I really should do these more often

I’ve been meaning to do a blog post for some time now, for months actually but laziness and depression had gotten the better of me. Since the last post back in January things got worse, and then in the last couple of weeks, got immensely better! Thanks to a lecturer I knew at the university, I managed to get an additional assignment to allow me to complete the last subject I failed the previous semester. The good news is that once I complete the 12 weeks of work experience, I can then graduate. The sad news is, I didn’t find any work in the first half of the year, so I can’t graduate this year. But this is not a huge issue for me as I started working at a company last week as a trainee embedded software engineer, pretty much my dream (well, I’d like to be an embedded software engineer, but I digress) job. My main goal about 2-3 years ago was to just finish my course and get employment. This means I’ve effectively completed that goal, although I probably would have thought I’d be able to graduate at that time.

The bad news is that Centrelink, the Australian government welfare agency, made life more… let’s just say ‘interesting’. The main bit being when I ‘effectively’ finished study and had to transfer to a different payment, it somehow got lost in the system and never fully processed. It was eventually resolved but certainly made my life more stressful as I didn’t know if I could have made the rent for that month. There are other things happening with them, but I won’t elaborate in this post. The only thing I will say is, I’m now off Centrelink payments because I’ve got a full time job; I’m extremely happy about that!

So, you might have been wondering what’s happening with the various projects I have and will they continue now I have a full time job. The answer is, they’re going to continue, and I can actually allocate some funds to them although the amount I’m earning and the fact I’m saving up to move into a larger place, means the donation jar will stay at least for now. The one thing that surprised me when I last wrote my blog post was that the post didn’t mention at all the 3D printer I’m working on. Since about November last year, I’ve been planning and building a 3D printer of my own. It’s a Reprap Prusa i3, although it has a few touches here and there that don’t feature in the original part files. The printer is nearing completion, and will be hopefully working soon enough; the last 2 tasks needed to be completed is calibrating the firmware and adding connectors to the components. I’ll possibly write up a post one time about 3D printers and what one to pick in another blog post as I was asked by my father to email his boss about them.

Last post I said I would be releasing a video about my Raspbian Rover project, the reason it wasn’t released was I wasn’t exactly happy with it and coupled with the fact I hate listening to myself speak, it never actually got edited. I still have the footage, but I plan on working it a bit more before I record it again and release that. I also mentioned that I’d be doing a presentation for the raspberry pi jam. The presentation was enjoyed although it wasn’t actually that good in the end. I didn’t prepare enough for it and didn’t have the demonstrations I wanted working completely. It was also recorded, although never uploaded and not likely to as there are several things that bugged me while watching it. I also apologise to those who were waiting for me to release it.

One project I mentioned last time was a webcam stand. Sadly the USB hub I was using completely conked out completely meaning it no longer would connect to the web cam and also caused problems with the raspberry pi. The good news is, for my birthday my girlfriend got me a Model A and a raspberry pi camera module. This means the Raspbian rover is getting a downgrade (this is actually good) and has a camera instead of the original plan to have a USB webcam on it. I’m also going to try to prototype the original idea of having a camera to look around the house with an integrated laser pointer to see if I can play with the cat while away. I’m probably going to buy another camera module although I don’t plan on getting another raspberry pi for the time being.

Since last time, I managed to convince myself I needed a toy to play with, that toy being an electric 4 wheeled drive rally car. To say the least, they (my girlfriend wanted one as well) are pretty awesome, although the main gear managed to get stripped which is annoying but not unexpected thanks to the comments on the product page. I actually plan on trying to cast a new main gear in resin, although haven’t done this as of yet.

Another little mini project I have planned is populating a couple of PCBs feurig and soycamo, from #leafblowers, sent me. They’re orone mini boards designed by gbulmer, one of the other leaflabs moderators, and they’re basically Maple Minis, although a bit larger. I’ve actually bought a lot of components to build them up (AUD$100 worth) and plan on putting an STM32F3 on them. I may actually then use that for the UAV projects as that actually has a floating point unit on it which should help with some of the calculations. I also plan on finally designing my own PCBs in KiCAD (which means they’ll probably be released at some point) for various projects including the Raspbian Rover, the UAVs, the Turnigy 9x (I haven’t forgotten about it), and the 3D printer as I’d like a standalone controller which is a little bit smarter about certain things.

Lastly, we have something which is sort of completely different. If you’ve been on twitter, you’ve probably seen that I’ve been working on a cosplay of the character Zer0 from Borderlands 2. The bit I worked on the most is probably Zero’s helmet, using someone’s pepakura model and a lot of paper, tape, resin, fibreglass, car body filler, and of course time, I’ve built a helmet from basically nothing to something which can actually handle a few knocks, and it’s been quite an enjoyable experience, although the crazy bit will be is that I want to do a lot of these type of costumes. I may end up doing some PCBs to add other features/lights to them, but that will come later. Of course, I wouldn’t have been able to have this costume without my girlfriend’s help who has been working on her own costumes as well. You can actually check out a picture of all of our costumes here when we got the opportunity to meet gearbox software CEO Randy Pitchford (who is an awesome guy) at PAX AUS.

Anyway, hopefully it won’t be 6-8 months until the next blog post. We’ll see what happens though.