No more Maker Faires ?

June 10, 2019

Very sad to read that TechCrunch reports financial troubles have forced Maker Media, the company that runs the Maker Faires and also the company behind Make magazine, is laying off its entire staff and stopping all operations.

This follows on from the sad news last year that Maker Faire UK had stopped.


No more Maker Faire UK

October 3, 2018

It was with great sadness that I read that Maker Faire UK will not be coming back next year.

The venue Centre for Life in Newcastle has hosted the maker event since 2009 and was the very first venue to host a Maker Faire outside of the United States.

I’ve been a regular visitor and exhibitor since 2010 and enjoyed every moment of my time at it.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of other Mini Maker Faire’s in the UK and I’ll hopefully be visiting some of them next year instead.

 

So a final thank you to Maker Faire UK, to the people who organised it, to the exhibitors who showed off many great projects and to the many visitors who came to see what it was all about.

 

Here’s the message from Maker Faire UK web site:

Important news

In 2009, Life Science Centre brought Maker Faire to the UK and has hosted the country’s flagship event ever since. Over that time, the popularity of making activities in the UK has sky-rocketed.

Life is proud to have been pioneers in this growing Maker movement, but we feel the time is right to make a change and to bid a fond farewell to Maker Faire UK. Lovers of all things making needn’t fear, as we’re opening a new space in Life Science Centre dedicated to crafting, tinkering and creativity in the spring of 2019.


Retro Computing with the RC2014 Bus

November 29, 2017

I have very fond memories of using and building 8-bit computers during the 1980’s, so I’ve been following Spencer Owen’s RC2014 modular 8-bit computer project with some interest. For those interest the RC2104 is a simple but very modular 8-bit microcomputer based around the Z80 microprocessor.

In its most basic form it uses a number of single row 40-pin headers (or sometimes a 39-pin header) to make a computer backplane and which takes various “computer” and add-on cards to build a system. The add-on cards currently have a choice from various Z80 CPU cards, a 6502 CPU, various sizes of RAM and ROM memory cards, serial I/O and digital I/O cards.

I was fortunate to meet Spencer at Maker Faire UK back in April 2017 and chat with him first hand about the RC2014 project and he was very open and enthusiastic about sharing all aspects of his project. So much so, a small community of fellow builders has popped up and added to the project with their own add-on cards.

 

I’ve put together a short list of RX2014 related web-sites:

https://rc2014.co.uk/
https://github.com/semachthemonkey/RC2014
https://github.com/RC2014Z80
http://www.sowen.com/tag/retro-challenge/
https://github.com/RFC2795

http://www.smbaker.com/
https://github.com/sbelectronics/rc2014

http://ancientcomputing.blogspot.co.uk/
https://github.com/ancientcomputing/rc2014

https://github.com/electrified/rc2014-ym2149

https://github.com/mattybigback/RC2014

https://github.com/anachrocomputer/RC2014tester
https://github.com/mooped/rc2014_bank_switcher
https://github.com/mooped/rc2014_tools
https://github.com/trcwm/rocket2014

Other Platforms
http://www.ndr-nkc.de/compo/index.htm //very similar system from 1980’s
http://hschuetz.selfhost.eu/ndr/doku/buch/index.html
https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/forum/index.php?t=msg&goto=2148&
https://www.funkenzupfer.de/CMSimple_4-7-2/?NDR-Klein-Computer


Maker Faire UK 2017 report

April 26, 2017

Maker Faire UK was another great success this year


Countdown to Maker Faire UK 2017

March 28, 2017

It’s hard to believe but Maker Faire UK is almost upon us again.

It’s on this Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd April at the Centre for Life in Newcastle.

Full details are here:

http://www.makerfaireuk.com/

I’m planning on taking my latest Raspberry Pi Synth along, something I’ve called unimaginatively PiZynth. As well as the pi synth I’ll have my Pi based R-Kade Mini.

So two full days of maker stuff to look ahead too. 🙂


Maker Faire UK 2016

April 29, 2016

Some 10,000 visitors and 300 stands, workshops and talks later Maker Faire UK 2016 is over for another year.

As usually it was great to meet up again with Aaron of Oomlout, Mike of Grumpy Mike fame, Mitch Altman, Dominic and Martin from Just Add Sharks, David from abx-labs and Simon from ClarksArcade. As well as the old faces I also got to meet the guys from Leed’s Hackspace and also the guys from York Hackspace for the first time.

I was on the Maker Space (Newcastle) stand again this year. Lots of cool members projects on display. Myself I had my Raspberry Pi based R-Kade Mini arcade and the R-Kade Zero. Both were received very positive comments from the people playing on them.

Takeoff-RC had their drones on display in the open air exhibitor space.

A special mention must go to Iain, Chris, Alistair and Tommy from Maker Space for their truly awesome Penguin Run project. It deservedly won the Maker Merit prize from the Maker Faire UK organisers.

Only 12-months to the next one.


Edinburgh’s Mini Maker Faire 2016

April 21, 2016

A little bit late, but we went to Edinburgh’s Mini Maker Faire earlier in the month (10th April). It’s been running now for 4-years and I glad to say we’ve been to all four.

For the third year now, we were active participants and we had a Maker Space stand. Glen took his Egg-Bot and drones, whilst I had brought various R-Kade Zero prototypes and R-Kade Mini, my 7″ LCD mini bar arcade.

The faire was well attended both by exhibitors and visitors. With the drones, egg-bot and R-Kade’s being popular.

We meet up with the guys and gals from MakLab and Edinburgh’s HackLab again. We also met the makers from the Dundee Maker Space for the first time and I also met Laura from Raspberry Pi Foundation for the first time. She’s also wrote a nice blog on the faire and you can read it here. I actually get a mention :-).

Next one, is my local faire Maker Faire UK in Newcastle on 23/24 April.


Son of R-Kade

September 29, 2015

Sequels are always an interesting proposition. Some are as good or better than the original, for me the film Aliens is a great example of this. Some sequels take things in a different direction, again I’ll use Aliens as an example for this: action vs. horror. But in reality most sequels are just pants 🙂

R-Kade_eDay4_1_small
So when the Raspberry Pi foundation announced their 7″ Touch LCD Screen, I knew I wanted to make a sequel to my Raspberry Pi powered bar top arcade cabinet: R-Kade.

I designed R-Kade for the Raspberry Pi way back in December 2012 after wanting to build an Arcade Cabinet but never having the space for a full size cab and the Pi’s small size offered me a chance to make something on a smaller scale. It was built it in early 2013 and took it to the Maker Faire UK in Newcastle in April of that year. It’s been to every Maker Faire UK since, Edinburgh Mini Maker Fire twice, eDay three times and numerous other maker events. I finally got around to updating its wiring earlier this year by designing and making “ArcadeIO”, an joystick and button input interface HAT-like board. Whilst it is built like a tank and has taken almost every abuse the eager punters have thrown at it, it was always a big and cumbersome thing to carry to events. So with new 7″ LCD in hand here goes…

opening sequence:

Son of R-Kade

R-Kade7_1_small

R-Kade7_2_small

p.s. Here’s hoping its not as bad as Phantom Menace (oh wait a minute that was that a prequel)


Maker Faire UK 2015

April 27, 2015

Maker Faire UK 2015 is over for another year 😦

But it was another great weekend of meeting fellow makers and creatives from around the UK and the world.

With my fellow local makers, I was on the Maker Space stand with various great projects on display. Ed’s 1D Pong, my R-Kade, Jon’s Over Eng’d, Iain, Tommy and Alistair’s Christmas window (I know we’re into April), Glen’s 3D Printer and EggBot, Chris B’s LED cubes, Chris D’ custom retro console, Rosie with her sewing.

Hightlights of the weekend for me where:

Meeting up [again :-)] with Aaron from Oomlout was there again.

Likewise meeting up with Mitch Altman of TV-B-Gone fame and co-founder of Noisebridge was there again.

low cost pick n place machine from http://www.liteplacer.com/

mini cnc from http://www.minimillcnc.com/

LinkIT one from MediaTek and Seeed http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/LinkIt-ONE-p-2017.html

and meeting a great number of other makers from the UK, Europe and rest of the world was great was well.

The Saturday night meet up in the Union Rooms for food and beer was a great night out. Lots and lots of people showed up and a few didn’t get back home until the very early hours on Sunday morning 🙂


R-Kade getting a upgrade

February 27, 2015

The wiring in my Raspberry Pi mini arcade cabinet is getting a much needed upgrade.

I originally build R-Kade for Maker Faire 2013 and its been at various other Faire’s around the country and at eDay for the last two years. It was quickly build out of a bookshelves, old VGA monitor, WII arcade controller and a raspberry pi. The control board was removed from the WII arcade controller and the joystick and buttons wired directly to a prototyping board on the Pi. Unfortunately, it’s this wiring which is becoming a problem and needs redoing.

Rather than just strip out the wires and rewire new, I decided to make myself a better solution and have designed a Pi ArcadeIO board. The ArcadeIO board has screw terminals for connecting the wires to the Pi’s GPIO signals. In addition the GPIO signals have in-line resistors to limited the effects of any short circuits. There are addition screw terminal positions for connecting common grounds for the arcade switches and joystick.