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MAKE Newsletter

November 16, 2010

Happy autumn, makers! We trust you had a fun Halloween and are excited about heading into winter. We don't know about you, but it's around this time when we start thinking about what we want to make for the holidays, special things to eat and drink, and what to make to give to family and friends. Look for some cool holiday and handmade gift ideas (and other gifts for makers) in our gift guide series, starting this week. November is also Maker Hobbies month on the site, so look for coverage of cool maker-friendly "kid's stuff" for toy-tinkerers of all ages.   Gareth


"Dead Drops" USB Drives in Walls

Insane Red vs. Blue Halo Costumes

Game Racing Cockpit in an Ottoman

Project: Hard-Shell Mold w/ Adam Savage

Make: Ultimate Workshop and Tool Guide 2011


We're thrilled to announce the release of the Make: Ultimate Workshop and Tool Guide . We've gotten a lot of requests over the years for an issue devoted to tools and workshops, so here it is, not a regular subscriber issue of MAKE, but a special stand-alone 100-page guide to building maker workshops and outfitting them with the best tools we know about. Most of the over 200 tools featured here are ones that we and other MAKE contributors use and love -- tried, true, and bench-tested. Besides outfitting shops and reviewing tools and equipment, we also take tours of some of our favorite makers' workshops, from Adam Savage and Mister Jalopy to Nathan Myrhvold and Ky Michaelson (aka the infamous "Rocketman").

This special publication is on newsstands now and also available in the Maker Shed (in print or as a PDF). It is not part of our regular 4-volume annual subscription, but a separate publication, one that every maker will likely be thrilled to unwrap this holiday season. You can see a video preview of the issue here.

Passing the Wind


In MAKE Volume 11, we published an experimental project piece by Charles Platt that attempted to verify if the claims of a viral video could be true. The video seemed to show a wind-driven cart traveling downwind faster than the windspeed itself. Charles built his own cart, tested it, and couldn't duplicate the results. He suspected shenanigans.

As soon as the issue hit newsstands, the MAKE Forums and other tech boards lit up with vigorous debate over the idea. Other makers started building carts, with some claiming success. One of the more vocal and active experimenters was Rick Cavallaro. He even got funding from Google and Joby to build a human-piloted cart and conducted tests in the desert with lots of sensors onboard to record the details of the craft's performance, impartial judges in attendance (from the North American Land Sailing Association), etc. Rick and his team claimed success and thought they'd put an end to the controversy. Not so fast.

In a three-part series on Make: Online, we're exploring the Blackbird wind cart (the name of the piloted vehicle built by Rick Cavallaro) and the whole concept of "DDWFTTW" (directly downwind faster than the wind). Again, it's created quite a stir and there are compelling and polarized opinions on both sides. Here is MAKE's coverage of the wind cart so far:

The Little Cart That Couldn't (MAKE Volume 11)

Downwind faster than the wind: Blackbird sets a record by Mark Frauenfelder

What I've Learned About Wind Carts by Mark Frauenfelder

And look for the next piece in the series, "An Interview with Jack Goodman: Wind Cart Pioneer," later this week.

Contests and Sponsored Programs

Here at MAKE, we like to create contests and sponsored programs with our advertisers that are fun, educational, and genuinely useful to our readers. Here are two fun campaigns we're currently running with Dremel and Microchip Technology/Energizer.


Around the Maker Workshop with Dremel — For Dremel, we put together a series of build projects centered on the beloved Dremel Rotary Tool and their Multi-Max oscillating tool. Called "Around the Maker Workshop," and starring John Park of Make : television, these PDF-based projects offer fun and unique ways of using these handy tools around the shop. Projects so far have included building a brushed aluminum iPad stand and making your own straight knife cut from an old saw blade. You can see the entire series here.


Make It Last Build Series, sponsored by Microchip Technology/Energizer — In the Make It Last Build Series of three guided builds and contests, we explore the relationship between microcontrollers and power. The first project was to build a data logger for capturing and storing sensor data that can later be retrieved and analyzed. In the next project, we're going to be building robotic plants that will "sprout" at a pre-programmed time, grow, and go through robotic plant life cycles. We're excited to see where people take this concept. Find out more and sign up for the newsletter on the Make It Last Build Series landing page.

Do-It-Yourself Lexicon


Explore the world of DIY through its tech terms, jargon, and slang. If you have any words you want to share, send them to me. This issue, we celebrate Maker Hobbies month with model rocketry terms. —Gareth

Born-Again Rocketeer — A hobbyist who was into rockets as a kid and then gets sucked back in as an adult. Also "YABAR" (yet another born-again rocketeer).

CATO (pronounced "kay-toe") — A catastrophic failure of a rocket/rocket motor. Opinions vary on the origins of the term. "Catastrophic takeoff" and "catastrophe at takeoff" are two popular assertions.

Experimental — The area of more serious (and dangerous) rocket research above high-power rocketry.

High-Power Rocketry (HPR) — The designation of rockets above the model rocket (or low-power, Estes-type rockets). HPRs use motor sizes from class H to class O. Beyond that is the realm of "experimental" rocketry.

Land Shark — A rocket that fails, lands on the ground, but is still under power. Frantic Benny Hill-like hilarity frequently ensues.

Lawn Dart — A rocket whose recovery system fails, turning it into a pointy projectile that buries itself into the ground.

Odd Roc — A model rocket made out of unconventional materials and/or is oddly shaped (and frequently aerodynamically questionable). Frequently used in a rocket meet as comic relief.

Safety Nazi — A hobbyist or range safety officer (RSO) so obsessive about rules, regs, and safety concerns that he or she sucks away all the fun.

Upscaling — Taking a model rocket design, usually from the classic Estes/Centuri era, and creating a much larger, higher-powered version of it.

Woosh Generator — A humorous way of referring to a rocket propulsion system without having to risk rekindling the: "Is it a motor or is it an engine?" debate.