Introduction: How to Thank Instructables

About: I am a jack of all trades and a master of none. =The world is prone to blind acceptance.= Opinions/Truths: Politeness shouldn't be faked, having no rules is a rule, just because you're an adult doesn't ma…

As I sat and contributed to the conversation in the Instructables Chatroom on the mid-afternoon of July the 25th, 2008, an idea swept across my mind: "This is really cool, that I have been brought together with people from different countries, and from all cultures, to discuss the likenesses between ourselves, whether it be hobbies, projects, and even problems. I'm thankful for Instructables' uniqueness to keep me hooked.." - Bumpus

I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one glad to have discovered Instructables, so I voiced my Idea over to Gmjhowe. "We should organize a 'Thank You' of sorts to Instructables HQ." I said, he responded with: "That is a great idea! Lets send them like trophies!" - Bumpus

So, Bumpus and I, set out on a journey, one which would result in many new friends, some lulz, and lots of creativity! But, the journey was not without its perils, a few minor mishaps with some radioactive material, it wasn't at all cool, but was a close call indeed. - Gmjhowe

Here is how we did it -

1 - Create an off site secret meeting house (a chatroom, and a forum) give it a vague name (the three deserts)
2 - Gather troops, we basically pmed people and invited them to join/sign their souls away
3 - finalize idea, and talk a lot
4 - eat cake*
5 - move/hide/cover up hidden forum and chatroom at least three times, to avoid detection.
6 - send final items to HQ
7 - rejoice, eat more cake.*

Not all of the credit goes to me (Bumpus), but to Gmjhowe who contributed as much as I did..
Partners in Crime..

*A lie ;-) . -ll.13
Hey, I ate cake a lot when we were working on this project so it isn't totally a lie. -Sunbanks
I haven't had cake in months! Want...caaaaaake...and braaaaains.... -Cameron
Actually, the cake is a lie, this is a common misconception.
The cake is a pie? That's just confusing. Will somebody please get on with explaining this whole conspiracy? - K
The cake is a lie? tell me now, after I make the letter. -Wburg
They promised us cake...
Kiteman, the cake was a lie because it was, in fact, a pie! But, the pie is in actuality a cookie. - Splint.
And it's actually a piggy in disguise as a chimney! - Wburg
Cake starts with the letter C! - Labot

We will in each step, or two, explain how we made each of our letters.

Goodhart explains things perfectly for anybody feeling a bit left out -
'Really, for those that mention about being included, we only have so many letters, and I know for a fact that it was VERY difficult for the team to say "let's include him, him, her, not him....etc". Some things just have to be limited, and for those feeling left out, everyone has there own opportunity to say thank you in any way they wish; really. I know I am planning my own personal way as well.'

Thank you!

Step 1: I - Bumpus


Well, I started with making a cardboard mold for my capital "I", making basic measurements and converting them to cardboardinese. The tube extruding is to hold up the letter on the base, it can be removed to ship easier. I used hot glue and tape to seal the edges.

I gathered crayons to melt, sorted them into basic colors, and put them in little tin cans to set in boiling water. It was just easier to melt the crayons on a pancake fryer thing. I had to go buy more wax because I didn't have enough crayons.

The pouring of hot wax went well, except for two minor leaks, and a huge leak, and a burnt finger...

I waited overnight for the wax to solidify, and removed my solid "I" from the mold. My friend offered to make the base out of wood for me, which turned out excellent.

With making sure everyone had sent their letters on time, and to the right address, I ran out of time to send mine when needed...
But I did get it sent and all is well.

Step 2: N - LinuxH4x0r


N-Necessary- We need instructables to learn how to do stuff.

Made from:
-part of a shower
-part of a ratchet
-adapter for ratchet
-bike quick release
-nut for conduit/ junction box
-ID clip
-rod from a windshield wiper blade
-part of a 3.5 mm headphone adapter
-A few drops of epoxy

Ok, I'll stop now.

Step 3: S - Killerjackalope


Well I started by designing my S on paper, starting simple, draw the boundary box for sizes and fit within that. I kept it reasonably free of embellishments in the shape because I'd already figured out what I was going to do with it.

Next step was to transfer my design to wood which I got from my friend in the joinery department, handy knowing people so it is...

Next I went about transferring the design and sanding filing, all that lark to get the letter just perfect, stopping there would be silly it looked pristine and wonderful, completely unreasonable...

Next I tightly wrapped the letter in 24ga constantan wire, not because it's magic or something, it's conductive to heat and was to hand, plus I was worried about rusty marks from steel or grey marks from galvanized.

Now this took some experimentation, to get this bit right... I had to somehow lightly sear the wood without heating the wire up too much. First go with the craft torch seemed promising until I realized it was very patchy due to the small heating area. Holding over the gas hob in quick passes got better results but didn't work just right and set off the smoke alarms. Putting a bit in the old toaster, never put metal in a toaster, I'm dumb and had a spare toaster gave cool results but not what I wanted...

Eventually the thing that came through for me was the usual suspect, when you need to burn something what do you go for? It's something every schoolboy has done, can of deodorant flame thrower, the heat was in a big enough area and intense enough that I could tan in my colour with no hotspots.

After I finally got the thing finished what did I think of and it'll be a project soon? Using the resistance wire wrapped all over the thing as a big heating element, a few seconds on a car battery or any other high amp supply would have caused the inverted effect of what I had and look amazing, however I was happy with my big S which looked like I planned eventually.

Next little bit was taking the small stand block and doing the same to it, put some small holes in to the back of the letter and put a couple of screws in...

Make a silly manual and we're finished here...

Step 4: T - Sunbanks


I love to sew. So sewing my letter would be the perfect thing to do for this!

First I cut out two "T"s and a long rectangle of yellow fleece. Then I sewed the rectangle around the edges of both the "T"s and stuffed it. Then I sewed it shut.

For the base I put part of a plastic coat hanger in the bottom of the T and put the other end of it in an empty spool of thread, to go along with the fact that I sewed my letter.

Step 5: R - Firebert010


It all started out with a rough sketch. I knew my "R" would be made from wood, so I drew out what I wanted on a piece of paper. I then drafted a final copy onto graph paper and set to work on the actual letter.

I rooted around in my shop and found a really nice piece of cedar which would serve as my letter and base.I started by using a jigsaw to rough the letter out of cedar. At this point it was pretty visually unappealing, so I used my Dremel to round the edges of the front of the letter. I worked over the entire letter with sandpaper gradually getting finer and finer. Once it was super smooth, I stained the entire letter with Early American.

I ripped a small piece of the same cedar to make the base, cutting it to a relative size. I then took a router and went around the edge of it to make it look nice. I then went through the same procedure of sanding and staining.

I took the easy way out and hot glued the letter to the base, and it looks pretty nice. No Sistine Chapel, but it'll do =]

Step 6: U - CameronSS


The suggestion went out to base our projects on the Instructables that we have completed. The only project I had up that I could base a letter off of was my circuit board earrings. My plan was to cut the U out of an old motherboard that I had lying around. Then PKM put up a picture of the circuit board he was going to use, and it looked nice and clean, so I decided to come up with something else. As part of the original circuit board letter, I was going to solder little IC chip bugs crawling all over the letter, and since I had a lot of old ICs, I decided to make the whole thing out of ICs.

First, I went through my giant box of circuit boards and pulled out every one that had widebody DIP chips in sockets. I then arranged them on a piece of paper that I had cut to our standard size. It ended up a bit smaller, but I ran out of ICs, and it would have been a lot bigger if I'd added a third row, or even just extended it. I put some duct tape in a U shape on a piece of scrap aluminum sheet and flipped my U over on top, then poked them all down securely to hold them in place for soldering. I ended up soldering together the two sides and the top separately, then lining them up and soldering the three pieces together. The end result of that was rather floppy (No, it's not what she said.) so I sloppily soldered some pieces of music wire in to brace it. It's still not puppy-proof, but it's not supposed to do anything other than sit there.

To support the whole thing, I used a heat gun to bend a foot in one end of a piece of clear plastic sprue, then covered it in two layers of heat-shrink tubing for grip. In the other end, I used a razor saw to cut a small notch, then heated a piece of music wire and melted in a little notch. It'll still fall over in an earthquake, but it stands upright. I wish that there was room to write my message on the back, but it's all poky bits and solder joints back there, no room for text.

No, that's not the correct address on that box. I found that out a week after mailing it when the package arrived at my house with "Return to Sender, Addressee Unknown" stuck on it. The correct address is 489 Clementina St., 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. This taught me two important things: ALWAYS attach a return address, and get Delivery Confirmation any time you are using Priority Mail--it's worth that extra 65 cents. I wish I'd gotten that the first time through.

I also managed to get a certain song stuck in my head for two days from that sticker....

Step 7: C - PKM


I decided to make a letter from paper-skinned bamboo on a circuit board backing (bought in London's famous Camden market, no less) in reference to earlier projects, to illustrate the fundamental dichotomy of art and science, and because it looks kind of neat.

I had the idea of the font I wanted in my head and then found a font online that matched that image. (Image 2) I actually blew up the image on my computer screen and traced it onto a piece of paper (3) because I don't have a printer.

I hot-glued the halves of the circuit board together (4), then clipped, assembled and hot-glued a lot of pieces of bamboo skewer to make the outline of the letter. (5) This was then glued onto the paper letter tracing and trimmed. (6) Finally, the trimmed, skinned letter was glued onto the board. (1)

The board won't stand up on its own so I decided to make a bamboo tripod for it to stand on. (7) I threw the tripod across the room a few times to make sure its rickety construction could stand up to being posted across the atlantic, but I forgot the package might be opened (especially if someone X-rays it and sees it's full of circuit boards :S) so it might be damaged in transit. Well, short of hand-delivering it what can you do?

The parts went in the shipping box my last ebay purchase was delivered in, with copious bubble wrap and brown paper taking up the excess space.

Step 8: T - Goodhart


T for "Tremendous !"

Either first draw or outline your letter on paper, tracing paper, or directly on the wood, again, depending on how comfortable you are with each method.

Then trace, or however you wish to transfer the image from paper to wood, even redrawing is OK, since you now know how you want it to look.

Then burn it in. Use the normal method of working from the inside out, turning the wood rather then ever pushing the pen. Always draw the hot pen towards you if you can (point facing away).

For the base, I used a smaller piece, albeit one that would not allow overhang on the sides.
I measured an area in the center to cut in a slot for the finished pyrograph, and then started to cut/chisel it out. My router is not currently operable, so I had to do this part by hand with a pocket knife.

Once the slot was the proper size to accommodate the pyrograph, I slipped the 2 together with a little wood glue in between and set 2 wood screws in from the bottom to "clamp" it in place, remembering that I had to drill 2 countersinks first (so the screws would not stick out and scuff the surface it sat on).

To kind of hide the gaps created by hand tooling the slot, I also glued in some pieces of heavy gauge wire (with the insulation removed). Since I wanted to give "something" to it that appeared electrical in nature (lame, I know). But it is somewhat ornamental too (oh look ! Shiny !).

Step 9: A - Weissensteinburg


A for Ambiguous!

After making a concrete light bulb, ideas for small scale concrete projects were constantly popping into my head. So when I was invited to join this project, I knew what I'd be doing. For the mold, I printed out a large letter "A" and formed it, like bumpus, out of cardboard, with hot glue to seal the edges. For the inner triangle, I just did it free hand with a long strip...much easier than cutting three thin strips. I also made sure to make the mold on top of a large piece of card board, so that I could easily transport it, and vibrate the bubbles out of the concrete.

Time to pour! Mix up your concrete and pour into the mold. Once you've poured it all in, fill in all the cracks and smooth it out with the tool (shown in fourth photo). Then shake the cardboard base, to get as many air bubbles out as possible. Now we play the waiting game!

I've read that spraying concrete with water as it sets will make it stronger...I figured it couldn't hurt, so I sprayed it a few times a day, for about two days until it seemed fully hardened. After removing it from the mold, I waited another day or two, giving it maximum surface area exposure (stood up) before working on it any more.

Next, I pulled out a metal file and leveled out the feet until it stood sturdy, and got rid of a few imperfections. It's decoration time!

First, I sketched out a picture of the Robot onto the bottom right corner, and then used my Dremel to carve his likeness. This didn't turn out so well, as you could barely see him. A Sharpie came next, I used it to fill in the grooves. Voila! You can spot him from a mile away! After It was truly an Instructables A, I used the same method on the back to carve and fill in in my name. I also wrote on another drawing/message.

At this point, the A was a bit wobbly, so I found an L bracket and used mighty putty to attach it to the back. Lastly, I added some felt to the bottom (I don't want it to scratch anything in it's new home!), and with that, my letter was complete!

Step 10: B - Labot2001


B for B-tastic!

Finally, the part you've all been waiting for: mine :D


So I got the letter "B", the second letter of the alphabet, 10th letter in INSTRUCTABLES.

If you want to make your very own "B" (though for what, I do not know), and you want to do it exactly the way I did it, then the first thing you need to do is this: procrastinate. Lots of it. I mean, I found out about the project in July, and I waited until September 23, just a few days away from shipping date.

The second thing you need to do (after being told to speed things up by bumpus ;) is draw up plans for the "B" in your morning Algebra II class.

Now that you've done that, it's time to really get things going.

  • Wood - I used chipwood; just about any would wood do (hey, I pulled a Goodhart! :)
  • Paint - any color; I used orange (try to avoid thin, water-based paints)
  • Wood Glue - Glue-All would probably work fine, too
  • Pictures - for the collage
  • Sealer - protect your work

  • Pencil
  • Compass
  • Stencil
  • Ruler & Straightedge
  • Jigsaw
  • Dremel
  • Air Compressor - or a vacuum in reverse

Once you've done those, follow the following steps in the following order:

1. Using a pencil, straightedge, and compass, sketch out an outline on the board you're using to serve as a guide when cutting. Erase any stray marks.
2. Put on some safety goggles and use your jigsaw to cut out the "B" shape.
3. Shoot the B and your work area with your air compressor or vacuum to blow away any excess sawdust.
4. Keep your goggles on and use the Dremel to sand down the edges.
5. Air compressor.
6. Set your B on some wax paper and get ready to paint. Do it one side at a time, one coat at a time, about 3 coats on each side, and about 2 coats on the perimeter.
7. When your painting's all done, use your brush to spread some glue evenly across one side of the B and apply your pictures for the collage. DO NOT DO THE OTHER SIDE.
8. When your glue is done drying, put on a coat of sealer. When that dries, put on a second coat of sealer.
9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 with the other side.
10. Put one coat of sealer on the perimeter.

And that's it! :D

Step 11: L - Gmjhowe


Ok, at first i was a bit annoyed that i got the letter l, what with being the co-founder, it turned out i get the most boring letter! Guess power doesnt get you everything eh? Luckly we decided to go with caps, making mine into a more interesting L shape,

Simple process

- Cut out an L shape, from three peices of dense cardboard, which i then stuck together

- Added some wood and card for the base, and stuck on some extra bits of junk

- Base coat of black spray paint (the gmjhowe special)

- Dry brushed on some silver

- Added some leather to the base, and to one side

- Put a modified business card on the back (my printer is broke atm)

Thats it! nice and simple, in my usual style.

Step 12: E - Spl1nt3rC3ll


My original idea was to create a clay sculpture of an intricate "E", but alas, sculpting, glazing, and firing all take time. I, unfortunately, did not have the luxury of time for this project. So what is the next best thing to clay sculpture? The answer, in my opinion, is Found Art sculpture.

Now all I needed were supplies. Luckily enough we had just redone the the kitchen drawers, providing me with a good supply of golden scrap metal. These, along with spent CO2 canisters left over from ten hours of Airsofting, proved quite useful.

I then assembled the bits and pieces into various patterns, keeping the ones I liked. Design No. 1 was too large, so I slimmed it down to the final design. Now all I needed to do was epoxy the pieces, attach it to the base, and impatiently wait for the 26th.

*Sigh.* Well, I was getting ready to ship this when it fell off of the table and shattered. I've tried my best to fix it, so if this arrives at HQ in pieces at least you know what it looked like. It currently looks worse than the original, everything is crooked and Epoxy is smeared everywhere. :(
On the plus side, I've sent an Epoxy container with my E. If it doesn't break, you've got free Epoxy!

Step 13: S - Kiteman


S for Serendipity!

This whole scheme surfaced just as I was writing my boomerang Instructable, where I made the bold claim that any letter could become a boomerang.

The choice, then, was natural.

I hand-drew the template with pencil and compasses, drawing around a small beaker for the terminal circles.

The whole thing was jigsawed out of the same 1/4" plywood I used for Robot Returns and Dark Kite, and I decided that the outsides of the curves of the S would be the leading edges, so that the S was the correct way round when thrown from the right hand.

Carving and shaping were all performed with my rotary tool, and I sanded and varnished it as for my Dark Kite boomerang.

The only real challenge was display - I needed the S to stand up, which required a stand or frame, but I also needed it to fit into a flat envelope for postage.

The answer was to send the team a kit -they'd have to make part of their own gift!

Timber and bamboo lent themselves to a basic frame, from which the boomerang can hang.

I cut and fitted the parts (the short leg goes to the back, folks), then bound them with masking tape for posting. They could do with a drop of woodglue to hold them in place, but I'm sure the Team can cope with that.

Unfortunately, As I walked away from the Post Office, I realised that I had not made my mark - I had not signed the boomerang, nor had I included any identifier other than my return address on the envelope... oops.

Finally, after writing this step, I went back through the other steps and corrected a few minor spelling and grammatical errors, although I bit my metaphorical tongue and left the American "spellings" as they were.

So, there it is - last letter of the set.

Enjoy it, Team, you deserve it.

Step 14: The Hand - Adrian Monk

Adrian Monk

I made the hand by first tracing out my own hand on some thin cardboard. Then I traced from that onto thicker cardboard.

I then took sculpey clay and made a flat sheet of it. I traced hand shaped bits from it, covered the cardboard, smoothed it all out, and baked it for 15 minutes.

Then I just glued it onto a sculpey base and wrote my username and thanks on the bottom.

I don't have many pics of the actual process, because I tried so many things to make the hand that didn't pan out (including wood, styrofoam, solid sculpey, paper, etc) that I wasn't sure this would work. Thus, no picture taking during the making of the hand. I was also very pressed for time. Sorry. But I do have pictures of the cardboard bits I used.

Step 15: Operation: &quot;Trio of Deserts&quot;

So, once I had coined the idea of creating 'trophies' to send to -ibles, the next thing was to organize it all.

Hidden Chatroom:

Firstly, we needed to talk, I already had a Meebo account, so I set up a chatroom, and hosted it on some of my web space. Me and Bumpus talked in here a lot, discussing things, I then went on to set up a off site forum, again, hosted on my web space. (you will read about this next).

The chatroom came with a few problems, mainly that if we linked to -ibles, people could follow us back via the 'referrals' in the stats on -ibles. The chatroom got moved, and reshaped many times to avoid people finding it. We also had a few problems with radiation leaks, and over refrigeration.
- Gmjhowe

The chatroom, where we all got together to discuss project ideas. The chatroom was exposed by DJ Radio (formally known as Radioactive, renowned as Coolz) a few weeks ago. After banning him, and completely removing the room from the page, we set it in a much more secure page, which needs two different passwords to enter, after registry of course ;-), and remains hidden away in the vastness of teh_Intarwebzz..
We had some funny, extremely irrelevant and completely hilarious conversations in that room..

Hidden Forum:

Okay, with the chatroom in place, i then went on to create some forums, The name came from a recent conversation I had been having with Gorillazmiko about swords, thus 'The Three Deserts' was born, and still lives, and can be found here - The Three Deserts
Once this all comes out, i will make the forums free access, so you can all read about of planning!
- Gmjhowe

Hidden Group:

I set up a not-so-hidden group on instructables to get a set number of participants in the project, so I could periodically remind them to check the forums. While keeping tabs on who's almost done, and who hasn't an idea yet I could keep everyone working at a similar pace. A few members, outside of our project , tried to join the group, which, obviously they were turned down.

The group is still here - Cookies, Pie, Cake
I chose that name because of what the foods are, desserts, and three of them..

Step 16: Thank You!

Okay, well the reason we did this was to say THANK YOU!

I - Bumpus - There isn't really a way I can fully thank you for what you've done for everyone, you've opened so many doors, and gave some of us a reason to get on the site during school, when your supposed to be googling Easter Island...
Thank You, very much.

N - Linux H4x0r - Instructables has helped me in so many ways. You taught me all I'll ever need to know, you've filled a hole in my social life, gave me something productive to do in my spare time, and you've even put clothes on my back (robot shirts FTW!). Thanks so much to all the staff that made instructables possible.

S - Killerjackalope - you lot have helped me in a million ways, all that writing has improved my English by unbelievable amounts, my photography has gotten better as well, some of the stuff I wrote has helped me and others immensely. You also gave me something to do after being whooped on outta school, something to keep my mind active, all this is also counting towards my tech coursework for media. Along with that I've learned more here than anywhere before, ever. I only have one thing to ask of you guys, please continue being awesome and tell Eric not to murder himself on the kiteboards. Oh and to keep it all up I'm trying for ten 'ibles this week!

T - Sunbanks - Instructables has helped me learn so much more than I would have otherwise. I've always loved making things but Instructables gave me soooooo many more ideas. Also it's made some days so much better when I join in on a totally hilarious conversation. Thank you so much to the staff for creating this site and I'm so happy to have found it. I'm totally serious when I say that this is the best site I've ever been on.

R - Firebert010 - There aren't words powerful enough to describe how much you guys deserve this. I think it's clear from the amazing community here that we did this just for you guys. This site has helped me in so many different ways it's unreal. Besides meeting a ton of new people, this site has made me realize my life's ambition to study engineering. Thank you, so much.

U - CameronSS - Rats, I'm the third-to-last person to add my bit here. You might as well read everyone else's, they've said it all. Instructables is a great site that's inspired me to look at building things in completely different ways, and the community here has helped me out countless times. Thanks, everyone!
*wipes away tear*

C - PKM - I think what makes Instructables special for me is that it has grown an online community that is actually a community (as demonstrated by, for instance, the T-shirt for Goodhart). It is a real joy to share interests and ideas with the other members, or talk about things unrelated to DIY, and I've made a few genuine friends through the site. Add to that the top-notch content, friendly and open attitude of the staff and the continual fresh ideas, and you have a delightful corner of the internet that's given me many happy hours and will hopefully give many more.

T - Goodhart - I have said it before, and it is the honest truth, this past year has been the best one of my entire life. I had no purpose in life, but Instructables has given me at least one useful purpose, and for that, I am thankful beyond words.

A - Weissensteinburg - (Instead of writing something here, I would like us all to stand for a moment of silence in honor of instructables. I say this, because silence is a more powerful thank you then anything I could have written.)

B - Labot2001 - Instructables FTW!!! You guys are awesome; keep it up!!!

L - Gmjhowe - Instructables inspires me, as a website it has a great community that does nothing but make me want to make more things. Since i joined, my creativity has tripled ten fold. Thank you for making your dream a reality, and in turn helping us to realise our dreams. You are all amazing people, who deserve to be proud of this amazing site.

E - Spl1nt3rC3ll - If a picture is worth a thousand words, this must be worth a hundred-thousand. You guys and gals are the greatest, a hundred-thousand words of thanks to ya!

S - Kiteman - This is a great place. Literally life-changing and sanity-saving. I've gained skills, made friends, and "met" a wider chunk of the planet on common ground than no other website could have let me. I'd do that finger-flappy thing and shout respek! if I wasn't afraid my fingers would snap off.

Hand - Adrian monk - I searched for a site like this for a long time. After asking on several sites "How can I mod cheap dollar store earbuds to make them sound better?", people would say, "Don't. Just buy some more expensive ones. Why would you want to mod them, anyway, when you could just pay a few dollars more for a ready made pair?" I was unable to explain why. I said, "I just DO." Fortunately, I found instructables soon after that. This website was precisely what I needed. And it has given me countless hours of entertainment, fun, and learning. Sorry this was so long...

-ll.13, Due to moving location, and studies, I wasn't able to take part, so I'll just send some fanmail.
With the idea of sending a postcard I looked at the usual suspects, tourist information, exhibitions, but it was all to predictable. So then I went to a contemporary art gallery, there weren't too many postcards there, but I like to think I picked a good one. :]
-Update, should arrive by 23rd.