The Annotated Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory

The Annotated Build It Yourself Science Laboratory

We have a book coming out!

Coming soon: The Annotated Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory is a new, updated version of Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory, the classic 1960’s hands-on science book by Raymond E. Barrett.

The book is scheduled to make its debut at Maker Faire next week, where I’ll be speaking about it. It’s also available for pre-order now from and other sellers of books, as well as from our store.

We’ll be writing much more about the book once it’s out— about what’s in the book, the process of updating and annotating it, and about the hundreds of project ideas spanning biology, geology, chemistry, physics and more.

However, since we’re already in teaser mode, here are some photos of the original version from the 1960’s:




Fine print: “You can build these and many other experimental items with materials from your home, garage, or local hardware store. Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory will show you how!”

The Annotated Build It Yourself Science Laboratory


Maker Faire Panel: 10 Years of Maker Faire

Maker Faire 2008
EepyBird at Maker Faire 2008 by Skip Russell

I am extremely excited that I’ll be  at Maker Faire moderating the panel Looking Back at Maker Faire on Sunday, May 17 at 11 am on Center Stage.

My panelists include long-time Maker Faire stars:

Maker Faire 2010
Mark Frauenfelder at Maker Faire 2010 by Kent K. Barnes

This year’s program guide (pdf) with event highlights is now available for download. For fun and to get in the spirit of my panel, check out Make’s post about the program guide from the very first Maker Faire!

Maker Faire Bay Area 2011: Super Awesome Sylvia
Super Awesome Sylvia at Maker Faire 2011 by Steve Hoefer

Fab Academy CNC Workstation Cart

CNC Workstation cart from Fab Academy
Erin posted on the Make blog about large scale CNC projects at Fab Academy, including a CNC workstation cart based on our design made by Lina Monaco. Lina goes into more details in her post here.

To design it I started from the Evil Mad Scientist’s CNC Workstation Cart redrawing to adapted it to our necessity as an horizontal PC, cables space inside, and last but not least without any screw or glue.

No screw no glue drawers

She posts about her design process, including prototyping using a laser cutter to make a scale model. It looks great—we especially like the cutout drawer handle design.

Linkdump: April 2015

The Clouds of Orion the Hunter

Genetic Algorithm Pattern Generator for EggBot

David Bliss posted about using a genetic algorithm to create designs for the EggBot using Processing. He says, “Each design is a sine wave with eight different parameters.”

Each time the program is run, an initial population is created with 50 individual designs — each with random values assigned to the eight parameters. You then rate each individual design before evolving the next generation. The algorithm chooses individuals to carry on to the next generations (highly rated designs are more likely to be carried forward, but low rated designs may still be used).

Each of the eggs in the photo above was printed from the same program with waves evolved from random seeds.

He has shared his code on Github for this project, as well as earlier ones.

Hands on with NanoBeam


Last fall we wrote about NanoBeam, a new super-miniature open source aluminum T-slot profile construction set that was on Kickstarter at the time. While comparable in design to industrial profile systems like 80/20, its cross section of just 5 mm × 5 mm is comparable to a stud on a lego brick.

We recently got our tweezers hands on a ‘beam, and yes, it’s real, yes, it works, and yes, it’s that tiny. And just wait until you see the fasteners.

Continue reading Hands on with NanoBeam

Blinky AVR Earrings

Blinky AVR Earring

Look what just arrived in the mail– Blinky AVR Earrings!

Blinky AVR Earrings

Not long ago, Rick posted on twitter about the ATtiny84 blinky earrings he had made, inspired by my voltage regulator earrings (which I now fasten on with the appropriate phillips screw).

Four blue LEDs blink in sequence, powered by a CR1220 battery. The board is traditional OSHPark purple, with an ISP header for convenient reprogramming. They’re lighter than they look and quite comfortable.

Thank you, Rick! I know what I’ll be wearing to Maker Faire!

RoboGames Wrap-up

Eggs decorated by the EggBot at RoboGames
Photo by Jim St. Leger

We had a great time at RoboGames demonstrating the EggBot over Easter weekend. Thanks to the contestants in both Combat and Bartending Art Bots categories that we were privileged to judge.

Photo by Jim St. Leger

Congratulations to our friend RobotGrrl, who took home a gold medal in the Best of Show category.

Schuyler and Roger show off the RoboGames logo as drawn by the WaterColorBot
Photo by Jim St. Leger

Congratulations also to our collaborators on the WaterColorBot project, Schuyler and Roger who won gold in Art Bots in the Painting category.

STEM at the White House Easter Egg Roll

Families gather around to learn more about how the EggBot works

From the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog post, An Egg-straordinary Day of Science and Technology:

Interacting with EggBot, an art robot that can paint very intricate and precise designs on eggs. EggBot taught students about digital design, computer numerically controlled machines and robotics. This was also a fun way to celebrate National Robotics Week!