Exploring the parts bin

Workshop88 has been the recipient of lots of donated electronic parts. An effort of an hour a week or so over the last several months to sort through them is starting to show some results, so some random jottings on what’s back in the lab seem useful.
An awful lot of resistors are back there. If anyone needs virtually any value of 1/8th watt thru hole resistor you can probably find it, along with a pretty full set of surface mount resistors. There are also some larger wattage resistors, though they’re not as sorted out.
The thru hole or breadboard LED supply is also well stocked. Many colors and several sizes are back there.
One useful looking find last night was a half dozen PIC processors, PIC16C745. These have built in low speed USB, so they could be used in any project that needs a USB port to control or monitor something else. While not the latest part, at least they’re from this millennium.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on what’s available in the electronics bins for members. While most of what’s there is far from leading edge, for breadboarding purposes it’s ideal. One project that Jim and I have discussed is to have a simple PCB manufacture setup right in the room, so that an idea could go from concept to populated board in a couple of hours.

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New class: Introduction to the Blender UI

Blender UI - Image credit pookstar on deviantart

 

Blender is a power tool for rendering 3D visualizations used in creating animations, special effects, interactive 3D computer applications, video games and models for 3D printing. Historically the interface for using Blender has had the repuation of being difficult to learn to use, but recent development on Blender has been focused on improving the user interface.

This class will be an introduction to the Blender user interface (UI) including how to use the keyboard and mouse effeciently. The class will cover how to model a fairly simple object including the use of a few handy modifiers included in Blender. This class will not cover texturing, rigging, rendering, animation or the game engine, but if there is interest in these topics you should look for a future class on these advanced topics. At the end of the class you should have a firm basis to make more informed searches of how to do what you want with Blender.

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New class: Programming a Tiny85 with Arduino

Tiny85: a simple, cheap alternative to dedicating an Arduino to a long-term project

ATtiny85 - Image credit: Atmel

Atmel offers several processor chips in the same family as the Arduino’s ATMega328P that are often perfect for a simple permanent controller. This class introduces you to the ATTiny85, with mention of some others. You’ll leave with an ’85 running a simple blinkie with code you wrote, you ported to Tiny85, and you burned into the ’85 along with a mini shield to use an Arduino as a programmer for the ’85 and many other Atmel chips.

The class is open to Arduino users with at least basic programming skills. (You’ll need to be able to modify the Blink sketch.) You’ll need to bring a working Arduino (or clone), a laptop with the Arduino 1.0.4 development environment, and a breadboard. We’ll supply a Tiny85.

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Introduction to Arduino class (Arduino 101) Saturday April 6, 2013

Workshop 88 is offering our introduction to the Arduino platform at our makerspace in Glen Ellyn.

This class is for anyone who wants to learn how to get started with the arduino microcontroller, regardless of experience with programming or electronics.

Class attendees will learn how to configure their arduino programming environment, how to design simple circuits for interfacing with the arduino and how to write simple programs to control the arduino. What is Arduino, you ask? From their home page:

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

If you need to get an arduino, please see the Workshop 88 Arduino Store. Sales from that store are fulfilled by amazon.com, and help support Workshop 88. Alternatively, you can order Arduino systems from several places, including Adafruit and Sparkfun. Both companies have lots of tutorials and howtos to get you started with Arduinos. If you’re looking for a local source to get Arduinos, try Trossen Robotics.

What you’ll get from this class: If you choose the registration + materials option, we will have an arduino and assortment of electronics components for you to take home after the class. (The Workshop 88 Arduino Store is by far a cheaper route to get supplies.)

In this class you will learn how to start programming in the Arduino environment including interacting with the inputs and outputs of the Arduino.You should bring: a laptop with the Arduino environment downloaded and installed.  Please contact us (info@workshop88.com) if you have any questions. Image credit: By Linuswiki (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Designing and making your own Halloween costume – Base Mesh

In this article we’ll discuss using your character turnaround to create a base mesh. While I won’t be explaining in detail how to use Blender – that’s beyond the scope of my experience – I will be introducing important terms and concepts that you can then use to find more knowledgable sources of information. So let’s get started.

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Volunteering for Quest Academy

The Quest Academy in Palatine is opening an “Innovation Center” next year that will include a 3D printer for the kids to use. Vinnie Vrotny, director of academic technology, asked Workshop88 to bring a couple 3D printers to a benefit event last evening. Proceeds of the event will help fund the center.
I brought the MakerBot Cupcake up to Hoffman Estates. I’d pictured a junior high gym as a venue – in fact the benefit was at a pretty upscale banquet hall. Initially I thought that jeans and hiking boots might not be suitable among the tuxedos and gowns, but I think our demo was very successful. Lots of people stopped for lengthy conversations, and were quite interested in the tech. It didn’t hurt that the printers were right next to the open bar.
We should keep some open contacts with the school, as some of our aims match well with theirs.

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Designing and making your own Halloween costume – Planning

Welcome back! So you’re interested in making you’re own custom Halloween costume. If you weren’t able to find some Pepakura models already created, you’re going to need to design and model it yourself. Unless you’re an amazing sculpter who can imagine a great 3d object in empty space, you’re going to want some type of 2d references to work from. Doing some prep work up front can save you a lot of time down the road.

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Welcome, Hackaday readers!

Hey, we’re featured on hackaday today!

If you’re a hackaday reader just learning about Workshop 88, please feel free to connect with us online:

Email list – join our  Google group – You must subscribe to this to see the messages. (We approve everyone who is not a spambot.)

Twitter – Follow @Workshop88

Facebook – like us on Facebook

Meetup – If you are local to the the Chicago area, follow our schedule of all we do at our Meetup page.

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Designing and making your own Halloween costume – Introduction

Hi there! I’m relatively new to W88 and was asked to blog a little bit about some things I have going. I have an Arduino sensor project I’ll be writing about later as it gets a little further along, but seeing as Halloween is right around the corner, I thought I’d start with designing and creating your own Halloween costume.

The design I’m going to be shooting for will be made out of EVA foam and should be relatively inexpensive, pretty durable, easy to work with, and not require a whole lot of tools. However, I’ve never done this before so these posts may just be a documentary of my crashing and burning.

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