Make Lehigh Valley Make Hardware, Make Software, Make Art


PCB Manufacturing: First Step – Design Something

So we have this fully working PCB Fabrication setup at the hackerspace now. If you're interested in getting started we recommend having something to fabricate. Designing a circuit could be done in Microsoft Paint, but for good results we suggest something a bit more... powerful to help you get component footprints on right among other things. Electronic Design Automation tools such as KiCAD fill that spot well.

If you are interested in putting together a design, check out this tutorial to give you a great kick start on using KiCAD to design your circuit board. You'll probably want to stick to a single side board for your first round. Lining up layers can be a bit tricky with our current system. We're working on getting a system in place to make this more predictable.

If you have problems, please feel free to drop a question on the mailing list or come by when the space is open some time.


Young Makers at HIVE4A

We were all blown away with the success of the Arduino/TV-B-Gone workshop presented by Mitch Altman as part of his Hackers on a Train 2012 tour.

I was impressed by the turn out of young makers .... I'm glad they'll be a new generation of makers to carry the torch when we're too old and frail. Who knows ... maybe they'll be able to visit us in the old folks home and motorize out wheel chairs ....

Young maker Young maker

A Simple Arduino Robot

At the Science Festival one of the things we talked about in the Arduino area was how easy it is to make a robot out of an RC car. This guy's arduino robot is pretty basic, but has lots of room to expand.

Here is a short video and associated intractable on doing exactly that.

Instructable: Make your RC car drive itself with this simple brain swap


Everything is Better with Root Beer

Tom's been working on a dc power supply using parts from his junk box. I really enjoyed the aesthetic of this project. He had a few that he was finishing up at the last open hack. He cut up a can of root beer to create a heat sink, used a board and nails to wire up the connections between the components and wing nuts for good solid connections for both power in and power out.

This project reminded me of an episode of Collin's Lab which looked back to the history of the breadboard a bit. Collin used a real wooden breadboard and nails much like Tom did. The method is basically the same and results in a simple, but custom prototyping space that has a lot of character and can be more permanent than a typical breadboard.

In any case, it is a nice little idea to stick in your back pocket. We played around with the idea of using this project as a workshop project to help teach a few things about electronics. If there is some interest we'll explore that more fully.


Playing with Microcontrollers

Will's gathering people around some small microcontroller (uC) projects as a means to pass on some knowledge. These aren't be run as a formal class, but is something Will would like to open up to everyone.

We have an LED sign that needs to be refurbished and would like to explore RFID tag reader for use for entry into the space once we get to that point.

If you're interested in digging more deeply into microcontrollers than the arduino, connect with Will (kd0mto) on IRC, the mailing list or come out to an open hack.

Will is also recommending that you check out the following resources: