Turn on a Lamp with a Gesture-Controlled Harry Potter Wand


Photo by Hep Svadja To say Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon is an understatement. It’s simply part of our culture, arguably as beloved as any other media franchise in history, inspiring many of us to try to capture some of the magic on our own — which is what this project is about. After a recent trip to Universal’s ...

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Assemble an Easy Jumping Jack Toy


Photography by Hep Svadja Yank the string on this simple puppet and the arms and legs go up. It’s a straightforward design that can be made at home with cheap and easy-to-find supplies. 1. Cut Out the Pieces There are 5 parts: two legs, two arms, and the head/torso. Create your own character design or trace a pattern onto your ...

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Weekend Watch: Real-Time Painting with Nagualero


  There isn’t much that relaxes me faster than the sound of a brush repeatedly grazing a canvas. The youtube channel Nagualero is packed with videos of a painting from conception to completion in real-time. No fancy timelapse here, just the soothing sounds of an image being created from pigment and brush strokes. The videos are labelled as lessons, though this ...

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Heirloom Tech: The Inlaid Micro Geometries of Khatam


Woodworking artisans across the globe have been developing and perfecting decorative inlay techniques for well over a thousand years. Among the spectrum of styles, one particularly interesting technique is called khatam (or khatam-kari, with khatam meaning “to seal” and kari meaning “work,” essentially the art of sealing). Developed in the ancient Persian Empire, khatam-kari gained popularity in the 16th century. ...

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How to Make Breakaway Bottles and Window Panes


Our pal Simone Giertz has started a Patreon campaign to fund her work (after her propensity for speaking her mind and cursing like a salty dog sailor got her into trouble with sponsors). By supporting her (at $5/month), you get access to behind the scenes content, Work in Progress (WIP) videos, and other exclusive content. And she gets to continue ...

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Understand the Engineering Behind the Impossible Yin Yang Gears


While searching through the internet, you may have seen an animation of the Yin Yang symbol moving as a set of gears. Most likely, you moved on and didn’t think about it much more, but prolific woodworker Ronald Walters of the “Ron’s Stuff” YouTube channel decided to instead make his own real-life version of it. His build is made out ...

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Building the Ultimate Dungeon Master Screen


Anyone who’s played Dungeons & Dragons, or another roleplaying game, and used an official Dungeon Master (DM) screen knows how flimsy the commercial screens can be. Even the ones made of thick board not card stock, while being sturdier, are not very exciting and the information printed on them is fixed. This past Christmas, Dave Henning and his gaming group ...

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Laser Etching Beautiful Wood Carved Coffee Thermoses


From left to right, Disney castle, Vitruvian Batman, Hamilton silhouette, Hogwarts castle, and Vitruvian Optimus Prime. The first four are made out of cherry, and Optimus is made out of walnut. It all starts with my least favorite and most stressful part of woodworking – the glue-up. Typically, this is the next-to-last step in the process, but because I couldn’t ...

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8 Festive Projects to Ring in the New Year


There is a surprising lack of New Year’s Eve themed projects on the interwebs. Most anything related to NYE involves cookies and treats made into cutsie shapes or dressing spiffy for the occasion. Maybe, because NYE doesn’t have nearly as much in the way of accessories as the other winter holidays. It doesn’t have trees and nog and menorahs and ...

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Heirloom Tech: The Old-World Acoustics of Ali Qapu


Built in the early 17th century, Ali Qapu (meaning “great gate,” pictured below) is one of the most famous palaces of the Persian Empire’s Safavid Era. Situated on the western side of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan, Iran, this 48-meter tall, six-story building was built by decree of Shah Abbas I and later expanded by Shah Abbas II. Ali ...

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