Blog 2022

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What we have been doing at Little House

Previous years blogs are available from the Main Page

2022-07-26 Tuesday

  • Cutty dropped in to see what we do. Recommended by DavidN. Hopes to come back and use the laser cutter.
  • Glenn needed to do some soldering, and was putting together a hardware prototype
  • Jane heated up shrink sleeving and watched it shrink. Another string to her bow of engineering techniques.
  • IanM gave advice on a heating device that could be a hot air gun or a soldering iron
  • Pei came a great distance to see us, and learned to use the laser cutter.
  • Tom hasn't been in for a while. He also had laser cutter work to do.
  • MartinL helped by sharing his knowledge of the Dremel tool
  • Raph had some rifle work. He needed to enlarge the inner diameter of a 3D printed part.
  • Alfia repaired a strimmer. At first it wouldn't come apart, but a good deal of force, carefully applied, was the solution
  • Attendance tonight = 8

2022-07-19 Tuesday

  • Nicholas completed a lathe induction.
  • Glenn started a lathe induction. His project needed to use the 4-jaw chuck, so we changed it over.

Then the lathe blew a 10A fuse.

  • IanM gave help investigating the trouble with the lathe. Could be that brass swarf has found its way into the motor housing and shorted one side to chassis ground. This may have damaged the electronic motor drive. A job to look into on another day
  • MartinL continues with the Isetta Electric Car project. He has a source for the body shell now.
  • Andy was around giving a helping hand with visitors
  • Mark was a visitor helped by Andy. Mark has a model racing car with a broken gear wheel. Could a replacement be 3D printed? Not a satisfactory solution, reckoned Andy. He gave a bit more advice to put Mark on the right track to find a replacement.
  • Attendance tonight = 6

2022-07-12 Tuesday

  • Charlie used the FlashForge 3D printer to produce a headphone storage hook. There's a picture.
  • Glenn was first in at the laser cutter. He made a drawer tidy, pictured.
  • Ed then used the laser cutter to produce stencils for custom T-shirts. He uses spray paint through the stencils direct to the fabric, and the results last quite well. See the stencil pictures
  • DavidN engraved some more plates for printing, using the laser cutter. Some of his work will be included in an exhibition at the Barbican shortly.
  • Thanks to IanM and to Andy for being around, helping with advice and biscuits.
  • Attendance tonight = 6

2022-07-05 Tuesday

  • Aiden wanted to assemble a circuit board for car control, but IanB provided the wrong circuit diagram. Will be corrected next week
  • Archie cut the sides of a wooden box and started to glue them together, using the hot melt glue gun
  • IanM had more OpenSCAD work, adapting parameters to make a clamp for Jane and promoting the use of an OpenSCAD library to create cut patterns for box construction
  • Lucia came to see us and to see what we do. Lucia is currently a bee-keeper but has an interest in making props for film and theatre.
  • Jane has a bulkhead light, which needed interior illumination. Fortunately, there was something left over from last week's Fax dissection which served the purpose.
  • DavidN laser cut a box
  • MartinL has a need to make an animated video showing how parts get fitted together. IanB recommended the use of Blender
  • Hi to Nathan who made an introductory visit. He's an electronics engineer who enjoys making high-voltage things using Tesla coils. Hope to see you again soon.
  • Attendance tonight = 8

2022-06-28 Tuesday

  • Archie, Charlie and Ed came, used the scroll saw and the 3D printers
  • IanW donated some 4mm croc clips to add to our collection of 4mm patch cables, and he discovered a couple of strain gauges which he popped into the 'Electronics Misc' box
  • LeoNerd helped with hosting the evening and pored over his LED message board
  • David L brought back the lawnmower from last week, and fitted the control lever which we had repaired during the past week. The ABS weld held and the lawnmower worked again. There's no knowing how long before it cracks again, maybe some weeks, maybe never.
  • Julie looked in with an elderly laptop that needed the Hard Disk cleared, or removed, before it could be scrapped. Julie also had a tree-branch lopper which had become stuck. IanW disassembled it sufficiently to bring the spring back into its step.
  • Nicholas (& Tom) made a first visit. They had a good look at the laser cutter, while DavidN was doing some cutting, and they took a self-guided tour of the makerspace. Nicholas would like to learn about the lathe, and booked an induction session.
  • DavidN had some laser cutting to do, including some experimental pieces to test scan speed and power settings for laser-etched prints
  • Jane brought a fax machine (remember them?) and proceeded to take it apart to find the many and diverse treasures hidden within, including a "long mirror". Jane was assisted by IanM, who knows about how things come apart.
  • Happy to see PaulB and Katy, who were interested to watch the various activities in Little House
  • MartinL took away something that he had not been able to sell on eBay, with a view to offering it on Freecycle. Anything to save it from Recycle.
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2022-06-21 Tuesday

  • Glenn did some laser-cutting
  • IanM took another look at our Arduino resources
  • Charlie practised a bit more on LibreCAD, and collected some wood sheet for the vehicle
  • David brought a lawnmower which didn't run. IanM and IanB discovered a cracked plastic lever causing the problem. There was no chance of replacing it, so an attempt was made to glue it up using a mix of ABS and Acetone. Next week we will see it re-assembled and find out if the fix is a success
  • Attendance tonight = 4

2022-06-14 Tuesday

  • Andy looked in
  • Jane spent some time bending metal, and learned how to open a heat-staked plastic case
  • LeoNerd assembled a 3-line large-pixel display
  • IanM sorted the box marked 'Funduino', and it now contains an Arduino Uno with a selection of sensors and devices
  • Steampunk Peter used the laser cutter to produce a number of hex-shaped game tokens
  • Charlie started to learn LibreCAD for creating DXF format files for the laser cutter
  • Aiden is making progress on his car and is thinking about the electronics to drive it
  • Archie kept busy planning his next 3D print
  • PaulB produced a model plane on the 3D printer
  • MartinL exercised GarageBand on the Mac
  • Hello and welcome to Luka who came after Ham Fair, to see what was going on
  • Kevin brought an electric drill that he was expecting to mend, but it already was working.
  • Attendance tonight = 12


2022-06-11 Saturday

  • Ham Fair !!
  • Andres, Andy, PaulB and Dan helped with setting up the marquee
  • Glenn brought exhibits and leaflets from Little House
  • IanB arrived with the Moon Shot high striker
  • The high striker was put through performance testing by a team of under-15s, and it broke.
  • Repairs were done in time for the 11.00am opening
  • It was a glorious sunny day, plenty of visitors to our stand, lots of interest
  • The Moon Shot high striker got broken twice more. IanM did some effective repairs
  • The Buzz Wire challenge had been put together by PaulB a week before the fair. It was a success with visitors and never broke once. Dan modified it so the buzzer wasn't quite so deafening.
  • MartinL turned up with the working chassis for the electric Isetta car, and took it for a trundle around Ham Common before parking it at the side of the RML stand
  • Thanks to Jane, PeterH, MartinC, Andres, Andy, Glenn, Dan and others who helped operate the stand during the day
  • Shaun (the architect for the replacement to Little House) came over and said he might visit to use the laser cutter
  • Several other people said they would visit Little House in the coming weeks.
  • Finally we took down the marquee, and put everything away for next year.

2022-06-07 Tuesday

  • Glenn had some laser cutting to do
  • Raph got the 3D print he had left running from last week, and assembled the parts
  • IanM gave advice on OpenSCAD and BOSL2
  • Jane hand-painted the moon-rocket that would be part of the High Striker item for Ham Fair
  • MartinL engaged in noisy drilling
  • DavidN laser-etched more "woodcut" printing plates
  • Charlie had a problem with the 3D printer
  • Archie needed to re-print the TicTac gun, with a higher density infill
  • Leo is preparing an autonomous dumper truck for Pi Wars. He brought it along to show it to us.
  • Andy was busy with CNC maintenance
  • William had a battery that needed to be taken apart
  • Attendance tonight = 11

2022-05-31 Tuesday

  • Raph and Arthur investigated air/butane gas mixtures, leading to two loud explosions. No windows were shattered.
  • Jane spent some of her time painting the high striker in high-striker-red, for Ham Fair. Jane still found time to take apart a high-tech telephone, for the treasures within.
  • David N had a question about electronics
  • Paul investigated a Hall-Effect sensor on a small circuit board. It claimed to give an analogue output but Paul couldn't find it.
  • Ian M provided advice and observations as the opportunities arose.
  • Martin L wanted to drill a 16mm hole, but could find only a 12mm drill.
  • Garret wanted to get a bit more sense from the Badger board
  • Dan and the 3D pen. It came apart even more than last week, I think, and may now be a lost cause
  • Leo needed to cut some pieces from acrylic. David N assisted by reminding Leo of the process.
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2022-05-24 Tuesday

  • Early start for Tanjawi on intricate laser cutting of coloured acrylic
  • DavidN also had a job for the laser cutter
  • Raph wanted to design and make a clamp, using 3D printing. IanM gave a lot of help
  • Hi to Colin, who dropped in for a look-round
  • Aiden soldered wires on to a motor. The more soldering he does, the better he gets at it
  • Archie needed some narrow strips of wood cut out. DavidN and Tanjawi used the laser cutter to make them
  • Charlie started a 3D print and had to leave it running, to pick up next week
  • IanM gave Raph a swift OpenSCAD tutorial, and explained about batteries to Charlie
  • Dan brought back the 3D pen which was blocked. This time it was taken further apart. The blockage was cleared but the pen motor wouldn't run, so it's still not completely fixed.
  • MartinL considered his options and concluded that in the absence of transport, the e-Izet would not appear on Sunday for a trial run.
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2022-05-17 Tuesday

  • Will came in with a robot and a combination lock. The robot must have forgotten the code number.
  • DavidN did some laser cutting and instructed Tom in how it all works
  • Charlie printed a 3D shark, and got started on a truck design for laser cutting
  • IanM gave help with operating the 3D printer
  • Jane did some "woodwork", mainly destructive, and salvaged springs from water sprays
  • Dan started to investigate a 3D pen with an apparent blockage.
  • Hi to Will and Emily who looked in to say Hi and see what we do
  • Tom had a sheet of polystyrene needing the laser cutter treatment. DavidN helped out and it all turned out OK
  • Tom is also thinking about making a GPS position locator, in time for an upcoming West London festival
  • Raph had a thing needing drilling out. He also managed to find the right screws for fixing a rifle.
  • Attendance tonight = 12

2022-05-12 Thursday

  • Steven did laser cutting
  • David did laser cutting
  • IanB tested a 3D printer
  • A few other people were about

2022-05-10 Tuesday

  • DavidN produced another two wooden printing plates, using the laser cutter
  • Glenn had Arduino coding to do
  • Archie assembled the Tic-tac gun, using M3 screws
  • Welcome to MattM who came to see what we do and maybe pick up tips for repairing Gameboy circuit boards
  • Raph is going to modify the gas fuelled rocket burner, and needs to 3D print an attachment for fixing a laser sight to a rifle.
  • MartinL has a lot of web interest in his electric Isetta car. He needs to 3D print the door.
  • Will has a Sony VR headset with the cable chewed through by a cat (maybe cats find VR to be disturbing). There must be 2 dozen tiny wires to be stripped, tinned, soldered and insulated. We need to build a robot to do this kind of microsurgery. Or maybe Will can buy a replacement cable? To be continued.
  • Attendance tonight = 7

2022-05-05 Thursday

  • Hassan did laser cutting
  • Petr did some sanding and drilling
  • Peter H fixed a fan stand and radio
  • Jon diagnosed the angle grinder as terminal
  • Chris R opened up early
  • Kevin was around

2022-05-03 Tuesday

  • This was a busy evening!
  • David did a couple more printing plates on the laser cutter
  • Aiden, Charlie and Archie kept busy
  • Andy gave a hand with 3D prints
  • Kenza came to discuss the build of a puppet theatre
  • Raph continued to mix pressurized gas and air, and started to plan remote controls
  • Michael has a wooden table and chair in need of renovation, but today it was a headphone cable that needed attention
  • LeoNerd's first visit for a long time. He helped with puppet theatre design, helped Michael with headphone cable repair, helped Raph test a servo drive.
  • Georgina glued together the table tennis net support, for which a splint had been designed last week.
  • Martin L is well into planning the first complete Electric Isetta, the e-Izet.
  • Welcome to Ahsan, who's looking for a place where he can do woodwork. He might be able to help Kenza with the puppet theatre frame, and help Michael with his woodwork renovation, before he's able to start a project of his own.
  • Kevin brought a bike that needed a little attention
  • Chris R fixed the grinding wheel to the worktop in the kitchen, a job that was long overdue to be done. Thanks Chris.
  • Attendance tonight = 15

2022-04-26 Tuesday

  • ChrisR bolted the bench grinder to the bench
  • David continued engraving images on ply, using the laser cutter. He plans to ink them and put them in an old style printing press.
  • Charlie has done a drawing of the motorised vehicle, but there wasn't time to move forward with it this week.
  • Archie continued with improvements to the Tic-tac gun.
  • Aiden is getting good at operating the 3D printer.
  • Raph did another test firing of the gas jet engine. He's now thinking of a new way to mix the gases and went looking for a resin printer. We had two but they are pretty much out of order.
  • Hello and welcome to Michael, who came to have a look round. He has an antique desk and chair in need of renovation and re-upholstery. We can't offer any advice or very much space, but it's a great project. Maybe Glenn can offer some help with wood repairs. And upholstery can't be too difficult, can it?
  • Dan has adopted Blender as his 3D modelling software. He made an STL file from his design and printed it using the FlashForge. It came out perfectly right. Result! What next? An enclosure for a CO2 monitor.
  • Georgina brought a tennis table net with one of the plastic posts snapped into two parts. The challenge was to repair or replace it. Simply gluing the two parts together wouldn't be strong enough. Designing a file to 3D print a whole new post would be a major job. The compromise was to 3D print a splint to fit inside the two parts and hold them together with epoxy adhesive. We got to print the splint. Hopefully next week we will apply the glue.

2011-04-21 Thursday

  • Chris R made a part to adapt a bike trailer for 7 yr old Eliza
  • Attendance tonight = 1

2022-04-19 Tuesday

  • Charlie is beginning to think about a 4-wheeled vehicle with line-following capability
  • Archie decided to re-print part of the Tictac gun. He was also looking for a stronger firing spring
  • Aiden is planning a 3D print
  • Glenn continued to glue wood together, but also had found two interesting monitors that no-one wanted any more. He took one apart but it gave up no secrets.
  • Hassan came for a look round, and liked what he saw. Hope to see you again soon!
  • Dan is using Blender for creating 3D print files. It's a very capable application, but there's a lot of learning to do first.
  • Kevin brought a vacuum cleaner to test. He wanted to open it, but we have no security Torx screwdrivers. Maybe next week.
  • MartinL continues to prepare his e-vehicle. It was unable to trundle round the car park here yesterday due to transport problems (a roof rack that broke under the weight).
  • Raph created a metal guard for the gas burner, to better protect himself during test burns. He's also interested in making an electronic counter.
  • David came along and used the laser cutter, but didn't get very good results this time.
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2022-04-12 Tuesday

  • Glenn started to glue up his woodwork project
  • Archie got the Tic-tac gun working, but needs a stronger 4mm spring
  • Charlie is still cutting wood for model car body. IanB might help by laser-cutting some of it, next week.
  • MartinL cut a metal pipe to make a seat for the electric Izet, and he sorted out some Dexion pieces to make the uprights.
  • Dan had prepared a better keyboard foot (from last time) using Blender, but ran into some difficulty with the Blender render.
  • Kevin returned the angle grinder, having cut some concrete and covered his local neighbourhood in white dust.
  • Attendance tonight = 6

2022-04-05 Tuesday

  • Archie had to do a lot of filing on the 3D-printed TicTac gun, to make the parts fit properly
  • Leo had something that needed precision soldering. He also discovered that our powered solder sucker isn't up to much.
  • Glenn had found some abandoned wood and is re-assembling it into something useful
  • Henry had a Pi Zero that needed the pins to be soldered on. With a minimum of tuition, he started making excellent solder joints.
  • Dan needed a replacement leg for a computer keyboard. He copied an existing one, using AutoSCAD, and it was soon 3D printed.
  • Kevin borrowed the angle grinder, logging it correctly in the 'borrowed tools' book.
  • Attendance tonight = 6

2022-03-29 Tuesday

  • Charlie worked on making a wooden chassis for a motor car
  • Archie tidied up the 3D prints he had done from last week - a mobile phone holder and a gun to fire Tic-tacs
  • DavidN used the laser cutter
  • MartinL used the angle grinder and the drill press
  • Dan had cables to repair and spent time soldering
  • Raph modified the gas burner and considered changes to the design.
  • Attendance tonight = 6

2022-03-22 Tuesday

  • Good to have Raph back, modifying his combustion chamber and still experimenting with the burning of air and gas mixtures. There was also a discussion with MartinL on solid fuel rocketry.
  • Charlie, Aiden and Archie did some 3D printing and two of them have started on making robot cars.
  • Henry came to see what we do. Hi to you! Henry has a Raspberry Pi that needs things soldering to it.
  • Glenn was back for a second visit. We discussed software for producing DXFs for laser cutting. IanB recommended LibreCAD.
  • MartinL is still working on the full-size electric car (not a model car by any means). He drilled a hole or two in some steel pipe. It made plenty of noise, but the job got done, which is the main thing.
  • Attendance tonight = 7

2022-03-15 Tuesday

  • New member Giggles came along and introduced himself. He has an interest in CNC and Laser cutting, so IanB gave instant training on use of the laser cutter.
  • Jane had an ancient door lock, which she skilfully took apart and repurposed. Now it looks nothing like a door lock.
  • Archie, Charlie and Aiden started a couple of 3D prints, completed a backscratcher, and at least one started to build a robot car.
  • Erling made real progress on repairing broken printed circuit track, by cutting some impossibly small strips of copper foil,ready for epoxy glueing to the board. Erling and IanB used the oscilloscope to investigate a bike front light. We measured the rate of flashing and connected a capacitor to see if it could be changed. It couldn't be altered and it doesn't meet UK regulations for rate of flashing.
  • Dan came to do more work on the Bluetooth linked CO2 sensor, and had an interesting talk with Erling.
  • Attendance tonight = 7

2022-03-08 Tuesday

  • Today we removed the restriction of only 6 people to a meeting. The evening was open to all who wanted to come along.
  • Hi to Reuben, who is making a chair from wood and leather. Not just any old chair either. Reuben came looking for a pillar drill, to be able to create perfectly vertical holes. Fortunately we have such a machine and Reuben drilled the chair frame successfully.
  • Erling has a difficult repair to do, concerning a surface mount component and some peeled-off PCB pads. Perhaps someone can give advice.
  • Rhys, Carmela and Dan came all at once to see what the RML facilities look like. They were shown round, and maybe some will return. At least one was a keen 3D printer, with two machines at home.
  • George brought along his Creality Ender 3 3D printer. It was well-adjusted but it just couldn't get filament to stick to the print bed. George had tried all variations of print temperature and bed temperature, nothing seemed to help. We got it printing very well on decorators blue tape and IanB suggested getting a sheet of PEI to use as a print surface.
  • Charlie, Aiden and Archie continued to discover things to do in a makerspace. Charlie made a wooden indicator as used on railways, and Aiden connected a bench power supply to a 3V motor. He found what happens when you increase the supply to about 20V. There's some plan to introduce these guys to the art of design and build small electric cars.
  • Garret has improved his off-grid food cooker, made from nested tin cans. He lit it (outside) and flames were created at the right place. After a while it had efficiently burned all the wood fuel with no wastage. WIN!
  • Attendance tonight = 10

2022-03-01 Tuesday

  • Hi to Glenn who came along to have a look round. We hope to see you back here again soon
  • Archie 3D printed a logo
  • Charlie 3D printed a small model Tesla car
  • Aiden did a bit of woodwork, making a back scratcher
  • Dan continued with the CO2 monitor
  • Jane re-appeared and had a good root around in the scrap metal bin. Her plans are a mystery, as usual
  • Kevin had a piece of tree that needed a sizeable hole cut in it
  • MartinL used a 12mm drill to make a couple of holes in a piece of steel
  • Garret needed to drill some tin cans, but eventually decided to leave it until Thursday.
  • Attendance tonight = 9

2022-02-22 Tuesday

  • Dan is looking at ways of creating an app linking to the CO2 monitor
  • Andy did some work on the CNC router.
  • We met Archie, Charlie and Aiden who were interested in getting hands-on experience with all our tools and equipment. Aiden learned how to solder, someone tried using the scroll-saw, Charlie and Archie had a go at learning how to use a 3D printer. Both were introduced to AutoSCAD and quickly picked up the principle of writing a script to create a shape.
  • Attendance tonight = 5

2022-02-15 Tuesday

  • Dan is now looking at writing an app for showing CO2 levels, transmitted by Bluetooth
  • David tried experimenting with making wood blocks (for printing) using the laser cutter.
  • Garret started to build an 'air gas' burner, using tin cans.
  • Attendance tonight = 3

2022-02-08 Tuesday

  • David was in, using the laser cutter.
  • Dan spent some time on Bluetooth connectivity. Every year there's a new layer of Bluetooth complexity, it's not an easy subject.
  • IanB got the Geeetech 3D printer running again. Print quality isn't good enough yet.
  • Attendance tonight = 3

2022-02-01 Tuesday

  • Here we are again, new year new possibilities
  • Dan came along to modify a Roland pedal. A flexible plastic part was getting less flexible with age, as we do, so Dan hacksawed three grooves in it, with good results
  • Dan also brought the CO2 monitor he had put together at the end of last year, and plotted the air quality over the whole evening. The good news is that we are within the WHO limits.
  • Nick brought his bluetooth keyboard with missing keytops, along with the replacement tops he had ordered from the USA. As there was no-one around with prior knowledge of how to fit the tops on the keys, Nick had a go and got perfect results! Go guy!
  • Nick had a 3-driver loudspeaker with a built-in crossover unit. The crossover needs attention or upgrade, or at least needs new capacitors. Martin L gave some beneficial advice, and Nick will obtain some spare parts.
  • The aforementioned Martin L has a preference for Mac systems and is happy to see there's now a permanent Mac on one of the benches, thanks to Darko's earlier work. Martin always has his eye open for anything we are not using, with a view to selling it on eBay to boost our finances.
  • Sarah and Alan came in with a large sheet of 18mm ply. This they marked out and cut, as the first step to building a Pachinko machine (look it up if you don't know). Sarah has already prepared the scoring using Arduino. This looks like a very interesting project.
  • Frank has some synthesiser boards, some of which need repair. He was busy on the electronics bench but I don't know whether he got the repairs done, or not.
  • Attendance tonight = 6