Artisan Wooden Robotic Arms

Kinohaguruma’s wooden robotic arm functions using a series of gears and levers

Kinohaguruma’s wooden robotic arm functions using a series of gears and levers

Nothings better than getting toys for your birthday when you’re a kid or even for adults too. Usually it’s a videogame, a new bike or new clothes that are given as gifts, however if you’re lucky enough to have Kinohaguruma as your father, you get works of art like the Wooden Robotic Arm he crafted for his son’s seventh birthday.

The artist designed the arm using an intricate series of gears and levers painstakingly created using a drilling machine and a jigsaw. The gears were designed using a compass and protractor and after the rough cuts were made, he shaped them to perfectly fit together using a knife and sandpaper. Two levers are used to manipulate the arm in four degrees of freedom by engaging wooden pistons to move left, right, up and down. The left lever is used in tandem with the right for both movement and to actuate the claw to pick up various objects. Kinohaguruma even made an adjustable base to provide stability on various surfaces. Unfortunately for us, he isn’t selling the robotic arm so we’ll just have to stick with the plastic versions sold at Walmart. See more with the video…

Cemetech's Wooden TI-82


Being a maker has its perks, not least of which is having maker friends who make awesome stuff, like this wooden TI-82 that the guys at Cemetech brought to World Maker Faire this year. Apparently it was made by one of their friends, and the bidding over who would get it was fierce. Luckily, Cemetech prevailed because this TI-82 with a homemade wooden case is a handsome compliment to the rest of their display, which features graphing calculators as programming tools, DIY electronics platforms, and pocket computers that can be made to run a staggering array of applications. Keep your eye out for their table and their awesome wooden TI-82!

Folding VR Racing Rig

With driver

With driver

Maybe you like racing games. Many people do, and some buy an off-the-shelf wheel and pedals to enhance the experience. For some though, this isn’t nearly good enough, and in this case, Redditer Veriix decided to build a fold-away rig to use to get approval from the rest of the family.

Besides the “dissapearing” feature, made possible by cleverly placed brackets and hinges, it features an extensive array of controls.  The hand brake is from a Mini Cooper, and can be switched between analog and digital, depending, I suppose, on how the game being played handles this input.  It has 3 pedals for those that can virtually drive a stick shift, and a nice-looking racing seat with a decent amount of wiring underneath.

All that in addition to a cup holder.  I linked the abbreviated version of this build earlier, but if you want to see it, here’s the full (gigantic) build log.  It should be noted that this build was inspired by this Gran Turismo-themed “Dark Chest of Wonders.” Both have their own interesting features, so if you’re considering a build like this, you should check that one out too.

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As this was originally posted on the Reddit Oculus “subreddit,” and is called a “VR racing rig,” it is certainly geared toward use with a virtual reality headset.  On the other hand, a TV could rest on the front of this chest, or a projector could also be used.  After all, how would one use the cup holder with the headset on?

A Bedroom Treehouse


So your son or daughter is now old enough to have a bed. Sure, you could settle for a race car or princess bed, but given that you’re reading this website, maybe you would instead like to build your child an indoor tree house style bed line “d4ddycool.” His kids had always wanted a treehouse, but they didn’t have a tree in the backyard conducive to “structural use.”

The pictures below show some of the build process, which, naturally, went through a few iterations before becomming the awesome house that you see below. Some challenges included that the walls of the “exo-house” were not built perfectly straight, so some adjustments had to be made after initial cutting.  Also, the drawers that open under the bed were a clever afterthought, and required the bed to be disassembled.

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Besides the elevated play area, and the hole leading to it, one of the coolest features will probably be used more by the parents than the kids.  The house contains a bed, which seems like a great idea until it comes time to change the sheets or flip the mattress. For this purpose, and general cleaning, the front shell of the “bed-house” folds down in one piece supported by ropes. A very clever build; maybe it will inspire other excellent projects. You know, for the kids!

Via Reddit

Sculptures Re-Carved To Reveal Skeletons



Michelangelo famously declared that “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Now Maskull Lasserre’s recent series of carving studies, featuring found sculptures that he has re-carved to reveal their skeletons, suggests that every sculpture has a skeleton inside it that is it is the task of another sculptor to discover.


Lasserre previously used found objects as material for his enigmatic work, but what’s wonderful about this new work is the way that he creates inadvertent collaborations with the sculptors of the work that he modifies. He adds a new narrative layer to their work by physically chiseling away their original layer.


You can see Lasserre’s fantastic sculptural work in a current exhibition at Junior Projects in New York, on view through tomorrow!

[via from89]

A Custom Bicycle Dashboard


If you’re not satisfied with the lightweight digital speedometer that you can buy at your local bike shop, why not build your own bicycle dashboard using various electrical components and wood? DJ decided to do just that, and gives instructions with an electrical schematic, parts list, and Arduino sketch, in this Instructables post.

Besides the case, all the components are off-the-shelf, including an Arduino processor, and an impressive 8 “D” batteries that allow it to run for 12 or more hours. The box is laser-cut using the vector file included in the Instrucables post using .2 inch plywood. One could probably find a substitute method or material if this tool isn’t available.

The dashboard runs all of the lights via the Arduino using MOSFET transistors, correlating the dashboard lights to the speed of the wheels. Check out the video below to see this dashboard in use.

Being an occasionally too-timid mountain biker myself, I’ve often thought that it would be very useful to have a simpler version of this dashboard when approaching a jump. Depending on your speed, a green light could mean that you will clear a certain gap, while a red light would mean it’s time to start braking. Calibrating the system could prove painful, so be sure to get your wheel diameter measured correctly!

Building a Basic Arcade Cabinet

Arcade KickAss DIY MAME-based gaming machine. Doesn't look fun for player 2 though...

Arcade KickAss DIY MAME-based gaming machine. Doesn’t look fun for player 2 though…

The debate between what the better gaming platform is between consoles and PCs can add a third contender to the mix in the form of arcade machines. Sure, both consoles and PCs can play retro games but they can’t match the ‘feel’ you get fist-smashing those big coin-sized buttons while listening to 16-bit sound blasting in your face. Unfortunately, most arcades have gone the way of the dinosaurs but the good news is; the machines are making a comeback in our own homes as DIY projects.

Arcade KickAss skeletal-frame view with monitor frame mount

Arcade KickAss skeletal-frame view with monitor frame mount



Side painted and trim glued on. Those clamps... everyone has a lot of them too right?

Side painted and trim glued on. Those clamps… everyone has a lot of them too right?

Maker “tuschh94” and his brother recently designed his own using some clever woodworking skills and a PC. The entire build took a couple of months but the end result is quite nice. The frame is built entirely out of wood and cost roughly $400 to build, which includes the joysticks and buttons along with the signage LEDs. The internals include a massive flat screen CRT that’s powered by a PC running MAME for the old-school arcade games.

As you could imagine, Arcade KickAss weighs a ton and according to a reddit post by the brother, one of the support beams for the monitor blew-out while transporting it.

The signage features RGB color changing LEDs to give it that ‘retro’ look

The signage features RGB color changing LEDs to give it that ‘retro’ look

Makers have been designing and building their own arcade machines, including the sit-down ‘cocktail table’ versions, to play in their own homes, bringing back that arcade magic we felt long ago. It would seem all you need is a little bit of ingenuity, some carpenter skills and a bit of hardware to build your own. Just make sure the influx of visitors that come over have a steady supply of quarters!

See more of this build at Arcade KickAss project page.

Make a Rubber Band Gatling Gun


If you’ve ever been in a rubber band fight, time spent reloading can also be time that you’re getting hit with a spongy projectile. This rubber band Gatling gun should allow you to dominate the battlefield for quite some time before reloading.

Although it’s not an extremely simple project, one should be able to cut this “band slinger” out and assemble it in a weekend. Templates for everything are provided, but it will take some time with a drill and saw to get everything cut out correctly.

The video below shows what’s involved in this build. It’s neat to see it come together in a glorious time-lapse sequence in the first video. The second video shows the gun in action around 7:25.

As noted in the writeup, this project is meant for someone to be able to build with tools that most people have access to. Instructables author “melarky” only has access to CNC machinery and laser cutters during the school year, so it follows that others may be in that boat too! In order to change this lack of a laser cutter, it’s bee entered into the Epilog Challenge VI contest, so be sure to give it a vote if you enjoy it!

Tablet Stand Made From A Book



People say that tablets are making books obsolete. Peter Brown has something to say about that in his latest video, where he turns his book into a tablet holder.  According to Peter, the process of gluing all the pages together to form a solid block that can be used as construction material has a name: Paper Micarta.

He painstakingly brushed epoxy on all 400 pages of this book before clamping it down to dry. The result was a solid block that could then be cut, sanded, and formed to whatever he desired. As you can see in the video below, it took a lot of epoxy and a fair amount of time as well. You can see a few more pictures and read about the process more on his site, ShopTime.

The concept of the tablet  first making the book obsolete, then giving that obsolete book a new life is pretty interesting. As Peter points out, it really is upcycling at its best.

Those 400 pages hold but a single story, and now they can upright a device capable of holding thousands of stories. Really it’s the ultimate upcycling!

Peter is no stranger to recycling materials in interesting ways, you may remember him from this really cool ring he made from colored pencils. I can’t wait to see what comes out of Peter’s shop next.

Upcycled Pinball Machine Desk

Tired of getting too much work done at your boring, old, conventional desk? Then you might need to slow yourself down with the blinding magnificence of this upcycled desk made from a vintage Charlie’s Angels pinball game by Tim Sway.

[It] lights up, has a drawer, a built-in safe (thanks to the coin deposit) and tons of awesomeness.

[via Neatorama]