I know its been quiet on the blogging front here for a while but that doesn’t mean a lot hasn’t been happening, I’ve had my head down in a number of projects, I need to rebalance my IRC, Twitter, usergroups and everything better! After meeting some 3D printing folk at OggCamp last year we decided to form a RepRap group for the Thames Valley area along with a build group within that (TVRRUG). I took a lead on the electronics side of the build as we couldn’t find a suitable design that met all of our group requirements. Ironically given the percentage of self builds occuring within the RepRap world most of the electronics designs are not adapted to through hole components, many use the Allegro QFN stepper drivers (amongst other SMD choices). In addition the electronics are often not designed with beginners in mind and are not modular allowing makers to build in testable sections. So we have spent the last 6 months or so designing, building and testing a modular through hole RepRap electronics set which has proved to be an interesting diversion from the Amino project, it also enables me to complete my own RepRap build. The modular components make up an opensource set of stepper based cartesian robotic controls and is starting to find interest outside of just RepRap builds but also CNC, plasma and laser cutting applications. Given the community nature of the project I decided to explore a new online service aimed at hosting hardware projects called SolderPad started by a couple of my OSHUG colleagues. You will find a number of my opensource projects listed at SolderPad, which incidentally makes it easier to embed stuff here (in theory but lets see how it works out).
While talking about community stuff I should also mention Reading Maker Space (RMS) which is a new hackerspace in the Thames valley we have been bringing into life, I have already run some soldering classes there for the TVRRUG folk and others. RMS is on the cusp of going live as we speak just as soon as the RFID door system is in place, if you live in the Thames Valley area and are interested we run open days on Wednesday evenings where you are welcome to come and check out the space. There are already some great folk involved in RMS especiallty Ryan who stuck his neck out by putting money down on the space itself. At RMS there is already part of the TVRRUG crew contigent for that project and I am also getting involved in a delta robot project along with some of the other planned activities like polar robotic controls for things like robot Arms etc.. I am sure that there will be many more interesting projects emerging from RMS over the next few months.
I haven’t yet got Amino onto solderpad as have a fresh new design version in the pipe. The new design simplifies some of the board layout issues of the previous version and adds some Xmos backward compatability for my add ons, it also solves some of the physical issues I experienced with the last layout. The result will be something simpler, compact, expandable and more practical, I’ll have a lot more to report on this very soon. At the same time I have made some progress on the software side of things and now beleive I have found something more unified in my approach, again more on this shortly.
P.S. I will be talking at OSHUG 16 on Thursday along with some other interesting OSH folk, worth attending if your in town