Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred

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Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred is packed with fun craft and toy-making projects for geeks on a budget.

Inside, you’ll find illustrated instructions for 24 quirky playthings. Part I: Kid Stuff contains child-friendly projects like the Lock-N-Latch Treasure Chest and a PVC TeePee; Part II: The Electro-Skiffle Band is devoted to homemade musical instruments; and Part III: The Locomotivated showcases moving toys, like a muzzleloader that shoots marshmallows and a steam-powered milk-carton boat.

Each project costs just $10 or less to make and is suitable for anyone, regardless of experience level. As you build, you’ll learn useful sewing and carpentry skills, and the appendix offers a primer on electronics and soldering.

You (and your kids) will have hours of fun making projects like:

  • A simple electric guitar
  • An oversized joy buzzer that (safely) administers a 100-volt jolt
  • Cool, mess-free, screen-printed T-shirts
  • Kites made from FedEx envelopes
  • Booming Thunderdrums made from salvaged x-ray film
  • Classic board games like Go, Tafl, and Shut-the-Box

Whether you’re a mom or dad in search of a rainy day activity, a Scout leader looking to educate and entertain your troop, or just a DIY weekend warrior, the projects in Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred will inspire and amuse you. Now, roll up your sleeves and make!

Author Bio

David Erik Nelson is a freelance writer and former high school teacher. His fiction has been nominated for a Nebula award and has appeared in Asimov's, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and the forthcoming Steampunk Reloaded anthology. He developed the projects in this book at an alternative school with plenty of feedback from his students. He is a contributor to the “Ask the Giant Squid” advice column at Poor Mojo's Almanac(k), a weekly online literary journal.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Kid Stuff

  • Project 1: Lock-n-Latch Treasure Chest
  • Project 2: Switchbox: A Soldering Project for Greenhorns
  • Project 3: The Sock Squid
  • Project 4: The PVC Teepee
  • Project 5: Cheap Mesh Screen Printing
  • Project 6: Shut-the-Box: A Pirate Dicing Game
  • Project 7: The Ticklebox: Jolt Your Friends!
  • Project 8: Small-board Go/Tafl

Part 2: The Electro-Skiffle Band

  • Project 9: X-Ray Talking Drums
  • Project 10: Thunderdrums
  • Project 11: Electro-Didgeridoo
  • Project 12: The Dirt-Cheap Amplifier
  • Project 13: The $10 Electric Guitar
  • Project 14: Dirt-Cheap Boutique Effects: The Spring Reverb
  • Project 15: Dirt-Cheap Boutique Effects: The Blinkie Tremelo
  • Project 16: Dirt-Cheap Boutique Effects: The Two-Transistor Fuzztone
  • Project 17: Cigar-Box Synthesizer

Part 3: Locomotivated

  • Project 18: Cardboard Boomerangs
  • Project 19: Pop Can Flier
  • Project 20: Quick-n-Easy Water Rockets
  • Project 21: Putt-putt Steamboat
  • Project 22: Jitterbug: Your First Robot
  • Project 23: FedEx Kites
  • Project 24: Marshmallow Muzzleloader

Appendix: Electronics and Soldering


"Nelson aims to make each project in Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred an opportunity to develop a new skill that you could apply to other pursuits. Sewing, sawing, silk screen printing, and soldering: Nelson somehow manages to make them all doable."
—The Boston Globe

"Former high-school teacher David Erik Nelson serves up a helping of fun."
—Get Crafty, Good Housekeeping

"If you want to spend 2013 with practical hands-on learning experiences, this is is a treasure trove of ideas. Better yet, they're all cheap ideas that you can do without buying a gigantic robotics kit or huge machinery, and there’s enough room to build on the ideas for new inspiration."
—Marziah Karch,'s GeekMom

"Do-it-yourselfers and other craftspeople who would like to introduce children (their own or borrowed) to the pleasure of using tools and creating things will find a lot to keep them busy within the pages of Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred."

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