Category Archives: Things People Made

VHS Talks to CBC News About the New Pi Zero: A $5 Computer

 

Hackspace director Rob Mackenzie holds a Raspberry Pi. New versions are just $5 and have 512MB of SDRAM, a micro-SD card slot, a mini-HDMI socket for video output and micro-USB sockets for data and power. (Chris Corday, CBC)

CBC news recently interviewed some of our members about all the cool things you can do with a Raspberry Pi from setting up a computer to building your own photo booth, pinball machine, and loads more. And now, with the new Pi Zero, you can set up your own computer for around $5.  Don’t forget to come on down to one of our FREE open nights  to learn about RPis and all the other things we do at VHS.

VHS Talks to CBC News About the New Pi Zero: A $5 Computer

Jon Grieman is using the Raspberry Pi as the brains behind a pinball machine he’s developing at Vancouver Hackspace (Chris Corday, cbc)

VHS Talks to CBC News About the New Pi Zero: A $5 Computer

Luke Cyca, a Hackspace member showing off his camera that looks old fashioned but is powered by a Raspberry Pi, for self. Photo courtesy of CBC.

 

 

Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio

Recently VHS member Logan lead a very successful workshop teaching the basics of soldering and how to build a radio! Attendees had a great time learning the ins and outs of using a soldering station, making good solder joints, the purpose of different types of components and how to read an electrical schematic. All equipment and supplies were provided by VHS.

This workshop proved to be very popular and sold out quickly. If you’re interested in building a radio like this, let us know.  Hopefully we’ll be able to have another radio workshop in the future. Thank you and congrats Logan! And thanks to everyone who attended. We hope to see you back at the space soon.

Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio Photos from: Soldering 101/Learn to Build a Radio

Molding and casting resin Steven Universe gems

So here are my final gems. They’ve been selling really well on Etsy, which is awesome because I’m funneling that money into more projects. I’ve got my process after the jump but you can also check out my RPF thread to see more work in progress pictures and some more explanations. Also check out my store to see my prices.

 

These gems are from Steven Universe and are meant to be used for cosplays, but the same process could use used for anything similar.

Molding and casting resin Steven Universe gems

 

I started off using the Tinkerine printer to spit out some super simple gems. I modeled these in Maya, luckily they’re pretty simple so I didn’t have much trouble doing so, I made sure to smooth them enough to round out the edges of the gems. It took a few tries before I got the right sizes.

I used layers of spot putty and automotive filler primer to fill in the print lines. This is pretty simple, much labour intensive, fill, sand, spray, sand, repeat. I worked from around 200 grit sand paper down to 1800? I found it best to double the grit anytime you go from one paper to another, if you go from say 200 to 1000 without anything in between you’ll end up with deep gouges in your finish, even if feels smooth while sanding, you’ll see them. I used these beer bottles and some hot glue so I could spray the gems easier. For these specifically I wanted to keep the faces of the gems very flat and the edges nice and sharp, so I did a lot of sanding against my glass desk with the paper facing up, flat against the glass. This helped me avoid the curves my hand could naturally have put in to it.

I accidentally left these gems on my window sill, they were sprayed with a red primer and so they soaked up a bunch of the sun which warped the 3D printed interior. I had to do some emergency filling and sanding to fix them.

Once the masters were ready, I glued them down to some foam core, built a wall around them with cardboard and covered them in Mold Star 16 (available at Fibertek), after 45 minutes the silicone was cured and I was able to flip them upside down and crack off all the cardboard. This left me with a flexible reverse of my masters. Next up is casting, I used Crystal Clear 202 (also from Fibertek) tinted with transparent dyes. It took some trial and error to figure out the right amount of drops of dye to use, the one in the middle here was me trying to combine red and blue to make purple, it just never worked right. Instead I ended up grabbing the line of So Strong Tints, these are more opaque than the transparent ones if you use too much but they have a violet colour that did the trick.

These gems are meant to be glued on to fabric or skin, so I wanted to be sure that they had a flat back, so each gem gets a good sanding. I’ve been using 60 grit to get rid of the majority of the material as fast as I can, then 200ish grit to smooth it out, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. I also want the gems to stay bright and cartoony, like the show, so I went with a white backing (instead of a mirrored back with silver tape which I found darkened them) so I masked off the edges and fronts and gave them a spray with gloss white.

This is my assembly line of clearcoating, I forget who suggested it but someone said to use Future Floor Finish (available at most grocery stores in the cleaning isle, look for wood cleaners), it’s actually really good, it’s runny so you’ve got to dab off the excess but it leaves a great smooth, hard and shiny finish on the gems.

I built the “drying racks” out of 3 layers of EVA foam hot glued together, I then stabbed holes through them to fit the gem sticks. I made the sticks out of wooden stir sticks from Starbucks, I just broke them in half and glued them together to make them a bit thicker and sturdier. I hot glued them gently to the backs of each gem in order to dip them without touching them. It’s important to let them dry as flat as possible so the clearcoat doesn’t pool.

I also tried some different methods of pouring, since all of these are based off of real stones, I wanted some that were a bit closer to the real thing, and less cartoony. This one is meant to look like a Lapis Lazuli stone, so I crushed up some gold leaf, and streaked some black dye through it once I poured the stone. This one came out too dark with too much gold, but it still looks cool.

Making Jewellery At the Vancouver Hack Space

The laser cutter at VHS is totally free for members to use, once they go through a quick training course, and is an amazing tool.

It’s unintimidating and easy-to-use, fast, and versatile. It can be used in so many different ways.

Here’s how to make a dinosaur-bone necklace in under a day, by someone with no prior experience in these techniques.

The original design is from here:

Those files are for 3D printers though, and we want to convert them to a laser cutter format. After mentioning that to some VHS members that were just hanging around, about three people started working on the problem and had it solved in a few minutes. Here are the laser cutter versions (right click->save as).

After about 10 minutes of playing with sizes (those files will print a huge necklace, you have to adjust to your taste), all of the pieces were printed, and it was time for the hard part:
Making Jewellery At the Vancouver Hack Space

Putting them on chain. This is a first-time attempt, and it seemed to work great!

Still took a couple hours:

Making Jewellery At the Vancouver Hack Space

Here it is on a tissue base for transportation and the best damn birthday gift ever!
Making Jewellery At the Vancouver Hack Space

Everyone should have a t-rex necklace to call their own.
Making Jewellery At the Vancouver Hack Space

Still intimidated? We have quick-and-easy woodcut art already prepared! Make your own, and take it home.
Making Jewellery At the Vancouver Hack Space

Laser Crown Project

April is my wife’s birthday, our Anniversary and a roadtrip down to Disney so I had to do something special.   I loved the Instructable by P3nguin and decided to take it a bit further by adding a reed switch to change display modes and a digital compass module.  Check out the full build log over on the VHS forums!

Crown at 20% brightness

Laser Crown Project

Presentation and Display Box

Challenge coins for lighting talks at VHS’s SHHH #35

At Super Happy Hacker House (SHHH) we do lighting talks of 2 mins or less. These are fun talks about anything you want. You could talk about how laser disks work, the story of the farest earth “thing” to die in space, or your collection of sporks. During your talk the crowd is encouraged to heckle to keep you on your toes. They are a lot of fun!

When you do a lightning talk, you are given a challenge coin (Social credit personified).  These coins are made by a different member each time, using different materials or techniques. The coins can be metal, wood, plastic, varnished cookies, grown cookies, anything. This post has some of the past challenge coins.

For SHHH #35 Feb 21st, 2015, (This weekend!)  the challenge coins were designed by @Big_Mak and created at http://coastprecisioncnc.com. They are some of the prettiest coins we have ever had. If you want one join us for SHHH this weekend and do a lightning talk.

Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd

Thanks to everyone who attended knitting and sewing drop-in night on September 22nd. It was a wonderful evening of knitting, sewing, crafting, socializing, and of course sorting through our new fabric stash (donated by www.designtex.com).

We had so much fun we’re doing it again on October 6th, from 7:30 to 10:30 pm.  Join us! Details here.

Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd Knitting and Sewing Night Pics from September 22nd

MakeyMakey Bootloader programming over ICSP

I’ve been asked about how I programmed the bootloader so I’m putting the doco here. For all my AVR work I use a bus pirate v3 with the stk500 firmware. I have a cable I made that adapts the bus pirate to the 6 pin AVR ICSP connector.

For MakeyMakey I made an adapter cable to convert the 6 pin AVR ICSP connector to the MakeyMakey header. I prototyped the cable using individual 0.1″ socket to pin cables and then moved them to single 2×3/1×6 housings to make the cable permanent.

The MakeyMakey schematic decodes the header in two parts

MakeyMakey Bootloader programming over ICSP

A random ICSP image from google images.
MakeyMakey Bootloader programming over ICSP

The pin mapping is

Code:
orange  MISO   6x1-6   2x3-1
yellow  MOSI   6x1-5   2x3-4
green   VCC    6x1-4   2x3-2
blue    GND    6x1-3   2x3-6
purple  RESET  6x1-2   2x3-5
grey    SCK    6x1-1   2x3-3

MakeyMakey Bootloader programming over ICSP

Do you like candy? I like candy.

Here’s a very brief overview of the thought process for building something to amuse and frighten your neighbours.

I originally wrote this up on May 31st and posted it elsewhere, but I thought I’d give the VHS regulars time to explore it on their own before I ruined the surprise.

Some of the readers may recognise this big red button o’ fun:

When somebody holds it, it starts up an air raid siren that can get really loud. Unfortunately, it spins up very slowly, so people let off as soon as they figure out what the button does. That results in one tiny little blip of the siren, barely enough to bother anyone. That’s no good at all!

 

So for this build, I didn’t want to spend very long at it, and attempted to do everything very roughly and as quickly as possible. I found all of the appropriate components kicking around, and designed around those.

Here’s what I came up with:

Do you like candy? I like candy.

 

I found a transformer with outputs that measure at about 12VAC. 10:1 winding ratio, I guess. After rectification and smoothing, it’s a little over 18VDC. On the right side, I used an ALA2F12, a 12V relay. The transistor is a 2N3604, just a very generic NPN BJT because this application doesn’t require anything special.

The original button was just the AC line voltage to the fuse, then through the switch to the load. Very simple.

 

Okay. Starting from the left:

  • Transformer outputs at 12 volts or so,
  • through the half-wave rectifier diode (1N4007 I think) – results in 12 * root 2, about 18V,
  • big filtering capacitor (200v, 820uF),
  • 1MΩ bleeder resistor so the system doesn’t hold charge indefinitely,
  • original switch (connected to the big red button),
  • 100Ω resistor(to prevent sparks)
  • into timing cap (160v, 220uF) – charges to full very quickly,
  • another bleeder resistor,
  • Rb controlling current going into the transistor’s base (more on this later),
  • BJT  base.
  • At the top: resistor controlling going into the relay coil,
  • relay coil,
  • BJT collector going to ground.

 

Because I’m abusing a 12V relay by driving it with 18V, I had to compensate for that a little. According to the data sheet, the coil is nominally 272Ω, taking 43mA of current. Ignoring the transistor’s collector-emitter voltage (probably ~0.2V): 18v / 43mA – 272Ω = 146Ω. So I tossed a 150Ω resistor in series with the coil, and it seems to work.

 

For the base of the transistor, this resistor (along with the capacitor) is what controls the active time of the system. It also controls the maximum current that can conduct through the collector-emitter junction of the 3604. Typically the gain of those are in the 70-100 range, so current going into the base should be Ib = 43mA/100 = 0.43mA. Base-emitter junction is around 0.7v, so the base resistor can be figured out by 18v – 0.7v / Ib when the base cap is fully charged. Overdrive Ib to 1mA to ensure max-on, so I used 18kΩ.

I tested everything to check timing issues, overheating, etc., and it works well. The relay gets latched for about 7 seconds, which is perfect. If I cared about being more precise with that, or wanted to change the timing values, it’s pretty simple to treat that portion as an RC circuit and tweak the resistor or capacitor values.

So I built it.

Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy. Do you like candy? I like candy.

Perfect! Start to finish, including laser cutting, about seven hours. Not counting the abortive first attempt last week.

So before, when newcomers pressed the button, there was only a very short blip of the air raid siren. Now, the thing latched for a good seven seconds. And it gets very loud in that time.

 

The real purpose of this hack (and doing a write-up) is to encourage more members to go out and hack something! I haven’t seen anything really cool in a while.

 

Enjoy!

Jarrett