I've always wondered how to make a fart machine....
November 18, 2005 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Instructables for showing what you make and how to make it. Not just any DIY site, the creator Saul Griffith has an impressive pedigree. The site comes with all the things you'd expect from a new collaborative widget including Creative Commons licensing options and of course tags. From the about page: "We like to think about the physical world as something that is programmable. We like to think of objects or stuff you make as 'code'. In other words, we are approaching the physical world as something that is describable and replicable." Dive in and learn how to make a pimped out megaphone helmet, Hungarian bookshelves or canned applesauce. (via)
posted by jessamyn (14 comments total)
I love the Hungarian bookshelves because they scare me, and I hate horror movies so I have to get scared where I can. Precariously housing my books is as good a way as any.

Nice site.
posted by OmieWise at 7:39 AM on November 18, 2005

F R E S H !

Just the megaphone helmet alone is going to make me happy all day.

Thank you very much, jessamyn.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:40 AM on November 18, 2005

I went to the site originally looking for the one-page Scrabble printout, but alas it is no more.
posted by jessamyn at 7:41 AM on November 18, 2005

what are these tags everyone keeps talking about?
posted by crunchywelch at 8:44 AM on November 18, 2005

This is pretty sweet; nice find, j.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:27 AM on November 18, 2005


Yes, I'm shouting... from the rooftops!

Thanks, jessamyn!
posted by Doohickie at 10:07 AM on November 18, 2005

Has some serious potential.
posted by Mitheral at 1:38 PM on November 18, 2005

I checked in here a little while back and there weren't many projects; I'm glad to see a good number have been added since then. Although I realize it's not a flaw of the site itself, many of the projects are poorly described. For instance this one starts off with "Align the laser so that its beam passes through the cylindrical lens, creating a vertical line rather than a point, and projects onto your target. Initially, the lens was the stem of a wine glass, but in this picture I use a cylindrical piece of acrylic. Position the video camera at a small angle (~15 degrees) from the laser." ...What are suitable materials for a cylindrical lens? What is the acceptable range of angles, and are there benefits from certain ones? What resolution is needed for the video camera? And then it says to make an avi and run an edge-detection MATLAB script on it. First off, MATLAB is pretty expensive, but more importantly: Is that script made for the rotational velocity he used or any? Does it model a full 360 degrees or only a section (as shown)? I don't mean to be overly critical, but I'm a pretty intuitive guy with electronics and mechanics and quite a few of these left me confused.

Criticism: One really essential thing (in my mind) that it's missing is a built-in is a parts list. It would be awesome if at the top you could mouse-over or click on "parts list" and it would bring up a nice itemized and linked list so you could see at a glance what resources you'd need and how much they'd be. Also, a FAQ would be really nice - it took me a minute to realize that the rectangluar highlighted sections had mouse-over sections (and they're often very important). Maybe if I used flickr more I would've recognized it, but in either case, I don't think the interface is so self-evident as to not need any explanation - I'm probably still missing some stuff. A wiki would be nice as well (though perhaps balanced with a static page of the original contribution) so that the authors wouldn't have to constantly check back and make spelling corrections, updates, etc. It has lots of potential, though - hopefully it'll keep improving as much as it has.
posted by nTeleKy at 2:16 PM on November 18, 2005

A (semi-response) to my FAQ complaint: How to document a project using Instructables. Also, once you're logged in, there's a (unfinished) help section linked at the top.
posted by nTeleKy at 2:25 PM on November 18, 2005

Related: WikiHow.

Personally, though, Instructables looks way cooler. Wiki-style collaborative editing and a "parts list" feature would totally improve it, though.
posted by arto at 4:03 PM on November 18, 2005

awesome, thanks!
posted by es_de_bah at 4:47 PM on November 18, 2005

I've been a big fan of these guys for a while. They have the right idea: everything in this world is moddable and hackable - it's just a matter of knowing how. They are related to MAKE, who shares this DIY ethic.
posted by marc1919 at 7:13 AM on November 19, 2005

Oh, this is promising. Thanks, jessamyn.
posted by Elsa at 11:07 AM on November 20, 2005

Love the site and the thread title.
posted by terrapin at 7:11 PM on November 27, 2005

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