Adding More Temp Sensors

Since my previous post I have added a couple additional temperature sensors to my piHouse project.  One is an outdoor temperature sensor that I previously programmed but never installed outside, and the other is a new sensor in my bedroom.  This involved some hardware planning and effort installing because I had to run a cable through the house and outside, but once I tested the new cable run, it was relatively simple to duplicate the software for the sensors I already had.

The part of this that took the most time was pulling the cable and then soldering the connections.  The biggest problem I have is placement of the outdoor sensor.  I am having issues with direct Sunlight.

Here are some highlights, you can find the whole story here.  This time I also include some examples of the commands I use on the raspberry pi to obtain the data.

When testing my hardware connections, I use this command to ask the pi to take a reading and then display the result to the command line:

house@raspberrypi ~ $ cat /sys/bus/w1/devices/28-00000512f401/w1_slave 2>&1


ROOM TEMP lowered during day, OUT temp. sensor moved outside

Adding More Temp Sensors

Three-way splice for room temp.

Adding More Temp Sensors

Added bedroom plot, outside sensor in sun


An etched copper presentation certificate

Five years ago, a dear friend designed the logo for my business, which I subsequently protected with a service mark. Although I paid her for her work I wanted to say thank you with more than just money.

Having an interest in decorative etching (among other steampunk pretensions), I decided to etch the service mark from the patent office into a 9 x 12 sheet of solid copper. After trying to transfer etch resist to the plate a number of ways (transparency and newsprint and a hot iron didn’t give sufficient quality), I finally hit on success after BrantH suggested I spray paint it, and remove the paint with the laser cutter. Here’s the process from start to end.

First, the plate was spray painted with gray primer. I originally tried Krylon, but I think it was ironically too durable, and resulted in a poor etch on the first attempt. I had to buff that out and start again. It also led to an interesting conversation at the hardware store, where I had to explain why I wanted a “less durable paint.”

Once the plate was painted, I laid out a border in Corel Draw, and imported the image downloaded from the USPTO. Then the design was cut from the paint. After some trial and error on smaller test pieces, I used speed 40%, and power 40% on the 50 watt laser cutter.


An etched copper presentation certificate

After the completion of the cut:

An etched copper presentation certificate

Once the cut was complete, the plate was bathed in a solution of 1x muriatic acid, 2x hydrogen peroxide. I eventually ended up making about three times the amount of solution shown here in order to get a stronger reaction.

An etched copper presentation certificate

This is after the etch was completed. You have to watch and determine when you have a sufficiently deep etch, it took me about 30 minutes.

An etched copper presentation certificate An etched copper presentation certificate

The final proof the etch is deep enough is unfortunately only when the paint (acting as etch resist) is removed using acetone. If it’s not deep enough, get out the buffing wheel, and start over. This time however, it works!

An etched copper presentation certificate

Rubbing a bit of black enamel paint into the cut helps it stand out a bit better, particularly for the smaller text.

An etched copper presentation certificate An etched copper presentation certificate

The final product, framed for presentation:

An etched copper presentation certificate


November 2014 Book Club

Thanks to everyone who made it to the warm, cosy, October book club meeting. Great to be back to the tea and biscuits model. Due to popular demand (and scheduling conflicts) we’ve decided to move the meetings to the second-Friday of every month. The next meeting is Friday, 14th November, at 19:30.

The book chosen is one that swept the awards this year, ‘Ancillary Justice’ by Ann Leckie.

The novel follows Breq — the sole survivor of a starship destroyed by treachery, and the vessel of that ship’s artificial consciousness — as she attempts to avenge herself on the ruler of her civilization.

New members, both tog-members and non-members, are welcome! Just bring a sacrificial snack See you next month!

Sumobot Tournament and Halloween Party

Saturday November 1 will be LVL1′s 5th annual Sumobot tournament and Halloween party. I know it is the day after Halloween, but you will not be ready to put your costume up, will you? So dress up and bring your Sumobots down to the space and fight them for eternal glory and fame! Don’t have […]

SHHH 100001 – Super Happy Hacker House 33

Hello hackers, Tinkerers, Builders, Crafters, and Makers

Its been far too long since funvill organized our last Super Happy Hacker House. So, it is my pleasure to invite you all to The Vancouver HackSpace on October 18th for an open house and a Super Happy Hacker House 33!

Open house – (2PM till 6 PM) Never been to a hack space before? This is the perfect time to visit! We will give you the grand tour of the space. There will be a BBQ on site during the day if you want to bring something down to cook.
Super Happy Hacker House – (9 PM – Late). SHHH a social night where members and non-members are welcome to gather for conversation, beverages, lightning talks, and super happy hacking. Bring your laptops, Arduinos, crafts, and gadgets for a night of merry making!
Lightning talks – (11PM). Lightning talk is a short presentation on any subject that you want. Unlike other presentations, lightning talks last only a few minutes (2 min or less) and several talks will happen in a single period by different speakers. Challenge coins will given out to the people doing talks. Here is a video of some of our previous lighting talks

Remember to BRING YOUR OWN CUP !

A great article about one of our previous open houses!

A time laps video of one of our old Super Happy Hacker Houses

“The Bunker”
270 1st Ave E,
Vancouver, BC, V5T 1A6
or 49.268764,-123.098187 for the numerically inclined.

Parking is available just outside the space. Bikes can be brought inside via the garage door. To get here via transit: get off at Main St. – Science World station, walk South down Main to 1st Ave (past McDonald’s), turn left onto 1st Ave. Walk until you see the VHS sandwich board (past the “Stay away from lonely places” sign, directly across the street from the Brinks building).

Saturday October 18th, 2014. 2 pm until the early hours of the 19th.

Everyone, members and non-members and all of their friends.


EL Wire Workshop

As halloween is drawing near, Tog will be holding an electro luminescent wire workshop this Saturday 18th October from 2pm until 5pm .  This is a great way to add a glowing element to any costume or accessory.

For €20 you will receive two metres of  precut el wire, colour can be picked and paid for on the day. Along with this there is the portable power pack, batteries included. The power back can be set to flash the el wire, turn on and off.  Guidance in soldering el wire and appending to garments on the day. The 2 meter lengths come presoldered so soldering is not neccessary unless you need to attach several wires together. For this reason it’s over 18s only.  Bring any clothing or wearables you may need to work with on the day. More el wire can be purchased if required. No pre booking required.




EL Wire WorkshopEL Wire WorkshopEL Wire WorkshopEL Wire Workshop


RGB2R: Retro-Gaming Event in Heidelberg

Wie in den vergangenen Jahren findet auch dieses Jahr wieder die RGB2R vom 31. Oktober bis 2. November 2014 in Heidelberg statt. Veranstalter ist wie immer der NoName e.V. (Chaostreff Heidelberg).

Die RGB2R ist eine Retro-Gaming- und -Computing-Veranstaltung. Jeder bringt seine mindestens 10 Jahre alten Konsolen, DOS-PCs, Commodore, Atari, Amiga, etc. mit und verbringt die Tage in netter Gesellschaft, sowie mit viel Spaß und Erinnerungen an die Spiele der vergangenen Jahre und Jahrzehnte.

Für Verpflegung, Club Mate und andere Getränke ist gesorgt.

Der Veranstaltungsort ist, wie letztes Jahr, das Bürgerhaus im Heidelberger Stadtteil Schlierbach direkt am Neckar.
Hinweise zur Anfahrt mit Auto oder ÖPNV finden sich unter

Ab sofort ist auch die Anmeldung auf freigeschaltet.
Dort gibt es auch die Möglichkeit, T-Shirts vorzubestellen, sowie Frühstücks- und andere Wünsche zu äußern.
Der Unkostenbeitrag beträgt 16 € (Supporter: 32 €), darin ist eine Frühstücksflatrate inklusive Kaffee und Tee enthalten.

Dieses Jahr suchen wir auch Euren Input: Wir wollen erstmals Vorträge und Workshops anbieten.
Wenn Du Dich dazu berufen fühlst, etwas anzubieten, dann melde dich bitte bei

Fragen und Feedback werden über die Mailingliste und im IRCnet in !rgb2r gerne angenommen.

October 16 and 23 2014: Halloween Costumes and Art of Tinkering–Date Correction

Reminder, we have two upcoming activities that are great for all ages!

Dates corrected. Events are on Thursdays, not Wednesday!!!!

Oct 16, come join us to make Halloween costumes. Limited supplies are available. Bring your own supplies and tools to use or share…or just come and brainstorm ideas.

Oct 23, come join us in rediscovering the Art of Tinkering. Activities are based on hands on activities used by the Exploratorium. See this link for things to bring:

Also bring (preferably repurposed): electronic toys to take apart and repurpose, small DC motors, pipe cleaners, large format paper, yogurt containers (or any other plastic container), plastic cups, markers, tape, rubber bands, etc.

Workshops will be 6 to 9 PM at St Anthony, Jr-Sr High School, in the Maryknoll building, room 21. These activities are free and open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

See the map for directions.


Dynamic Sculpture – Update 1

I am collaborating with the Betty Brinn Children’s museum to create something similar to this.

This sculpture has 844 balls hanging from strings wound around a pulley on a DC motor shaft. Ours will feature somewhere between 320 to 500 balls. I am currently working on a prototype to test and qualify different electronic and control platforms. It’s made out of 40mm x 40mm aluminum extrusion, laser cut wood motor mounts, 5V steppers, and ULN2003 based stepper drivers. I have been using an Arduino mega for now to test the motor and drivers.

Dynamic Sculpture – Update 1

The next step is to write software to create “voxels” with instructions akin to G-code. Additional software will be necessary to simulate the animation. G-code like instructions will be used by microcontrollers to control steppers in order to create an animation.