revolving header hack

Thursday, 4 September 2014

5 Weeks. Starting from…

Maker School will be running for 5 weeks only this term - starting Mon 8 Sept.  There may be an option to do a couple or weeks at the end of November also.

If you're new to Maker School, please register and indicate which day works for you.  Spaces are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Maker School is Back!

Despite the radio silence over a very busy summer, and despite the breakdown of our website hosting, Maker School is back for the Autumn Term!  Hoorah!!

We'll be meeting on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays at Le Friquet Garden Centre.  4-5:30pm. Commencing Mon 8 Sep.

Watch this space for more information.

To reserve a place, please email:

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Maker School @ The Big Geekend


You heard it here first folks… Maker School is running two afternoon workshops at Guernsey Museums' BIG GEEKEND.

From 12-4pm on Saturday 31 May and Sunday 1 June, we'll be in the Discovery Room at Candie Museum, making… JunkBots™

Motors, batteries and junk — what will you make them do?

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Moving along nicely

Our latest project is a "Motion Sensing Night Light" - see below.

The design process involves lots of stages.  Without each step we run the risk of ploughing headlong into a major error that means starting again.  You know; "Measure twice: cut once!"

So far we've drawn schematic diagrams of our intended circuit, built a mockup and translated that into a circuit design that works on a type of circuit board called 'stripboard' — now we're cutting boards and cutting tracks ready for the components.

The motion sensing night light is a dandy little device that can live in a bedroom, hallway or indeed any place where you're likely to be moving around in otherwise darkness.

It uses a PIR sensor — Passive Infrared — to detect temperature changes in a room.  This low level heat (infrared light) is emitted from our bodies so when we move about it detects our movement.

A breakdown of a PIR sensor showing how the multifaceted lens creates lots of moving spots of light on the sensor.
Image: Wikipedia

Once triggered, a titchy computer called a microcontroller, will fade up some LED lights and then slowly fade them down again when no movement is sensed.  We'll be programming these microcontrollers to do exactly what we want in the weeks to come.

It certainly beats having to put the room lights on when you get up in the middle of the night!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

UPDATE 20.Mar.14  We have a new option — Wednesdays!  Mondays and Tuesdays are fully booked.  Sign up to the waiting list and we will contact you on a first-come-first-served basis.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Wonderful Willow

…and… we're back.  Our first project of the year is quite a change of pace and material.  It'll be a short project — maybe 3-4 weeks — which involves willow rods, masking tape, tissue paper and PVA glue.

On Saturday 1 March, The Guernsey Arts Commission is staging a lantern parade — the first of it's kind in Guernsey!  They're aiming for around 300 lanterns to be carried up through Town to Candie Gardens.  It will be quite a spectacle.  The parade will be lead by a UK drum performance group called Spark.  I'm very excited about this alone — check out the videos on their website!

Loving the concept of the event, I have secured the materials required for us to make our own lanterns and join the party!  I just hope all of our makers and families can come along!

Here's a few pics of the work so far…

Willow is beautiful material — not just to look at but also to work with.  We've already talked about coppicing and little about the many varieties.  You can read more, here.

I'm encouraging the makers to do everything themselves like cutting the willow and preparing the masking tape.  It seems like it's the first time many of them have handled masking tape and are quite surprised by some of it's properties.  New skills are being learned all the time — even seemingly simple things like tearing tape into regular lengths can be a fiddly task.

This week we'll be lofting up from the base to form the pyramid shape of the lantern.  It's amazing to see a three dimensional form suddenly spring out of such basic components.  My mind easily wanders to other ideas that could be made this way…

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Race Day Event — POSTPONED

Most regrettably, due to technical issues beyond my control, our Race Day event needs to be postponed.
Sunday 12th looks like the next best option.