Les Pounder

Les Pounder loves hacking and tinkering with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and new technologies. He passes on his skills and discoveries to Electromaker readers via tutorials and reviews.

SenseHat: Part 1 Temperature and humidity

Onboard the International Space Station there are two Raspberry Pi and on each of those Pis is a board that offers a platform for scientific discovery and wonder.

Review : Building a Cube with Cube:bit

LED cubes are great, but for those new to electronics (and seasoned experts) they can be really difficult to build and control … if only there were a more simple way to create them...

So what is Bolt IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing new, it has been with us for over a decade, but in this time we have seen the price of devices fall from hundreds of dollars to less than $10!

Build your own solder fume extractor

We love soldering. It is one of the most fundamental skills that any maker can learn, but the fumes produced by soldering aren’t good for you. However, before you start panicking, there are a few simple rules to follow.

What is the Crumble microcontroller and what can we do with it?

When we think of microcontrollers, we think of one of the many hundreds of boards on the market. But when we think of microcontrollers for children, the list is a little shorter, in fact only two boards spring to mind for us, the BBC micro:bit and Codebug. But before these two popular boards there was another board aimed squarely at children, and that was Crumble.

Twitter controlled bubble machine

The Internet of Things is just that, things connected to the Internet. Sometimes they are useful, such as sensors for monitoring health and scientific data. Other times they are trivial/fun. Such as this project.

What are the Gemma M0 and CircuitPython?

MicroPython has come a long way since Damien George first released his Kickstarter for the PyBoard in 2014. Originally a fork of Python 3 for microcontrollers we now have a mature Micro Python platform available for a diverse range of boards such as the BBC micro:bit, WiPy, and ESP32 and this range keeps growing. Adafruit, the American maker company has long been a supporter of the maker community, and in recent months they have released their own “fork” of the MicroPython project and it is called CircuitPython.

Taking a shortcut - Using the Jaco Burge TouchPad

We’ve used keyboard shortcuts for years, from the humble copy/paste to exiting vi. Shortcuts save us time, but in some applications, such as CAD / CAM they are a necessity. So when the JacoBurge TouchPad Kickstarter went live in early 2018, we have to get one for a test. So let's take a look at what we get.

Taking your first steps with the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express

Adafruit make many fantastic things, from their excellent range of accessories for most of the popular boards, to their own range of Feather/Metro/Trinket microcontroller boards.

EXCLUSIVE : Arduino Announces the Arduino Uno WiFi Rev 2 and MKR VIDOR 4000

The biggest news was a new MKR format board, the VIDOR 4000. A board that can quite literally be anything you want it to be thanks to an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) that can be instructed to behave like many different processors.

Teclast F7 - Could this be the makers’ laptop?

As makers, our laptop is to us as is a sketchpad to an artist. A tool that we wield to create new projects and record important information. Our typical daily driver laptop is an old Lenovo X220, with 16GB DDR3 RAM and 480GB SSD running Ubuntu. So when a really cheap Windows laptop caught our eye, we questioned just how much power do we need, especially with many of the applications that we use now being hosted in “the cloud”.

Setup Octoprint for the Anet A8 with a Raspberry Pi

The Anet A8 3D printer that we reviewed in early 2018 is a bit of a beast for under $150, it produces decent quality prints and it is relatively easy to build. It may be a basic printer, made to a price point but we found that it was a reliable workhorse for makers.

Go off the grid with your Raspberry Pi Zero W

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is a truly wondrous piece of kit. It provides access to the Raspberry Pi learning resources, it is really cheap so we can embed it in a project and forget about it, and it sips away at power, unlike its much larger relatives that guzzle power!

Build Your Own DIY Retro Arcade Cabinet Using a Raspberry Pi Zero

In the 1980s the arcade was where we saw the latest games. A cacophony of sound and lights designed to entice us to part with our 10p/25c to save the world, go out for a drive, or eat power pills.

DIY Retro Arcade Cabinet - Part 4 - Assembly and configuration

Here we are, the end of the journey that has taken us four parts, many mistakes and lots of learning. Building this project has used multiple skills, chiefly design and fabrication using the K40 laser cutter. Using a laser cutter for small projects (keychains, signs etc.) is rather simple, but an arcade cabinet requires careful design and lots of iterations in the fabrication process.

DIY Retro Arcade Cabinet - Part 3 - Laser Cutting

This week we start cutting the cabinet using the K40 laser cutter, and like any complex project, we hit a few issues. But remember dear reader, these issues are not roadblocks, they do not end our journey as a maker, rather they are wrong turns that help us understand how to create complex projects where tolerances are tight.

DIY Retro Arcade Cabinet - Part 2 - Component selection

In this second part of the project we look at the components that will be used to build the cabinet, discuss the reason they were chosen, and document their physical dimensions.

DIY Retro Arcade Cabinet - Part 1 - Planning

In the 1980s there was one place to go if you wanted the latest games, your local arcade. These arcades buzzed with electronic lights and sounds, designed to entice us to play the latest games. Classics such as Pacman, Space Invaders, Chase HQ, Operation Wolf offered an alternate reality for only 20p!