Holiday Make-A-Thon 2011


Join us Friday, November 25th, 2011 at Bucketworks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the 2011 Holiday Make-A-Thon!

The event is family friendly, fun, and free. (Though donations towards materials will be accepted.)

The guys from Milwaukee Makerspace will be there… so should you!

Some of the activities include:

  • Learning to soldering
  • Gourd painting
  • Knitting
  • Hand-painting ornaments
  • Gift-wrapping station

See who else is coming (and RSVP) over on Facebook.

Those interested in helping out by volunteering, or who just want way more details, can check out this Atrium thread.


Logging the temperature and humidity

Adafruit DHT22 temperature-humidity sensor

Last November one of the Arduino-based projects I started working on was a temperature logger for the office. With winter coming up I wanted to see just how cold it got. (The office is in a converted attic, and the heating and cooling leaves much to be desired.)

I picked up a TMP36 – Analog Temperature sensor and got it wired up and wrote some hacky perl code to read the data and log it. I never really got it out of the experimentation stage, and ended up pulling the Arduino out for another project. (Isn’t that often the case!?)

So last month when Adafruit came out with the DHT22 temperature-humidity sensor I figured I should grab one, and maybe I’d get around to finishing the project.

My temperature (and humidity!) logger is still not done, but I did whip up something to run this week while Wisconsin is having a heat wave. The office has a window air conditioning unit, but it only runs when someone is in the office. When no one is there, it gets hot. How hot? Well, now we know….

Time Humidity Temperature
00:00 50% 89°F
00:30 50% 89°F
01:00 50% 89°F
01:30 49% 89°F
02:00 49% 89°F
02:30 49% 89°F
03:00 48% 89°F
03:30 48% 89°F
04:00 48% 89°F
04:30 48% 89°F
05:00 48% 89°F
05:30 48% 89°F
06:00 48% 89°F
06:30 49% 89°F
07:00 57% 89°F
07:30 58% 89°F
08:00 53% 91°F
08:30 52% 91°F
09:00 52% 91°F
09:30 52% 91°F
10:00 52% 91°F
10:30 52% 91°F
11:00 52% 91°F
11:30 52% 93°F
12:00 52% 93°F
12:30 52% 93°F
13:00 51% 93°F
13:30 51% 95°F
14:00 50% 95°F
14:30 50% 95°F
15:00 50% 95°F
15:30 50% 96°F
16:00 50% 96°F
16:30 50% 96°F
17:00 49% 96°F
17:30 50% 98°F
18:00 48% 96°F
18:30 43% 93°F
19:00 41% 91°F
19:30 40% 89°F
20:00 41% 87°F
20:30 39% 89°F
21:00 37% 89°F
21:30 42% 86°F
22:00 40% 86°F
22:30 39% 86°F
23:00 39% 84°F
23:30 37% 84°F


The hard part of the code is provided by Adafruit’s DHT-sensor-library and their DHTxx Sensor Tutorial was also useful. And just for fun we dug up another old bit of perl which was wired up to SuperTweet.Net so we could send the data out via the 2XL Networks Twitter account.

2XL Networks - Logging

I should really get around to finishing this project, since I have a spare Seeeduino that would be a good fit for it. I can always feed the data into Pachube or roll my own logging application.

I’m really just hoping the heat wave ends and it doesn’t get up to 98°F in the office again…

Update: See the post: Logging the temperature and humidity (code)




Remember when I wrote about Cheap Arduinos? Well, if you do, maybe you remember the Diavolino.

The Diavolino is a damn cheap Arduino clone, coming in at about $13. (I say “about” because if you want some headers, or a battery pack, or a chip socket, it’ll run you another few bucks… but still, you can get away with just $13 for the base kit.)

Even though I said there was an “extremely detailed assembly guide” there were a few places where I got slightly confused, mainly just in the “power options” section. (I wasn’t even drinking when I put this kit together, unlike the last kit I built.) Since I got the Diavolino with the 3 x AA battery holder for $1, it was simple to just go with that option. Obviously you’ll need a FTDI USB-TTL cable to connect it to your computer to program it. Again, leaving out the on-board USB makes this kit nice and cheap. (I did get a socket for the chip, as I don’t like to solder chips directly into place.) My only real complaint is that, even though the board looks cool in red and black, it can be a little hard to read the type on the board to locate the correct pins. Then again, I tend to prototype in dimly lit rooms.

I got this kit put together in about 40 minutes. (In fact, I even made a time lapse video showing the assembly.) This seems like a pretty simple kit for a beginner. In fact, I could see the Diavolino being used as a kit put together in a class for people wanting to learn soldering and basic Arduino programming. (As long as you can send them home without an FTDI cable.)

The Diavolino appears to have been designed knowing that in being low cost, a few sacrifices had to be made, and I’m OK with that. If you know how you want to use it, it shouldn’t be an issue at all. (This one is destined for a robot.)


Holiday Make-a-thon (Time Lapse)

As we often do here at RasterWeb!/2XL Networks, we made a time lapse video… this one is from the Holiday Make-a-thon that was held at Bucketworks recently…

Some of thing things that were made: LED ornaments, handmade wrapping paper, recycled bags, popsicle stick ornaments, and lots and lots of art… Oh there was also knitting, and at least one maker worked on a YBox. There’s probably a lot I missed, but then I was busy making things as well. It was great to see kids and adults working side by side creating things, hopefully we can do it again.

Thanks to Bucketworks for hosting the event, as well as sponsors Milwaukee Makerspace, and UberDorkCafe.

Oh, and if you missed it, don’t worry, I hear they may be planning another one soon

You can also see this video at or view an MP4 version.


Holiday Make-a-thon


Join us on Friday, November 26th, 2010 for a Holiday Make-a-thon!

This will be a family-friendly event where you can avoid the crowds obsessed with getting the deal of the century on the latest must-have geegaw and actually make something that you can give as a gift this holiday season (or keep for yourself!)

The event is co-sponsored by Bucketworks, Milwaukee Makerspace, and UberDorkCafe. We’re asking for a $5 donation per family, and we’ll provide some snacks & drinks. (Feel free to bring something to share as well.)

make a thing!

So what will you make? We’ve selected a number of electronic kits if you want to try your hand at soldering/building. (And those Makerspace guys will teach you to solder and help you along the way, so don’t be scared if this is your first electronic kit.) Choose from the following SparkFun Electronics kits: Sapphire Bracelet, Diamond Bracelet or Ruby Bracelet for $49.95, It’s a Through-Hole Christmas, Charlie Brown! for $17.95, Simon Game for $24.95, Lectro Candle Kit for $9.95, and Terror-Min for $9.95. (Order your kits NOW so you get them in time.)

If electronics isn’t your thing, you can try to knit a coffee cup cozy or a scarf with Ashe, or try your hand at making Germ Soap (from American Science & Surplus on 6901 West Oklahoma Ave.) or go green and turn plastic bags into a sturdy one-of-a-kind messenger bag with Natali from the UberDorkCafe. (See video.)

We’ll also have James Carlson reading a story (book TBD) and Sam Dodge taking family portraits.

You don’t have to RSVP on The Facebook, but you can if you want… and you can see who else will be there.

(Hmmm, who knows? Maybe I can show people how to make an Arduino Powered Twitter Monkey…)

Update: See a time lapse video of the event.