Thank you for the excellent article “Balsa
Dreams” by Andrew Leonard (Volume 28). It
brought back great childhood memories of
building model kits with my dad. Dad started
me off on stick gliders, moving up to rubber-powered kits and eventually radio control.
There were even a few control-line flights. It
was a tense moment every time a new one
would take to the air, as we didn’t want to see
hours of work come crashing to the ground.
Here’s a picture of us at the kitchen table
in the late 1980s, covering the same Cessna
that Leonard wrote about. All the memories
came back: unfolding the plans and tissue,
setting the windscreen and wheels aside for
later, and laying out the parts on wax paper
that was rolled out over the plans.
We each still build models to this day and
make the pilgrimage every year to Toledo, Ohio,
for the big radio control show to get primed for
the next season of building and flying.
—Colin Rickards, Hamilton, Ontario
PROJECTS EDITOR KEITH HAMMOND REPLIES: We’re
fans of all kinds of microcontrollers. In MAKE Volume
25 we compared eight different micros, including BASIC
Stamp 2, PICAXE, and Propeller (“Getting Started with
Microcontrollers”). Arduino is hot and people are excited
by the possibilities. The hype will diminish over time. But
Arduino is cheap, beginner-friendly, and has a huge code
base, which is why it's many makers’ first choice.
The MAKE Controller Kit (
is good for complex projects, with its integrated networking and driver circuitry. But since 2010, the Netduino
(#MKND01) has been a very successful alternative.
(all variations are sold in the Maker Shed ...
hmm). It doesn’t matter what microcontroller
you use; creating what you want is ultimately
more important. It’s time to stop overhyp-ing Arduino’s impact and provide options
and alternatives with their advantages and
disadvantages — such as the BASIC Stamp,
Parallax Propeller, Pololu Orangutan series, or
Wiring Microcontroller (the original Arduino).
And what ever happened to the official
MAKE Controller Kit? It seems to have faded
into obscurity by your own doing.
—Will Cannady, Bronx, N. Y.
I really liked Volume 25. It showed me
ways to get started with Arduino microcontrollers (“Primer: Make and Use an Arduino”)
and informed me of a programming software
that’s visual like Lego Mindstorms (“Modkit:
Drag-and-Drop Arduino Programming”). I’m
now thinking about getting an Arduino and
making projects I didn’t think I could possibly
—Ethan Durrant, San Francisco
I’m writing for all of us who don’t use
Arduinos but are still able to make and
program amazing devices. I’m seeing the
magazine drastically gravitating to Arduino
In Volume 27’s “Yellow Drum Machine,” the AXE020’s
pins O0–O7 have their outputs (white) on the left,
and +5V (red) on the right. The corrected diagram is
In Volume 27’s “Roomba Recon,” the Linksys WRT-
SL54GS router is hard to find and resists substitution. We apologize for any frustration, and hope to
document an alternative.
In Volume 28’s “Toolbox,” John Baichtal’s supersoaker
review was misattributed to Jason Babler. Sorry, J. B.!
In Volume 28’s “Coffee Table MAME Console,” the
arcade buttons can be OSBF- 30 or OSBF- 24. Also,
quick disconnects are a nice upgrade from spade connectors: 0.187" for joystick, and 0.110" for buttons.
13 Follow us @make