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Break Stuff Week at ToolMonger

Toolmonger Our friends over at the Toolmonger blog are deep into a week of posts all about demolition. Seriously, who doesn't love breaking stuff? Actually, I broke some stuff myself at Maker Faire last weekend, during ToolMonger's FUBAR challenge.

(In case you're not familiar, Stanley's FUBAR tool is an update on the hammer, used specifically for breaking structures down. PopSci gave it a Best of What's New award last year.)

Today, they posted a video of the event, in which I went head-to-head with Nick Mann from periodictable.com. Who do you think won? Check it out, here. —Megan Miller

Radio-Controlled Mini-Warships Battle It Out

Boatbattle4Now here's a hobby I didn't know existed: members of the North Texas Battle Group build elaborate radio-controlled balsa warships armed to the teeth with CO2-powered BB guns, then launch them in a nearby lake and battle it out. Also on board are pumps to evacuate water taken on after direct hits, independent rudder and propeller assemblies, and an auto-deployed float to help salvage the not-so-fortunate sunken wrecks. And it's not just in Texas—similar clubs are staging regular mini-naval battles around the world. —John Mahoney

Check them out - ntxbg.org


The heavy artillery operates like paintball guns

The pump and motor assemblies


Smashing Pumpkins With Liquid Nitrogen


What do you do with the leftover liquid nitrogen from making instant ice cream? Freeze and smash some vegetables, of course. These water-laden pumpkins worked especially well. —John Mahoney


Beer, Ice Cream, Movies and Video Games

Img_0012_2 PopSci's booth at Maker Faire was a crowd favorite (and we're not just saying that)—mainly because the projects displayed by contributors John Carnett and Theo Gray were both ingenious and superfun.

Want to make ice cream in 30 seconds, using liquid nitrogen? No problem.

How about an automatic beer-making, storing, and pouring machine? You can make one.

Video games your thing? Build a beautiful arcade table for your home.

Think watching movies in the backyard would be fun? We do, too! All the projects definitely struck a chord with the Austin audience. Next year we'll bring some scantily clad punk-rock fire dancers and a bike modded out with LED lights, and we'll be a total shoo-in. —Megan Miller

Maker Faire's Grossest Project

Img_0023 Yup, that's a real dead rodent. Eliciting ewws and ahs from the crowd in Austin this weekend, Christy Canida from Instructables showed off her "mouse mouse"—a project that combines taxidermy with tech for a darkly funny computer accessory. Want to make your own creepy controller? Follow the step-by-step instructions here. —Megan Miller

Google For Makers

Octopart_logo Among the friends we've been making over in the PopSci booth at Maker Faire include the guys from Octoparts—an aggregate search engine for electronic components. If you've ever tried to buy resistors, capacitors, or any other component on the Web, you know how obscure and confusing some of these ordering sites can be—if you don't know your part number, you're often out of luck. With Octoparts, just type in what you're looking for and find the best price. In the works is an online app to save and share your parts list for your project. Now that Radio Shack has  almost entirely moved out of the components trade in their stores, Octoparts is a new tinkerer's dream. —John Mahoney

The Robo Thespian


Will Jackson's Robo Thespian is amazing. Here he is summoning the grand reveal from Empire Strikes Back, which is just one of the many scenes he can perform on the fly via a custom software controller. Actors record their voices and transpose their gestures with motion-capture devices, and each limb and feature—all the way down to his cellphone-screen eyes—can be pre-programmed or controlled live. —John Mahoney


Instant Ice Cream With Liquid Nitrogen


The PopSci booth is hopping here at Maker Faire Austin. Here's Gray Matter columnist Theo Gray doing a version of his "dry ice cream"—this time by simply pouring liquid nitrogen into a pot of cream and sugar. Who needs an ice cream maker? Mmm mmm good. —John Mahoney

PopSci's Back at Maker Faire

PopSci is is back at the now twice-annual travelling DIY circus that is Maker Faire. The Bay Area iteration was a blast earlier this year (see our coverage here) but this time, not only is the sweet smell of BBQ mingling with the solder fumes here in Austin, TX, we've also brought along some of PopSci's finest makers—staff photographer John Carnett, who has brought along his amazing all-in-one beer-brewing Device as well as the welded-steel vintage Arcade Table, and Theodore Gray, author of our PopSci-meets-Mr. Wizard "Gray Matter" column (check out his latest work here). We'll also be raffling off some original creations from our main project man Dave Prochnow.

Stay tuned right here for the best of Maker Faire Austin, starting Saturday, October 20. —John Mahoney

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