Archive for July, 2010
Over the last few weeks Harford Hackerspace has had the pleasure of beta testing the Netduino. The Netduino is a development board with a form factor similar to the Arduino. Care was taken when designing the Netduino to ensure compatibility with most of the existing Arduino shields. That’s about where the similarities of the two devices ends.
The Netduino uses Microsoft’s Open Source .net Micro Framework SDK along with Visual Studio C# (or VS C# Express) as the primary development environment. C# application developers will be able to quickly adapt to the .net Micro Framework and start programming microcontrollers in a matter of minutes. However, this does not let them off the hook for learning the basics of electronics.
Betascape was this previous weekend and Harford Hackerspace was on hand with robots, lightning bug jars, and general awesomeness. We setup early Saturday morning between Baltimore Node and the First Lego League representatives. The day was spent forging various cardboard blades with crayons and stickers with various children blacksmiths quietly honing their craft. All in all we gave away approximately 50 swords to young lads and lasses who, no doubt, brought these mighty cardboard weapons to bear against a variety of fiends.
The previously mentioned Baltimore Node was there demonstrating various projects such as air powered rockets and some sort of power tool drag racing. Set up across from us was The Digital Media Center from Johns Hopkins demonstrating cloth circuitry and teaching others about cloth circuits. The National Electronics Museum was setup in the back with some kind of robot (which I did not see). Various other people included a company demonstrating a 3D picture taking technology, Bryan Dolge with a makerbot, as well of a bunch of gamemakers in the game making section.
We are currently in the process of revising our CNC design since the Y/Z axis was eating its rails over time due to slight alignment issues. We decided to upgrade the bearings in general to avoid the problem in the future. The x-axis seems to be working fine, so we are going to leave it alone for now. The revision includes CNC cut pieces instead of hand cut pieces (using table saws and drill presses). We also did a major upgrade to the bearings and went with ACME-type lead screws to minimize backlash and improve accuracy. We updated the stepper couplings to the lead screws to make future maintenance easier. The redesign is expected to be complete within the month.
We have decided to upgrade our Oobleck demonstration since it seems to be wildly popular. Our goals were to go bigger and reduce noise output. One 15″ subwoofer and donated amp later we were done. It is a much simpler, larger, and quieter design than our previous demo. Videos will be posted soon.
Me and my wife recently had our first child. I’ve been trying to come up with some projects I can do for the kid. Well, around this time of the year the fireflies go crazy around my house, so we came up with the idea to do led fireflies in a jar. It should be something cool for him to stare at and is easy to build.
Schematics, C source code and hex file are available here on our wiki. If you want to build one it should only take about an hour.
I’m planning on making a version 2 with some changes, stay tuned for that one.