Tuesday, 22 November 2011


A little update, the display board  is now assembled and tested - all seems to be good (bar some sketchy soldering). 

Just finished the drilling for my new 6 digit VFD tube clock. More to follow once the driver board and assembly is done.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Drawdio Plus!

I'm sure most of you already know what a Drawdio is (originalanother). We have used them a few times before for soldering workshops. They always go down well as they are pretty fun little things.

After (another) late nights etching and drilling earlier this year i decided I was getting pretty bored of hand making the PCB's each time so I thought it might be a pretty cleaver idea to have a batch of boards printed up. I didn't really want to just completely copy the originals, for a couple of reasons. More on that below.

So here's what I came up with...

In principal, it's much the same as the original versions of the Drawdio. Notable changes (from the Ladyada design) are the replacement of the tlc551 with an na555n chip, the addition of a line out (so it can be plugged into things) and replacement of the AAA battery with 2 CR2032 coin cells.

The board has been given some nice curvy dimensions, the ones at the top having been specifically made to accommodate the speakers obtained for the kits. The CR2032's are attached at the bottom of the PCB, and do take up quite a lot of real estate - but are pretty light.

And if you've got some skills, the speaker can be directly attached to the PCB by soldering through the big pads on the top. Whilst helping people solder these up at the Brighton Mini Maker Faire it did however become fairly obvious that it wasn't a very good idea to recommend that people do this if they haven't soldered before. The plastic casing of the speaker was completely fine, but the glue that held the small PCB on to the speaker had a tendency to melt and snap the tiny wires in the speaker.

For anyone who wants to have a go at making one themselves, the schematic above is the current version. Complete kits are available using the links below. Postage is to UK & EU only (using EU option). Proceeds go to help BuildBrighton Hackspace!

Kit contents
Zip tie
Copper Tape
Drawing pin
CR2032 Batteries

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Noise Toys

This bank holiday Monday we ran an exciting workshop, 'Noise Toys' followed by an evening of Chip Tunes at the Pop Up Playgroup (Hectors House) in Brighton. Lots of fun, but a lot of prep work went in to making the kits for everyone. But that's boring... here are some pictures:

Copper board etching away some lovely 'Mini Space Rocker' PCB's in ferric chloride

5 of the 7 panels of 'Drawdio' kits being cut out

Kits being put together and packed ready for the workshop

The full box of kits: Drawdio's, Space Rockers & Space Rocker cap kits

Chris explaining cool nerdy tech to people

The workshop in progress