "1 orrn al po sill on when force is removed.

A. project like this is so much more satisfying H you are able to reuse lhe existing con trols Under the gok1 tone rad io preset faceplate. INe f~nd the original radio tuner preset button assembly. and to get th is switch to wor k. we "1 eed to convent it to a momentary switch. A.U! iPod's remote buttons press and then release. By examining the radio preset assembly, I determined a singlle spring needed to be removed to convert the old "press and hold" buttons to iPod cornpatible momentary switches.

II Connect Wires to .A.irClick

The AirClick is the magic brk1ge to control the iPod In si d e the AirC lick. th ere are go k1 circu it DO ar d switch con tdCts thdt are tniggered by magnetic pads on the backs of rubber buttons Ve~y carefully.dnll t~ny holes thUDUg~1 the circuit board sw~tdl con tacts to connect the new wiue. Thread the wires rou eadl co n tact se t thro ugh the A.~r C~i ck case ho I es . as it will be ljdier when we reassemble. For each bu tton function. solder Cl black wire to one switch contact. a red wire to the other

Be sure no-t to- drill through a trace on the backside of the circuit board! Despite being careful. I STILL ruined an AirClick!

1m Connect tine Old Swirtcln

Solder the 0 trier end of each red/black wire pa~r to lhe co n tacts 0 n the old u adio preset switch. It should be a one to one re~at~onship w~leul connect iUlg the wilfes from AilfClick to the okl switch.

After soldering th e wi res to the AirCli ck board, check each wire pair by touching the stripped wire en ds and see if it operates th e iPod.

III Connect Griffin Wheell and iPod Dock

10 feed through ttle US Blfire\!\.fire connector s. the 01 d kn ob hoi es n eed eel to be expand ed. Despite th e creepy n arne. til e r d t tail file is a fan tastk to 01 to make a wound hole oblong Use the base of the me by the hand le for a big. wk1e cu t.

Frequ ently check the connector in the expanded hole to make sure it does not end up bigger than necessary. And wh en you are d one, touch up the new oblong hole with wood stain on a Q-Tip.

M~k.: '!57







. ..

c:::::J .---------1 c::::::::J .......

Mac or PC


II •


~ AirClick Remote


Swit,ch in cabinet


PowerMa~e IO ....... ~~~



Keyboard IMo use

1M lc (conn e ct to, USB, not r----....,. ~o hub)

The new A.irCllck empowered switch assembly is Since [used the tuner output, the levels were high

back in, and now that row or brown buttons controls enough no t to use the turntable 40el B slgnal boost

the iPtJd. HIe Power\/lfj controls iTunes on t~le \~flC Since [ don't mind th pops and scratch s, the free

mini. The brown bakelite knoll do s absolutely noth Fina[ Vinyl so rtware that comes with ttle i,\~ic was

ing. YeL Since the Vlac mini is mounted vertici:tliy on just dandy for my purposes.

lh e old radio ch assis. ju s t mt the old tuner window to put in d CD.


Tuning the fad io ~'Jith RE;dioShark couldn't be easier, an d the ad di li on 0 f pall se and record bu tton s is pretty exciting \1ercirully, the RadioStlark has

a Va" mini i ack fa ran x terna I an ten n a, and plug ging in a heedphone extension cord help d pull in weaker stations,

r: ".~ I -.".

The rea! test wW be if [get rid of my records.

Arter holding on to that Haysai Fantayzee 12" tor all th es e years, will [ end up selling it for a q uarter at my gsrage sale? Just the idea of people pawing through my records gives me an upset stomach, so [ am probab~y doomed to keep them forever Bu t l'rn sure ["II listen to it more now tha tit is d igitiLed I

C0l11ibll1111g live performance witl: olld flllnl gets .lulie M,eitz bac k to h err roots" 8y Ross Orr

Julie \1eitz. first picked up a Super 8 camera as a teenager, and has worked wit"l experimental filrn, v~deo, and rnulnmedla lnstallatlcns ever since

lately she's been rnlxlng video in live performance. for music S~lOW::; and other events in the Detroit area

For VJing, ::;he lugs dong d vlini ITX PC, sluffed

with 30 gig::; of source dips her own original foot

age. found film, or processed fe,Jure film sho ts. She collages and layers these sequences on ttle fly

But every once in a white, \1eitz likes to get back to her roo ts and do sam e old skoo I"f Jing." her term for I~ve mixing of multiple lbrnrn film projectors,

To prepare a film mix to accompany I~ve music, she starts by pulling reels from her five shefves elf salvaged educational films and obscure theatrical releases. looking for thematleally re!atecl clips The process is not dick and drag easy: previewing foot age and experimenting with combinations can take \~eiL:, 21 month of preparation for d 45 minute set.

She chooses carefully which of her six balky vin tage projectors is up to the strains of performance. One lavorite is an old Lafayette Analyzer origindly sold to sclentlsts and sports coaches designed

to jog film forWi'lrds and backwards: and instan tly change speeds, This l ts ~ler"scmtd"(' Wit~l film clips much as a DJ Cdrl with vinyl.

\i\eHz preassernbles one reel and lets it run contlnuously (including segments of black lef:cler, to ~ <tV gaps for oth r projections) Sh overlays rnor fDotage alongside or superimposed onto this, swivel ing her pro] ectors on IdlY Susans as need ed.

And ef feels processing? Cornple tely manual, 10\;,. tech, and homemade. ~eitL SWdPS in and 0 u t colored gels, or a spinning mu ~tkolored filter wll eel made from an old film reel Srle hand cranks a fan blade in lron t 0 f one lens, giving a beau ti ful strobe etrect.

In performance, s~le is a blur of movement darting around her clattering setup to change filter::;, swap reels, an d flip levers. The resulting collage can be funny, evocative: quirky, and magical,

Gettlng the timing of [:[ performance to work can be tense, even using a prepared cue sheet And there's

a constant fisk 0 f bulbs burning 0 ut, or a show stop ping mm jam \1eiL:: end d a reo nt p rforrnance by giving an her projectors grateful kisses, for making

it through the show with only one minor breakdovm . She some times wonders if the stress is worth it.

But 'vleitz still d eligh ts III lh e took and reel of pro jected mrn. And au dl ences jaded with gee wtl~L CG I effects, seem to appreela te her efforts to keep it r el.

lRoss Orr keeps the analog alive in Ann Arbor. Mich.

Where, the Bits Meet the, Fle'sh

IBM's Thomas Zirnrnerrnan and the 11th rill I of the


By Daviel Pescovilz

Maker: PROTO

\Nh en I extend my hand to greet lIB \~l research sci en list Thomas Zimmer man. I half expect d shock to accompany the shake len yems ago, Zimmerman dnd \~11 pro fessor \j e~i Cershen teld dern ons tu ated

a system where electronic business CdH.1S could be sWdpped just by shdkiulg hands Dubbed a "personal area network" (PA\j), the system was just one in

d long line of novel hurnan computer interfaces Zimmerman has developed since the 1980s His rlH ~~st 0 f inventions includes the famous virtuel rea~ity D ataGI ove: d IPA \j based techni que that prevents air bags from deploying when a child is in a car seat, and a biometric system

tha t iden ti fi es you b::l the "dance of the pen on the pad" 2S you sign your

ul am e, Zirnrnerrn an's tech n ilea I sand box, h e says, is the realm where "the bits meet the flesh"

what appears to be a standard issue clipboard wiUi a \I\,i'acorn tablet duct taped to its sur face A cheap d igH al Carner a was on ce rnou n ted to th e dip but he's since Yi:lflked Hoff for anotfler mock up,

H II ove to pu t co nn ec tor son cornrnerci al ~LeL1 technology to leverage aH of the engineering auld cost reduction that went into a product. he says. "It becomes reusable hduc1wdre and you just need a little 'glueware' to conned things together and make new devices."

It rnldY no t 100 k like rnu ch. but th e eli pbcard is d cia ta en try system fo r hea~ th care pr acti li on ers

"You just need a little 'glueware' to connect things together and make new devices"

.A. member of the User

Sciences & Expediences ,Research labmatory dt

I B \1I's Almaden Researcrl Cen ter. Zirnrnerrnan is the first in a series of corporate makers that I'll be profWng in \1AKE, He is a quintessential maker who h as man ageel to parlay a h acker sen sibslity in to a melong CareeL

A gr eduate of vll T, Z~rnmermarr1 ~s an alum of Mad where, during Uie 1970s, rHO; met many of the scien tis ts wh 0 wo ul L1 become pio neer s ~n the field of virtual real~ty, 8y then. Zimmerman and a friend had a~ready conceived 0 f a weaudb~e gestural ilul terrace, a" cia ta glove," rou dn "el ectron ic air guitar so we could pllay just like Jimi," he says_ Along with the head mounted display, the DataGlove became en icon 0 f the prorni sed v irtLidl reali ty revo I utjon

of the cyberdelic late 1980s Eventllalliy, VPl, HIe vir tual reality company Zimmerman founded w~th Jaron Lanier, licensed the technology to \j~ntendo as a vi d eo gdHne COUI troll er call eel the PowerG ~ove,

I n Z~rnmerman 's ofnce at I 8 'vi AI maden 's Sili con Valley headquer ters, the \j~ntenc1o PowerGlove

h 0 k1 s a p~i:lCe 0 f hen or high atop a ::;h el f Tria t is. th ere '5 no th ing piled on top 0 f it fm HIe rnos t par t. Zimmerman's office is knee deep in piles of books, papers, cr ackee! open mice: ou td ated P DA,s, can nibalized disposable cameras. tangles or cables, assorted other bHs of rl~gh tech detritus. and mills of duct tape_ Duct tape, Zimmerman says in <:!H seriousness, is one of hilS essential pro lotypmg rna tedals 10 illu str ate h is point, Zirnrn er man gn abs

Doctors and nurses Lise lor ms to populate the~~ pati en ts' rn el1~ca~ records rle says, anci are reluctant to shift to d typical rnonitor/keybo ard combo.

"Paper is hard to stone, re tr i eve, search, and dis tribute," he says. "But pen an d paper is a wend er ful interfdce to take notes when you're conversing w~th someone Pens have a low cognitive load, wheueCls if I'm using d wood processor, a big percentage of my bra~n is focused on the tools instead of the personl'm talking with:'

Zirn rnerrn an 's ~ded works like lhis: the doc tou or nurse clips <l form onto the clipboard. As he or she wr ites with a regular pen, the cia ta is cap tur ed by the VV'acom table t. The earner a on the dilP ser ves two purposes One, it snaps d photo of the lorrn so the corn pu ter caul iden ti fy it lIN 0 , H measures It'le angl e 0 f the paper on top 0 f ttle tab~e t 50 the digi tL::ed text can be correctly entered into the correct lields on the e~ectronic lorrn. lhis prototype may be a bi t. er, raw, bu t H got the poin t acr oss An d that's all Uiat matters, Zimmerman says.

H \11y ptlHosophy is to get your hdIT'](1s dir tv qui ckly.' he says "You can talk about something. but the big step is to hack 5 orne th ~ng an d get a d ern 0 together Also, someone told me no t to make proto types too polished because then there's UlC) mom fm 0 ther people to p~ay in, grnw it wilth you, and help shape it"

As with many makers. pi i:"Y is a b~g part 0 f Zlrnrnerrnans \to_ Hanging proudly in his office

"1-1 I I ~ . ~ I i _J

is a pho to 0 f Zimmerman an d his young sonw ith a remote control car they outfittedwith a wireless webcarn. Beside th at are snapsho ts 0 f ex hibits at San Francisco's Exploratorlum science museum that Zimmerman deslgned wit"'l a 'friend: a stop-motion photography rig and a high-vo~tage contraption rigged to explode a vat of Jell-O, These are the kinds of things that Zirnrnerrnan.who lectures frequently at area sch cols, knows will convey th e thrill of the make to the uninitiated.

He felt that thrill last nigh t. he says. at DorkbotSF. an informal gathering of engineers and artists "cioing strange things witf'l electricity." as the group's motto goes (see MAKE, Volume 01, page 47). An experimental musician. Zimrnerrnan spent the evening iamm~ng on a hornebrew therernin. In fact. it takes some doing for Zimmerman to delineate between th e gadgeteering he does 'for IIBM and hls own pet projects.

like the modeled clipboarct there are other clues about his "professional responsibilities" in ttle piling cabinet once known <IS his desk.

For example. a disassembled credi t card scan ner hints at his latest project, IBM's Petail Store Solutions group in Raleigh. N.C, is designing systems for the grocery store of the future, and Zimmerman has been helping witf'l the" Shopping Bud dy," a touch-screen computer that mounts on the handle of a shopping

f"\ \" l. - ~~

I 1

r:J AI



cart. As the shopper grabs items 'from the shelves, he or she scans the UPC code using a handheld reader. Meanwhile. infrared beacons track the cart's location as it moves through th e sto re 'for. wh at etse targeted ad verfislng and co upo n d envery. Vl/ire~ess web access connects the user with online shopping lists. Eventually. Zimmerman says. a credi t card mags tripe reader could be added to the system for self-checkou t r[g~l t on the cart.

"The Petail group tests this stuff in a 50.,000- square-toot building that used to be a rnanutaeturing facilily for network boxes bu t is now a model of a huge store." Zimmerman says, "It reminded me o.-f how NASA used to test ~unar landings here on Earth with a simulation of the Moon."

I nd eed, IBM, he explains, is <I perfect place to 'fuel his maker's pass ion. He 'feels very to rtu nate. he says. to be lmmersed in an envimnmen t where potential collaborators dire around every corner, the basement tab lab hums with high-end CNC machines. "a vacuum chamber is just down the hall. and liquid nitrogen is on tap."

David filesGovitz is co-editor of the popular blog BoillgBoillg.net and all aiiiliate ofthe Institute for the Future,

64 Milke.: vcturne 04

There's nothing like the thrill of a kit: open the box and shining new parts gleam up at you, making projects possible that take for,ever to build from scratch. Sometimes a kit lets you try something you know nothing about; sometimes it speeds up a familiar process. Every kid (no matter how old) wants a kit for the holidays, something to fiddle with befor'e work or school kicks in again. Santa's elves have been very, very busy this year, and they've given us a sneak peek of their best of~erings.

Edited by Arwen O'Reilly

aruus )(OUI d Otili't lTIalle' +o be' Elvis Presley ~'o sing "Blue Chris1!mmi" thls holiday season. JlIS'!' hide a WAG "Kranius" under your iiree, and YOlll'li be singing

----I ilhe praises oif thls ilutil-Io-buHd kit.

1ihe Kran iUls teatu res a po'l'etil,~ AlIiM EL 8"'bi~' mleroeentreller accessed via a till itil.'!'egr,abed 33"key keyboard. The Iki~' also in elu des hwo

intiraredi sensors, f,ollr cad miurn sulmide ph0!oresis~'Or light sensors, and ilW0 motor gearbox pulse sensors, used for guldlng th e robot,

Accessitillg sensors is done wi~1TI1

a lIniqjue 37"(;.(),rnman,d programmlng language inpui!'tlTIl~ough ilhe keyboard. This teatllre is in direct opposltlon 1:00 rnosf o~lTI:er ~(Jb0~' IkIts. Ilf using the matchstlck-slzed Ikeys

is too diHicllll~' lior you, th ere is an optlorral PC I n.!:edac,e Ki'I' {WINI"9762; $341:9.5). ~n normal uee, Ihowever,', th e keyboard is well-sllited mor,eniteritilg I,engilhy programs into the Irobo~'.

In lessthan three hoursot assembly and programming, youl"1I have

a new, blue member o~ the tiamily scoo'l'ing abouf' the floor:

~DaVB Prochnow

• The Solarbotics Sumovore:

Mini-Surno Robotics Platform

Th ere are several ro botics kits on th e market tha t are billed as" sumo ro bots," bu it they're not ac tu ally 'fit f'O r 0 r'f1cia~ competition. One kit that is mini-sumo-ready is the Solarbotics Surnovore, So~arbotics. known 'for th eir clever kit designs, meticulou s atten tion to detail. an d irreverent sense of humor (when's the last time your computer/electronics manual cracked siHy jokes?) , delivers one of the most satisfying kits I've ever built

As with most Solarbotics kits. the Surnovore otters a great "outof-bag" experience. with a handsome construction/operations manual and oodles 0 f h igh -q ua~ity co rnponen ts, all tho ugh tfu ~~y d ivid ed into labeled bags 'for each sub-assembly (main board. sensor board. discrete bralnboerd). The vJell-photograph ed manual takes you s tepby-step th rough th e assembly process in a way that makes everything surprisingly clear, There's even a sold erlng tu torlal, although this is no t a project 'for beginners. Anyone Wittl moderate so lei ering skills an d su f'ficrent patience shouldn't have too much trouble. One cool thlng about the instructions is the W,lY they tell you what each component does, so as you're build lng the bot. you get so me [d ea ot its circu it logic and overall engineering

lhe Sumovore represen ts over 500 hours of development and has gone through 21 prototypes. It ships with a "discrete brain," using BEAM technology to create sophisticated behaviors from analog circuitry, Ad d-on progrernrnable "brainboerd" kits are available ttl at use popular rnlerocontrollers like the Basic Stamp 2 and the PIC16F877 A. With this programrnabillty, and the breadboards built into these addon boards, the capabi!ities of the Surnovore are near~y endless.

-Gareth Branwyn

$89, sollarbn ti C sC oml

$:120. owirobo't.com

* MORE ROBOT KITS • Robot Kits Direct

The diis'!dblltion: channel of OWl kits, they have a gr.eat ~mupitilg oil tiuln:-Iooking robots with special ileatlwes. robotik.itsd ired. com

• Robot Store

S,ee om profile .o~ Mak,er Nahlie Jeremjjen.ko in Volume 02 {s,e€p~ 22) for idleas '0 till whatto do with ~heir I~obot pets.



- ----


-Litlholo Hologram Kit

If youlr hear't' still tlluH,ers at the though~' of Pl'iliiDess Leia's hnlogram pleading with Obi~Walill Kenobi, you sh OUlldi detlililli~;ely cheek thla out, While most hologram tech nology

is well ou.1: of the realm o~ you or me, this kit comas wi~hl a SatietyLight laser Diode and "I!iI,5~.alilt Hologram" film. Litiholomm makes transmtssion holograms, viewable with the laseror LED light in dud ad ln ~h e kit. ){ou'li Imve your own princess in [m:der an hour. $:139, litiholo.coml hologram kits.htm



• Discovery DNA Explorer Kit Foren sic science is one of the iI.as'l'sst-grcwlng dlsclpllnss ln science currlculumstoday, thanks toa host o~ papular ~'el,evisiolill shows. 1ih:e Dis.covery DNA E:q)lorer Ki~, "ideal for bu:d:ding foren sic sden1!·j sts er secret agerits," lets yo,u test i~ out before you ge~ that ,d~egr,ee. I ncludlng a centrifuge, m.aglil:e~'ic mixer, and alsctrnphoresls chamber, ~he kit may also unlntenttonally mimic anether common experience in tlhe sciences: when youl iii nlsh yo ur six experlmerrts, youl have to w.ai~· for illmd ing bef,or,e you can get ano ~her se't' 'o~ DNA samples. $80, makezilile.coml gp/disGooeryd rna


Kid's Forensic Facial R,econs~ruci!:iolil Kit: makezine.com/goltorelilsic

- Kevin Kelly


• Cheese-Making Kit

Now that the Com)orde is grourtdad, those weekend chees,e-~,as'lilillg trips are a thing of the past. Never fem!

N ow you can make yeur own cheese at home. 1ih,e E,dmulild Sdeliltific ki~' includes a cheese presa, renna+ ~,ab" let, and cheesecloth, along withl reelpes for a number of cheeses, lncluding lund ch.eddar, coU,age cheese, and cream cheese, $.2:2~_mLgqLc.ha~§.

+ Be sura ~o also check out ~he

M ak,e Your OVlI'tiI 'Choc,olate hom Scratch Kit. You may never hime ~'o laava ~he house again,

$:10. makezine.comLgJ1lcecoa


• Hot Sauce Kit

g,ome like it hot, and if you're nne

of ~hose, custom-mace hot sauce

is probably th e stuff dreams are made of. Edmulild Scientific's Make ¥om Own: Hot Sauae Ki~ provides you with allspice, black cumin, cuny powder, achlote, Jamaican jerk, gin" gar, boHles, a pepper glossary, and in stru etions for searing your insides with.ouT actually doing real damage. $,20; makez.in e.com/go/hotsm.lce


MUlilbotill's Ooldl COliltililenl1'al Pilsner B·eer Kit: makezinelceln/go/muntens

Mr. Beer Brew Ki~: mrbeer.com

Or, iffi you don't w,atilt ~'o make the hard stun, iltry brewlng your-own root beer: makez.in e.com/go/roo~beer

• Oatm'ealls Good For You

• Brewer's Best Hardware Kit

About a year ago, my rriend Noah brought over <I copy of DVD Studio Pro and s~x. bottles or his homemade oatmeal stout.

I 'f[gu red the beer wou ld taste ~ike d ~s hwater, bu t l Iet him bring it becau se he was doing me a favor. The beer. however. was arnazjng, While he tried to teach me the program, I drank my way through most of the six-pack.

It turns out that hornebrew like Noah's is surprisingly easy

to make. With the basic Brewer's Best Hardware Kit.you can produce good homebrew on the 'first try. The kit comes with most of the basic equipment you'll need to produce 'five ga~lon s (abou t 54 bottles) of beer, And the kit is well sui ted to firs t-tirne us ers: it includes a booklet with clear ins tru ctions on how to assemble the kit's various pieces and a brlef overview of the brewing process. All you need to supply is a large stockpot, bottled water. 54 empty brown glass bottles, and the brewing lngredien ts themselves.

Using this kit over tf'le course of a year, I have brewed four batches or beer. The kit hes held up well, though its thermometer doesn't give accurate temperature readings, and the siphon takes some practice. But otherwise. I've round it user-Irlendly, and no one has complained abou t its final product. Within the month, you too could [n traduce your friends to the pleasures of hornebrew.

-Pacho Velez 3; 49, makeziul e,corn 6;o/beer



... .:.QAuv ~ .. BOTJ1.f.D (N"loHOlI COONrv I'OIil Sl{AIVJ!iI< .. £ICE AUGUsT LZ.1~ 'MlD6tJ8r BHEW1!RJE8 iIlAZOE: PROOOC110~

M.l<s: 67



'. :R,ocket to Me

• Paper Rocket Kit

This is a downloadable PDF t!'1 <It h as the plan s to r yo ur own paper rocket It goes sky high (or at least 16 feet high) wlth the help of a pneumatic launch pad you fo~d you rselt. Fold ing the bellows can be a little trkky, but once you do this. making an origami spider will just come naturally free I WClek;de/puzzl es /rCicke lh trnl

68 Ma ke: Volume {)4



• X-ACTO Woodcarving Knife Deluxe Set

Alw,ays mill ,adlloca~'e o'f the right tool t0r the job, the completaness ,o~

ilhe X".A.C1rO Ikniife Ik.it demands my unwavering respect; Thewooden bo~, bre,adthlof blades, and selection of handles means YOiU can ifr,ake comfort in Iknowilillg that you have alill absolute X"AC1iO s elutlon, II: is liIot for lack ali flhe, coned' tool that I do, not carve my iniHals in my maple bee, because if !Ilhadl ,evelill Inod!es·t whiHling skills, h!l!oulld ,amfi~ilhe Number 19.Angle Wood Chiselilillg Iblade to the N'u mber 8 H',eavy Duty Aluminum lfialil,dle and leave my name' far alil,d wide.

Su,t, my woodc,arvitilg experience

is lirrnih!d! ~'o w liie till II had a mora modes'!: X-ACTO kit whan II was 10 and! cr,atlilbed an etill'l'ir,e balsa wood! Chrisflmas vlllags .. Whil,e, w,a~,clii:ililg M"A"S"'H, l built evety~hlitilg titom )(:e aide 'lJi'oy g,'hoppe 'bo th e Peppetmin'l' lFactoryffl(~m ilhe',comfort,o~ a ,oouch, alil,d TV hlble .. It is difficullfl fI,o say if M"A"'S"H, '1he TV ilable, or the X".AC1iO knlf a kit provlda ilhe greatest bsnem N~ soei ety, Ibu~: ~ h e fad: ~ ha~: t he X"AG1iO Iknife Ikif' is ln such august company should Ibe IreaS01il1 elil,oug'h ito Md 0 tiI,eu'o yo ur arse na I.

-Mr. J8dopy $ 23.75,_Ifi1lKezjl1e<co_mLgolxado

.a FuUer IGree·nhODSe

· Geodesic Greenhouse Kit

I'f you can't face armtherwinter. this is one of the more e'ffective greenhouse kits on the mar-

ket. The geodesic shape deals well with 'Wind and snow and is rernarkabjy energy efficient The kit comes with aH the materials needed to in stall it yourself (lumber, hardware, andeither 8mm or 16mm trh:H1gu lar potycarbonate sheets), and has a ten -year warranty. That's ten years of vine-ripened tomatoes in Marchi Start at ~3A50, geodeSIC

green house kl tS.CClrri ide tail s .php


• Pepakura Paper Designer

N'o~: e~acl'lya kit, 111IIIt:: t:hissoftware will allow you to prod!lme any 3D' obj ect you c a IiII i mag in e (or ,at I e,as~ design using 3DOG, so'filw.are, 'Such as 3D Studio, ILig'htWave, or SoHimage).. Ths websi~'e is tlulli 'o~ il1~ricate paper Ibir.ds, airplanes, :space.s'hips,lb~es, ,alil,!ill cars malill·e, by previous users, Tlhe, softw,ar·e, is open to ~h,e' publ le as shareware (and ,calililbe used wiflh 3IDCG free.w.ar,e Me~asequ.oi.alLE}, Ibu~:

Itno'r,e~eatur,es are available if youl shell 0L!,t some cash,

. tamasoRco.jpipepakur:a-en



Alii ecleetic mix: kits for your car (back-up noises, screen wiper robots, arid hotne"bulil~: ear alarms among ,o~het·s), solar' and witild (solar Ipanels and wind! ilulrbines of all sizes), an d :SOUIIiI.d klts (someolil,eil.yililg Ulp yo lilt' phone line? lnstall the Telephone lrrtarceptlon Kiil'). ¥ou" II also milild kits YOIl mighl: not s~uti1:l'ble aCr,OSS otherwise, like ~he Defh,ess Kiil:, a basic eleetronle clreuit whichl is desi~ned tobesil: de~teri~. gkihcorn


• XSS Crystal Set Kit

Most' rnldd le-agad Ell Y anth uslas+s probably have eonstrueted a ,crystal radio set: it W<lS <I [oyto pull radio slgnalsout of fhe ,eilher using no power SOUrce ,0~het'~hal1 the radio algnal itselt If you hrnie <In interest in "old s,ch 0< 0<1 " rad io [echtw logy, Or if yo,u 're looking fo t a simple ki~' to learn how to build more complex electronlc project s, the Xtal Set So deily ITI <IS a per fed!' sl'ar~e r kit, th e XSS Little Womler Crystal I'l:adio Kit

Design,edl by Phillip An:derso,n, WOX~', tlTI,e XSS ~un:es the entire AM broadcast ban:d. lhe kiil 1TI:<ls large solder pads, grea[ f er learnlngs old erlng ~;eclTIniqjue. 'Unlik,e had!i~ional crystal seh, ~1TI:e XS S uses a me I ded, h iglTI,-fr,eqll ency ch oke, This eliminares lhe coil windling precess that can fms'ir,ail:e many flrst-tlmers,

"Ui'he XSS is per~edifnr' parents and! grandlpmenb too bulld wi~h kids. I,t"s also pri cedi flJ.t' sclTI:o<ol use, and can be used ~;o ~'e,aclTI 'basic radio ~heory, soldering, an:di handling of electronic parts <lnd PCBs. The kitl'also includes a hlgh-lmpadanca crysbal ,empluig that can be used willlTIl ilulrtlTI,er crysI:.al s,eit' ,expet'imen,ts. Cryst,al radio enthusiasts still thrive in this age

of digiir<ll cammunications,

~Thomas Arey N2EJ $:15. midnighhdence.com

• The Grass is Cleaner

• Remote Control Hybrid lawn Mower Parts and Kit

As these guys put it. "Reality has now taken over lawn mower lmagin atlon" You to 0 can h ave the lawn mower or your (1 reams: it's not quite as 'fun as a rideab~e mower. but ~t's the next best thing - and cheaper, teo, Evatech also points out that the lawn mower can be used as an electric power generator capable of delivering over 60 amps of electric power at l.2V DC. The kit includes a frame, deck, alternator moun t. e!evation plate and lever, ball bearings, and wheels, $400 tor parts and lnstructions, $.25 for blueprint to convert your otd lawn mower, eV<ltec~Lnet


70 M"ke: Volume {)4

• Be,arBand

. Grizzly Industrial Ukulele Kit

Grizzly Industrial sells milling mach lnes, all sorts ot lnd us trial shop equipment and tools, and, of course, ukulele kits. After a~L whet woodworker hasn't thought abou t building a musical instrurnen t?

WelL aspiring lu thiers will fin d the Grizzly soprano ukulele kit

a reaiiy tu n and sa tis fying first project, The kit features a preassembled mahogany body, which e~irninates the intimidating task

of bending the sides. The neck is also pre-shaped and tltted, ready to glue to ttl e body, leaving the builder with the satisfying jobs of final assembly and finish work.

The woods used in the kit are quite nice con sld ering th e low price: the on Iy weak part is perhaps the plywood fret board But one great thing about kit building is the opportunity 'for improvements and custornization. I'f you bu lid it as ins lructed, you will end up with a very nice entry-level ukulele. but it can also serve as a great platform to experiment with lnterrnedlate techniques like body edge binding or lnlaywork

So, whether you aspire to be an exotic island crooner or stert the next post-punk. ell-toy-instrumen t band. a ukulele is just a nice thing to ha\.te around. In my opin~on. no household is complete without one.

-Steve Lodefink 12 5.m_~Le_LJJ_le~coffJA;o_Luke_


. Stillwater Canoe Kit

Stillwater boats are designed to use only four pieces of wood for the hun. Kits include the "lUI[ and deck penels cut to shape and the rest of the wood and hardware needed 'for construction. While ttle awardwinning designer admits other boats have rneny advantages, these <Ire quick.lightweight. and strnple to make. Paddle is not included. though, so be caretul which creeks you head up. $59 for single canoe plans. $365 'for the kit. stiiiwaJterbmltscom


• iEtherwave Theremin Kit Due ~o its unusual, hands-free in'lerface (pi~ch nnd volume are contr·olleCill by the bolilly's proximo ity~o and lnterferenee withl th.e lnstru merit's .eledmmagliletic

fi el d), th e ~he rem in is fa me d both as .01 til:evel~y instrument and for its lmpertance itill 20th-cetililulry rmaslc. Moog Music, started by lsgen clary sym'!hesiz:er lnvarrror Bob Moog, til:ow allows youl to make y'our own.

Whetil I beganasaernbllng, I

had til:ext ilio 1il0 soldering expertence, and otil.ly a brave desire ilio learn. However, ilhe lrrstructlons are very straightfo rward, atil:dI.a~e actually a gr.eai! intruducticn 10 the world of <Gircuiiis: accessible as YOUI need them to be, but ilhere"s detailed circuitry lnformatlonfnr mora adv.alilc·ed assemblers. I~ comes withl a nice woedan easing th.at neelills.a briaf sanding and a varn ish or paint O'f your choice, anda mos~ly constructed circuit board to wh:ich yo u solder various compo nents fha~ determine the thsramin's ~·one and! w.1l1ieforms.

1his kii! also comes eq ulppad with: a hilarious special psrformanes DVD OI Clar.a Rockmore, otil:e o'TI the earliest ilheremitil.l players, arid a somber instructiotil.al ·demonstratiotill from th e 80s wiilh Lydi.a K.avirm, R:ockmor·e's granddaughfar; -Meara O'.Rei/Jy $3.¢9, makezin e.cGm/gonheremin

-Stewart Brand

M,"": 71


The, Soul of an Old Heathkit

~, Howard Nurse built hundreds of Heathklts. ~ starting in the 1950s with a ham radio transmitter kit the DX-4D. As a kid. he loved to go to sleep reading the catalog. which was a window into the world of electronics and a wish list of things he wanted to build.

"You have to understand the whole experience of a Heathkit." he said. "It began with the catalog, which became part of my dreams and fantasles" Once he had pored over the catalog and placed an order, he would count the days until his Heathkit box arrived. each day imagining where his letter was en route. who opened it in the Benton Harbor. Mich_. headquarters oif Heathkit. how the order was processed, and then estimating how many days it wou!d take the post office to deliver it to his home in New Jersey. "Finally you'd get the package in the post box. after all this anticipatlon" he said.

Electronics were not rea:di~y accessible in the 50s_ Nurse said the on~y place he could see elec lronic components was at a 10callV repair shop. which he hung around. lhe Heathkit catalog opened a door to the new worlds of hl-f components. electrical test equipment. ham radios. and te~evision sets.

72 Ma ke: Volume M

Nurse recalls the joy of opening up the Heathkit box. "First. you'd see the Heathkit manual. which was the heart of the kit."lhen he'd find the capacitors and resistors in brown envelopes, A transformer carne wrapped in a spongy paper. a predecessor

UYou have to understand the, who te expertence of a Heathkit:' he said. "It began with the catalog, which became, part of my dreams, and fantasies,"

ot bu bble wrap. "Be fore you did anyth ing, you had to go through the erra ta that carne with the ki l." Then he would do an inventory of the parts - using a muffin tin to sort them. Additionally. he'd use corrugated card board to arrange th e small capacitors and resistors in rows.

"After 21[1 this waiting and preparation. you'd begin to assemble the parts," he said. "You started by

in :1977 - nnd \llms a huge Heathkltsuccess,

attaching a few components. and then you got to solder. which was really tun" He added. "Flux. was an ephrodisiac," When you finished the assembly and tried it. often it didn't work.This, too. was part oif the process oif und erstand lng electronics and learning totlx problems.

N urse eventually got an lnslder's v[ew 0 f Heathkit.

In 1954. his father. David W. Nurse. went to work for the company as vice president. just as Howard was going off to college. His father was promoted to president in 1966 and remained in that position until he re tired in 1980.

The Heathkit Company go t its start tn the 1920s as the Heath Aeroplane Company. founder Eddie H ea th developed do-it-yourself aircraft kits; hi s company's most famous was the Heath Parasol. a plan e with an overhead wing. Un fo rtuna te~y. Heath was killed in 1931 in an airplane accident. An engineer named Howard Anthony bought the company from Heath's wid ow in 1935. A tter World War II.

An thony bought a large stock 0 f su rplus wartime electronic parts. among them 5" CRTs (the legend is that he ordered a case but a carload arrived). He designed an oscilloscope kit for S,39.50 end began to sell it through mail ord er. It took 10 years to go through the original CRT shipment According to an excerpt from the Heathkit Catalog found on heathk~t rnU5eUrrU::orn. "Mr. An thony based the success of his [d ea on th e premise th at anyo ne, regard tess of technical knowledge or skills, could assemble a kit himself. and SMe up to 50% over comparable factory built models. All that would be required were a few simple hand tools and some spare time"

In 1951. Anthony also died in an airplane crash.

The company changed ownership several times. but continued to produce innovative kits, including

The "Apache" ham r.a~io 'imnsmiUer was noted fflor its "many fine f,ea'iures and modern silyling:'

a color TV set in 1954. Heathkit did $100 million in annual sales in the 70s on a wide variety of kits. includmg turni lure and satellite television receivers.

"Th e H ea th kit ph ilosophy" sa id Nurse. "was that they didn' tim-ten t new products: they lookedfor products that were already successful in the market:" Then they turned them into kits for the

do-l t-yourselt market.

Nurse believes he may have had a role in persuading Heathkit to undertake its first digital computer, In 1975. the cover of P,opular Becironics featured the MilS Altair 8800. which orlgfnally sold as a kit that required the user to solder and assemble the components, Noticing that ~t was selling well, he told his father that there should be a Heathkit cornpu ter, In 1977. Heathkit launched the H8 Digital Computer. and it proved to be extremely successful. Based on th e In tel 8080. th e H 8 came wi th 4K 0 f RAM and, a cassette-based operating system. It had a keypad on th efron t and a nlne-d igit display, Nurse wrote

a radio Teletype sottwere program for the H8 and started his own business selling it.

In the 80s, interest in DIY electronics declined signitican tly. and the Heath kit Company stopped making kits. Today. H eathkits llve on as rnernorabdla exchanged on e8ay (about 25 kits a month) and

in the en thuslasts who frequ en t websi tes an d two Yahoo! groups. Heathklts have had a lasting rmpact on an entire genera tion, "I'll bet tha t every engineer in this cou ntry over the age 0 f 50 grew up building H ea lhkits." sai d N u rs e_ "H eath kits were special. The best way I can explain it is," and he paused. "A Heathkit had a soul"

Dale [Jmugherty (dale@or·eilly_ctll1l11) is the editor and publisher of r:.AAKIL

M."": 7.3


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l.lse a cigar box and twine to bulle a swcet-singin I threestring guitar. For sorneth ing completely different, warp an innocent toy musica keyboard into an uresstibly twisted electronic noise factory. For dessert savor the hidden intr'cacies of flash-frozen reality with ultrafast strobe photography"

Circuit Ben ding'


Cigar Box Guita'f


H igh-Speed Photography


M~I<e: 75


As a volunteer music teacher, I sometimes meet kids who can't afford instruments" So I decided to design one that they could inexpensively build themselves, based on the traditional cigar box guitar.

Before the 1950s" when factory guitars became less expensive, many folk musicians built their own stringed instruments. Wooden cigar boxes, which were solidly constructed connoisseur objects, became a popular choice for the instruments' bodies. Thus, an American tradition was born, and today, the cigar box guitar is enjoying a folk revival.

Mly guitar is a simple, three-stringed design that uses only one power tool and common hardware" Despite its low cost, this guitar plays real music and will hold its tuning for a couple of days. A kid can build it (and play it)" and so can you.



~ 19 Hear-the cigar bel(

-:Ri guitar .ail makezin e.com

~ I04/cigarbox.



.~ IS.. <'l






Ed Vogel II ves III Minneapolis and believes that nothi ng I"Il ay Just be the next big thi ng.

M~I<e: 77



A string vibrati ng by itself makes vsrv lilttle sound. The cilgal- box guiItJd', like other stl-ilnged i nstn, me nts, uses nat, Ii ghtvveight s u rtaces to push more a ill' around, making the sound louder, A piezoelectric pickup converts the viorations to volltage, letting you plug in and wake the entire neighno-hooc.

THE C]GAR BOX Like the bodly of a violin or the sou nding board of a piano, th e cigar box vibrates. and resonates with the strings, a111 pli~ying the sound, ~ 111 exchange, it d ralns energy away hO'I1:l1 the strings,

d eeraasing ~he duratio n of th,e vibration s.

TUNERS AND FRETS FaslTIioned super-cheap hom eye I et sc rews mTI d mails. these deterrnin e the strings' lengths and tautness - and by axtansion, th e notes they play .

•••• , , ••.•••• i!+ .

.. -..."",.".



eonneetion is ~he main point ~ITIlrolllgh which ~he strings" vibrations me tran sfened to the cigar box borilly.

THE p~ EZOElECTR ~C EFFECT Cartaln materials gen erate voltages ilTIllm)portio n to physical strain s applied to them, This was first observed in some crystals, inl which electrically polarized molecules all point ~h,e same way wi~hitill a lattice structure, Sq lyeeZe the crystal in th e right dlrection, and

you alter the relative positions of entire planes of chargad particles, changing the potelTII~ial difference (voHage) from one side to the ether, Materials withl this. property can act as transducers, converting physical vibrations into electrical signal

- which lets th,e111 work as acoustic pickups.

CERAMl C PI EZO BUZZER lIIhe piezo e~ed works bo th ways. converting vibration ~o voltage and voltage to vibratio,n. Inexpensive ceramic buzzers me d esignad as tilTI,y speakers, but ~h ey also work as pickups, "ffi'he plezcalectrle ceramle elements inside these davices are manufactur ed by mixing IlI1e~allie crystal powders into a caram ie, and then applying a strong DC voltage to, alignall O'TI the crystals, 1'ITIe resulting material is cheaper and 1[10 re du rabls than piezoelectrie crystals.

78 M" ke: V<>1u,,,,,, 04


[A] Pen. pencil. or markers (notshewn)

[G] Cig-<lr 1>0:0:.

Many tobacconists will give cigar boxes away free, I usually end up paying a dollar forthem a~ a place near IlI:iIly house, II ~ you can "f find a cigar box, an intact pizza box will also work.

[D] M<lson twine.

#15 and #18

Available at haNJ:ware stores, this is. used by bricklayers and .celll:ileni' workers to mark lines.

[E] 1;;''')(3'' eyebolts an d nu ts (3)

[F] #12xSfa" wood screws (.3)

[G] Drill and d rill bits

[19] 3' leng-th of 1:0:.2 red oak This will be the guitar's neck. fhe lumber's. actual maasurem enih. are %" by lIfz". but lx2 is. how it's named.

[I] ~k" squ are hardwood sto ck. at least 1112." long This will be the nut, at the ~op 'o~ ~he neck.

[J] If .. " square hardwood sto ck. at least 11f2.·' long fhis will be the bridge.

[K] Super glue

[N] %" wing nuts (3)

[0] 2" common nails (al! least 3)

[P'] Phillips screwdriver

[Q] 3112." x 1" (size 33) rubber bands,

[RJ Hacks aw iliad e or hacksaw


1500-30 OOH z piezoelectric element. a.k.a, piazo buzzer FQ'r amplifler pickup.

[L] gO-second epoxy (or

!)-mil1l.llte epQ'JI:y,f,or a liUle So Idering iron. solder.

mora positioning time) and wire

Muk.: 79






Ia. U sing the diagram at right. drill holes at each end o'f the lx.2. You'!1 d rill six. holes in two rows at the tail. to anchor the strlngs belmv the brldge, and six more in two diagonal rows where the tuning pegs will be.

Tuner holes, "14" bi"l' Me,llSliJ'e from len edge

Tail holes, shz" bit M,ellsliJ'e from riglillt,edge

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~/4'FI 0 0
3J8~1 0 0
Vz" :!liz" 21fz" .3lfz" 1" Vz"

lb. I f yo u 'Wan t to add an elec tric pickup to your guitar. sk~p ahead to step 4. Otherwise. super-glue the cigar box shut.

1e .. Set the nl eck squ are!y on the box so that its six holes are just clear of one of the box's ends, Mark the box along both sides of the neck, so you know where to pu t th e glue.

Id .. \1ix up some epoxy. I recommend using half a tube. since there may be some gaps to WI.

Ie, Apply 2l genera us amoun t of epoxy to the cigar box. position the neck on top. and weigh it down with a phone book 0 r 0 therwelght Viii ttl 90 second epoxy, I wait ::; minutes to get a decent cure.

if .. Use the pen to mark the wid th of the neck (11//') on the 1/2" square s tack. H1is\Ni~1 be th e brl dge

Ig .. Use the h2icbaw blade to cut the bridge.

1h .. Put down three dots of super glue fa r th e bridge i:;bC1U t l/z" up from th e six holes at the tail end of the neck.

Ii .. Set the bridge down on the glue an d ho I d it to ng eno ug h to sing "Twinkle< T''JinUe< Little Star" twice. This song will help you tune later art

I] .. R:eped steps If through Ii, using the I,~" stock Glue the nut six inches from the opposite end of the neck.



2a" Take an eyebolt spin a nut down the threads. add a washer. and then

in sed it up in to a tu ner hole at ttle end 0' f ttl e neck. Pu t another wash er on top and spin on a wing nut.

21b, Repeat with the other two bolts, and tigh ten ail three to' light-flnger tight. Are yO'U still humming "Tw!nkle. Twinkle"? It can become a real earworm. This wm work in your favor later. tor tuning and playing.

2c" Cu t a piece of #18 mason twine about 5 r'eet long. You won't need all

0' fit. but en ds ge t 'fmyed and we need so me slack for pu iling on. Thread the string through the empty tuner hole closest to' the nu t, and tie th e end to the adlacent eyebolt in back. Make sure the knot is on the side where the "eye" starts its bend, so that it won't slip outwhen we tighten the string.

2d. Spin the eyebolt clockwise three times to get some string wrapped on. lighten the wing nut to firm-finger tightness. Pu II the string over the nut.

2a, Pull the string over the bridge and ttl read the oth er end d O'wn th e corresponding hole just below

82 Mok",V"iUiCr'le04

2f.. Get a screw started in the hole on the other side, but leave some o.'f the th readed part showing so. it's easy to wrap the string around it.

2g. Here is where some slack is handy. Make a !oose loop 0 f string around the screw. an d then wrap the slack around your hand so you can pull the string tigh t while you tighten the screw to secure the string.

2h. Congratulations! You've just installed your b21JSS string. Repeat steps 2(; through 2g. using the #15 mason twine. for the tenor and alto strings.

People h!ave been building playable musical iIilIS1rUI' merits hom LEGD t(}r some time. Henry Lim's L.EGD Harpsichord ($$.8 Mad$o(l Earth. p~ and! Br.ad's LEGD Guiilar havs basn wrlt+enabout many times, butthey're olilily iIlhe start.

Telerobotlc Glockenspi,el Player: XIl.:O lsa slightly frigh!lelillililg-Iookilillg device ~hat uses the L.EGD camera ~.o watch ~he player and ~r.ansl.a~,e his or her movements lnte real-tlme GI(}ckenspiel playing. Eighlt metal tubes lifted! from a t,o,y xylophone surrounda twe-metorwhaeker ilililhe middle . .one motor rotates a mallet ilil!!.o posltlon, and the other brings i·t down onto one of the ~ubes ~o play ~he corresponding note,

LEGD Dulcimer: Wha~ is it wi~h medieval instruments and LEGO? Mouln:l1ailill dulcimer elil~h uslast Peter Always built himself a bright yellow dulcimer, with: properly spaced ilr,efis made .om little grey iIliles.

Robo~ic Ukulele Players: B row IiII Ulilliversity students Bryani! Cheung and Amelia Wong buili! a ukulele-playing robOolOll'!: of LEGD in 2003, and more recelil!!ly, Middllebury College stud enb Mike Rimoilill an d Jarvis Lagmans bUlilil.a smaller 'Olil:e thai! plays i!h ree-ch ord, such as" Stir Ii! Up" .01 iii d "Rlvars of Babylon."

Singing LEG .0 Blocks: Ihe LEGD Mi nd storms RCX block (the brain o'f ilh:e system) has a bUlilil-ilill speaker, and Ralph Hempel has wriUen a webpage that explains in eye,wa'lerilillg deillail how to make music wiilh iill. R:emllrkably, there ,rloesn'iIl seem iIlo be a MI DI ililt,erliac,e for ~he ReX; a ~ la a s~ IiIO·t yeL.

!I Get links to all ~hese LEGO musical imstrument websites.at makez:ine,com.104.1lego.

LEGD MI DI Gu ltar: 1ihe "Lifelong Kin:derg.arten" grou p m MI1i'developed i!his L.EGD-based system, The idea was that ch lldren could use special LEGD comport elilh i!o build ~h elr OWIiII ,experimental in strumerrts, wh ieh would w0rk as MI D~ corrtrellers,

Tom Whitwell is the founder of wwwnltJSidhrngcotJK. Reprinted with permission from Whitwell's weekly

co I u mno n 8ngagget. com.

~ -rom W /1itV'..eJl

M~"": 83



YOIll can usually' just find the proper fret Ilocatiollls !by singilllg tltiie major scale. This picture shows approx lmately where th ey wlll go. but it'll take some tweaking to get it righ t. On my guitar the five 'frets went 'from Re at .21/2 in ch es down from the nu t. to La at n% inches down. Try plucking the string and listening for a tone, then marking a dot at the spot with

a pencil.

3a. To attach a fret first take a rubber band and double-loop it.

31l. Fit th e looped rubber band to a n ail near the head,

3c. Place the nail at a 'fret position, and pull the rubber band up 'from un d erneath th e neck. S tre tch an d loop it around the pointed end ot the nail. Notice how the nail point is pointing up. This is a good thing.

3d., Repeat steps 3a through 3c above to attach 'frets for Re. Mi. Fa. Sol. and La. Sing t!'IOSe notes a few times to get that going in your head because it is going to help you tune your guitar. You can add 'frets farther up. I'f you want, and the reason my guitar only has frets up to La. instead of up the 'full scale to 00, is almost maniacal: those are the notes you need to play "Twinkle. Twinkle, Little Star." And

no th ing else matters.


You can testify; mow y'ou must electrify'! Here's hew to add a quick-and-dirty (and I do mean dirty) pickup, so you can pl"lY your cigar box guitar through an amp. I f you already know you'll want to. play electric. it's easier to perto rrn these steps first. be fore you bu ild th e rest of th e guitar.

4a. Drill a 3;8" hole in the tail end of the box. and mount the W' phone jack. (I'f you've a~ready glued the box shut. you'll have to jimmy it back open with a hobby knirfe,)

4!.b., Glue the plezo e~ernent inside the box as shown, an d solder lwo wires to conn ect the plezo pickup to the phone jack terminals, Then glue th e box shut I'f you haven't already built the rest of your guitar, jump back to step Ic, and continue frorn there.

4c. Plug in and rock out! lf you find that the pickup is picking up sounds other than the guitar. try covering ttl e soun d hole a f the piezo elernen t with a tau ple of pieces a f duct tape.

Other Easy Materials for Sound Boards and Sound Chambers

The cigar box is admirably suited h~ th,e job of radiatilillg string sounds ilililo ~he surrounding air. ¥ou can get the mosf soulnd! out of one by using a sh or~ meek that steps mid-box, alitaelTI lngthe brid!ge directly toO ilhe box (rather ~han ~o fhe neck), and! adding asound h,ole in fr.OIil~. Bu~ ~hat calls f ora more complex design ~han what appears in th is article. Aft,er you've successfully made one or fivlf0 00:1 fhe standard models, mayhe you'll filild yourself getting more amblttcus]

If youl can't readily lay you r ha nd s nn a cigar box, or youl jlls~ w.alilt 1:00 explore some other possibiliHes, hare ara a t!ew materials and approaches ~o consider:

Alii lnexpensfve styro:ioam picnic cooler makes a surprlslngly eHective sou nd rad later, Simply glue or scrsw ~he cooler to Olil e or both ands of a stlck-gultar, for respectable volume and a pleasant lone.

LightweiglTIi~ metal pots, pans, or bowls are also ,effective .. AUaclTIi~hem con caveslde out, facing th e strings, Wi~hl aluminum mixing bowls (and especially iii youl're using steel strings), YOUI can get an exo'iic sound! by placing a liHle w a ~,er ln i:he bot~om and! playing lap-style, tlpplngthe lnstru ment thds w.ay an d ilha~.

Klnda crazy, but an lntlated balloon pressed agalnst the strlngs wher,e they cress the bridge will groeafly lncreass th e volu me and ad d an i tilber'es~ing, percussive tun e. Withl a simple stick guitar, secure a sausage-shaped balloon in place with a long, ~hilil rubber band running around the back OT the +retboard, Take a momentto adjust th,e locatlon Tor optimal resutts,

-.Ba rt Hopkin

Bart Hopkin runs Experimental MLUsi-callnstmment.s. an organization that produces books. CDs. and other nil aterials rei atlng to new and unusual m LUS ica I instruments of all sorts. For intorrnatlon. write ·emi@Y.'indv.'crld.c()n1 or vislt windworld.com.

M,oku; 85




Tuning any musical instrument can be tricky. so

I am going to offer two methods: you can tune by ear. using "Twinkle. Twink~e." or you can use a guitar tuner. I'f both methods still leave you unsatisfied. take yo ur guitar to a music store and howe them do it. I have never don e this myself. bu t it mtgh t freak them out. which would be well worth the tdp.

I'f trying to tune is making you crazy, put the guitar down 'for an hour. or even a day. Practice singing the scale and "Twinkle. Twink~e. little Star." You are not ton e deat I'f you were. you would not be able to tell the difference between someone asking you a

q uestlon and giv~ng you a command. Give in to the earworrn and be patient.

After coming back to your guitar. just monkey around w~th it You built it; it's yours. and you can do whatever you wan tl Try over-tightening the strings. and see wtH:lt the notes sound like until they break. How loose can a string be and still playa recognizable musical sound?

Plali1l A; To tune bye-ar

a .. Look at the picture you used to position the 'frets for step 3. To tweak in the frets, you "II play the bwest string. t!'le bass string. whic!'l is the one nearest the heads ot the nails.

b .. Turn the bass eyebolt and play the string until you start to hear a relatively clear tone

c. Tighten the bass wing nul.

d .. Use a screwdriver to get some ~everage and tighten it a little more. Notice how the tone gets a little higher in pitch as you tighten?

e. Pluck the bass string a few times and sing the first two notes of "Twinkle. Twinkle. little Star" (whic!'l is. of course. the two-syl!able word "twink~e").

1.. I\J ow ttghten the middle string w~ttl the screw-

d river the same way you tigh tened the bass string. until it sounds like the third and fourth notes of "Twinkle. Twinkle. little Star:' the second "twinkle," You rnay fin d yourself singing "Twin kle, Twinkle" along witt! the bass and middle strings 10 or 20

ti rnes. I f yo u are t ru Iy going nuts at this poin t. proceed to PI!an B; Usillg a. guitar' tuner.

g .. The last string is a little trickier. because it requires that the 'first 'fret (" Re") is properly set Add~tbnally. you are going to sing in a different key. Use the middle string to play the first two notes of "Twinkle. Twinkle," Then. wtlile fre tting the th ird string up one 'fret. tighten it to play the second "twinkle." Your lett hand holds th e third string down beh lnd the nrst fre t. as you r righ t hand alternates between plucking the string and turning the peg. Again. repetition will make it work.

hi •. I f you 'feel like you've got it (and even if you don' t). strum all th ree strings. Its hou Id soun d nice. Another thing that should sound nice is 'fretting the third string on any 'fret wtlile strumming all three strings. This little bit of magic ~ets you p!ay melody and harmony easily. wh~le only 'fretting one string. This is how the dulcimer works.

Pla.i1 B; Using a guitar tuner

a .. Get a gUitar tuner at a music store, or borrow one

b. Tlghten the bass string until it starts to sound clear.

c .. P'ace the tuner on the cigar box and strum the bass. You should still be below A.

d, Tigh ten the bass string un til you get an A.

e .. Repeat steps b through d for the middle string until you ge t an E.

f. 'Repeat steps Il through ell for the to p string until yo u ge t an A again. It will be an octave high er.

N ow that the strings are tuned, you can use th e tuner to set the frets:

g. Fret th e third string to the 'firs t fre L

h. Strum an d bok at the tu nero I'f it shows a tone lower than B. move the fret down the neck toward the cigar box. I'f it shows a tone higher than B, move it up the neck toward the tuners.

l, 'Repeat steps g and h. moving down the frets, tuning to C#. D. E. f. end so on.

• Watch MAKE Editot'-In-Chief Mark Fraueafelderdemol1strate hls variaaton tile cigar 1:11))( guitar at rnakezine.oom/04/cigalfbox.


Can you guess whlch one? I'll bet you can: Yes. It

is "TWinkle. Twinkle. little Star." You can do it a~1 on your guitar's bottom string. All you have to do ~s play the notes that appear above the words notated be~ow;

DOl DOl SOIl 50111 La La 5011

Twin - kle twin - k~e m - tie star.

If:a fa. Mi Mi Re fie Do

How I won - der what you are.

La !La fa Fa Mi

Mi Re

Up a - Dove the world. so high,

la La Fa Fa Mi Mi Re

l.ike a dia - rnond in the sky.

(And so on.)

If you have a hard time remembering wh[ch fret is Do. Re. Mi. and so on. then [u st pencil them in on

the neck. It's your guitar. and you can do what you wantt To get a more bluegrass sound. you can strum ail th ree strings d own an d up. double time, for each note.


A~I-Cigar Box Guitar music testlvals have been held recently in Carrolton, Ky.: Huntsville. Ala.: and Red Lion .. Penn. and more are being planned for 2006. Check the clgarboxguitars Yahool Group for details and updates


CGG sites: Cll}':!i boxqult<lis.com. gear ~tlescam!clg<lr baxqult<lr

eGG Yahool Group: Pwuos.vahoo.comkrouos! (:1 <i<:trboxgultars

CGG-bu ild lng tu torial: clJ-:'aibox.~'UI t8rs.com

Musica/lnstrument Design by Bart Hopkin

Cardboard Fa.!k Instruments to Make and Play by Dennis Waring

rJ S ound cllp o'f au th or Ed Vogel playing "Iwlnkle. Twin kl e"' .. www.~·eoclties.com/eLi vo~:;el/cbd:VI/ VIA

M.ke: 87



The easiest way to start circuit bending

is "playing open circuits." That's where you open up an audio device and use your hands or alligator clips to mess with the board inside and see what it sounds like .. But it's almost as easy to permanently "bend' any suitable device by soldering on a few wires and switches. We'll explain how, and then show you how we transformed a Casio SIK-5., a cornmon.Bos-era sampling keyboard, into an unstoppably flexible sound organ and sonic effects generator.

A word of caution: Do not attempt to circuit bend anything that needs to be plugged into a wall, such as a VCIR or a television. These devices use high voltages, and playing with the circuitry inside might injure or kill you .. Circuit bending is for battery-powered toys and instruments only.

When not sticking her hand In electronic aqu: prnent. CriSli<l1U1 Yllmbo spms industri al beats all tile OJ tabl e and hid as by day ill the gu: se of a computer prcgrarnm er, Sabastian BO<lz doesn't Just circuit bend as a hobby but 31 so uses his Creations III recording and performing synthpop and industrial musi c.

90 Ma ke: V~IUT"'" 04


Any batterv-powered audio toy or musical instrument can be bent. Favol-iltes include old Speak & Speills, toy keyboards, and Furbys, available at low prices at gal-age sales and junk shops nationwide,

Wi~h a pair of ,alligator clips, probe around the circuit board, GO'ITInacting solder points and listening fo r the re sults,

You'll o ftan ~inCill good be nd s by GOITIInacting differenlt pins onl a chip.

with the alligator clips. R:es,isto rs usually work best, but yOI~ can also try [um ping diodas, capacitors, and other components,

For '(olllr Listening Pleasure

Projectco-author S.abas"ii,an Boaz has produced! several electronic music eDs ~hat f;ea~ulr'e sounds horn his bent lnstrumenf collection. H is older music relied heavily nn clrcult bendinlg, and his Imesl CD, !=lead Orone, bu llds on ~hese root's by i neorporatlng crm~;y ,el ectronle sounds gan eratad using a variety of tachnlq uas.

D You can listen ~o some of Sabastian's music, along wiilh other bent instrument r,ecorditilgs, at mrlkezitile.com/04/circui~bend ing

Th e quickest teciTInique is to lick a filTIger and press it around resisto rs and him pots: neighboring solder points will be bridlgedl by the variable resistor of yo,u r ski n, pro dueing ITIiGe distortions. Avo,i d gatt ing too,

111 u ch mol stur e 0 n the board because that can corrode the con ~acts.

Permanently Bent

1"0 rnaka bands permanent, solder wires and swikhes ito the connection points, Th e ,e,a sl esffi matho d! is to bridge th e points dliredily. lih is project brings ~h em out+o a patch bay ilhat allowsarbltrary connecilions, f;·or greater flexibiliity.

M,ke: '91



The father of circuit bending confronts the normals,

I t's hard to (mow who inven ted elec lron ic rnu S[C

s yn th esls, bu t yo u cou ld say tha tReed G haz ala uninvented it. He coined the terrnrcircuit bending" and has been the technique's splritualfather and first major practitioner.

G h azata s tumbled on th e id ea in 196 7. "I was

14 going on 15. in junior high and craving my own synth, but penniless," he recalls. "In my desk drawer was a junked mini ampll fier made by Rad bShack. battery installed and back off, exposing the circuitry, C 10 sing the drawer a tter a search for wh o-knowswhat. my room was suddenly filled with weird electronic music: strange 'r'anged' oscillator sweeps rising in pitch. repeating

over and over again." The amplifier had shorted out against something metal, and that led to a revelation: what if you shorted ou t circuitry inten tionally?

Peed"s first instrument to ok ad van tage of th is idea, but audiences didn't immediately take to the avant-garde sounds.

"Rowdy Elvis fans" at an

early gig physically attacked Ghazala, hoping to "send me and the band to the emergency room:' he says. "But their main target was my instrument. It symbolized a notion oif rnuslc beyond verbal baHad. telling stories in a language they couldn't understand" The audience succeeded in des troying the instrurnen r.

Despite the lack o.f early audience support.

Ghazala was hooked on creating something new and alien. and his audience-obliterated instrument was followed by decades of prolific instrument building. "When I was first body-contacting bent instruments. I realized neither the circuits nor I

s topped at ou rend s anymore." says Gh azala, "I was extended into the circuit and the circu it was extended into me. We shared the vita! electricity that we each depended upon to function. to live. We were no tonger two separate entities, like guitar and guitarist. We. literally, were one" He calls the comblna lion a "Blo-Electronic Audiosapian:' or BEAsape.

Circuit bending. Ghszala explains. means dropping your intentions. "When I hack a radio receiver. I may clip some diodes in it so that I can tune into a wider frequency range. But that's not circuit bending. because I know where things are going to go. With bending. you cannot presume what you're going to find - just like sending a probe into deep space." And ou tsld e presurnp tlon ~ies an alien wO rfd filled with alien sounds,

Ghazala's instruments certainly look alien, with flashing ~igh ts, eyeballs, laser controls. and handinked patterns that resemble psychedelic extralerres trial animal prints. G hazala cons iders

"Their main target was my instrument. It symbolized a notion of music beyond verbal ballad, telling stories in a language they couldn't understand,"

9.2 Ma ke: V~IUT"'" 04

his creations more organism than art object. with body rnodlflcatlons that allow them to "sing things they couldn't sing before:'

Perhaps Ghazala's instruments have grown eyeballs and skins because they're evolving. Nearly 40 years after his first experiments. circuit bending has become a worldwide phenomenon. "As the art or circuit bending claims more territory. spreading through th e music u nderground ~ike a~ien bacteria." Ghazala says, "It's infecting more and more circuitry every day."


D Ghazale's tu torial on how to build an I ncar-tor is available a t makezme.com/04/wcull tbend Ill};.

Peter K.i rn is a. composer, musicianand madia.artist: his blcg (creat,ecii,gitalmusic.com) regularlyoovers circuit bendingand other tar-out music technologies.


[A] Casio SK-series keyboard We used om SK-5, bu t they're all great for bending, Check local tlni!'! stores or e13ay_

[13] Strand ed wire .22.gm~ge or thereabouts

[C] Small machine screws and nuts At leas t 77 of each

[D] Flat, non-conducting, easily drillable box For the paIdTII bay, we used a transItICelTI,t plastic storaga 110x_ The patch bay box should be big enough to held and permit access ~o 77 screws without crowding.

[E] Flat. no n-eon ducting box Like above, but s.l1iimller;f.or edemal key box controller (optional}

[F] Assorted switches, contacts, .an d other bend components F'or the control panel- We u.sed.4 t,oggle switches.L potantiorn eter_.iL photom etar,

2 doorknobs (for body contacts), and a pu shbutton momentary switch to reset the dellice_

[G] FlaL non-conducting. easily drillable panel, about 5 "'x5" For tha ccn trol panel, whichfits over the keyboard's speaker araa,

[19] Hose clamps (.2)

[I] Alligator clips At

I east a 'few; th.e more, til e I1l errier,

[J] Etl1ern et cable

For external controllers (optional!


Momentary switches We used keyboard keys. ~rOI1il1 mTII old MacilTI,fos h. lin mmTIy old'er, heavier computer keyboards, each key is its OWITI s el~containadrn olll:ilelTIl,1lry switch (not s,lwwITII)"

[M] Soldering equ iprnan t [I'll] Glue gun and 110t gll~e [0] Multimeter

[P] Drill an d drill bits [Q] Ro tary tool and bits [R] Electrical tape Mldtiple voltage

tran storm er (op ti 0 n a I, ImI shown)

[K] EtI1 ern et jack

For ex~emal controllers (optional)!

[L.] Flexible plastic tu bing

M~k.: 93




Tune: A Weekend Compillexity: Medium


The chips on Casio SK keyboards contain vast potential for unruly sounds. and wiring up 21 patch bay unlocks ail of it by making every possible pin-to-pin connection available.

La .. Find the main chips. Open the case, remove the rna therboard < and identify the main sound processing ch ips: these are two large< rectangular chips next to each other in the midd ~e of the board. Each has 14 pins per side. a to tal ot 5,6 pin s. lurn th e board over and find the poin ts of these pins on the unci ersld e. You will solder one wire to each of these.

lb. Sol'der and clheck wires. For each row of 14 main chip pins, solder 14 lengths ohvire. each around 30 inches long. to the contact points underneath. Carefully check each pin for solder bridges VI/hen you finish a row. replace the board and play the keyboard to see i'f it stiil works nOfrna~iy, I f it makes any weird sounds, you probably bridged two pins together. You can also use your multirneter to test pairs of wires 'for co n tlnuity and resolder wherever you find one.

94 M .:ke: V~:lurr"" 04

~ I J

1 '

Ic, lnsulate, Once each row passes its test. cover its pins in electrlcal tape. and wrap the w[res in electrical tape to create a nice cable Arter you've soldered and checked all four rows. remove the tape covering the pins and test the unit dgdin. \Nhen it passes

th e res t. warm up yo ur glue gu n and cover each row in hot gru e. This hold s th ew ires in place and ins ulates th e can nections to preven t unin tend ed

s hart circuits.



Some people construct patch bays using R:CA j::;cks. but screws and alligator dips ere cheaper. more com pact. and ttley let you corl nsct mul tiple clips to the same pain t, Wh~Ctl vastly expan ds the son lc posslbllitles

Za, Dtiill the holes, \~easure. mark, and drm 50 holes in the patch bay box, four rows of 15. one for each of the 55 wires, plus tou rill rnper points on th e sid e to f::;dli tate rnul liple con nectioris. HIe holes should fit your screws snug ly. Leave room fa r ano ther, smaller set a t ho les fa r the can tro I panel wh lch you'll drill later.

2b. Insert tllle screws. Bolt screws in to the holes, with the head 5 a n the in sid e and the shafts pojn ting au t.

2c. Make the patch cabl e. COLI nt you r control panel cornponen ts. and th en strip end CLi t eno ugh wires to connect to each of these. plus two more for the tuning circuit: \Ne used 17 total. YOLl'II connect these wires 1(:1 ter, so it helps to inelu de 50 me ex tra on es and label which en ds can nect to on e ano lher. G ath er them togetherwith four taped together sets of patch wires. to make a super cable that w~11 run between the keyboard and patch bdy. Secure each end with hos clamps, and push it through the plastic tube.

Mohe: 95


2d. Route the patcl1l cable. Cu t

a large hoie in the side of the patch bay box, Insert the patch cable and secure it by hot-gluing the hose clamp to the box,

2'e" Co nnect the patch wires, Now it's time to wire the screws. Wrap the end of each patch wire clockwise underneath the head of each screw and tigh ten tf'le bolt to secure the wire, Connect each group of 14 patch wires to a di'['ferent row on the patch bay,

2f. Test the board. Using alllgator clips. connect switches and pots between different patch pofn ts. play the keyboard. and see how it works Operating the components and changing ther configuration should yield d i'fferent soun ds.


Many old electronic instruments easily lose their tuning and have a small potentiometer that adjusts them back in to, tune. Vlle'lI bring this component's connections ou t to our patch bay. so you can create bends th 8Jt alter th e pitch 0 f the en tire keyboard,

3.a. III nsetder the pot" The S K's tu ning pot is normally accessed through a t1 ole in the un ders ide of th e keyboard. in the center. and you adjust

it with a small screwdriver. Find the cornpon en t on th e board an d use a solder sucker or desoldering braid to remove all of th e solder,

96 Ma ke: V~Ju:rr'" 04

3b. Pull out the tuning pot. You will probably have to use some force. Then mark where it was located, to help you r1n d it letter.



Hie can trol panel houses in terface components which you can hock into any circuit bends via lhe patch bay. It also has the reset Dutton. a momentary switch that restarts the instrument after a crash

Ala. Gut out tile speaker grill, Using a rotary tool. cut au t the speaker grllL This hole is going to be used to house the interface elements

Alb .. iBuild the-control panel. Attach your components to the panel. for

o u rs. we d rill ed ho !es in 8 pi ece 0 r hard plastic and then hot glued in our components: four toggle switches. a pair of doorknobs for body contacts. a potentiometer (separate from the tun ing pat). a pho torneter to r light sensitive distortions, and a mornen tary switch, which will act 8S a reset button.

Make: 97




5a" firnish the patch bay. Dri~~ holes and inst21~1 screws in the patch bay. as kl Step2.You'[1 need the appropriate number of contact points for each component on the control panel, pius two more to ~ead to the tun ing pot's contacts on thecircuit board. Arrange th e holes in the same 'way th at YOlUr components are arranged on the control panel. Th is makes it easy to remember which contact point on the bay corresponds to\l~hictl control,

51l. Wire the control panel. NmN you're going to lUse the extra wires in ttl e cable. I'f ttl ey aren 't labeled, lu se a multirneter to identify matching ends. Then connect the control panel cornponents ito the new patch bay array. fo[IO'wing your logical mapping. Screw the \rJires ito the patch bay points as before. and solder the other ends to the components.

5c.,COl1ll1ect the tUl1Iing circuit. Screw two remaining extra wires to the tuning-circuit points on the patch bay and solderthe other ends to the tuning pot contacts on the board.

98 M"ke: V~lurr"" 04