New website

Good news, we’ve launched a new website… As of today this blog will be retired in favour of a self-hosted WordPress blog based website. We’ll have more information and more posts for you to sink your teeth into, so head on over to our new website!

See you there!

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First Annual General Meeting

Hi all,

It’s decided.

Tuesday 8th April 2014 will be our first Annual General Meeting (AGM).

It will be held opposite our normal meeting place at the Waggon and Horses pub from 7PM.

The Management Committee will need to be present. There needs to be at least 6 members to turn up to the meeting for the meeting to go ahead.

If you wish to have a say in the future of the group, it is important for you to attend this meeting.

See you there!

Happy 2014

Happy new year everyone!

This time of year usually gives you opportunity to look back on the last year and reflect, as look at where we are right now, as well as the future. So, I decided to do just that for Potteries Hackspace.

I trust you’ve all had plenty of turkey and enough drink to sink a small ship, but now all the kids are back to school it’s all back to normal.

The Potteries Hackspace group has been meeting almost every week throughout 2013 with the exception of the festive period, of course.

But we’re back! We’ll be open as normal on Tuesday 7th January (Tomorrow) at 7PM.

This year is set to be an interesting one for Potteries Hackspace. We’ve already got a few things lined up to get us going after the festive break.

Due to the success of the last Raspberry Jam at Newcastle College, there will be another on January 30th.

Also for 2014, we’ve got a challenge set.

Si said:

Hello Folks,
As you may remember, a little while ago I suggested we hold a line-following robot challenge at the end of December. Not sure if anyone has thought anymore about this so I thought I’d send out a post.

If you’re unaware what a line-follower is, its basically a small robot, normally 3 wheeled, that has light sensors underneath to detect a line on the floor, and follows it.  Normally you’d have a row of sensors, so it can detect whether it has strayed off the line.

A good and simple example is this: http://playwithrobots.com/make-it-form-scratch/simple-line-follower-robot

Here is an example of some rules: http://robogames.net/rules/line-following.php

This should be a interesting and simple way for people to build a robot, and if a few of us do it, any problems should be overcome easily.

I’ve designed some motor driver PCBs if anyone wants one, they will drive 2 motors independently of each other in both directions from any 5V board, e.g. Arduino, and could be interfaced to a Pi with a bit of jiggery pokery. They are 5cm x 5cm and I’ve got about 5 spare, PCB and components run to about £10.  Its mostly surface mount so should be a fun soldering challenge, or I can assemble them if its too daunting.

I’ll attach the schematic to this post, after the comp, they can be used to drive motors for other stuff, or a single stepper motor instead….

So who’s up for the challenge? The Gauntlet has been thrown…

Cheers

Si

You can read more about that on the Potteries Hackspace Google Group. We’re estimating a deadline for March. More information will follow once the details have been nailed down.

But that’s not all, some of our members have been busy working away on their own projects over the break which I’m sure they’ll be dying to show off.

What have you been working on?

Raspberry Pi Competition

In conjunction with the upcoming “Raspberry Jam” at Newcastle-under-Lyme Collage we’re running a Raspberry Pi competition.

Si wrote:

Hello!

So after an idea from Steve, and some further discussions, we’ve come up with an idea.

We are thinking about setting friendly competitions based around a common theme, with a display night and some prizes at the end of each. Hopefully each competition should run for a few months, giving people chance to get something really cool built.

There are a few reasons we want to do this:

Lately we’ve been involved in getting larger projects off the ground, in particular the 3d printer. Because these large projects require more expertise and a learning curve, it seems to be more difficult for newcomers and people with less experience to get involved.

If we set themes, everyone can work on similar ideas, sharing expertise and knowledge, hopefully learning a few things as well.

It will be great to see some cool ideas come together, and should help everyone in the group participate together.

We will also have some nifty toys to show off, this will help to promote us and mean we can go along to events such as the Maker Faires and Raspberry Jams.

Tying in with the Newcastle Raspberry Jam in November, we are hopefully going to have a display there and James has volunteered to do a short talk.

Because of this, we are setting the first competition theme as Raspberry Pi based. Closing date for entries is the 29th of October, when they will be judged at the Hackspace.

Entries can be anything as long as its a) not too killy, b) Pi-based.

If you’re allergic to Raspberries, we will also be starting a line-following robot competition, with a face-off sometime around Christmas!

Its the chance to build something cool, win prizes and earn the undying envy/admiration of your peers..

As always, let us know what you think!

Cheers

Si

Raspberry Pi Competition Poster

Raspberry Pi Competition Poster

Equipment Drive

Hi all,

We’ve got a good bunch of people, a large (but often cold) space and a few projects in mind.

We need your equipment!

What we’re lacking is the right tools and the right equipment to actually get things done.

Some of the guys have started putting together an Equipment Wishlist spreadsheet of stuff we need to get, which looks a little like this:

Equipment

  • 3D Printer
  • Laser Cutter
  • CNC Machine
  • Vacuum Former
  • Woodworking Lathe
  • Metalworking Lathe
  • Soldering Stations
  • Pillar Drill
  • Bandsaw
  • Scroll saw
  • Chopsaw
  • Belt/Disc Sander
  • Oscilloscope
  • Multimeters
  • Bench Power Supply

Tools

  • Screwdrivers
  • Screwdriver Bits
  • Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Craft Knives
  • Antistatic
  • Soldering Iron Holder
  • Lighting
  • Files
  • Drill bits
  • Tarpaulin
  • Storage Boxes

Consumables

  • Solder 
  • Desoldering braid
  • Flux Paste/liquid
  • Tape
  • Isoproponol Alcohol
  • Soldering Sponges
  • Wirewool Solder cleaner
  • Tip Cleaner
  • Glue
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Screws/Rawlplugs/Nails

If you have or can acquire any of this stuff or know someone who can, we’d be eternally grateful!

We hope that by sharing what you have it will open up access to other tools you may need for your projects all under one roof.

Please let us know by either adding a comment to the post or contact the group.

Open Tonight

We have open meetings every Tuesday from 7PM.

You’ll find us in the old valeting bay of the former Randles car dealership in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

Whether you’ve got a project you want to stuck in with, or even if you haven’t, anyone is welcome to come down and have a brew.

It’s free to come along, there’s no obligation to donate but it is encouraged (usually £3).

Visit the Potteries Hackspace website for more information.

See you there!