So, you may have noticed that the issue currently in your hands is a bit ... different. We're trying something new — something maybe even ... scary! A
Halloween spectacular so exciting that even our
magazine cover is wearing a costume! Okay, so yes, we
realize it's only September, but we're starting extra early
this year. We want to make sure you have ample time to
ramp up your Halloween and act on the cool ideas and
projects in this issue!
Wait a sec! Is this issue all Halloween instead of
electronics? Nope. We're still Everything for Electronics.
It says so right there on the cover. And you know what?
From our (somewhat biased) perspective, Halloween is
all about electronics. Electronics unifies the entire issue
and every article in it.
For example, in the article, “What Do You Want On
Your Tombstone?” Len Shelton of Probotix uses a
stepper motor operated/computer controlled CNC
machine to demonstrate 2.5D CNC: a process where
manual finishing is combined with pocketing and
profiling operations to create the look of 3D contoured
parts. In “Automating Your Haunt Using PICAXE
Microcontrollers,” Steve Koci gives you a guided tour to
using the PICAXE microcontroller for randomized servo
motions, reading sensors, and creating eerie animations.
In “Build the Peek-a-Boo Ghost,” Kevin Goodwin
shows how to make this cute animatronic desktop
decoration using only a couple of servo motors, an
inexpensive microcontroller, and a handful of readily
available parts. Jamie Cunningham reveals the secrets
behind the ever popular “Monster in a Box,” showing
how the Propeller microprocessor is well suited to driving
relays, stepper motors, and sound effects all at once.
Jake Morrison takes you “Behind the Boo With
Scare for a Cure” and shows us the tech it takes to put
on a consistent, professional level haunt night after night.
Don Powell provides the long awaited guide to building
“Ruby's Flame” — an extremely realistic safe flame effect
using a modified PC power supply, high brightness LEDs,
surplus cooling fans, and a bit of silk. Shannon Chappell
shows you “The Inner Workings of the Rock Golem”
and tells you what it takes to make a monster, while
Graham Best describes how classic animation techniques
pioneered by Walt Disney and Hanna-Barbera can be put
to use with microcontrollers and LED lights.
Maurice Cedeno tells the tale of his “Crypt
Creature” — a prop that displays an amazing amount of
animation from just a few relays and a single drive motor,
while Marvin Niebuhr uses his “Trio de los Muertos”
prop to show how just a couple of motors and a bit of
psychology can create the perception of purposeful
And that's not all! We've included a Halloween event
calendar to keep you in the know about spooktacular
events year round; “Haunting 101: The Basics of Boo” to
help you get started applying your electronics know-how
to Halloween projects; and even a guest editorial from
industry icon Leonard Pickel. It's all here ... from the Nuts
to the Volts!
So, to recap, no we are not becoming a Halloween
magazine. It's still us behind the spooky mask! We're
simply expanding to embrace a new hobby field that has
the same interests and needs we do; namely, using
electronics to make cool things. We really hope that you
get a charge out of this month's issue. We spent a lot of
time and put in extra effort to lure in new writers, find
amazing stories, document cool projects, and showcase
some new advertisers. This year, you really have no
excuse for not making it the best Halloween ever!
Truth is we've been extra busy little monsters and
have even held back a few surprises for next month.
Hint: A much-missed column is about to make a
triumphant return and a popular project is coming back
bigger, better, and stronger than ever!
We hope you have as much fun reading this month's
magazine as we had making it, and would love to hear
your comments. Feel free to contact me directly at
For now, get out there and get started making this
the most electrifying Halloween ever!
VP of Operations