Hack, Make, Teach
In Dublin for a Canonical development meeting, I grabbed a few friends and we visited the TOG hackerspace. We met some great people and happened to be there on their microcontroller night, so we saw some arduino projects in the works.
Here are some photos.
TOG is an exciting space. Here’s their web site.
During a week of vacation, I made very good progress on the brother knitting machine file format.
The wiki page has links.
I’ve also started a python class to interface with these files. That class is read only at this point, but I am also playing with an application to program custom patterns, and that will require adding writing capabilities. Links to that software are also on the above page.
I am posting these now because I am coming up on a period of a few weeks when I may not be able to make much progress on this, and I wanted to go ahead and get it out there.
While we were at NYC Resistor last month, Susan and I spotted a knitting machine. It turned out to be Bre’s Brother Electroknit model KH-930E. We ended up making a deal and shipped it home. Sadly, both ends of the machine took some shipping damage, but it’s still functional.
I’ve been hacking and reverse-engineering a bit since then, and I’ve written a python program which emulates the optional external floppy disk drive for the knitting machine. With access to saved files, I’ve begun cracking apart the file format used by the machine, and extending the information other people had already gathered.
I’m keeping the wiki updated here.
I will release the emulator program very soon. I’ve put in some new functionality and haven’t had a chance to test it with the knitting machine yet.
As soon as that’s done, I’ll post it.
The external floppy emulator is available, link is on the wiki page referenced above.
Here’s another item that I mentioned over on my personal blog a week ago, but it’s worth repeating here.
Antitronics has a Makerbot on order. The Makerbot is a 3d printer that uses extruded plastic to print objects up to about 4″x4″x5″. Susan and I dropped in to NYC Resistor on a day when there were several of these running, and I was blown away by the possibilities.
Look for more about this tool when it’s built and in action – and come by and see it, it will change the way you think.
I’ve been working on an arduino power monitor for the Flying Monkey arts collective. I wrote about it originally
over here on my personal blog.
It’s complete, and I think it’s functional. In order to do the final checkout, I have to put it on a wired net, as all that’s available here (at antitronics) at the moment is wireless.
I ended up finding arduino code that Maurice Ribble had written that was almost exactly what I needed, which made it very easy.
Provided that it works, the only remaining thing to be done before putting it into service is to check it against some sort of calibrated standard, or at least to use an accurate AC current meter to compare the output of the current probes with the A/D values that the arduino reads. It should be OK as the analog front end came out of another current monitoring project, but I need to check it.
The announcement mailing list is up and running. If you signed up on the piece of paper at the space you should get an invitation. If you didn’t sign up or don’t get an invitation and want to get announcements, then you can sign up here.
There shouldn’t be much email from this list, and it will include announcements of when I’m going to be sharpening things at the space.
We’ve been limping along with a skeleton web site for a while, and it was time for a change.
Looking at other hacker spaces, I liked the look of the nycresistor site, and noticed that they used wordpress. I haven’t looked at WP for a long time, so I had another look and it’s much more usable now than the last time I used it. So I installed WP and a nice theme and we’re off and running with a minimum of fuss.
We’re still in the process of getting in gear and getting our rhythm going. We’ll be scheduling classes and such, and putting our store on line soon. In the meantime, sign up for our announcement list, and come by to see us on Saturdays.