Minimus workshop #1

Monday was a good day for hacking; we had an impromptu Minimus workshop.  This was surprisingly successful, attendees were able to get their boards programming in Windows or Linux as to their preference, and then start diving into code.

The devices aren’t as friendly as the Arduino boards, and the example source code will compile but not always run without extensive tweaking, but by the end of the session, in addition to a medley of flashing lights, we also had a one button keyboard and a virtual serial port that reported its button state.

Due to demand we will run another of these in April (2nd or 16th, TBC) and again will have Minimus boards available for use on the day or purchase.  There’s no fixed cost for the workshop, but donations are appreciated.  If you have a Minimus board or are interested in a step on from Arduinos, why not come past?

As a reminder to Northackton members who are also NSME members, their auction is on the 13th of March.

Layzor cutting

On Monday we visited Martin’s laser cutter, as once he installed it at his house with a water tank for cooling, it’s not particularly mobile.  He showed us some of the many things he’s made for his blog, and his lightbox for photographing them.

Onto newer things, we printed a NortHACKton stamp for visiting passport-holders.  After learning how to etch rubber, I then provided an object lesson in the power of cyanoacrylate glue by adhering to the stamp rather effectively.
Secondly I had made an SVG of a bokeh rig for my camera for Martin to convert and cut, which produced a passable first attempt at a kit that can fit to my D3100.  Not all of the pictures were good, but it was certainly a learning experience.  See Martin’s blog for the design, and the results are here, in the February pictures of this set.
March’s meetings – we meet in the space as normal for Monday 5th, and on the 19th there will be another pinball evening in Bedford.  See the mailing list for more details.

Hackerspace Passports Accepted Here


So, the first meet of the New Year was on the 9th January, and we all brought our presents along.  I brought a model steam carriage kit, that was an exciting puzzle to solve as the instructions were particularly vague, and Alan brought polymorph to play with.
The polymorph was slightly more successful than the engine which due to some presumed error in construction, does not self-propel.  This is due to the piston being unable to turn the flywheel, itself due to the axle somehow jamming in place.  It still looks moderately elegant.
Next meeting 23rd January 2012.

A late chainmail writeup

This post is unfortunately almost two weeks late, but last Monday, Pat gave a chainmail workshop, similar to Martin’s at Nottinghack.  This covered the easier European and Japanese styles and also how to make rings from fencing wire or similar.  Many scraps of chainmail were produced, but nothing to rival Pat’s half-finished chainmail shirt!
Nick continued to resuscitate aging hardware in Linux and we discussed methods of supplying Internet to the NSME clubhouse.  Via a landline this would be expensive, wireless access of the nearby BT Openzone hotspot, or 3G personal hotspot appear to be the more affordable ways forward…
Next date for the space: Monday 17th October.

Busy busy

Very busy on Monday, we had:

  • Light painting with a strobe
  • Knitting
  • Conkers fights
  • CNC planning
  • Raspberry Pi tinkering
  • Kinect tinkering
  • Workshop planning.

I may have even forgot some things!  Most importantly, thanks to Nicholas for bringing the Raspberry Pi board for us to have a look at.  We couldn’t do too much with it as unfortunately the monitor used was having resolution issues on the HDMI interface, but it booted, and we were able to login and have a brief look around.  Connected to a network (it supports networking over USB  too) would allow more interesting things to happen.  This rather overshadowed the Kinect Nicholas also brought, and I think we’ll need an evening just for that.

The NSME has a rather large horse chestnut tree overshadowing the clubhouse, so knitting wool was graciously donated to the cause, and an in a textbook case of over-engineering, a pillar drill was used for turning conkers into implements of war, and soon geeks were hitting themselves very hard while missing target conkers.
Light painting with the strobe did not work so well, as it is not as bright as a camera flash, and outside it is not able to light up targets at any range.  Strobes are very good for inducing headaches and nausea though.  If nobody wants it, it will be thrown away at the end of the month, as it’s reasonably bulky and has no (useful) purpose at this time.
Due to renewed interest in chainmail, Pat will be running a chainmail workshop on the 3rd of October, from 8pm.  If you have rings or pliers, please bring them along, and let us know on the list, so we can ensure everyone has enough.