The Challenges

OpenCV object tracking

Last week Phil was playing around with object tracking.  So far he can identify colour objects and track the centre.  Phil produced a quick video showing how a red skittle (from last years PiWars skittles challenge) can be tracked and traced on screen.  This looks like a good start, now just need to get the robot to follow it.

Read More
Cheap power supply No comments
The Challenges

Power supply and motors

Keith has been playing about with a new cheap power supply using the Nerf Gun motors as a test bed.  It turns out power supplies are quite a good method for determining how much current they draw and thus what current the motor driver needs to deal with.  Keith produced a quick video demonstrating the power supply with examples using the Nerf Gun motors.

If you are still deciding on motor drivers he recommends getting the motors first and doing a simple stall test with a power supply or multimeter and then getting the motor driver to suit.

See his video here:

Read More
No comments
The Challenges

The Duck Shoot

The first challenge the team want to tackle is “The Duck Shoot” as this is new to this years event. The challenge involves shooting five targets down over three attempts.

Since the rules allow Nerf darts to be used, Phil went out a procured a nice looking, powerful gun!

The Strip down!

The only bit we need of the gun however is the dart holder and the firing mechanism. So the team set to work stripping this down and designing a robot mount that means we can add and remove the challenge components as we go.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The testing

One thing we need to be careful about, is power. If the device needs too much power we will need to change batteries too often, to little and we could miss the target. So to ensure that this is calculated, we need to test the power requirements.

In true maker spirit Keith brought a Bench power supply kit from eBay and tested the requirements of the Nerf motor

Bench testing the Gun

Motors pull 1.9A on spin up and then drop to 500mA. With my
New power supply I can limit to 600mA and it spins up nicely. I’ll have to see how I can do that in hardware to be kind to our Pi

So thew challenge here for us is to design a circuit to limit the power consumption of the motors.

Hopefully with the experts we have in the team, a nice tiny circuit will be designed that will help with the power.🤞

Read More
No comments
The Team

PiWars 2018 – So it begins again!

With entry form sent in, we waited with baited breath to see if we would be part of PiWars in 2018. Checking our emails after hearing on twitter that those lucky few have been picked, we where delighted to find out that we have been picked to take part!

Easy part taken care of, now the real work begins. Knowing what it took to win the challenges last year and seeing the new challenges for 2018 the design team sit down and come up with the plans.

So who are the Ipswich Makerspace team?

Currently the team is made up by last years team Phil, Jon, Keith and Steve. This year Vince will be taking care of our blogging!

  • Jon
  • Keith
  • Phil
  • Vincent


Jon started out with computers when a family friend gave him an old MS-DOS machine in the early nineties. From there a string of different types of hardware, including many home built machines, quickly showed that Jon was destined for a career in computing.

Jon LeachStarting with web site development using HTML and CSS Jon quickly progressed onto JavaScript, PHP and then Java. It was around this time that Jon began studying electronics at school and that sparked an interest in computer control and automation of real world objects.

In 2004 Jon started a course studying Computer science at the University of Southampton. This introduced him to a whole host of new technology included object oriented development, linux and c/c++.

In 2008 Jon moved to Ipswich and started a job at BT in Ipswich as a software engineer working at the one small part of BT that actually works on the phone network. Currently he works developing SIP soft switches for large corporate customers.

Despite his day to day focus on software Jon has continued his interest in hardware and electronics. Home automation is a particular focus of his spare time but also robotics, 3D printing and multi rotor aircraft.

Jon is the Ipswich Makerspace webmaster, has been involved in organising the first Ipswich Raspberry Jam and gives talks at several local tech groups.

Joining the trac...

Read More