Blog 2017

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You can read about previous activity at What we did last year

2017-09-23 Saturday

  • sony vaio model pcg-8t1m donated. Working windows XP installation, will not be used for normal computing but
  • Fixed radio antenna with a alligator clip.
  • Talked about RoHS testing/compliance
  • Talked about community amended CoD
  • Talked about forth programming language
  • Chat about history, genetics, ...
  • Reviewed entry system and suggested using the main metal door using a motor to open the latch and the handle without having to cancel the use of the key.
  • Thought about grinding/fixing the main door so that it was not so difficult to open (once unlocked)

2017-09-19 Tuesday

  • The electric toaster that Garret has been working on is definitely back in full working order. Garret did some test toast, added butter and jam, and he pronounced it excellent.
  • Jon has a design for a vacuum pipe-holder for the drill press, to collect wood shavings as they are produced. Seems a neat idea
  • Paul B came along with a coloured LED controller and some RGB LED units. The wires had been cut so the lights couldn't plug into the controller. By the end ofthe evening, they were working again. Paul also fixed an audio cable with an intermittent fault, and gave some assistance to John H who had called in to see us with a Mac problem. Thanks for the donation, John!
  • Teddy is a new member who is currently working on Sky boxes. He was interested to see us pull apart a very old Sky box to retrieve the Hard Disk inside. He gave Ian B a hand with a bit of fault-finding on the lathe speed controller, Teddy is interested in Ham Radio as well as everything else we do here.
  • Imi brought a number of boxes of Nature Valley Peanut & Chocolate bars. Please take as many as you want. They are all free (because they have just reached expiry date) and they will be thrown away if not eaten.
  • Tamsin continued working on the wooden drinking-vessel, this time taking off the external bark. Plenty of hammering but a good result.
  • Peter solved a USB-to-serial problem that he had been dealing with
  • Martin has an piece of aluminium rod that will form the piston for the Tesla generator. We have to get the lathe speed controller repaired first, and locate a suitable cutting tool. But we will.
  • There was some talk about regular opening on a Thursday evening. Two or three members indicated they would be regular attenders. We should try it and see where it goes.
  • Attendance tonight = 13

2017-09-12 Tuesday

  • Martin is definitely going to build a Tesla generator.
  • Welcome to some new faces: Rick, Chris and Tamsin. You all got involved in activities from the start, that's great.
  • Rick has a water-powered generator and an electrically controlled water valve, has some plans to add WiFi control using the MQTT protocol. But Rick spent his time more usefully in repairing the model plane so grievously damaged in its test flight.
  • The new Chris has some ideas about the applications of home automation. We have the tools if you have the ideas!
  • The other Chris said he has a job translating from Geek to Legal, and the other way too. He is a geek to legal translator. You see, we have clever people amongst us.
  • Tim started soldering components on to a board, to make a permanent version of his ultrasonic bird scarer. Hasn't soldered for tens of years, is rediscovering a skill.
  • Thanks Franz, for donating some rechargeable AA size batteries and a charger. They are in the 'batteries' bin on the shelf, if anyone wants some.
  • Andy was looking to repair a really elderly electronic timer, for a heated towel rail. We recommended the kind of timers that we now have on the Little House heaters. They can't be accidentally left on all week.
  • Tamsin writes software for a job, but plans to use RML to unleash her creative skills. She started with an old bit of a tree which she wants to transform into a drinking cup. Some amongst us said it couldn't be done, but within a couple of hours and with a bit of help from Jon, it was undeniably coming together. Tamsin also was able to give Phaedra some advice on making accessories for the bee costume.
  • Paul E is starting another piece of electronics, mainly from home. He's made his own brand of Arduino Nano, using a new chip that has more I/O options than the older ones.
  • Peter talked a little about the ST8 and Forth, and discovered a blown fuse on the lathe front panel that we others had missed!
  • Peter and Ian B opened up the lathe motor control to discover why it wasn't working. That's a storyline that will be continued when we know more about it.

Not just blokes!

Not just blokes!

  • Attendance tonight = 13

2017-09-05 Tuesday

  • Chris brought a dial gauge and adjusted the carriage angle on our lathe. A much needed adjustment.
  • Martin is looking at gcode and how it is generated.
  • Paul E took apart our two-channel power supply unit, to discover what's wrong with one of the channels. Made progress.
  • Jane asked for help in removing the springs from some fluid pumps. Also turned more pegs on the lathe
  • Phaedra still adapting the Beelievers logo, and working for the benefit of bees
  • Letitia had some fabric to be laser-cut
  • Kye continued cutting the wooden tubular ring. We couldn't provide a power tool for this, so he did it by hacksaw. Note to self: We need better lighting in the yard.
  • Nice to meet Vipul, already well known on our IRC channel as <vagarwal>. He will be along next week, I hope he will become a regular
  • Jean L dropped by to discuss a 'No Fishing' sign for the pond on Ham Common, that will be made by us. She took away a sample sign and the Pond Committee will decide what they really need.
  • Simon doing a bit more laser cutting
  • IanB has begun the task of rewiring the "zombie 3D printer", with the goal of bringing it back to life.
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-08-31 Thursday

  • First flight of the model plane !
  • It took a year to build and it's been quite an achievement for two of our younger members Ben and Emm, who put in weeks and weeks of effort, building up the plane from pieces of balsa wood, plenty of glue, and some plastic heat-sensitive sheeting for the covering. The plane is a Tomboy Senior, with a 39" wing span. It's a well established design, recommended to us by our senior mentor, Tony Tomlin. Thanks, Tony!
  • IanB added an electric engine, battery and radio remote control.

(click on any picture for a larger view)

  • We all got together on Thursday, in a field by Ham House, for the maiden flight. Switched on, engine on full power, and Emm launched the plane by hand into the air. It flew! It gained height. It didn't fly straight, it seemed to curve round to the right. Within moments, it was heading for the trees and crashed into the branches, about 40 feet above the ground.
  • The next hour was spent trying to get the plane out of the tree. Gavin and Graham had a good thick rope. If we could get the rope over a branch, we could maybe shake the plane free. Couldn't quite get the rope high enough. Even with the help of a stepladder, couldn't get the rope 40 feet into the air.
  • Ken tried slinging a small weight on the end of a long piece of string. On his first attempt, the string was over the branch! We tied the rope to the string and hauled it up. With a good deal of pulling, shaking and grunting, we got the plane to fall to the ground. We expected to find it broken to pieces, but it was in good shape. The tailplane needed to be straightened up, an elastic band needed adjustment, but it was all ready for a follow-up flight.
  • This time we moved well away from the trees. If only we had done that for the first flight, the outcome would have been so different.
  • Launched the plane into the wind, but the flight was not so good. The propeller may have come loose, or lost a shim. After a short distance, the plane headed for the grass, and broke the motor mounting on landing nose first. Maybe that was just as well, for there was no other damage.
  • It was all over for the day. We will get a new propellor, we will replace the engine mounts. The Tomboy will fly again.

2017-08-29 Tuesday

  • Welcome to Will. He's doing image recognition software in Python, using an algorithm that learns from a large set of training data. If we had regular talks, this would have been a welcome subject.
  • Martin would like to build a Tesla Generator and has drawings. As a first step, the drawings need to be converted from an image into 3D CAD software files. If anyone can help with this -see Martin.
  • Jon brought a destination blind from an underground train. You don't see them these days, they've been replaced with LED matrix signs.
  • Ryan was kept busy bringing computers back to life when all seemed lost. He helped Andy and Richard.
  • Kevin brought cake. And wired up a substitute battery for a Roberts Radio. The original PP9 batteries are getting expensive and hard to find.
  • Chris called in to see us and see what we do. Recommended by his friend Simon, who couldn't come in today.
  • Peter is still thinking about the ST8 microprocessor and a Forth programming environment for them. Very good low-cost device for connecting to peripherals. If anyone would like to try their hand at it -see Peter.
  • PaulB tried to work out why his first 3d printer is still not printing correctly - issue seems to be temperature control, but the thermistors have already been replaced.
  • Yaroslav completed building the fidget spinner engine, but there's a little more work to do in testing it.
  • Emma is still helping Phaedra with graphics design.
  • Phaedra brought us an old, old variac. I said we didn't need it, but we've got it anyway. It might come in useful after we have put a plug on and tested it.
  • At the end of the evening, the place was still quite tidy. That's a Good Thing.
  • Attendance tonight = 16

2017-08-26 Saturday

  • Jon and Ryan did some tidying
  • All the non/semi-functional 3d printers and spares have moved to a new set of shelves, this should:
    • Allow more workbench space
    • Allow easier access to the 3d printers that are being worked on - Ian has plans to re-commission the donated makerbot, but it was stored on a difficult to reach shelf.
    • Opens up the window between the main room and the office - it should make working in the ffice a little less 'cut-off' from everything else going on.


  • we identified some stuff to donate to mind (or scrap).
  • we fitted timers to the heaters - so they cannot be left on all week - they still need repair/replacement of the blower units - is anyone prepared to take this on?
  • we discussed could we try another opening day? - maybe a 3d printers evening, or a Saturday morning session?
  • We tidied the wood stack in the corner and moved the 2/3rds of the blue stools into the corner
  • the remaining 1/3rd of the blue stools went up into the loft - we don't need more than 15 seats ever, so this should make a bit of space for your knees when sitting at the bench.
  • Attendance today = 2

2017-08-22 Tuesday

  • Paul E checked his own-built precision voltmeter against the Fluke multimeter and they agreed within 0.001v (is that the figure, Paul?)
  • Jane scavenged parts from an inkjet printer, quite a messy business, and was last seen stripping insulation from copper wire.
  • Jon had a mass of laser cutting prepared and managed to get good results. Terry was in attendance too.
  • Garrett completed the repair of the electric toaster, with the crimp connectors he had ordered last week.
  • Andy was watching and helping out where possible. David M looked in briefly. Imi also visited to see how things were going
  • Phaedra brought her PC for repair but it came to life when plugged in. Wish that would happen to other equipment that comes along to be seen to! Her keyboard flaked out, and we found her a replacement.
  • Hi to Martin, don't know what you were doing this week.
  • Peter showed a small 8266 device that he will do some work on when he has some time. He has a pair of laser-protection safety glasses and would like to assess whether they are effective. The answer seems to be to use them to interrupt the laser beam and see what difference it makes to a burn mark on wood. Peter also has a couple of 50mW laser sources.
  • Kevin has acquired a tiny USB camera (for £2 on eBay!) he's planning to use it to inspect the bridge support inside an acoustic guitar body.
  • Attendance tonight = 13

2017-08-15 Tuesday

  • Welcome to some new faces: Vanita, who had her mobile phone expertly mended using the hot-melt glue gun. Akshay had a small quadcopter with a broken-off motor. We showed him how to reconnect it and make solder connections. Sachin had a radio controlled car using a glow-plug engine. He asked if we could get it started, but no-one knew anything about glow-plugs. We tried but were not successful.
  • Welcome also to Andy, who looked in to see what we do. Before long, he was showing Jane how best to cut a piece of MDF with a handsaw.
  • Jane had a glass-front display box that needed a cosmetic upgrade. It took rather longer than planned and wasn't finished today.
  • Ian B handed back to Lisa a laptop she had brought in last week. During the week it had run a long diagnostic program that helped to explain why Windows was running sooo slooow on it. With the recommended fixes all carried out, we wait to hear from Lisa whether it's helped or not.
  • Emma continued helping Phaedra with logo design. Emma also had a need for a straight cut in a piece of wood she had brought along, and Jon kindly did it.
  • Phaedra had a lav seat that was missing a part in one of the hinges. Ian B turned an aluminium peg to replace the missing plastic part and a successful repair was achieved.
  • Peter is looking for a lightweight Windows-based development environment for STM 8 microcontrollers
  • Yaroslav did more to fix his coffee machine and started a 3D print.
  • Paul E got his high-resolution voltmeter working, did some de-soldering, and gave assistance to Garrett
  • Garrett is fixing an electric toaster, and was also repairing an electric fly-swatter
  • Kai came along with a large steel ring that needed to be cut into three sections. He used a hacksaw and got started. There's no power tool to do the job, so it just needs applied human energy. Kai will be continuing next week.
  • Nice to see Carl at the end of the day.
  • Attendance tonight = 18

2017-08-08 Tuesday

  • Jon is honing his skills with Fusion360
  • Phaedra's Bee song is now recorded and mastered. She has been getting help from Emma with a BeeLievers logo.
  • Jeremy brought a large piece of aluminium and turned it on the lathe
  • Jane brought a xylophone and proceeded to take apart for the useful pieces it's made of. It has a sturdy wooden box -that's got to be useful too!
  • Imi's making a blood pressure monitor that takes readings every hour. These things can cost hundreds of pounds to buy, but can be hand-built for a fraction of that cost.
  • Good to see Jez and daughter again. They cut out a wood heart using the laser cutter.
  • Charlotte completed a hand-stitched penguin, about 8 cm high and cute.
  • Paul B helped to identify a problem on a visitor's laptop, and helped Ian B with installing software on a MacBook.
  • Garrett had a computer to be fixed, got some help from Martin, with a successful outcome.
  • Jean L was researching methods and materials for a "No Fishing" sign for Ham Pond. We are able to help.
  • Simon has accumulated an impressive collection of intricate laser-cut model buildings. Some pics shown last week.
  • Welcome to Dogan and to Mike F.
  • Konstantin used the 3D printer and has just about completed the valve amplifier he was building.
  • Carl has a bicycle back-light in need of repair (again). This time, we couldn't solder the rechargeable battery, so it may have reached the end of the road, so to speak.
  • Attendance tonight = 18

2017-08-01 Tuesday

  • Welcome to new member Jeremy, hope you'll drop in regularly
  • Paul E investigated the CNC router and got some good results, on paper
  • Tim did some more work on the ultrasonic bird scarer -it's now producing a loud noise, though we can't hear it!
  • Imi was modifying a blood pressure monitor (why not!)
  • Paul B replaced a thermistor and got the 3D printer running again
  • Jane spent some time wood-turning on the metal lathe, using wood chisels as the cutting tools. It worked surprisingly well.
  • Peter knows how to make a profiling tool from an HSS blade. Offered to show how.
  • Simon used the laser cutter to create more model buildings
  • we were donated a couple of printers - usually we say no to these, but the colour laser was better then the B&W we have, and Jon wants a few stepper motors, which dismantling a scanner/printer will provide.
  • we were also donated a reportedly non working Dyson DC19 vacuum cleaner - later in the week Jon pulled it to bits and cleaned it - it seems to work OK, so maybe just neglected?
  • Kevin completed the electric guitar repair
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2017-07-25 Tuesday

  • A busy evening, a good mixture of activity and socialising
  • There was a queue for the laser cutter, Jon, Leticia, Jane, Simon all had work to do
  • Dan A completed the reverse geolocator mystery box with some help from John
  • John demonstrated a 6-legged box that could scuttle across the floor
  • Garrett continues to be developing a solar-powered fan, to work with low levels of light
  • Tim continues to develop an ultrasonic scarer for parakeets
  • Jane constructed an electrical exhibit
  • Phaedra is recording a song to publicise the perilous state of bees
  • Attendance tonight = 21

2017-07-18 Tuesday

  • We had some interested visitors, with a photographer, they were students doing a study of makerspaces
  • Andres, PaulB and Ryan helped show our visitors what we do
  • Jon was studying Fusion360, (he's going to become The Expert on that software)
  • Leticia continued her experiments with fabrics and laser cutting
  • Tim and IanB got some early results with an ultrasonic device to scare off parakeets
  • Welcome to new member Paul E (also known as LeoNerd on our Telegram group). He has plans for using the CNC router. He's also a fully hands-on electronics person.
  • Simon still progressing with the reverse geo whatsit
  • Had some chats with Garret and with Peter on various topics
  • Noisy drilling of large holes in an electronics case by Peter
  • Paul B investigated the thermistor problem with the 3D printer. More progress next week.
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-07-11 Tuesday

  • Ryan upgraded Paul B's TS100 soldering iron with new open source firmware and a more powerful AC adapter
  • Ryan installed the LaserWorksV6 application on all of the Linux machines to help with the bottleneck
  • Jon and Ryan discussed laptop upgrade options
  • Jon built models with the laser cutter
  • Jane created a pair of scissors with the blades inside the handles, and repaired our donations dish
  • Paul B provided laser cutter and 3D printer advice for some visitors
  • Simon was busy with the laser cutter, too
  • Konstantin machined parts for his amplifier project
  • Yaroslav joined us for some general tinkering with a coffee machine
  • Harry is starting on a design for a specialised 3D scanner, IanB advised on the mechanics
  • Dan S continued his reverse-geocache project
  • Jean has migrated the bag o' bees to a more proper box of bees.
  • Vina brought by some kind Canadians curious about the makerspace movement
  • IanB kindly stewarded visitors around the space and discussed CCTV cameras with Raymond.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2017-07-04 Tuesday

  • Jon laser cut some models from cereal packet
  • Simon, Jon and Paul B helped Jane with the laser cutter
  • Leticia returned to laser cut more fabric samples, she brought some fabulous examples of what she did last time.
  • Quite a queue for the laser cutter this week
  • Ryan looked at installing the laser cutter software on a PC running Wine to increase capacity on the cutter - so design and cutting can happen on different machines in parallel.
  • Peter helped Jane fix the hands of a clock
  • Yaroslav and Anton worked on a 3d printed figure
  • DanS continued the geo-unlocking box.
  • Harrison came along and did some de-soldering and remounting of surface mount components.
  • Gavin and Isobel came to 3d print a holder for a weighing cell upgrade PCB
  • Harry came along wanting advice on 3d scanner construction - we suggested coming back when Ian was around.
  • Carl popped in with fresh supplies from B&Q
  • Imi was computing.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2017-06-27 Tuesday

  • Kevin was making a washer to fit a ¼ inch jack
  • William was looking for thin nuts to fit ¼ inch jacks. He was repairing a very interesting retro sampler
  • Jon designing model buildings, prior to laser cutting
  • Vina on the laser cutter produced some very intricate pieces
  • Imi and Nigel were investigating importing VHS video via USB capture card -Ryan was able to help
  • Peter looking for M5 screws of a certain length, also gave some help on mechanical issues
  • Yaroslav donated a Windows XP laptop and came in with a wooden cricket stump in need of repair. He fixed it and went on to look into the fidget spinner motor. Meantime, his son picked up tips on 3D printing from PaulB
  • DanS continued the geo-unlocking box.
  • A good time was had by all
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2017-06-20 Tuesday

  • YaMatt looking at a device to take along to DEFCON Hacking Conference
  • Paul B making a tiny saw table for a Dremel
  • Imi doing a bike repair
  • Jon cutting wood, and laser cutting models
  • Jane filing a couple of fans, and removing the handle from half a secateur
  • Tim is making a parakeet scarer, because they are noisy beasts
  • Dan A's reverse GPS box is getting better each week
  • Simon laser cutting of models
  • Ryan built a Raspberry Pi-based MAX7219 moving LED sign
  • Gavin and Ben consulted on the upgrade possibilities of a laptop
  • Konstantin was drilling a metal chassis, then inserting studs, and finding novel ways to do so
  • Yaroslav is collecting parts to make a fidget spinner motor, reputedly to get it turning at 1500 rpm.
  • Many other familiar faces, busy people, I didn't manage to mention everybody. \But special thanks to Carl who brought ice lollies for all.
  • Attendance tonight = 19

2017-06-14 Wednesday

  • Special Makerspace Giving Day to Surrey & Hampshire Makerspace:
    • Gave away four laser tubes (one good, one bad, two so-so) for their laser cutter which was not coincidentally Paul B's old one
    • Gave away flat panel screens, a gigabit switch, a couple of compact PCs, and some RS232-to-Ethernet serial devices
    • Had a good chat comparing notes on the makerspace movement
  • Attendance tonight = 3

2017-06-13 Tuesday

  • Paul B was getting a miniature weather station set up
  • Ryan gave Little House a good clean-up. What would we do without you!
  • Ian B brought a laptop that Just Wouldn't Work. Ryan took all the important bits out of it, assisted by Ben, and quite soon the laptop was buzzing with activity again.
  • Welcome Jane, a new face. Very interested in what the laser cutter could do, also applied herself to sawing the end off a wooden thingammy to re-purpose it. That's the spirit!
  • Jon gave Jane some help with understanding the laser cutter, with advice on suitable materials.
  • Philip was here again, last week he made a replacement clip for a step counter, this week he implemented a design improvement to it.
  • A re-welcome to Mosely, who's been here before, but some time ago. This time he brought a petrol-engine model helicopter, which Paul B thought he could get flying again if only it had rotor blades. For the present time, it's been put into the Mezzanine store room. Maybe that's as high as it will get until the rotor blades are found.
  • Gavin and Ben looked in. Gavin to seek a date for the maiden flight of the model plane, and Ben to continue learning how to take apart laptops and desktop computers.
  • We are going to say goodbye to Kris, who has done so much good for us through his connections with Cisco. Kris is moving to the USA to show them how it's done. His last contribution is a big and beautiful A0 poster promoting RML.
  • Simon did a bit more model-making with the laser cutter. He's good at doing really small intricate work.
  • New member Peter has some ideas that could be worked out on the 3D printer. He hopes to get his hands on it during the coming weeks. Also, he made an offer to provide the club with RFiD equipment and cards, which he has surplus to requirements. The details are not yet clear.
  • Hi also to those who came along, watched, chatted but didn't get written up this week.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2017-06-10 Saturday

  • It's Ham Fair 2017  !
  • About 6 of us gathered at Little House in the morning, to load up Paul B's car
  • We set up gazebos and tables on Ham Common, despite a strong, gusty wind.
  • Great day was had by all, with plenty of interested visitors, and with the help of RML members taking turns on our stall.
  • Thanks to all who provided graphics, water, cakes and equipment
  • Took it all apart again and stashed everything back at Little House.

2017-06-06 Tuesday

  • Gavin and Ben put finishing touches to the plane. It's likely to get a first flight some time mid July
  • Paul B did some 3D printing. He also has a carbon tetra-chloride vapour chamber that imparts a glossy finish to printed objects -if you use the right kind of PLA filament to make them.
  • Dan's reverse geo-cache makes further progress. If you don't know what that means -don't ask!
  • Philip had some 3D printing to do. This was to make a replacement for something that had broken during the week.
  • Jez called in with his two daughters, to see whether we had been able to repair the Chromebook. Yes, it worked when switched on! High fives all round.
  • Nice to see Vina after a long absence -been very tied up with other things. Vina made some customised coasters, using the laser cutter.
  • A large old Panasonic microwave oven came in with Yaroslav. He took it apart to see why it would only run for 20 seconds, then turns off. We looked for thermal cutouts and the like, but finally found a service manual online that explained it. It said if there's a fault in the HV power supply or in the magnetron, it would switch itself off after 23 seconds. Knowing we couldn't fix the HV power supply or the magnetron, the microwave was destined for the recycling pit. Yaroslav kindly detached a couple of motors and a lampholder, which we put onto the component shelves for future hacking.
  • Kevin repaired a bass guitar. Pretty good one. It needs a thin brass washer or fixing plate to complete the repair. Sorry we had not got one of those.
  • Simon did some laser cutting
  • Phaedra brought doughnuts and cookies, and Paul B helped her with a yellow and black Bee logo. She's looking for an available voluntary film crew to make a good job of recording an activist infomercial video, for the benefit of bees everywhere. If you can help, speak up.
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-05-30 Tuesday

  • A quiet start, then it got really busy, and later quietened down again
  • Nice to see some local residents calling in to see what we are up to. All are welcome.
  • Paul B was building a vacuum chamber to help extract air bubbles from castings. He has taken a short-cut and purchased one instead. This is a good step because he can now get on with the casting.
  • Nick had written code for the ATtiny microprocessor and got it working.
  • Charlotte was wrestling with flamingoes, but getting on with penguins.
  • Jez came with his daughter, who had a laptop with a broken micro USB power connector. IanB fitted a new one which involved a combination of soldering and microsurgery. With help from Gorilla Cyanoacrylate Glue, it seems to be working again.
  • Yaroslav brought the robot arm, fully coded to pick up a lump of sugar and drop it into a cup. There was a hardware problem at switch-on, which got resolved during the evening with a bit of help from Nick. So it's ready for the Ham Fair.
  • Garrett soldered up a kit of parts to produce a working mechanism involving flashing LEDs and a servo-motor. It worked first time, which says a lot for Garrett's skills and the excellent RML facilities.
  • Attendance tonight = 16 (about)

2017-05-24 Wednesday

  • Nearby resident Clive was having trouble auto-programming his television for the local digital channels and was concerned about having to buy a new telly.
    • Subsequently, Ryan made a house-call and setup the television, hooked up the DVD/VCRs to the televisions and took away a combination CRT-based DVD-Television for recycling.

2017-05-23 Tuesday

  • Nick was seen programming an 8-pin Atmel ATtiny microprocessor, using an arduino as the programmer. This was another step in the creation of an auto/manual speed control for the CNC router.
  • Emma had some ideas for a Ham Fair flyer, and discussed these with IanB.
  • Dan had edited the video taken at last week's meeting. This will be shown at Ham Fair on a continuous loop.
  • Simon had a session on the laser cutter and quickly produced a scale model of a bank. There's no money in it, but he will be adding IT equipment.
  • PaulB was into creating a re-usable precision mould for casting small parts. It's still at an experimental stage but involves mixing silicone with cornflour, and making a vacuum chamber to remove air bubbles.
  • There will be a small robot arm on display at the Ham Fair. Yaroslav will be doing the Arduino programming, and he called in briefly to pick up the hardware.
  • A couple of laptop stories: William had a spare connector assembly for his laptop. Even though it had the right part number, it was the wrong size or shape. I don't know the outcome, I hope it didn't involve a hacksaw. And Imi returned a laptop he had been borrowing from us. It might be used for showing the video at the Ham Fair.
  • Interesting project involving a wooden box and a GPS receiver. The box, once locked, can only be unlocked by taking it to a pre-determined location. Reverse GPS, you might call it.
  • Imi took apart a combination bicycle lock, so see how it worked. No-one could guess the right combination, so Imi used the hacksaw method. Interesting inside.
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-05-16 Tuesday

  • Dan took some photos and video for us to use at Ham fair - showing the equipment that we can't take to the fair - may also have been for our new website?
  • Paul and another member were doing battle with some sort of gearbox - I didn't determine its end use.
  • We laser cut an allotment sign from scrap perspex, then moved onto wargaming tokens, then to some name tags for school kid's book bags.
  • Paul was printing Groot on the 3d printer with mixed success, out of polywood filament.
  • Carl, Gareth and Jon practiced making balloon animals!
  • Michael dismantled a chrome-book to find out why a socket was erratic, and discovered some very small solder joints - I think a new socket was ordered?
  • Jon put the batteries required for Ham Fair on to charge. Also the laptop booster battery.
  • We discovered a flood on the floor of the loo - the water heater leaks slightly - the outlet pipe must be left over the washbasin otherwise we get a puddle!
  • Ryan has put up an electric hand drier in the loo - just needs connecting up (proper hookup via fixed fuse-switch, metal conduit to ceiling junction. Plug cable attached for test only.
  • Attendance tonight = 13

2017-05-09 Tuesday

  • Ben & Gavin putting finishing touches to the model plane. Should soon be ready to fly
  • Colin got a bit of help with making Firefox run more smoothly
  • PaulB successfully combined potato flour with silicone to make a rubbery cover for his smartphone. That's a process worth documenting for others to follow
  • Bartek donated a number of CNC router bits. Used, but still got some life in 'em.
  • Andrea, Emma and Dan looked at the Wordpress installation, and discussed the Ham Fair poster
  • There was a GPS receiver which got connected to an Arduino. It started receiving satellite positional information instantly. It looked so easy!
  • Arduino was talked about by several people. Is it time for us to organise an Arduino teaching session?
  • PaulB, Jon and others opened up the laser cutter's extractor fan enclosure, and found a lot of dust. The extractor hadn't been working very effectively recently, and that's why. Debated the possibility of changing to a different type of extractor fan. No conclusion that I know of.
  • Ham Fair not far away now. Planning, anyone?

2017-05-02 Tuesday

  • Less crowded today, but just as good an evening as ever.
  • Gavin and Ben were putting finishing touches to the model plane. We attached the wings and assessed the centre of gravity. Some small adjustments remain to be made, and then we are ready to see it fly!
  • Tim had 3D printed an acoustic amplifier for any mobile phone. It worked really well. Who needs Bluetooth speakers?
  • Paul B showed Yaroslav how the 3D printer is used.
  • Chris asked for training on the laser cutter (I don't think he got it though, sorry).
  • Colin had a problem with an old Thinkpad laptop, and Tim worked through it with him
  • Cal and IanB worked on a stagelight which wouldn't start up. Parts of it are working excellently, but the problem couldn't be solved in one evening. To be continued.
  • Tim brought in an obscure Akai audio device, and was impressed to find that Cal was already very familiar it. What are the chances of that!
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2017-04-25 Tuesday

  • We had a short talk from Andrea on Wordpress - an excellent tool for setting up your own website without writing any code and without need for technical knowledge. Wordpress can be configured as a website, blog, shop or forum with a wide range of plug-ins which extend the basic capability. Connectivity with the social networking websites can easily be achieved. Andrea offered to assist any RML member who wants advice, and she can be contacted through our mailing list.
  • Sheena and Cathy both brought in laptops that were running Windows painfully slowly. In one case, Dan found there was a background service hogging much of the processing time, but no-one knew how to throttle it back. The other had a memory card not properly connected, so it was limping along on 2GB instead of 6. We put that right and the laptop felt a good deal better.
  • Kevin has been working on a laptop with a dead screen. He got a replacement screen of a slightly different type but with much the same connections at the end, and after two goes, third time lucky, he got it actually working! High five, Kev!
  • Dan discussed Wordpress with Andrea and later with Emma. Longer term it would be good to replace the RML website front page with a Wordpress version, with the existing wiki linked to it.
  • Arthur is still working on a switching power supply from last week. This week he gave Imi some assistance with Linux, but could not understand why the laptop could not see the RML WiFi. IanB was puzzled by the same thing, but later in the evening the question got resolved.
  • Charlotte had an evening of stitching small birds in felt, but also told us the story of the Banana Surprise. It's too awful to repeat here.
  • Nick was investigating how to interface to an encoder switch, which has a lot of contact bounce. IanB promised to offer software he had previously written for an encoder input.
  • The 3D printer was going to start on a 14-hour print, of an acoustic amplifier for a mobile phone from Thingiverse, for Tim. More about this next week, maybe.
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-04-18 Tuesday

  • Arthur is designing a variable-voltage, switching power supply
  • Dave was shown more about OpenOffice
  • Ryan had a Type 706 (Mk2) telephone apart, thinking of reviving it
  • Kevin was working on a laptop with a blank screen
  • Alexandria and Leticia both used the laser cutter
  • Chris made an Arduino mount using the 3D printer
  • Nice to see Kris again, he arrived with several used computers for us
  • Kevin's thinking about building a bike repair stand.
  • Attendance tonight = 11

2017-04-11 Tuesday

  • Ryan helped revive a couple of dying PC's
  • Kevin tried brazing a bike component
  • We were joined by Leticia who was lasering some materials as part of her PhD
  • Jon delivered the laser cut holder for the lathe parts
  • Arthur was assembling some sort of power amplifier
  • Welcome extended to several new faces, we hope you are inspired to come back again
  • Arthur and IanB taught soldering to someone who asked.
  • Three RaspberryPi computers with touch-screens were here. These were configured for assisting people with senile dementia, part of an ongoing project by David Penney, who was visiting us today.
  • PaulB repaired Phaedra's bee-costume glasses, making a new hinge and fixing in optical lenses.
  • The 3D printer ran, but I know not what was printed.
  • Attendance tonight = 22

2017-04-04 Tuesday

  • Five new faces, thanks to the Craft Fair and Ryan's talk. Hope to see you regularly!
  • Looked at a laptop with a hard disk problem
  • Jon continued cutting bits for the lathe accessories holder - more success this week, it now needs sanding, varnish, and final assembly.
  • CNC router did some routering - holding down the material to be routed still needs some work.
  • A flat Li-on battery was revived
  • More felt birds were stitched
  • Tim showed us his formerly defunct battery electric screwdriver which he has now tidily hacked into a mains-powered useful tool.
  • Laser cutter was given a spring clean, all the smoke residue was cleaned from the vents, and the stray chads of cut material vacuumed out of the honeycomb and from the tray below.
  • We were left a tin of chocolates - mmm!
  • We actually had TWO pints of in-date milk - Tea was drunk!
  • Attendance tonight = 16

2017-04-01 Saturday

Ham Library Craft Fair

  • Thanks to the efforts of Vina, Nick, Ian, Jon, Paul, Ryan and others, Andres was able to book a table at the craft fair to show our possiblities.
  • Vina did some lovely egg baskets with some chocolate eggs in them.
  • Nick and others developed the eggbot which was used for children (and some adults) to decorate some plain white eggs. It was a great success!
  • Andres did some "limited edition Ham Close Coasters".
  • We got contact with some possible new members.
  • Two laptops that Ryan fixed up where there to take up for any donation money.
  • Lessons: forgot to bring flyers and HUG membership forms, a nice looking mantel piece would make it look nicer, a day that is not so near school holidays might be better. Having a more varied items would have helped!


2017-03-28 Tuesday

  • Ian still wasn't here and our record keeping didn't improve!
  • We had two guests from a local school, who are thinking of setting up a makerspace for their pupils
  • Ryan tinkered with the PC pile - he is giving a talk on Makerspaces in Richmond on Thursday - https://www.meetup.com/Richmond-New-Technology-Meetup/events/238006180/.
  • Andres demonstrated how quickly the space fills with smoke when the fan for the laser cutter does not work, Jon and Andres identified a faulty fuse, replaced it and cleared the smoke.
  • Vina and Ben made felt bees.
  • Arthur recovered a couple of computer power supplies for a project.
  • Nick & Jon tinkered with the eggbot - Jon cut and tapped an adaptor in the lathe. - still a bit wonky!
  • Gavin & Ben progressed with covering the model plane.
  • We had two visitors with a broken Mac - Paul's idea of heaven? they will return next week with something to put any recovered data on.
  • Andres returned the playstations that we tested to the MIND shop - did we tell them which bits didn't work? The leads were left behind! Two new speaker type things appeared from the same source?
  • Last Tuesday of the month talk was Jon demonstrating the use of Polyurethane resin and silicone moulds to produce small batches of parts.
  • Vina engraved some gifts on the laser.
  • Carl and his Penguin appeared late on
  • Phaedra came to collect the bicycle that has been stored in the loo for weeks, it was missing! replaced with 5 folding paste tables? - eventually bike was rediscovered.
  • Phaedra did the washing up - is definitely welcome back!
  • Attendance tonight = 17?

2017-03-21 Tuesday

  • Ian wasn't here and our record keeping suffered!
  • Paul helped a new member 3D print a case/stand for a Rasberry Pi Camera.
  • Paul helped another new member laser cut a stencil.
  • Nick & Jon tinkered with the eggbot
  • Charlotte continues with crafting small felt creatures, next up an elephant.
  • Jon, center drilled some bolts using the lathe - could have done with a chuck that can close on a 1mm drill.
  • Konstantin and Nick discussed the merits of very expensive wire crimpers.
  • Gavin & Ben progressed with covering the model plane and tested Jon's geographical knowledge.
  • Imi was looking for an expert in video editing - I'm not sure if he found one?
  • Andres and a friend popped in.
  • Paul reviewed the functionality of some playstations that we had been given, most worked.
  • Attendance tonight = 13?

2017-03-14 Tuesday

  • Jon continued to create comed-boxes on the laser cutter
  • Gavin & Ben progressed with covering the model plane
  • Charlotte continued with her impressive collection of hand-crafted birds
  • Ryan spent most of his evening reviving a specialised Windows98 computer for a visitor
  • Mark demonstrated a homebrew midi synth based on Arduino and Propeller and laser-cut a new panel for it
  • Nick and Paul were involved in building an Egg-Bot in time for Easter, using the 3D printer
  • We had a donation of surplus-to-requirements PC parts from Serena. Thanks!
  • William was making sense of his music system based on a Pi Zero
  • Tim had an old battery-powered screwdriver that needed a new lease of life. He will be converting it to make the world's first mains-powered portable screwdriver. We will be around to give further help and advice.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2017-03-07 Tuesday

  • Jon laser cut a very fine plywood box for holding spare parts for the lathe. Needs the floor and a few more little bits cut to finish it off.
  • Paul B had been practising on the lathe during the week, and we now have the 4-jaw chuck.
  • Welcome to Chris, making his second visit here. He was given an introduction to 3D printing.
  • Paul B received a vintage Mac, and assisted in the disassembly and repair of another Mac
  • Peter devised a way of driving an antique voltmeter using a model control servo
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2017-02-28 Tuesday

  • Simon was using the laser cutter
  • Gareth was programming a Mono as a binary clock.
  • Jon assembled an impressive comb cut box (pictured)
  • Nick used the CNC router to engrave tracks on copper laminate, producing a printed circuit board using milling in place of etching. He went as far as assembling this board, powering it up and testing it, all in the same day. The PCB will be used to provide programmable speed control for the CNC router. At present the spindle speed is set manually.
  • Charlotte continues with crafting small felt birds, probably destined for a mobile.
  • We ran out of glue sticks for the glue gun, at about 8PM. Charlotte ordered some more from Amazon and they were delivered at about 11PM the same evening. Impressive.
  • Vina looked into how easy or hard it would be to adapt the programme on the TimePeace clock. Also showed us some felt crafting which she had been teacing to Ben.
  • Ben was meanwhile progressing with covering the plane fuselage, and Sasha continued making an air pump, using some discarded helicopter parts, a valuable source of gears and motors.
  • Attendance tonight = 12


2017-02-21 Tuesday

Carl and guest
  • Another evening of great activity. Peter Harris called in see us (maker of the crazy coffee machines) and he showed some photos of his creations.
  • The model plane is really in its final stages. Ben started covering the fuselage.
  • Nick made some progress with the instrument control panel he's making.
  • Charlotte continued creating small animals in colourful felt.
  • The lathe and Jon were getting on fine for a while. Then one of them needed to take a break. But really, Jon is on his way to becoming our resident expert.
  • A little inconclusive discussion of holding an Arduino teaching day/evening. We will return to this idea.
  • Between them, Nick and Paul B devised a way to CNC mill a block of wood, making a base for Vina's illuminated bottle. There was smoke at one point, but fortunately we have no smoke alarms.
  • Hello to Imi, Ryan, Dan and Kevin.
  • Simon was using the laser cutter and getting good results.
  • Carl dropped in carrying the beginnings of a giant penguin. It will be covered in paper-mache (should that be papier-maché?) but it was a bit wonky at the feet.
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-02-18 Saturday

  • Jon popped in this morning to investigate why the shutters didn't close - there is a switch on the other side of the door frame to where the up/down controls are located - this provides power to the shutters! We could take the fuse out for the window shutters to see if it kept Little House a bit warmer on cold evenings?
  • Jon's real purpose was to have a practice with the lathe after training last weekend. He has a couple of model railway wheel forming tools imported from Germany, however they needed a holder to fit our quick change tool-post, so a length of hex bar was cut down, faced off in the lathe, bored to a suitable diameter to take the tool cutter, and then a hole was drilled and tapped for a grub screw to retain it - unfortunately he couldn't find a small enough Alan key to tighten the grub screw, so wheel re-profiling will have to wait until another day.
  • Attendance today = 1

2017-02-14 Tuesday

  • The CNC cutter was going through its paces. Jon brought some board for 3-D cutting practice, and Nick made egg-shaped recesses in a spare wooden chopping board.
  • Nick 3D printed a perfect control knob, despite it being modelled in OpenSCAD which he doesn't like.
  • Charlotte was crafting small birds.
  • William's digital anemometer is getting on well, with a bit further yet to go.
  • The laser cutter is working a lot better since the tube was replaced. Both Jon and Simon had some successful sessions on it.
  • Mono is a touch-screen and micro-controller package. Carl had been sent one, and Gareth has programmed it as a binary clock, showing year, month, day, hours, minutes and seconds, all in binary.
  • Saw a beautifully-made rosewood pinhole camera brought in by Iain. He's wondering about adding a motorised shutter lever, remotely controlled by a Bluetooth link to a mobile phone.
  • Fixed a 'Sun Jar', an ingenious use of solar panel, battery and LED to catch and store sunlight, for use after dark.
  • Hello to Jean L, who came in to see how we were getting along
  • Konstantin has 3D printed a case for the Universal Component Tester.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2017-02-11 Saturday

  • Jon, Ian and Paul had a day of Lathe training from Alan White.
  • Almost no actual cutting took place but the lathe is now set up parallel and we have some clue how to use it.
  • Homework was set!
  • We now need to practice some of what we were taught.
  • Alan is happy to come back and give another starters session, or an improvers course later in the year, can accommodate 3 members around the lathe - please ask Jon if interested.
  • Attendance today = 3 members plus the trainer = 4

2017-02-09 Thursday

Special arts and craft day

  • Vina brought here Arts and craft equipment for making greeting cards.
  • The theme was clearly valentines day.
  • Some original and professional looking cards were made.
  • With little training Andres made two cards in 2 hours and have to very satisfied costumers.
  • Vina of course was able to do 10 more in the fraction of the time!
  • Attendance today = 2

2017-02-07 Tuesday

  • The CNC router cut a test piece on MDF. Result: needs better clamping of the workpiece.
  • The laser cutter produced a coffee-bean logo on ply, and cut some plastic sheet
  • The 3D printer was making control knobs for an amplifier project
  • The biplane is now a 3-wheel propeller-driven car. We ran it round the car park and it moved quite impressively.
  • The other plane is waiting to have the fuselage covered, then it will be complete.
  • We have this big box of broken helicopter parts - Please plunder it for motors and gear-wheels. Anything left will go for recycling.
  • Thanks to Jon for doing the housekeeping this week. Someone has to. A rota would be more fair.
  • Welcome to a couple of new faces. Hope to see you regularly.
  • Carl's bike's rear light let him down again. IanB and Carl combined forces on fixing it up properly, involving wire, solder, gorilla glue and hot-melt glue. It earned the RML 100-year guarantee. (Terms and conditions are: If it goes wrong during the next 100 years, you have to fix it yourself!)
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-02-02 Thursday

  • Emergency light testing: we failed so we will be getting new lights. A recommendation will be set in to have extra emergency lights in kitchen and cloakroom.
  • is working on the 2 extruder 3D printer
  • Andres started 3D printing half a heart
  • Attendance tonight = 3

2017-01-31 Tuesday

  • We tried the suggested 7-minute talk format:
    • Carl spoke about his method for removing a verruca and was persuaded to show his related TV appearance
    • Andres spoke on Open Street Map and about ways of adding paths and trees.
    • We had an open discussion with the outcome that talks like this would be held on the last Tuesday of each month
    • Next talk: Maybe Gareth and Vina
  • Nick continued to get the router working, and had brought water for the cooler
  • Nick took another look at the CTC 3D printer. We really need some help from Matt on that one.
  • Des called in with a heap of broken remote-control helicopters. We could salvage some small motors, perhaps.
  • Openstreetmap is needed in Scotland!
  • Showed where the sewing machine is and some nice textile found in the loft.
  • Previous vacuum cleaner taken down from the loft to be donated to Mind.
  • Andres Reviewed all the outstanding projects that he knows about with a young member.
  • 3D printer now working! the problem was the protection tube was shoved into the feeding gear. Not good!
  • Attendance tonight = 12


2017-01-26 Wednesday

  • Nick did massive job on CNC
  • Andres removed the inner tube of a unicycle.
  • Ian pop by to get some bits for the model airplane.
  • Attendance = 3

2017-01-25 Tuesday

  • Sascha continues to build a pump, using a Dremel cutting wheel
  • Ben has condemned the biplane as not airworthy. It will be converted to a prop-driven three-wheel car.
  • Jon was laser cutting acrylic sheet for 00-gauge models.
  • Nick looked at driving the CNC router, then looked at the problems with the CTC 3D printer, and finally tried out the unfinished 3D Delta-printer.
  • William was making an electronic anemometer, one with no moving parts.
  • Good to see Dan, Konstantin, Imi and Carl
  • Carl is considering giving an explanatory talk on Binary to primary school-children. Will he get his message across?
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2017-01-17 Tuesday

  • Mended a USB microscope
  • Fixed a faulty laptop
  • Sascha has started building a pump, laser cutter, drill press and lathe have already been used
  • Nick, Paul and Jon discussed the laser power problems.
  • Nick helped Jon turn a 2d AutoCAD drawing into a 3D .stl file using fusion360
  • The model plane tail was covered in Solartex
  • Welcome to three new faces today
  • Anthony gave a 30 min talk that generated a lot of discussion
  • Andres put some draft blocker on the glass door. A young maker helped!
  • Vina, Kevin and Andres discussed about repairing leatherwork (a coin pouch).
  • Discussed about joining forces with a certain department of Kingston Uni.
  • Attendance tonight = 21, maybe many more. I lost count...

2017-01-10 Tuesday

  • Very busy tonight
  • Further progress on the Tomboy model plane - the tail assembly has now been skinned by Ben and his dad
  • Spontaneous group discussion and analysis of modern consumer router hardware between Ryan and three new RML members
  • Jon and Terry discussed model railway items, Jon is developing his own kit and the first 'approval' castings have arrived.
  • Sascha shadowed Jon at the laser cutter then made his own keyring.
  • New member Jaroslav diagnosed a faulty electric fruit juicer controller
  • PaulB helped a HUG member transfer his files from a failing hard drive to a new one
  • Dan made an appearance holding up a mobile phone and looking makerspace brilliant
  • Kevin refurbished a laptop for a nearby resident
  • Jon and Paul discussed the cause of poor laser performance, Paul cleaned the lenses, and together we measured the laser power, our 60W tube is only delivering about 30, and by the time it reached the lense it seemed to be down to only 14 - no wonder everything is taking so long - a prolonged session of test firing and adjustment of mirrors ensued - net effect TBC.
  • We left one of the heaters on overnight :( - new project to set it on a self timer required!
  • Attendance tonight = 14

2017-01-03 Tuesday

  • Good progress on the Tomboy model plane by Emm and Ben
  • More instruction in the ways of Linux by Ryan, for Emm and Ben
  • Kevin had a problem laptop that might have been past repair
  • David W brought a laptop with trouble at boot-up. The Hard Disk was put under analysis by SpinRite, a process that might still be in progress.
  • Three new faces today, with interests in 3D printing and robotics. We hope to see you all regularly.
  • Carl arrived late, after a hard day's work. He was interested to see the mechanical binary counter prototyped by IanB.
  • Attendance tonight = 12

Previous Year

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