May 17, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fire Skateboard [Maker Update #34]

This week on Maker Update: a skateboard that shoots fire, design concepts from Hackaday prize, a dirt-cheap telepresence robot, a military tool bag, cardboard rivets, a microcontroller guide from Make, and the biggest show and tell on earth. Here’s a link to our featured Cool Tools product on Amazon (Canvas Military Tool Bag).

-=-=Show Notes=-=-

Advanced Project

Fire-shooting Flamethrower Skateboard by mikeasaurus

Flamethrower Skateboard by mikeasaurus
Flamethrower skateboard project and photo by mikeasaurus.


Hackaday Prize Concept Finalists


HeartyPatch project
HeartyPatch project and photo by Ashwin K Whitchurch.

Cell Phone Signal Repeater

Femtocell project
Femtocell project and photo by Tegwyn Twmffat.

More Projects

Telepresence Robot by randofo

DIY Telepresence Robot by Randy Sarafan.
DIY Telepresence Robot by Randy Sarafan.

Cool Tools Minute

Canvas Military Tool Bag review

Buy it here and support the show:

Rothco G.I. Type Mechanics Tool Bag
The Rothco G.I. Type Mechanics Tool Bag. Photo by Donald Bell.


Makedo Toolkit for Cardboard Construction

Makedo Scru Add-On Pack

MakeDo Toolkit

New MAKE is out


Gareth Panel “Amazing Tales from the Shop”

I’m joining Cool Tools!

Maker Faires

MAKER FAIRE BAY AREA San Mateo, California
Wayne County Mini Maker Faire Wayne County, Ohio
Buffalo Mini Maker Faire Buffalo, New York
Jackson Hole Mini Maker Faire Jackson, Wyoming
Tartu Mini Maker Faire Tartu
Maker Faire Vienna Vienna
Kyiv Mini Maker Faire Kyiv



This week on Maker Update: a skateboard that shoots fire, design concepts from Hackaday prize, a dirt-cheap telepresence robot, a military tool bag, cardboard rivets, a microcontroller guide from Make, and the biggest show and tell on earth.

It’s Wednesday, May 17th, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to another Maker Update. I hope you’re all having a great week, and with any luck I’ll see some of you at Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend. I’ve been spending the week testing the Kitty car and putting on the finishing touches. I’ve got a deluxe seat on there now, and some stickers. God knows what it will look like after this weekend, but it’s pretty sweet right now.

There’s a lot of cool stuff to share this week, so let’s get right into it starting with the advanced — and possibly the most dangerous — project of the week.

This week, Instructables employee Mikeasaurus posted an immaculate guide to adding a flamethrower to a skateboard. This is an admittedly dangerous project that involves flames and lighter fluid — so don’t attempt this without adult supervision — and even then, maybe shooting flames out from your skateboard is just not a great idea.

That said, how cool is it just to know how to do this stuff?! Mike is using a 10oz fuel canister, universal fuel pump, 12v rechargeable power supply, and a universal 12v spark generator.

There are two buttons on the nose of the board — one to pump a stream of lighter fluid onto the ground, and one to trigger the spark generator, lighting the trail of fuel behind you.

It looks so cool, but honestly, I would be so scared to try this. Mike says that with the small amount of fuel involved and it not being under pressure that there’s little danger of things going too wrong so long as you keep moving. Still, if you try this, use caution, have a buddy around, and a fire extinguisher.

And now for news! Last week, the first round of Hackaday Prize money went out to twenty of their favorite submitted design concepts. This is just one of several different award rounds, and it’s still not too late to submit a project for other rounds, but it’s nice to see what people are cooking up.

Two of my favorite project ideas from this round are an internet connected wearable heart monitor called the Hearty Patch, and a DIY cell phone signal repeater or femtocell, designed for rural areas with poor reception.

And now for one more, far less hazardous project — although I guess you could really add flames to just about anything. Over on Instructables, Randy Sarafan has a multi-part guide on making a telepresence robot.

The basic platform of the project uses an Arduino, a handful of servos, some wheels, a plastic bin, and a selfie-stick to hold a smartphone, which handles the telepresence part. As the project advances, you have the option of incorporating shields and sensors and the ability to pilot the robot remotely using touchtones.

The whole project ties into Randy’s free online robotics class offered through Instructables. Given the comments and pictures and feedback on the project, there’s a lively class of people trying this project out and it looks like a lot of fun. So check it out.

It’s time once again for a 1-minute review of a useful tool I found on the Cool Tools blog. This week, let’s take a look at the Rothco G.I. type mechanics toolbag. It’s around $16 on Amazon prime, and by using the link in the show notes you help support this show and the Cool Tools blog.

Russel Brooks wrote a review of this bag for Cool Tools saying that these are similar to bags he was issued when he was in the Air Force in the 70s. They’re made of a thick canvas with a heavy brass zipper, pockets on both sides, and small pockets lining the inside.

Compared to carrying around a big, steel toolbox, these are lighter, cheaper, and they don’t scrape or dent things when you put them down. They also pack down nice and flat when you don’t need them.

They’re not perfect. I wish the inside pockets could hold tools better. But at $16, there’s no reason not to cut out stitches and rework the pockets for what you need. I’m taking this one to Maker Faire this weekend with my angle grinder and some wrenches, and it’s perfect.

Even for non tool use, as a guy, it’s a good option for when you need a purse-sized bag that in no way could be mistaken for a purse. It’s tough, it’s cheap, and versatile. A link to buy this bag is in the video description. And you can see thousands of reader-recommended tools just like this one at

Now for a few more tools and tips. This week I learned about the Makedo Cardboard construction kit. It’s a plastic rivet kit stocked by Adafruit, and designed to attach and articulate bits of cardboard together. The basic toolkit is around $13 and there’s a $10 add-on pack for extra rivets. It looks like a great tool for building cardboard contraptions with kids.

I also just got the new Make magazine in the mail. This is their annual microcontroller guide that comes with a pull-out breakdown of different boards compiled by Matt Stultz. There’s also a really good interview with Lady Ada written by Gareth Branwyn. It’s a great, dense issue, and worth picking up.

A few plugs to mention. First just another reminder for those of you attending Saturday at Maker Faire Bay Area that I’ll be talking on a panel at 4:30 called Amazing Tales from the Shop, along with Gareth Branwyn, Mark Frauenfelder, John Park, and April Wilkerson. It’s 4:30 in zone 4, so come say hello.

Also, I’m happy to announce that starting in June I’ll be officially joining the Cool Tools team, creating standalone product reviews and tool comparisons just for them. It won’t affect this show. It’s just great news and I’m super happy about it, and I’ll let you know more as things develop.

Maker Faires! We have Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend of course, but there are also 6 other faires, including Wayne County Ohio, Buffalo NY, Jackson Wyoming, Tartu Estonia, Vienna Austria, and Kyiv in the Ukraine.

And that’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already. And if that canvas tool bag looks like something you’ll use, be sure to use the Amazon link in the description here which helps to support this show. Alright? Thanks for watching, and if Maker Faire doesn’t wreck me, I’ll see you next week

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