Adrian back at the weeknotes, which is also why they're fortnight-notes. The short week last week didn't help with getting the weeknotes written, but I was definitely more of the reason they didn't get posted 🤣
It's been a couple of busy weeks but with some satisfying ticking off of tasks/projects. A couple of bits of admin — a VAT return; and prepping accounts to give to the accountant for the year-end accounts — but also...
I wrapped up the design for (at least a prototype of) the wind- or solar-charger board that I've been working on with Laura Pullig. The design has been sent off for a handful of boards to be produced to see if it all works as expected. More on that in a couple of weeks when the PCBs and parts arrive and we get some soldered up.
Although when testing things manually it would home nicely and then play through a gcode file of movements, once that was set to run automatically it struggled.
Debugging that took a few iterations. Firstly I improved my code to initialise and home the controller; but it would then usually reset the machine coordinate system and so try to move beyond the limits of the machine.
Eventually I wrote a full custom Python script which uses the gcodesender library and that got it running repeatably and smoothly, as you can see below.
A nice, and much needed, result — it'll be on display in a gallery all summer!
It was interesting to compare struggles with how-tech-can-help-communities with other groups. Given the make up of the DoES Liverpool community, our challenges are more to do with finding enough time and people; whereas other folk at the workshop either don't know what's possible, or lack the technical skills to build things themselves. It brought to mind my previous thoughts on the "DoES ethos"; Aaron Straup Cope's exhortations to the museum sector around tech; and my #LiverpoolHannahLinks local network of interesting organisations.
Alongside that she's been looking into content design, researching marketing and doing some social media probing to get ideas on how people are likely to find our products.
Chris asks 'How many ways can I say "It's a simple job in FreeCAD, it'll be finished this week"??' We now have an (almost) entirely complete route from SVG to KineticNC gcode via Freecad. If he could crack the inability to change the origin for imported models he'd be happy. We also have a growing pile of pentagonal plywood, as seen above.
He's also been making some initial forays into exploring finishes for the wood. That will be the next step in the Ackers Bell adventure.