AVR ATtiny2313 in eclipse

I have just returned to using AVR chips, in particular the ATtiny2313 and it really is tiny to use. I am running on mac os x, and avrstudio wont run on mac, but luckily there is an eclipse avr plugin that works really well. First of all you need to install an avr compiler, avrdude. You can find it to download here cross pack. This provides you with a command line compiler for a selection of avr chips.

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Quick update

I have made a couple of things recently but didn’t take many pictures whilst doing it. The first thing is a pallet coffee table, based mostly on these instructions. It turned out like this,


Secondly I wanted to experiment with leather in the laser cutter, so decided to make a mask for halloween. I made some modifications to an old sugar skull graphic, scaled it up and cut it. I then used a wet molding technique to shape the shape the mask and make it more 3D.


After it dried I then added some black feathers to the top using leather glue. The finished product looked like this and I am impressed with how easy it all was.


Milk Pixel update

I have just returned from two sequential festivals presenting MilkPixel. There will be a full update on the new version of Milk Pixel at the website, but here are some photos from both Shambala Festival where Milk Pixel was part of the enchanted forest, and ArcTanGent Festival where Milk Pixel illuminated the main crossroads of the site.

How to vectorise using Inkscape

So you have a nice raster image that would look great blown up on some laser cut wood or just thrown in to a presentation slide but it is so small that it looks awful when you scale it up. You could try vectorising it in Inkscape, which also comes in handy if you want to cut it out on the laser cutter.

So, start with your image;

squid scanned from biology book

Now threshold the image to make the vectorisation simpler. I used GIMP but photoshop or similar will do this for you;

Threshold image

Select your image, and click on Path->Trace Bitmap. There are a lot of options you have to play around with. For example you can separate the image using edge detection or you could do multiple scans of colour ranges. It is best to experiment until you find what you want. The good thing is that Inkscape allows you to export as a dxf file which means you can then load it in to CAD software to cut or machine out later on.


In this example I have separated the image using grey scale values to create four individual object paths. Three of which are shown below (the fourth one didn’t show much).


Animatronic eye

I am working on a lasercut animatronic eye mechanism. Hopefully once I get it working I can opensource the files for others to cut. I am using solid ST4 to CAD and simulate. Here is the first version just to prove the motion.

Extruding projections on surfaces in Solid Edge

Because I always forget how to do this. (Using ST4 in ordered mode).

Draw a sketch on a tangent to the surface you wont to project on to.

Add your text using the text insert tool.

Use the wrap sketch function from the surfaces menu. Select the surface you want and then the sketch/text.

Finally use the add normal from the solids menu. Select the sketch elements and then choose individual settings to suit extrusion distance etc.

word count latex projects

Do you ever want to know how many words are in your latex document? The one thats made up of lots of separate documents? Following this forum post it explains how to use the perl script texWordCount.pl on your main tex file and it will then return a break down of words in each section and an overall word count. Just call the script as below..

perl texWordCount.pl documentname.tex

Milk Pixel

I have recently joined up with the Milk Pixel project to help create version two. Milk Pixel is an interactive sculpture made of coloured light and junk (old plastic milk bottles). The colours of light shinging from within the bottles change and react as you move in front of Milk Pixel or sing and talk to it. Sometimes the colours will change and patterns emerge for no reason at all.

Milk Pixel has many different ways of interacting with people and you are never sure which method it will choose next.
Milk Pixel lets you see that even junk can be fun and beautiful.

We are hoping to display the work at a few festivals this year. Here is a latest progress video…


Installing Ubuntu 12.04 on the Beaglebone

I have had a beagle bone lying around for a while being neglected, so recently I decided to get it up and running and try out ubuntu, which the hope of developing some remote sensing/robot project. The beagle bone comes with a linux distribution Angstorm, which is nice simple os suited to arm based linux boards. I however wanted comforts, so have opted to install Ubuntu instead.
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