Tag Archives: Lessons

Sketchup Tutorial LESSON 6: Understanding Design Rules

One of the keys to success in mechanical design comes from understanding that you can draw things that you can not build. Just because you can make it in Sketchup does not mean your fabricator can make it. You must design being mindful of the capabilities of your fabrication infrastructure. This comes down to the concept of design rules. Design rules are a set of conditions. If you design your devices following the conditions in your design rules, your design will fabricate properly. Your design rules will depend on your fabrication infrastructure. In our case, we are building on our own 3D printer, but none the less, we still need to develop some design rules. In this video we show how to design a simple test device that will allow us to know how small of a line we can print, and how closely we can put two holes to each other. This simple set of two design rules is a good start of successful designing for a 3D printer.

Sketchup Tutorial LESSON 3: Printing Sketchup Designs on a 3D Printer

In this video lesson we describe how to print designs from Sketchup on a 3D printer.  Key thing is you need to go to the sketchup Extension Warehouse, under the window tab in scketchup. Then you need to search for and install the .STL Export extension. With this extension, you can export your design file as an .stl file. Then you can load the .stl file into your slicer software to generate the gcode for the printer. I found that it is very straightforward to go from sketchup to the 3D printer.

Raspberry Pi Zero Model W Tutorial 2: Making a Wireless Portable IP Camera

Raspberry Pi Zero W Camera
Super Cool Portable Wireless streaming IP Camera

This is a super cool project where we build a concealable, portable, live streaming IP camera based on the Raspberry Pi Zero Model W, and the Raspberry Pi camera module. In order to do this lesson, you need to start with Lesson 1,  where we show you how to get the IP address of your Pi zero, and how to get it booted. For this project, you need a Raspberry Pi Zero Model W. If you do not have one, you can get the ESSENTIAL HARDWARE HERE.  In addition, you will need the Raspberry Pi  Camera, which you can GET HERE.  The Pi Zero needs a special Camera Cable, which you can get HERE.

That should be the equipment you need to this really fun project. When you are ready to go, the instructions are in the video below.

Raspberry Pi Linux LESSON 20: Backing Up Your SD Card and Operating System

It is fairly easy to corrupt your SD card or your operating system on the Raspberry Pi. If this happens, and you do not have a backup, you will likely have to rebuild your system from scratch. Hence, it is important to be diligent in keeping your Pi backed up. In this lesson we show how you can back it up using Windisk32Manager, a free and simple program that will do the trick.

Please note that you can not back the card up by simply using a windows drag and drop of the contents. You actually have to make the disk image as shown in this video.

Raspberry Pi Linux LESSON 1: Introduction to the Pi

If you have followed us through our series of lessons on the Arduino, and then the lessons on using Arduino with Python you have already learned some really cool stuff. You have probably learned so much, in fact, that you are starting to contemplate projects that will stretch the resources available on the arduino. For example, if you decided to add an LCD display to our GPS tracker project, you would probably find that you had run out of memory on the Arduino.

So while we all love, and will continue to love, the Arduino, you do finally reach the point you need a microcontroller with a little more horsepower. This is where the Raspberry Pi comes in. The raspberry pi is about the same size as the arduino, but it has the power of a desktop computer. With the Raspberry Pi, you still have direct access to ports and pins to build your own custom projects, but you have the speed, memory and CPU needed for much more sophisticated projects. The Raspberry Pi runs Linux, which we will have to learn in these lessons. The good news is that when we get the Pi up and running you can write and run python programs on it, and we have already spent quiet a bit of time learning python. So, with your background in Arduino and Python, you will be up and running on the Pi in no time.

To start with you will need to get your gear together. I definitely recommend the Raspberry Pi model 2, as it is the latest and greatest at the time this lesson is being made. You will need the Pi, a power supply, a micro SD card, and a monitor cable. You will also need a monitor, keyboard and mouse, but you probably already have those things laying around. I have found that the best thing is to buy a kit that includes the pi, power supply, micro SD card, monitor cable and USB WIFI adapter. A kit I really like that I think is an excellent value can be found HERE.  Please note that this kit (and most all kits) contain an HDMI to HDMI cable. The output of the Raspberry Pi is HDMI. However, many monitors to not have an HDMI input but want a DVI connector. If your monitor only has DVI input, you will need an additional cable, which you can find HERE. For most people, getting the kit and the cable will be all you need to get started.

If you only have a really old monitor with a VGA input, please note that the HDMI to VGA cables available on amazon do not work. (At least all that I have tried to not work). It is not just a matter of getting  a cable with the right connectors on the end. You have to convert HDMI to analog, which the cable does not do. For the case of making the Pi work with a VGA monitor, I have found the Belkin HDMI to VGA adapter will work with the Pi and you can get it HERE.

Please note that I have found the trickiest part of getting the Pi up and running is getting the right cable for your monitor. Please carefully check what type of monitor you have, and get the right cable.

So, get your gear ordered and in the next lesson we will cover how to get things hooked up and configured.