Welcome MAKE readers and Mr. Kuhn’s Students!

Thanks for dropping by!  If you’re one of Mr. Kuhn’s students (or a friend/family member), the boomerang class on Wednesday was *awesome*!  Thanks so much for inviting me and getting so excited about things like dihedral and positive attack!  If you’re a MAKE reader, welcome aboard! In either case, there’s a collection of links below to get your started, plus a coupon code, if you want to order the book.
This site offers links to  free sample projects from Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred, as well as some supplies for the projects (right now that’s limited to the 42-gauge enameled wire used to make the $10 electric guitar pickup), tips and tricks for DIY tinkering, news about book events, and other nifty DIY/making info.  
FYI, if you’re a Detroit maker, I’ll almost certainly be at MAKER Faire Detroit this summer (either with a booth, or just presenting), so please say “Hey!” if we’re in the same place at the same time.  The Motor City MAKER Faire is held at the Henry Ford, and last year was *packed* with simply amazing activities and projects from Michigan makers.  Seriously, with the economy such a perpetual bummer, it’s easy to loose sight of how much innovation and creation is going on in Michigan at the grassroots level; we are doing really crazy-sweet stuff.  Also: Loads of crazy vehicles folks have built–And fire! And soda-pop Explosions!  And you get full access to the HankFo Museum with your MAKER Faire pass; *so* worth the ticket price.  
Anyway, back on track:

  • PROJECT 18: Cardboard Boomerangs. Download this PDF of Print-n-Snip Boomerang Templates for some quick-n-easy cereal/donut box fast-catch boomerangs; just trace ’em, cut ’em out, tune ’em up (as per the instructions at the end of Project 18), and you’re ready to fly.

  • PROJECT 3: The Sock Squid (which can also be modded into a Sock Cthulhu; check out the Gallery–link in the navigation bar to the right–for a couple cool examples).
    If you want to buy the book from a real, live bookstore, most Borders and Barnes & Noble stock it, or can special-order you a copy no problemo.
    You can also buy directly from the publisher; this is pretty rad, because when you buy the print version directly from No Starch Press, they throw in three DRM-free ebook versions for FREE!  iPad, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Sony eReaders are all supported.  Use the coupon code KUHN’SCLASS and you’ll get a 30%  discount.  This basically makes the book/ebook bundle the same price as buying just the book from Amazon; the coupon code works for anyone (not just Mr. Kuhn’s fantastic third-graders) and is valid until June 30.
    And, of course, you can buy at Amazon, if that’s more your thing:

    If you have any question, or build a project and wanna share pics or video with the world, drop me an email at dave[AT]davideriknelson[DOT]com.

  • FoolMoon, FestiBooks, and FestiFools are all THIS WEKEND!

    These events hit the Four Fs:

  • Free!
  • Family-friendly!
  • Frikkin AWESOME!
  • FREE!
    FestiFools: Ann Arbor’s Annual Street Festival of Huge Puppets & Random Acts of April Foolishness
    1) Tonight at 7pm there’s the FoolMoon lantern parade in downtown Ann Arbor (there are several gathering points, including the University’s art museum, UMMA.
    2) On Sunday FestiBooks runs from noon until 6pm, with free workshops–including cardboard boomerangs, romance-novel writing, and more–from noon ’til 4.
    3) At 4pm on Sunday the Annual FestiFools Giant Scary Puppet Parade will take over Main St. (right outside the FestiBooks door) from 4-5pm.
    All FREE! See you there!

  • Unaltered Footage of the Wave-forms in a Jazzer’s Bass String

    Very cool footage if you are interested in how string instruments work. This is straight video, unaltered and not CGI: The interaction of the digital video camera light-sensor’s scanning speed, the frequency of the string, and the frame-rate of the video make the standing s-wave in the bass string visible. (This is called a “rolling shutter” effect, and there are lots of cool examples floating around the internet. Wicked-awesome!)
    stunning bass-string shot on Vimeo

    stunning bass-string shot from urbanscreen on Vimeo.

    *thanks, adam!*

    Supercool LEGO Technic projects

    LEGO Technic Idea Book Complete Set | No Starch Press

    This is rom Yoshihito Isogawa’s book Wheeled Wonders.

    I have a copy of his Fantastic Contraptions that my publisher sent me, and I *love* it: Really beautiful book (it’s all color photos of the projects, rotated and exploded so you can see how they piece together and function), lots of whimsical projects that are complex without being complicated. (His other videos are pretty sweet, too.)

    FREE Lantern-crafting workshop in Ann Arbor TODAY!

    Every Sunday in March the folks behind FestiFools will be leading the public in building *awesome* illuminated lanterns to be used at the April 1 “FoolMoon” night-time parade (which is a run-up event to the April 3 daytime FestiFools Giant Scary Puppet parade). Come down, build some lanterns, and have an all-around good time with local crafting enthusiasts!
    (I won’t be down at today’s workshop–it’s my mom’s birthday–but will be at the next several.)
    Free, Drop-in Sculptural Lantern Workshops!

  • DATE: March 6, 13, 20, and 27
  • TIME: 10am-5pm
  • LOCATION: The Workantile Exchange, 118 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104
  • BONUS: Free treats from Sweetwaters Cafe for the first 25 folks to show up!
    Here’s a video demo of one sample lantern being built; these are *so supercool*!

  • Make Puppets with Jim Henson

    Making Puppets With Jim Henson @Craftzine.com blog

    This is a good intro to puppet-making, and a really solid lesson in pedagogy.
    I love how chill Henson is; he doesn’t dumb down what he’s saying, and he also doesn’t amp it up (*HEY KIDS!*)–he presumes that his audience, regardless of age, is composed of interested human beings of average intelligence. It’s fun and it’s dignified (not in the sense of “stuffy,” but in that it respects the dignity of both the teacher and the student); in my experience, this is the best recipe for running a class where folks have fun and learn/make something they’ll value (again, regardless of age: 4-year-olds and 40-year-olds can all be spoken to basically the same way, you just have to squat on your haunches when addressing the former, and stand up straight when talking to the latter).
    I also love that the puppeteers are clearly messing with Henson. That cracks me up.

    FREE SAMPLE: Build, tune, and throw cardboard boomerangs

    Learn to make, tune, throw, and catch two different cardboard boomerangs in this FREE SAMPLE from Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred:


    PROJECT 18: Cardboard Boomerangs

    Generations of American children wrongly grow to believe that building and throwing boomerangs is very difficult. This flies in the face of reason: Using less-than-ideal materials, human beings have been building, throwing, and catching returning boomerangs for more than 11,600 years. . . . They are, in fact, among humanity’s longest-standing ways of showing off. . . .

    Boomerangs are absurdly easy to make; the real trick is in tuning and throwing them (all of which I cover in detail in this free sample). With the aid of the Print-n-Snip Templates (link below; includes two new tri-blade designs!) this is a great all-ages project: I’ve had a blast running boomerang workshops with teens and adults at sci-fi conventions, middle-aged family guys drinking beer, and dozens of elementary schoolers on the verge of Snow Day Insanity.