Review: Make Volume 30 by O’Reilly


Make Volume 30 by O’Reilly is the latest edition in the populate Make Magazine series. If you like to experiment with technology or build your own components, you likely already know about these magazines. If this is your first exposure to them, I’d recommend that you take a trip over to makezine.com to learn more about the various projects that people like to complete or attempt. There are projects for all skill levels at their site.

Volume 30’s main project is to build a radio-controlled stunt plane. It’s lovingly referred to as “The Towel” because the initial project ended up looking as if someone was trying to fly a damp towel. The name stuck. There will be a kit available soon at makershed.com, though it was not ready at time of publication. As always, Make provides a detailed parts list, suggestions on where to obtain the parts, and very detailed instructions with pictures. They estimate that this project will take 4-5 hours to complete once you have all of the parts. It looks like a fun project and my only disappointment was that I’d have appreciated an approximate cost for the parts listing, but considering that they throw in a $100 estimate at the beginning of the article, it’s not a huge deal.

So you’re not interested in a radio-controlled flying wing? There are other projects in the magazine as well besides what you see on the cover. Volume 30 includes projects on making a Yakitori Grill, PVC furniture, hacking IR remotes, and quite a few articles that touch on home automation. If you’re interested in the idea of automating your home, it’s worth looking through this issue for some ideas and to learn more about the various technologies available to you now. The articles touch on the pros and cons of the different technologies to help people figure out what would meet their needs. The home automation articles are not the project of the month so don’t go into the same amount of detail as The Towel, but are still a very informative read.

As always, Make includes lots of shorter articles on smaller projects, interviews with makers (including a short interview with a 10-year-old Maker, Sylvia Todd), and even a “HowToon” on measuring without a ruler by using something with standard dimensions like a piece of paper. That may seem like filler material to some people, but a lot of those little articles are inspiring to get started with a small project if you’re not comfortable with a larger one.

Is Make Volume 30 for everyone? No. If you don’t have any interest in creating something from pretty basic parts or even cutting out those parts yourself, give this a pass. If you like to know how things work or like to tinker or have even built some projects like these, I’d recommend it. Me? I think I’ll be saving up some money and setting aside some parts for “The Towel” because it just looks really cool and supposedly it works well for a beginning project and radio-controlled plane.

* Disclaimer – I was provided with a free e-book from O’Reilly in return for an unbiased review of the magazine. The opinions above are my own and were not influenced by O’Reilly or anyone else.

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