Win an Arduino starter kit + year subscription to Make: magazine

contest closes 31 August

This month the Ponoko blog is teaming up with MAKE to hook you up with some hard copy Make: magazines, plus one super lucky winner will also get an Arduino starter kit.

We’re giving away a year’s subscription to Make: magazine to four winners. And one grand prize winner will get the subscription plus a Getting Started with Arduino Kit v2.0 from The Maker Shed store!

How to enter

To enter, just tell us the coolest thing you ever made and leave a link for us to see a photo. It can be anything: a robot, a scarf, a table, a delicious chocolate cake — anything as long as YOU made it!

A Guide To The World Of Arduino

Everything you need to know about Arduino.

See the ultimate guide here

We’re not here to judge your projects, we just want you to share. So we’ll be picking the winners randomly.

Update: Please just one entry per person. Thanks.

Contest closes Wednesday 31 August at 10pm pacific time.


• Grand Prize: 1 winner will receive a one year subscription to Make: magazine plus Getting Started with Arduino Kit v2.0 (over $100 value)
• Four winners will each receive a one year subscription to Make: magazine

About MAKE

MAKE is a community, resource, and quarterly print publication for DIYers. They’ve got a bumpin’ blog, tons of DIY projects for every hobby you can think, video shows and podcasts, and The Maker Shed store stocked with DIY craft kits, electronics, books and more.

There’s also the more girlie and traditional-craft-for-today focused sister site, Craft. Oh yeah, and they’re the folks bringing you Maker Faire.

About Arduino

You’ve probably heard the name Arduino a lot lately, but might be wondering exactly what it is. Well lemme tell ya, Arduino makes DIY electronics easy and accessible. There’s Arduino hardware (some circuit boards) and Arduino software (a programming environment). With it, you can make all kinds of cool electronics. And the Getting Started with Ardiuno Kit is the perfect introduction to Arduino and physical computing.

About Ponoko

We’re the creators of Personal Factory — a virtual factory that lets you make your own stuff from your computer. You just upload a design file, pick out materials, and we manufacture your design and send it to your door.

Learn more about Ponoko in this MAKE video interview with CEO David ten Have. And sign up for your own Personal Factory. (It’s totally free to sign up.)

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Hands down, my CNC machine is my greatest work…and it’s meta! Everything cool I make is made from something cool I made. Or…you can pick anything else:

i think one of my best ones would be my hoodie, i had to convert it from a button shirt with a collar and i still preserved some of the “popped” collar part in the hoodie’s final design

The coolest thing I’ve (helped to) make is our local MakerSpace:
We have a number of projects in the works, including the website/wiki, Ed’s photobooth & bees, Cal’s benches & beer, Augur’s SteamPunk stuff, Cal’s odds & ends, Rob’s screen-prints, the cycle-space, urban-pantry, zine-fests, & the list goes on (most in various states of development)

Photo’s *& links to projects available form the site:

The DIY project I’ve had the most fun with has been my Tesla coil. My blog posts of the build with photos and video can be found at the link below.

Julian Melville

Tossing up between the kids sandpit and bacon. I’m going with bacon!

Coolest thing I’ve made is an emonTx. Its an open-source wireless energy monitoring transmitter unit:

My favorite project at this point was my DJ MIDI CONTROLLER. I even used Ponoko for the walnut veneer casing and platters.

Roger Williams

The coolest thing I ever made was my winning Lego Creation entry in a local newspaper.

I built a high power LED array for an art installation with a custom power supply that sat directly on top of the battery terminals…the photo doesn’t really show how bright it is, but it gives the idea!

Thomas Pope

I’m afraid it’s not nearly as involved or elaborate as many of the entries here already, but the coolest thing I’ve ever built myself was an external set of function keys (shift, control, alt, etc) for a slate tablet for use with Photoshop and Illustrator.

Full description:

Final Product:;topic=1808.0;attach=1543;image

Matt Daubney

Coolest thing I ever made was a bluetooth doorbell that sent notifications via xmpp 🙂

Things have moved on since 2008, and given some time I’d remake the whole thing using arduinos and getting the casings laser cut.

Tim Moran

Check out my blog for an Arduino build, in process! I am modding a guitar to add a touch sensitive X/Y MIDI controller to the body. The Arduino is used to control the LED backlight for the translucent touch screen. I’ll be using Ponoko to fabricate the final trim piece to secure the touch screen unit into the wood body of the Telecaster style guitar.

The blog features step by step details for my going about this build, including a Photoshop mockup of the final design I’m working towards. All comments are welcome! Enjoy!

The Ambient energy Aqua Purge Device (that is to say, a rather snazzy washing line). Project photos at:

Sometimes just making something from a different perspective gives it a new look. Double scale acrylic tie down.



James Hudak

I have been pretty fortunate to have the experience building several really cool things from rapid prototyped animatronic creatures to working with my wife to create all of the decorations for our wedding. The one that is still my favorite is the Franenstein’s Monster skateboard.

I’m still proud of my Halloween bouncing crate. The final product has chains on it. Using pneumatics it can be triggered to bounce around and growl as if something inside is trying to get out.

Unfortunately I don’t have pics of my hardware makes, but I’ve made a cool piece of software back in highschool.

I made an autobinder for counterstrike 1.6, you basically just clicked the items you wanted to buy and the key you wanted it bound to, it rewrote your config file and boom in game you hit the key and it bought it for you. I originally hosted it on fileplanet, and then gamespot contacted me about hosting it, I had over 6k dl’s, and upon googling it, apparently other places have hosted it as well now

I made a midi-theremin for my son to use to control his DJ setup.
It’s based on arduino, and directly supports the USB midi protocol.

Stewart Dickson

I have made sixty phases of a 3D computer-generated morph as stereolithographs, attached them to the edge of a wheel, set it in motion, and optically-synchronized stroboscopic lighting “freezes” the sculpture in space while they morph in time. It’s a 3D computer animation in physical materials — a Four-Dimensional Zoetrope.

After reading Cory Doctorow’s “Makers” in November, 2009, I co-founded a MakerSpace in Urbana, Illinois.

The extension of automated fabrication, by adding electronics and electro-mechanics to stereolithography is the absolutely brilliant extension of the idea — this is the future! It is the truly organic evolution of technology.

3D Printed Mecanum Wheel Rover using cheap servos and fully documented –

One of the favorites is the Bluetooth headset modification.
Had an old telephone and took a lowbudget bluetooth headset.
Added some switches and routed the mic cable.

Has a great sound in it.
The extension of automated fabrication, by adding electronics and electro-mechanics to stereolithography is the absolutely brilliant extension of the idea — this is the future! It is the truly organic evolution of technology.

I spent my last few years making different stuff and learning a lot about fabrication, but if I have to choose one, it will be laser cut dollhouse looking like the house from Pixar movie “Up”. I want to make something mechanical too, I already played with Arduino and Pololu servo controlers,but programing is still black magic for me 🙂

Stewart Dickson
I have made sixty phases of a 3D computer-generated morph as stereolithographs, attached them to the edge of a wheel, set it in motion, and optically-synchronized stroboscopic lighting “freezes” the sculpture in space while they morph in time. It’s a 3D computer animation in physical materials — a Four-Dimensional Zoetrope.
After reading Cory Doctorow’s “Makers” in November, 2009, I co-founded a MakerSpace in Urbana, Illinois.

I’m going to point you to some photos of the Shadow Dome that I did at a Maker Faire in 2008 and 2009(?). I got to build a shadow ‘sandbox’ where every one could come and play.

My most recent, coolest thing i’ve ever made, is an inflatable pyramid playhouse that you can get inside!!

Like to drive turbocharged cars? I do. I also love DIY. So rather than buy a boost gauge /boost controller, I made one from scratch and fitted it into a tuna tin…lol. Check the pics! The faceplate is a transparency on lexan. It’s been running a year now in my Nissan SR20VET X-trail!
It controls & displays boost, RPM, Air fuel ratios etc.
20 LED analog sweep and 4 digit precision display.

Even datalogs for tuning purposes!

I’ve been encouraged to MAKE this into a commercial product. What do u think?

Basil Shikin

I have built a DIY surveillance camera. It works for up to a month on a single charge and emails surveillance updates over cellular network. All you need is to send it an email and the camera would reply you with a picture of your home, country house or car.

For an art project, I built a bed that involved large handmade mat sensors, arduino and a couple of speakers so that depending on where you were on the bed, you’d end up with different annoying sounds surrounding your sleep-space.

Probably my Prusa Mendel with Greg’s Hinged Extruder, MakerGear hotend, and RAMPS 1.3. Printed by my Cupcake 🙂

I’ve made some cool stuff one actually being a full power FM radio station. However hands down the coolest thing ever was my Omni-Stands. An interchangeable collapsible flight stand system for miniature wargaming. I’ll let you guess where all the bases are cut 🙂

Ponoko needs to start offering CNC lathe service. My fingers hurt from making all those pegs.

Jonathan Bowen

As part of a uni team project we built this remote controlled electric skateboard, with hubless wheels.

I built a TRNG (True Random Number Generator) with a Netduino and a few basic components.


A double BLDC inverter used in controlloing two BLDC motors with a single dsPIC microcontroller.

Nothing fancy, but it looks cool: I transformed a quite good looking bottle into a deco lamp.
Lights off:
Lights on:

I made a machine that chills a pint glass full of beer as you drink it.

Behold, the CryoBev3000:

I built myself a monitor shelf out of some 1×2’s and a COTS shelf for a closet organizer.

The Pedal Powered Tennis Ball Launcher is the coolest thing I’ve ever built, and loads of fun to use.

I’ve been on a project to design an autonomous boat. It reacts from GPS, compass, video, and LIDAR input.

Hydraulic Valve Assembly Machine. OK so technically it took 3 of us to build it but I did a good majority of the design and assembly plus all of the robot programming.

I made this robotic kinetic sculpture that has log spirals that change angle. Driven by servos and an arduino. Spirals change behavior when an infrared sensor “sees” objects.
The paper parts were made in blender and unwrapped in pepakura (then laser cut to speed up the build). The rest is two by four scrap and laser cut hardboard. So much fun!

I made a temperature controller that would control two different areas at once. Duplicated the efforts of an off-the-shelf controller, but it was pretty neat/instructive to learn how to control AC power!

Pushan Panda

I made this locket from the movie the Illusionist, I had to figure out the plans, make prototypes and then finally I had a functional one.

My 1:22,5 scale model streetcar.

This little “Dragon Glider” is a great project for an 8 year old. Not the most complicated thing I have built but one of the most satisfying.

Calin Guga

A scale model of the Voyager 1 space probe, made from found objects (bolts, screws, spokes, brass fittings, a movie projector reflector, various bits and pieces).

I’ve made 2 really cool things recently. 1st is my Arduino inspired “Bobuino”, an ATMega1284 based CCA with Realtime Clock & Smart Data card socket.
Next are Electric, Olympic Style Fencing Scoring machines. Couple of variations – one larger one with score & time remaining display & RF remote control, and a slimmed down version that only shows touches. Took several months to develop & program & build & modify & adjust features. Works great!

I made my brother cry for burning my Arduino due to improper/unauthorized user.

Brian Henderson

The project I am most proud of just so happened to include using Ponoko’s laser cutting services to make the enclosure. I built a portable Super Nintendo, with its own 3.5″ LCD screen, on-board controls, and powered by just four AA batteries. Relocating that cartridge connector took forever!

My school’s team in the Future City competition won first place in Southern California and the Excellence in Systems Integration award from the IIE, after we traveled to DC for the national finals. We spent at least 4 hours every day for two weeks building a model of a small section of our city. This was, by far, the most extensive project I’ve ever worked on!

Check out my house, well it’s a miniature house at present.
Im working on the electronics to go inside presently, it’s going to be a wireless node gathering data and returning it to a base node.
At the moment im planning to send temperature, humidity as the main sensors.
Others are PIR, Decibels, PAR (light) and some health stats like battery voltage and current drawn.

The electronics are still a work in progress and hopefully can be open sourced when I’m finished.

Matthew Pearce

I reckon this is the coolest thing I have made, probably because of the time I invested into it. I wrote the whole thing using an open source toolchain (which is not so easy with Pic microcontrollers as it is with AVRs), writing all the code in C myself.

It is a PIC16F628 driving a 16×2 HD44780 LCD. It has 3 input buttons (and a reset button) one button is for dit, one for dah, and one for ‘space’.
This can then be used to send Morse Code to the microcontroller (much like using iambic paddles), which then displays it nicely.
I included some basic commands, eg if I send the morse ‘ml’ (run together as one character) it will move the cursor one character to the left. This is useful for when I make an error and don’t want to type the whole thing again.

Most recent project is this Supermat arcade machine.

Now working on a QlockTwo remake, my first dip into electronics with a Launchpad…

The coolest thing I’ve ever made are my children, but since I guess that wouldn’t count, the second coolest is the ChalkBoard coffee table I made with them. Originally, it’s an Ikea 20 dollar table similar to this one, It was getting old and since my children have a habit of drawing on our walls and furniture anyway, I authorized them to do it on the table! I then painted the table with a dark patina and carved their drawings out with the dremel. It’s not Laser Engraving, but nevertheless ;-)…

I guess the coolest thing I’ve made so far was this 4 atmega brain synth:

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