So, like my last post stated, I did some things while stuck at home.
My absolute favorite project was this:
I followed this guide (https://github.com/geaz/simplyRetro-D8) and built this awesome 3D printable desktop arcade cabinet. It of course uses a Raspberry Pi running RetroPi and uses an awesome readily available 4 x 3 LCD screen!
And of course my little guy helping me build and test it 😀
I got a small CNC machine in January and hadn’t had time to use it until recently but I have been having fun making some videos of it in action.
That’s a 3040T CNC Machine. You can find a lot of them on eBay and various other importing sites. More fun hobbies that involve turning one thing into another thing 🙂
On that note, I repurposed my 4k LED display for a lot of statements this year!
My house got egged for one of those statements. Worth it.
I edited and 3D Printed a mini Dreamcast case for the Raspberry Pi! Did you know you can play Dreamcast games at 60FPS on the Pi4 now? No? WELL YOU CAN! Using Redream it’s totally possible! You can download the case files here https://thingiverse.com/thing:4539273.
And we got a new kitten!
Say hi to Dash. Our Manx kitty. He’s kinda awesome.
If you’ve gotten to this part of the post, all I can say is thank you! It’s been a year. Please stay safe out there. Wear a mask. Keep on making. I’ve missed y’all!
I almost didn’t blog for the whole year. To be truthful, it’s been hard to write this past year. Lots of amazing wonderful things have happened to me in 2018, but I’m exhausted. And this blog was easy to overlook. I want to write again, but at my own pace. I’m going to try to start again.
That said…. BEING A FATHER IS AWESOME! I have an amazing little mini me who is 20 months old and is just so much fun. He has made me grow in ways I never even knew imaginable.
Maker Faire Orlando 2018
My friend Jacob and I worked on an awesome project for Maker Faire Orlando this year, and I am so proud to say we won Maker of Merit! It is a deep honor to me to win that award. And of course it’s Raspberry Pi related 😀
We made a 4096 LED pixel framebuffer display powered by the Raspberry Pi!
How it works?
We are using P10 LED panels as the basis for the screen. P10 means a 10mm dot pitch, so 10mm between each LED. They range from 3 – 10mm. The panels also usually come in a size of 16 x 32, but luckily they are daisy chainable!
The Raspberry Pi can even handle upto 32 of them in 3 chains! For our purposes we only used 8 16×32 panels in one chain.
The above picture may look complicated, but it’s not that bad.
8 P10 panels are daisy chained together using a standard HUB75 cable (it’s like an smaller IDE cable).
The panels are mounted together with the orange and red 3D printed brackets.
The first panel is connected to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ via an Adafruit LED matrix bonnet.
The power for the panels and the Pi comes from a 10amp DC supply, which plugs into the bonnet. The bonnet powers the Pi, and has two screw terminals for the voltage output. The +/- screw terminals connect to a CFOL Distro 8 PCB (in the center of the board) which takes the input and breaks it out to 8 screw terminals. We only need 4 since each cable powers two panels, but it gives us room to expand.
This has been a fun month. Between campaigning, work, and Raspberry Pi stuff, I’ve been busy 😀
So I’ve been campaigning a lot this month. I am running for the District 49 Representative in Florida’s House. I love my district. One thing that is crazy to me is the amount of money being put into this election. I have raised around $2000. I’m very proud of that number. It’s coming from friends and family who believe in me. It’s humbling. My Republican opponent has raised around ~$7000. I’m sure it’s more now. And now there is a second Republican who has entered the race. On the other side, my Democrat opponent has raised over $90,000! $90,000. That is an absurd amount of money for a State House race. I’ve heard the average is around $40,000.
That is insane to me. That’s a scholarship, a car, someone’s student loans. And instead it’s going to a campaign for ad buys and t shirts. I hate it. I truly believe campaigns should be publicly funded at all levels. On that note, I can’t help but see the irony in me asking for donations: https://donate.sheasilverman.com
In other news, the first revision to the PiPlay Advance PCBs came in, and they are awesome!
This week I was in San Antonio, Texas for the IMS Global Learning Impact Leadership Institute conference, where I gave two presentations on the LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) standards. I was also there because my team at UCF won 2nd place in the LTI App Challenge for ProctorHub, our free passive proctoring software!
It was a very different conference than I am used too. Most of the software conferences I have been to have been very low level. Getting into the nuts and bolts of how things work. These educational conferences are very high level. It’s an interesting paradigm change but I think we got some good stuff done. I was able to give anecdotal evidence regarding some of the gaps in the current standards, and what could be done to improve them at all levels. Stuff I introduce today will help to change the shape of educational software in the next few years.
MegaCon is also this weekend. I’ll have some pictures up from that event soon.
So this week the Raspberry Pi Foundation released a new version of Raspbian that includes experimental support for OpenGL. This is a big leap from OpenGL ES. This is real OpenGL that tons of games and software use. No mobile versions required anymore. That being said, its super experimental. It basically breaks the official screen and the camera doesn’t work. It also only works in xwindows and not on the command line.
BUT! One of my favorite games (and the way I lost 50lbs) is now available on the Pi! StepMania! The Dance Dance Revolution simulation game!
Here’s how to compile it:
First clone the StepMania repo:
git clone https://github.com/stepmania/stepmania stepmania
Happy Friday, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Black Friday, Happy Raspberry Pi Zero Day!
So yesterday the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched a new Raspberry Pi board, the Zero.
It’s TINY! And only $5 dollars. So far it’s a Pi 1 clocked at 1ghz, 512MB of RAM, Micro USB for power, Micro USB for peripherals, GPIO pins but without headers, and a mini HDMI port. The latest edition of the MagPi is going to include one in every issue.
They already seem to be sold out online, but I was able to get the starter pack on Adafruit for 29.99. It was worth it since I don’t have a mini HDMI or micro USB to full USB adapter.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend a day of IAAPA again this year. IAAPA is THE worldwide Arcade and Amusement expo. I’m fortunate that it takes place in Orlando, FL, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get this opportunity.
One of the highlights of the trade show was that Sega was there showing off the new to North America “Luigi’s Mansion Arcade”. This has been in Japan for two years now, but this is the first time (other than one location test) that a Luigi’s Mansion Arcade unit has been in the States. It’s a very neat game. It’s an on rails shooter game, where your gun is an all in one flashlight and vacuum cleaner. You stun the ghosts with the flashlight, then suck them into your vacuum. It’s a lot of fun, and I hope it gets translated and a few places pick them up.
This has felt like one of the longest weeks of my life. Had a couple meetings about Maker Faire Orlando, pushed out some software that 60,000 students will be using in a month. It’s super stressful. Luckily it’s Friday and I can end up sleeping until Sunday 😀
I was hoping to have some cool stuff to show this week about the 3D printing software, but of course at the last minute stuff wasn’t working.
My 3D printer is a Micro3D 3D printer. It’s a small $300 3D printer that is only now just getting people to hack on it. With 3D Printing, you usually have two steps from model to plastic.
The first step is to run your model (an .STL file) through a slicer. There are many slicers out there, Cura, Simple3D, Slic3r, etc. These literally slice your model into layers which are written out as Gcode.
Gcode is an industry standard for 3D Printing and CNC milling that can control extruders, X Y and Z axis motors, temperature controls, etc. Everything your print will do is going to be from a line of gcode commands.
The printing portion is actually a program that reads the gcode and sends it to the printer to act out.
There is a really cool open source suite of tools called OctoPrint, that combines a gcode processor and a beautiful web frontend to manage your 3D Printer. A Raspberry Pi distribution was made call OctoPi which allows you to control most 3D printers from your Pi!
Because the Micro3D is so new, support is just starting to come out for it and the gcode processors are a little iffy at the moment. I was able to get OctoPi to talk to my printer and manually move the axis, but it could not process the gcode properly. Bummer 🙁
I am sure this will be fixed in the coming weeks though. I am really happy with this printer.
Be on the lookout for a new PiPlay image. It’s been too long!