Hi all,

DSC_0885To begin with we weren’t sure who was coming down, but it was a good turn out.

It’s great to see people helping each other with various projects, there’s a great sense of community building up from the group, which is fantastic. So thanks for everyone who came down. You guys really make it what it is.


Coffee, Milk and Sugar needed replenishing so now we’ve got enough for quite some time, so come down and have a brew with us! 🙂


Thanks to Kate who redid my “prototype”, we’ve now got our binary “Brew Board” setup so, if you’re getting a round in for your fellow hackers, you know their default choice without having to risk distracting them while holding a hot soldering iron or getting hands on with an angle grinder.

Nobody wants more than one sugar though right?

DSC_0889After blowing up a power supply that Si had carefully worked on for most of a previous session, Dave, Jib, DanR and myself worked on a few more desktop power supply units that we could utilise for powering an array of projects that we’re working on. We’ve now got a good few of these ready to be used.

DSC_0888We’re building up quite a collection of small screens now. DanR took to task on them trying to figure out how to not only power them on, but get a video feed from a Raspberry Pi.

Not quite there yet, but hopefully we’ll have a Raspberry Pi demo setup in the next few sessions.

DSC_0890Will brought down some Roomba robot vacuum cleaners. One which he intends to turn into some kind of Raspberry Pi powered death bot, or perhaps a roaming hackspace video streaming bot (we’re not sure yet) and perhaps even more oddly the other for actual vacuum cleaning… Who would have thought?

DSC_0894The electronic components arrived!

Si brought down our order and got a home for them mounted on the wall.

Perhaps now we can actually start building some prototype boards and using our Arduinos.

DSC_0897Having said that, a few guys were already getting stuck in with their own components and circuits which was great to see.

The hackspace is very quickly becoming a hive of activity, which is brilliant.

DSC_0898Dave brought down his DIY vacuum former and some plastic to try, so we set to work heating up the plastic enough so it was tacky, then placing it over the Dyson powered vacuum bed hoping that it would take the shape of the moulds we had to hand.

DSC_0903Unfortunately the puny Dyson wasn’t powerful enough and we’re not sure we got the plastic hot enough, yet we persevered by getting a much larger, industrial sized vacuum and a heat gun to double up the heating process.

This seemed to work much better, so with a bit of tweaking we should have a fully functional “vacformer” kit ready to go.

However, unfortunately the Dyson has been relegated back to regular vacuum cleaning.

DSC_0907Amongst all the chaos, heroically Tom continued to work on the 3D printer, recruiting one or two of us now and again to be grips. By the end of the night the X/Y axis was actually looking like it was coming together nicely.


The hackspace is coming together nicely now, we all got a lot done last night. There was a great buzz.

For those of your interested, due to the success of the night we’ll be opening on Saturday from 10am, so if you struggle to make Tuesday nights now’s your chance to come down and say hello!

See you on Saturday!



Hi all,

We started off tonight where we left off on Saturday…

DSC_0838I began setting up the printers Dave had dropped off on the computers. Sure only 2D printers, but essential for the space. Now we have a colour laser and black laser setup on the network. This means we can now get some simple documents, such as signs, notices, forms, flyers all printed off on-site using our own resources.

DSC_0839Kate set to work doing the artwork for our entrance wall, which is now sporting the official “Potteries Hackspace” logo. A much more welcoming message than the arrow we had before, I’m sure you’ll agree. Perhaps next we’ll put a “Do Not Be On Fire” graphic…

DSC_0840Si go to work on the PSUs, converting them into desktop power supplies. Doing what he does best with a soldering iron. Once we’ve figured out a standard connector I’m sure this will be the first of a few to come! We’ll definitely need these as our breadboards and components turn up next week.

DSC_0859Tom and DanW got hands on with an angle grinder, cutting the steel bars to length for the 3D printer. “It cuts like butter” says Tom after comparing it to cutting with a hacksaw which was blunted in the process. Just the hot end, extruder and electronics to go now. Hopefully we’ll have the stepper drivers sorted and we’ll actually see some motors moving next week.

DSC_0870Before we left, we all hung around having a brew and a chat, discussing things from 3D printers, to wood burners, to space (the final frontier). The guys quite liked the idea of getting a vacuum former setup using an old hover and the idea of sourcing a wood turning lathe. However, the question of whether we’d need three-phase power came into play and also flood plans so we have an idea where to put it.

DSC_0881Although we didn’t even get around to playing with the Raspberry Pi (again), Dave did bring a few neat little screens down, so I am hoping to have a play with those next time.

However we have really made some great progress in the space now, so watch this space!

Just what we need for our 3D printer a machine that makes cheap 3D printer filament 🙂


If there were an award for Emerging Gadget Most Likely to Change Everything, it might well go to the 3D printer. These devices, which turn digital blueprints into physical objects made out of plastic or other materials, are getting better, simpler and cheaper at such a dizzying pace that it’s not hard to imagine a future in which they’re as pervasive as PCs. Already, you can buy a basic desktop model for under $500.

It’s dangerous, however, to get too hung up on the sticker prices of the 3D printers themselves. Just as most of the cost of conventional ink-jet printing comes in the form of those pricey ink cartridges, the spools of plastic filament which a 3D printer layers into an object have a huge impact on the long-term economics of 3D printing. The filament is far more costly than pellets made of exactly the same plastic: “It’s

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Very timely for our Raspberry Pi night tomorrow and 3D printer project.



Want to run your 3D printer without your laptop attached? Looking to make your hackerspace printer network accessable? OctoPrint aims to make a 3D print server for the Raspberry Pi.

The open source Python project allows you to upload and manage GCODE files on the RPi. You can then select files that you want to print, and get basic statistics before running the printer. Information including temperature can be reported back via the UI, and arbitrary GCODE commands can be run for setup and testing.

Some other nifty features include streaming video to the UI so the print job can be watched remotely. Support for creating time-lapse videos is also available. Adding a wifi dongle and webcam to an RPi turns it into a fully featured print server.

The project uses the Flask web framework to serve the UI, and Tornadio with Socket.io to communicate with the UI asynchronously. You can pull the code from…

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