April 12, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Diploma [Maker Update #29]

This week on Maker Update, an old fashioned electric go kart, diploma drama for Arduino, plastic razor blades, fingerprint sensors, sninges, Maker Faires and robot trading cards. This week’s Cool Tool is Scraperite Plastic Razors.

Project of the Week

Electric Go Kart in Retro Style (for Kids) by woodenProjects

Wooden Electric Car
Photo and project by Wooden Projects.


Arduino’s New CEO, Federico Musto, May Have Fabricated His Academic Record

Cool Tools Minute

Scraperite Plastic Razor Blades

Scraperite Plastic Razors
Photo by Donald Bell.


How to use a Raspberry Pi Fingerprint Sensor for Authentication (via Adafruit)

How to use a Fingerprint Sensor with Arduino

Fingerprint sensor
Photo by Adafruit.

Laser Cut Parametric Flex Box Generators by JustAddSharks

Sninges in Laser Cut Acryllic by Sean Michael Ragan

Laser Cut Living Hinge
Photo and project by Just Add Sharks.

Maker Faires
April 14, 2017 Kent, Ohio
April 15, 2017 Omaha, Nebraska
April 15, 2017 Salt Lake City, Utah
April 16, 2017 Edinburgh, Scotland

National Robotics Week
Robot Trading Cards

Robot Trading Cards



This week on Maker Update, an old fashioned electric go kart, more drama for Arduino, plastic razor blades, fingerprint sensors, sninges, maker faires and robot trading cards.

It’s Wednesday, April 12th, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to another Maker Update. I just got back from the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City where I had a great time teaching people how to solder. Like, I genuinely enjoyed it and now I know that’s something I want to do more of. I hope all of you have had a great week and maybe even a weekend project you’re looking forward to. If not, maybe this one will give you some inspiration.

Take a look at this wooden electric Go Kart by Instructables user Wooden Projects. If you’ve ever wanted to build a small, kid-friendly electric car, but have been scared off by the idea of welding and metalwork — this is your guide.

Apart from the bicycle wheels and a few off the shelf go kart motor components, this little car is mostly pine wood, glue and screws. It also just looks like a really fun exercise in vintage coachworks. While the neighborhood kids scoot around in their gaudy plastic power wheels, your kid can putt around in leather appointed luxury. The even a hood ornament!

Now, it’s not a particularly speedy design. The specs for this one call for a 24 volt electric scooter motor with more torque than speed — but you know, the kid looks pretty happy. And how cool to see you mom or dad build the whole thing from scratch.

And now for some Maker news. More drama from the Arduino team. The big news last year was that the two warring factions — Massimo Banzi’s Arduino.cc and Federico Musto’s Arduino.org — put aside their differences and created a unified organization that gave Musto a majority stake as CEO.

And as someone with a PhD from MIT and an MBA from NYU, that seems like a natural position for Musto to be in. The only problem, is that it turns out neither NYU nor MIT have any record of Musto attending their schools, much less graduating.

To add another wrinkle to the story, the background check into Musto’s academic history was initiated by Limor Fried and Phil Torrone of Adafruit Industries, who distribute Arduino in the US and also make many licensed Arduino-based spin-offs.

According to Wired, in her conversations with Musto, Limor — who is a graduate of MIT — grew suspicious when Musto avoided any talk around his time at the school.

Since this story broke, Federico has since deleted all mention of MIT and NYU from his Linked In profile. In fact, the only education currently listed on his profile is a Montessori Kindergarten. How bizarre is that?

No word yet on how this may affect the Arduino organization and its leadership structure — but wow! Stay tuned.

Alright, time once again for a little review of a tool I found through the excellent Cool Tools blog.

These are plastic razor blades made by Scraperite. They come with a little holder. And what these are good for is any task where you need to delicately scrape something off of a surface that you don’t want to scratch up with conventional razor or pallete knife.

Just last week, my wife found this great tin-framed mirror at a yard sale, that had old stickers and gunk on it. I put a few drops of goo-gone on there and used the plastic blade to work off the stickers. It felt like the perfect tool for the job and it spared me from having to pick away at it with my nails. Plus, you can sharpen these with sandpaper if you want a really fine edge. The same can’t be said of your fingertips.

You can get a bag of five of these plus the holder for around $8 on Amazon. A link in the description will take you right to it, and by using it you help support this show and the Cool Tools blog and their excellent podcast. And when someone comes to you needing a label scraped off a jar, you’ll look like a total pro. So do it.

I have a few other tips for you this week. The first is this guide I found through the Adafruit blog on how to integrate a fingerprint sensor with a Raspberry Pi project. These sensors cost around $32. There’s a Python library of code that allows you to quickly enroll fingerprints and use them in your project.

While I was looking at the fingerprint sensors, I noticed that most of them were also labelled as Arduino compatible. And lo and behold, I found an Adafruit guide on using these same sensors with Arduino projects. So really, whichever platform you’re more comfortable with, there’s a way to use fingerprint recognition.

Obviously, these would be great for some kind of security project, but I was also thinking they’d be good for any of those bartending robots I love showing on here. Not only as proof of age, but also a way to associate a person with their drink preference.

I also found this guide by Just Add Sharks on cutting flexible hinges into laser cut wood. The technique uses a downloadable Living Hinge script for the free OPENScad software. You can also download scripts that give you the full box designs, which you can adjust for your needs.

Seeing this reminded me of a piece I’d seen by maker Sean Michael Ragan on Makezine about using the same technique for laser cut acrylic. He called them Sninges, which I acyually prefer to Living Hinge since it sounds more like a Dr. Seuss character.

Maker Faires! This weekend there are four faires happening around the world, including Kent Ohio, Omaha Nebraska, Salt Lake City Utah, and Edinburgh Scotland.

In addition to that, it’s National Robotics week and at Nationalroboticsweek.org you can find a map of hundreds of events taking place. And to help celebrate, they created a downloadable set of robot trading cards! How cool is that!

And that’s it for this week’s Maker Update. As always, if you enjoyed the show, it means a lot when I see those likes and comments. I love doing this show, and you can also help support it and Cool Tools by using that Amazon link if you’re curious about those plastic blades. Alright? Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

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