Newcastle Maker Faire 2011

I'm writing this on the train back from Newcastle after attending this years Maker Faire. I've attended each Newcastle Maker Faire and it's been fantastic witnessing it grow each year. Many of the groups displaying their projects are veterans of previous Faires and it's inspiring seeing their projects develop from one year to the next. A growing faire means new groups and although some themes are repeated many groups have truly unique projects.

As last year I've put together a short video capturing some of the activity at this maker faire. It's difficult capturing more than a sliver of what makes this event great so I encourage you to click through to the project websites. I'll link to as many as I can below the video over the next few days but for the moment would encourage you to visit the official website.


I can't find a link for the roving wheelie bins but more information on the fire breathing dragon is available here.

I can't find a link for the first robot. The second robot was from mbed. The third robot was part of a very large exhibit but again I'm struggling to find a link. The fourth scene of robots were from robochallenge. The final ground based bot was from robosavvy.

The underwater bot was from underwater rov. The aerial photography using a model plane was done by Simon Clark. The rocketry was from Black Streak.

It was difficult keeping track of all the 3D printers so I'll just highlight two focusing specifically on 3D printers - bodgeitquick and emakershop.

The first automata was from Richard Broderick, the second from Philip Lowndes and I'm unsure about the third though I suspect Richard again.

The DIYBio presence was organised by Cathal Garvey and Brian Degger.

The standing wave flame tube was from Steve Mould. The wind up music disc was from the North of England Arduino Group organised by Mike Cook. I'm not sure who was responsible for the heart beat light sculpture. The interactive light table was built by Oli and the digital grafetti wall was built by the Jam Jar Collective and the musical tesla coils were from Brightarcs.

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Developing the Alectruino clock - Part 1

Side-on view of the breadboard setup

I have recently returned to a project I began last winter. The project is to design an alarm clock which eases waking up on these dark and dismal winter mornings. The idea is fairly simple. 30 minutes or so before I want to wake up a bank of LEDs will begin to shine simulating the dawn. This will hopefully prime me for the alarm itself. Last winter I had the time working with a DS1307 real-time clock and was able to control the LEDs through an Arduino.

Although I'm keeping the real-time clock I'm switching the LEDs from white to blue light and I'm adding in an LCD to display the time and likely allow programming. So far I have soldered the bank of LEDs up so they are almost ready to go and setup the Arduino to pull the current time from the DS1307 and then display it on the LCD. So far the project is going well. Hopefully this year I'll actually finish it while it is still of some use. When spring comes around I'll let nature do the work.

Aerial view of the breadboard setup

The code is straightforward and is little more than pulling together code put together by others. Specifically the tutorials for the LiquidCrystal library and this tutorial on interfacing with the DS1307. The code can be viewed here.

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