Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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One of the awesome projects at Maker Faire 2016 was creating a drone. Radio Shack had a free workshop using their DIY Drone Kits. Naturally I got a kit and quickly assembled it. However, my drone piloting skills are still developing and this quad has had more than a few rough landings. It wasn’t long before the original airframe needed to be replaced. A couple weeks of work later, I was successful and the replacement airframe can be found on Thingiverse! Follow me after the break and I’ll share all the details on my latest project! (more…)

Special Project Update

Posted: November 9, 2016 in News

You might have noticed I didn’t post last week. This will be the only post this week. I am working on a special project and it isn’t ready quite yet. I have had several iterations on this project, but it still needs another one or two to be 100% functional. It’s very exciting! In the mean time, I have a book review to share next week and the plan is to share my special project the following week! Stay tuned!

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If you have launched EV3-G recently, you probably discovered that there is a new update! LEGO has released version 1.2.2 to address the “VM Program Instruction Break” bug. Be sure to update your software to the latest version. The bug did not affect the firmware on your EV3, just the compiler in EV3-G.

The Seshan Brothers, over at EV3Lessons.com, have an excellent overview of the bug.

You can download the latest versions of the LEGO MINDSTORMS programming software here!

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LEGO was all over World Maker Faire! Besides FIRST LEGO League, LEGO was a common sight. LEGO provides a flexible building platform and Makers love LEGO. While it might not ship in a final project, the iconic, modular bricks provides an unmatched ease of use for prototyping. This has been one of my favorite posts to write, showing off all the awesome creations of the community! Follow me after the break to check out more of the LEGO sights of World Maker Faire 2016!

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This past weekend was World Maker Faire 2016 in New York. Maker Faire is a celebration of creativity, technology, and invention. I was lucky to attend the event again this year, showing off some LEGO robots at the ILUGNY booth. While the booth was constantly busy, I was able to explore and see some truly amazing projects. Follow me after the break for more photos from this incredible event!

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Tonight at 7:30 PM EDT, I will be giving a presentation on Amateur Radio at the University of Florida. The event will be live streamed via the YouTube link above. If you are interested in making with electronics, getting your amateur radio license can open up a whole new world of opportunities. Come learn a little about the original makers and the various aspects of this exciting hobby!

UPDATE: I was asked to share some of the links in a clickable form. Check out the links below!

Remember you can use Amazon Smile to donate to the Gator Amateur Radio Club! Just search for “Alumni and Friends of Gator Amateur Radio”.

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This past summer my brother and I ventured to the Bahamas for a short vacation. As amateur radio operators, we thought it might be fun to work from a different country. Several weeks before our trip, we received our reciprocal licenses from the Bahamas. Assigned the suffix “/C6A”, it was then time to figure out my rig.

Traveling with a radio is hard. Antennas for HF typically require lots of area, and people ask lots of questions.I wanted to have a small radio that I could operate from the beach. My brother brought his Elecraft KX2, but my Icom 706MKII would be too bulky. Follow me after the break to learn more about my solution.

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This week I thought I would write an extra post to share a couple of links that I was involved with. The first comes from an outstanding MINDSTORMS resource, EV3lessons.com. I was offered the opportunity to write a guest blog post. Naturally, I took this opportunity to share my thoughts on Build Robots with Gracious Professionalism. Head over to EV3 Lessons and checkout the post!

The other link comes from Sketchup. Last year at World Maker Faire in New York they had a camera crew capturing the event. They interviewed me, asking about making. The video is above. I did so many interviews, it was tough to keep with all the final videos. A friend of my brother found this video and shared it on social media. Check it out the awesome video and learn a bit about us Makers!

 

 

CoverNo Starch Press recently released a new book in the making space. This latest entry, titled Arduino Project Handbook by Mark Geddes, joins the many existing Arduino books on the market. Over the past few weeks I have been reading the book and making some of the projects. The book has a wealth of knowledge to share.

Overall, I really liked the book. I do want to get my one main complaint out of the way now. Based on the title and description, I was expecting a book of projects from start to finish. This book only goes as far as the breadboard. I was expecting projects to have enclosures and mounting of elections, a mixed-media problem faced by many new makers. However, none of the projects make it that far.

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Sample page, used with permission from No Starch Press.

Once I adjusted my expectations, I really got into the book. Most projects are presented with some pictures and then a wiring schematic. You can see that in the sample page to the right or below.  The wiring schematic uses symbols that closely match what the actual part looks like, instead of the traditional electronics schematic. This is really helpful for new makers. From both the wiring schematic and the pictures it is really easy to make sure you wired your project correctly.

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Sample page, used with permission from No Starch Press.

All of the projects, save the last few, use the Arduino Uno. The last few projects do not use the Uno, rather using the ATMEGA328 on a breadboard. While still using the Arduino firmware, this is a good way for makers to condense the number of boards in a project.

The projects are creative and fun, ranging from blinking lights to a weather station. Some projects require just a few parts while others are a bit more complex. Many of the individual skills are easily applied to other projects. For example, several projects use an LCD screen or servo motors, two of the most common devices in maker projects. Furthermore, the sample code is clearly commented and published in the book. This is huge as many publishers are moving this content online, making it harder to follow. I found this helpful when working on my desk when my internet went down. I was able to keep tinkering and following the instructions without having to worry about reaching the publisher’s website.

Overall this is another great Arduino book. Mark Geddes does a great job of showing how new makers can leverage an Arduino. I recommend the Arduino Project Handbook for any aspiring makers and those new to electronics! You can find the book on amazon for under $20. For that price, I think it would be a great addition to any maker’s library!

 

Rebooting the Blog

Posted: August 24, 2016 in News

It has been a while since I last posted. I think it’s time to change that. My new plan is to make a new post every Wednesday. Topics will continue to be making with a special focus on LEGO, Amateur Radio, Electronics, and of course, Robotics! Check back later today for book review to reboot the blog!