chebe: (Default)
Bear with me, this is going to be a long post.

This Saturday just gone, July 14th, was Dublin's first Mini Maker Faire! It was held in the Science Gallery and on the Physics Lawn of Trinity College. I was there as a part of TOG, the Dublin maker/hacker-space. It was a fantastic day. So many people showed up who already knew a lot and came up with interesting questions and ideas. Some people were just wandering through Trinity like they do every weekend and were a little confounded to find us there. Yet others showed up wearing ESOF lanyards! I'm sad I didn't get to see much of the other makers or exhibits, things were just so hectic! It certainly seemed like everyone was having a good time.

Maker Faire )

TOG's new tshirt )


Projects

Arduino IR receiver )

LED matrix top )

Constellation Quilts )

Well, I fairly collapsed with exhaustion about 4pm (missing the after-party and everything), but up until that point it was a great day and I'm already looking forward to next year!
chebe: (LanternReflect)
A reader reminded me of the LumiGram FibreOptic fabric sample I got a while back. I made quite a simple modification to the sample, adding an auto-changing two-leg Red-Green-Blue LED.

The connector is designed to come apart so you can change colours, or packs in case of damage. The plastic tube pulls back onto the battery-pack leads. A small plastic cage comes away in two pieces. (It's used to hold the LED pointing directly onto the ends of the fibre-optic fibres.)

So I just wrapped the legs of my RGB LED in electrical tape, placed it in the register marks of the cage, and held the whole thing together with more tape. (It's a temporary set-up.) Then held a 3V coin-cell battery between the LED legs, and voila.


A look at the connection mechanism. My LED in cage on left, provided LED and sleeve on right.


The RGB LED is rated for 4.5V, and I think here it really would benefit from the extra power. (Surprisingly it's quite a sunny day here.) Otherwise, yeah, kinda nice. Here, have a video.

You can see the colours being produced by the LED on the left, and on the very right at the end of the fabric see how it gets mixed. With a bit more power it would be prettier.

See more... )
chebe: (Default)
My sample from LumiGram arrived!

Show&Tell )

This fabric is very very delicate. You can't really cut it into non-geometric shapes, can't fold it or bend it too much across the grain, or do anything to damage the fibre-optic strands. But as the LumiGram website shows, there are still plenty of things you can do with it. I'm going to try incorporating this sample into a piece of clothing. And if it goes well, maybe come up with a bigger project to do with this stuff. But it'll have to be on a body area that doesn't move too much! Still... pretty...
chebe: (Candles)
My continuing quest to add LEDs to everything is a tough one, dear reader. For example, I'll find myself buying thread on my lunch break, when I stumble across some winter baubles on sale. Cute though they were I couldn't help thinking they'd be cuter if they had LEDs inside them! So I snatched them up and went back to work.

This is also a fine example of how you shouldn't make plans before you actually get to have a look inside. Luckily they were indeed hollow, but also glass which I wasn't expecting, and the foil cap turned out to be conductive foil rather than plastic as I'd assumed. Then someone much more knowledgeable in things like this than I pointed out that they weren't tree decorations, but rather dinner place-name holders. Perfect, I mused, for holding fliers, business cards, or 'free cookies here, please take one!' signs. In the end the modifications turned out much simpler than I had been imagining on my way back from lunch. I hope this trend continues!


Instructions )

Add battery, and oooh, pretty!




Short video )
chebe: (StarryNight)
Take one Lilypad LED-matrix top (you thought I'd forgotten, hadn't you?), add one SparkFun Wearable Keypad, and voila! You get one fun interactive top!

The devil's in the details )

It's all controlled by the push-button. Initially all LEDs are off.
- Push once; all LEDs are on.
- Push twice; you get the random LED twinkle pattern.
- Push thrice; you get into keypad controllable mode (denoted by the keypad lighting up). You press the centre SparkFun-logo button to clear the board and pick a random starting LED. Then you can use the four directions to draw in lights.
- If you press the push-button a fourth time, you stay in the keypad mode, but the timing changes and the pattern becomes a chase-sequence.
- Pressing the push-button again brings you back to the beginning, with all LEDs off. (But so long as you don't turn off the battery, your pattern is still kept in memory.) Here, have a look.



If you happen to be at Darklight next weekend, come find the tog guys, and you can have a go yourself :)
chebe: (Default)
Do I know how to make a wallet or bag? No, but I'm going to make one anyway. Do I intend to use a pattern or instructions of any kind? No, I'm just going to figure it out as I go along. This is what I consider the Synchronous Hackathon Challenges to be about; jumping in and making it up as you go along! This month, the weekend just gone, was the Money Bag Challenge.

I've had the idea to try my hand at making small bags recently, and have been examining the ones already in my possession for ideas on how to construct them, so this Challenge was the kick I needed to get started. But I just can't seem to do just one thing; so as well as making a wallet/bag for the first time, I've added RFID-shielding, and internal LEDs!

Details... )

The MiniPOV3 toy

2011-Apr-16, Saturday 06:23 pm
chebe: (WalkSign)
I got the MiniPOV3 kit from adafruit ages ago, but finally got around to making it up today.

Making it was very straight forward. I turned it on and found a chasing LED pattern. But, well, this is a persistence of vision toy, I want something with persistence! This means reprogramming it. First things first, you'll most likely need a serial-to-usb converter.



I'm running linux, and have the Arduino software installed. As both this and the miniPOV use avrdude I found I already had all the programs listed here installed.

So just download the zip, extract, cd in, and make.

Plug in the miniPOV3 in. dmesg and check where it appears. For me it's /dev/ttyUSB0.

Try to load one of the sample programs, and watch it fail;
make program-minipov

avrdude -p attiny2313 -P com1 -c dasa -U flash:w:minipov.hex
com1: No such file or directory

avrdude done. Thank you.

make: *** [program-minipov] Error 1



Open up the Makefile and change the PORT to the one you're actually using (here I comment out the original);
vim Makefile

#AVRDUDE_PORT = com1 # programmer connected to serial
AVRDUDE_PORT = /dev/ttyUSB0



Then load up the program;
make program-minipov

First time I got this message;
avrdude: safemode: lfuse changed! Was e4, and is now 7f
Would you like this fuse to be changed back? [y/n]


I typed y but I don't know if you should or not. It took a really, really, really long time, so I eventually canceled out, and ran it again. This time it just finished nice and easy.

avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK

avrdude done. Thank you.


I won't spoil it for you, but you may require the help of another person to wave it wildly back and forth until you reach a speed you can read it at. Or, maybe, a camera with a slow shutter setting.

Next, you get to program your own!

A Study: Starry Light

2011-Apr-06, Wednesday 04:57 pm
chebe: (Candles)
This project came about basically as culmination of lots of different techniques I wanted to try out;

1; sewing on really slippery, delicate fabrics
2; using the satin-stitch on the sewing machine to couch conductive thread, as seen in the Sparkle-TuTu instructable
3; determining some method/sensor for detecting movement
4; trying out the Aniomagic LED-sequins that had just arrived
5; playing with my new glow-in-the-dark thread
6; utilising an old dreamcatcher that improper storage managed to render into a simple ring
7; trying a new battery holder for the larger 24.5mm rechargeable coin cells

Insomuch as I managed these objectives it was a success. However, the end product doesn't work as I'd hoped, so a final product is further down the line.


I present to you the first prototype of 'Starry Light'. The concept; a night-time wind-chime, that instead of making sounds when moved by the wind, lights up some LEDs.


Construction details and pics )

Bits and Pieces

2011-Mar-17, Thursday 06:09 pm
chebe: (StepIntoTheLight)
It is St Patrick's Day today, so I'm celebrating it in my own rebellious way. By working a bit on projects.

Waffle with a side of pics )

Bouquet of LEDs

2011-Mar-03, Thursday 11:20 pm
chebe: (Candles)
Phew. It's been busy around here. And the weekend is set to be frantic as well, leaving only tomorrow looking in any way sedate. If you ignore the fact that I have to get four days of college work done in one day that is. But, I have slowly been getting places, doing things, and thought I'd give you a sneak peak. After all, the intersection of tech and craft has been absent from this blog for a little too long. Therefore I proffer unto you, LED fabric flowers.

The beginnings of a bouquet )

The blue flower is made with a skeleton of jewellery wire, covered with blue nylon/stocking/tights, taped together around a blue LED, with fibre optics hot-glue-gunned onto it. Two power leads are soldered onto the legs of the LED. (I actually made this many months ago, but it has sat unloved since then.)

  • Bad things; All that wire and fabric makes it very bulky through the middle. Annoyingly the blue LED requires two 3V coin-cell batteries to power it. I've been stumped on how to add the battery-pack in an accessible, yet unobtrusive manner.

  • Good things; I love the effect of the fibre optics (just harvested from a donated pound-shop toy).


  • The white flower is made from felt. The grooves on the petals were made by stitching down the undersides with white thread. I mostly followed this tutorial from Tech D.I.Y. Except, I added a mesh of white seed-beads over the (white) LED once it was in place. Then anchored the legs of the LED through a button.

  • Bad things; The white felt is rather reminiscent of prawn-crackers. I'm still trying to figure out how to add the battery pack in an accessible, yet unobtrusive manner. (I intend this to be a hair clip/piece.)

  • Good things; It looks really good, simple yet elegant, actually wearable. It only needs the one 3V battery. Is quite small and compact.


  • As you can see, I'm still having trouble with the batteries. Earlier the lovely David of robots.ie pointed me to FabricKit. I didn't know it, but I'd bought the conductive ribbon that these guys created?/use from another source. (It's three-stands of conductive thread in a tinsel-like braided ribbon.) They also have a rechargeable 5V coin-cell battery brick/piece. Yes, as you can imagine, I got very excited when I saw that. I only hope a 3V one appears too. Perhaps I could use these wonderful inventions to help solve my problems?

    In other e-textiles news I, like many others, was charmed by the Sparkle TuTu Instructable. So much so that I finally popped over to Aniomagic. I'd been pointed in their direction before, but it is their Sparkle board/switch that finally won me over. It's used in the TuTu, and without programming, lets you switch between blinking light patterns! The simplicity! I had to try it. While there I noticed that they sell pre-made surface-mount-LED sequins/beads! If you remember my how-to you'll know just how awesome it is to be able to find others to do all the work for you! They're also cleverly colour-coded, one-side is a silver bead and (I think) the positive terminal. The other is brass, and the negative terminal. I'm certainly looking forward to playing with these when they arrive! So many toys, so little time!
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