Sunday, 5 June 2016

Introducing Hannah Festival 2016

Maker Fun is celebrating Hannah Festival this week by developing new makes for the summer. We are enjoying the good weather and taking inspiration from the garden
as a starting point for activities. We made sun pictures, a big hotel for bugs and a hang out for fairies. This is just the start we have lots more ideas to try out.  

 Bug hotels

Fairy Dens 

Monday, 14 December 2015

Manchester CoderDojo 3rd Birthday Party

Thanks for having me at Manchester CoderDojo earlier today. Some great micro:bit programs being created, will put code not cakes onto the #microbit website.

I finally have something cooler than twinkle twinkle to play out on my micro:bit. Name that tune?!


Friday, 29 May 2015

Count Down to Hannah Festival 2015

Two weeks to go to our Hannah Festival celebration and it is all hands on deck to get our Aerobots finished to support our first robot workshop. Follow our journey in pictures. Find out more about this year's Hannah Festival.

1. From BOM to unwrapping!

2. Preparing to apply the solder paste
3. Three up, now with solder paste 

4. Double sided tape holds
those tiny components in place 
5. Really wishing I had my
reading glasses
6. Vacuum pick and place by hand  

7. First Aerobot out of the oven
8. Triplets!

Many thanks to Kitronic for letting me hang out out their place and cook up my first three robots in their lovely oven!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Sneak Peak

Here is a first look at my new yellow Maker Fun Aerobot boards and a glimpse of my hot off the press (literally) Robot Fun T-shirt made at Fab Lab Manchester yesterday! 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Red Robots and Drinks Coasters!

Having challenged myself to make my first robot I placed an order for 15 circuit boards. On the 29th of January I received my first batch of 15 'drink coasters'. If you would like to buy one feel free to get in touch! How did my robots turn into coasters?

Lesson Number 1: When downloading open hardware files make sure that ALL the files are the latest version. 

Check, double check and check again before you click on order, buy or get anywhere near the checkout. If you  the don't you may end up with circuit art. 

It is not that I didn't look at the files before I ordered them it's just that I hadn't realised I could open all the files simultaneously in my gerber viewer. 

Thankfully have a hands on approach that goes beyond simply making what you ask for and extends to checking your files.

When I asked them to print a stencil that didn't match the board they explained the problem. 

Karen Lin got back to me with this picture showing me the difference between the solder mask layer .GTS and the top paste layer .GTP.  

Even when I found out my red boards were obsolete I still felt really attached to them. In fact I carried them around in my hand bag for more than a week. 

This served two purposes. I could show people what I was going to make and the cool thing I had already done; made my own circuit boards. That just wouldn't have been possible a few years ago, at a price I could afford.

By sharing I found out more information about the next stage of the process. I would need some more changes to the files, perhaps a bigger battery pad and to increase the solder mask layer around the DFN. Since I hadn't ordered a DFN I was a bit confused but when another colleague mentioned it too I looked it up and discovered that they were referring to fixing the motor driver component. Since I wasn't going to use a automated process or a 'pick and place' machine like they did in the original Harvard buildit made sense to amend the design to make it easier to build. I was planning something between cooking it up in my own kitchen and trying convince someone with a reflow machine to hold my hand whilst making the first board. 

Now I have all of the latest files and persuaded a friend to tweak the design so I am ready for another run! 

Friday, 20 February 2015

From Zero to AERobot

Just before Christmas I saw this article in Wired for a DIY 10 dollar robot called AERobot. Not to be confused with an aerial robot this is an affordable educational robot, AERobot. It does all the cool things that you would want of a first robot like following edges, lines and light too. The robot can be programmed using a graphical programming language called Minibloqs  and it captured my imagination as being the perfect project for getting young children into robotics. 

Michael Rubenstein and colleagues at Harvard Research give a really good overview of the AERobot:  

Join me over the course of the next few weeks as my robot adventure evolves from bare boards to a world record attempt and lots of lessons learnt in between! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Planning a little Sonic Pi this Sunday

Sonic 'Pet' Pi

I was looking for inspiration for getting started with Sonic Pi and found this quirky compilation by Sarah Angliss. Her Sonic Pi composition features an adorable dog, fascinating music archive from a time when music was printed on cylinders not vinyl and lots of imagination. Take a look. 

Find your own music gems here: The Internet Archive. And more Sonic Pi inspiration from the Sonic Pi: Live and Coding website.