The Ultimate Altimeter

Last day of Butthouse!

OK. I signed up for an online Secret Santa thing with redditgifts, and my giftee was into RC planes and such. I made this Altimeter for him, and published how I made it. Check out the Instructable:

Also, you can vote for my post (top right corner of the post) if you think it is worthy. If I win we get free stuff!


3D Printed Gear Cubes Flashback/Update

Remember when I posted this?

Photo Sep 26, 6 32 35 PMA gear-y cube (it doesn’t turn yet, but it will!)

I just returned to a similar design and decided to print that! The designer of this made a new version in which the pins are better designed for many different printers so they work better for everyone. Here is a video of the new and improved version:

Open Source: Sketchy but Awesome

First some definitions:

sketchy, adj., not thorough or detailed.

Most people take sketchy to describe, for example, a bad neighborhood — dark, shady, dangerous, etc. When I use the word “sketchy” I use it as its literal meaning: not thorough or detailed; unpolished; rough, etc. For example, this is sketchy:

The iPhone -5(A very early iPhone prototype)

This is not:


The iPhone 5(The iPhone 5)

So, speaking of phones, I made my own cell phone! Here is a picture:

cf81f411-3b07-4558-8e32-ccae7e0f7c77(It doesn’t have a case yet, but it’s coming!)

I saw this project in an issue of MAKE Magazine, and decided to do it. I needed a cheap, basic phone anyway for my visits to NYC. With the help of this guide, and a forum that goes along with it, I now have a fully functioning cell phone (it can do texts and calls, and store contacts–that’s about it).

It is ALL open source as well, so I can go into the code of the phone, and tweak anything I want. I’ve already added some new features such as a brightness indicator, and I’ve started on being able to save and view old text messages. While building it I learned that it is possible to solder surface mount components by hand (they are usually done with a machine and a large oven all at once). I had some challenges with soldering the speaker though, since it is a fragile part, and it was awkward to solder.

This phone is SUPER sketchy. It looks very home made at the moment, with all its parts out in the open, and it is not as reliable as a cell phone you could buy. In spite of this, it is still awesome. I can modify anything about the phone that bugs me and customize it to my liking!

The magpi is here!

Hello people!

The magpi is here! The Micro Arduino Gaming Platform Interface (magpi) has been released to Instructables, and the rest of the internet! My dad and I have been working on it for a while now – coding games, printing cases, designing hardware, etc. – and we wanted to get it out there!

You can see the instructable here:

If you’d like to take the time, you can vote for us in the Arduino contest (“Vote” button in the upper right hand corner). You will have to make an account. If we win we get free stuff!


MFS Gameteam Charges Ahead

Students at Manhattan Free School, a Free School in Manhattan, plan to create an arcade video game for the school.

Inspired by Killer Queen Arcade, a multiplayer arcade game featured at the Museum of the Moving Image, a parent at the school, Geva Patz, asked some of the students if they would like to make their own game, and was met by an uproarious enthusiasm.

On a Tuesday, the four people making the game sit in a chilly room. This is the first meeting of the group dubbed the “Gameteam.” They begin to throw out ideas and get a shape of what the game will be. One student takes notes. The room is buzzing with energy and by the end of 30 minutes, the Gameteam has pretty much designed the entire game. It will be an arcade game wit platforms. Four to six players will participate on two teams, controlling either aliens or astronauts. With goals to destroy the opponent’s base, kill the opposing team all at once, or capture a central Beacon, each team will embark on an epic journey to conquer a little bit more of the galaxy.

The group is powering ahead, already having done 85% of the artwork and 95% of the game design. Who knows what lies ahead in one school’s quest for a homemade arcade game.

Follow along with this story to hear more exciting updates from the MFS Gameteam.

On the Internet, No One Knows You’re a Teenager

The internet is a very powerful tool. Weighing in at around as much as a large strawberry (seriously) this mind-bogglingly giant “network of networks” is a hugely important part of many people’s lives, and can be a great tool for good. People can dislike it for its creepy, strange, and NSFW content, but this is only one of the internet’s many glittering facets. The internet provides a global means of communication and can be used for amazing things.

Recently, I joined Reddit (watch this if you don’t know what Reddit is), and that gave me a very wide and thorough view of the way people and the internet work, and how it can be used to make the world a better place. Since then, I’ve been helping other people who don’t have 3D printers make use of 3D printing technology by printing things for people. This also lets me use the money from this to keep the 3D printer running and supplied with filament.

I found that while doing this and other things on the internet, I become a slightly different person. When I am allowed to intentionally select what I am a part of, and I have time to edit what I say and do (because it’s mostly in text) I am able to choose what people see of me. This has advantages and disadvantages. People that I interact with solely online will never know who I am in full, but they will also see a side of me that is more informative and polite than I could ever be in the flesh, simply because I have more time to think online. This brings us to the title of this post. Just like in the famous cartoon (except I’m not a dog), on the internet, no one knows you’re a teenager. The people I am 3D printing things for have no idea who I am. I have been told I write well for my age, and I would not be surprised if they thought I was an adult. And for all I know, I am taking 3D printing requests from extremely literate pandas with Reddit accounts. On the internet, no one knows that I am 15, and it doesn’t really matter. People think I am an adult, I act like an adult. I can’t see any disappointments there.

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling/Agile Learning

Now that I’ve been homeschooling/Agile Learning for over half a year, here are some of the pros and cons of the whole thing.

Learning what you are interested in
When I homeschool, there are things that others say I have to learn, but for the most part, I get to decide. Because I can learn what I are interested in, my enthusiasm goes up, and I much learn better.
Learning at your own pace
A huge part of the value of homeschooling is that one are able to learn at one’s own pace. I am fast at some subjects, and I can speed ahead without worrying about having to wait for my slower classmates (they don’t exist anymore). When I am slow at other subjects, I can pour extra time on it however I want in order to get it done.
No travel to school
Last year, I spent an average of 1.9 hours each day just traveling to and from school. I spent around 14.25 days of my life each year on the bus. This year: 0.0. The nuisance and wasted time of bus rides, etc. is gone.
Customized schedule
Work better at 5 o’ clock in the morning, or at 8 at night? Need to sleep in in the mornings? Your schedule can be completely customized to your needs and how you like to do things.
Social life
For me, homeschooling has not promoted any kind of social life. It is more difficult to make friends when I don’t have constant exposure to other people my age. This can be nice, I don’t have to deal with annoying/mean/immature people, but I also don’t get to hang out with as many with cool/nice/interesting people.
Frustration of doing things by myself
Teachers are one of the many things that you don’t realize are valuable until you don’t have them. It is a great privilege to have someone super-knowledgable to help you when you don’t understand something. Teaching yourself can get very frustrating. It’s a little bit of a paradox: you need to know stuff to teach yourself stuff, but you also need to teach yourself to know stuff.
Self regulation
Self regulation is a difficult part of homeschooling. Sometimes I think that I have not done enough on something, and then I over do it, putting too much effort into a thing with little or no consequence, and sometimes I don’t put enough effort into something when I underestimate its importance.
So those were some of the pros and cons of homeschooling/Agile Learning. I definitely like it more than my last years of “regular” school, but it has its tough bits.