We have resumed the regular weekly meetings at the Railway Hotel for a little while now. In fact just as soon as we were permitted to do so. Publicans have our deepest sympathies and support, opening up again with all the uncertainty has been difficult and business was initially slow. So much so it must have led some to question if it was all worth it.
We can certainly say it was worth it for us, and business at the Railway Hotel is certainly steadily picking up again. If you have not as yet received all your vaccinations or you consider yourself at risk, please think carefully as to whether you want to come and see us and if you want to put it off for a little while that is OK, we are not going anywhere and will still be there when the time is right for you. For everyone else, come on down there’s hacking & making to do, talk about and drinks (of all variety’s) to be had.
I had never been a big fan of watching youtube videos but it has been a long year of lockdowns without the benefit of EMF Camp or interacting with other making folk as much as we like to, picking up new ideas, inspirations and projects along the way. After all I have always been more inclined to do than watch when it comes to making stuff.
So initially, perhaps out of desperation. Needs as needs must when the devil vomits in your kettle. I started to watch a few videos on youtube and discovered that there is a quantity of really good content on there hidden under a great pile of wasted video mileage. I guess though it takes all sorts and there is no reason why everyone else should not be catered for too.
Anyways to help pick some golden nuggets out of the dross here’s my recent techy/making shortlist of vloggers with stuff IMHO worth watching.
It is not all techy/making though there are a whole bunch of quality short scifi and cyberpunk films on youtube as well as the progress on the SpaceX Starship project we have been following. This combined well with Spacex’s own footage of the Starlink and Starship projects and Spaceflightnow’s news and launch scheduling.
I have listed so few links relating to the Starship project and Youtube here as quite frankly there is so much and much of it is wild supposition, opinions, outright bilge and regurgitated footage. Mary (Boca Chica Gal) and Jack Beyer through Nasaspaceflight seem to have got the video over watch for Starship nailed, without out a lot of surplus rubbish tacked on or overlayed. I found the rest of Nasaspaceflights commentated footage too irritating to watch. Of the better commentaries Scott Manley seems to do a good job, he keeps it punchy and informative whilst having a decent grasp of the science and engineering. He even goes so far as to analyse parts of the footage and decompose the frame rates to estimate speed of touchdown/RUD etc, making valid contributions.
I did spend a little while watching Nasa’s live ISS feeds especially some of the spacewalks, interesting stuff even if it can only be described as “Slow TV”. I do get the whole procedurally driven aspect of safety and protecting the investment etc. It does though show how outside of historically significant events being an astronaut must have a whole bunch of the potential joy procedurally micromanaged out of it. I think I will pause my astronaut aspirations and await the wild west of space becoming populous enough to support an outlaw class.
The above shortlist is far from exhaustive, it is a very personal choice, and as a relatively late comer to watching youtube video’s there’s bound to be a ton more good stuff amongst the dross that is yet to be found. What have you been watching ??
The lockdown seems to be progressing towards opening up, and boy has it been along one. We took some time out to get in touch again with The Railway Hotel in central Doncaster where we meet up and see how they are getting along, it has been a tough time for so many business especially pubs.
Jordan replied to our email really quickly, they are still with us, doing OK and looking forward to opening up and having us back again which is good news. So this quick update was in order, we are all still here and just awaiting the nod to resume our regular Thursday meet-ups.
We are big fans of supporting the wider local hacking and making community. To this end whilst in conversation recently I had my attention drawn to some local creative folk who we would like to give a shout out to.
We are gutted, due to the coronavirus restrictions now in force we are no longer permitted to hold our weekly meetings on Thursday evenings at The Railway Hotel. This is set to be the case whilst ever Doncaster is in the top two tiers of the new restrictions.
Rest assured though that as soon as Doncaster is no longer in the top two tiers normal service will resume.
In the mean time we will be continuing meeting virtually (bring your own pub, or workspace) via Zoom. If you want to come along or just drop in to talk, contact us via our contact pages and we will send you the joining details for our zoom session.
Hard at work having fun during last nights meeting musing on dome prototypes for the next EMF Camp.
Initial design ideas that we are iterating upon are based on Fullerenes specifically the Buckminster Fullerenes C60, C70 and maybe C90. The prototype C60 ball above was made using bamboo lolly sticks bolted with M3 bolts at the intersections. So the M3 bolts are in effect pretending to be Carbon atoms. Next job is to prototype a C70 and have a think about where we want to section the ball to form a dome.
Other possibilities are forming a sectioned carbon nanotube type structure with a closing C60/C70 type dome at each end. Sort of like a high tech Viking long house for our EMF Camp village. So many choices and such a short meetup, but at least there is next week, restrictions permitting.
We will be meeting there on Thursday (or is that thirsty) evenings 19:00 til 21:00 every week unless we post otherwise. Needless to say we will be monitoring the pandemic situation in partnership with the landlord and if there is a change to this we will post out an update here, but will continue meeting virtually via zoom until the situation improves and we can return to our watering hole. Bring a mask if you have one as the snug can get erm, snug, if too many arrive all at once. More importantly bring along your projects to show, tell and exchange ideas.
The venue is centrally located in Doncaster a spitting distance from the Railway Station and the travel interchange. There is free on street parking nearby available after 18:00 and also the well lit, CCTV monitored station car park (parking fees apply) just behind the pub.
We have upgraded our Zoom account @zoom_us so that our scheduled sessions and user group meetings are no longer time limited. Many thanks to our members whose subscription has made this possible. Out next task is to sort out a place for physical meetings.
As most of the initial hackspace founding is now complete we had our first official session (virtually) using Zoom on Thursday 23rd July. So we are now, officially open for business and new members.
We have picked Thursday evenings 19:00 till 21:00 as our weekly open sessions for both regular attenders and also for new faces. We are also looking forward to scheduling new regular sessions in support of our members activities and special interest groups.
Once the current pandemic situation allows and potential venues re-open we will be additionally running up a physical location for the weekly open sessions. We would like to continue with virtual presence/attendance along side all our scheduled sessions as well as a physical meetup because this a great way to facilitate inclusivity. I guess it also allows members to take part whist travelling or working away.
To help with getting the message out there and letting visitors to our web site know about upcoming events and scheduled meetings we added a simple events calendar to our web site.
If you would like to join up or check us out, come along to one of our open sessions. For our Zoom session details contact the Secretary who handles all matters to do with our membership.
Doncaster hackspace needed a stylised logo, suggesting speed, going places and local engineering. So we decided to base it on the LNER Mallard and made one.
Easy to say it that way but the method is straightforward enough if you know how. First we needed a picture because were not that great at freehand drawing or arty. It turned out that the Science Museums Doncaster Works Collection had a profile picture of the LNER Mallard that we could use as the basis for our logo.
We used inkscape for the actual task but other drawing packages are equally good especially if you know them already. Which ever you use avoid doing this in a bitmap, paint or photo editor. Use a vector or drawing package. You need the flexibility of being able to rework your lines and drawing many times over and for it to scale smoothly. The procedure went something like this:-
Import the chosen base image into your drawing package. Make sure you put this image on a layer that is at the bottom and you can pile your tracing and drawing layers on top of it.
Create a new layer to draw on and switch to it.
Using the bezier curve and straight line tool, roughly trace out the outline of the object and any features you want to capture to flesh out the stylized item. In this case there were a few curves and the rails.
Create a new layer to draw the lettering on and switch to it.
Search the internet for an open source or creative commons stencil font that suits the feel you want to achieve.
Install/import the font to your OS so that the drawing package can see it and use it
Add the letters for your organisation to the lettering layer.
Create a new layer to draw the wheels on and switch to it.
Create the wheels and size them by trial an error laying them over the image to get the sizing correct. Inkscape as a plug-in that generates gears from a few parameters, But you could equally use some creative commons clip-art to achieve similar results.
Set the stroke colour to one you want and make the lines thick enough to work in a lower resolution take of your logo. There is no rule for this it is a case of fiddle with it till you like it.
Adjust your tracing and other traced features iteratively until you get a final result that you like. This is usual done with the edit paths and nodes tools. Adding nodes and pulling the lines and bezier handles about till all the tracing fits snugly over the drawing. Like the image above.
While you are doing 11, 10, 7 and 3 you can lock the other layers to stop the select tool picking them up and from moving things around.
You will also find it useful to selectively hide the other layers by turning of their visibility in the layer toolbox to see how the end result is coming along. It can often be difficult to get a feel for the state of the progress on the logo when you are distracted by the base image, or lettering, or similar.
Finally when you are happy save your work (you have been doing this often as you went along, right……)
Hide the base image by turning off visibility of the layer it is on. Then export your logo in a range of sizes (resolutions) and bitmap formats.
A word or two about the stencil font mentioned at 7. We wanted to create a logo that could be stencilled onto stuff, laser cut and or maybe plasma cut. Many fonts look great but when you actually try to cut out the letters when cutting a stencil you quickly find that the centre of the “O” drops out or the “A” has a bit that wont stay in and the lovely effect you were looking for was ruined. If you pick a font that is intended to be stencilled these things are already take care of.
And we are done, this Logo was then added to our web pages, favicon etc.