Mstation Book Reviews
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Tue, 05 Feb 2008

Cubicle Toys

Kaden Harris, Eccentric Cubicles, O'Reilly

This book is from the Make: Projects series and really doesn't need to be related to cubicles at all: Anywhere a handy tabletop cigar guillotine will go ...

There are a number of projects in the book which mostly have a retro-futurish look and so have a visual interest alongside some kind of warped utility - like a thing that will fire objects across the room, or the gubbins that will let your desk be a bass instrument, or how about a fog machine?

These are quite complex objects too and need a fair bit of building and a few tools as well. Kaden Harris starts off by giving us some general build and materials hints and then goes through each project in a fair bit of detail and with lots of diagrams and pictures to help along. If you're already good with your hands in this sort of way, you should be quite OK. Complete novices should be OK as well but a few of the projects would be a bit of a leap.

A nice side-effect of the book might be to further ways of improvisational thinking as he's forever using things to do something that were designed to do something else. When you get to that stage you can do the fun thing of surveying a pile of junk to see what interesting and unlikely products can come of it all.

The only minus for some people will be the tone, a sort of pally, slang-ridden patois which can get on your nerves in about 20 seconds.

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