Category Archives: EMSL Projects

From the archives: Sweet or Savory Specimen Jars

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From the archives comes one of our favorite food projects: Halloween Cuisine: Sweet or Savory Specimen Jars.

 What good is a specimen jar if you can’t serve it at dinner? The contents of the jars should be genuinely edible, made out of real food. Plastic snakes and spiders are right out.

More Halloween edibles can be found  in the food category of our Halloween Project Archive.

Halloween Project Archives

Array of Halloween Projects

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and our collection of Halloween projects continues to grow. Every fall we update it to include our latest projects for the season. In the list … we’ve organized dozens of our Halloween projects into categories: costumespumpkinsdecor and food.

Head over to the Halloween Project Archives for the full list of projects.

Psychedelic Flame Soldering Kit


Last year, we released our Flickery Flame Soldering Kits with six candle-flicker LEDs in red and yellow or white and warm white, to give a fun and semi-realistic flame effect. Now we’re releasing a new Psychedelic Flame Soldering Kit with six blinky-fading-flashy RGB LEDs.

Together the auto-changing LEDs make this a bright, colorful, and kinetic light show. Perfect for holiday decorations (psychedelic Jack O’Lanterns, anyone?), luminarias, scale models, stage props, and parties.

Kit contents

These kits are fun, low-cost, self-contained, and easy soldering kits, which will be right at home both as stocking stuffers and as bite-size first projects for soldering workshops.

Maker Faires and the BIYSL

The Annotated Build It Yourself Science Laboratory

This month I’ll be traveling to Maker Faires in Portland, Oregon, and New York City to sign and talk about my book, The Annotated Build It Yourself Science Laboratory. That, of course, is the new, updated version of Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory, the classic 1960’s hands-on science book by Raymond E. Barrett.

The Portland Mini Maker Faire is being held September 12-13 at OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I’ll be speaking on the Innovation stage at 11 AM on September 12. This is a bit of a homecoming for the book: Raymond Barrett was the Education Director at OMSI when he originally wrote the book.

The World Maker Faire is September 26 and 27 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York. I’ll be speaking on the DIY stage on both days.

Bonus: During O’Reilly’s Back to School sale (through September 17), you can get the E-book version of The Annotated Build It Yourself Science Laboratory for 50% off using discount code B2S5.

XL741: Principles of Operation

XL741

Our two “dis-integrated circuit” kits are the Three Fives Discrete 555 Timer, and the XL741 Discrete Op-Amp. These two kits are functional, transistor-level replicas of the original NE555 and μA741 (respectively), which are two of the most popular integrated circuits of all time.

Last year, we wrote up a detailed educational supplement for the Three Fives kit, that works through its circuit diagram and discusses its principles of operation down to the transistor level. Today, we are doing the same for the XL741 kit, and releasing an educational supplement that explains how a ‘741 op-amp IC works internally, down to its bare transistors and resistors:

XL741 Documentation (PDF)

This ability to peek inside the circuit makes the XL741 a unique educational tool. In what follows, we’ll work through the circuit diagram, discuss the theory of operation of the ‘741 op-amp, and present some opportunities for experiments and further exploration.

You can download the supplement here: XL741 Principles of Operation (1.1 MB PDF)

Additional Resources: