Quarterly Maker Box #MKR08 by Adam Savage Part 1

Several weeks ago, when I posted about Brain Candy Live!, I mentioned being a fan of Adam Savage’s work. Well, I saw him post a YouTube video announcing that he’d be curating a Maker Box for Quarterly and jumped on it. Apparently I’m not getting enough from my AdaBox and HackerBoxes subscriptions, which I already have a hard time keeping up with. I do love getting surprise packages and I understand some of it is paying for an experience.

It was unclear how many boxes Adam would be involved in, but it definitely sounded like multiple. Turns out there will be two, announced in a teaser of the first box. At $99 per box, it’s a pricey subscription compared to others. What they don’t tell you is that it’s another $8 for shipping, so really $107. Bit of a surprise when my other subscriptions include shipping in the quoted price.

The first of Adam’s boxes, which is Quarterly’s Maker Box #MKR08, arrived this week. Of course I did an unboxing video. Doing these has become good practice at describing things on-the-fly.

Neat box. Very unique. I’d been thinking about buying several items in the box, so it’s nice when a surprise comes through like this. Each Quarterly Maker Box must come with a puzzle that leads you to a web page about the contents. So naturally I worked on the puzzle before diving into the projects. To go along with one of the themes of the box, the puzzle involved doing a scaled drawing. It was actually a lot of fun and I think it turned out pretty well!

I’ll publish some other posts as I work on the projects.

AdaBox006: CircuitPython

The last AdaBox of the year was delivered yesterday. I was able to avoid spoilers so I did a quick unboxing video.

I’ve been wanting to try the AdaFruit M0 boards like the Circuit Playground Express, but figured they’d be including one soon in an AdaBox. Pays to wait, especially when I have a backlog of projects. This is a really neat microcontroller with a lot to explore. It works with the MakeCode block editor, which will be fun to hack around with.

More info on the box can be found in Adafruit’s Learn guide for AdaBox006.

HackerBox #0025: Flair Ware

I still need to work through HackerBoxes #23 and #24, but #25 arrived on the 1st. I’ve been spending so much time putting together my workshop that I haven’t sat at my electronics desk much in the last 2 months.

The camera was a little too close for the view angle I had set. I need to build a better camera arm/rig too.

I tried to price things out, but there are a lot of custom things in this box. Prices are from Amazon Prime unless noted. This list was copied from the Instructable for HackerBox #25.

  • HackerBoxes #0025 Collectable Reference Card – $1 (estimate)
  • LED Star Wearable Kit – $5 (estimate)
  • Color-Cycling Sign Kit – $5 (estimate)
  • BitHead ATtiny85 Wearable Kit – $5 (estimate)
  • Pluggable Digispark DevBoard – $3.08
  • Extra ATtiny85 8DIP Microcontroller – $1 (estimate)
  • CJMCU LilyTiny Digispark Module – $8.68 (AliExpress)
  • Three LilyPad NeoPixel Modules – $11.85 (SparkFun)
  • LilyPad Coin Cell Module – $1.95 (SparkFun)
  • CR2032 Lithium Coin Cells – $3.19
  • USBasp Atmel AVR USB Programmer – $5.79
  • Green Prototyping Board 4x6cm – $0.25 (estimate)
  • Lapel Pin Backs – $1 (estimate)
  • Shrink Tubing – 100 Piece Variety – $2.36 (AliExpress)
  • Tin Project Box – $1.02 (AliExpress)
  • Exclusive HackerBoxes Decal – $1 (estimate)
  • Exclusive HackerBoxes Knit Cap – $10 (estimate)

With a lot of estimates I get a total of $67.17. Since I’ve been pricing these out all but once I’ve come up with a $60-70 value. Consistent.

HackerBox #0024: Vision Quest

A quick unboxing of HackerBox #0024: Vision Quest.

Prices I found online (Amazon Prime unless noted):

  • HackerBoxes #0024 Collectable Reference Card – $1 (estimate)
  • Three Bracket Pan and Tilt Assembly – $19
  • Two MG996R Servos with Accessories – $18 ($9/ea)
  • Two Aluminum Circular Servo Couplers (included with the pan and tilt kit above)
  • Arduino Nano V3 – 5V, 16MHz, MicroUSB – $3.99
  • Digital Camera Assembly with USB Cable – $10 (estimate)
  • Three Lenses with Universal Clip Mount – $3.33 (AliExpress)
  • Medical Inspection Pen Light – $2.23 (AliExpress)
  • Dupont Male/Female Jumpers – $0.50 (estimate)
  • MicroUSB Cable – $2.40
  • Exclusive OpenCV Decal – $1 (estimate)
  • Exclusive Dia de Muertos Decal – $1 (estimate)

Totals out to $62.45 but I couldn’t find the model on the back of the camera module anywhere. I wouldn’t expect that estimate to be off by more than $5 though and maybe even cheaper. The servos feel pretty hefty compared to the micro ones I have. This will be another neat box to play around with.

Unboxing – HackerBoxes #0023: Digital Airwaves

I was able to avoid spoilers on this month’s HackerBox again, even though something happened with my shipping over the weekend. It arrived Monday instead of Saturday like it was originally scheduled.

Unique box. I’m excited to go through the Instructable for this box and learn some stuff about antennas and WiFi. The PVC pieces and copper wire are for making a custom antenna, which will be fun. I checked my box of goodies to see which WeMos board I had recently bought and it was the Mini Lite. I think I have one of each of their tiny boards now.

I tried to come up with a value for the box again. All prices are from Amazon (with my Prime account) unless noted.

  • HackerBoxes #0023 Collectable Reference Card – $1 (estimate)
  • USB Wi-Fi Interface Device with RT5370 Chipset – $5.89
  • WeMos D1 Mini Pro-16 – $5 + 1.81 shipping (AliExpress)
  • WeMos I2C OLED Shield – $4.50 + 1.58 shipping (AliExpress)
  • WeMos ITX to SMA Antenna Coax – $4.95
  • Exclusive PCB Yagi-Uda Antenna Kit – $5 (estimate)
  • Exclusive CPVC Yagi-Uda Antenna Kit – $1 (estimate)
  • SMA male to RP-SMA male Coax Adapter – $5 (estimate)
  • Mini Tripod with Shoe Mount – $7.79
  • USB Extension Cable – $3.35
  • MicroUSB Cable – $4.16
  • Exclusive Yagi-Uda Antenna Decal – $1 (estimate)
  • Exclusive Digital Airwaves Iron-on Patch – $2 (estimate)

This was a hard box to price out, so there are a lot of estimates. I didn’t see the PCB antenna anywhere and the parts for the PVC antenna are obviously DIY. The random bag of connectors doesn’t seem to be from a kit of any kind. There was also another antenna in my box not on this list. So I’ll add another $10, which all adds up to $64.03.

Unboxing: HackerBoxes #0022 – BBC Micro:Bit

The latest HackerBox came in the mail yesterday. I managed to avoid any spoilers so thought I’d see how dumb I can sound as I figured out what was in the box.

I’m looking forward to checking out the Micro:Bit and its blocks editor. The 128×64 OLED and WiFi modules will definitely get used in projects at some point.

Knowing the Micro:bit sells for less than $20, this box seemed light on value, so I had a look. Like last time, all prices are from Amazon unless noted.

  • HackerBoxes #0022 Collectable Reference Card – $1 (estimate)
  • BBC Micro:Bit – $16.99
  • BBC Micro:Bit Connector Breakout Kit – $5.38 (kitronik.co.uk)
  • Twin AA Battery Holder – $2.79
  • OLED 128×64 pixel I2C Display – $6.99
  • Alligator Clip Jumper Wires – $1.50 (estimate)
  • Miniature Solderless Breadboard – $3.26
  • ESP-01 Wi-Fi Modules – $2.60
  • Six LED Indicator Module – $1.10 (2 for $2.21 on aliexpress.com)
  • Passive Piezo Buzzer – $1 (estimate)
  • AMS1117 3.3V Regulator Module – $1 (estimate)
  • Header Pins – $1 (estimate)
  • DuPont Jumpers – $1 (estimate)
  • Micro USB Cable – $5
  • Micro USB Breakout Module – $1.84
  • Exclusive Micro:Bit Decal – $1 (estimate)

Several of these items are extremely cheap and only sold in multiples so I gave generous estimates. Total comes to $53.45. Things in that $3-7 range really add up quickly. Still a good value for the $44 subscription.

If you’re interested in learning more about this particular box, check out the Instructables guide or leave a comment and I’ll try to answer.

 

HackerBox #0020: Summer Camp

I managed not to look at any spoilers before HackerBox #0020 arrived, so I recorded a video when I opened it and talked through the items, trying to figure out what the theme was.

 

So, yep, it’s a badge inspired by the badges for Def Con (I had seen this story a week or two before, which HB shared as a hint on their Facebook page). Due to vacation, it was a couple of weeks before I was able to put this thing together. Hope you enjoy all of my mistakes in the assembly video. 🙂

There is a lot more to think about when recording what you’re doing and trying to keep talking throughout. I think it was an improvement over the video I did for the 5v relay module though. I really need to build a tripod or overhead mount of some kind so the GoPro is more stable. I may look into a newer GoPro as well with better battery life and a screen.

More details about the badge and demo code provided by HackerBoxes can be found on the Instructable page for this box. My customized demo code is in a hackerbox0020-demo repo on GitHub.

Update: I’ve updated my demo code to have examples of how to use the SD card that is on the back of the TFT.

AdaBox004

I received the latest Adafruit AdaBox last Thursday and made this unboxing video.

 

As you may have guessed, AdaBox004 has a music theme. I’m excited because I’ll be using several of these parts in my current project. I need to finish it before the weekend so I guess I better get my ass in gear.

When you lay it out, this one seemed a light compared to the first 3 AdaBoxes, so I added up prices from the Adafruit store. It came to $73 without factoring in the empty white box for making a custom project enclosure, collectible “Boomy” pin, SD card, Make volume 57 signed by LadyAda, and free shipping. Probably about a $90 value for $60 as a subscriber, which is worth it. The $25 Music Maker FeatherWing with the $20 Feather HUZZAH really drove up the price, limiting what else could be included.

If you enjoyed the music in the video, it was released by Adafruit’s in-house musician to go along with this box. Check out “ADABOX004” on SoundCloud. BartleBeats also has a full album I’ve been listening to a lot while working at my hobby desk. “Frequency” is available on SoundCloud or via iTunes.

Next up… this morning I received the tracking info for HackerBox #0020. Note that AdaBox uses a 3 digit identification system, while the HackerBox uses 4 digits. The difference between a quarterly and a monthly subscription I guess.