Adventure #2 – Lathing away

Afternoon adventurers. As part of my project to build an arcade case for Laser Defender game, this weekend with my good friend Matt G, he has been instructing me in the ways of the metal worker.

To test out the analog axis of my Teensy USB gamepad, I needed some potentiometers, which needed finishing with same handles. I found some old kitchen drawer handles and put them to work on Matt’s lathe.




Input Device #1 : Thottle control

A 10K slide pot with kitchen drawer handle

This works great as a throttle control in “Simple Planes”, next step is to build a housing for it, or maybe integrate it into a custom keyboard project.

Input Device #2: Turny handle thing

Yeah I dunno what this is really for, but its a turny handle thing. Im sure I’ll want a turny handle thing at some point.

Arcade stick

Actually all of the lathing was really for helping make some metal adapters for mounting rumble pack motors to my XINPUT arcade sticks, which look a bit like this. These are 2 separate parts “smushed” together (technical term).

When mounted on the stick, look a bit like this (rumble motor up underneath).

That’s it for now. Hoping to get my circuit boards next week!

Open Day 8th July 2017

Following on from our last great Open Day we’re throwing the doors to the Makerspace open once again. If you’ve ever wondered what a Makerspace is, now is your chance to find out. Depending on how busy we are you may even get some help and advice! Come along, meet the team and see some of our equipment in action.
There’s parking just next to the Makerspace which costs just £3 all day. Click here for details of how to find us.WIN_20170505_15_43_47_Pro

Ipswich Makerspace 2017 Fund Raising

For several weeks we have been in negotiation with the owner of 11 Dove Street to acquire the lease and finally have a place to call home. Barring accidents we will be signing the lease this week.

What does this mean for the Makerspace?

Having our own space gives us the chance to develop the Makerspace in ways we’ve not been able to before. We can look at getting more tools and equipment, offer more activities and reach out to more makers. And of course we want to make all that equipment accessible and convenient so you don’t waste half the session getting set-up.

To make Dove Street the exciting and above all useful space we all want is going to take money. There’s the up front cost to acquire the lease, some for things like insurance and security, practical items such as tables and chairs and then for the additional tools and equipment.

A new membership package

We’ll be rolling out a new membership package over the next few weeks, but to give you a flavour of what’s coming:

  • You will be able to book time on the 3D printers and other machinery
  • Borrow the 3D printers to work on at home
  • Book bench space by the meeting or the month
  • Pay for meetings by standing order at a reduced rate
  • Have your own storage crate to leave your gear at the space


We have decided to offer everyone a chance to fund the Makerspace by purchasing “Founder’s Bonds”. We have such confidence and enthusiasm for this venture that the committee members have already pledged £6000 with a further £2000 under discussion. Each bond costs £100 and the funds will be placed in a special account and allocated to projects by the Makerspace Committee. We want people to look on the Makerspace as a long term venture and so the minimum term of the bonds will be three years. After that time bond holders will be able to apply to have their bond repaid and the Makerspace will make reasonable endeavours to do so subject to common sense and the availability of funds. As a benefit, bond holders will be entitled to a 3% discount off their annual membership fee for every £100 bond they hold for as long as they hold it.

The lease deposit, legal fees and fixtures and fittings will cost us up to £4900. We will also need some working capital to cover any shortfall in the running costs until the we can expand our membership.

What is to become of the rest of the funds?

Firstly, we want to secure the building, particularly the front door which is currently the weakest spot. In the long term we also want to install an entry system to allow members to come and go 24/7. We will need to replace the furniture as it belongs to the current lease holder, but we will be keeping the kitchen. The next step is where it gets exciting. As many of you know I’m very keen to get a laser cutter and, funds allowing, I will push to get one as soon as is practical. Jon Leach has offered to lend us his CNC machine, Dan Sloane has lent us his Rigol scope, add that to our 3 x 3D printers and you have a fantastic resource for makers. The space could also benefit from a wide range of smaller tools such as crimping tools, assorted screwdrivers, power supplies and many more. We already have a stock of resistors and capacitors, JST sockets, assorted wire etc. but it would be very useful to also stock things like nuts, bolts, screws and washers, stand-offs. There’s truly nothing worse than making good progress on a project only to have to stop because you’re missing some tiny piece of hardware.

The regular Thursday evening makerspace meetings will continue as usual and we will also try out a range of alternative events to see what works best. If you have an idea you’d like to help get off the ground or a project you’d like to see happen then please talk to a member of the committee.

We want to get our funding in place as quickly as possible to be able move forward and so we need all applications for Founder’s Bonds to be received by midnight on Friday 17th February. Always remember that this is your makerspace and your help can make it really fly.

If you’d like to contribute by purchasing Founder’s Bonds then please contact me Steve Chalkley via Facebook, or at

TractorBot open source update

This week the TractorBot open source project took a step forward, Phil has been busy sorting out the code, it is now available on the Makerspace GitHub complete with install instructions.

Mean while Keith has been working on documenting the hardware, this is well underway but there is still a bit of work to be done.  The current work-in-progress can be seen on a branch of the GitHub repository here.

Soldering tutorial

So whilst preparing for my recent tutorial on how to use the Ryanteck Debug Clip on the Mac, I recorded myself soldering it up.

It didn’t turn out too bad so I have decided to release it as a tutorial in its own right.

Take a look, it you would like some more hands on guidance, I will be running a soldering workshop at the Makerspace on 24th September. You can view the event information here

Pi Wars 2015

At the last CamJam event, one of the talks was titled Pi Wars 2015.

The announcement can be seen here:

So for those who do not know, the Ipswich Makerspace entered the 2014 event, and we actually did very well. We cam first in the under £75 category which we were all very please with. The few weeks leading up to the event were very busy getting Tractor Bot ready for the event, with some very late nights. The event on the day however was very enjoyable and we all had a great time.

Frank put together a video demonstrating some of the achievements of Tractor Bot last year and can be seen here:

This year we have a very good base to start from, so development should be much easier. The rules have not been announced yet, but the challenges have, they are listed below

  • Obstacle course (with different obstacles than 2014)
  • Skittles
  • Straight-line speed test
  • Robot vs Robot Duel
  • Three-Point-Turn
  • Line follower course
  • Proximity alert
  • Code quality
  • Aesthetics
  • Build quality
  • Best blogging team

In adddtion there will also be prizesfor the following:

  • Smallest robot
  • Most featured robot
  • Most innovative robot

So this is a call for help, we would very much like to enter Tractor Bot version 2 this year but myself and Phil do not want to take the lead. We need at least a couple of people with lots of energy and vision to follow this though, you will obviously get lot of support from the Makerspace. Reviewing how last year went, we probably need a lead code developer and a hear hardware developer. Once of the challenges is for the best blogging team so we could probably also do with a lead blogger.

If this sounds interesting to you, please put your hand up. It would be lovely to win for a second year but we need your help.

If you want to keep up to date with the latest Pi Wars news, sign up for alerts at the official Pi Wars page

Linux Voice, issue 7

Another month passes and another issue of Linux Voice is open sourced.

This month it is issue 7, originally going on sale in October 2014 and they cover the following:

The full issue can be downloaded here:(95MB)

  • Distrohopper – Siduction, Zorin, GhostBSD and OpenElec: PDF
  • Gaming On Linux: PDF
  • OSCON 2014: PDF
  • Feature: Find your perfect Linux distro: PDF
  • Feature: Raspberry Pi B+: PDF
  • Feature: Elementary OS: PDF
  • Interview: Thomas Voss of the Mir project: PDF
  • Review: KDE 5: PDF
  • Review: CamJam EduKit: PDF
  • Review: Mathematica 10: PDF
  • Review: LibreOffice 4.3: PDF
  • Review: Stellarium 0.13: PDF
  • Book Reviews: Tubes: A journey to the center of the internet, Great North Road, Dealing With Disrespect and Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking: PDF
  • Group test: IRC clients: PDF
  • Core technology: Get plugged in with UDP: PDF
  • FOSSPicks: PDF
  • Tutorial: Void your Raspberry Pi’s warranty: PDF
  • Tutorial: Program electronic music with Sonic Pi: PDF
  • Tutorial: Data analysis using Python and MySQL: PDF
  • Tutorial: Power up your shell: PDF
  • Tutorial: Write and publish outlines with Fargo: PDF
  • Coding: Reverse engineer a device driver for a USB toy car: PDF
  • Coding: Master Bash scripting: PDF
  • Code ninja: Programmer’s golf: PDF
  • Coding: Konrad Zuse, (nearly) the German Turing: PDF
  • Masterclass: Use Samba to share files with Windows users: PDF