Dynamo mini audio amplifier

Finally finished the mini audio amp I started when I visited Flowering Elbow. I fitted a supercapacitor array inside the amp, that gives approximately 20 minutes of operation when fully charged. Charging it with one of my modified dynamo torches takes 3-4 minutes.

Finger dancing optional. Music is Chocolate by Syrup.

The Magpi, Raspberry Pi magazine

I am gradually getting to grips with the Raspberry Pi, and I have stumbled upon a great online/hardcopy resource called The Magpi.
Currently at issue #20, The Magpi started in 2012 to deliver a monthly selection of articles written by enthusiasts about various Raspberry projects, features, and culture. All the issues are available online, and are a perfect repository for beginners and intermediate Rpi eaters.
The feel, layout and content of the magazine bring back a community based DIY computing spirit very close to that of the 1980s, which I guess the Raspberry Pi initiative is very inspired by.


The Magpi is currently running a kickstarter campaign, already 341% funded with 13 days to go!

Day out at Flowering Elbow


I went to Flowering Elbow‘s open day on Saturday. It took about 90 minutes to drive from Cardiff, and I finally arrived on top of a hill near Carmarthen where Sam and Steve have built a workshop extension to an existing farm building. Lots of TLC and sustainable design principles have gone into the building, as well as an impressive array of metal and wood machining tools.

Theme for the day was wood, and I chose to make a casing for a prototype small amplified speaker powered by a supercapacitor array. Steve and Sam suggested different bits of timber. I settled on geometrically challenging but good looking holly cuts that they gathered from a hedge nearby sometime ago. I used a bandsaw and a scary table saw to make small holly panels. There was no time to assemble the case, it is now on my homework to-do list.

I totally recommend attending Flowering Elbow’s next open day, Steve and Sam are very welcoming and knowledgeable, and they are keen to share skills and ideas. I have invited them to come to my studio soon, and spend a day on electronics and small scale digital fabrication.

Broken spindle

My old Chinese CNC router was cutting away a piece of plywood to make a housing for a supercapacitor power unit when I heard a crunching noise and a squeak, with smoke. The spindle of the router had finally died, after several months of decline.
Today I received my new spindle, a German one (Kress 1050 FME-1). Fear not stereotype, the German tool is definitely better than the original. It took a bit of twiddling to make it fit, including the 3D printing of a bright orange excentered collet to fit the narrower mount of the new device.
routersI had to lift up the work table by 30mm, which I did with crudely sawn MDF pads, not the job I am the proudest of… The plan is to eventually cut an aluminium plate mount to drop the spindle by 30mm and fit the table back to its original position.

Anyway, by the end of the day I had cut the three parts for my supercap battery housing. tomorrow I am off to Flowering Elbow’s open day near Carmarthen, where maybe it will all come together!

Flowering Elbow open day

The team at Flowering Elbow have an open day at their cool workshop in Carmarthen on Saturday 25th January. A great opportunity to mingle with makers, share tips, play with recycled goods,  open source electronics, wood and metal….


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