Behold the LEGO ukulele

Brickley’s Words — Blog Archive — Ukulele out of LEGO bricks?
And it’s playable–although, interestingly, only in a really cocky low tuning. The builder indicates that, on earlier designs, the bridge popped off well before he’d tuned the root to C, which is why he went with this slightly unconventional (although rad as hell) tailpiece-style saddle. Very cool, and much more playable (and far more mellifluous) than the infamous LEGO harpsichord.
I *love* these tuning gears, incidentally. Since a uke C isn’t all that tight, I wonder if the final tuning is more a result of the bridge/saddle, or the tuning machines.
(via the CRAFT blog)

*SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION!* Great Deals on Dad-appropriate DIY Books for Father’s Day: SAVE 40%!

My publisher, No Starch Press, is promoting several books–including mine, the only non-LEGO book here–as Father’s Day gifts. I own all of these books (and was just raving about Yoshihito’s Technic books the other day), and they are pretty rad, with projects suitable for kids as young as four (my boy’s age when my book hit stores last winter) to teenagers (I also have two nephews, and used to teach in a K-12).
At any rate, buy *before midnight Pacific time on June 5* using the coupon code DADS11 and save 40%–that’s cheaper than Amazon, for God’s sake, and an especially good deal on several of these titles, since the publisher will throw in the ebook pack (DRM-free PDF, Kindle, and ePub versions) for free with the purchase of a print copy.

More LEGO Technic Awesomeness from Yoshihito Isogawa

I *love* Yoshihito’s LEGO creations, and these two videos really spotlight how awesome his little movers are. I’ve got a couple of his Technic idea books: They are beautiful to look at, and totally inspiring when you’re looking for new ways to tinker in LEGO (my boy just turned 5, and is mad-crazy for LEGOs, so this isn’t a weak endorsement; I’ve got LEGO opinions, folks).

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!*