PiWars 2017, let the fun begin

So once more Tim Richardson @Geeky_Tim and Mike Horne @recantha are running PiWars, this time though rather than the usual December date it is being run over two days in April, the weekend of the first and second of April.

Ipswich Makerspace have entered the last two events and we have found them thoroughly exciting and exhausting. Our blog from last years event can be found here

Having enjoyed the previous events so much, we duly submitted our entry for the 2017 event. During the application I did not really “sell” ourselves, it had not been necessary in previous years, but when I heard the event was very much over subscribed, I think over 140 entries were recieved and only 76 were accepted, I got very nervous and was worried we would not be able to compete. But fortunately and with much relief on 30th September I received an email from Mike saying our entry had been accepted, we had a place :-D.

So who are the Ipswich Makerspace team?

Currently the team is made up by Phil, Jon, Keith and Steve. Our profiles can be found here in last years blog:

What is the plan

Line sensor PCB mounted to chassis
Line sensor PCB mounted to chassis

So the rules have changed this year, particularly with regard to size. So last years bot will be too large. That means a rebuild, that is not necessarily a bad thing, since whilst the 3D model look very nice the actual bot was not all that aesthetically pleasing, mostly due to all the wires on show.

TractorBot 2015
TractorBot 2015

So this year we are going to try harder and make the robot look nicer.

Let the fun begin

Location Location Location

Our current venue is 11 Dove Street, Ipswich. Parking is free after 6pm weekdays and £3 all day at the weekend in the Suffolk New College car park which is on Rope Walk only a few metres from the venue. Rope Walk has a barrier part way along which prevents access to the car park from Grimwade Street but does allow access to Dove Street for loading and unloading. Use St Helen’s Street and Milner Street to get to the end of Rope Walk that does access the car park. There are two car parks, you want the second one but whichever one you choose, please check the regulations just to be sure.

Dove Street directions

AutoDesk Fusion 360 walkthrough

The fourth Thursday of the month is approaching, that can only mean one thing. It’s talk night.

On Thursday 23rd June Keith will be giving us a broad overview of 3D modelling in AutoDesk Fusion 360. This is a powerful, easy to use modelling environment free to Makers for Windows and MacOS. It can produce very nice 3D renders as well as easily outputting files for 3D printing or laser cutting, with advanced CAM features and also allows movement studies and stress analysis to be carried out. Keith will outline the general workflow which he has come to know well whilst designing last years Pi Wars entry along, with a live demonstration and quick overview of the move advanced features.

See the event page for more information

Makerspace for the Win!

I had a great evening at the Ipswich Makerspace last week. For a while I had been pondering a broken sellotape dispenser, so I decided to do something about it. The sellotape was held by a large spool, with a smaller tapered spool inside. The smaller spool has two prongs which are supported by the main dispenser. The problem, one of these prongs had snapped off.

So i took the spool, a vernier gauge and drew it up in Autodesk Fusion 360. Exported the stl file and with help from a few of the others at Makerspace got the 3D printer going. The print was not perfect, the printer needs a bit of tuning, but it worked and I now have a fully functioning sellotape dispenser again.

Makerspace for the Win!

New Venue

The last meeting was held at a trial venue, 83 Grimwade Street. It tuned out it is actually rather nice and has lots of potential, including the ability to have permanent storage and eventually equipment.

So all future meetings will be held here.

The internet is being installed Friday apparently, so as long as it all goes well we should also have online access. If anyone has a spare large flat screen TV they no longer want, it would be most welcome so we can get the retro games room on its way.

Look forward to seeing you all there next week on 25th February.