Update May Week 4

DSC_1537Well well well, here we are again.

This time we started by going through the 3D drawings for the X & Y carriages that needed machining out of aluminium. DanW was kindly on the case with this, so with any luck we might be able to have our 3D printer completely constructed by next week.

DSC_1538I also adding this printer back on our network, it’s on or (I’ll have to double check). It’s a Dell Laser 5100 Colour Network Printer. So we used this to print off the carriage models for DanW.

You can use it too.

DSC_1539DanW also very kindly supplied us with some shortbread which he brought down, which were excellent. But then I’ve yet to find a bad shortbread so I’m probably a bit bias.

It goes without saying they went down very well, especially with a new brew (Thanks Si!).

DSC_1540Here’s the current MakerBot setup. As you can see we’ve got ReplicatorG installed on the Linux based laptop and updated the Sailfish firmware on the 3D printer motherboard. Not far off now, I think we’re just having problems with it moving 10mm rather than 1mm. Bugs in the software.

DSC_1541Here’s our new champion who came down with his bluetooth controlled robot. I believe there was some kind of bug, but with a bit of group help I believe the issue was narrowed down, so hopefully we’ll see it in action next time. Perhaps we can have races with the Roomba!

DSC_1544I was determined this time to get the “potbot” broadcasting script I’d written up and running on our CentOS server. Once I’d downloaded the potbot git repo from bitbucket and installed the Python dependencies we were pretty much all up and running. The next step is to monitor the network for my phone and then broadcast then.

DSC_1546Everyone’s getting stuck in as normal. It’s good to see people getting stuff done. Look at the concentration on everyone’s face. Doesn’t it just make you want to get stuck in?

Maybe I should stop taking so many photos… Naaa.

DSC_1547Here’s the makerbot plugged in and moving, but still having problems with distances.

I’ll be sure to have another look at it, I’m hoping it’s something simple that may have been overlooked.

Fingers crossed!

DSC_1548Ah, this is the circuit board that Si was getting stuck in with. I had no idea what he was doing, but apparently he was looking for a particular component to get the bluetooth working on the robot. I’m glad Si knows what he’s doing. At first glance I had written it off as a software problem.

I love it when a plan comes together.


Charlotte very kindly put this donations pot together on the brew table.

Although we do ask for donations on a monthly basis, we also appreciate any loose change you may have.

DSC_1550This all looks very technical…

Check out the hardware, a multimeter and an oscilloscope. Apparently it wasn’t a software problem…

I’m expecting this thing to be moving next time!


DSC_1553Well, I did stop taking photos and by the end of the night I’d setup the RaspberryPi, installed rasbian OS  and connected this touch screen monitor to a RaspberryPi.

All that remains now is to install Printrun and we’re ready to print to the RAMPS directly from the RaspberryPi using a touch screen DSC_1555interface.

This 7″ TFT Wide Screen LCD Colour Monitor (Pixelon SP-7 VGA/TouchScreen) that was originally planned for a car PC in it’s hay day is now primed for printing a 3D model directly to our 3D printer. Perfect.

DSC_1558A bit like our roomba project, this thing won’t yet operate without cables, but hopefully next time it’ll be all change and we’ll have a video to show what it does.


Although, I’m still not sure what the ultimate goal is…

DSC_1559What’s this? Technical diagrams? Proof that we do actually do some clever stuff now and again…

Anyway, don’t be shy, come down and check us out, see the action for yourself or get involved.

Until next time, enjoy.



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!

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:


  • 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


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


  • 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.


Hi Guys,

Just a quick update after our weekly open night.


We’ve got the steel rods now for the 3D printer, so we’ll be cutting them up next week. Must remember to bring down the angle grinder. We’ll just need the hot end and the “extruder” next.


We had a few more people than normal so thanks to everyone who turned up and turned it from a night with no agenda into a real good refresh as to why we’re doing this. I think we all agreed that it’s an excellent resource. We hope that we only keep growing!


Thanks to DanW (@circitfied) for his excellent idea of putting up a “skills board”, putting up our names, skills and goals, which also turned out a great way to introduce ourselves to each other.


There’s still lots to do at the hackspace to make it great and sometimes it can be difficult because of other commitments, however, slowly but surely we’re making progress.


Although the “social area” is warm, a job for next week will be to get the gas heater back in action so we can heat the workshop again.

That aside we’ve now got internet access, working computers, tea and coffee making facilities, lots of workshop and storage space, toilets, plenty of hardware to hack and a real good group of really great people. And this is only the start.

Thanks again for everyone who came down, hope to see you all next week!

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!