I know why you’re here. You want to make a fully automated NERF® blaster. We’ll get to that soon, but there’s something important we need to address first. Before we can even think about rolling up our sleeves and creating this sweet NERF cannon, you’re going to have to leave something behind.

If you’re like me, and I suspect you are, your parents and maybe even a teacher or two told you on more than one occasion to quit wasting time messing with things—digging inside them, taking them apart, repairing them, or flat-out destroying them. A little something affectionately called tinkering.

The process of tinkering is nowhere near a waste of time. Not even close. In fact, tinkering gave the world some of its greatest inventions—light ...

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