Episode 007: Building Mobile

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What do kids, dogs, Raspberry Pi’s, and computer monitor mounts all have in common? They’re all the subject of this weeks episode! Listen along as we discuss fun projects for children, ways to control LEDs with a Raspberry Pi (hint: you use an Arduino instead), physical timers so you know when your dog has been fed, and ways of constructing a multi-axis mount for a computer screen. It’s bananas!

You can listen to or download the episode below or over at archive.org. Also, please subscribe to us on iTunes and if you have a minute, give us a rating!

Don’t forget, if there’s a project you’re working on, and you’d like a little bit of help brainstorming some aspect of it, send us an email and laugh it up as we stumble our way through.


1 – Andrew over at Maker Mobile, asked if we knew of some really good low-cost activities for kids (0:20)
-Andrew mentioned Spark Truck and Mobile Fab Lab, and Jake remembered the Planet Mechanics Mobile
-Here’s the sketchup of their current truck layout
-Solarbotics has quite a few kits available (as do Maker Shed, Spark Fun, and Seed Studio)
-Blinky Bugs and LED Art both fun inexpensive projects by Ken Murphy (both kits have build instructions on his website)
-There are many educational Instructables contests like: Make To Learn, Hands On Learning, Education, Teacher, and Science Fair. You can look through the finalists to see broad ranges of topics to get some ideas
-Stomp Rockets, Air Rockets and Soda Bottle Rockets are always crowd pleasers
-Marshmallow Shooters
-I managed to find a lot of other after school (check out the Maker Club Playbook) building style camps that might illicit to some inspiration
-Howtoons is also a great resource for quick, easy projects with things you have on hand
-Balloon Rockets (make sure you click the “experiments” link at the top of that page)
-Both Circuit Bending (see external links at the bottom of the page for a lot more info) or building your own musical instruments from scratch can be quite fun (Make Vol. 4 happens to be the music issue, which might be worth a look)
-Paper Mache with chicken wire or balloons
-Bristlebots, Brushbots, Vibrobots or whatever you might call them, there are bunches of them, and they’re all fun and easy
-Zoetropes are fun and you can work up to them with small flip books
-Gliders and Paper Airplanes (I ran across this Instructables member while searching for gliders, they have lots of fun simple projects)
-Scribble Pens
-Here are a few other items I found which were either forgotten above or forgotten in our conversation: simple 3D cameras, citrus or penny batteries, pulling magnets into projects, expanding on instruments with a LilyPad to make musical clothing, or even having a Kinect and the software ready so kids could build puppets that would move depending on how they moved
-There’s also the Makey Makey, and Pico Cricuits (sadly the Pico Cricket Kit seems to be discontinued) for simple interactions
-Finally, don’t forget about Instructables educational channel (here’s two cool instructables I found), and Make’s educational category (who’s first page looked pretty promising)

2 – Raspberry Commander (18:20)
-You’re going to want an Arduino (seriously, there’s a lot more discussed in the podcast, but this is the short of it)

3 – Dog Food Timer (25:03)
-You can see the Coo Coo Clock mechanism we were talking about in wooden clocks
-Perhaps fashion your own Hourglasses
-I tried to find a good example of a Treasure Chest Bubbler to reference a terrestrial version, but didn’t have any luck

4 – Swivel Mount Monitor (35:50)
-Some examples of lockable ball joints
-Use a counterweight with a pulley mechanism
-You can also use an extruded L channel, this instructable will show you that and a lot more



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