How to Enter the Instructables and Popular Science "Use It Again!" Contest

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Introduction: How to Enter the Instructables and Popular Science "Use It Again!" Contest

About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...
Contest results have been posted here.

Within arm's reach of me right now, there are three electric motors (two from cordless drills, one from an R/C car), 10 amps of H-bridges, 30 watts of solar panels, a probably broken wireless router, 10 silicon wafers (some with thermal oxide, some without), 25 ft of bungee cords, a bicycle brake level assembly, a four-inch diameter pneumatic cylinder, three hose-clamps, and a Stirling engine. The list gets longer and cooler if I'm permitted to include stuff out of arm's reach, especially stuff in the shop.

I know you're exactly the same way.

Why do we keep so much junk around? Because we know that someday we'll find a use for that thing, that at any minute inspiration will hit, tipping us over the edge to assemble all those leftovers into something magnificent.

Well, that tipping point was just reached. Collect up your junk, bolt it together, document the process on Instructables, and you could win a Canon EOS Digital Rebel SLR, a laser engraved Leatherman, or a subscription to Popular Science!

In addition, Instructables has teamed with Popular Science, and in honor of the launch of the PopSci group on Instructables and PopSci's own How 2.0 Blog, the winning Instructable and author will be briefly profiled in the How 2.0 section of an upcoming issue1.

Here are some great examples of "using it again!":

Pimped Out Megaphone Helmet
Kitchen PC with laptop twist
Build a Ski Helmet walkie-talkie ("ACS")
Monitorhead: re-personalising the pc
Recycled Copper Butterfly
Build a Nintendo NES PC
Geeky Circuit Board Earrings
The return of the dead flatbed scanner
Scanner Parts - Desk Lamp
Typewriter Computer Keyboard

Grand Prize
The grand prize winner will receive a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT 8.0-Megapixel Digital SLR Camera (Model: Digital Rebel XT 18-55 Kit), be briefly profiled in the How 2.0 section of Popular Science magazine1, and receive a 1 year subscription to Popular Science magazine.

First Prize
5 first prize winners will receive laser-etched Leatherman Juice S2 multi-tools, and 1 year subscriptions to Popular Science magazine.

Honorable Mention
10 authors will win Instructables stickers and patches. Yes, we now have stickers!

How to enter:
Any Instructable where a major component is reused or re-purposed, and is added to the PopSci group between now and the end of the day Sunday April 1st, 2007 is eligible. We're going to be pretty liberal with our definition of reused or re-purposed, but with a focus on things that are awesome. You know what I mean -- inspirational reuse; stuff that makes people say, "Cool!" Bonus points for fun stories of how you got the reused component, particularly if they involve dumpsters in areas where you're not supposed to be.

In the past, we've only used the rating of an Instructable to help break ties between our awesome judges. This time around, we're explicitly using the rating of an Instructable and its total number of pageviews as a primary input into our judging. In addition to rating and pageviews, we will continue to ask previously contest winners for their rankings, which will also be a primary input into our decision. So, make sure your project is not only great, but that lots of people are coming in to check it out. A well-worded title and great pictures will help.

Judging Criteria:
All contest entries will be judged for merit. Judges will evaluate each Instructable for the following:

  • completeness (photos and text for all important steps)
  • clear, concise text description including a properly summarized introduction with the motivation for doing the project
  • clear photographs (2+ megapixel preferred), use macro mode for close up shots
  • use of photo-notes where appropriate
  • list of parts and tools required (if appropriate)
  • safety notes (if appropriate)
  • usefulness
  • originality
  • technical merit

We'll judge the project and release the results with our Cool Projects Newsletter on Friday April 6th, 2007. We hope this is the first of many contest with Popular Science, and so stay tuned for more collaborations and other neat stuff.

1. Check out "Cellphone Trick of the month" on page 78 of the March Popular Science Issue for the approximate size we have planned - essentially, a short paragraph writeup, a photo, and a link to the original Instructable. If the winning project is truly outstanding, we might be able to find some more space.

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    71 Comments

    Hey guys! I love these new Alex and Ani bracelets and I'd love to see yours. Please comment yours on my page. Thanks!!!

    alright! hopefully i can produce a good instructables for this contest.. so desperately need it for my photography assignments XP

    1 reply

    wait....let me rephrase that again...if i ever produce it on TIME!...sorryyyyy

    i saw this contest yesterday, i would like to know when the next one will start.

    Ok! Thank you! Pity me, knowing it too late... I have exams all these days....

    Is it open to people outside the US (I'm in the UK)?

    1 reply

    Yes. Our last contest had quite a mix of international winners.

    A prize is typically considered to be unearned income, or "other" income. Whether you need to pay taxes on it or not will depend on your personal situation. As a student, the IRS always owed me money because I was making so little. Now that I have a real job (or some semblance of a real job!), it's the other way around.

    can we enter more than one instructable?...because i have two just itching to be posted ;-)

    1 reply

    You can enter as many Instructables as you like, and more than one is encouraged. In the slightly modified words of Al Capone, post early, post often.

    If we win, what if we already have a subscrition to pop sci? Do we get a free year's worth? Danke Schon -Brennn10

    1 reply

    I don't know. That or another free year, or something else. Win first :)

    Yay! My Instructable is in the instructions! Does that mean I should be entering it, if for no other reason than entertainment? I'm still working on thinking up a true winner...

    1 reply

    You certainly can. As I mentioned below, an older Instructable is unlikely to win, so keep working on the next great idea!

    how do you register for the contest...just add an AWESOME instructable? or is there some elaborate way to sign up?

    5 replies

    "Any Instructable where a major component is reused or re-purposed, and is added to the PopSci group between now and the end of the day Sunday April 1st, 2007 is eligible."

    Hi, Can I re-submit an instructable i did a few months ago to this contest or does it need to be a brand new instructable? I do plan to update my old one and it is definitely a re-use project.

    You can enter an older Instructable into the contest, but as a general rule new Instructables tend to win our contests. They have more of a "wow" factor, if only due to novelty. That said, go for it; you never know.

    how do i add it to the pop sci group? sorry, this will be my first instructable posting; however, i have been reading basically all of the instructables (literally, like an hour a night.lol). thank you though

    No need to apologize. It's a great question.

    You need to join the PopSci Group, which you do by looking at the group, in this case go here and then on the left you'll see a button that says "Join Group."

    After you've joined, when you create an Instructable, there will be an option to add that Instructable to the group in the Publish step, or you can do it after the fact when viewing your own Instructable by looking at the Groups box on the left and clicking on "Add this Instructable to a group."