Drilling apples

My greatest culinary innovation of the year: coring apples with a 1-1/4″ Forstner bit on an electric drill.
I have just revolutionized apple coring. In my kitchen at least.

Please note, this is a pretty new bit and I cleaned it with soap and water first. And then served apple crisp to our friends last night.
And nobody has died. So, if that’s reassuring enough for you, go for it!
If not, please don’t.



3D Printing Projects book released


Hey look, the new book is out! That’s my flower care robot, Chauncey, there on the cover. (He waters that flower whenever the soil runs dry.)

I’m very excited and proud to have contributed to this lovely new book from Maker Media chocked full of projects you can build with a 3D printer, some electronics and mechanical parts, and a bit of gumption. The central notion behind 3D Printing Projects: Toys, Tools, and Contraptions to Print and Build Yourself is “You’ve got a 3D printer, and you’ve downloaded and printed a few Yoda heads and vases — now what?”

The projects all go beyond static prints, and into functional builds that show the true utility of desktop prototyping and additive building when combined with other techniques, including print finishing/painting, friction welding, embedded electronics, physical computing, and mechanism design. Downloadable model files are available on the book’s companion site, and we’ve got a GitHub repository set up for any code downloads, such as the Arduino sketch that powers my flower bot.

I’d like to also give an enormous public, internet hug and thank you to my creative collaborator, Barry McWilliams, who inspired me with his Wrylon Robotical Illustrated Catalog of Botanical Delivery ‘Botsand who designed my darling little robot, Chauncey.


If you’re interested in learning how to make your own Chauncey, or animatronic eyes, or a ballpoint pen raygun, an inverted RC trike, and more, from a very talented group of makers, including John Baichtal, James Floyd Kelly, and Brook Drumm,  please check it out on Amazon, at O’Reilly, in your local Barnes & Noble, or other local bookstore. I promise it will give invigorating new purpose to your 3D printer!


Boing Boing Weekend of Wonder slideshow

The Boing Boing Weekend of Wonder was delightful. Star Foreman’s LA Weekly slideshow is a nice glimpse into the activities.

wowBot wowPick wowTrick

The above photos Star shot capture a few of my activities during the event: a talk on creative making featuring Chauncey the flower care robot, workshops I taught on lock picking, and an impromptu human body tricks performance during a talent show one evening.

Cord Wrapping Method of the Gods

Oh how total is the pain and suffering of coiling a long extension cord for storage, only to have it twist and snag and tangle upon uncoiling for later use. I have a 100′ long power cord that I often dread using for this reason.

Please, then, understand my utter joy and excitement upon learning this superior method as taught by Dirt Farmer Jay.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 10.17.32 AM

Thanks, Dirt Farmer Jay!

Practice Locks for Boing Boing’s Weekend of Wonder


Have you heard about Boing Boing’s Weekend of Wonder? It’s a three-day festival coming this September 18-20, 2015 at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, where you will “learn about exciting new DIY technologies, make cool stuff, immerse yourself in an alternate reality adventure, hang out with nerd superstars*, and be surprised by cool special events you’ll never forget.”


I’ll be one of the event’s special guests, there to present nifty stuff and teach interesting skills. I’m currently planning a few workshops on locks — how they work, how to open them in unconventional ways, and how to make your own associated tools.


These are just a few example locks I’ll be bringing to help people learn and practice their new skills. These represent a variety of common wafer locks, pin tumbler locks, warded locks, and combination locks that you may encounter in the course of daily life/secret operations/ninja-ing around.

Hope to see you there!


*My first time being called a “nerd superstar”. And I kinda like it.

Dieselpunk bicycle fender

My daughter loves her new bike. My daughter loves wearing skirts over bicycle shorts. My daughter’s skirts touch the rear wheel and get dirty. I built a rear fender for her bike.

I used aluminum flashing, overlapping three sheets.

I attempted to spot weld them together, but this was too powerful. Mostly, I melted holes through the flashing.

This turned out to be a good way to “drill” holes.

Which I then bored out with an awl and used pop rivets to fasten.

Continue reading