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Make Cool Stuff: Links from the GeekDad Podcast

Oh, my nerdy friends, how fantastic was the GeekDad podcast from Father’s Day? To quote our nerdy host, “ah-maze-ing!” Ken covered so many fantastic projects and I want to make sure you have links to everything he discussed. I intended to post this earlier, but I was off having an adventure with another podcaster. I’m sorry, boys, I’ll try not to let it happen again.

Here, in no particular order, are the links.

Maker Faire
Maker Faire is a wonderful mix of festival and expo, celebrating the intersection of science and art. There are large and small scale science demonstrations, roving art projects, makers showing off their products (like the MakerBot printers), and vendors selling cool kits. The 2011 Bay Area Maker Faire has already happened, but you can still catch the 2011 Detroit and New York Maker Faires. Ken specifically mentioned the R2D2 Builders Club and Life-Sized Mousetrap, a fun mix of vaudeville and the board game.


Love Tesla coils? Check out this crazy video Ken took from inside ArcAttack‘s Faraday cage:

MakerBot 3D Printers and Bre Pettis
3D printers are so exciting! If you can draw the item in Google SketchUp, you can print it with a MakerBot Industries printer. I could take a lot of words to explain what the printers are or you could just watch this video of Chris discussing the printers with Bre:

(Yeah, it’s sort of an ad for Cadillac, but more importantly it shows the awesome printers in action.)

I’ll go into depth about 3D printers in a later post. They are an exciting tool that makes part fabrication accessible and affordable over the long term. They can even spawn more MakerBots, as Ken mentioned.

Last year at the New York Maker Faire, I had the opportunity to meet Bre Pettis, one of my true internet heroes. His project videos for Make Magazine and Etsy were a major inspiration that nudged me to expand my view of crafts to include electronics (what I always thought of as guy stuff). That’s the best part of the Maker Faire — cool people are everywhere. I was standing in a line and suddenly realized I was standing next to Bre Pettis! Let me tell you, friends, it wasn’t pretty. The moment I shook his hand, my brain completely melted down and I failed to form coherent speech. I think I just said, “you’re so cool, I love your videos” over and over. I’m 30 going on 12, I guess. At least I didn’t do the weird preteen scream-and-cry.

For the ultimate maker workshop, build yourself a CNC machine to go along with your 3D printer.

Kickstarter Projects
Ken mentioned the GeekDad blog’s support of cool Kickstarter projects like this snap-together Trebuchette kit. Trebuchets are pretty sweet, why not make your own? Cue Bre Pettis:

The GeekDad’s Guide to Weekend Fun

Most importantly, don’t forget Ken has a book! If there’s anything more awesome than this podcast (but I don’t think there is), this would be it (until Chris’s book comes out, of course).

Bonus: Ken gave Chris a Munchkin card. I love this 2008 post from Wil about playing Munchkin.

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Mindy doesn’t have a book, but she likes promoting podcasters who do! She recently drove in Manhattan and is inordinately proud that she didn’t hit anything or anybody. Catch up with her on Twitter @HolaMindy and on her own blog. If you make something cool, send her a link!

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