What a year, 2019

2019 started with an IoT theme, I was working on the Azure Sphere board and completed a software implementation of the I2C protocol. I also attended an Azure IoT training course at the end of the month.

The work on the Azure Sphere led to a couple of interesting projects. Firstly in Feb, a magazine article for Diyode magazine. I reworked the magic compass using an Arduino MKR1000 and wrapped it in 3D printed and wooden case. Later in the year, I took this to Prague in June as an example of the Joy of Making, a talk given to the new maker space that had been set up in Microsoft. I also gave a talk this year on IOT Security that included the seven properties of secure systems by Galen Hunt who lead the Azure Sphere project.

In February, I created my own Jumbo LED, which included some of the longest 3D prints I have created. That won me a prize in the Project14 “A question of scale” competition, and later in the year inspired Diyode magazine to create their own version. This project also allowed me to up my Fusion360 skills but more on that later.

In February, there were some hasty repairs to the back of the Workshopshed. The neighbours had removed the back fence and that gave me a unique opportunity to see the rear wall. Unfortunately, it was quite rotten so I needed to quickly patch it up before they replaced the fence. The rotten wood was chopped out and replaced with a big slab of OSB. The front of the shed got a minor facelift too with the addition of a vent hole connected to the extractor fan provided by Alfred from the Guild of Makers.

March saw some new colours from Sugru, a trip to AutoDesk to see the Guild of Makers and some hints on how to stay motivated from guest poster Patrick Bailey. 2019 has been a good year for guest and sponsored posts with just over one post per month and they have provided some great tips on repairs and projects.

It has been a mixed year for repairs, several small repairs have gone well but the year started with a failed repair for a cracked mirror. Perhaps that was one of the influences that got me writing a book on failure. That’s still a work in progress but there are several chapters already written and in the summer I looked at what to do when you fail. I attended a great talk on Chaos Engineering at Expedia later in the year which looked at injecting failures into a system to examine its behaviour. A technique aimed at complex distributed computer systems but could also be applied to other areas.

Fail Book
A book on failure

Other books from 2019 include the Haynes Shed Manual which includes a small tip from myself, The Crafty Kid’s Guide to DIY Electronics and Non-Bullshit Innovation.

Two articles for HackSpace Magazine were also published in the spring, a 3D printed Binary Keyboard (who needs more than 2 keys) and a remote display using an ESP32, E-Ink display and heat bent perspex casing.

Through the summer, I managed to get the footstool back on its legs and so far it has held together ok. Also in the summer, Diyode magazine published my UV Monitor project and HackSpace magazine published two of my articles on Fusion360.

The summer holiday to Wales was an opportunity for a bit of downtime with the family but also a great chance to add some photos to the new Workshopshed Instagram and Facebook page.

After several months of effort, the Walking Elephant project was finished and published in September. It was published in 2 parts with a further spin-off servo breakout board. This was my second project using KiCad and again Fusion360 was used for the modelling which needed many iterations to get right.

The autumn brought a new project which should be published in January and I got to play with the new Pi 4 and made a little heatsink for it.

For 2020 my first challenge is to finish off the extractor fan. It is all in place and needs wiring up, having that should make conditions much nicer and stop the smoke detector beeping quite so much. I’d also like to get the Fail book completed, some solid progress was made this year but there’s still some way to go. Other than that, I don’t have too many plans. It would be good to collaborate with some other makers and I hope to visit the guild of makers again in April.

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