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Bill Osuch - Random geek notes

If you're interested in hacking (and by that I don't mean programming, I mean cobbling together various wires, circuits, bits and gizmos to form something new and innovative) then you've probably come across MAKE magazine. The folks at MAKE have released a special edition: MAKE Ultimate Kit Guide 2012. At 101 square-bound pages, and a $9.99 price tag, it's something more than a magazine but not quite a book.

The first 30 pages are devoted to the kit "industry" itself, with articles on:

  • The Rally Fighter, the radical DIY car you build at the micro-factory
  • How kits drive innovation, from steam engines to computers to 3D printing and microcontrollers
  • DIY Drones – autonomous plane and copter kits
  • Classic Heathkits and Erector Sets
  • Most Dangerous Kits, and more

Then, it's on to reviews of 175 of the best kits available today - everything from robots to audio gear to food, and much more. You get 2-3 reviews per page, each with a short description and rated on 5 different criteria: Complexity, Components, Documentation, Community and Completeness. There are kits starting at $3 (a "Learn To Solder" badge) up into the thousands (a vegetable oil conversion kit for diesel vehicle, for example). You won't find these at your local hobby store, but with 22 different categories of kits there's bound to be something that anyone will find interesting.

Personally, I've already ordered an Arduino starter kit, and a South-Pointing Chariot Kit (see the photo, it's a medieval mechanism using a complex geared differential that will always point the same direction). I've also got my eye on the Rally Fighter, a $75,000 off-road racer that's also street legal... wonder if I can buy it a piece at a time over the next... umm... 30 years or so?

You can find MAKE: Ultimate Kit Guide 2012 at this link.

Posted on Friday, January 6, 2012 2:40 PM Review | Back to top

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