Laser cutter carves out a spider at the Hopkins Makerspace

Image caption: Laser cutter carves out a spider at the Hopkins Makerspace

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

DIY scares

Do-it-yourself Halloween projects at the Johns Hopkins Makerspace

Designed for personal projects, the makerspace has a variety of tools including 3D printers and laser cutters to help you with your last-minute Halloween needs

Halloween is creeping ever closer, and while it can be difficult to carve out the time to prepare, it's going to take more than a couple of cobwebs and a haphazard costume pulled from the closet to be crowned the coolest ghoul in school.

With 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, shop tools, and an electronics station open to all students, faculty, and staff, the Johns Hopkins Makerspace, located at the FastForward U location blocks from the university's Homewood campus, is primed to become your haunted headquarters this Halloween season.

Working in the lab late one night? No worries—the makerspace is open 24 hours a day. Priority is given to personal projects that are not related to coursework, as well as to grant-funded research projects that have not reached the point of commercialization, and staff support is available from noon to 8 p.m. every day. To take advantage of the makerspace's offerings, students must complete a 30-minute general shop training course, which is held several times each weekday at the space, and a brief learning course to use individual machine stations.

For some spooky inspiration, we've assembled a Halloween project ideas that can be put together with the resources available at the makerspace.

Skeleton cookie cutters

3D printed skeleton cookie cutter

Image caption: A 3D-printed skeleton cookie cutter made at the Hopkins Makerspace.

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

These 3D-printed cookie cutters can make great Halloween desserts. To print one of these gingerdead men, download the 3D model STL file and upload the design to one of the three 3D printers on site at the makerspace.

Trick N' Scream programmable pumpkin

Video credit: Arduino Project Hub

To trick and treat your friends, the Makerspace electronics station offers the tech to create your own programmable candy dish. With basic Arduino programming, a plastic pumpkin can be outfitted with motion-triggered lights and whatever scary sounds you wish.

Jack O'Lantern

Jack O lanterns

For those who are better with a trackpad than a knife, the laser cutter at the Makerspace can be used to execute your designs for a Jack O'Lantern stencil. Drafting programs such as Solidworks, Universal Control Panel, or CorelDraw X7 can be used to create digital designs you can apply to the pumpkin before you carve.

Alien chestburster costume

3D Printed Chestburster Alien

Image caption: A 3D model for the "Chestburster" from the film "Alien," designed by Geoffro. Used with permission by Thingiverse.

Sci-fi fans can recreate the iconic and shocking moment from Ridley Scott's Alien with this 3D printed chestburster prop. Simply upload the chestburster file to the 3D printer to create the prop, then cut a hole in an old white shirt and use the attached base to pin it to an undershirt. Add a spurt of fake blood—you can whip some together using corn syrup, non-dairy creamer, and red food dye—and you're ready to look like you've got a bad case of intergalactic indigestion.

Leaping drawer spider

Looking to put a scare into your roommates? Rich Middlestadt, director of manufacturing at the Whiting School of Engineering and a self-proclaimed Halloween fiend, took the time to show us how to create this leaping spider prank. All you need is some wire, a fake spider—we created our own with the laser cutter in the makerspace—tape, a drawer, and an unwitting victim.

Supplies needed to create a drawer-spider prank

Bend the wires of a coat hanger so they look like the picture above, then hook the spirals of the smaller piece through the loops of the larger to create a hinge. Tape your fake spider to the bent middle, then tape the hinge to the inside of the drawer.

How to bend the wire and tape it to a drawer to make it leap out

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

When fully assembled, the back of the drawer will press against the curve of the wire and push the spider out at the unsuspecting victim. If the drawer is too deep for the back to hit the curve, tape an additional piece of wire horizontally across the drawer that will come forward when the drawer is opened. Then, all you have to do is stand back. After all, it's Halloween—everyone's entitled to one good scare.

Spider drawer prank

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

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Tagged halloween