by MAKE 146,564 views
It's amazing what a little disk can do ... when it's layered with piezoelectric crystals. Piezo disks are impressively sensitive to vibration and can easily be adapted to work as a contact microphones. The trick is the preamp - a basic circuit used to match the piezo's signal to levels compatible with modern audio gear inputs. The resulting piezo/preamp combo can be used for electrifying an acoustic guitar or simply exploring the lesser-heard world of small sound around us.
by MAKE 186,546 views
Schematics are the functional diagram of electronic circuits. With so many designs available on the web, understanding how to read schematics can unlock a world of possibilities for the electronics maker. In fact, if you can read a schematic, you can build a circuit before even understanding how it works!
by MAKE 73,748 views
Infrared light may be invisible to the human eye - but it's usefulness in the world of electronics is easy to see. IR emitters & detectors can be used in a variety of different ways - most of us use them for wireless communication everyday.
by MAKE 144,284 views
Get geared up for circuit-making- check out Collin's list of tools no electronaut should be without!
by MAKE 256,992 views
A true classic for DIY synth makers & circuit benders, the Atari Punk Console can kick out some ear-catching square waves. It's easy to build and a lot of fun to play around with. It may be challenging to make traditional music with an APC, but hey - there's enough of that around already, right?
by MAKE 152,417 views
The requisite starting point for anything electronic - you won't get much blinking, buzzing, or processing done without a power supply!
by MAKE 95,929 views
Not all electronic signals are communicated via electricity. By transmitting information in the form of light, we can avoid many limitations inherent to traditional wiring. And on top of all that - fiber optics are just straight-up cool!
by MAKE 86,447 views
Easily overlooked, but elemental to electronics hardware, the manually operated switch is the simplest of electromechanical devices -- and likely the most familiar. While the most basic switch is ... well, quite basic -- there's a crazy-huge variety of switch types & sizes available to the electronics maker nowadays. Those new to the soldering & schematics scene will surely benefit from an introduction to some of the terms and formats relevant to various switch species.
by MAKE 105,764 views
Another clever trick from the world of electronics - Pulse Width Modulation is a simple method for controlling analog devices via a digital signal. It's also an efficient way to drive motors, lamps, LEDs & more.
by MAKE 75,148 views
Measuring brainwaves is not just for neuroscientists anymore - new affordable consumer level EEG devices ( & even some toys) do a respectable job at measuring tiny voltage pulses given off by neurons firing in the brain.
Cool - but how shall we use these new found sensory powers?
To automatically compose electronic music, of course!
by MAKE 125,569 views
Ever wonder why they call it an electronics "breadboard"? Way back in the day, folks had to be pretty resourceful to pursue an electronics hobby. So power down the soldering iron and go grab a hammer - it's time to try building on a *real* breadboard.
by MAKE 177,766 views
Piezoelectric materials are about as close to magic as you can get. They turn physical pressure into electricity and can even turn electricity into physical pressure - an amazing sort of bidirectional converter for mechanical and electrical energies. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that you can easily 'grow' your own piezoelectric crystals overnight using just a couple of common ingredients - awesome.
by MAKE 171,395 views
Learn the basics of controlling a grid of LEDs - use one as a miniature game machine and more, as Collin Cunningham takes a look inside the LED Matrix.
by MAKE 144,608 views
The Monotron mini analog synthesizer was made to be hacked - learn how to add your own control-voltage inputs and check out some sample synthing played via strobe light.
by MAKE 100,367 views
The Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) turns bits into waves using a surprisingly simple circuit built from little more than a few resistors. Learn how to build your own R-2R DAC and use it to generate waveforms with a microcontroller
by MAKE 282,609 views
USB devices are so common nowadays - wouldn't it be nice to use one with your homebrew electronics projects? Equipped with an Arduino microcontroller + Host shield, pretty much any USB peripheral can be put work in your project.
by MAKE 94,635 views
5mm or 10mm LEDs will work just fine for most projects, but if you really want to light up a room, consider using some of the high-power variety. With forward currents up to a full amp, you'll need a way to dissipate heat - but the results are very much worth the extra effort.
by MAKE 187,379 views
Join Collin as he synchronizes light to sound using the power of analog circuitry - It's disco-tech!
by MAKE 71,742 views
Once the growing sprawl of electronic parts starts showing up in your dreams, you know you've got some tidying up to do. But who wants to spend hours organizing parts & gear when you could be having fun actually using it? Hmm ... good point.
Well, if you do manage to pull yourself away fromall that hacking & experimentation for 10-20min or so, consider installing a quick-n-dirty wire rack to tame all those wild spools that roam your workbench.
by MAKE 272,526 views
What do you get when you combine DIY custom molded earplugs with a pair of in-ear headphones? Isolated Hi-Fi that fits like a glove but won't break the bank.
by MAKE 180,156 views
Join Collin Cunningham as he explores the oh-so-tiny world of surface mount electronics. Follow along as he constructs what may be the world's smallest phototheremin all in super-macro detail - plus learn why adhesive poster putty is so darn useful.
by MAKE 217,044 views
When you think - "DIY electronics", one of the first images that likely comes to mind is a bunch of parts and wire soldered to a standard piece of perforated circuit board - and that makes sense. Perfboard is super-versatile - essentially it's just a grid of potential solder-point connections. You can trim it down to just the size you need - or leave extra space for future enhancements ... or revisions, if need be.
by MAKE 818,536 views
Fingertip input is great for most touchscreen usage like typing, web-browsing - all sorts of virtual button-pushing tasks. But for many people, drawing remains an activity best approached with a pen, pencil, brush, etc.
With a bit of conductive foam and wire, it's surprisingly easy to make your own conductive stylus, suitable for use with iPhone, iPad and similar conductive touchscreen devices - and you'll likely find it a lot more precise compared to regular fingertip input.
by MAKE 253,902 views
Every useful electronics project deserves a good enclosure. Providing a proper case for your circuit can protect it from accidental spills & falls - plus give it a cool look you can proudly show off to those unfamiliar with soldering and such.
Follow along with Collin as he turns a barebones function generator kit into a sturdy and versatile tone-box fit for noise-jamming & testing purposes. Get more info and a parts bundle: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/04/circuit_skills_elec
by MAKE 49,065 views
While waiting patiently for what is likely the galaxy's slowest turbolift, spacefaring duo Metalmags(Erica Magrey) & The Alien Ambassador(Collin Cunningham) take a casual stroll through the seams of their own chroma-keyed reality - in search of an answer to that age-old question, "Why are we here?"
Read more on how the vid was made -
by MAKE 61,202 views
When recently faced with the dauntingly tedious task of assembling my first-ever batch of electronics kits, I was lucky enough to have the ever-helpful eye of seasoned kit-maker Becky Stern close by. While observing my one-man assembly 'process', Becky advised a more efficient, modular assembly line technique using intermediary storage vessels better known as "plastic cups". Streamlining the process left me with plenty of time to cook up some some unusually fancy title/motion graphics for the above-seen video.
For more info + related links, head over to -
by MAKE 542,191 views
Making your own printed circuit board can be a truly satisfying process, tying together electronics and the handmade craft of etching. It's the most accurate way to build a circuit short of sending away to a PCB manufacturer and it's a lot more fun (+ cheaper too!). For a full list of materials used plus more tips for etching & drilling head over to MAKE's site -
by MAKE 123,762 views
The beating of the heart is often recorded via sound or simply with touch - but there's also another interesting and somewhat lesser known option - light. An infrared emitter/detector pair can be used along with a programmable microcontroller, to effectively visualize the effects of the human body's hardest-working muscle.
by MAKE 154,739 views
Instead of chaining multiple guitar effects in search of a new sound, I decided to mod just one. Using an Arduino microcontroller board + digi-pot chip, I was able to add a variable gating effect to a fuzz pedal.
source code + more infos here:
video, audio, & riffs by Collin Cunningham
by MAKE 400,499 views
The simple process of vibrating a dish of liquid can make for some pretty interesting results - mixing in a bit of cornstarch can be downright freaky.
additional infos here:
audio, video, music & blobs by Collin Cunningham
by MAKE 85,425 views
Using a propane torch (+ a bit of force) in order to get a closer look at the precious chip within an IC's package.
by MAKE 364,041 views
Use an Arduino microcontroller to sense invisible electromagnetic fields using wire, a resistor, and an LED.
Aaron ALAI's EMF detector project is awesomely simple to make and fun to use. An upgraded version can be built using an LED bargraph for more 'meter-like' functionality.
original project can be found here -
additional info, and Arduino sketch -
audio/video by Collin Cunningham