Makers enjoyed a particularly fruitful year in 2014. They created projects ranging from the simple to the complex, the small to the large, and the useful to the bat$&*t crazy. In celebration of that variety, we collected our favorite DIY projects of the year in this gallery. But our list is by no means complete! Let us know if we left out an awesome project—tweet
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The Carpool Deville
This vehicle gives a whole new meaning to the term “carpool.” Engineers Duncan Forster and Phil Weicker converted a Cadillac DeVille into a working hot tub on wheels. According to Forster, “You haven’t really lived until you’ve sat in a hot tub and watched the world roll by.”
Wear your love of Tetris on your sleeve—er, wrist. Technical designer Kevin Bates built this Tetris bracelet so that wherever wearers go, they can organize falling blocks to their hearts’ content.
This spring, a company announced that powdered alcohol, or Palcohol, would soon be hitting the market. But in the wake of widespread worry about health risks, its approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau was rescinded. Still, no amount of legislation could keep dampen the curiosity of Popular Science senior editor Paul Adams. So he whipped up his own recipe for powdered alcohol. Now you too can try eating booze—although we wouldn’t recommend it.
A Wi-Fi Hacking Cat Collar
When pet cats go foraging outside, they usually bring back bad smells and dead animals. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Security researcher Gene Bransfield created a specialize cat collar he calls WarKitteh, which maps the wi-fi networks a feline passes. The collar transforms any kitty into a true tech predator, sniffing out vulnerable networks as it prowls through the neighborhood.
You could throw a paper airplane. You could shoot a BB gun. But YouTube user Papierfliegerei thinks bigger. He has created a gun that folds and shoots paper airplanes at top speed: almost one plane per second.
A Mini Grill From A Beer Can
Grant Thompson, the “King of Random,” posts plenty of unique DIY projects to his popular YouTube channel. This summer, he outdid himself by turning a beer can into a miniature grill for hot dogs, dubbed (of course) the Bitty-Q.
Here’s another way to reuse empty beer cans. As photographer Justin Quinnell explains, it’s the perfect material for creating a pinhole camera. Honorable mentions go to Quinnell’s other photography projects, which include eye-shaped camera obscuras and images taken from inside the photographer’s mouth.
Hackett’s Bike Generator
Popular Science columnist Hackett has created some truly impressive projects this year. But our favorite is this hacked-together bike generator, which could help you charge your phone in a post-apocalyptic world.
Why bother trekking to an arcade when you can build your own tabletop version? Instructables user Aleator777 used Raspberry Pi to create this arcade table, capable of playing all your favorite retro games.
Fish on wheels
Goldfish can’t walk on land. But this robotic tank, developed by design firm Studio diip, lets them roll in any direction they choose: When the fish moves to a different spot in the water, the tank changes direction to reflect its pilot’s new position.
Colin Furze has a history of creating completely insane DIY projects. And this year was no different. Of all his creations, our favorites were part of his DIY X-Men series: retractable Wolverine claws, magnetic shoes (a la Magneto) that let the wearer stroll across ceilings, and wrist-mounted flamethrowers that imitate the power of Pyro.
This summer, Popular Science contributor Dave Prochnow helped readers ramp up their foam-weapon warfare. He explained how to hack a Nerf gun to fire at encroaching heat signatures!
Bar Mixvah Robotic Bartender
Mixing the perfect cocktail is both an art and a science. But that doesn’t mean humans have to be involved. Engineer Yu Jiang Tham built a robotic mixologist with the best name on this list: the Bar Mixvah. Thirsty users just need to select their favorite drink from an app, and the Bar Mixvah will create a perfectly proportioned cocktail.
Inventor Keahi Seymour has been developing the Bionic Boot for a quarter of a century—and he isn’t done yet. His current prototypes boost his running speed to 25 miles per hour, but he hopes to eventually reach 40.
T. Rex Shower Head
Over the course of the year, 3-D printers have churned out a variety of products both fun and useful. And this shower head, shaped like the skull of a T. rex, is one of our absolute favorites. Jonathan Schwartz, a product manager at MakerBot, designed the beautiful home accessory—and for that, we are grateful.
Air Hockey Robot
Jose Julio had all the parts he needed to assemble a 3-D printer. But playing air hockey is (arguably) more fun than watching plastic drip onto a print bed. So he used those parts to build a robotic air hockey opponent instead. The robot can defend its goal and is more than capable of scoring on humans.