Dollar Store Hack for Christmas: DIY Superhero Wall Clock

Dollar Store clocks transformed into handmade masterpieces!

Dollar Store clocks transformed into handmade masterpieces!

With Christmas just around the corner, our collective minds are already contemplating what gifts we will battle the masses for after the Thanksgiving holiday.

While we know there are certain gifts we want to get for loved ones and friends that will require tolerating excessive mall crowds, cutthroat parking and a dedication to Zen patience even Buddha himself would struggle to master, there are ways to produce some amazing and desirable gifts without the need to relive Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Jingle All The Way.

Homemade gifts created with passion, detail and thought can translate into a deeper level of appreciation from the recipient than any mass-produced trinket could muster.

Many of you already know this fact and have given thoughtful handmade gifts during past holidays. But have you ever considered a dollar store item as the go-to medium to produce that handmade magic?

I’m not referring to those horrific dollar store toys made with flimsy plastic and designed to break after one use. I’m referring to items at your local dollar store that have a sustained useful purpose! Clocks, door hangers, cozies, plates and the like! Items people actually use for practical reasons.

Now what if we took those same items and tailored them to the people on your gift list?

As an example, let’s look at the common household wall clock.

Every household and apartment has at least one and it’s a practical item a person can use throughout the year. Beyond just telling the time, a plain wall clock on its own doesn’t say much. Now what if you have a comic book fan on your gift giving list who can use a new clock? What if you can make a wall clock featuring the exact superheroes your comic book loving friend adores?

It is at that last question where our creative journey begins! Taking a simple and practical item like a wall clock and making it into an amazing nerdtastic gift!

For less than $10 and ten minutes of your time, you can convert a plain dollar store wall clock into a superhero mosaic of awesome! Marvel superheroes, DC superheroes, The Walking Dead, Sailor Moon, Attack on Titan – whatever images you can create can be used to make a killer looking clock!

With some basic Photoshop skills, a printer, glossy paper and the clock, once completed, your friend or family member will think you paid mucho money for a gift that was tailored to his/her specific tastes! They will thank you and so will your wallet.

And there is no need to stop at superheroes! This ‘Dollar Store Hack’ technique can be used to make a clock based on anything. Any character, any design…anything you know the recipient likes!

There is no stopping a creative imagination and with the help of your local dollar store, your gift list will reflect a level of inexpensive personalized zeal that will make both Santa and Scrooge Disco together during Christmas morning!


DIY Automatic Fish Feeder Using Arduino Nano

Yep, that’s a drill bit and it helps to deliver the right amount of food to your fish.

Yep, that’s a drill bit and it helps to deliver the right amount of food to your fish.

 

There are all kinds of automatic fish feeders on the market, however most just dump the allotted food in one lump and typically can’t be programmed for an entire week of use. While this may not be a problem for some aquarium enthusiasts, it was for Brian (from Belgium). The fish enthusiast has a rather large 100-gallon tank complete with live plants and colorful breeds of aquatic life but he has a very busy life and spends large amounts of time away from home.

While maintaining the plants or the cleanliness of the water aren’t issues when he leaves for a week, the fish still need to be fed on a regular basis. Obviously, there are automatic feeders on the market but hardly any with the ability to be programmed for long periods of time while delivering the correct food amounts.

The completed housing fish feeder with compartments for the motor assembly and food compartment.

The completed housing fish feeder with compartments for the motor assembly and food compartment.

Like the saying goes, ‘if it doesn’t exist, build it yourself’ and build it he did using a simple plastic container, an Arduino Nano, stepper motor and a drill bit. The fish food sits on an angle inside the bin and the Arduino is programmed to start and stop the motor, which turns the drill bit that ‘pushes out’ the prescribed amount of food. It’s used in conjunction with an ordinary electric timer that supplies the power for those prescribed intervals. It’s safe to say his fish will be fed anytime he needs to leave, however the tank still can’t clean itself. Brian posted his design on Instructables for anyone interested in building their own.


Farming “Pumpkinstein” Monsters

the-creature-pumkins-2Photo: Cinagro Farms

Modern science has done it again, with these monstrous “pumpkinstein” creatures grown by Tony Dighera of Cinagro Farms. After experimenting with plastic molds for the last few years, Dighera was able to produce about 5,500 pumpkins bearing a striking resemblance to Frankenstein’s monster on his 40-acre farm in Ventura County, California.

the-creature-pumpkins-1

Despite the amusing, rather than terrifying, results of Dighera’s creations, he and Victor Frankenstein do share a similar trait that defines many great makers; he is determined.

“When you try something for four years of your life, people really start to think you’re wacko,” he said.

Said like a true maker!

[via Geyser of Awesome]


Modded GameCube Controller For Nintendo 3DS

nintendo-3ds-gamecube-controller-mod-by-deku-nukem-620x930

If you (like most of us) love your Nintendo 3DS but really dislike playing on that circle pad for long periods of time, we’ve got a solution for you. Hasta la vista, hand cramps!

[new_gallery ids=”448620,448621,448622″]

Via his open-source project, Maker “dekuNukem” modded his 3DS to play Super Smash Bros. using a GameCube controller which is costumizable with adjustable button mapping with an LCD screen. In his case, he used an old phone display. Using an Arduino Nano (ATmega328) to read input to the GameCube controller, he was able to replicate the actions to the 3DS at around 1200 times a second; a maximum delay of around 840 microseconds. And it’s simple to use: just plug in the microcontroller, GameCube cable, and a USB cable for power and when you’re done just remove the microcontroller and cables to make it portable once more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seAI9W9SYjo

[via Atmel]

 


How To: BBQ Grill From A VW Rabbit

I have always dreamed of owning a convertible Volkswagen Rabbit and a 1969 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. But for all practicality purposes with the cost of maintenance, I have come to terms with the fact that this just will likely never happen. But, if I did have one just sitting around, I could make a BBQ grill out of it like Imgur user Managerofnothing did with an empty body of a VW Rabbit.

[new_gallery ids=”447933,447934,447935″] While restoring a VW Rabbit GTI, Managerofnothing bought a carcass of a VW Rabbit for body parts needed for the project. Deciding that it would be a shame to waste the leftovers, a plan for the front half of the shell was formed. A mockup using 3MM sheet metal was made, and then sanding and priming began. Using incredible attention to detail, he painted the car white using heat resistant paint to look just like his other restored GTI, even keeping the height the same and getting the lights working.

[new_gallery ids=”447946,447942,447943,447941,447939,447940,447938,447949″]

 


Intel Asks, What Will You Make?

A garage door opens. The camera pans in. This could be Cupertino, 1976, but it’s not. It’s today. Or rather, tonight: “11:30PM. Somewhere.” We’ve all been there, up late after-hours, toiling on a project. But it was “the makerspace” segment that I found myself staring adrift at, analyzing the tools, materials, and projects on display, while listening to the narrator’s almost incorporeal voice. Without even realizing it, I was enjoying the clever roll-overs used to send viewers to Galileo-powered projects, and the research material that inspired them.

 

I could watch 100 videos like this and they never get boring. I’m always fascinated by makers’ workshops, labs, and garages converted into home makerspaces.

Now I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking, “I can’t wait to see the Edison video!”

Update: Edison is now available in the Maker Shed.


Bowling Fan Builds DIY Alley for NYC’s Little Lebowski Shop

bowling

People have been bowling for the better part of 5000 years (ancient Egypt and Rome were the top competitors in those days) and there’s something satisfying about the sound when the ball slams into the pins. The only thing better than going to the bowling alley is having one in your own home. Maker [LLBowling] did just that for the Little Lebowski Shop in NYC, giving them their own personal lane. While he did not list specifically how he designed it, it looks pretty straightforward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCE9YmeMtZQ

Six pins are arranged on a triangle-shaped platform with string running through the pins and anchored to the platforms base. After the ball is thrown, the pins are reset by pulling on a cantilever that raises both the pins and platform back into place. Sure, it’s not the most high-tech system out there but it is effective and certainly ingenious. The only drawback is that there’s no automatic ball return, players have to retrieve their own balls, which isn’t so bad considering that only 70 years ago bowling alleys had employees who reset the pins and brought back the balls by hand.


The “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” Hackathon

Author’s note: I go to, organize, and facilitate a lot of hackathons, and while I’m thrilled about most of them as chances for people to learn and get involved in a field of research, I’m also fairly skeptical of them. So I’ve limited myself lately to events that can really make a difference, not only for the participants, but for the people who would benefit from the things they work on. Most recently, I’ve been doing events in Dar es Salaam with Taarifa and Geeks Without Bounds around water point mapping. I think this event has an opportunity for significant impact as well – this event especially in the arenas of health and gender equality. The following post was written by the hackathon team, of which I’m honored to nominally be a part.

Why Breastmilk and Breast Pumps?

Breast pumping is an experience many women dislike, yet it saves the lives of premature babies and permits working women to continue a nursing relationship with their babies. The health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby are numerous, and include reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, female cancers, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Despite the overwhelming data and worldwide endorsement of breastfeeding for the first two years of life, many women do not breastfeed at all or wean after several months. In particular, low-income, working women are rarely able to take extended maternity leave, afford the cost of a pump, or pump breastmilk at their workplace. In emerging economies around the world, women who go back to work wean their babies rather than using a breast pump.

breastpump1

The breast pump is the rallying cry for the event because it is a symbol of a technology that could be better integrated into people’s everyday lives in order to save lives, save money, and lead to healthier and happier families. At the same time, our goal is to make space for innovation in family life more broadly, and to support a wide variety of different kinds of projects at the hackathon- and beyond.

This is the second of these events, with a writeup of the first here. Check out some challenge definitions and inspirations on the Tumblr, and join us if you can!

When: Saturday, September 20 & Sunday, September 21, 10am-6pm Where: MIT Media Lab Win! World-class judges will be giving cash prizes to the best ideas Register Now (Registration is free but space is limited)

Bringing together parents, medical professionals, designers, policymakers, MIT students, and engineers to radically redesign the breast pump, as well as explore other innovations in maternal and pediatric health to improve the lives of families and children around the globe.

Our generous supporters of this event include Vecna Technologies, Medela and Naia Health.

Presented by the MIT Media Lab with organizational support of iKatun.

Pre-Hackathon Movie Screening

Join us for a free public screening and discussion of Breastmilk: The Movie on Wednesday, September 10, at 7pm at MIT Bartos Theater, 20 Ames Street, Building E15, Lower Level, Cambridge, MA.

No RSVP required! Babies welcome.

Questions? Check out our website or contact us at breastpump-organizers@media.mit.edu.


The Detroit Fire Department’s DIY Soda Can Alarm System

soda-can-alarm-1

Just like the rest of the city, Detroit’s fire department is dreadfully underfunded. According to Detroit Free Press reporter Tresa Baldas, they’re so broke that they’ve had to devise their own DIY emergency alarm systems because they simply do not have the funding to install proper ones.

Each of Detroit’s 38 firehouses has its own makeshift emergency alarm system in place, rather than a modern system that could improve their response time by giving them details about the type of emergency through a combination of tones and an automated voice. One such emergency alarm consists of a soda can, with a few coins or screws inside of it, carefully placed on the edge of a fax machine. The alarm sounds when a fax gets printed out, knocking off the soda can with a tinny clang.

Hopefully, Detroit’s fire department will be receiving funding from the city to update their systems over the next ten years. In the meantime, this could be an opportunity for makers to reach out to Detroit’s firehouses to update their DIY alarms with some more affordable and effective systems. I can’t say how receptive the Detroit fire department might be to suggestions, but it seems like it couldn’t hurt to try, in fact, it might actually help!

[via Gizmodo]


A Maker’s Take on the Ice Bucket Challenge

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoODAKYEykU

By now you’ve all seen the videos. Someone dumps a bucket of ice water on themselves and challenges their friends and family to do the same or donate to charity, frequently the ALS Association. But Contributor and friend of Make: John Park took the ice bucket challenge to a whole new maker level. Starting with the Burrito Blaster project, he loaded up PVC the air pressure cannon with ice water which he shot at himself with a remote trigger.

Perhaps now we’ll start to see a wave of makers taking the challenge with 3D-printed buckets, Rube Golderberg-style triggering mechanisms, or even Internet-connected Raspberry Pi-based CNC bucket tippers!