I cannot believe that an entire year has gone by already, and yet another Maker Faire has come and gone!
It was amazing to see what everybody had on show, and once again it was even bigger than the year before which is absolutely amazing seeing as it is the biggest Maker Faire in the UK!
This year we had some flower badges, snowman badges and Space Buddy kits on sale, and I think a bit of clarification is needed for everybody about that last one. In reality the Space Buddies on sale at the Maker Faire should have been labelled as “Space Buddies Lite”, as they were the same design as the ones I had on my recent Kickstarter campaign, however they are in fact different. The Lite edition comes pre-programmed with 5 tunes, RGB LEDs that flash while the song is playing, a button to change the tune and a button to play the selected tune - that’s it. Programmed in Arduino (with some pure AVR C code mixed in), it will be going up on GitHub soon for everybody to download, view, change, and enjoy. The Kickstarter campaign uses the same PCB design, however it has Infrared data transfer, so the kits speak to each other along with an extra special feature that I have not revealed just yet.
On the day at this year’s Maker Faire some of you unfortunately experienced some issues with the Space Buddies kits, which we managed to fix on the space (or replaced with a working one, depending on how busy we were at the time), I think another explanation is needed for this. The PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) for these specific kits only arrived with me in the afternoon of the day before, and I was pre-soldering all the surface mount components (the really tiny microchip and resistors) by hand on each board until 5 AM on Saturday morning, preparing as many of them for the faire as I could. Unfortunately I pushed myself beyond my limits, was tired and made mistakes with the boards (more specifically, did not solder all the legs on the microchip to the boards), and unfortunately my helpers were volunteers which did not know how to debug and fix my mistakes, so it was up to me to fix them on the day as and when they happened. I know it is no excuse for the problems, and that I should have tried to have had everything prepared much earlier on, a lesson well learned but I thought it would be worth explaining for those of you experiencing trouble. None of the microchips were preprogrammed, again due to lack of time beforehand so they were programmed on the day after the boards being assembled. Now from what I was informed at the end of the day, that perhaps one or two of you may have been sold some of these kits to assemble at home. Now unfortunately unless you have a 6 pin ISP programmer, these will simply not work. If you are in fact one of these people, please do contact me via email and I will work out a solution with you. There is also the vague possibility that you may have the previous issue as well, so unless you feel comfortable with surface mount soldering, I would really like to send you a replacement PCB with a pre-programmed chip.
Everybody who enquired about customized kits, I am more than happy to make customized kits with practically any design of your choosing, however it does take me time to design these, so a compromise has to be had in that there either needs to be a minimum order number to keep the cost down or alternatively each kit would be marked at a higher price, the physical size is also another aspect to take into account. I am not talking about hundreds of kits however, so do not be put off by me asking for a minimum order, I do my best to be as reasonable as possible, so if you are interested in customized kits with your school emblem or anything else, please drop me an email and we can discuss this further.
Additional workshops will be coming up, and once I have confirmed details about them I will be adding the details up here. I also plan on starting an email subscription list (easy to unsubscribe, and not shared with any third parties) for anybody interested in regular workshops in the Brighton area. If you would like to have a private workshop run for a group of people, I am open the idea of it and do have my own public liability insurance, so please contact me via email.
More kits will be going on sale very soon, of varying difficulties, so please check back. Right now I am concentrating all my efforts in completing everything for my Kickstarter supporters, they are my top priority, however I am making very good progress on that and should hopefully have more kits going up for sale very soon, along with an updated website that with improved documentation/instructions for each kit.
Hopefully that answers a number of questions and addresses any concerns that anybody may have had. If I missed out on anything that you would like more details on, please either leave a comment or contact me via email. Thank you again for all your support at Brighton Mini Maker Faire, and I hope you all had a great day!