Vortex Cannon

Vortex Picture1
There may not be many practical reasons to create a cardboard box that shoots rings of dust or fog, except it is F-U-N.

The vortex cannon creates spinning rings of liquid or gas, also known as toroid vortices, and shoots them across the room.  (These are sometimes commonly known as “smoke rings.”)  All you need is a large box, a compass (or you can make your own), scissors, smoke, fog or dust for the rings and about 20-30 minutes, and you’ll be in business!

And it’s not everyday you can make a cannon without threat of injury or pretty major destruction – but one that has enough power to knock over a pyramid of styrofoam cups (as you can see in this video from the URN Science Show).

Download the instructions here:  Vortex Cannon DLC FINAL 2

If you like this project, you can graduate up to more elaborate versions with an adult’s help.

Soup Can Microphone

What’s more fun than eating soup? We’ll let you think on that one.  But lot of things can happen after eating soup.

Click here for full instructions by CuriousInventor on Instructables.

One of them is making a soup can microphone!

We found these instructions for making a real tin can microphone over at one of our favorite websites, Instructables.com. Maker expert CuriousInventor gives you clear explanations of the steps, plus helpful photos along the way to build a microphone that will give you a retro, lo-fi sound perfect for your new garage band or just giving yourself a bigger way to enter a room.

Look Closer: One of the key parts in this simple electronics projects is called a Piezo element. Piezoelectricity is electricity that results from applying pressure on certain materials.  The piezo element that you use for this project is a sensor that, when pushed by sound waves, creates a changing voltage to power your microphone. You can find a piezo element for about $1.50 online or for around $5 at your local RadioShack. It’s a fun example of a very affordable, easy-to-find part that you can use to make all kinds of fun sound-making projects. Read more of this post

Cardboard Canoe

Can you build a canoe out of cardboard and tape that could really float your weight?

You can! All you need is simple materials you have at home like cardboard duct tape and …. the formula for displacement so your canoe is bouyant. That means your canoe has to be big enough to push away (displace) the right amount of water so you float (are bouyant).

Design Challenge: We gave 2 maker teams all they needed to design and build their own cardboard canoes to float in the 53′ water table at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The results were super creative – and we learned how to build a canoe that would really work! Special thanks to our adventurous makers Kristin, Marie, Dave and Christian.

Do It Yourself: Of course, this is The MAKESHOP Show: we want YOU to make it yourself at home. Below are all the instructions you’ll need to make your very own cardboard canoe:

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Video Tour of Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire 2012

The basketball-playing robot by the Girls of Steel are one of kid maker Kristin’s top picks at Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire 2012. Photo by Larry Rippel.

The MAKESHOP Show pulls kid makers into the middle of the exciting world of makers, so, of course, our camera crew was right in the middle of Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire!

Kid maker Kristin (who you might remember from our Monkey Cupcakes episode) interviewed the makers she thought had cool projects that YOU would want to see on the Show. She had a tough job, because there were 65 projects to choose from! See what she chose just for you – and what she learned about 3D printing, blacksmithing, robots, race cars and more – in her video tour below.

Click below for Kristin’s Video Tour of Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire 2012 . . .

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T-shirt Bags

Click here to make this no-sew fringe bag from Tealou and Sweetpea.

On a rainy weekend, nothing is more comfortable  than sitting around at home in your favorite T-shirt and jeans. If you’re like us, kid makers,  you may have a whole collection of clothes that you don’t wear but dont’ want to throw out … especially favorite t-shirts. Whether you outgrew it, it’s stained or it’s just last year’s style, we have the perfect upcycling fix: BAGS!

We all carry a lot of things this time of year, like a book bags for school, grocery bags for apple picking, and of course, trick-or-treat bags for Halloween! Grab your oldest summer tee and start making.

T-shirt Bag Project Ideas:

T-shirt bags are a great example of one of kid-makers favorite types of making: UPCYCLING! What is “upcycling”?

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Leaf Blower Hovercraft

Have you ever dreamed of building your own flying machine, kid makers?

Learn to make a leaf blower hovercraft with kid maker Ethan and his assistant, maker Matthew Beckler of Wayne and Layne. It’s cheap, SO EASY and can even lift the weight of an adult. We can’t wait for you to try it yourself.

Click here for full project instructions.

Let us know how your hovercraft flies at info@makeshopshow.com.

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

MmmTsss: DIY Sound Looping Software

Kid - Makers, do you want to make some noise but don’t know how to play an instrument?

If you answered YES, may we suggest MmmTsss. 

Don’t exactly know how to pronounce it? Just sound it out slowly, MMM - T –  SSS.   Yes, now repeat it a couple of times, MMMTSSS, MMMTSSS, MMMTSSS. Can you go any faster?  You should sound like you are laying down the beat of a hip hop song!

Developed by the MIT Media Lab, MmmTsss, is free software to make sounds loop, or play over and over again.  All you need is a computer and a microphone.  Sure, it will sound silly at first, but you can layer so many different sounds, in an endless repeat.  You’ll be beat boxing in no time!

Check it out.

To share your experience, or to tell us about musical projects you’d like to learn, email us at  info@makeshopshow.com

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Hula Hoop Rag Rug

Hula Hoop Rag Rug. Click here to learn how to make one from Disney FamilyFun!

Here at THE MAKESHOP SHOW™, kid-makers are always telling us how much they love making things out of simple stuff they already have at home. So we couldn’t wait to show share this great project for you to try!

Create your own giant rug out of old t-shirts and your favorite hula hoop with these simple instructions from Disney’s FamilyFun Magazine. Click here to learn how.

We found other ideas for this project over at the blog Sisters Guild, like stitching multiple rugs together, or using a rectangular frame for a rectangular rug! They suggest using hula hoop rag rugs for easy picnics, play mats or spots to kneel on while gardening. Click here to read more. We also think a rug could be a great gift for a birthday, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day!

Get weaving, kid-makers, and don’t forget that we love to see what you’ve made. Send us notes and photos at info@makeshopshow.com. Stay calm and make on!

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Calling All Kid-Makers!

Check out the new video call for makers for Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire. It’ll give you a sneak peek at the Faire coming this fall on Sept. 22nd and hopefully inspire YOU to apply to show off your maker skills! The deadline for Round I ends June 30th, so click here to learn more about being an exhibiting maker.

© 2012 Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Upcycled Necktie Father’s Day Gifts

Necktie Wallet – Click here to learn how!

The old joke is that all dads get neckties for Father’s Day. But not your dad – YOUR dad is lucky enough to have a kid-maker! Makers love using old things in surprising new ways – its earth-friendly and, in the case of Father’s Day, can put a hip new spin on familiar gifts.

So we hunted the internet for the greatest gifts for dad made from old neckties:

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