With everything going on in the world right now, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it all. With some many forces threatening to cast a shadow over you, your family and your day-to-day life, sometimes it pays to just take a short step back from it.
Rather than letting world events work you up, sit down, turn everything off, and focus on a project right in front of you. Something that demands time and attention and your own two hands to solve.
From cool model kits to robotics to 3D printing, we’ve pulled together 20 great DIY projects that can help make the world go away, at least for a while. Plus, as part of the huge Boing Boing Store Three-Day VIP Sale, you can enter VIPSALE20 during checkout and get an added 20 percent off each of these already discounted prices.
DIY Metal Model Kits
Anybody can put together a jigsaw puzzle. Instead, cross a little mechanical engineering into your modeling with these incredibly cool metal model kits from Time for Machine. Each one is crafted from at least 60 polished stainless steel pieces and each has its own internal mechanisms that make wheels turn, propellers spin and more.
Construct this 4.5-inch long sturdy metal reproduction of a real-life heavy K700 tractor. A great starter kit with 90 pieces, the tractor has a swivel rear axle just like its real-life prototype while the cabin doors and the hood can be opened, revealing the inertial mechanism inside.
The clockwork is truly on display here, as tinkerers create a multi-layered timer that actually works. You can set the alarm to go off in an hour, then sit back and watch in fascination as it counts down. Fascinating, enigmatic…and truly gorgeous
At 6 inches long, this Silver Bullet sports car screams sleek and retro. With over 90 pieces, the wind-up mechanism inside allows you to see all the interior engine gears as they push this legendary roadster along.
Another lovingly crafted auto of the past, this project has over 110 pieces, spring-powered movement, a functioning steering wheel and a real aura of sophistication, even though it’s easy to assemble.
Inspired by World War I designs, this metal beast is a trippy cross between real-world history and steampunk. With its wind-up spring system, this 6-inch, 140-piece self-propelled tank can rumble across your desk with all the power of a real-life weapon of war.
It looks just like a classic American hulking muscle car of the 70s. And when you raise the hood on the 7-inch Royal Voyager, you can actually see the engine and how it runs. And with the wind-up handle, you can even send this eye-catching construction rolling forward.
With over 200 pieces, this shining reproduction of the aircraft with the largest wingspan in aviation history is bold and impressive. Packed into the build are eight motors, which allow users to fire up the Heavenly Hercules with all propellers spinning in unison.
At 20 inches long and constructed from 256 pieces, the Dazzling Steamliner is the flagship of the Time for Machine line — and it’s a beauty. From the top and the side, you can watch all the movements of the gear-wheel and flywheel inside that power this cross between historic steam engine and fantasy.
Build 7 tiny robots from collections of motors, sensors and other parts, each a smart, roving creation of its own. Crafted from 70 parts and 250 different electronic components, these step-by-step guides help users develop their very real structural, hardware and electrical engineering skills and their sense of artistic design on these super-fun projects.
This introductory STEM learning kit is where art, science, and robotic technologies all converge. Students can construct their own confetti cannon, a vacuum, a spirograph maker and a whole bunch more cool projects that bring sciences and the arts into perfect balance.
Every kid wants to build their own robot…and this kit can put them on the right path. Including 15 pilot DIY experiments, these projects are instant fun for kids while exploring the fundamentals of robotics, problem-solving skills, and sparking ferocious creativity.
In tandem with the single board Raspberry Pi micro-computer, this kit melds robotics and programming to help users build their own robot car. Remote controllable via PC, mobile phone, or tablet, this open-source robo-vehicle even comes with a wide-angle USB webcam to broadcast real-time video.
With the open-source MCU Arduino UNO and a servo expansion board, you’ll craft your own robotic arm with full four-axis control. Once it’s constructed, you can even program it to perform a variety of repetitive functions.
With this kit, you’ll create the cute little humanoid robot known as Sloth. But once Sloth is born, that’s when the programming fun comes in as you use a visual programming code to make Sloth walk, dance, gesture, perform tasks and more.
Of course, if you’re going to build a robot, who says it has to be human. This time, you’ll build your own robot lizard. After putting him together, you can use the remote control to put your robo-pet through his paces, as well as rewrite the code to make him do all sorts of fun robot stuff.
With this kit, you can actually build your own open-source handheld gaming device that really works. Based on Arduino UNO, you get all the electronic components, modules, and accessories needed — and a few hours later (if you follow the instructions), you’ll be a true gaming creator.
If you thought building your own smartphone was beyond you, this Ringo kit can dispel that notion. Funded by Kickstarter backers, this kit gives you everything you need to build a mobile phone compatible with all the major networks for making and receiving calls and texts, playing games, calendar features and more.
Using Circuit Scribe’s conductive ink pen, sweet magnetic modules, and plain old printer paper, your paper becomes the base for your own circuits, like blinking lights, beeping buzzers, and whirling motors. If you want to explore foundational circuit properties like conductivity, this is the fun way to do it.
Bondic is a replacement for glue, a super-cool liquid plastic that hardens only after you hit it with UV LED light after it’s applied. Even if you need to recreate a broken plastic piece, this Bondic kit along with two extra tubes of the liquid adhesive can step up to the project.
The SparkMaker is a user-friendly foray into 3D printing. Using affordable UV LCD resins, just pop in an SD card with your pre-loaded design, press the print button and your creation will start to take shape in front of your eyes.
Prices are subject to change.