Happy February, folks! Hope you're having a decent 2010 so far. I don't know why, but it feels more like the future than the first decade of the 21st century. But maybe that's just me.
We're only a month into the new year, but already, our cup at Maker Media runneth over. We had planning meetings the third week in January and my head is still spinning from all the amazing offerings that are in the pipeline for 2010. One of the things I love about working for this company is that everyone is tireless in wanting to create ever-better media, more products, tools, and services best-suited for the maker community, and to create educational opportunities for both kids and adults that expand every maker's reach. Everyone is always excited by the work we do. Here's just a taste of what we have planned for the year:
* Make: Online Redesign -- As we've mentioned previously, we're going to be redesigning the Make: Online website. Part of what we're going to do is to bring more "perennial" content and more community functions to the forefront.
* Make: Projects - Wait until you see what we have in store for our projects section! We think it'll knock your socks off and greatly expand the usefulness of Make: Online.
* Makers Market - Another part of MAKE's online offerings that we think is going to have a big impact on the maker community is our Makers Market, an opportunity for makers to easily sell their wares online (think: geeky, online Farmer's Market).
* Make: Videos - We're going to be adding additional video series and creating a more consistent look and feel to the whole MAKE video "channel." There are some exciting plans on the drawing board.
* Maker Faires -- Bay Area, Detroit, and New York City. Three US Faires in one year! This is going to be huge. We're thrilled that one of the new Faires will be at the birthplace of American manufacturing (and maybe the birthplace of the next industrial revolution?) and the other will be at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the grounds of the 1964 World's Fair (the bleeding edge of new thought and innovation for its time). We think these are auspicious locations. For more info on Maker Faire dates and details, check out the
Maker Faire site. And, there'll be a Faire in the U.K., in Newcastle, in March, 2010!
* Young Makers - Throughout the year, we'll be continuing to expand our educational outreach, to teachers, home schoolers, and through various programs, such as the Open MAKE event we just had at the Exploratorium, co-sponsored by Disney-Pixar. Read Dale's post about the launch of our Young Makers program. "Young Makers" is also going to be the theme of this year's Bay Area Maker Faire. But if you're not a kid, or don't have any, don't worry. We mean young as in age and in heart.
* Make: Online This Month - The theme this month is "Projects: Failure." We'll be exploring stories of failed projects, "what was I thinking?" moments, mistakes, catastrophe, destruction, decay, and other forms of makin' gone wrong, and especially the lessons one can pull from the wreckage. We'll also be launching our Maker Business series, looking at how to turn your DIY passion into a small business. And, for Valentine's Day, we'll be talking to couples who collaborate.
Have a great month. Stay warm. Get creative.
Editor-in-Chief, Make: Online
[Above are a few pictures taken during the meetings at MAKE HQ (of some of us out-of-towners having our way around the office). The top pic shows Natalie Zee Drieu, editor-in-chief of CRAFT, and Becky Stern, associate editor of MAKE and CRAFT -- and that's a mini-me Gareth perched on their shoulders in the background. In the second photo, John Edgar Park, contributing writer to Make: Online and Make: TV star, seeing if he can open it (and therefore own it). In the bottom pic, Make: Online contributing writer and Maker Shed curator Marc de Vinck checks out the inventory in the O'Reilly warehouse.]
back to top
The Maker's Dictionary explores the world of DIY through its technical terms, jargon, and slang. We cover emerging coinage you might hear floating around (but don't really know the meaning of), the tried and true argot of various technical disciplines (that all makers can benefit from knowing), and fun slang that helps paint a picture of DIY subculture. If you have any terms or slang you want to share, send them to email@example.com. --Gareth
Kerf -- The width of a saw cut. The kerf is actually wider than the blade itself (due to the splay of the saw teeth, movement of the saw during cutting, the behavior of the material being cut, etc.) and this needs to be considered when measuring components to be cut.
Knitting -- Said of any activity that you can do "in the background" while doing something else (e.g. tagging up wiki content while talking on the phone). "I'm listening to you, I'm just doing a bit of knitting while we chat."
Maker Math -- Calculating (and understanding) the true costs of producing an item and how to set a fair price that reflects those costs plus a profit.
Sintering -- Causing a powered material (metal, ceramic, plastic) to coalesce into a solid or pourous form through the act of heating. Used in everything from pottery manufacture to metalurgy to desktop fabricatiion (e.g. selective laser sintering).
Swarf -- Term given to the debris, the chips, the spring-like shavings, produced during metalworking.
back to top
Gems Unearthed from Deep Within the Data Mines of Make: Online
In celebration of Projects: Failure month, here are some gems from within the veiny riches of Make: Online, gathered around the topic by contributing writer Sean Regan.
ASIMO robot falls down stairs -- Most of the time, we see slick vids of bipedal robots flawlessly trotting about, but sometimes things just go wrong.
Catastrophic windmill failure -- Ever wonder what it looks like when a windmill's brakes fail? Hint: it's NOT pretty.
The famous Bay Bridge crack -- Lots of photos and info about the crack in the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
back to top
Each month, we offer cool little projects and hacks you can do in a few minutes. In this installment, Maker Media pal Kent Banes shows how he created a simple "scaleable" system for AA power.
AA batteries are the most commonly used battery size today. When was the last time you bought a C or D cell? Needing different voltages for varioius projects, I was always hunting for a battery holder, from 1 to 8 AA, and would sometimes jumper batteries together to make up the value I needed. I have a bunch of AA holders from DigiKey, and of course, I save all those great polarized terminal ends from 9-volt batteries in my bench stock. I first drilled out the terminals and mounted them to each end of the battery holders. In later versions, I soldered them on without drilling. Now I can make up any voltage value I want without all the jumpers and wires. I use a shunt at one end and a turn-around on the other to match the polarity I need. (The turn-around cable can be seen on the left, the shunt, on the right-most end of the batteries.) -- Kent Barnes
back to top