Your Mom…

Today I found myself staring down half remembered hallways, seeing shadows of myself as a child as I started my morning as a volunteer judge for the San Diego Science Fair. Enjoying the enthusiasm and experimentation of a group of eleven budding electrical engineers I saw a few friends and felt just a little bit more at home in my old/new hometown.

As I came outside for my drive to work, I checked my e-mail only to see one titled simply.

“Your Mom…” Continue reading Your Mom…

A Dozen Cheap Tools You Need to Fix, Hack or Make Almost Anything

I have thousands of tools. No seriously. Thousands. In the process of packing up my shop, I realized I had three varieties of spring compressors, just one of a hundred “one trick ponies” I have needed for one or two jobs only to sit forgotten. That said, there are a a few dozen tools I reach for daily. Twelve of them can be had for less that $10, and at least half of those will have you wondering how you lived without them.

Continue reading A Dozen Cheap Tools You Need to Fix, Hack or Make Almost Anything

Safety first!

“By 13, I knew how to make hydrogen bombs.”

I lost  my dad at 13 years old, yet it seems that the incredible amount of things he taught me could fill that many decades. From plumbing to electrical, how to tie square knots, change tires, how a carburetor works, the juiciest bits of medieval pope gossip (he was writing a book), my dad was always willing to teach me things.

Safety first!
Safety first!?!

It wasn’t until I was older that some of those things started to strike me as odd.

Like bolt crackers. Did you know you can use two nuts, a bolt and some “strike anywhere” matches to make a small firecracker that if done right can shoot a nut through a stucco wall, (or your leg)?  Continue reading “By 13, I knew how to make hydrogen bombs.”


Making Time for An Hour of Code

When I was five, an uncle who worked at Texas Instruments gave me a TI-99, and told me “Computers will run the world someday and programmers will run those computers.” While I have done quite a bit with computers, including programming, I did not stay in the field for a number of reasons, but my comfort and familiarity with them has been instrumental in my life and career. That is why I am pledging to do an “hour of code” with my son this week, despite the fact that we are in the middle of packing for a move, and he’s only 3. Continue reading Making Time for An Hour of Code

20 months old with "My First Screwdriver"

Is He Old Enough For This? A Maker Dad’s Take on Age Guidelines.

20 months old with "My First Screwdriver"
20 months old with “My First Screwdriver”

As the turkey defrosts in the fridge, it means Christmas is right around the corner, and with it the impending onslaught of toy safety stories. When raising a child to be comfortable shaping and making the world around them, how do we determine age appropriateness?

Continue reading Is He Old Enough For This? A Maker Dad’s Take on Age Guidelines.


App Review – Endless ABC

IMG_5261Despite a few cute pictures that may say otherwise, I’m not a huge fan of handing a toddler a phone or a tablet to serve as a babysitter. So, rest assured you probably won’t be seeing many app reviews for kids here. However, Endless Alphabet by Originator inc and Callaway Digital Arts is something else. We’ve been using the app for almost a year now, and in that time our son has learned to identify all his letters, the sounds they make, and was able to sound out small words by the time he was 30 months old. That’s right; reading at 2. Continue reading App Review – Endless ABC

What do you make?

The discussions section is here to inspire a bit of community before I launch forums. It’s a place were everyone can pitch in, and contribute ideas, feedback and tell their own stories. The posts here will generally be open ended, like this one.

What do you make with, for, or even to escape from your kids?