NC Maker Fair 2013

Just got back from my first (mini) Maker Fair held at the State Fair grounds in Raleigh, NC. Neat things abounded. Everyone and their brother had a 3D printer it seemed like. Which is great! It means that the tech is accessible to loads of people on many different levels of skill. I have access to a Makerbot Replicator 2, and we’ve decided to take a look at running ABS through it at some point. More on that whenever it happens, hehe.

Of particular interest was one booth featuring the TI LaunchPad, an eval platform for the MSP430 chip (among others). RobG from 43oh.com had a really neat display of a bunch of booster packs (like Arduino ‘shields’) that he’s made. Everything from MIDI controllers to LED displays to touchscreen LCD modules. Very cool stuff!

makerfaire_rob_boosterpack

Image from 43oh.com

Rob’s Booster Pack display

See the 43oh.com post about the NC Maker Fair here: http://www.43oh.com/2013/06/nc-maker-faire-2013

So I’ll be poking around with the LaunchPad kit. More on that to follow!

MSP430Launchpad

Thermal Printer, the Pi, and GoFreeRange

Came across this neat write-up from suppertime.co.uk: on how to take the Adafruit Thermal Printer, mash it together with the Raspberry Pi, and get a neat internet-accessible printer.

Making a GoFreeRange internet printer with a Raspberry Pi

The GoFreeRange printer allows you to send data over the interweb and have it spat out in thermal-printed-monochrome gloriousness. Also referenced in this write-up were instructions and python scripts provided by Andrew Nicolaou to get the GFR printer working on the Pi: Use a Raspberry Pi to control your Freerange printer

I had played around with connecting the printer to the pi before. I sort of have a project on the back burner to take the Fark.com RSS feed and have the printer spit out a note whenever there is a News or Newsflash item posted. More on that at some point in the future if I ever get back to it, hehe. For now, I have a printer that I can send stuff to over the internet. Along with the guide on how to set up the GFR RasPi printer, suppertime.co.uk also has a post on incorporating If This Then That and DropBox to have a daily weather report printed (see here).

So it would seem I have another bit of kit to throw into my bag of tricks. If I find anything cool/somewhat useful to do with it, I will, of course, detail it here.

 

BlinkStick. It’s a stick! And it blinks!

BlinkStick. Image courtesy of Adafruit.

This is pretty cool. A USB-controlled RGB LED with a web interface and open-source hardware and software. I have an ATTiny85 lying around (as you do), and I can probably Frankenstein some kind of usb connector together. I’m thinking a deadbug-style RGB eye stalk thing that come out of the side of your computer and changes color when stuff happens. Like it glows from blue to red when your CPU usage spikes or you’ve spent more than 8 hours on reddit. I mean…what? Link to Adafruit product page.

RGB Clock v1

I present, for your consideration, the first of what will hopefully be several of my projects detailed here, the RGB Clock

RGBClockv1Complete

Functionally, it’s pretty simple. There are 3 lights (no, Picard, only 3 this time), each one representing the hours, minutes and seconds of a standard timepiece. But instead of showing numbers, each RGB light will cycle through the color spectrum as the value of each place increases.

Read more

‘About’ page added

In the top right corner of this page, you’ll see a button marked ‘About.’ Clicking that button will open the ‘About.’ page. Clever, that. I figured it would be a good idea to introduce myself and what I intend in the way of content for this site.

In short, I will be writing about electronics projects I’m working on, things I learn that could be used in such projects, and any other things that may or may not be related to this kind of electronics tinkering.

I only aspire to share what knowledge I have back with the community. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. We both might learn something. And if I get something wrong, please let me know, that I might un-wrong it.

Reticulating Splines…

Still working to get the site set up. As this is my first foray into WordPress, this consists of “what does this button do? *click*” Ideally, there will be something of worth here before the eventual heat death of the universe. No guarantees, though.

 

Also, Hello World.