August 23, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fake Gold & Overwatch Animatronics [Maker Update #48]

This week on Maker Update, a servo robot puppet, Raspbian moves to Stretch, a YouTube Live camera, giant gold bricks, trauma shears, and pouring your own knobs. This week’s Cool Tool is a pair of Fluoride Coated Medical Shears.

Show Notes

Advanced Project

3D Printed Animatronic Puppet by JON-A-TRON

Photo and project by Jonathan Odom.


Raspbian Stretch Has Arrived for Raspberry Pi

More Projects

Dedicated YouTube Live Camera by Tinkernut

Photo and project by Tinkernut.

Diresta Prop Gold Bricks

Cool Tools Minute

Trauma Shears

Photo by Donald Bell.


Metallic Sharpie Review on Cool Tools channel

Make: Tips of the Week

DIY Knobs

Maker Faires

Maker Faire Hannover
Maker Faire Trondheim
Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire
Dover Mini Maker Faire
The Ozarks Mini Maker Faire
Tulsa Mini Maker Faire
AmsterJam (September 9th)



This week on Maker Update, a servo robot puppet, Raspbian moves to Stretch, a YouTube Live camera, giant gold bricks, trauma shears, and pouring your own knobs.

It’s Wednesday, August 23rd, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to another Maker Update. I hope you’re all doing well. I feel like we’re now in prime Halloween making time. Something about Monday’s solar eclipse really kicked me into Halloween mode and I’m really trying to get a plan in place for costumes and decorations this year.

I have a great show for you this week, so let’s get into it, starting with the project of the week.

Be sure to check out Jonathan Odom’s Instructable on making this Overwatch-inspired 3D printed animatronic puppet. It’s a cute robot cyclops that can turn its head, flap its jaw, move its eye, and even close its eyelid — so there’s a lot of expression to play with.

Jon includes links to all of his 3D print files, and every servo, every screw, shaft and bearing. It’s all in here, down to the can of spray paint. It’s a well written guide, and even has some tips on weathering your 3D prints.

Surprisingly, my favorite part of this project is that there’s no microcontroller and no code. Jon has each servo hooked up to a $5 servo tester board and uses the built-in dial to animate his puppet.

Granted, the next logical step would be to connect all the servos up to an RC controller, or a motor shield, but I love this low-tech option for feeling out your design when you’re prototyping. Also, I know I have Halloween on the brain, but how cool would this be as some kind of front door greeter.

Great work, Jon.

And now for news. Last week, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced a new major update to their default Raspbian operating system.

The new software includes a bunch of under the hood improvements. The only things you should really notice are a new version of Sonic Pi, a new version of the Chromium browser (which should run faster), and a smarter handling of multiple users.

You can download the new update at, or simply update within Raspbian.

Speaking of Raspberry Pi, one other project I wanted to show you is this Pi-based YouTube Live streaming system by Tinkernut. Combining a Pi 3, a camera module, a touchscreen and a USB microphone, this system allows you to stream live to YouTube with just a single tap.

Sorting out the hardware seems relatively straightforward. The tricky part is navigating the code, and downloads and patches. Fortunately, the guide on Hackster shows every step of the way, with copy and paste code examples that should take care of the headaches.

For something totally different, Jimmy Diresta has a fun video up on making giant prop gold bars. There’s no written guide, but the video goes step by step through the process, cutting the foam into stackable sections, glueing it up with expanding foam, shaping it, sealing it and painting it.

Again, I’m looking at this through the filter of Halloween, but it has me motivated to build a big, lightweight prop this way.

It’s time for another Cool Tools video review. This time we’re going to take a look at a nicer pair of medical shears or trauma shears or penny cutters. I got this pair for around $9 on Amazon, they’re the highest rated set on there and you can pick up these same ones using the Amazon link in the description, which helps support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

These are standard issue EMT scissors. They’re purposefully blunt so you don’t stab people while you’re trying to help them. In the field, these are used for cutting away clothes, belts, seatbelts, bandages — anything you can think of. They’re tough and strong, and cheap enough that you don’t have to be precious with them.

These are sometimes called penny cutters, because yes — they can cut through pennies. You’ll never need to, but it’s an impressive demo.

Another feature most models share is this lip on the front. This is great for slipping into a tight spot without having to jab pointy-end first.

These particular shears stand out from the super cheap ones in two ways. First, the matte black finish on here is a non-stick fluoride coating. It helps them from getting gummed up, especially when cutting through tape.

Second, and probably most useful for makers, there’s a dull notch back here perfect for stripping wire.

Because of the non-stick coating, people will often pick these up for gardening. I’ve also seen them used as kitchen scissors. These things can be autoclaved or boiled or run through the dishwasher to kill off any bacteria — and the channels in the blades help flush out any gunk.

So there you go. If you want to pick up these same scissors, use the link in the description. Whether it’s for your shop or garden or kitchen or camping gear — you’ll find a good use for them. And remember, you can see thousands of reader recommended tools just like this at

For another cheap and useful tool, check out my video on the virtues of using a silver Sharpie pen over on the Cool Tools channel. Great for marking metal, plastic, gaffer tape, and even beer bottles. No joke.

Over on Makezine, Gareth Branwyn’s latest tips of the week roundup highlights how to make an improvised caulking gun out of an adjustable clamp, and also mentions that same gold bar Diresta video, and Jimmy’s technique for scoring and snapping foam insulation board to quickly get the shape he wants.

And over on Hackaday there’s a post pointing to a video on the Stuff I Made channel on how to make your own plastic knobs using silicone candy or ice cube molds and dropping in some resin and a bolt. The process takes about 10 minutes, and the results look pretty cool.

Maker Faires! It’s a big weekend for Maker Faires. We’ve got Hannover Germany, Trondheim Norway, Albuquerque New Mexico, Dover New Hampshire, Springfield Missouri, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I also got an email from Andy Warburton asking for a shout out for AmsterJam coming up on September 9th in Amsterdam. It’s a Raspberry Pi meetup. You can find out more at

And that’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe, and leave me a thumbs up or a comment. Check out the show notes down in the description or on, where you can also join the email list, alright? Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

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