December 6, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TechShop 2.0 [Maker Update #63]

This week on Maker Update, a Bluetooth boombox with a built in visualizer, TechShop bounces back, a Circuit Python pixel painter, animatronic eyes, and glue tips for cosplay. This week’s Cool Tool is the Bucket Boss Parachute Bag.

Show Notes

Advanced Project

Photo and project by Modustrial Maker.

Bluetooth Speaker W/ Music-Reactive LED Matrix by Modustrial Maker


Techshop to Reopen Locations Through Asset Acquisition

Adafruit interviews Dan Rasure, Managing Partner TechShop 2.0

More Projects

Photo and project by the Ruiz Bros.

CircuitPython Painter by Ruiz Bros.

Cool Tools Minute

Bucket Boss Parachute Bag

Essential Craftsman video on Screws


Image and project by Polymaker.

3D Printed Eye Mechanisms by Caleb Kraft

Excerpt courtesy of MagPi magazine.

MagPi 64 is out

The 3 Most Used Glues in Cosplay by Wayne’s Workshop

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This week on Maker Update, a Bluetooth boombox with a built in visualizer, TechShop bounces back, a circuit Python pixel painter, a bag for your screws, animatronic eyes, and glue tips for cosplay.

It’s Wednesday, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to another Maker Update. I hope everyone’s doing great. I know you’re all busy with the holidays so I’m going to keep this one short. So let’s get into it with the advanced project of the week.

I’ve seen a lot of DIY Bluetooth speakers, but this one by Modustrial Maker is on a whole other level. He’s made a wireless boombox with a built-in sound-ractive LED display that includes multiple visualization modes.

The project breaks down into three main chunks. There’s the woodworking involved for creating the enclosure, which is sharp.

Then there’s the electronics involved for the audio — the speakers, the Bluetooth speaker board, the power jack and on/off switch.

And then there’s the LED matrix, which is a 16×16 Neopixel matrix driven by an Arduino Mega, with a microphone wired in to modulate the lighting. The matrix of LEDs are behind a sheet of semi-opaque acrylic to give it that diffused look.

There’s even an adjustable rod inside to bring the LEDs closer or further from the panel to adjust the diffusion. That detail alone is something I’d love to see in other projects.

It’s time for some news. This week, the TechShop chain of maker spaces here in the U.S. has bounced back from the grave.

As reported by Make: an outside partnership is acquiring all of TechShop’s assets and will begin reopening locations and rehiring employees as soon as possible.

And while this is great news, especially for those of you with memberships, it remains to be seen what the new owners will do differently to make TechShop financially successful. But after reading an interview on Adafruit with the new Managing Partner, Dan Rasure, I’m optimistic. You can find a link to that interview in the show notes.

One more project I just have to share this week. On Adafruit, the Ruiz brothers have a fun guide on making a pixel painter wand for creating persistence of vision graphics in thin air.

The project uses a Feather M0 Express board, a rechargeable battery, and a strip of high-density DotStar LEDs.

There’s a great guide for this project, with clear step by step photos and code, and files for 3D printing the handle and wand.

You’ll also learn how to create and load compatible graphics, and some long-exposure techniques for photographing the results.

I’ve seen some other great POV projects like this on Adafruit, but this is the first using Circuit Python.

It’s time for another Cool Tools review. This time we’re looking at the Bucket Boss parachute bag. I got this for around $12 on Amazon, and if you want the same one, using the link in the description helps support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

Until recently, I’ve not had a great way for organizing screws. I’d buy them, bring them home in a box, and then put that box in a bigger box just for screws. It worked, but it didn’t travel well without screws going all over the place.

The parachute bag has deep pockets that can hold your screws and keep them separated. You’ve got six main pockets, plus 13 little ones on the outside, good for screwdrivers, and extra bits.

The best part is that a cord here on the side cinches the whole thing up. Not only does this make it compact and easy to carry around, but with the plastic stop pulled in, it does a great job preventing anything from spilling out. You can toss this in the back of your car and not worry about it spilling.

On the ground, opened up, the weight of the screws and the flat bottom keeps everything stable. The main pockets are made from a thick canvas, and overall this feels like it will take some years of abuse without tearing.

Also, as the name brand implies, these are made to perfectly fit inside a common 5 gallon bucket.

I learned about parachute bags from watching a great video about screws on the Essential Craftsman YouTube channel, which I recommend checking out. I’ll link to his video in the description, where you’ll also find the Amazon link to the Bucket Boss bag.

And remember you can see thousands of reader recommended tools just like this at

A few other tips to share with you. Over on Caleb Kraft’s new blog The Grue, there’s a great roundup of 6 animatronic eye mechanisms that you can 3D print. These are all servo-based designs that you could easily connect up to a servo tester board or an Arduino.

The new issue of MagPi is out, issue #64. This one’s all about Pi projects that connect to electronics. The guide in here for getting started with electronics is a great read, especially if you’re more comfortable with programming than breadboarding and you’re ready to branch out. As always, the entire magazine is available as a free PDF download.

Finally, over on the Wayne’s Workshop channel, there’s a great overview of the three most common glues used for making cosplay costumes and when to use them. He goes over hot glue, contact glue, and CA glue, but for each one he has some tips and advice that makes it worth your time. I learned a lot.

And that’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe, leave me a thumbs up or leave me a comment. Pick up a parachute bag to wrangle your screw collection. And sign up on the email list to get these show notes automatically sent to you each week. Alright? Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week.

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