Thursday 27 November 2014

Hackers and Makers Calendar UK 2015

The other day I found myself looking to the year ahead and thinking of all the upcoming Maker Faires , Raspberry Jams and many other Geeky and Makey events.

Then suddenly realised that I had already double booked myself for Maker Faire UK :( sad face 

This left me thinking there is no comprehensive Hackers and Makers calendar and left me trawling through the varied websites to add the details to my own calendar.

So decided to make a Google calendar containing as many maker events I can find, and share it with everyone. 

If there are any events that doesn't appear in the calendar place leave some details in the comments below. 

If you like this calendar please share it with outers and a +g at the bottom of the page :)

This calendar includes:
  • Major International and UK Maker Faires 
  • Confirmed National Mini Maker Faire
  • Confirmed Raspberry Jams 
  • Hackday's
  • Science Festivals 
  • University/ Educational Festivals
  • Tech Trade Shows 
  • Happy Hacking

    Monday 24 November 2014

    UK MakerBelt Accociation Meet Episode 6 Nottingham

    An exciting day was to be had on in Nottingham at the 6th monthly UK Makerbelt Association symposium. The UKMBA was brought together as a group of like minded for some food and a natter in cities within the UK maker Belt (spanning from somewhere south of Nottingham to  somewhere north of Newcastle), and hopefully get to visit a local Hackspace, workshop or other Maker/Creative place.

    This months was a visit to Nottingham a really creative city. Having lunch Annies Burger Shack mmmmm burgers.

    Aaron Potterfield (oomlout)
    Miles (Ciseco)
    Iain Sharp (Lust Projects)
    Dominic Morrow (Nottingham Hackspace)
    Hwayoung (
    And Me :)

    Subjects covered:
    How to move the UKMBA forward
    Nottingham Creative Quarter
    National security verses Internet privacy with the new law being reviewed
    A hush hush big maker faire MAYBE! shhhhhhhhhhhh
    Hmayoung's creative open-top mini bus tours
    Blogging tips

    Then it was off to Nottingham Hackspace for a visit.

    NottsHack has a membership pool of 350+ members that use NFC tags to access the space allowing its members to come and go freely and the freedom to work on projects whenever they can get there.

    Exciting Purple Door
     Textile Area

    Nicely laid out soldering areas with plenty of bench power 
    Sweets and electronics in the same vending machine accessed with memebers NFC tags an charges the members accounts
    All I can say is I totally agree :)

    Thursday 20 November 2014

    Building A Piccolo Micro 3 Axis Robot Part 1

    The Piccolo is an open source laser cut tiny 3 axis CNC machine designed by DIATOM Studio. It uses and an Arduino based microcontroller and 3 servo motors to move a 3 axis. The basic design is for a pen plotter but I have seen many examples of other applications like a vinyl cutter or even a miniature lathe.

    There isn't a kit available yet, but the designs and software is all open source and available to download from github as well as all libraries to get it up and running the software is supported on Windows, Linux and Mac. There is a PCB available from Piccolo but not necessarily required as the design can be run from and Arduino with a few components on a breadboard.

    First of all I  had to laser cut the design there was plenty of electric blue Perspex offcuts lying around  I had to collect some other parts together to build it, There is a full Bill Of Materials in the Github repo with link to recommended Digikey parts. 

    The instructions on Piccolo website are very clear and take you through the construction process in an easy follow step by step guide.

    Most of the parts are invertible but the rack and pinions are have a specific orientation the above photo is where you can see my mistake.  It also shows which direction to set the servo into and where to fit it. If don't set the servo up in this way the axis will not be able to move through its full range.

    When I assembled this axis I couldn't move it and that is the point I realised my rack was on back to front, OPPPS :). Something I do like in this design is some of the layers are held with a friction fit around the screw, this account for different levels of width tolerance in the used materials.

    A nice addition to this design is the suggested spacers cut from 160gsm paper. I clamped the paper hindsight it should have laser cut the paper as well, one of the spacers is a little fiddly to hand cut. The parts above is one of the retainers for the Z axis that holds the actuator against the servo and pinion assembly.

    One of the more fiddly moments in the assembly was trying to get the encompassed nuts into their slots found the best way was to push it in with you screw driver through the thread pushing downwards.
    There was an 'H' shaped piece the is held buy a friction fit it found it needed sanding to fit properly. This once again this is down to different tolerances in the material used.

    In the end the who thing came together in under an hour and looks amazing. The instructions are very comprehensive and  easy to follow. As a full kit it would make a great introduction into CNC design and programming. 

    At this stage the only thing  I who change is I haven't been able to assemble the PCB yet  mainly because it uses a Sparkfun Pro Micro which doesn't have a standard Arduino pin out and I didn't have one to hand, would deffinatly include a shield type solder joints so it could sit in an Arduino UNO Leonardo ect. 

    This is how far I have got with it so far love it. Later on I'll see if I can get it moving. 



    Monday 17 November 2014

    Kitchen Teardowns

    As promised in my earlier post I'm going to include a lot more content in my blog including Teardowns of consumer products that could hold some interesting parts and ideas for projects.

    For this first video I'm goingto teardown An AppGear Elite Command AR app blaster. These originally retailed for around £25 I found mine in local bargains outlet  for 99p making it a great teardown 'On A Budget'.

    Got some nice bits out of this Teardown including:

    0.25W 8Ohm speaker
    Button contacts
    Housing for future projects 
    Battery holder 
    4 Pole 3.5mm jack to exposed wire 
    sound chip with a nice gun sound 
    Sonix snap01 0.75wattt class AB audio amp IC
    datasheet Here

    Just goes to show you don't need lots of money to build up your parts collection. 

    Please leave comments below or on the Youtube page, tweet me @rabid_inventor and if there is anything you want to see the guts of leave it in the comments below :)

    Happy Hacking

    Monday 10 November 2014

    Hello All,

    Long time no Blogging since my little home sever failed me I have been looking for a new home to write my Ramblings. 

    Well here it is hope you like it :)

    A little Into:

    I'm Gee The Rabid Inventor, I'm a Maker, Tinkerer, Hacker and serial Warranty Voider. I also run the BotLab at Pimoroni Ltd. manufacturing funky electronics mainly for the Raspberry Pi

    Quietly Hoping this Photo won't break the internet

    My Blog:

    Will include but not exclusive to the following
    • Teardowns 
    • Hacks
    • Stuff I'm working on
    • Shows I've been to 
    • Makie news items 
    • Reviews
    • And All The Stuffs
    That all for the Mo More Goodness to come :)