MAKE 08: Toys and Games

A secret history of Myst, resurrecting a neglected pinball machine, making an asteroid mining colony on your kitchen table, creating robotic desk toys, building a rubber band ornithopter, making a toy gun controlled alarm clock, and a special primer on mold making by Mythbuster's Adam Savage.

Play is as important as work — maybe more! Volume 08 features a special Toys and Games section packed with unique makers and projects, plus DIY flying machines, coffee roasters, and our own little flipbook animation (view it online here). And be sure to check out the MAKE Holiday Gift Guide (download a sample) for great gift ideas for the incorrigible makers and inquisitive tinkerers on your list!

Unfortunately, copies of Volume 08 are sold out, but you can still view it in the digital edition.

Table of Contents

blue pdf icon = PDF OF ARTICLE     red content icon = DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES     orange content icon = SLIDESHOWS AND EXTRAS

Made on Earth

» Mr. Cranky by David Battino

Ernie Fosselius' menagerie of mechanical woodcarvings. Page 18

» Belly of the Beast by Arwen O'Reilly Griffith

Theo Jansen's huge, self-propelled sand walkers. Page 20

» Camera-on-Wheels by Megan Mansell Williams

Jo Babcock turns RVs into giant pinhole cameras. Page 21

» Open Source Open Water by Bob Parks

Bryan Horling rescues houseplants with his Linux-based plant waterer. Page 22

» The Secret Life of Death Clouds by Eric Smillie

Artist Matt Jones welds garbage bags into spooky hot-air balloons. Page 23

» Blue Spark by Kirsten Anderson

Charge your tech gadgets on Sean Barrow's elegant, sustainable furniture. Page 24

» Kinetic Fauxbot Sculptures by Bruce Stewart

The robotronic fantasia of sculptor Gould Nemo. Page 25


» Custom Travel-Game Mod by Harry Miller

Make a travel edition of your favorite, and otherwise housebound, board game. Page 17

» Shaker Flashlight Power Source by Cy Tymony

Powering small electronics with your muscles. Page 48

» Streamerator 2000 by Professor Greg Arius

Launch streams of toilet paper into midair, or completely mummify your friends. Page 122

» Paper Water Bomber by Ewan Spence

Winged origami missile with front-load tank delivers wet payload. Page 182


Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Project: Building an Ornithopter by William Gurstelle

Can humans fly by flapping? Build a small, rubber band-powered ornithopter whose motion is similar to a bird in flight. Page 90

» Project: Gun-Operated Alarm Clock by Roger Ibars

Hack a retro gaming light gun with tilt switches to control a vintage digital clock radio. When the alarm wakes you up, grab the gun and kill it off! Page 100

» Moldmaking by Adam Savage

How the pros replicate objects. Page 160


DIY: Music

» TV-to-Synth Interface by Tom Zimmerman

Triggering sound from video images. Page 123

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » World's Loudest iPod by Wendell Anderson, Tom Anderson

iBump crossover lets you crank it up without distortion. Page 128

» Project Redshark by John Riney

Turn your Xbox into a mobile media monstrosity. Page 130

DIY: Home

» My Love Affair with LEDs by Charles Platt

Build a bright, low-powered desk lamp. Page 133

» TV Spinner by Alan Mellovitz

Motorized lazy Susan aims the screen where it's needed. Page 136

» Smart HVAC by Dave Mabe

Energy-efficient A/C knows when you're in the room. Page 140

DIY: Circuits

» MIDI Controller Sock Monkey by Peter Kirn

A/V monkeyshines with flex sensors and a MIDIsense board. Page 142

DIY: Workshop

» Clean Out a Dishwasher by Thomas Arey

Salvaging components from unwanted appliances. Page 146 Download PDF. Download Sample PDF of this article .

DIY: Imaging

» How Not to Make a How-To Video by Travis J.I. Corcoran

Ignore these handy rules and your instructional video will turn out great! Page 149

» Van TV by Ethan O'Toole

Big sights and sounds hit the streets. Page 151

» Quick and Dirty Light Table by Hiram Cook

A storage bin, a pane of glass, and fluorescent light saves hundreds of dollars. Page 154


» Rola Bola by Nick Dragotta, Joost Bonsen, Saul Griffith

Make this balance trainer and go surfing in your imagination. Page 156


» Follow the Bouncing Ball by Dale Dougherty

Pinball's magic juju and the unanticipated effect of one thing on another. Page 11 Download PDF. Download Sample PDF of this article .

News from the Future

» News From the Future: Games with Purpose by Tim O'Reilly

What makers understand is that play is as important as work. Page 13

Life Hacks

» Why Those Kids from Podunk Are Keeping You Down by Danny O’Brien, Merlin Mann

Don't worship successful geeks — emulate 'em. Page 14

Make Free

» High-Definition = Highly Deadly by Cory Doctorow

Forget plugging in a PC or Slingbox. Goodbye open platforms, hello monopoly lockware. Page 16

Hands On

» Egghead by Bruce Sterling

Inventor Nikola Tesla saw reality in his own way. Page 26

» I, Pleo by Robert Luhn

Can a machine have a soul? Can it think? Can it laugh and cry, bug you for a snack, tease you, or curl up on your couch and dream robotic dreams? Can you build such a machine? And can you sell it for $250? Page 28

» Grandpop's Shop by Robyn Miller

A tribute to Robyn Miller's favorite maker. Page 37

» Heavy Lifting by Dale Dougherty

Placing huge towers up a mountain is just the start to reaching Troy Caldwell's ski-resort-on-a-budget dream. Page 38

Heirloom Technology

» Charlie Asquith's Jet Dory by Tim Anderson

Charlie is 78 years old and he's been fishing for mullet in Hawks Nest, Australia, for over 60 years. Page 40

Making Trouble

» Unhindered Creativity by Saul Griffith

Enable kids to invent their own games. Page 42

Citizen Science

» Homebrew Magnetometer by Dr. Shawn Carlson

Build a torsion balance to measure tiny changes in the Earth's magnetic field. Page 44

» Homebrew Game Design by James Ernest

Turning wacky ideas into fun board games. Page 50

» The Secret History of MYST by Robyn Miller

Co-creator Robyn Miller reveals why it became the best-selling adventure game of all time. Page 54

» 1966: A Big Year for Games by Joe Grand

An afternoon with Ralph Baer, the "Father of Video Games." Page 62

» Photos from the Inside by Shawn Connally

Toys sent through the X-ray machine give new insights. Page 64

» Pinball by Bill Bumgarner, Dale Dougherty

Pinball, Resurrected by Bill Bumgarner (pg. 66)

Restoring a crusty, beat-up Cyclone.

Pinheads in Oddball Places by Dale Dougherty (pg. 74)

Inside the electromechanical underground, with Lucky Ju Ju and the Pinball Hall of Fame.

Page 66

» Chris Ware's ACME Papercraft by Gareth Branwyn

Comics you can build! Page 76

» Tabletop Terrains by Gareth Branwyn

That's no pile of trash; it's my asteroid mining colony! Page 80

» Making Your Own Video Game by Dean Johnson

Microsoft's XNA Game Studio Express opens up game development. Page 83

» Pummer, Dude! by Gareth Branwyn

Part robotic plant life, part techno-sculpture, these desktop toys are easy and fun to make. Page 84 Download PDF. Download Sample PDF of this article .

» Roachball Goes Open Source by Mike Kuniavsky

In this fast-paced lunch-hour sport, changing the rules is part of the game. Page 87

» Project: Coffee Roaster by Larry Cotton

To experience coffee nirvana, roast your own beans with this cheap, portable coffee roaster. Page 110


» Castaway by Lee D. Zlotoff

The creator of MacGyver challenges you to survive on a deserted island. (See previous MakeShift challenges and winning entries here.) Page 158


» Toolbox

Create your own computer games, discover magnetic attractions, and become a paper airplane champion. Plus: Recommendations from kids, and from and the designers at Wild Planet. Page 168

» Tips and Tricks by Arwen O'Reilly Griffith

From maker to maker: renew, repurpose, recycle. Page 177


» Gaming on the EDSAC and PDP-1 by Tom Owad

From the earliest computers came the first computer games. Page 178


» Gold chains and chicken nuggets. by Michael H. Pryor

Gold chains and chicken nuggets. Page 179

Blast from the Past

» Blast from the Past: The 1948 Union Hardware Catalog by Mister Jalopy

Glimpse how modern civilization was built without laser levels or pneumatic nail guns. Page 180

Reader Input

» Reader Input

Where makers tell their tales and offer praise, brickbats, and swell ideas. Page 184

» Making It by Mikey Sklar

How I went from cubicle slave to full-time maker. Page 188


» Barricelli's Universe by George Dyson

Early experiments in digital evolution. Page 190

Maker's Calendar

» Maker's Calendar by William Gurstelle

Our favorite events from around the world. Page 193


» My LED Heirloom Clock by Blake Hannaford

Page 194