Blog 2020

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What we have been doing at Little House

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

2020-02-13 Thursday

  • Adam carried on with the model gun and airplane wing project
  • ChrisR worked on the wheelchair steps
  • PeterH managed to use the laser printer to print a new model building
  • Kevin borrowed the drill
  • Attendance tonight = 4

2020-02-11 Tuesday

  • Jon arrived with a heavy case of drills, milling bits, taps and dies, all quite old and fairly rusty. Something he found on ebay. After the application of WD-40 and a deal of burnishing they all looked much the same. Nevertheless, some parts will be very useful.
  • PeterH fitted a tiny remote control model car inside a small Thunderbird-style casing. This will be a self-propelled pod vehicle for Leo's Thunderbird 2
  • Andrew continued with experiments in Android programming
  • Adam did some laser cutting. Looks as if he's building winds for quite a large plane
  • Jane removed the bark from her rustic harp, using a Norse carving tool, and removed a mouse from its legs.
  • Gavin and Isobel returned to 3D print another rocket nose cone. Last week's one was too heavy.
  • ChrisR chopped up a polypropylene kitchen cutting board, to make a footrest for a wheelchair. The cutting process was incredibly noisy and created a mass of polyproylene chippings, but we didn't mind (much).
  • Jamie continued with his control panel. It's looking very good now. He discussed the wiring diagram and got advice on suitable wire for making the internal connections.
  • Yaroslav replaced the MOSFET in his audio amplifier, which last week he had identified. Now it switches on without blowing fuses and is probably fully working again. Yaroslav also removed the wheels from a pair of roller-blades, which was quite a tricky task to begin with, but got easier as he proceeded.
  • ' Attendance tonight = 13

2020-02-06 Tuesday

  • Gavin popped in to pick up his 3d printing
  • Leo worked on his robot, testing the rocket launcher
  • PeterH failed to make the laser printer any better
  • Aki experimented with using a torch to burn the outside of hardwoods and oiling it, to create a black wood finish
  • Andy use the laser cutter
  • Garrett had finished his electronic kits, so instead experimented with a storm kettle
  • Attendance tonight = 6

2020-02-04 Tuesday

  • PeterH continues his modelling task
  • Adam continues the gun transformation
  • PaulE tested a batch of his AVR programmers
  • Briony dropped in and brought a tub of chocs. Thanks!
  • Barry contributed some biscuits to keep us going. Thanks!
  • Hi to Mehl, who was with us last week for the first time
  • Hi to PaulW making his first visit
  • Hi to Wolfgang also seeing us for the first time
  • Chris came to do some laser cutting, and showed how to use the laser cutter to Mehl, PaulW, Wolfgang and Gavin.
  • Isobel asked how to use the 3D printer. She had brought an STL file of a rocket nose cone and started printing it.
  • Yaroslav came along with an audio amplifier that spectacularly blew two fuses every time it was switched on. With a little time and careful analysis, he located a blown MOSFET, which he can easily replace.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2020-01-30 Thursday

  • Leo traced the source of the uneven drive on his robot and repaired it
  • ChrisR and PeterH played with graphic tablets and printers, cursing drivers.
  • Attendance tonight = 3

2020-01-28 Tuesday

  • Hello and welcome to Mehl who came in to see what we do. He will be back.
  • Barry was working on an Arduino and graphic screen
  • Adam continues adapting the appearance of a gun
  • IanB brought an HP colour laser printer that doesn't print very well. PeterH might be able to fix it and keep it.
  • Jane took apart a hand-held kitchen blender to discover the treasures within
  • Sara and Linda looked in. Sara wants to know what to do about a laptop with a dodgy keyboard and Linda had an early Samsung Galaxy phone in need of an upgrade to the operating system.
  • PeterH assisted Linda with the phone and advised that the first step would be to back up all the data.
  • Jamie continues to make good progress on the electrical control panel
  • PaulE used the oscilloscope to help track down an intriguing fault with his AVR programmer design.
  • Garret brought in an empty tin of SPAM which led to a number of weak jokes from the knights of the round table. Garret announced that he plans to make it into a pinhole camera, using 120 roll film. It will be the Ham Spam Can Cam.
  • Andy took apart a scanner/printer in search of usable hackable spare parts. It yielded up a ton of broken plastic, some junk and a few things. The best parts were a couple of hardened steel rods and a small DC motor with a pinion gear.
  • There's now a working scanner in the 3D printer room as well as the network printer, available for anyone to use.
  • Attendance tonight = 13

2020-01-23 Thursday

  • Leo worked on his Pi Wars robot
  • PeterH wrote HTML
  • Attendance tonight = 2

2020-01-21 Tuesday

  • Carla and Bella used the lasercutter, while Dan looked on.
  • Adam is still changing the appearance of a Nerf gun.
  • PeterH did some painting of the model he's been working on, and he donated a 12v battery to us.
  • Stevie called in and talked to IanB and Jon about the difficulties of icing biscuits.
  • Steampunk Peter brought a device made from at least three Victorian/Georgian parts. He fabricated a screw that is M7 at one end and M10 at the other. Is there no end to our ingenuity!
  • MartinL was puzzling over the best way to make a one-off prototype pressed-aluminium panel.
  • Jamie continues making an electrical control panel. Having already made some large circular holes, this week he cut and filed a rectangular hole in the steel front.
  • PaulE took a laptop apart and changed the fan. It was more difficult than it looked, and it started off looking pretty difficult.
  • ChrisR was able to offer some electrical wiring advice to Jamie.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2020-01-16 Thursday

"There's no such thing as a hyper-lion"

  • Andy made the laser cutting be good
  • Garrett was playing with the LED light
  • PeterH laser cut a railway building
  • Attendance tonight = 4

2020-01-14 Tuesday

  • PeterH continued modelling
  • Adam is modifying a Nerf gun
  • Jon and Andy spent all evening working on the laser cutter, removing the mirrors and taking more measurements.
  • Jamie experimented with an electronic timer, which will be part of his brewing controller
  • Garret brought a trap suitable for catching small haggis. It was interesting to analyse exactly how, or why, it works.
  • Garret also dissected a LED domestic light for his, and our, knowledge.
  • Hi to PaulB who benefitted from the sunshine in S.Africa over Christmas.
  • PaulE is developing short-range radio, and was looking at alternative types of track for another project
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2020-01-9 Thursday

  • Vish and new vistors Carmella and Yasmin were investigating plastic recycling via shredding and cooking
  • PeterH played with trains
  • Attendance tonight = 5

2020-01-7 Tuesday

  • PeterH glued a railway track
  • Andy and Jon worked on the laser cutter. After last week's cleanup, they were measuring laser power and investigating the state of the optics. ChrisR helped with temperature measurement.
  • PaulB looked in for a short while
  • Welcome to some new faces:
    • Neil came to meet us. He will be back
    • Adam would like to gain new skills. Arduino, maybe?
    • Jamie is planning a controller for brewing and is looking for advice on the electrical side of things
  • Gavin and Isobel came to use the laser cutter. As it was under maintenance they will come back another week.
  • Hi to MartinB as well.
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2020-01-01 Wednesday

  • Jon and Andy came in to do some tinkering with the laser cutter
    • modify a plastic crate so we could soak the honeycomb bed of the cutter in Zep.
    • removed the honeycomb bed of the cutter to soak
    • broke the 'quick release fitting that attaches the hose to the tap
    • made a shopping list of what else we needed in screwfix
    • realised that it was a Bank Holiday and screwfix was probably closed :(
    • texted IanB in the hope he might have one - he did - and he brought it round for us (along with a donated PC).
    • repeatedly pressure washed the honeycomb - not perfect, but much better.
    • cleaned, washed and vacuumed all the insides of the laser cutter case.
    • spent some time making measurements of the laser power using our'dohicky'.
    • spent some time aligning the laser tube to see if power could be improved - there is probably room for some improvement still, we seem to lose a lot of power at each 'bounce' in the optical path.
    • have concluded that a spare lens and some spare mirrors are worth having.
    • need to investigate cleaning techniques for the mirrors and lens.
  • Attendance today = 2