Category Archives: Projects

Some random things i like to build, make, repair and anything else i find to do.

Oktoberfest Elektroniks For Free

Well October could not get any better I have been one of the lucky 10 to be selected for the TI and Würth Elektronik LED RoadTest+ and when i applied i had a lot of ideas but i realized that if i want to be accepted for future roadtest and reviews i really need to produce clear high quality content and one of the key things for good photography and video is a well lit area. So seeing as the key focus for the road test is the  TPS92512  i thought why not set up a little area with high power LED`s illuminating the full area from all angles, first i will set up a temporary rig so i can work out all of the technical issues and because i have limited space i would like to make the final product ether collapsible into as small as possible size or make it completely portable including being battery powered for filming on the go maybe using some old laptop batteries i have laying about.

Also due to having access to the Bluetooth Low Energy Light Development Kit – CC2540TDK-LIGHT – TI Tool Folder, MSP430FR4133 LaunchPad Development Kit – MSP-EXP430FR4133 – TI Tool Folder, $200 from Farnell and free parts from  Wurth Electronik i tought about adding some multi color lighting effects and maybe purchasing some Raspberry Pi`s with cameras which will allow me to record at full 1080p and with a total of a 1000 levels of dimming using the TPS92512 i should be able to get the perfect lighting for any situation and maybe play about with dynamic lighting using the pi to control lighting levels.

To start with i am aiming for an area of about 80cm x 60cm which is the size of a foldable table that i will be able to use and i would like to use at least 2 cameras (one for top down view and one movable) but it would also be nice to have a infra red cam for alternative views of things and also set up a simple one button stop motion rig for my kids to use with their models and cutouts, the last thing that would be nice to add would be some kind of bullet time .

So there it is the main idea for this road test i have a few other things i would like to try but as always time is always a factor and I would rather build one good thing instead of 10 half finished ones and to all the other Roadtesters good luck and have fun I can`t wait to see what you all build all the best Mick

MediaTek LinkIt ONE

Well Some good news i have been lucky enough to be given a free MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE Development Platform worth £38 for free no strings attached from in partnership with MediaTek. I know i said no strings but they would like me to post a few instructables showing how good the Dev Board is which is only fair but thats not all for every instructable i post i will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card (about £32) so i am planning on working hard on this one which i hope will lead to a lot more offers to review more great product like this one.
Linkit one 0

Ok what is it and what can it do? Well from what i have read so far it seams to be aimed at the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables market and they have done a great job packing a ton of feature into the one board.  For starters you get wireless technology coming out of the wazzoo with onboard Bluetooth 2.1 and 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wifi, GSM QuadBand and GPRS Class 12 not to mention you also have GPS/GLONASS/BeiDou, SD Card (upto 32Gb),  16Mb of onboard flash (10Mb user accessable) and 4Mb of ram (upto 2Mb for program execution) all tied together with a MT2502A (Aster) ARM7 EJ-S™ 260MHz processor which is not bad plus from what i can tell you also get a rechargeable battery in the box to power this little power house.
Linkit one 0_02
As soon as i get the board i will post an unboxing video and a quick run though of all the cool things that this great board comes with but for now you can read more here. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a long line of products company’s will send me to review and road test because i love playing with these great toys and i hope to share my adventures with you all.

Until next post Keep on hacking the world and if you have any ideas on what to build with this great board please let me know in the comments and i will see what i can do.



Quadcopter Scratch Build

As soon as i seen a video of people racing a couple of quadcopters using First Person View (FPV) kits which allow the to fly the quad as if they where sat inside it i knew i needed to get me one. But there was no way i could afford £500-£1000 for a ready made one and where is the fun in getting something ready made.

So i first set out to find what the minimum amount of parts i would need to get started, the main bones of a quad are Frame, 4x Brushless Motors, 4x Propellers, 4x Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) , Flight Controller, Transmitter/Recevier and battery’s. At first i thought this lot would cost a small fortune until i hit ebay and found i could get

F450 Quad-copter Frame Kit ,£7.09
4x A2212 1000Kv Motors + 4x 10×45 Propellers  ,£20.29
4x Brushless speed controller ESC 30A 40A Burst ,£14.19
CC3D Openpilot Open Source Flight Controller 32 Bit ,£9.24
Turnigy 6X FHSS 2.4ghz Transmitter and Receiver ,£19.14 from hobby king
11.1V 2200mAh Lipo Battery ,£8.46
Total £78.41

Which is very cheap but still a bit much for me and the cheapest transmitter/receiver kit was a bit limited for what i wanted to do. I worked out i could build a frame from bits i have laying about also i could use old laptop battery’s while i getting it working  and i am currently working on something that is using a transceiver that has a line of sight range of up to 15KM  so why not build my own transmitter/receiver using them with a couple of arduino pro mini`s and a couple of RC joysticks i have laid about from a joblot i bought on ebay a few years ago. So now the cost of getting started is down to £43.72 + a bit more work but once again thats part of the fun

Now i had a few hours spare this weekend and i just wanted to get motors turning so i sat down with some blu-tack and PVC tape and stuck everything to the side of my pc that has been off so i could clean inside it and this is what i ended up with below.

This is the test of the controls

and a quick test of the Gyro, Accelerometer and Compass

RepRap Sintron Prusa i3 3D Printer

Just a Couple of random pics from the printer i will be adding a ton more of my projects to the site soon


one of the first 10mm calibration cubes printed at 0.3mm layer height.


Another one of the 10mm calibration cubes printed at 0.2mm layer height this time.


One of two quick brackets for the LCD Controller to replace my quick cardboard cut out stand.


Back Top of 10mm endstop bracket for my 8mm rods FAIL!!! 🙂


Back of 10mm endstop bracket for my 8mm rods FAIL!!! 🙂


Top of 10mm endstop bracket for my 8mm rods FAIL!!! 🙂


Eiffel Tower That started well


Eiffel Tower and got better


But then Cocked its leg


and what looks like some kind of over fill put the finishing touches on this Fail!!! 🙂


The final Eiffel Tower


Some new endstop mounts and another extruder holder just in case this one broke


Close up of new endstop mounts


Close up of MK8 Light extruder holder just in case this one broke


Printing a filament holder using hairspray to stick it to the bed at 90c using 40% honey comb fill.


Slight lifting pf the filament holder using hairspray to stick it to the bed.


Final prints had a few problem like the perimeters not adhering to the in fill so i patched it up with lots of supper glue.


They might be a little wonky but the filament spool holds up nicely on them for now.


MK8 Heavy duty extruder holder, capacitive sensor mount and filament cooling nozzle.


Thes prints still had issues with the perimeter bonding to the infill so i reprinted them once i had tweaked the layer width from 0.35mm to 0.5mm which is working much better.


Top view of the failed prints assembled.


Side view of the failed prints assembled.


Front view of the failed prints assembled.

TV Stand CNC

This build was my first attempt at a 3 Axis CNC and at the time i knew very little about them and because of this i made lots of mistakes. The biggest mistake was that the Astrosyn y129-5 12v 0.16A Nema 17 stepper motors where really under powered but i still managed to get the machine to engrave the road runner that came with mach 3 CNC software.

The Stepper controller is the Tachus42 3 Channel Discrete Unipolar from which i built using the instructions on the site and only cost £12 for the parts. The Tachus42 it a good simple controller to start with and because of its simplicity if you let the magic smoke out it can be fairly easy to fix. As with many simple things they lack the more advanced features such as micro stepping and current control, so if you wanted to increase the voltage to the motors above their rated voltage you had to use resistors to dump the extra power which is very wasteful and also very quickly needed very high wattage resistors or build the additional chopper board but this has been known to come with its own set of problems that can be difficult for beginners like my self at the time.

The wood i used was from an old TV cabinet that my next door neighbour was chucking out and i purchased a few drawer slides from ebay i also purchase some 6mm all thread rod from ebay which was another mistake, threaded rod that small just really sucks for a make shift lead screw. i used a cheap dremel type rotary tool as the spindle which worked well when the machine wanted to work.

I learnt a lot from building this machine and although it did not work very well it only fuelled my thirst for a well built CNC so i set about reading everything i could about CNC Machines and started planing my next build Big Red

Big Red v2.0

Big Red 2.0 with perspex sides, MDF Spoilboard and full aluminium construction with the Y Axis linear bearings upgraded to fully supported rails.
The beginning of a quick test of the machine using a pencil to draw Sweet Dreams with a heart ether side which i plan to engrave in some perspex and side light with a few RGB LEDS.

End of test

I`ll add descriptions to the pics soon but basically the little black block is a 1.4w 445nm laser diode that can be pulse at 2w and i have added a vacuum system and the thing with the copper wire wrapped round next to the router is a small camera to help with alignment of the tool. i still need to get the aluminium plate for the front, back, part of the Y- Axis and all the parts for the Z-Axis milled but for now the Big Red has no problem cutting wood and plastic.

i am currently running the motors at 24v 4A but i have still to fit a couple of boost converts to kick the voltage up to the max the drivers can comfortably handle of 40v 4A which will help increase the speed. i have already had the Y Axis running at 3500 mm/sec which is about 137 IPM but for testing i have been running at between 500-1000 mm/sec 19-39 IPM to make sure i dont kill it with one wrong move.


Big Red Version 1

Here is a little about what i plan to accomplish with this machine. I am hoping to end up with a 5 Axis CNC machine that i can change the head to a 3d printer head and have a cutting area of about 1300mm x 1000mm x 240mm.

i will first build a 3 Axis Gantry CNC with hand cut 18mm MDF and then use that machine to cut better quality parts in the hope that a can start to machine aluminium. Then if all goes to plan start making aluminium frame work and build it up to a 5 Axis CNC.

One that is phase is complete i will move onto building the stand along control panel and motion controller using a combo of AVR, Ardunio and TI Stellaris Arm Micro controllers which i hope to use to make a closed loop system using some AS5048A magnetic rotary encoders on each stepper motor shaft. From there i will start work on accessories like auto tool changers, 3D digitizers and all the other fun stuff.

i am still looking for any other parts people could donate like sheets of Plastics ie delrin, hdpe or aluminium that would be great even old machines that i can salvage buttons, electrical and mechanical parts from would be great.

The geek will inherit the earth. 🙂


6 Decade Resistor Substitution Box

I have finally got round to start building the rest of the tools needed for my electronics workshop. I built this Resistor Substitution Box using 6 x 12 Pole Rotary Switches, 6 x Chicken Head Knobs, 1% 1 Watt Metal Film Resistors, 2 x Banana Sockets and some old thick coax cable for connecting the switches together because of its low resistance. Total Cost £7.19 Total Resistance at 0 = 0.3 ohms all the the way up to 999,999 ohms in 1 ohm increments. I am thinking of building another one and a module to connect them together as a potential divider but i might just add a 10k ohm 10 turn potentiometer and and extra socket to the box for that function.