DIY spy: Make your own WWII Enigma Machine

You don't have to be a Bletchley Park alumnus or a wealthy WWII military collector to lay your hands on an Enigma machine. With some savvy technical skills and computer coding, you can make one yourself.

The Enigma machine was an intricate crypto device used primarily during World War II by Nazi Germany to send encoded messages to its military forces. Originally, Enigma machines were used by businessmen in the '20s who wanted to keep commercial messages secret. In 1923, the German Navy used its own Enigma machine and by the 1930s, it became standard equipment by the German Intelligence divisions.

In October 2013, a 1944 German Enigma machine was available for auction at Bonhams with an estimated worth of up to $82,000. At another auction in 2010, a 1939 Enigma machine fetched $110,900. Over 100,000 Enigma machines were made, but very few had the Enigma insignia.

If you don't have thousands of dollars to spare, you can make your own replica of an Enigma machine with this craft tutorial by ST-Geotronics on Instructables. … Read more

Forge a 'Game of Thrones' Iron Throne from a plastic lawn chair

There are a few different ways to obtain an Iron Throne. The recommended method is to ruthlessly conquer your cowering enemies over a period of many years, capture their swords, and forge them into the shape of a terror-inducing throne full of fear and sharp edges. An easier way is to start with a plastic lawn chair.

Instructables user "flaming_pele!" began with a white, plastic Adirondack chair on his way to building a "Game of Thrones" Iron Throne that could handle party guests in chain mail. Other materials on the list include foam insulation, wood yardsticks, craft foam, duct tape, metal tie-down strapping, and plenty of metallic paint.… Read more

DIY 'Dune' sandworm costume will spice up your cosplay

I recall being entirely squicked out by the giant sandworms in the film version of "Dune." Now, if I so choose, I can recapture and own that feeling by following Instructables user canida's directions for making a sandworm costume.

The clever costume design begins with a $13 kid's-play tunnel. After that, you need 6 yards of sandworm-tan fabric, mouth-pink fabric, posterboard, wire, and a large cardboard box. You will need some basic sewing skills to pull the costume off, but the end result is a wonderfully squirmy and toothy worm outfit.… Read more

'Star Wars' X-34 Landspeeder is a pedal-powered win

Luke Skywalker famously had his own X-34 Landspeeder, a hovering civilian transport vehicle that could scoot across the land at a fair clip. Now, a boy in Detroit has a Landspeeder of his very own, thanks to the efforts of an extremely geeky and extremely handy "Star Wars"-fan dad. The Landspeeder was built as a sixth-birthday present for his son.

The dad, going by the name "Blogsdo" on Instructables, posted up the instructions for creating the sci-fi machine using a pedal-powered Kettcar as the base. He built the body around it using plenty of pine boards and paneling. The engine pods are fashioned from wood scraps and flower pots.… Read more

Scratch Trek: DIY 'Star Trek' cat tree with carpeted Enterprise

Up until now, cats with "Star Wars"-fan families have had all the fun with custom-made cat condos and scratchers. Not to be outdone, a "Star Trek" fan has had a go at balancing the Force for our kitty companions with an Enterprise and Romulan ship cat scratcher.

Instructables user hatstand4510 has a cat named Saavik, because of course she has a cat named Saavik. She spent $150 on plywood, PVC pipe, connectors, bolts, sisal rope, and carpet.

The instructions walk one through the process, from cutting the pipe through wrapping the sisal rope. The result is a two-tiered cat tree with the Enterprise flying above a Romulan Bird of Prey.… Read more

Digital Magic 8 Ball hack gives not-so-fuzzy answers

The classic Magic 8 Ball toy has been giving vague answers about the future for many decades. It's about time it got a modern update.

Maker Jason Poel Smith has unveiled an Instructables project that uses a digital photo keychain, a cutting tool, and a lot of glue to create a digital version of the fortune-telling device.

This project has the added bonus of giving you a peek inside the workings of a Magic 8 Ball. There's a lot of plastic to saw through in order to open it up. What you find inside is a tube filled with blue fluid that holds the fortune-telling piece. You don't need that part anymore, since you're going digital.… Read more

3D printer made almost entirely out of Legos

3D printers are slowly coming down in price, with the least expensive yet just reaching its funding goal on Kickstarter last month at an asking price of $397.

Matthew Krueger, aka Matstermind on Instructables, had been eyeing the Makerbot ever since it first came onto the market. As a cash-strapped engineering student, he simply didn't have the funds to purchase one -- so he decided to make his own.

What he had to work with was an old box of Legos, so he got to work and created what he is calling the Legobot, which is based on the very first Makerbot Replicator introduced in January 2012 and prints with hot glue rather than 3D-printing plastics. … Read more

Give the Clap-Off Bra a big hand

The old "Clap on, clap off" jingle from the '80s has a new product to attach itself to, and that product sits right on your chest, ladies.

While you can't snag a Clap-Off Bra at Macy's, Instructables has a step-by-step tutorial that only requires two circuit boards, an Arduino, a 28-pin socket, two 22pF capacitors, a 10uF capacitor, a 1K resistor, a 10K resistor, a 100K resistor, a 7805 voltage regulator, and a few other items you're sure to have in your soldering kit.

Basically, the battery-operated bra uses an electromagnet that controls a switch to make the undergarment pop off when someone claps nearby (video mildy NSFW). Creator Randy Sarafan, a hacker and new-media artist, says the bra was inspired by the creative electronic lingerie (like remote-controlled and glow-in-the-dark unmentionables) one finds in Syrian bazaars. … Read more

'Star Wars' theremin bra: May full support be with you

Some things just go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like "Star Wars" and theremins and bras. An Instructables member built such an undergarment using LEDs and an Adafruit Flora wearable microprocessor.

The bra includes a photocell detector and an ultrasonic range sensor. Wave your hand in front of the bra to affect the sound. It's designed to react like a theremin, so the sound changes with how close you are to it. Yep, it's a beep-boop bra; though, it sounds a bit more musical than typical R2-D2 noises.… Read more

The 404 1,294: Where we give you the evil eye (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Miracle Berry tablets make sour food taste sweet.

- Man implants magnets in his ears to use as invisible headphones.

- Crazy Ants that will destroy your electronics.

- Inside Atlantis, the new Amazon for illegal things.… Read more