Wednesday 5 August 2015

Evening At the Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers Hackspace and a Pot of Paint

I am part of a group of makers called the Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers (SHH Makers for short). Up until the beginning of the year we operated on monthly meets at various locations including Access Space. And then we acquired a new home at the Portland Works. Checkout my earlier post on looking at the space.  

Since then they group has moved forward into a Community Interest Company (CIC) acquired tools and equipment, and now is going though the process of 'Hacking The Space'.

I've been a member of the group for a couple of years and want to be involved with the renovation of the space.

The space has been cleared out and the ceiling has been re-boarded and painted it looking pretty smart now. 

Work benches have been installed with parts bins and some basic power tools.  

There is even under counter lighting with 12 Volt  led strips.

The members of the space have pitching together to raise funds for some of the more advanced equipment like the spaces new laser-cutter that is in its final stages of being installed.


There is even the SHHtv powered by a Raspberry Pi which displays the groups IRC channel with audio alerts for when some logs in and able to grab some ones attention with an 'OI!'. It also rotates through live bus, train and tram timetables.

There is always a couple of little reminders about working safely in the space and pro actively naming members who haven't been safe. Its done in a fun way bit keeps working safely at the front of peoples minds.  'DON'T BE A DONKEY!'   

I arrived just in time to collect a Chinese for the workers and have a good chin-wag about stuffs we are getting in to and the space itself.

After which we got on with some more painting for the next hour or so this was my bit, all white and shiny :)

I think getting involved with your local space is important and whatever you can do  even if its helping paint a wall is always appreciated, and has help me feel more part of the group. 

The SHH Makers are always looking for new members to share the space and ideas you want to find out more click here.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Pimoroni Picade and The Saturday Of Production Madness

As a few of you are aware my day job is the Electronics Production Manager at Pimoroni in Sheffield.

Pimoroni is a collection of Pirates, Makers and engineers who design and manufacture electronics and laser-cut accessories for the educational, maker communities and anyone who wants to get into electronics and physical computing.

On Friday (31/07/15)  we finally released the retail version of Picade with was officially the UK's first Kickstarted project and raising over £74000 more than twice its pledge amount. The backers orders were shipped and all went quiet of quite a while. At this point there was lots of behind the scenes development as well as a move to a larger workshop that put the project on the back-burner for a while.

So back to my story:     

So Saturday (01/08/15) I had left my car at work, I arrived at the workshop to find the guys beavering away like mad making up the Picade kits. That was it, bribed with a (very tasty) Baked Potato I was off to manufacture as many of the Picade PCBs as possible.

It was a hard slog of a day but we now have enough boards to start fulfilling orders on monday.

Phil Howard (known to many as @gadgetiod) on of my colleagues, fellow maker and friend had done a Periscope video of the day answering question showing some of the production process. unfortunately just want to link it in and the broadcast had expired. :(

I'll see if I can persuade him to upload it to Youtube and link it in later. 

The Picade has been released in several variants. The full version that comes with an 8 inch display panel, there are also versions which you can add your own display, the Adruino compatible controller with amp and the brand now Picade Console.

The Picade Console  a very nice stripped-down controller panel with space to house a Raspberry Pi and hook direct to a TV or monitor via HDMI. 

Hopefully these systems will satisfy a lot of  retro gamers looking for and quality arcade feel, and i can't wait to see what hacks come from it.