Author Archives: John Cooper

Extra Open Evenings in May. Come and look around.

York Hackspace open evenings for May 2017

Open Evenings at the space in May.

We’ll be running a couple of extra open evenings on Thursday 25th and Tuesday 30th May for people who want to come and look around the hackspace but are unable to attend our regular Wednesday night open evenings.

Same time as usual, 8pm-11pm.

See https://york.hackspace.org.uk/wiki/Weekly_Open_Evening for more information including how to find us!

Corduroy aprons are this year’s must have hackspace accessory

I decided that I need an apron. I mostly turn up at the space in whatever I am wearing from work and sometimes things might get messy. An apron should do the trick but as it’s a hackspace I can’t just buy the first one I see. So it’s time to break out the sewing machine.

Me at the sewing machine. First off I needed a pattern or something to to copy from. Luckily Aimee already had something so I set about finding some suitable material. Traditionally these things seem to be made from something like a heavy cotton or even leather. I went for chord. Brown chord with blue trim.

Cutting out the template

I laid the pattern apron out on the big table over my cloth and after some pondering we decided to mark up a rectangle of the right length and width and just mark up the curved parts that go under the arms from the pattern. A small bit of scrap ply-wood was brought in to use as a square to get things lined up and a point of no return was passed as I made the first cut. Pinking shears are great fun, it’s like setting an alligator to work and you end up with a zig-zag cut that should not fray.
I added a centre line to help keep things lined up then chalked out the curve from the template apron. Then cut both curves in one with the sheet folded in half.
Sewing the boarders onto the materialNow for some practice runs on the machine. It’s been a while since I last had a go with this so here was some browsing of the PDF copy of the manual to see how it threads together. Then some tweaking of the tension to get it sewing right on the chord. ( I make this sound simple but I think this bit took almost the most time but I now consider myself an “expert” ) I added a plain hem along the bottom and its almost straight.

Adding the boarder.For the first attempt to attach the tape round the sides I used pins the tape in place I found that it moved about too much and the pins then made it to difficult to correct so I switched to just feeding things in an adjusting the fold as it went which worked quite well. In the end I had to unpick things quite a bit on the first run but then worked out that I needed to have a bit more tape on the front or it would work itself out.

Then finally adding on the the loop round the top and the strings round the back and it was done.

It may be a little long and I should have made the strings round the back, up the sides and around the neck from the a single piece. I also think the bit under the neck is a little to wide so it sticks out a bit but other than that I’m pretty happy with it. ( Oh and it could do with an iron, we should probably get one for the space)


3D printed coat hooks, wi-fi enabled bike lights and virtual reality

Just an average Wednesday open night down at York Hackspace.

Nick took an old plank from a pallet and with a little elbow grease and some shared knowledge turned it into a fine backing plate to the hold the coat hooks that he designed and printed on the space 3D printer.

Finished Coat Hooks

I took a very cheap hand plane and managed to get a good enough edge on it to let Nick clean up old pallet wood and turn it into quite a fine looking board.

This ended up with a fine mess of wood shavings that Nick was particularly pleased with.
Everybody likes to make some mess.

We had the loan of a PS4 and VR Headset for the night and Nathan spent some time playing at “Job” a virtual world created by the future robots to simulate what it was like to do Job in the 21st century. A lot more fun than it sounds. Everybody was enjoying his attempts to “repair” a car.

Through some more donations of kit we now have a fine looking multimedia setup in the works. It started with a projector that got attached to the ceiling. Then an amplifier and some speakers that is to be mounted on top of a shelving unit ( if you know of any spare shelving please let us know). Then through a convoluted set of connections and boxes we should be able to hook all the ageing kit up to most things. Wire lengths where measured ( in feet, meters, ceiling tiles and string lengths) and we may be able to hook it up next week. It will be useful for doing presentations or just playing tutorials from Youtube. Even the laser painting might be setup at some point.

As any true hackspacer knows things can always be improved with more LEDs and so I added a few more to his bike. Wrapped around the handmade wooden box on the front they currently provide a neat running light setup, red and white back and front then pulsing orange down the side. As they are run from an ESP8266 chip that has built in wifi it seems only a natural next step to add a wifi hotspot to the bike and a web server to control the lights.

More Bike Lights

Many more things where happening. John was having some problems with his new 3D printer but was having fun developing shapes in OpenSCAD. Dave and John where discussing wiring up sheds and sharing the tools to do it. A surprising amount of time spent trying to find something to play music to test the speakers, /dev/urandom, the computers random number generator, only goes so far. I really love the mixture of physical and digital that is happening in the space especially when there is a big group. Oh and we have a new member, Carwyn.

See you all next week.