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I don’t normally support things on Kickstarter as I’m scared that the project will fail and I’ll loose my money ( I have seen it happen,) however I friend on mine told me about the project and for the first time I jumped on board.

The project in question is the Robotics Construction Kit by Geeekclub https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geeekclub/geeek-club-diy-robotics-kit?ref=user_menu

The project was successfully funded, but there was an issue with the email (i had the wrong email in my kickstarter account.) With the help of my friend acting as middleman we managed to get the email sorted out and now I am 1220th inline to get my kit.

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Complete early bird kit images borrowed from the kickstarter page.

I didn’t really need all the tools but, for once I had some spare pennies and decided to invest in the kit.

Feeling good about my investment (and board because this is written in the middle of the 2020 Covid19 Global Pandemic) I started to explore kickstarter to see what else is there.

Currently I have invested in the M5Stack range of products which includes 1515 aluminium extrusion https://m5stack.com/collections/m5-aluminium and the Totem Makers system of plastic extrusion https://totemmaker.net which are interesting and cross compatible due to the use of M3 Fittings used by both.

Going back onto the Kickstarter site I went looking for other project of interest. While searching I came across another successfully funded project called NanoBeam. https://www.nanobeam.us NanoBeam is a system of tiny aluminium extrusion items with a profile of only 5mm X 5mm

IMG_4018

NanoBeam components (image borrowed from website.

Unlike Totemmaker and M5Stack, the parts are too small to use M3 fittings and instead use M1 size fittings. I can’t wait until I have some money to invest in a kit to see what I can do with the kit.

What else can I find?

Next is the Makeblock Platform
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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1397854503/makeblock-next-generation-of-construct-platform/description It is another construction system but I cant tell if the kickstarter was successful or not.

Anything Else?

Next up is MOSS https://www.modrobotics.com/moss/
MOSS is a magnetic screw less construction kit but looking at the prices’ is out of my budget range.

Multiplo https://www.modrobotics.com/moss/ Another Robot construction system
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I am sure there are loads of others worth mentioning but this post has already taken me nearly an hour to write and my own products that need finishing.

If you found this post useful, please drop me a message to say thanks.

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First up a disclaimer.

This won’t be updated much or a regular series as not much is known about the graphics functions in UIFlow. However, the following steps is how I get images on to the M5Stack using UIFlow.

OK here is what worked for me.

Download and install G.I.M.P G.I.M.P.org

create a file 80x160px (for M5Stick) ,
Add graphics,
Goto Image>mode>Indexed,
Make sure ONLY “use web optimised palette” and “Remove unused and duplicate colours from palette”.
Goto File>Export As,
save the file as .jpg (filename must only have 7 letters),
Set “Quality” to 90% you may have to reduce this depending on image.
Click on ALL the boxes to remove the X
Click on advanced,
Unselect everything by clicking on the X to remove them,
Set smoothing to 0,
Set Subsampling to 4.2.0
Set DCT to integra and hit save.
Open UIFlow,
Click on the manager icon to upload the image to the M5Stick C,
Drag an image element to the screen and click on it to set the image to the one you uploaded, and then click the > “Play” icon to check the image.

If this helps you, please let me know.

Finally found time to work on some of my #M5Stack projects.

I2C Servo Unit.

The I2C Servo Unit is almost a clone of M5Stacks official Module but instead of it being a stackable module, the I2C Servo Unit is a plugin unit that connects to the M5Stack I2C port.

module_servo_01

The above image is how the official one looks. I have not been able to purchase one and as the circuit and code is open source, I built my own.

I2Cservo

Sorry for the bad picture, the human holding the camera wasn’t stable.

I designed this using through hole components as a beginners kits for people wanting to learn how to solder a basic kit. This is the Revision 3 board and unfortunately has some mistakes (the data connector that is on the underside, should be on top!) it works and I’m powering it from two 18650 cells rescued from an old laptop battery.

 

My next project I have working is Photography turntable. The #M5Stack is used to drive the stepper motor and trigger the camera.

Here I am using a cheep cable remote trigger connected to the M5Stack Relay module. the screw in the trigger is a temp conductive bridge as the first two contacts need to be together in order to fire the Sony SLT A58.

This all was coded using M5Stack UIFlow programming environment and the code is as follows

Screenshot 2019-06-22 at 14.31.24

Yes it is that simple!

 

Man has it been too long!

At the end of last year I picked up one of the M5Stack core units and have been busy working on learning how to use it. Part of the learning has resulted in a pdf that constantly get updated with hardware and examples of UIFlow code. I must have made a positive view on the staff of M5Stack when helping out on the forum as I am now the community manager their while also helping out testing UIFlow.

While I keep missing out on a lot of preorders and special offers, they recently held a competition and my entry was chosen as the winner. I will post more on this when the prize turns up but for now I will just post an update on things.

Project Sakura has been at a standstill due to lack of funding and part sourcing (mostly down to the motor being a single phase brushed DC instead of the 3 phase brushless found on most modern ebikes.

I finally managed to open the hub and remove to motor and discovered something, the reason the bike keeps blowing up the drivers is because the driver is underrated for the motor. The bike is supposed to be a 250W motor but after a quick test with a multimeter (and a rough bit of ohms law) it turns out that in normal use it has a 14A current use with a power rating closer to 500W!

I need to get a new speed controller for the bike now and may go for something closer to 1000W (just for paranoia sakes) but I will be adding some new sensors and a new central “Dash Board” based on the M5Stack to control it all.

Please come back and check on updates and don’t forget you can find me on youtube, Facebook, twitter and instagram.

I hope to post an update soon so goodbye for now.

In an attempt to get my new venture and my books in order, I ordered a new shed to use as an office. Getting electricity out to it is a nightmare, to get over this issue I chose to fit a solar panel and use Nicds as the storage medium (something I can get for nothing!). On my workbench, I have enough 3V6 1500mah batteries to make a 12v (actually around 15v fully charged) 10.5ah pack but I came to an issue after building my first 12v 1500mah pack, How do I balance charge this and how do I get a 3V6 tap that won’t cause issues.

To this end, I came up with designs for the following sub-packs.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 21.10.14

As you can see, the above pack designs are of a different supply voltage.

Why 2 different voltages?

My lighting is supplied from 3V6 recycled Led lighting (ignoring the 240V side) but I also need 12V for the charge controller and inverter required for none 12V equipment!

One of my dilemmas comes from the 12V side. Do I build the packs as 12v packs which are easier to upgrade by adding more packs or, do I build the packs as 3V6 which require me to add cells to all the packs at the same time. The second dilemma comes from keeping them balanced charged.

If anyone knows the answer to this, please tell me which is the best construction method!

I recently got ahold of one of these NEJE DK-8-KZ 1000mW Laser engravers and have been spending the weekend playing with it.

I haven’t got it to cut paper yet (haven’t got any spare paper) but have been engraving thin plywood.

While the working area is 36x36mm a resolution of 512x512mm it is still a lot of space to work on.

Being that it also runs on 5v means that once an image is uploaded to it, the laptop can be unplugged and the engraver run from a duel output phone charger (I have it running on an Anker)

the only slight issue a lot of people are getting is that it requires an un-signed driver and both Windows and OSX have trouble with it. This is down to the fact that it uses a CH340 USB to serial interface, which are becoming more common with Chinese “Knock-off” electronics.

Signed drivers do exist and a search of the internet will show them and they work well on OSX 10.11.06 (El Capitain). I haven’t upgraded to sierra yet even though it’s been out for ages so can’t say if it works on that.

While the software is a little simple, it means that a child of 12 years old can understand it. (yes I have tested a 12-year-old child with it!)

I have tested it with text and have been able to produce clear text readable at 2-3mm high.

This isn’t a full review and it needs a few mods to make it safe (the included glasses work but are rubbish) to make it safer for people who would like to watch it.

Well that is all I have for now as I have a few items to review and a few recycled tools to design for others to try and build.

So long for now.

 

The Brighton Bulletin

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A 19 year old from Brighton was arrested last night after being caught green fingered selling salad to what the police described as ‘desperate individuals’ on a street corner in Hove.

Paul Hayes, of London Road, was detained at 11.30pm after an anonymous tip off from the general public led the police to Grand Avenue where they discovered Mr Hayes ‘serving up’ to a large queue of vegans and health conscious Hove mums. A subsequent search of the suspect’s car revealed courgettes, aubergines and traces of broccoli.

Brighton’s large vegan population combined with the recent shortage of salad as a result of poor weather on the continent, has driven individuals to seek alternatives ways of getting their vegetable fix. Sgt Mike Wilcox of Sussex Police said, ‘This is becoming a big problem now. We believe a large amount of salad has been smuggled into the country from South America. The…

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2017 Projects!

For 2017 I have a list of projects, some are new and some are old.

The new projects are a dvd based laser engraver and a corexy laser.

The old projects are the IX35 raspberry pi computer and the 3d scanner.

I hope that the 3d scanner will end up incorperated into a corexy laser engraver and 3d printer.

Buying a house Part 1

I am now in a position where I can afford to buy a house and so far my brain is already burn’t out!

We are buying the house from the local council under the “Right to buy” scheme. The council surveyor came out and did his survey and we got the price from them.

We then when grovelling to the mortgage adviser who has given us the green light on the mortgage and hired a solicitor to get things rolling.

Just need to wait for them to do their thing before we can go to the next step.

Buying a house in nothing like popping in the shops to pick up a bottle of drink. There are so many unknown cost that it is amazing that anyone is able to buy a house. You have

Bank charges,
Solicitor Charges,
Land Charges,
Mortgage charges (yup you have to pay for the house and the land it sits on separately!)
Tax’s,
Registration Charges,
Surveyor charges,
And more tax’s

So much for making it simple.

So after nearly a year of not being used due to magic smoke and melted parts, my Ooznest Prusa I3 is alive again and reproducing.

After a problem with a tensioner braking and a real of ABS refusing to stick, I have now started printing new part for both the printer and my own custom Pi3 printer.

I have a list of parts I need to print for the printer and there is something else I should be printing to repair something in the house but I can’t remember what.

I’m sure it will come to me at some point.