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February 24, 2012

Spread the Gospel of Universal Emancipation and unfettered robosexuality!

Hey All: It's the LAST DAY for regular Janes and Joes to get a FREE copy of my Nebula-nominated post-Civil War steampunk-sexpot novella, "Tucker Teaches the Clockies to Copulate"

Let's catapult the propaganda, monetize the eschaton, and show those Fat Cats in Richmond that we support Universal Emancipation and unfettered robosexuality!

February 23, 2012

FREE SAMPLE: Build a FedEx Kite

I've been talking with CraftFoxes--a very cool new crafting/DIY community--and we've added my FedEx Diamond Kite to their database of free projects. Click on over and login (it's free!) to learn how to make one of the several kites included in SNIP, BURN, SOLDER, SHRED.

To go along with this newly released sample, I've also posted some additional tips on kite launching and flying as a handy-dandy, DRM-free downloadable PDF. (Check out the other FREE SAMPLES, too.)

And, just to keep all the links in one handy place, here's my discussion of kites and their construction from last October.

Enjoy!

Handmade Conversations -- David Erik Nelson, Geek Craft Extraordinaire

CraftFoxes--a very cool new crafting/DIY community--posted a really long interview with me, and was really nice about my rambling, evasive answers. Check it out:

What is your craft medium of choice, and why do you like it so much?

This shifts around. When I was little, I loved LEGO, Capsela and cardboard boxes. In high school, I loved weaving and ceramics, then briefly delved into figure drawing. In college I was really into ironic, swear-leaden cross-stitch, which I'd actually learned from my mom in elementary school (not the swearing, just cross-stitch itself). After that I went through a sock-animal phase and a more general sewing phase. An abortive attempt at crochet came next, followed, almost a decade later, by a successful crochet phase. I also learned to knit once, despite having no interest, because my wife wanted to learn and couldn't decode the damn instructions in any of the books (which, I agree, are bizarrely algorithmic and technical; it's like trying to figure out integral calculus using a textbook written in Middle English. Any time I hear some blowhard characterizing women as being "naturally" poor at math and physics, I think of how damn complicated those knitting books are, and how few male engineers I know can figure them out).

180 words, and not a one of them *actually answering the question*! The whole thing is like that, and runs upwards of 1700 words (and I skipped some questions). There's even a picture of a very young me with a tame raccoon. If anything is indicative of what it's like to hang out with me, this is. You've been warned.

Also, from now until Monday, Feb 27 CraftFoxes is giving away a copy of my book; click on over and enter to win.

February 22, 2012

The Printer's Finished the New Run of SNIP, BURN, SOLDER, SHRED #giveaway

And CraftFoxes is giving a copy away; check it out: Comment to Win the Book 'Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred'! - Craftfoxes

February 20, 2012

Be a mensch: Hook your pals up with a free steampunk sexbot ebook!

Gentle Readers,

Sorry to go off message for a moment, but I have a less DIY, more scifi announcement:

The Kindle ebook giveaway for my steampunk novella "Tucker Teaches the Clockies to Copulate" is *this Wednesday through Friday* (February 22-24)!

Wanna help spread the love and catapult the propaganda? Rad! Please feel free to share this link as far and wide as you deem fit: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006RTWZF6 (The book will be ABSOLUTELY FREE starting on Wednesday).

Wanna share a few images from the book? Here are links to a couple of nice examples of the new, original art from Chad Sell:

  • http://www.chadsellcomics.com/wp-content/uploads/windmill-low-res.jpg
  • http://www.chadsellcomics.com/wp-content/uploads/dropin-low-res.jpg

    Wanna blurb? Howsabout:

    This Nebula-nominated novella was first published in Paradox magazine in 2008 and answers the pressing historical question: What would have happened if a crippled, alcoholic, Confederate veteran living in Utah Territory taught clockwork robots to have sex?

    Thanks again for your help!

    One last bit: Amazon reviews are a *huge* boost to lil guys like us; if you read the ebook and like it, why not take a second to post a review? If you read the ebook and don't like it . . . um . . . well, then, please feel free to grouse vociferously and at length in your home or place of business, among your closest confidents and immediate family--even send me a personal letter, or pick a fight with me on the streets of Ann Arbor, MI. Let me directly address your concerns about the literary merits of clockwork sexbots and foul drunkards without the cold intermediary of Amazon's star-based review system coming between us.

    One way or the other, *Thanks!*

    With Love, I Remain,
    Yr dave-o . . .

  • February 19, 2012

    If You Don't Get Excited at 1min30sec into this Video . . .

    . . . then you're definitely looking at the wrong blog. This is a *fantastic* development in material fabrication; see the robot fly after the jump! (It doesn't do particularly well but, you know what, neither do bees if you're really watching).

    (via Tiny Robotic Bee Assembles Itself Like Pop-Up Book | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com)

    February 18, 2012

    Recommended Kit: MintyTime Binary Clock

    My wife gave me a Wicked Devices MintyTime kit for Non-Denominational Gift Giving Holiday. It's a great lil project, well within the reach of anyone with basic soldering skills and a steady hand. The instructions are clear (although, I swear to God, there's no mention of placing resistor R17 on the board--I missed the damn thing on *two* separate builds of this kit [more on that follows]). Conclusion: A fun, geeky project with attractive result and a graceful design; recommended for anyone with basic soldering skills, or more advanced hobbyists who want a very tidily executed binary clock.

    That said, what really pleased me was Wicked Device's excellent customer service. After I built my first MintyTime, I discovered that it was keeping terrible time (loosing several minutes from every 24 hours) and burning through batteries like a lunatic. In fact, the behavior was *exactly* as bad as the extreme beta version they describe here (scroll down to point #4 on "Keeping Good Time"), back when they were trying to use the chip's (crappy) onboard RC oscillator rather than a dedicated crystal oscillator.

    I emailed Wicked Devices and got a reply that same morning. Evidently a chip with the old software had slipped in among the current batch. Vic was happy to reburn it for me. Unfortunately, I hadn't socketed the chips when I built the kit (contrary to *my own damn advice!* Always socket your chips, kids!), and drove myself nuts trying to desolder a 16-lead DIP without destroying it (which is basically impossible with a standard soldering rig). I shared my grief with Vic, who suggested I mail the finished project to them, and they could reburn the chip onboard--which they did. Then the damn thing got lost by the USPS on the return leg, and so Wicked Devices sent me an entirely new kit *plus* the an extra little jumper board and jack so that you can run the clock off of a USB wall-wart instead of batteries.

    The new clock runs *perfectly*: not a lost minute over the course of *weeks* of operation.

    So, the final verdict: This is a good project from a great company; totally worthwhile purchase or gift.

    [FYI: I've mounted the LEDs on the "wrong" side of the board here for my own aesthetic reasons.]

    February 16, 2012

    A Valentine's Day Sock Cthulhu

    I received this email two days ago, but decided to sit on it so as not to inadvertently spoil any Valentine's surprises. Cirsten writes

    Hi David: I found your sock Cthuhlu on ManMade and had to make it for my bf for Valentine's Day. Now I am a very crafty girl, but have never sewed anything in my entire life (27 years) but had to do it...so I am sending you the results. This vday sock monster was created in 4 hours (had to figure out how to sew it all together and find wire for the wings, used underwire from a bra lol)

    Well hope you like and I made you proud.

    Yes indeed! The underwire wing reinforcement is *genius*! And I *love* this fella's saucy little pose on the sofa:

    Check out a couple other pics here (man, I *love* those wings!)

    *thanks Cirsten!*

    FYI: Upcoming "Tucker Teaches the Clockies to Copulate" ebook promo

    Just a quick heads-up: my Nebula-nominated ("toot, toot!" goes my own horn) novella, "Tucker Teaches the Clockies to Copulate" will be available absolutely *FREE!* next week! Visit Amazon between February 22 and 24 and download a copy! Spread the word WITH *EXCLAMATION* POINTS! Overstate Minor TRIUMPHS!!!

    But, for reals, swing by and grab a free copy from Feb 22-24:

    Amazon.com: Tucker Teaches the Clockies to Copulate eBook: David Erik Nelson, Chad Sell: Kindle Store


    February 04, 2012

    Mostly just testing using G+ as an image hosting service . . .

    . . . but I do *really* love this handcrafted bike rack (check out the lil locking carrybox!)

    February 01, 2012

    Boomerang Success Story!

    Make A Simple Cardboard Boomerang | Apartment Therapy

    I remember when my brother got a foam-rubber boomerang at the circus one year. We spent hours throwing it at each other in the backyard, desperately trying to get it to come back to us with little success. I figured I just didn't have the knack. As it turns out, it was the boomerang's fault (I knew it!), and I can make one in a few minutes that is guaranteed to work. Sign me up!

    FACT: Hearing about folks' success with one of my projects is just *insanely* gratifying--and all the more so when it's a boomerang success story. My introduction to boomerangs as a kid was *also* a circus souvenir, and I had *exactly* the same experience as Richard; soured me on the damn things for ~15 years.

    Do you have a boomerang success story? Send it my way; we need to push back against all the terrible boomerang karma drifting around out there.

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    About the Author


    David Erik Nelson is a freelance writer and former high school teacher. His fiction has appeared in Asimov's, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded.

  • Find him online at www.davideriknelson.com
  • Follow him on Twitter: @SquiDaveo
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  • Contact: dave[AT]davideriknelson[DOT]com
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    Make cool things (water rockets, cardboard boomerangs, a $10 electric guitar, a sock squid, etc.) while learning cool skills (basic soldering, sewing, carpentry, woodburning, etc.), and do it all on the cheap (most projects are under $10, many supplies are *FREE*).
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