LTK: What advice do you have for moms who want to tackle these crafts for boys? Is it really possible to make these items if you’ve never picked up a saw or a soldering iron?
DEN: Absolutely! First off, many of these projects were designed for kid who had likewise never touched a saw or soldering iron; everything here is within your reach. Beyond that, I’ve found that, especially with teens, a little humility goes a long way. Some of my best teaching experiences weren’t couched as “I know a lot about this, and now I’m gonna tell you,” but instead as “I have no idea what I’m doing, but neither do you; let’s figure it out together.” Working together is really powerful, especially when the ages of the people working together diverge greatly.
The author photo (which you see in the right-hand sidebar) was shot by my brother-in-law, photographer Justin Lundquist. When the cover was being laid out, this was one of three high-res photos of me that I had to offer to the graphic designer, and the only one where I wasn’t clearly holding a gun (Justin–who is also an incredible, natural shot–had gone skeet shooting with me, my dad, my other sister’s husband, and her son, and had brought along his good camera). So, let this be a lesson: If you’ve gotten most of the way through writing a book, get someone to take a decent hi-res photo of you; unbelievably, you will need it.
Justin and his business partner, Ben Syverson, have just gotten together money to start producing their Pinwide “lens.” This fits any Micro 4/3-body digital camera in place of the removable glass lens; a prototype was used to shoot this photo:
There’s a few of these sorts of pinhole lenses floating around, but what makes this one super wicked-awesome is that the aperture is etched, instead of laser drilled (giving a smoother, smaller hole) and the pinhole is actually recessed back into the camera body, bringing the aperture much closer to the CCD sensor. The result: super-wide angle pics with infinite depth-of-field focus and vignetting; high-res digital photos (and video!) taken today looks just like giant, flawless old-timey pinhole shots.
It really is the best damn digital pinhole out there–both in terms of price and end-results. It’s wicked, wicked awesome.
Here’s some video, some of which is shot *inside* a pinball machine:
If you do more than a little soldering, then a pot of tip tinner/cleaner (I’ve been using RadioShack’s brand, stock #64-020) is a worthwhile investment. The heating and cooling of the soldering tip over the course of many sessions tends to corrode it–I’m a little unclear why, as I’ve gotten a lot of mixed explanations. Some chalk it up to impurities in the solder, and others to the fact that, if you tinned your tip with regular strands of solder, you’ve likely done so unevenly, resulting in a blob on one side, and an almost naked face on the other. Whatever the cause, the degradation of a soldering iron tip is *much* more pronounced when you use a cheap tip (which, by definition, is lower-quality metal) or a cheap iron (which is less temperature stable, meaning that even as you work, there are big swings in the temperature of the iron).
In any case, I’ve found that tip cleaner extends the life of a soldering iron tip by years. Here’s the skinny:
You can’t really tell from the pics, but the shafts of these knitting needles are hexagonal, which make them *much* easier on the hands, with better control. The result: more even stitches, fewer hand cramps.
Thanks so much to everyone who helped make the Beer and Boomerangs Book Launch a success! Despite the seasonal midwestern cold and darkness, we enjoyed three hours of beer, wine, salty snacks, boomerangs, rocking out on the $10 Electric Guitar & Thunderdrum, and kid-based bedlam–including ad hoc rolling chair bumper car races.
We’re still celebrating the holiday season:
1) Now through Xmas save 35% when you order the book directly from the publisher, No Starch Press, using the coupon code MAKEMORE
2) We’ve released another sample project as a free download: Project 18: Cardboard Boomerangs. You’ll be making and throwing in minutes, esp. if you download these Print-n-Snip Boomerang templates (work great with cereal boxes)
The official Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred book launch party is December 3 from 6 to 8pm at the Workantile Exchange (118 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI, 48104)
FREE beer and family-friendly refreshments!
Hang out with Dave-o himself!
Check out projects from the book!
Build, tune, fly, and keep FREE cardboard boomerangs!
December 3 is also Midnight Madness throughout downtown Ann Arbor, so the streets will be lively with free music, jugglers, fire eaters, and crazy-awesome deals at lots of shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes!
RSVP via Facebook, or email me at dave[AT]davideriknelson[DOT]com, or just show up and have fun!