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.

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!

Anet A8 3D Printer Review

3D printers are getting cheaper and cheaper. Some are even as cheap as £99 (101 Hero), but with this level of cost-cutting, something has to give and, generally, it is in the parts that are used. So when I saw the Anet A8 on Gearbest for £118 delivered, I thought “Is this another cheap, low quality printer?”

Launch applications using an RFID card reader and Raspberry Pi

The humble keyboard and mouse are traditional forms of input that are used to control computers. But for those of us too young, or those requiring a computer to be adapted for their needs, these traditional interfaces are not suitable and we need to adapt how we offer an interface for the user.

Coding the BBC micro:bit with Edublocks

The BBC micro:bit is not short of programming languages. We can use blocks, Javascript, Micro Python and the legacy TouchDevelop, CodeKingdoms and Microsoft Blocks.

Make An Animated Conference Badge With Inkyphat

Conferences happen across the world and for many different reasons, but one thing that is common between every conference is the conference badge. From simple sticky labels and makers, to elaborate electronic badges, the conference badge is there to help everyone learn who everyone else is!

Introducing Ardublockly for Arduino

The humble Arduino has powered many projects across the globe. Created in the early 2000s, the Arduino’s goal was to provide a cheap development platform for artists to experiment with electronics. For many years the Arduino set the bar for others to beat, and it wasn’t until the rise of the Raspberry Pi in 2012 that we saw competition that would offer an alternative experience for those new to code.

What is the TS100 Soldering Iron?

Soldering is a deeply ritualised activity. Choosing the correct temperature, heating the iron, what solder do you use, lead or lead-free?