MAKE 27: Robots

The Robots have returned! MAKE Volume 27 features a special package with robotics projects for every age and skill level. They play music; they spy via the internet; they outwit your pets; they learn from their mistakes! In addition, we'll show you how to build a special aquarium to keep jellyfish, create pre-Edison incandescent lighting, and make a go-anywhere digital message board! All this and much more in MAKE Volume 27.

ALSO: Download your free Make: Robots desktop wallpaper!

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Take a tour of Volume 27 with the editors of MAKE.

Table of Contents

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

Made on Earth

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Face to Face by Stacey Ransom

Tom Banwell is a leatherworker and caster/sculptor who creates imaginative facemasks. Page 18

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Analog Wranglers by Rose White

Brian and Leon Dewan have created a series of instruments called Dewanatrons that vary in complexity from simple and elegant to extraordinary. Page 20

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Turn Signals and Turntables by Laura Cochrane

Dutch artist Olaf Mooij modified a 1983 Ford Sierra into the surreal, cartoonish DJ Mobile – complete with a professional-quality Beyma sound system and a DJ setup. Page 21

» Hutt's Cantina by Rachel Hobson

Jason Hutt created a massive and intricate diorama of the Mos Eisley cantina scene from Star Wars. Page 22

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Drill-Powered Future Trike by Gareth Branwyn

Young German designer Nils Ferber, along with his team, created the EX, a futuristic drill-powered trike. Page 23

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Pedal Power by Jerry James Stone

Ian Fardoe made a velomobile for his bicycle that cost about £2,600 ($4,000) to build – far less than commercial velomobiles, which can cost twice that price. Page 24

» Pendulum Perfector by William Abernathy

Named after its inventor, French physicist Léon Foucault, the Foucault pendulum demonstrates the Earth's rotation by knocking down pins arrayed around the pit over which it swings. Page 25


» Action Root Beer Pong by Cy Tymony

Bring back the fun of beer pong by adding motion, with your own pong toy that scuttles about. Page 115

» Stud Chair by Corky Mork

Make a perfectly serviceable chair out of 2x4 studs. Page 122


Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Glenn Derry: Movie Maker by Bob Parks

This special effects innovator hacks together blockbuster filmmaking tools – and shares his recipe for an indie-budget virtual camera. Page 32

» Peasant da Vincis by Tom Vanderbilt

Incredible inventions from Chinese villagers. Page 38

SPECIAL SECTION: Special Section

» Yellow Drum Machine by Frits Lyneborg

Build a funky little free-range drumbot that roams, makes beats, and samples. Page 42

» Roomba Recon by Evin Papowitz, Raymond Caruso

Turn an old Roomba into a web-controlled wireless remote surveillance vehicle. Page 49

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Spazzi: A Solenoid-Powered Dancebot by Marek Michalowski

Build a cute robotic bobble-head that dances to your music, and even makes some of his own. Page 56

» Teleclaw: Remote Robot Gripper by Gordon McComb

Use a TV remote to grab and release small objects from afar. Page 62

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Teaching Old Toys New Tricks by DJ Sures

DJ Sures converts toys into surprisingly capable robots. Page 66

» Welcome, Robot Overlords

A roundup of crazy bots, ready to do our bidding.

Quadrotor Craze
Lab Lush
On a Roll
Off-Road Snake
Emotional Robotic Band
Cavalcade of CoasterBots
Cellphones for Machines
Planet H99
TurtleBot Hobby Platform
Hamster Inside
Ultrasonic Sensors
Get a Grip
Bots on the Rocks
Art Hacks
DIY Underwater Exploration
Page 74

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Robots of Maker Faire by Keith Hammond

Maker Faire Bay Area 2011 had many amazing robots! Page 80


» Jellyfish Tank by Alex Andon

Convert a regular aquarium into a jellyfish habitat.

Photographing Your Jellyfish Page 82

» PS/2/You by Immanuel McKenty

Go-anywhere, instantly updatable glowing digital message board. Page 92

» Limelight by Peter Tabur

Experience pre-Edison incandescent lighting. Page 104


Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Building Robots that Play by Dale Dougherty

Like dogs, robots are becoming our companions, demonstrating the ability to learn new routines that make us happy. Page 11

Tales from the Web

» Building a MAKE Video Network by Gareth Branwyn

We've greatly expanded MAKE's video offerings with a regular roster of excellent project and tutorial series, all conveniently accessed from and and iTunes. Page 26

Making Trouble

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Pneubotics: Walking Bouncy Castles by Saul Griffith

Biology doesn't use metal, and it doesn't use servos. Nature points to some very interesting alternatives. Page 27

Country Scientist

» Startups: Origins of the PC Revolution by Forrest Mims III

Today's smartphones and tablets, laptops and desktop computers all trace their ancestry to the arrival of the hobby computer era of the 1970s. Page 28

Make Free

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Four Horsemen of the 3D Printing Apocalypse by Cory Doctorow

Pro-regulation hysterics make recourse to the Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse: child porn, organized crime, terrorist, and pirates. Page 31

Skill Builder

Icon for Downloadable Resources » Visualizing With ImageJ by Bob Goldstein

Free image/video processing software creates vivid representations of time, movement, and data. Page 116

DIY: Workshop

» Spoon-Carving Knife by Doug Stowe

Make a blade to make useful things for the kitchen. Page 123

» $30 Gobo Arm: Mobile Document Camera Stand by Adam Flaherty

Go hands-free for the price of a clamp. Page 126

DIY: Outdoors

» Portable Powerhouse by Andrew Lewis

This semi-flexible solar panel system clips onto a backpack and provides power to electronic devices. Page 128

» Fishing for Swarms by Abe Connally, Josie Moores

Lure in a local colony of honeybees with a simple wooden bait hive. Page 132

Icon for Downloadable Resources » Wood Gas Camp Stove by William Abernathy

Make a simple tin-can stove that costs 99 cents, runs for free, and sequesters carbon as you cook. Page 136

DIY: Office

» Treadmill Desk by Doug Bradbury

An "active workstation" from a treadmill and Ikea parts. Page 141

Icon for Downloadable Resources » Touchdesk by Pauric O'Callaghan

Customize your own integrated workspace. Page 144

Electronics: Fun and Fundamentals

» The Do-Not-Touch Box by Charles Platt

Use a simple accelerometer to perplex your friends. Page 150


Icon for PDF of Article » Hot Water! by Lee D. Zlotoff

In the midst of a nuclear disaster, figure out a way to provide enough drinking water for at least one week. Page 154


Icon for PDF of Article » Let's Make a Wobbler by Saul Griffith

Page 156


» Toolbox

Multimeters and soldering irons and scissors, oh my! Plus a reference manual for pyros, and the ultimate maker belt. Page 158


Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Zipper Help

Use an R/C helicopter to help you zip your dress. Page 160

Dangerous Things

» Squash a Penny on a Train Track by Julie Spiegler, Gever Tulley

Leverage the force of a locomotive. Page 166

What I Made

Icon for PDF of Article » Elegant Telescoping Light with Weighted Counterbalance by Scott Bedford

Made entirely from paper and cord (and a teeny bit of wire and old Xmas lights), this cool shade needs nothing more than a craft knife, a hot glue gun, and a pair of pliers to construct. Page 168

Remaking History

» The Daniell Cell by William Gurstelle

Make the electric battery that powered the scientific revolution. Page 170


» My DIY King Pong

Jerry Reilly built a gigantic outdoor version of Pong. Page 176