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Remote Controlled Wifi Strandbeest

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I took these strandbeest kits to EMF camp, I blogged about them coming soon and I've been selling them at craft fairs and on my webstore. I just realised that I've never explicitly stated that they're available now. Get there while there is lots of time for Christmas, rather than two weeks before and we're all left hoping the postal service does it's job.
The kit features the ESP8266 micro controller so it's a great little project for learning about those. The device starts it's own wifi network and then serves up a webpage to your browser which you can use to steer the walker around. It's open source software so you can modify it as you require, but the Wemos D1 is supplied, tested and programmed, so even if you don't know anything about software you can make it work.
If you've already got a plastic kit then you can purchase the electronics on their own as an upgrade.

Shut the Box

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I've been doing a few craft fairs recently and wanted something a little bit more 'gifty'. These 'shut the box' games have turned out really well and have been a surprise hit with kids too. The concept of rolling a number on the dice and then flipping down a number of tabs equal to that total is very similar to the 'number bonds' they are being taught at school (7=1+6 or 2+5 or 7+0). The tabs have little pins that sit into the vertical bars and the lid works the same way with the walls of the box. They're up in my etsy store now




Long overdue cake parts

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I found some images of some very overdue projects, these projects came in while I was in the middle of my kickstarter fulfilment and absolutely sucked up every last moment of my time. I even ended up taking a pile of parts on holiday with me just to get them completed in time, definitely a mistake I won't be repeating. It's a collection of 20 owl heads, and 55 remote control cars, 200 hours of work with a 4 week deadline, with one week on holiday and kids home for the holidays. :(





Wine Bottle Gift Boxes

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I had a local craft fair this weekend, I wanted to add a few extra/new items to my range so that my stall would be very different from last time. I've seen lots of variations on this wine box so I thought I would make my own version. The living hinges at the top allow the sides to be pulled close and the lid closed, it also a great place to put a handle. The fretwork patterns down the sides make them unique to me as well as the custom labels attached to the side. (svg here)

I didn't sell very many and I'm not sure any were going to be used as wine bottle boxes, one lady wanted to put plants in it and another was going to put fairy lights in hers. Neither wanted the the custom labels so I'm pleased they were only held on with blue tak. It's definitely given me food for thought with the next craft faire looming.



The most wonderful time of the year

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By which I mean Halloween of course, I seem to have missed a few of the previous years but now that the kids can carve their own pumpkins it was fun to do it again.

Beam Combiner vs Head Mounted

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I've read a lot about the two different methods over the years and I've always had my own opinions about the subject but now I actually have two different lasers with two different red dot methods I feel like I can publically add something to the discussion based on my own experience.
The red dot on a laser cutter is a single point of light that shines down onto the work piece to show you were the laser cutter is going to cut. It makes it a lot easier to line up scraps of material with where the laser intends to perform a cut. Because the laser head is cone shaped you can technically predict where the laser will be and some of the really cheap K40 lasers do away with the red dot entirely, but I think it's always worth paying a little bit more money to have it included.


There are two distinct methods for putting a red dot on the work piece, the first involves fixing a small laser diode to the cutting head to shine directly down onto the material. Most of the affordable las…

Power in the apocalypse

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In the near future I'm going to be doing a few more cyberpunk events so while it's probably a neon dystopia these things all share the same issues. Techno gadgets need to glow/flash/move or other things for a whole weekend in a place where access to electricity may be limited and changing batteries round all the time can be a pain.
I've recently picked up several of these USB powerbanks from Poundland (worth noting that they are £2). The teardown review was relatively positive so I thought it was worth a try. The first blinky LED project I've got running on it has currently been going for 48 hours non stop so I've made the decision to build one of these into the project rather than AA batteries (project details in due course). It's always worth designing with low power in mind and there are a whole bunch of tricks you can do to reduce the power consumption but I'm looking forward to getting these into projects.