Introduction: How to Make a Popsci 5-Minute Project
Submit a 5-Minute Project for Popular Science! Each month we feature a cool and handy new project, and we're excited to showcase some ideas from the inventive Instructables community.
Sometimes the most basic projects are the most ingenious. So we're looking for projects that are simple, useful, and (of course) quick. The subject and materials are wide-open: it can be anything with a science, technology or productivity element to it, from DIY iPod docks to a level made from a laser pointer.
Here are a few examples from past issues to give you an idea about what works:
- Noise-canceling earbuds
- Musical cash stash
- Greenhouse made from CD cases
Things to keep in mind before you begin:
Make sure the project truly takes about five minutes to do. Three minutes is fine, seven minutes is OK, but anything considerably longer doesn't qualify. Also be sure that anyone can complete the project in that time, not just someone who is already very familiar with how it's done.
A perfect 5-Minute Project looks much like a good, well-documented Instructable. Be sure to read over How to Make a Great Instructable for basics and formatting tips.
The project needs to be visual, so no software tricks or other projects that can't be easily shown with a few photos on a magazine page.
Do not submit any project that could cause an injury or has any other potential safety risks, or that may be illegal in any way.
Try to keep your project as cost-effective and eco-friendly as possible.
Don't forget to join the PopSci 5-Minute Projects group! Just add your completed Instructable to the group, and we'll check it out.
Step 1: Elucidate
Write a brief explanation of what the project is, why it's useful, how/why you came up with it, and any other relevant information about why someone would want to try it.
(You know, the basic intro step to a good Instructable.)
Step 2: Hunt and Gather
Gather all the materials you need for the project and photograph them. Provide any specific details necessary (e.g., "Make sure to use double-sided tape") and take close-ups of any parts that require a more in-depth view.
Use your camera's macro mode for close-ups.
Step 3: Clarify
Describe any intermediate steps the project requires. Give as many details as possible - it's better to explicitly mention everything you need to do, even if it seems obvious, than it is to gloss over anything. Take in-progress photos to accompany any of these intermediate steps.
If a video of the project will help show how it's done, feel free to include one.
Step 4: Demonstrate
Show the finished product. Take photos from different angles if it will help explain it. Write any tips readers should know for both building and using it.
Add any information about variations you can do or other materials that will work.
Step 5: Stardom!
Submit your completed Instructable to the PopSci 5-Minute Projects group for review.
Sit back and wait for your shot at PopSci fame!