Year in review 22

This time last year I was just in the process of ordering a Milling machine. The machine I picked has been reliable and I’m slowly learning how far I can push it, what size cuts to make etc. Only one breakage so far, a 5mm end mill.
It has proved useful with a number of small jobs involving getting straight edges or slots. It is also very good for accurate drilling.
A recent cold snap seems to have caused some very light rusting on the uprights and table. So I’ll be giving it a clean up and have some spray wax to protect it.

Scottish weather also caused recent car trouble but so far the fixes seem to have worked.

There have been a number of projects this year. Following a comment about the Element14 Booknook, I made a second more conventional one for a family member.

There have been some extra parts made for the E14 one too and I plan to wrap it with leather so looks more book like.


The first project of the year and the first task in the new milling machine was a medal for the PSTOIC dinner. This job really needed a rotary table, I’ve some parts to make one but some of the steps really need a lathe and I’ve yet to unbox that. I’m not sure it is big enough so might need to come up with a more inventive solution.

The wooden dumbbells didn’t require any clever machining, being hacked out of some logs with chisel and saw.

In March, I needed a way of mounting a webcam so I could stream a Raspberry Pi and a small breadboard with LED for a talk I was giving. So I assembled a gantry based on some 3D printed parts and aluminium extrusion. It worked fine for the talk but it will need some modification if I want to use it with a bigger camera.


March also saw the first of several trips. We took the family up to Falkirk to see the amazing Kelpies Sculpture and the Engineering masterpiece that is the Falkirk Wheel

This was followed by a trip to Beamish to see the old machinery and vehicles, with some more old vehicles visiting my town in the summer.

Closer to home was a visit to a local maker, Andy Rimmer. Who specialises in prop making and Larp. It was great to see the kind of things that can be made from foam, latex and a lot of creativity.

In the summer, I skirted by the Auto Museum at Dezerland Park, Orlando. We didn’t have time for a proper visit but saw a few of the things they had on show outside. I can recommend it, if you are in Florida.

Element 14 Presents

The first video of the year was made the year before but released in 2022, an RGB LED but 100x actual size.

This was followed by some experiments with 555 timers and 4017 Johnson counters. Not totally successful but did create the effects for a magical Potions rack.

More successful was a remote temperature monitoring project based around a Raspberry Pi, Mosquito, Influx DB, Node-Red and Grafana or “MING” for short. Along with printing a large Pi Logo for the top of the case, I added some lighting bolts and a red and gold paint scheme to give it a Ming the Merciless theme. With some help from PCBWay, I later added an ATX Power Control and also added a simple fan speed controller to reduce the noise from the power supply. Since completing this, I’ve been working on some alternative sensors using an ESP8266 so that the battery life is longer.

Batteries were not an issue for my Ghost Rider project, but airflow was. I had to significantly increase my fan sizes to get the size of flames I was looking for. The lighting worked well but I ran into limitations of the Arduino framework, it didn’t support all of the Analogue outputs that the hardware supported. Unfortunately, this happened well into the project so I just had to live with digital outputs. There seems to be a big learning curve for changing the low level code for these MBED based boards. So not just a case of writing my own code. These gotchas seem to be more common with the newer boards, something to watch out for in future.


Later in the year, I experimented with some jigs to help cut mortices and tenons. The idea is to use these to make multiple identical joints for a planter. Would be good to get that finished in the spring.

I also started on a work light to help with things like working on the car. That’s currently being painted, next step is to charge the battery and wire up the switch an LED panel.


Through the year, read a few new magazines such as MakerSpace and Reinvented as well as a few favourites such as MagPi and the US import Machinist Workshop.

Also have been reading a few maker books such as “FreeCAD for Makers” and “Start Finishing”. I’ve received a book on Automata for Christmas, so will be reviewing that shortly.

Social media

This last year saw a trend to a federated social media platform, Mastodon. I followed some makers there earlier in the year and mostly it seems good. You can find me at
I also joined but so far haven’t created any new video content for that.

New Year

My Titan cordless drill sparked and smoked recently so I’m looking to replace or repair that. I’ve also run out of Argon for the welder so need to replace that. Several people have suggested leads, I just need to follow up on that. And as mentioned at the start, the mill needs a good clean and protect.

There’s already a medal in the works for this year’s theme of “Something Analogue”.

I have some ideas for interesting projects. For E14, I’m starting with a voice assistant project which will hopefully lead to a more involved project. There is a planter for the garden and once the welder is running again, a cart for my welding gear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available