MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Elenco 300-in-One Electronic Project Lab

Tool photo.

Working on the Elenco 300-in-One Electronic Project Lab, I had to squint through a magnifying glass to read the resistors while straining to hear the faintest radio signal through the old-time earphone. But despite the challenges of getting older, blinder, and deafer, building ridiculous electronics projects is just as fun as when I was a 10-year-old, self-professed inventor.

With a solderless breadboard and handfuls of resistors, capacitors, ICs, transistors, and zillions of connecting wires, you can build all sorts of preposterous projects.

Building the ESP Tester (Project #98) or Electronic Cat (Project #82) is quick since the supporting cast of built-in components — a slide switch, power transformer, 1.5- to 9-volt power taps, photo cell, etc. — is looped in as needed. After assembling the Funny Transistor Radio (Project #65), the same youthful wonder remains as you tune to one of the two measly stations on your primitive radio.