Professional Maker

open source

OSHW teaching aid, plus other projects

Hopefully you have read this in time to support this cool educational project… I have already contributed, toย  help support this important project and to get the source files to build my own. I really like the super simple programming interface for the younger kids and can’t wait to see how the open source community will hack this into their own projects.

Here are a few extra cool free culture, open source projects…

Ever wondered what your brain patterns look like. Maybe you want to control your project with your mind.. Well now you can with this Open Source Brain Computer Interface.

Time to updgrade your 3D Printer with this profession hotend.

Make your hand gestures in to funky sounds with Vectr – Open Source 3D Sensing Gesture Controller

Its great to see more and more free culture projects out there. If you want to see more, be sure to support, even if it just a quid, at least stick on your social media of choice.


Enjoy & Share! Morgan.

Derby Mini Maker Faire 2013

IMG_2762 blog

Wow, what a day! As you will see in the time lapse video the Derby Mini Maker Faire was absolutely buzzing, all day.

I was fortunate enough to have my own table exhibiting the latest versions of my clock, amongst the Derby Makers. In the time lapse video you can see all the Derby Makers in our orange hi vis vests, along the wall to the right, busying about.

I created additional hardware, consisting of an LCD screen and 3 rotatory encoders, so people of all ages could interact with the clock, changing the RBG values of the hour marks. I created a simple tutorial, so people could read the RGB values off the LCD screen, update the code, creating their very own colour combinations for the hour, minute and second hands. I will publish the code and respective documents for this tutorial as soon as I get chance. I still have a few changes I would like to make, from the feedback from the Maker Faire.

Rise and Shine LED Clock Tutorial

I had load of positive and constructive feedback on my clocks, of which I am currently implementing. As, I was telling those interested on the day, I will be running a workshop at the Silk Mill in the new year, of which I will announce officially once I have completed my circuit design and tested the workshop out on the Derby Makers.

As a part of the Derby Makers, Amanda & Pam ran a jam and chutney stall, with about 20 recipes to taste, one of which I had contributed. I posted the recipe for my Gujarati style pear chutney on my personal blog, which was apparently loved by all those who tried it… ๐Ÿ™‚ All the recipes have been compiled into a Derby Makers Recipe book, of which I will update with the link as soon as Amanda has published it.

The Derby Maker Faire was such a success, there is already talk of a summer event next year. I will keep you posted…

More Cool Free Open Hardware

Since my recent blog post on the best free & open hardware projects I have found additional projects that are are worth sharing. Each of these projects are currently crowd funding for money to get their projects off the ground. This is a great way to build a successful open source project and respective community.

At the time of writing this post, all of these projects are live in Kickstarter and still accepting contributions. For your convenience I have included both the video and the widget…

Howler Open Source Arcade Controller

If you are a true geek then you will either have or at least want your own arcade machine. The Howler Arcade Controller is designed for so you can add controls for 4 people with more than enough button, all with RGB lighting. This is ideal if you have loads of games so you know which buttons can be used. It also has an accelerometer built in so you can nudge the machine when playing pinball games. I will be definitely making a full size 2 player arcade machine for the Derby Maker Space at the Silk Mill of which I will publish the CNC designs for the cabinet. Both the drivers, code and hardware. I think he is only creating the driver software in M$ Windoze, but as it is open source, I am sure someone will be able to port it across to linux…

1Sheeld: Replace your Arduino shields with your smart phone!

This is a great product for testing your arduino ideas and code, without having to have all the electronics on you. This also allow 2 way communication to your arduino, so you can control your project from your phone and visa versa. I have ordered mine and will adding it to one of my LED Clocks as soon as it arrives.


QuickStack: Let’s make it easy!

This is set to be a great alternative to the Arduino, but without the pin limitations. It also looks easier to code when requiring multiple operations at the same time.


Lenzhound Wireless Lens Motor Control System

This wireless lens remote has so many applications when recording video. I think that at the moment it is only the code that is open source, as is based upon Arduino. Would be great if they open source the hardware, but we will see if they do…

Pedal Power — Human Scale Energy For Everyday Tasks

I love this project. While I don’t this pedal power is a practical energy source for many operations, but I do think there will be many that is. If everyone had something in their house that was pedalled powered then I think we would think a little more about the power we use. I do think that it is sometimes a little too easy to just switch something on.

LED Clock circuit design on Fritzing

Today, I have published the circuit diagram for the Rise and shine LED Clock. Initially, I have completed the circuit design on the breadboard interface on Fritzing, as you can see below.

LED Clock breadboard circuit diagram on fritzing

Breadboard layout of the Rise and Shine LED Clock, designed on Fritzing

I am going to work on adding other components, such as a mircophone and light sensor before completing the schematic and PCB layouts. I will add and upload the fritzing file to the next iteration of the LED Clock code.

I have used the open source Fritzing circuit designer, as this is great place to start for your arduino and other maker/hacker projects.

My LED Clock at Oggcamp 13


This a Last weekend I attended Oggcamp 13, the biggest and best open source & free culture conference in the UK. I took this opportunity to exhibit my LED Clock and demonstrate to the free & open source community what I have been upto and hopefully get some direct feedback…

The John Lennon Art and Business Building Rise and shine LED Clock stall at Oggcamp

Oggcamp 13 was kindly hosted at and sponsored by The John Lennon Art and Design Building, a part of Liverpool John Moores University. Oggcamp is an unconference focused around free culture and open source software & hardware. The Oggcamp 13 tag line sums up what its all about perfectly… “Learn/Teach/Play”.

Oggcamper checking out my LED CLock Oggcamper engaing in my LED CLock

Exhibiting My LED Clock and getting direct feedback was a very rewarding experience.ย  I displayed the current 2 versions of my clock, where the LED strip is facing inwards and where the LED strip is facing outwards. As my outwards facing clock was open and incomplete, it wasn’t perfectly clear of the effect it could achieve, especially in such a very light environment. Once I had chance to explain the effect the clock will achieve when complete and in the correct environment, peoples interest and enthusiasm suddenly went to the next level. I had some great thoughts and ideas shared with me of how the clock could be hacked, in terms of both software and hardware, which is exactly what this project is all about. As and when I have time, I will write up all those ideas and add them to the development list, for either myself or the community to implement.

Morgan Barke at Oggcamp 13 exhibiting his LED Clock Free Pizza for all those Oggcampers

Lunch on both Saturday & Sunday was kindly provided for free by the sponsors of the event. There was a party on Saturday where a free drink and food was put on by the sponsors, of which was greatly appreciated by all.

Oggcamp 13 Raffle Ubuntu vs Firefox OS for phones

There were a wide range of talks, covering topics such as why free music, Ubuntu vs Firefox OS for phone (as pictured above), how to build your first quad/tri copter, git basics, introduction to werewolf, Raspberry Pi Jam, and so on… I now look forward to next years event and would highly recommend it to anyone who is wanting to get in touch with the inner geek! ๐Ÿ™‚

Updated Rise and shine code to v0.24

After buying a new laptop and installing the latest version of Arduino (1.0.1) and uploading v0.23 to test my com port, it didn’t work. But as you can see in this video, it’s not a bad thing…

At the time I was listening to “Summer Stepping” by Dr Meaker at it seemed to fit perfectly. Check it out…

While it doesn’t actually dance to the music I am playing, only looks like it, it shouldn’t be too hard to hack in a microphone to do exactly that… Maybe you might have time to hack it before I do… If so, be sure to let me know… ๐Ÿ™‚

I have now updated the code so the LED Clock now works with arduino v1.0.1 and onwards. You can now download v0.24 from sourceforge, of which I have also added the menu flow diagram.

I will keep you posted when I get chance to add the music dancing functionality… ๐Ÿ™‚


After posting this video on the “FastSPI_LED Users” Google+ community (this is the LED library I use), I received a variety of potiential ways of implementing the sound/music reacting functionality.

Here is someone elseโ€™s implementation…

I have ordered some sound “arduino sound sensor modules” of which run off 5v and I should be able to combine with the Arduino FHT Library from Open Music Labs. I will post an update as soon as I get the clocks dancing… you know, really dancing…

Best free open hardware projects

oshw-logo-800-pxAs with free and open source software, free and open hardware are key components to a sustainable and enriched future for all. We are all faced with a wide variety of environmental and social problems, of which the current closed and proprietary based economic system has little chance of solving. The inefficiencies of consumption based economics contribute highly to both these issues. The mass majority of designs and patents are owned by companies, with their primary interest is of selling you more products. Therefore it is not in their interest to design and create the best, long serving, repairable & upgradable products.

This is where free and open hardware comes to the rescue… If the consumer take responsibility of these products, longevity, upgrades & maintenance will be inherent in their design and creation.

It is early days for the free & open hardware movement and it needs your support, so I have compiled a list of what I currently believe and am aware of, the best and most important free and open hardware projects to help you understand what it is all about. These are not necessarily in order of best, as they all hold their own in their respective field. I am sure I have missed some other worthy projects out there, so please update me with them.

By reading the following and watching the respective videos, you should have a good understanding of why I and so many other people are excited and engaged in the open hardware movement…

Arduino Programmable Board

The Arduino is the perfect platform to get involved in programming and electronics. A lot a new open hardware projects involve Arduino’s, as they are so versatile and accessible, including my Open Source LED Clock which is based around the Arduino Nano. The first video should give you what it is and what the Arduino can do for you. The second is a 28 minute documentary that explains the initial journey of the Arduino and why it came into existence and if you want to get a deeper understanding of the open hardware movement, then this is well worth watching.


Open Source Ecology

This in fact encompasses a wide variety of projects, needed for a modern society, from a brick maker to tractor.


RepRap 3D Printer

Localised manufacture is key to a sustainable future and the open hardware movement. The below video was released about 4 years ago and has become a great success. The Reprap project has now evolved from the original reprap to a variety of new designs all that are all free to download and make yourself.
On the left you can see one of the original designs (RepRap Mendel) and on the right one of the latest( 3DR RepRap Delta printer).
RepRap Mendelย 3DR RepRap Delta printer


Lasersaur – OS Laser Cutter

Laser cutters are becoming an important tool in the makers and hardware hackers arsenal. They allow for cutting and etching of a variety of materials, such as paper, wood, textiles and even light metals. Here is an open source laser cutter which is very close to an official release. Meanwhile, with a small donation you can access the beta files and get building.


Kikori CNC Router

Inspired by the Reprap, Judah Sher designed a free and open source CNC router for his final year project at Uni. It is predominantly made of 18mm Plywood components, of which can be cut on itself. This project was successfully funded in Kickstarter giving Judah the time to complete and release the designs into the community. Judah no longer has time to further develop the Kikori, so it’s now over to the open hardware community and is certainly on my projects to do list…
Kikori CNC router


Wikihouse Open Source Construction Set

Its all very well having all of the above open source tools, but what if you don’t have a workshop to house them? Well, now you can build an open source one, using the Wikihouse constructions set on a CNC router like the Kikori. Wikihouse is a construction set designed for anyone wanting to build their own timber framed home (or workshop). All the construction components are cut out of 18mm plywood which can be easily sustainably sourced.


Open Hand Project

I recently supported this project on Indiegogo and thought is was well worth adding to the list. This project is a open source prosthetic hand that open/closes when the user tenses their forearm muscle. A large proportion of the components can be printed using a 3D printer like the RepRap.


SmoothieBoard – OS CAM Control Board

Smoothie is a control board specifically designed for open hardware manufacturing tools, such as 3D Printers, Laser Cutters & CNC Routers and Milling Machines. The current design can handle up to 5 axis machines.


Parallella Parallel Computer

This is a powerful new parallel computing platform, design to run GNU/Linux. For certain computational tasks a regular desktop computer is simple not powerful enough and doesn’t have the correct type of architecture to get it done efficiently. Parallel computing is a subject in itself, but this video should give you an idea of why it important.

Derby Makers at the launch of Proud of Derby campaign


Being an active member of Derby Makers (a collective of individuals who share an interest in making, modifying and improving anything and everything), I helped out in representing at the launch of a new campaign by the Derby City Council “Proud of Derby”.


At this event Derby Makers shared a stall with Derby Silk Mill, of which we displayed just a few of the projects that the Derby Makers members have created. One of which was my Arduino powered LED clock. This was the first time my prototype has ventured out into the public. My objects of the LED clock project is to create a open source, hackable clock, as an educational device to encourage people interested in technology to learn how adapt and improve something for there own needs, of what hacking is all about. I still have some improvements to make before I will be have to officially launch my open source LED clock, along with creating the tools to encourage a thriving community, so watch this space…


Here you can see rope being made using Mark’s rope making machine, of which he has used on previous occasions such at scout meetings to engage and educate.

Below are a few links to press releases about the launch of the “Proud of Derby” campaign if you wish to know more…

BBC Video News feature

Derby City Council Article

This Derbyshire – Derby Evening Telegraph Article with video