The Hackspace Hat

Libby and Barney have a plan to create a telepresence hat which will allow remote visitors to have a first-person tour of the space, by the magic of webRTC and modern autonomic millinery.

Watch this space for future news (and to book a tour)! In the meantime, here’s a picture to whet your appetite:


We’re going to try it first with the Cheltenham Hackspace. We’re not quite there – WebRTC is turning out to be a bit more complicated than we’d hoped on the Pi2, but we’re hopeful it’ll work.

Here’s some more technical information, and more pictures here & here.


The Converging World build a solar phone charger at the hackspace

Over the last few days there’s been loads of activity at the hackspace, today we’ve had mosfet power controllers, Bristol Braille, bike automatons, CNC spoon milling, PCB design & fab, cardboard surfboards, set design and solar phone chargers! It’s fantastic to see so many varied activities all going on in the space.

I spoke to the guys from The Converging World about their solar phone charger and persuaded them to pose for a photo.


They’re using an old farm’s 120W solar panel to charge a 12V battery (inside the drawers). Then using the classic trick of car mobile phone chargers (the circles in the top drawer) to step down the battery suitable for mobile phone charging. It’s all come together over the last 2 days and they just left the space on their way to the festival. Good luck!

robot skillshare with the Shonkbot!

IMG_7133 Tuesday 4th August. Doors will open from 6.30pm for a 7pm start. 10 tickets available.

Build your own drawing robot! This robot was developed by a team at Bristol Hackspace to teach beginners that it’s not so hard to make a robot.
We ran 2 young people’s workshops for the most recent digimakers, and now we’re doing it again for the general public.
The £10 robot can be built by a beginner in an hour, and forms a platform for further robotic experimentation. After you’ve built the robot, you’ll have a chance to program it to draw something different. The robot will be yours to take away.
Please bring a laptop with the Arduino IDE installed.

Eventbrite - Shonkbot - build your own drawing robot!

Sab’s Spoons

Sab has been making spoons on a CNC router. He put a photo of an existing he liked the look of into Blender , and then tweaked it. Later he used Vectric, which lets you choose the texture.

Here are some of his prototypes:

and here’s the current version, before finishing (Sab rather likes the diagonal lines):


The key, he says, was a combination of parameters and tweaking until he got the effect he wanted. Vectric has a free time-limited trial, which was very useful as he could simulate the shape and texture without having to come down to the Hackspace.

At the regular Hackspace open evening on thursday he was discussing with Richard and Anton how to finish the spoons. His original plan was to finish it by hand: Richard’s suggestion was a fine and fast last pass on the router; Anton suggested buffing it with a wheel and Tripoli.

Here’s  the CNC router he used:

Pictures are all by John Honniball:

9 year old says first Shonkbot workshop ‘Epic’

Thanks to an amazing team effort from Richard S, Libby, Barney and Zak (am I missing anyone else?), the Shonkbot (our attempt at a cheap and easy to make robot) has developed into a great workshop. The team got a chance to test the robot out with children aged between 8 and 13 at DigiMakers this weekend.

Participants worked with cheap and widely available parts:

IMG_7131Followed some (still improving) instructions:


And used plenty of hot glue to create their Shonkbots:


At the end of the workshop, all participants had successfully created their robots. Some had added the more advanced obstacle avoidance components.

Even though the kits ended up at £15 (our original target was £5),  all of them were bought to be taken home and reprogrammed!

Check the rest of the photos here and here.  Instructions and code are on the github.

Great work team Shonkbot!


John Honniball; Electronics Whisperer

Richard brought in a couple of dead oscilloscopes in case they could be fixed. The slightly newer one (last PAT tested in ’96) couldn’t be focused.

John quickly realised that one of the resistors was not like the others:
John H was Very Suspicious of this resistor, and replaced it. Once replaced, the scope worked perfectly! Luckily for us, John was able to explain his abilities:

I saw that it had been replaced, yes. But I also saw that the ‘new’ part was a carbon composition resistor (they’re a slightly different shape), and therefore an old-stock part. Carbon resistors don’t work well in high-voltage circuits, and this focus circuit is certainly at hundreds if not thousands of volts. All that made me suspicious:

1. In a high-voltage circuit.
2. In the focus circuit, and that’s not working.
3. Been replaced before.
4. Been replaced with unsuitable replacement part.

And then I cheated, and measured it with the Ohm-meter. Should have been 2.2M Ohm, was open-circuit. That clinched it. We didn’t have any 2.2M Ohms, so I fitted two 1.2M Ohm in series. Didnt unsolder old part because it was under the CRT, and open anyway.

Thanks John!

Glass etching workshop pics

Here’s some photos of the glass etching workshop that we ran recently. Thanks to all who came and made it a success!


Some quotes:

Using and learning new ways to do an old craft.  Felt like a true co-operative rather than a profit making ‘course’. Thank you.


A hands-on opportunity to learn a new skill.

Woodworking with hand tools skill share

skillshare Tuesday 7th July. Doors will open from 6.30pm for a 7pm start. 10 tickets available.

Woodworking with hand tools. An introduction to using hand tools such as planes, chisels, saws and scrapers; and how to keep them sharp. I’ll introduce a variety of different hand tools with a brief explanation and demonstration of each.
I’ll then get the participants to have a go at planing rough sawn timber, sawing squarely and accurately, using a chisel to make a housing joint, and sharpening a chisel.

Eventbrite - Woodworking hand tools


After Makerfaire 2015 we were really impressed with how much time and effort had gone into lots of projects.  Really polished and professional looking demos.
This is great, but it can also be off putting for beginners who might feel unable to get started.
 So we want to answer that by developing a £5 robot that is quite bodged together.
Probably based on a shrimp kit, using steppers or dc geared motors and a CD for a base.
To keep it accessible we won’t be using any PCBs or anything laser cut.
It will draw with a pen and maybe communicate with other robots. Here’s a video of what we’ve got so far: