ElectroPumpkins for Halloween

An Arduino, a bit of ws2812 LED strip, and some sanded acrylic tube make the perfect light for a jack-o-lantern.  If you’ve ever wanted to play with the intelligent LEDs like the ws2812, I highly recommend using FastLED to drive them.  The library has a good set of examples bundled with it, one of which is the Fire2012 example.  You can see that in action in the embedded video below.  For these two pumpkins, I used some very simple code that cycles them through the HSV color wheel at 100% saturation and 100% value.  See the code at the end of the post.

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And now for the code:

 

#include "FastLED.h"
#define NUM_LEDS 20
#define LED_PIN 5

// Define the array of leds
CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS];

void setup() { 
   FastLED.addLeds<WS2812, LED_PIN, BGR>(leds, NUM_LEDS);
}

#define HUE_DELTA 1
#define TIMEOUT 200

void loop() {
   static uint8_t hue = 0;
   // Turn the LED on, then pause
   for( int idx = 0; idx < NUM_LEDS; idx++)
   {
      leds[idx].setHSV( hue, 0xff, 0xff);
   }
   FastLED.show();
   delay(TIMEOUT);
   hue += HUE_DELTA;
}

 

CNC Drawing class

Thursday night’s CNC Basics class went well, and will likely be a recurring class.  Be sure to keep looking on our Meetup page for the next one if you missed it.

 

10/27/2016 - CNC Basics, Phase 1: drawing

10/27/2016 – CNC Basics, Phase 1: drawing

Fall Fixin’ Stuff BBQ

This past weekend, about a dozen or so of our members spent part of Sunday afternoon spiffing up the space and enjoying a tasty BBQ. 20161023_192001
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We had a crew working magic in the electronics room (behold the new ‘wall of resistance’), and another group that built a sturdy (and mobile!) base for one of our main room center tables.

A few more of us spent some time clearing the dust in the wood shop and doing some general straightening up in other parts of the space. And we couldn’t have asked for a nicer fall afternoon to open the doors and enjoy each other’s company while munching on burgers, brats, veggies, potato salad, fruit and cookies!

We had a similar event at the end of June, which resulted in a new wall-mounted table being built for the main room (seen in the background of the middle photo above). The dedication of our members is immeasurable and paramount to creating and recreating our useful and fun space. A warm and hearty thank you to all who participated in these events!

Denver Mini Maker Faire 2016 recap in pictures

SSD members turned out in force the the mini maker fair held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the crowd was fantastic.

Jim’s Drawbot was a huge draw — one girl adored it and was thrilled when he gave her the drawing it had just made!

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Terry’s soccer scoring system got the most interest and kids loved rolling tennis balls through the goalposts and watching it mark their point.  Pictured behind is the mini version of John English’s Soundpuddle, set up by Tijlon.

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Jennifer’s automatic dog play system also entertains kids pretty well!

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Dan’s remote car had lots of kids mugging for its camera.

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I had lots of fun walking around with my video T-shirt and explaining how it worked.  Mostly though, kids just stared at it, mesmerized.

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Turnout was excellent for other booths, with the return of many popular exhibits and new ones, too.

One of my all-time favorites is a group that deconstructs old pinball machine mechanisms and explain how they work. Very hands-on, it’s much easier to see how a mechanical score counter works than an electronic one.

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Denhac had a lockpicking workshop, where kids could try to escape from handcuffs. They also had some great lights in the darker area of the Faire

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Zoe Doubleday’s Haptika series of therapy gloves were a hit —

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I didn’t get the guy who made these beautiful electronic quilts — he was one of many participants who also did amazing things:

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Human foosball, of course!

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I fell in love with these hacked furby skeletons!

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Looking forward to future Mini Maker Faires!

LED tattoo

Sarah shows off her shiniest tattoo, made with temporary tattoo paper, copper foil, and circuit stickers.  She’s also experimenting with conductive ink instead of the foil.

LED tattoo

LED tattoo

New lights for the high bay

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The original fluorescent lights.

 

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Our new snazzy LED lights

Fluorescent lights suck.  Aside from the minor mercury toxicity hazard if they’re broken and the mediocre light quality, the bigger problem for us is getting up to the ceiling to replace them.  At 8′ long, they’re a bit ungainly when at the top of a ladder that is barely stabilized.  Needless to say, between the standard laziness, and the instinct of self-preservation, we haven’t changed many of the burnt out tubes since we moved into this space.  In fact, we are finally down to 6 lit tubes, so we were getting to the limit of barely usable light.

LED lights are cool.  That’s the basic premise of switching our lighting out in our high bay lately.  Of course, you’re going to get that response from a bunch of self-proclaimed LED freaks 😉  We were getting to the end of the life on the remaining fluorescent tubes, and had to do something.  One of our long time members, Dan Julio, offered up some of the control boards from one of his lighting projects.  These boards, combined with LED strips make up our new lights.  Some of the main features include:

  • dimmable –  this allows us to set the light level for meetups or for work
  • Zone control – with this feature, we can keep the work lights on while dimming or turning off the lights over the wall that the projector shines against.
  • Color wash on the ceiling – Otherwise known as “party mode”.  This gives us the ability to change the mood of the space.
  • Control via mobile or web portals.
  • Control via panel mounted on the wall.

Several members joined with Dan on a Saturday to finish up the marathon of work he had already put in.

Way to go Dan for designing and building out the system, and thanks to the SSD members who helped install it!

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Valentine’s Day Mode

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Party Mode!

Cleanup aftermath

Here are the pictures from the clean up..  This is the stuff that was not labeled and needs to be gone through or its out in a week.

 

This is the new member storage…I think everyone should be able to see there labeled storage containers.

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This is the stuff on the front burner to go out the  door..  Please make arrangements if you see your stuff here.

Reach out on the Google group and let someone know sooner rather than later.

 

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Thank you to everyone that helped and if you see your stuff and you still want it, again  please reach out to someone sooner than later.

Thanks,

Chrobi

We’re at Denver Mini Maker Faire! Drop by and say hi!

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Members Jennifer, Ty and Brandon man the SSD booth at NoCo Maker Faire. Jennifer is demonstrating her A.R.F.F dog distraction device.

 

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Here member Brandon is demonstrating Oobleck, the non-newtonian fluid on a speaker.

We have a booth at the NoCo Maker Faire, drop by and say hello!

We have several projects this faire: Cymatics, A.R.F.F (Automatic Release Fun Feeder), Mini Sound Puddle (Porta-Puddle!) and last but not least, OOBLECK! Be sure to come by and see these projects!

Member Project of the month: the Auto Release Fun Feeder (A.R.F.F.)

Anyone with a bored puppy will tell you, they can be a handful of trouble. Meet Olive, SSD member Jen F’s puppy. olive

Olive was getting bored in the middle of the day while Jen and her family were out of the home. Olive took to finding ways to entertain herself that was becoming a problem. Miscellaneous household items ended up in the back yard. To keep Olive busy during the day, Jen started hiding treat toys around the house. One of Olive’s favorite is an interactive toy that dispenses food as long as it gets flipped and rolled around.

dog_ball Check it out here: http://store.petsafe.net/busy-buddy-kibble-nibble This Busy Buddy engages dogs to work for their food, which appeals to their natural hunting instincts. Jen soon discovered that there were a limited number of hiding spots in her house. Olive would find the toys almost immediately after she hid them, defeating the purpose of working up a good boredom.

Being a mechanical engineer, Jen started thinking up ways to delay the release of the ball so that it would provide satisfaction for Olive in the middle of the work day. The solution needed to be simple. Gravity based; so that the release mechanism would only require a single solenoid. Outlet powered; so that batteries wouldn’t be a continual cost. Random timer; so that Olive wouldn’t get used to what time it was released. Quick and easy loading instructions; so that anyone could load and start without a 50 page manual.

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The prototype was put together with scrap lumber and eyeballing the gravity ramp. After an evening of mock-ups, Jen had a solid mechanical housing. Jen didn’t have much experience with electronics, however, she knew the hackerspace was a good resource for gurus. She met with John W., who had started working in a T.V. repair shop at the age of 10 in the 1960’s. He drew up a wiring diagram and pointed her in the direction of what she needed to get.

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After a week, the only thing she couldn’t find was the timer. At a Solid State Depot Open House, she introduced her project to the group and asked for help. Another SSD member, Mike S., had just received an LCD/Button combo Arduino shield and wanting to put it to work, this seemed like a good project. After a few hours of programming, he had a random countdown timer mounted on a Spark Fun Red Board.

One of the issues that the gurus at Solid State Depot helped her solve was the amount of power that was getting to the solenoid. Because the ball was pushing on the latch, there was a lot of friction. The solenoid needed a larger pulse. This meant more capacitors had to be added.

After a short time of collaborating, Jen had a timer that worked for releasing the ball at random times.

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The Auto Release Feeding Frenzy, ARFF, for short has been in use for the last few weeks. Jen has noticed a significant decrease in the number of items ending up in the yard. Jen has had many requests to build more to test on other dogs, but feels she needs more time to evaluate if this solution is going to work long term.

Job well done, way to go Jen and Mike!

 

We are now a 501(c)3 organization!

SSD is now recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization! We are now able to take tax deductable donations!