January 24, 2018 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nintendo’s Cardboard Kits [Maker Update #68]

This week on Maker Update, a 3D printed thermal camera, Nintendo Switch gets making with Labo, an 8-note harp with only one string, Scratch 3.0, and making CNC designs by hand. This week’s Cool Tool is the Neiko Mini Ratcheting Screwdriver.

Show Notes

Advanced Project

Photo and project by Ruiz Bros.

Thermal Camera with Display by Ruiz Bros.


Image courtesy of Nintendo.

Nintendo Looks to Create Educational Electronics with Labo

Nintendo Switch Gets Making with Labo

More Projects

Photo and project by MakeFast.

TuneFast Harp by makefast

Cool Tools Minute

Neiko 03044A Mini Ratcheting Screwdriver and Bit Set


Scratch 3.0 Preview

Scratch 3.0 Wiki

Image and project by Jon-A-Tron.

Technique: Digital Fabrication by Hand by JON-A-TRON

Image and project by Jon-A-Tron.

Flip-Top CNC Table by JON-A-TRON

Maker Faires

Perpignan Mini Maker Faire
Elkhorn Mini Maker Faire

Get Maker Update weekly emails (w/bonus links!)



This week on Maker Update, a 3D printed thermal camera, Nintendo Switch gets making with Labo, an 8-note harp with only one string, my favorite mini screwdriver, Scratch 3.0, and making CNC designs by hand.

It’s Wednesday, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to another Maker Update. I hope you’re all doing well. I have a fun, full show for you today, so let’s get started with the project of the week.

I gotta give it up to the Ruiz brothers again this week for their design of this thermal camera project over on Adafruit.

The camera uses a $40 IR thermal camera breakout board, connected to an Arduino-compatible Huzzah32 microcontroller to decode the image, and a 2.4-inch color screen to display it.

All in, with the rechargeable battery and power switch, you’re looking at around $100 worth of components. Not cheap, but considering that similar cameras retail for 2-3 times that cost, it’s a fairly practical project.

It’s also the cutest thermal camera you can get, thanks to this retro-inspired 3D printed enclosure designed by Noe and Pedro. Every detail is custom fit for this project. There are a few machine screws to put in, but most of the design snaps together.

It’s a great project, and a fun one to show off.

It’s time for some news. This week Nintendo announced a new program called Labo, that creates and sells cardboard kits for the Nintendo Switch portable game console.

The kits, which go on sale April 20th, are essentially shells for the different sensors of the Switch, taking advantage of the gyroscope and accelerometer, as well as an IR depth camera that can pick up on the position of bits of reflective tape placed on the cardboard.

It’s actually a pretty sophisticated system. And while I’m sure a lot of people are wondering why they’re using cardboard, I think it’s great that it’s motivating people to make stuff. And considering all the Wii accessories that have been chucked into the landfill, it’s an admirable, eco-friendly experiment. I’ll be curious to see how people react.

One more project I wanted to share with you this week. Check out this 3D printed, 8-note harp designed by MakeFast.

The instrument uses a single string, wrapped around 8 bolts and grooved bearings, and a single guitar tuner to tension everything up. The fixed position of the bolts means that the single string, divided up, should produce a nice diatonic scale that’s always in relative tune with itself. It’s a neat trick, it prints in about 3 hours, and the hardware cost is only $7.

It’s time for another Cool Tools review. Last week I showed you a right angle adapter for a power drill. This week I’m going to show you a hand-powered alternative. This is the Neiko mini ratcheting screwdriver. I bought it on Amazon years ago for around $9. If you want to get this same one, using the Amazon link in the description helps support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

Sometimes, no matter how short and stubby your screwdriver is, it just can’t get at an awkwardly placed screw. Doorknob screws are perfect example, and I think I originally bought this driver just to tighten one up.

Sometimes a screw is hard to get to by design and sometimes it’s just furniture that’s up against a wall, or too close to the ground to get a conventional screwdriver in there without it being a pain.

This ratcheting, right angle screwdriver has come in handy a bunch of times for me, getting into tight spots. It takes any standard ¼-inch bit and comes with 7 of them in a little holder. The bit pops in on one side and is held in place with a little tension spring inside the socket.

Underneath the socket you have this lever that that changes the direction of the ratchet mechanism making it easy to screw or unscrew things.

That’s really all there is to it. It’s a pretty simple tool with a smart design. It’s a great screwdriver in general, even if a regular screwdriver will do. The lever provides more torque than you’d think and the flat, compact shape makes it easy to carry in your pocket.

I keep mine in my tool bag in a little pouch designed for a pencil, and I never worry about it falling out.

Also, unlike a regular screwdriver, the flat sides are easy to scratch or write your name on, making it less likely to disappear on you.

That’s the Neiko mini ratcheting screwdriver. You can get it on Amazon for $9 using the link in the description. And remember, you can see thousands of reader recommended tools like this at Cool-Tools.org.

I have a few more tips to share with you. First, the Scratch visual programming language has a version 3.0 in development. The new version will run as HTML 5 instead of Flash, which should make it more broadly compatible and also allow it to run on mobile devices.

There’s a bunch of new features including a sound recorder and editor. I have a link to the wiki page with all the details, plus a link to an online preview that you can play with right now.

Also, Jon-A-Tron has a new guide up on making a flip-top workshop table. It’s a great project, but what really caught my attention is his link to an older guide from 2014 on using hand tools to cut out objects designed for CNC.

Jon shows off how he designed this slot-together laptop stand in Fusion 360, used a print shop to print out a large scale template, and then transferred the template to plywood that he cut out using a jigsaw and a drill.

It’s a nice reminder that you can take advantage of digital design, even if you don’t have a CNC router or laser cutter nearby.

Maker Faires! We finally have some Maker Faires to talk about. This weekend, there’s a mini Maker Faire in Perpignan France, and one in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Maybe you can make it out to one of those.

And that’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe, and leave a thumbs up, leave a comment. Pick up that mini ratcheting screwdriver if you don’t have one already. And sign up on the Maker Update email list to get these show notes sent out to you every week along with a few bonus projects. That’s it. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

Submit a comment

Sign the Mailing List

A once-weekly email for each Maker Update episode, including bonus links for stuff that didn't make it into the show.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

BMC logoBuy me a coffee