MAKE 28: Toys and Games

MAKE Volume 28 hits makers' passion for play head-on with a 28-page special section devoted to Toys and Games, including a toy "pop-pop" steamboat made from a mint tin, an R/C helicopter eye-in-the-sky, and a classic video game console. You'll also build a gravity-powered catapult, a plush toy that interacts with objects around it, and a machine that blows giant soap bubbles. Play time is a hallmark of more intelligent species-- so go have some fun!

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Take a tour of Volume 28 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 » Machine Soul by Thomas Walker Wilson

German designer and furniture maker Frank Buchwald creates creature-like lamps out of burnished steel, brushed brass, textile cables, and blown glass. Page 18

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Gnarly Biogenesis by Goli Mohammadi

Greek artist Achilles Kapsalis breathes wicked new life into animal bones, resurrecting them as fierce, bionic creatures born of his imagination. Page 20

» Dolphin Car by Jerry James Stone

EV enthusiast Dave Cloud created the Dolphin car, an electrified version of a 1997 Geo Metro. Page 21

» Big Wheels Turnin' by Laura Kiniry

Friends Fred Abels and Maik ter Veer made the Dicyclet - a bicycle with wheels that ride parallel instead of in a line, with the driver suspended below the axle. Page 22

» Bus(t) a Move by Jerry James Stone

Superbus is a 49-foot-long, astronautdesigned carrier that hauls more than 20 passengers and tops out around 155mph. Page 23

» Beer Wheel Drive by William Gurstelle

Designed to hold fourteen 250lb people and their beverage of choice, City Cycle was built to support more weight than a Dodge Ram 2500 pickup. Page 24

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Colossal Camera by Adam Flaherty

Darren Samuelson takes amazing, ultralarge-format photographs with a gigantic, handmade bellows camera. Page 25


Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Mini Foosball Game by Cy Tymony

With just a few straws, paper clips, and a common 3-bag microwave popcorn box, you can quickly put together your own Sneaky Mini Foosball Game. Page 82

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Burnt Cookie Deflector by Thomas R. Fox

To avoid burnt cookie bottoms, make this infrared radiation deflector. Page 115

» Sneaky UV Ink Password Protector by Cy Tymony

Write your computer passwords with an ultraviolet (UV) invisible ink pen so the information can’t be seen by the naked eye, and hide the UV light. Page 169


Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Balsa Dreams

Paul K. Guillow’s model airplanes have been buzzing over parks since 1926. Page 34

» Science in Your Cereal Bowl! by Bob Knetzger

These famous cereal premiums were tiny — but packed with mighty scientific principles! Page 38

» Strumming up a Business by Rafael Atijas

How a kids’ bike inspired the creation of a cool new guitar kit. Page 44


» Coffee Table MAME Console by Adam Wolf, John Baichtal

Emulate the raw fun of classic arcade games, wirelessly on your TV. Page 48

» Eye in the Sky by I-Wei Huang

Hack a hobby copter and see what the birds and bugs see. Page 53

» Chinese Checkers for Two by Charles Platt

Chinese checkers can be more strategically complex than regular checkers as long as you follow one simple rule: never play against more than one opponent! Page 56

» Mastering 3D Views by Bob Knetzger

William Gruber put the magic of stereoscopic photos in our hands. Page 58

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Toys from Trash by Rohit Srivastwa

Arvind Gupta’s playful educational mission. Page 64

» Clothesline Races by John Baichtal

This high-flying contest tests robotic prowess, creativity, and sense of humor. Page 66

» Pop-Pop Steamboat by William Abernathy

Build a toy steamer that runs only on heat and the water it’s floating in. Page 70

» Permission to Play

A roundup of delightful toys and games.
Magnificent Mousetrap, Magnified
PING! Augmented Pixels
Blow Your Mind
Long-Distance Doodling
Roll Out the Barrel
High Roller
Go Twitch
One Drop Yo-Yos
Tiny Diver
Bot Blocks
DIY Playgrounds
Billboard Swing Set
Hivemind for Kids
Up, Up, And Away!
Page 76


Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Gravity Catapult by William Gurstelle

Get medieval with this portable, stowable, gravity-powered trebuchet. Page 84

» Gigantic Bubble Generator by Zvika Markfeld

Arduino-controlled Bubblebot blows enormous, undulating soap bubbles. Page 94

Icon for Downloadable Resources » Charlie's Bear by David Harris

Make a plush toy that talks to other objects — and you. Page 106


» Toy Stories by Dale Dougherty

This Toys and Games issue of MAKE is filled with fun projects to make that just might inspire you to see the world differently — as something you can shape, mold, shrink, and hack. Page 11

In the Maker Shed

» Happy Holidays from the Maker Shed! by Dan Woods

How cool would it be if people could take home a slice of Maker Faire in the form of a kit? Page 16

Tales from the Web

» Let the Games Begin by Gareth Branwyn

We’ve posted oodles of articles and projects on related to gaming, from tabletop wargames to video game console hacks to such outdoor geek pastimes as geocaching. Here are a few of our favorites. Page 26

Making Trouble

» A Curriculum of Toys by Saul Griffith

Until our school system is reformed, I think the burden falls on parents, guardians, and friends to teach children the skills of life. Page 27


» Is It Time to Retool Public LIbraries as TechShops? by Phillip Torrone

Unless libraries are seen as the future, we might just lose them. Page 28

Country Scientist

» Record Your World from a Picture Post by Forrest Mims III

All that’s necessary is a digital camera and a platform to place it on, so that it can be used to collect images at regular intervals. Page 30

Make Free

» What My Wife Taught Me About Toys Today by Cory Doctorow

Can 3D printing bring toy making back home? Page 33

Build Notes

» Beatjazz Controller by Onyx Ashanti

Wearable, wireless control network adds movement to musical performance. Page 116

DIY: Science

» Simple Van de Graaff Generator by Adam Wolf

Shoot electrical sparks with a soda can, rubber band, and PVC pipe. Page 124

DIY: Workshop

» Watch Case Wrench by Thomas Arey

Make a custom tool in minutes to open your watch. Page 128

» Copper Tool Tidy by Andrew Lewis

Build a desktop stand for your essential small tools. Page 130

DIY: Outdoors

» Plant Light Stand by Thomas R. Fox

Shed some light on a growing problem. Page 132

» Solar Wax Melter by Josie Moores, Abe Connally

Purify beeswax with a simple sun-powered oven. Page 136

DIY: Home

» Water Leak Detector by J. Tregre

This simple circuit saved the day when an attic water heater failed. Page 141

» Toddler Swing by Josie Moores, Abe Connally

Make an indoor/outdoor swing for your little one in 30 minutes. Page 144

DIY: Circuits

» Solar Pendulum by Owen Tanner

Sunshine is all you need to get this easy-to-build pendulum swinging. Page 146


Icon for PDF of Article » Bubble Trouble by Saul Griffith

Bubbles are a great way to fight boredom. Page 150

Toys, Tricks, and Teasers

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » The Slow Fall by Donald E. Simanek

Dropping a magnet through an aluminum tube takes longer than you’d think. Why? Page 152

Toy Inventor's Notebook

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » "Level Best" 3D Camera Slide-Bar Hack by Bob Knetzger

You can make a DIY camera slide bar fast and cheap that’ll work just as well as a professional one. Page 155


» Toolbox

Arduino meets iPhone at last! Plus top tools, tech toys, model makers’ mags, gastronomy, gardening, and gaming geeks. Page 158


Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Phfft!

Page 160

Electronics: Fun and Fundamentals

Icon for Slideshows and Extras » Electronic Rock-Paper-Scissors by Charles Platt

Emulate the classic game using switches and LEDs. Page 166

Remaking History

» Archimedes and the Water Screw by William Gurstelle

Re-create the invention that quenched the Egyptian desert. Page 170


» My Home-Built Chairlift by Jeff Johnson

My lovely wife and I built a chairlift to get from our lake house down to the dock. Page 176