Wednesday, December 05, 2012

00640 Stars

Forced from my creative hibernation, I set to work making stars for my daughter:

The Star



I'm sure the hot glue I used with the voltage regulator inside the star won't melt when the temperature goes through the roof. Yeah, I think I've got that nailed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

00638 The Space Pirates of Rocquaine

... are excellent subjects for an ongoing photographic project because they aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!


Lisa  SPOR  Lisa



A deeply awesome band whose seminal album is available in no shop that I know of.

Folking marvelous.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

00637 Pooh stick avalanche

Much time has passed.
Ironically, there hasn't been any water under the bridge, just sticks in the sea.

In Guernsey:

Petit Port stick boat

Petit Port stick boat  Petit Port stick boat  Petit Port stick boat

And in Sicily:

Sicillian pooh stick  Sicillian pooh stick  Sicillian pooh stick

00636 The Street, man

I'd like to think I'm on the edge of becoming a ground breaking street photographer, as it only involves intruding on people's privacy and generally making a nuisance of myself (which I am awesome at).

The only issue that has recently come to light, is that taking pictures in an area which is renowned as being Mafia HQ, without first seeking the permission of the residents, might lead to long swims with heavy shoes:

Billiards in Erice

Other, less dangerous subjects include:


Erice Street

Monday, July 09, 2012

00635 Herm

Herm stick boat

Herm stick boats  Herm stick boats

I've got to the stage where I'm compulsively making stick boats whenever I find myself on a beach. It's a bit like straightening pictures in terms of how institutionalised I've become.

Could be worse. Grizzly serial killings for instance. Or a crochet addiction.

Monday, July 02, 2012

00634 Talk notes

PCB etch 

In a vain atempt to make something new, I embarked on a seemingly impossibly small smd project to make a single sided PCB for an electronic die.

Turned out just fine as it happens. It seems you can manage 10mil traces with very little clearance with toner transfer methods. Mental.

These are my notes from the Nerd Night talk:
Embedded electronics requires,
To go from Breadboards
To ratsnesting or perfboard/stripboard
To Wirewrap
Finally PCBs.

PCB is copper sheet on non-conducive substate.
Copper is etched aways to form tracks (wires) and pads (contacts for components).
Components soldered to pads.

Smaller boards esp through SMD.
Repetition and adjustment of circuits made easier.
Reliable/robust operation (providid manufacture is consistent).

You have to learn.
not so easy to make change or repair once made.

PCB design can be sent to fabrication house.
Only long runs but high quality.
Expensive and inflexible for learning and prototyping.

DIY for robust prototyping or short run is a good option.

You will need:
  • Breadboard n' stuff
  • Software for designing your board.
  • Glossy paper.
  • A laser printer.
  • An iron.
  • An ironing board.
  • Copper clad board.
  • Old toothbrush.
  • Hydrochloric acid.
  • Hydrogen peroxide.
  • Fine grade sandpaper.
  • Acetone.
  • Fine tip indellible ink pen.
  • Dremmel drill or circular saw to cut fibreglass.
  • A drill with a 1 millimetre bit.
  • Electronic components and soldering equipment.
  • Soldering
  • Computer literacy
  • Basic workshop skills
  1. Prototype device on a breadboard.
  2. Design board in eagle cad.
  3. Print design in black and white onto glossy paper using laser printer - make multiples.
  4. Clean board using sand paper then acetone.
  5. Iron  print on to board.
  6. Soak off paper in water.
  7. Scrub remaining paper with toothbrush to remove.
  8. Inspect for broken tracks and overspill between tracks & repair.
  9. Mix etchant: acetone, water then acid. NOT A  LOT!
  10. Place board in etchant.
  11. Wash with water when finished.
  12. Clean off the toner mask with acetone.
  13. Cut board to size
  14. Drill, flux and populate.
Safety precautions:
  • Do this at your own risk.
  • Always work in a ventilated space.
  • Be careful with acid it is corrosive, keep it away from metal sinks.
  • Dispose Of chemicals carefully.
  • Always add acid to water, not the other way around.
  • Always wear eye protection.
  • Wear mask when cutting fibreglass.
Other areas/alternatives
  • Enclosures
  • Dual/multi-layer
  • Silk screening (or additonal toner transfer for part names)
  • SMD
Further reading
  • Instructables
  • Make
  • Rapidonline
  • Ebay
  • SMD guide

Thursday, June 28, 2012

00633 DIYFS FPCB talk


I'm giving a mini lecture about DIYFS FPCBs on Monday night at Nerd night in the pub opposite the town church. Looking back on what I'm going to be saying I can only imagine being met with blank staring faces and a growing sense of bewilderment.

'S pretty much how I look all the time.

In the meantime I'm trying to make a tiny, weeny smd die. Far more complicated than I ever imagined possible.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

00631 Space marine

Space marine

I have mostly been painting space marines.

Like you do.

00630 Surface mountage

Teeny tiny transistor

This transistor appears small next to a 1p, but considering that they are manufactured on a near-atomic scale these days, it's pretty massive.

Knowing that the world of technology is moving towards a miniaturised future, I am chasing hard to bring down the size of my stuff. By my calculations I will never catch up and in fact the bleeding edge of the technological revolution is leaving me behind at some speed.

I don't find that even slightly off-putting.


SMD Intervalometer     SMD Intervalometer  

SMD Intervalometer

This is an intervalometer for my camera, but it's so small I lost it.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

00629 Workbench

I'm hoping to get hold of a fair bit of wood soon, so that I can get on with making some shelves with a mate from work. In the meantime I'm busy working on projects dressed in my pyjamas


And I'm an eight year old girl

00628 Boat floating

Herm Pooh Stick

Herm Pooh Stick

Petiti Port Pooh Stick  Marble Bay boat  Marble Bay boat  

There's been a recent slew of boats rolling out of the shipyards here.

Petiti Port Pooh Stick

This last one's had a film made about it. I'm just struggling with the music before I publish it. The choice is whether to use music that I can find or to make it myself and risk it being really bad. The risk is coming in at around 95% certainty of badness.

00627 Switchies


So, basically throwies but with switches, right?

Nothing short of a power saving revolution.Bit weak around the solder joint where pins meet at 90 degrees mind, but as long as I don't give them to the kids.

Doh! I gave them to the kids.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

00626 iPod Amp, again


And so the project lumbers on. Very slowly.

This is the first version of the PCB, which ended up taking all of around four hours to sort, what with printing it too small and finding that none of the components fit.

End result - I need a better amp. But the show must go on.

00625 Bathing Pools Pooh Stick

Pooh stick

There was going to be a film of this, but it all go t a bit complicated and I'm all about the tranquillity and the simplicity.

As a result, there'll be a film of the next one. Which will be epic.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

00624 Paint on water

Cara and Meriel were adding paint to water with some turps on it.

It's only the coolest thing ever in the world.

00623 Richard's Board

It was Richard's Birthday over the weekend.

Helen said, "make a board for him, please".

So I did.

And 18 short months later, it was finished:

Richard's backgammon board

Richard's backgammon board Richard's backgammon board

Richard's backgammon board

Richard's backgammon board Richard's backgammon board Richard's backgammon board

00622, the iPod amp

There once was a man who worked day and night to make an iPod dock with speakers for his wife's birthday.

He failed and instead went to the shops and bought one and was sad.

For the record, I was not that man, but in sympathy with his tale, I built a failed iPod amp, just to see what it would feel like.

Wood from a skip, speakers from the dump:

iPod amp

The electronics are still to be finished, sometime before my death.

00621 Emerging from hibernation

I have been working and not blogging.

There has been some making, but it's been sporadic and slow.

Tom and Claire's backgammon board is the first thing to be finished, just before Christmas.

This is the inset window with their monogram set under greenhouse glass, held in place by a circular wooden frame:


They were pleased, I reckon. I was.

Wood was stuff chucked away from a local flooring company and the ply was from a skip. Properly covered in cement it was. Puuuuuurfect.