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12 Months of Makes

charlyn profile image Charlyn Gonda ・3 min read

This year, I’ll be making 12 projects in 12 months. They’ll mostly involve circuits and coding, maybe costumes and cardboard. Some will be useful, some will be silly, all will be fun. Follow my progress with #12MonthsOfMakes on Twitter, or right here on Dev.to!

When I was a tiny young human, people would ask me what I wanted to become when I grew up. Back then, I thought the only jobs available were firefighter, doctor, lawyer, policeman, or inventor. I would say “I want to be an inventor!” even though I didn’t know what that meant, or if it was even a real job. I just knew that I liked to take toys apart and put them back together, and sometimes I would make something new out of it. Sometimes (ok, most times) I’d also end up breaking it, but that was part of the fun!

Then I grew up and became a software engineer instead. I’d forgotten my childish dream of making something out of other physical things. Instead, I was creating digital things out of other digital things. Still fun!

But then I became a developer advocate, and my genius coworker had a genius idea:

Genius coworker: “What if we made a hat that lights up whenever you get into an Uber ride?”

Me: “ 😮. I don’t know how to do that. Let’s do it.”

So I did.

This is a hat. A shark hat
This is a hat. A shark hat.

Meet Humphrey the Sharknicorn. It’s a shark with a 3D printed unicorn horn that lights up depending on the state of your Uber ride. It uses the Uber API to get notified if you just ordered a ride, and triggers different light animations depending on whether you just ordered a ride, or when the driver is about to arrive, or when you are in the middle of the ride. It was such a fun project, and I learned a ton about circuits, soldering and 3D printing. Plus, it’s the silliest thing to put on your head! Disclaimer: I did not make the shark hat itself.

Charlyn wearing sharknicorn hat
Do not be alarmed! No heads or sharks were harmed in the taking of this photo.

This project really made me remember my forgotten childhood dream of inventing. There’s something so viscerally satisfying about holding something you created with your own hands. I’ve always liked crafting and making things, but to be able to put together my love of coding and my love of tinkering was just so giggle inducing. Look at how ridiculous my smile is in that photo.

And I realized that there are a lot of us out there that want to be creative with our code. I want to find more people who like to make things, and I want to be able to share this awesome bubbly happiness I feel over soldering irons while learning something new.

And there's so much to learn! How do I get the perfect Benchy print? How do I solder wires to an SPDT slide switch without pulling my hair out? Therefore, I decided to make one project per month for the entire year. I’ve never done anything like this before, this is honestly quite daunting, so come with me on this journey. Let’s learn about the world of making together!

This was originally posted on Medium, lightly edited here for your reading pleasure.

Discussion

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jessachandler profile image
Jess Chandler

Awesome idea. I love your creativity and enthusiasm. I'm doing 12 in 12...but just digital applications. I can't wait to see what else you come up with! Cheers!

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charlyn profile image
Charlyn Gonda Author

Thank you! And I’m cheering you on for 12 in 12 too! 💖

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Anthony Dreessen

Inspirational and awesome!

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Jess Lee (she/her)

This is awesome! Good luck on all your projects, can't wait to see them 😻

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hkly

That hat is amazing! I can't wait to see what else you make!

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Ben Halpern

Our office has collectively been dying to make things like this but we don't have a charlyn to step up and do it.

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Charlyn Gonda Author

Oooh I’m cheering you all on!

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rhymes

Good luck charlyn and have lots of fun! I'm going to follow your year of inventions :-)

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Ryan Hoover

Ha! Love the photo. Here's me in a monkey hat... I didn't make it though. 😁

monkey ryan

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Charlyn Gonda Author

Ooo! Snazzy! 💖

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Ian Wilson

Wow, I have a friend that would definitely wear that. Any plans on a kickstarter? haha

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Charlyn Gonda Author

haha no plans for kickstarter, but definitely something to consider in the future 🤔

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Saad

Great initiative! Go Ahead! I have been thinking to do something like this for a long time! But always failed to keep the momentum :( Wishing you good luck. :)

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Charlyn Gonda Author

Thank you! I definitely need the luck to keep momentum 😂

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R3i

This article really made me smile! Love that hat!

Best of luck will be looking forward to seeing more.