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What's on / Re: Internet of Things Midlands Meetup #3 - Tuesday 22 October 2103
« Last post by ChiSant on April 25, 2017, 06:01:31 AM »
I hear a new Internet of Things meeting group is being formed at the moment. out for IoT Liverpool.

I will post more if I hear more - unless someone (closer to the venue?) can do so before me....

When is the next meetup?
Announcements / Bees in a Tin - Call for exciting and interesting things
« Last post by nikki on December 11, 2013, 11:39:23 AM »
Hi everyone,

We're busy organising the last in our programme of events commissioned by The Public.

Bees in a Tin will be a gathering for interesting and exciting people who make interesting and exciting interfaces for the world around them. The call for proposals can be found at

Subject to having the capacity to take on a more spectator-y audience as well, there'll be a second call for attendees in Jan/Feb once we've curated the content.

We're also thinking ahead to our next programme of events, and the role that Many & Varied can play in supporting interesting and exciting stuff across the Midlands.

Watch this space; it's going to be interesting and exciting!

I made a thing! / Chunky Beech wood cheese boards
« Last post by Maker of Things on December 10, 2013, 11:14:09 PM »
So, I had this Beech log that Arch and I split into a roughly rectangular section lump when I was on crutches last year.

Firstly I split it in half.

Then  in half again.

Then I cut the best bits out of the riven plank and put them through the surface planer to get a flat face and edge.

Then I ran them through the bandsaw.

That gave me two planks, one slightly thicker then the other.

Then I drew the shape I wanted on each plank, avoiding some areas of damage and faults.

The holes were then drilled with a 35mm forstner bit and the outline cut out on the bandsaw.

I then sanded the edges, routed a 6mm radius around all the edges, and then finish sanded them by hand.

That's a couple of Christmas presents made in a couple of hours.  The bottom one looks a little like a slug though!:eek: 

If you want to buy one don't ask me, please buy from Start in Salford and support them in their work supporting people with mental health problems.  They helped me when I needed it, and I just nicked the idea.:)  :)
Making / Re: Heater control with arduino and remote control mains sockets
« Last post by nikki on December 01, 2013, 08:26:44 PM »
Right, I think I've arrived at a stable set-up, so thought I'd report back...

Here's the brains:

It's an Arduino Mega (actually a Seeedstudios version) with an ethernet shield, a temperature sensor, a radio transmitter and a couple of vital rubber bands :)

I started off using an Arduino Uno, but before long I was getting some really erratic behaviour that had me scratching my head for a few days. Turns out it was running out of memory, but the switch to a Mega has solved that  ...for now  ;D

I also switched to a DS18B20 temperature (from the TMP35) when I discovered I had one lying around. This gave me readings that agreed a lot closer with the weather station control panel a friend has lent me for calibration purposes.

It's all controlled from a web interface that shows a page stored on the SD card in the ethernet shield. This means I can access it from home or when I'm away. As well as the remote-controlled fairy lights (originally a handy indicator to see if I'd got things working, but now I can't imagine how I lived without them - they're immensely satisfying!), I'm currently using a thermostat style system to switch an oil-filled radiator on and off and also switching a lamp on and off at random intervals between set start and finish hours.

Some useful things in case you're thinking of rolling your own:

The RF codes for the remote sockets

A tutorial for using the ethernet shield to make a webserver (this is really detailed and builds up to the grand finale over several stages.

Arduino libraries:
DallasTemperature (tutorial)
EthernetUdp  (example)

The starting electronics web server tutorial had example code for the buttons and updatable text, and this snippet gave a base to sort out the radio buttons used for the thermostat settings.

A couple of people have asked me about cost, so let's see how it shapes up...

Arduino Mega ~£40 for a 'proper' one, I had a Seedstudio version already, and have ordered one of these to try (~£12.50)
Ethernet shield Proper ~£30 Deal Extreme on order to try ~£6
Maplin remote controlled plugs Currently (no pun intended) 3 for £15
Temperature sensor I found one of these ~£1.70 lying around, will probably get a few from Tayda if I decide to do the other room too.
RF transmitter  one of these ~£4
breadboard £few
Ethernet and USB cables £no idea, you've probably got one in a drawer somewhere?

4.7k resistor and some hook-up wire £pence

Edited to add: Power adaptor soo you don't have to run the set-up off a computer (think it was about a fiver off amazon) and a SD card (similar)

So, between ~£100 and ~£40 depending on how those cheap Deal Extreme arduino clones shape up. Easily expandable to more appliances, and adaptable to control different types of output, I reckon that's very much worth it for my context! (Especially since I already had everything except for the RF transmitter and the sockets!)

I'm going to let this run for a few days and get the feel for how it's behaving and whether there are any bugs that need sorting out. Next steps might be doing automated changes via Tasker and I'll have a think about panic buttons for those times when you've left the house but have a gnawing feeling you've left the hair straighteners / soldering iron on...

In the meantime:

Lights on, lights off, lights on, lights off...
I made a thing! / Re: Reclaimed Wood Doors
« Last post by Maker of Things on November 26, 2013, 08:13:06 PM »
The doors are finally fitted and out of my way.
The job went well, much easier then the previous doors.  The only change I had to make was with the tall rectangular door.  I had set up the braces of the door, in the workshop, to be hung on the right hand edge.  I had forgotten that there was nothing to hang it from as there is a worktop and a low level cupboard door there.  I could only hang the door on the left side and that would mean the braces would not support the weight of the door and the door will sag.

I decided to change one of the braces around to face the other way by cutting in a second set of mortices in the ledges.  It will work fine that way.

The next stage is to fill in the small triangle, to the left of the doors, and the open ends of the shelves above the work top on the right.  Then some sort of catch will need to devised for the doors.

The 'boss' doesn't like door handles that stick out and wanted something else flush or recessed and also child proof but without requiring a key.  I will need to have a really good think on that.
I made a thing! / Re: Scissor lift
« Last post by Maker of Things on November 18, 2013, 03:50:35 PM »
Thank you, Nikki, hopefully that will mean guests will take more interest as they can see what we are talking about.  :)
I made a thing! / Re: Scissor lift
« Last post by nikki on November 17, 2013, 12:11:21 AM »
I think I've sorted it so attachments show to guests now.

The other option is to upload somewhere (Flickr etc) and embed images into the body of the post (writing this I also notice attachments don't show up in the topic summary list below the bit where you type replies)

I made a thing! / Re: Making a turntable and other work at WLLR
« Last post by Maker of Things on November 15, 2013, 11:23:50 PM »
Though I would find it fun recovering a derailed steaming loco from a hole in the ground I don't think the rest of the rail crew would be so impressed.

I would like a good 200% load test (100% safety margin) on each wheel, ideally based on 100% of full loco weight on one end of the turntable, two wheels, as the loco drives onto the turntable.
Say, 12 tons of loco, 2 ton of turntable, giving 14 tons at one end of the turntable track, with 100% safety margin gives 14 ton test load for 7 ton max service load per wheel.

I doubt they would allow me to load a wheel to 14 ton.

A realistic service load would probably be closer to 4 ton per wheel given how short the turntable is so testing to 7-8 ton would make me happy (happier).
I made a thing! / Re: Scissor lift
« Last post by Maker of Things on November 15, 2013, 11:13:02 PM »
I used some expanding plug fixings that specified being suitable for aircrete.

I have read that big old wood screws work just as well but I wasn't sure I was ready to trust that without some testing experience.

I figured that on Twitter I was limited to 140 characters and so this seemed a good place to expand on the tweets.

I'd link to the threads but as the images don't show, unless logged in, there seemed little point.
Making / Re: Heater control with arduino and remote control mains sockets
« Last post by Maker of Things on November 15, 2013, 11:09:21 PM »

Not being into electronics and 'bits of code' I would have used a programmable wireless CH room thermostat connected to the heater.
Probably much more expensive though,
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