I got a chance to play with the Roland VersaStudio BT-12, which is a compact DTG printer. If you’ve never heard of DTG(Direct To Garment) before, is when you print directly onto fabric, as opposed to something like screenprinting or iron-on transfers. Typically DTG printers are quite large and cumbersome, […]
Last week, lots and lots of you shared your Raspberry Pi builds with us on social media using the hashtag #IUseMyRaspberryPiFor. Jay Wainwright from Liverpool noticed the conversation and got in touch to tell us about The Nest Box, which uses Raspberry Pi to bring impressively high-quality images and video from British bird boxes to your Facebook feed.
Jay runs a small network of livestreaming nest box cameras, with three currently sited and another three in the pipeline; excitingly, the new ones will include a kestrel box and a barn owl box! During the spring, all the cameras stream live to The Nest Box’s Facebook page, which has steadily built a solid following of several thousand wildlife fans.
The Nest Box’s setup uses a Raspberry Pi and Camera Module, along with a Raspberry Pi PoE HAT to provide both power and internet connectivity, so there’s only one cable connection to weatherproof. There’s also a custom HAT that Jay has designed to control LED lights and to govern the Raspberry Pi Camera Module’s IR filter, ensuring high-quality images both during the day and at night. To top it all off, he has written some Python code to record visitors to the nest boxes and go into live streaming mode whenever the action is happening.
As we can see from this nest box design for swifts, shown on the project’s crowdfunding profile, plenty of thought has evidently been put into the design of the boxes so that they provide tempting quarters for their feathered occupants while also accommodating all the electronic components.
Follow The Nest Box on Facebook to add British birds into your social media mix — whatever you’ve got now, I’ll bet all tomorrow’s coffees that it’ll be an improvement. And if you’re using Raspberry Pi for a wildlife project, or you’ve got plans along those lines, let us know in the comments.
Stuck for what to buy your friends and family this Christmas? Whether you’re looking to introduce someone to Raspberry Pi and coding, or trying to find the perfect gift for the tech-mad hobbyist in your life, our Christmas Shopping Guide 2019 will help you complete your shopping list. So, let’s get started…
The good ol’ Raspberry Pi
They’ve asked for a Raspberry Pi but not told you which one they want? You know they like coding but don’t know where to start? They’re an avid baker and you think they may have spelt ‘pie’ wrong on their Christmas list? No problem, we’ve got you sorted.
Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit
With everything you need to get started using Raspberry Pi 4, the Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit contains our official mouse, keyboard with an integrated USB hub, USB-C power adapter, case, two micro HDMI leads, our Beginner’s Guide and, of course, the 4GB Raspberry Pi 4. Available from our Approved Resellers and the Raspberry Pi Store, Cambridge, the Desktop Kit is the perfect gift for anyone who’s wanting to get started with coding and digital making, or who’s simply looking to upgrade their current home computer to a smaller, less power-hungry setup.
Raspberry Pi Zero W
The smallest Raspberry Pi still packs a punch despite its size and price. For $10, Raspberry Pi Zero W is perfect for embedding into projects and, with onboard Bluetooth and wireless LAN, there are fewer cables to worry about. Buy a Raspberry Pi Zero W with or without pre-soldered header pins, and pop it in someone’s stocking this Christmas as a great maker surprise.
Get Started with Raspberry Pi 3A+
This isn’t just a book: it’s a book with a computer on the front. Getting Started with Raspberry Pi is a great gift for anyone curious about coding and, at £35, it’s a pretty affordable gift to give this festive season. Alongside the 116-page getting-started guide, the package also contains a Raspberry Pi 3A+, official case, and 16GB micro SD card pre-loaded with NOOBs. Raspberry Pi 3A+ can be powered with a good-quality micro USB phone charger, and it can be connected to any TV or computer display via standard HDMI. Grab a keyboard and mouse — you’ll be surprised how many people have a keyboard and mouse lying around — and you’re good to go!
Order your gift today from the Raspberry Pi Press online store, with international shipping available.
A full range of all Raspberry Pi variants, official accessories, and add-ons can be found on our products page.
A Raspberry Pie
Don’t be lazy, make your own!
Raspberry Pi Press has released a small library’s worth of publications these last few months — have you ordered all your copies yet?
Pre-orders are now open for our glorious Code the Classics, so secure your copy now for the 13 December release date, with free UK shipping. And, while you’re on our Raspberry Pi Press page, check out our latest range of publications to suit all techy interests: Retro Gaming with Raspberry Pi will show the budding gamer in your life how to build their own Raspberry Pi retro arcade to play their Code the Classics favourites on, while Book of Making 2 and Raspberry Pi Projects Book 5 will inspire them to make all manner of amazing projects, from electronics and woodworking to crafts and rockets.
If they’re already full to the brim with Raspberry Pi, why not treat them to our Get Started with Arduino guide so they can expand upon their electronics skills. We also offer a host of established publications at discounted prices, including Sophy Wong’s Wearable Tech Projects, An Introduction to C & GUI Programming, and previous volumes of the Book of Making and the Raspberry Pi Projects Book.
Visit the Raspberry Pi Press online store, or head to the Raspberry Pi Store, Cambridge to find all our publications. You may also find a selection in your local WHSmith, Sainsbury’s, or Barnes & Noble.
Subscriptions are available for all of our magazines. 12-month subscribers to The MagPi magazine will receive a free Raspberry Pi, while a 12-month subscription to HackSpace magazine will net you a free Adafruit Circuit Playground Express.
Everyone needs a Babbage Bear. Your new Babs will come complete with their own Raspberry Pi-branded shirt. And, with some felt, stuffing, and a stapler, you can make them as festive as ours in no time!
Great third-party add-ons and essential kit
The Pi Hut’s 3D Xmas Tree
This newest iteration of The Pi Hut 3D Xmas Tree includes programmable RGB LEDs! Simply detach the two halves of the tree from their frame, slot them together, and place them onto the GPIO pins of your Raspberry Pi. With the provided libraries of code, the tree will be lit up and merry before you know it.
Pimoroni Pirate Radio
“Pirate Audio Speaker,” Pimoroni explain “is perfect for making a Lilliputian radio, sound effect player, or even as a teeny-weeny games console!”
Attach this HAT to any 40-pin Raspberry Pi and start creating a whole host of wonderful audio-visual projects — such as a Christmas #1 jukebox — to get you in the mood for your office party.
PocketMoneyTronics GPIO Christmas Tree
This super-cute GPIO add-on allows users to write their own light shows via GPIO. Available for £4 from the Raspberry Pi Store, Cambridge, and the PocketMoneyTronics website, it’s a nice festive addition to any coders stocking.
Full instructions are provided with the kit, and are also available online. Buy the kit pre-soldered or loose, depending on your giftee’s soldering skills.
Visit the websites of all our Approved Resellers for more great Raspberry Pi gifts. Find your local Approved Reseller by selecting your country from the dropdown menu on any Raspberry Pi Products page.
Fill their maker kit this festive season, with a whole host of great components and tools. A soldering iron is a great way for coders to start bringing their projects out into the real world, allowing them to permanently add sensors, lights, buttons, etc. to their Raspberry Pi. They’ll also need one if they want to add header pins to the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero and $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W.
You can never have enough LEDs. Available in a variety of sizes and colours, you can find packs of LEDs online or in your local electronics store.
Never underestimate the importance of a cutting mat. Not only will it save your tabletop from craft knife cuts and soldering iron burns, but they also look great in photos for when its time to show of their latest project!
If you plan on making online purchases via Amazon, please consider selecting the Raspberry Pi Foundation via Amazon Smile! Your items will still be the same cost to you, but Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to help us continue to make free computer science education available to adults and young people everywhere.
- Amazon Smile for the UK
- Amazon Smile for the US
- For those of you based elsewhere, we’re pretty sure that you just need to add
amazonin the Amazon web address you use in your country, so give that a try. If that doesn’t work, try searching for Amazon Smile via your prefered search engine.
Our gift to you
We wanted to give you a gift this festive season, so we asked the incredibly talented Sam Alder to design an illustration for you to print or use as your desktop wallpaper.
The poster is completely free for you to use and can be opened by clicking on the image above. We just ask that you don’t sell it, print it onto a t-shirt or mug, tattoo it onto your body, or manipulate it. But do feel free to print it as a poster for your home, classroom, or office, or to upload it as your computer wallpaper. And, when you do, be sure to take a photo and share it with us on social media.
You can also download a wider version of the image.
Happy gift-giving this 2019!
Maker Faire Shenzhen 2019 has finally concluded on November 10 at the Vanke Design Commune. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all sponsors, partners, makers, volunteers, performers and visitors for making Maker Faire Shenzhen 2019 a huge success this year! This year, we had 108 maker booths […]
The post “Death Star Dad” Launches Another Massive Star Wars Rooftop Creation appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.
In this project, we’ll make a pair of NFC data cufflinks, ideal for storing a website URL, a password, or a secret message. This project is perfect for a sartorial spy who loves dry Martinis, and anyone who can’t remember their WiFi password.
NFC stands for near-field communication, and is a protocol that allows two devices to communicate wirelessly when they are physically near each other. An evolution of RFID, NFC is becoming increasingly popular in consumer technology, and is already commonly used in contactless payment systems and identification badges. NFC wristbands are also being used to create enhanced experiences for visitors at theme parks and other venues.
The rise of NFC hasn’t bypassed hobbyists and tinkerers, and companies like Pimoroni and Adafruit sell components that make it relatively easy to add NFC functionality to your projects. Here, we’ll make use of tiny NFC tags that can be read and written to by a smartphone or external NFC reader. The tags can be read through a non-metal barrier, like plastic, so we’ll embed the tag in resin to make an elegant cabochon for our cufflink. When complete, holding the cufflink to your smartphone or NFC reader will let you read or write data to the chip inside.
Micro NFC/RFID transponders
For this project we used the smallest NFC tags we could find, micro NFC/RFID transponders from Adafruit (product number 2800). These 15.6mm x 6mm flexible tags are formatted with the now standard NDEF format, and will work as-is with newer phones and most NFC readers. If you happen to pick up older Mifare Classic formatted tags, they may need to be reformatted as NDEF to work with your reader/writer. Reformatting isn’t a function of most NFC read/write apps, but it can be done with Adafruit’s PN532 NFC/RFID controller breakout board or shield.
If this is your first time working with resin epoxy, get ready for a new, fun kind of mess! Resin epoxy comes in two parts that must be mixed together in equal proportions before use. Once mixed, the resin will be workable for a short period of time before entering the curing phase and hardening completely. Figuring out exactly how much resin to mix up is definitely an art. There are even some online tools available to help calculate this. For a small project like this, just make sure you mix up a bit more than you think you’ll need.
You don’t want to run out during the pour and have to quickly mix up more at the last minute. If you’re tinting your resin, you definitely want to pour all of your pieces from the same mix, as it’s almost impossible to match the colour of one batch of resin to another.
All of this means you’ll undoubtedly end up with more than just two cabochons for one pair of cufflinks, and if you’re going to make a mess anyway, why not go big? Pick up a few extra NFC tags and plan to pour some other pieces, like pendants or key chain fobs. These make great holiday or birthday gifts that are both technologically advanced and crafty at the same time!
Resin-cast jewellery has been made for decades and there are loads of options for resin moulds available at craft stores and online. The best moulds for resin are made of silicone. Flexible silicone moulds make it easy to remove the hardened pieces, and produce ultra-shiny surfaces. Cufflink blanks, ring blanks, and pendant bails can also be purchased at jewellery supply stores. Refer to your moulds when choosing cufflink and ring blanks, to make sure that the blanks will work with the size of cabochon you’ve chosen to cast, and vice versa.
Licence to spill
Start by gathering your materials and setting up your workspace for working with resin. There will be a lot of stirring, pouring, and drips, and things are likely to get messy! Cover your work surface with paper and keep some paper towels nearby. Read and heed the safety warnings on your resin and hardener. Although some resins are considered non-toxic when used as directed, it’s always a good idea to work in a well-ventilated area and wear nitrile gloves to keep the resin off of your skin while working.
Once the two-part resin is mixed together, you will have a limited amount of time to pour the resin before it hardens, so planning and timing is key. Check the ‘pot life’ indicated on your resin; this is the amount of working time you’ll have after mixing before the resin begins to harden. Our resin had a pot life of 30 minutes. It can be helpful to set up a timer so you can keep track of time while you work.
If you have multiple moulds, decide which ones you will use before mixing, and make sure your NFC tags will fit into the shapes you plan to use. If you are making matching cufflinks, remember that you’ll need two identical shapes. Our tiny 15.6mm tags fit perfectly into 16mm cabochons. Remember that you will mix more resin than you need for just two cufflink cabochons, so it’s good to have extra moulds in front of you to pour into.
Prepare the NFC tags
Unwrap the NFC tags and make sure they are clean and ready to be embedded in the resin. For a light-up effect, you may want to combine a data tag with an LED tag, like we did in one of our extra pieces. The back of the NFC LED nail sticker is adhesive, so it was easy to stick it directly to the larger data tag.
Measure, mix, and pour
We mixed up about 6oz (170g) of resin, then tinted it green for a tech-emerald look. This was plenty for two cabochons and three to four extra shapes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix up your resin. Generally, it’s a 1:1 ratio by volume. A good method for this is to pour each part into matching containers, up to the same measuring mark. Then, pour both into a third cup and stir. Stir slowly, but thoroughly, for at least two or three minutes, making sure to scrape the sides of your mixing cup often. If the resin is not completely and evenly mixed, it will not cure properly. If tinting your resin, add the tint to your mixed resin one drop at a time, slowly deepening the colour to your preference.
Once your resin is mixed and tinted, you’ll notice lots of tiny bubbles that have been incorporated while you were stirring. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes so the bubbles can float to the top, then use a stick to move the bubbles to the side of your container and pop them.
When you’ve removed as many bubbles as possible, it’s time to pour! Place your moulds on a level surface where they’ll be able to sit undisturbed for the amount of time required to cure (check the manufacturer’s instructions; ours specified 24 hours curing time). Pour the resin in a thin stream into the deepest point of your mould, and let it slowly rise to just below the top lip of your mould. Don’t overfill the mould, or the resin will bow and have a convex bottom when you remove it from the mould. Pouring the resin in a thin stream can help pop larger bubbles that are still in the mix.
Embed the NFC tag
With the resin in your mould, you can slide the NFC tag into place. Using tweezers, dip the tag into your unpoured resin to coat it first – this will help the resin in your mould accept the tag without adding too many bubbles. Then, gently slide the tag into the mould and centre it in the resin. It will want to slowly sink to the bottom of the mould, and ideally it stays centred on the way down. You may need to wiggle it back into place with your tweezers or a thin stick, but try not to introduce any new bubbles.
After your resin is poured and the NFC tags are in place, let the resin sit in the moulds for about ten minutes. This is enough time for most of the bubbles to rise to the top surface. Then, spray a fine mist of isopropyl alcohol over the resin to pop the bubbles. This step is optional, but we noticed that it really helped achieve clearer results.
Repeat this process for all the moulds you want to pour and add NFC tags to. Check them after a few minutes to make sure your tag hasn’t slid out of place, and remember to keep an eye on your pot life timer. Finish all your fiddling and bubble popping before the resin starts to harden. Then, leave your resin to cure for the amount of time specified in your resin’s instructions.
Demould your resin pieces
When the resin has completely hardened, it’s time for the exciting part: removing the cured resin from the moulds. If using silicone moulds, your piece should release from the mould without much fuss. Gently flex the silicone to let air seep between the hardened resin and the wall of the mould. Then you should be able to carefully pull the resin piece out of the mould.
Take a moment to admire your shiny cabochons! If you discover that you’ve over-poured your moulds, or the resin has crept up the sides of the mould, making a curved back, don’t worry. Resin can be wet-sanded; just be sure to keep both the sandpaper and the piece underwater while sanding, and wear a mask to keep from inhaling resin particles.
Make the cufflinks
Use glue to affix the flat-backed cabochons to the cufflink blanks. We used E6000, which is an industrial-strength adhesive that works great on plastics. Again, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area, and wear a respirator while working with E6000.
Apply the glue to the cufflink blank and hold the cabochon in place while the glue sets. Make two, and you’re done! You could also glue the cabochons to ring blanks to make NFC data rings. For pendants, you can use jewellery findings like bails and jump rings to make necklaces or key-chain fobs.
Program the NFC tag
Now that you’ve made your NFC cufflinks, you can load them with data like a website, a password, or a secret message. There are a few methods for doing this. If you have an NFC-capable smartphone, such as an Android phone, you won’t need any additional hardware. You can download a free app like NFC Tools to write and read data on your cufflink. NFC Tasks, another free app, lets you create automatic actions for your phone to perform when the NFC tag is read.
If you have an iPhone, (at the time of publishing of this article) you cannot write directly to NFC tags from your phone. But don’t worry! You can still join the NFC fun by purchasing a USB NFC reader/writer. You’ll be able to read and write to NFC tags with your computer using the NFC Tools desktop app. Your author purchased the NFC reader/writer shown here for about $35 on Amazon.com. You can still use NFC Tools on your iPhone to read tags, and the latest version of iOS, 12.1, supports background NFC tag reading. Some basic actions, like opening a URL in a browser, can now be performed right from the home screen or lock screen – pretty cool!
For a more custom hardware/software approach, try Adafruit’s PN532 NFC/RFID controller breakout board, which lets you add NFC functionality to Raspberry Pi or Arduino projects. It takes some soldering and programming to set up, but this breakout gives you lower-level control of the NFC tag, and is supported by an Adafruit NFC Arduino library. The library includes handy example code for reading and writing to tags, and reformatting Mifare Classic tags with the NDEF format.
Sport your new cufflinks at your next dressy event, and you’ll be both covert and classy! Or, gift these to your favourite snappy dresser, loaded with a secret message for their eyes only. Heading to a conference? Instead of handing out a business card to connect with someone, hold your wrist over their smartphone to bring up your webpage. It’s not magic, it’s technology!
More wearable tech projects
You can find more tutorials like this in Wearable Tech Projects by Sophy Wong, a HackSpace magazine publication. Wearable Tech Projects is on sale now from the Raspberry Pi Press online store, and it’s available as part of the Raspberry Pi Store Black Friday sale this weekend.
The Open Source Hardware Summit (OHS) is inviting talk/demo proposals for the tenth annual summit! To be held on Friday, March 13,2020 at the NYU School of Law. The Open Source Hardware Summit is for presenting, discussing, and learning about open hardware of all kinds. The summit examines open hardware […]
The post Share Your Project At The Next Open Source Hardware Summit appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.
Both of these new kits are surface mount soldering kits — our first surface mount soldering kits — and we think that you’re going to love them.
You might be familiar with our Three Fives discrete 555 timer and XL741 discrete op-amp kits. Both are easy soldering kits that let you build working transistor-scale replicas of the classic 555 timer chip and the famous µA741 op-amp. Those two are constructed with traditional through-hole soldering techniques and are styled to like “DIP” packaged (through-hole) integrated circuits.
Our new 555SE and 741SE kits implement the same circuits, now with surface mount components, and are styled to look like smaller “SOIC” packaged (surface mount) integrated circuits, complete with a heavy-gauge aluminum leadframe stand. Side by side with their through-hole siblings, the new kits are exactly to scale, with half the lead pitch and a lower profile.
The 555SE and 741SE kits each come with eight (tiny) color-coded thumbscrew binding posts that you can use to hook up wires and other connections.
You can also probe anywhere that you like in these circuits — something that you generally can’t do with the integrated circuit versions.
The new 555SE and 741SE circuit boards are black in color, with a gold finish and clear solder mask so that you can see the wiring traces between individual components. There are a few other neat details here and there, such as countersunk holes for mounting the board to the leadframe.
The surface mount components are relatively large, with 1206-sized resistors and SOT-23 sized transistors, and assembly is straightforward with our clear and comprehensive instructions. These kits are designed to be a joy to build, whether you’re an old hand at surface mount soldering, want some practice before tackling a project, or are introducing someone to it for the first time.
You can find the datasheets and assembly instructions for these kits, as well as links to additional documentation, on their respective product pages.
It seems that the well of mesmerizing hand skills is infinitely deep. There’s always a new one to discover and consequently lose hours to, obsessing over how fascinating it is. In this case, we meet Tatiana Baldina who is incredibly skilled at carving wood. The process can appear deceptively […]
The post Check Out These Fascinating Videos Of Hand Carving Wood appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.
Even with the looming expiration of Section 215 and other key provisions of the Patriot Act, it took the Intelligence Community almost four months to respond to a letter written by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) seeking clarification on how the Intelligence Community interprets the landmark Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States and whether it is using Section 215 to collect Americans’ location data.
Wyden’s concerns were entirely justified. We know that the NSA has used Section 215 to collect cell phone location data in the past. But last year in Carpenter, the Supreme Court held that police violated the Fourth Amendment when they collected days of cell site location information about a robbery suspect without a warrant. In his letter, Senator Wyden noted that he and other senators had repeatedly asked others in the government what it saw as Carpenter’s effects on the intelligence community, but hadn’t gotten any answers. Indeed, EFF, ACLU, and others have been asking these same questions. “If Congress is to reauthorize Section 215 before it expires in December,” Wyden wrote, “it needs to know how this law is being interpreted now, as well as how it could be interpreted in the future.”
Senator Wyden sent that letter to the then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats on July 30, and then he waited. And waited. And waited.
Now, we finally have a response. Unfortunately, it’s not a very satisfying one. In his November 14 response, Assistant DNI Benjamin Fallon wrote that although the DOJ and ODNI have not used Section 215 to collect location data since Carpenter was decided, they had not “reached a legal conclusion” about whether they were authorized to do so.
We recognize this belated nonanswer for what it is—a signal that the intelligence community is not taking its duties of transparency and oversight seriously. Carpenter may be the most important privacy decision from the Supreme Court in a generation, and it should have clear and immediate impact on any warrantless collection of location data as part of criminal investigations and intelligence activities alike. And even if lawyers for the intelligence community read the case differently, they should be able to reach a “legal conclusion” eighteen months after it was decided.
Congress and the public deserve to see these legal conclusions, especially given the NSA’s track record of reaching secret interpretations of Section 215 that crumble under scrutiny by courts. Moreover, waiting this much time only to reveal such paltry information about how these far-reaching surveillance programs function is unacceptable. Politics takes time. Legislation takes time. And to leave these types of answers until the last-minute shows how little regard the Intelligence Community has for Congressional oversight of their invasive surveillance programs.
Now, a 90-day reauthorization of Section 215 and other provisions of the Patriot Act is being shoved into a continuing resolution to fund the government. This tactic will no doubt be touted as a necessity because of the short timespan before the December 15 sunset. The government might not be feeling the pinch, of course, if it took this more seriously and engaged in even the most basic transparency.
Now that we have ODNI’s paltry response to Senator Wyden’s question, it is even more important that Congress pass Section 215 legislation that includes clarification that the law cannot be used to collect location information. Simply put, Congress and the Intelligence Community cannot put off reckoning with Section 215 indefinitely. EFF and others have been pushing for significant reforms to the law—including codifying Carpenter’s effect—and we will fight just as hard as the new sunset date approaches.