Sunday, 29 November 2015

I shall call him: Mini Me

I was at Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre with Hack Oldham for the monthly 'Hack the Library' meet up.

Basically, it's a geeky get together to show the public what the Oldham Makerspace is about.

We got to use the library's Vex IQ robotic system.

And we used the Hack space's Cubify Sense 3D scanner to introduce local kids to the technology.

As the owner of a Mendel90 it seemed rude not to get a scan of myself. One of the members decided it would be a good idea to film the process:

This results in a .ply file which contains the 3D information and textures:

It can be viewed in Meshlab, and exported as a .STL file for printing:

I normally use Skeinforge to slice .STL files, but I always seem to have trouble getting it to create support material. For this print I use Slic3r which I set to use a layer height of 0.2mm. My Mendel90 has a 0.4mm extruder nozzle and I have never used such a small layer height before, but I was not disappointed:

Sunday, 15 November 2015


I have been thinking about getting a quadcopter for some time, but I didn't want to spend too much money. After doing some research, I decided upon the JJRC H12C. I ordered this from the UK via EBay for £48.29 delivered.

Being a total novice flying these, I was worried how long I could keep it in one piece. I was amazed though how easy it is to fly, after a few practice runs on the local playing field I was totally at ease controlling it.

Included in the price are: 1) The quadcopter. 2) The remote control. 3) A 750mAh battery. 4) A 1080P still/video camera.

I was very sceptical about the quality I would get from the camera, considering the total price of the package. But it completely exceeded my expectations. It is very susceptible to rapid changes in lighting, but for the money it is amazing. Here are some shots I took whilst flying around Foxdenton Park in Chadderton.

The controller allows you to remotely take a still photo or start a video at the press of a button. The videos with the camera fitted out of the box suffer from 'jello'. Wobbly lines on the picture. This is caused by the camera shaking about on its mount:

The simple fix for this is to force a small piece of foam between the camera body and the quadcopter. Doing this almost eliminates jello, as this shot with a DJI Phantom in the air at the same time shows

The remote control is not of the highest construction quality, but for the price it feels great. I bought a First Person View (FPV) kit from BangGood. This is a 720P still/video camera with a live feed to an included LCD display. Allowing you to view in real time what the camera is seeing.

As supplied, the LCD monitor does not fit to the remote control. So I designed a 3D printable clamp to allow it to fit:

This is available for download on Thingiverse.

Although I have no prior experience flying quadcopters, I cannot recommend the H12C highly enough. I've had loads of fun flying it, and even after a few rough landings it's going strong. If you want an outdoor quadcopter, seriously consider this one. It is easy to fly, spares are available and for the price it is superb!