Edinburgh Hacklab

Making stuff since 2010

Arduino for Beginners Workshop, Sunday 2nd August 2015

Photo by beraldoleal http://www.flickr.com/photos/beraldoleal/6297074604 - Create Commons

Photo by beraldoleal; – Creative Commons

Arduino is a micro-controller platform designed for ease of use and learning. It allows the creation of electronically controlled projects, whether it be simple blinking lights, a robot or a music generator. This workshop is aimed at beginners. You don’t needs any previous electronics or programming knowledge or experience. Topics covered include:
  • An introduction to the Arduino
  • Using electronic components to build circuits
  • Input and output
  • Generating sound
  • Expanding your Arduino
  • And more!
If you already have an Arduino you can bring that along and just purchase a kit, otherwise choose the option to buy an Arduino and kit. All the other electronic components you need are provided in the kit. You will need to bring a laptop to program the Arduino with. Here are a few comments from past workshop attendees:
“A nice friendly environment to learn.”
“The fact that it was totally new to me and I learnt a lot. The support – friendly and interested and did not make me feel a noob :P”
“Loved it! More!”
Book now! If debit or credit cards aren’t your thing please email [email protected] to arrange an alternative method of payment.

Hack du jour: Powering Europlug wall warts from UK power strips


I have a few guitar pedals and effects units that came from continental Europe and therefore have a two-pronged “Europlug” for power.

Inspired by power extension cords, I’ve built some adapter cords that solve a couple of problems neatly.

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Music Night is back!

Music Night

A long time ago, in a lab far, far, away…

… in Leith, we used to have a regular music and audio night and we’d like to start that off again.

Our plan is to use the existing open night on the first Thursday of every month as a Music/Audio themed evening.

The first evening of the new run will be on Thursday 7th May starting at around 7:30pm at the lab.

Some of the things that might happen then include:

  • exploring the possibilities of a newly repaired guitar synth from ’98
  • trying to build something with PT2399 delay ICs
  • working on an AY-3-8912 controlled by MIDI through an Arduino, and playing with similar SID and FM chips
  • distortion pedal shenanigans
  • we can record some or all of the results to my newly acquired 4-track cassette deck.

Look forward to seeing you all there!

Repairing an Axon AX 100 guitar-to-MIDI converter (part 2)

(Return to Part 1)

AXON AX-100 Front

So the replacement LCD (a Midas MC21605B6WK-FPTLW) arrived last week, and I headed to the lab to try it out.

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Science Festival 2015 workshops!

EISF logoWe’re pleased to again be part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. This year’s Science Festival is just about to start and the big finale is on the 19th of April when the Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire returns to Summerhall, more on that soon. Hacklab is running five workshops this Festival, our Paper Circuits workshop has already sold out, but if you’re quick there are still a few places available for our soldering workshops:


Solder on!

Running on Monday 6 April and Wednesday 15 April at 19:00 This workshop is our introduction to soldering. Want to take your breadboarded projects and make them permanent? Fed up with wires falling out? Soldering is for you! More info and booking.


Extreme Soldering: Surface Mount Components

Running on Wednesday 8 April and Monday 13 April at 19:00 Modern electronic components are Surface Mount Devices (SMD). This tiny little parts look difficult to solder and lots of people are put off evern trying. In this workshop we’ll show you that not only is it possible, but SMD soldering is easy! More info and booking.


The price of both workshops includes a blinky LED kit to make and take away! These cute kits are great practice and the LEDs will mesmerise you for hours*.


Our workshops sold out last year, book now to avoid disappointment!


* Not a guarantee but Peter has stared at his for days.

Repairing an Axon AX 100 guitar-to-MIDI converter (part 1)

AXON AX-100 Front

Gareth writes: I’ve wanted a Guitar-to-MIDI converter (a.k.a. a guitar synth) for yonks. In particular, I’ve been looking for an Axon AX 100 unit; they were renowned for the speed and accuracy of the tracking that the proprietary neural network software could achieve. Unfortunately the AX 100 has been out of production for years, and used units are commanding prices in the high hundreds of pounds. However, I recently found a reasonably priced spares-or-repair unit on eBay, so I picked it up.

Read the full article »

Edinburgh Hacklab on TV!

As Seen On TV

On Tuesday, Edinburgh Hacklab was featured on The Fountainbridge Show on STV Edinburgh. Their reporter did a few live segments from the Hacklab and featured Atomic Arcade, laser cutting, LED hats and 3D printing, as well as some information about events that the Hacklab runs throughout the year. Unfortunately the finished STV logo wasn’t shown in the end!

The full show is available on STV Player here: http://player.stv.tv/programmes/fountainbridge-show/2015-02-10-1900/

The TLDR version is on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DrOcPy7PMM

For the video nerds: switch to 720p for 50fps.

We have a new 3D printer!

Ultimaker 2

Thanks to the kind donations of lots of lovely people, the lab has just taken delivery of a brand new Ultimaker 2 3D printer. It has been set up, and is working well. Thanks again to everyone for the pledges.

Arduino to Next Level Workshop, November 2014


Photo Peter Jackson – Creative Commons

A one-day Arduino workshop hosted by Edinburgh Hacklab. Following on from Getting Started with Arduino Workshop the workshop assumes some previous knowledge and use of Arduino. If you’ve attended the Arduino workshop at the Hacklab then your ready to continue learning where you left off. Topics covered include:
  • Using a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
  • Saving values between Ardunio power-offs
  • Playing Sounds
  • Controlling Motors/Servos
  • Connecting to a Network
  • Making your project tiny and power efficient
  • And more!
We assume you already have an Arduino to bring with you. We will have Arduinos available to borrow for the day if you left your’s at home or to buy if you want a 2nd one or blew yours up! Electronic components you need for the workshop are provided. You will need to bring a laptop to program the Arduino with.

The workshop will take place from 10:30am to about 5:00pm, with a break for lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided, Summerhall has a cafe for food or you’re welcome to bring a packed lunch.

Book now!

If debit or credit cards aren’t your thing please email [email protected] to arrange an alternative method of payment.

Make A Game Month 2014!

For the last two years we’ve run informal, rules-free, open to all, game jams in the month of November as an alternative to the NaNoWriMo novel writing event. These have traditionally been hosted by Tom Larkworthy, who has since moved to San Francisco to work on exciting new projects in a challenging new climate. But even without Tom’s exciting digital card game related projects we’ll continue this tradition and host another exciting game jam this November! You can see the cool games that were made during last years jam here.   share    

Our game jam is simple

  1. Between 1st November and 30th November, make a game of some sort.
  2. This event is open to all, even if you’re not a member!
  3. At the beginning of December let someone else play your game, try out games made by other participants too!
  I’d like to open the lab up during the day on the 1st of November so we can talk about game development, show off some cool things and help each other. To this end I encourage everyone who’s interested in participating to fill in this quick doodle poll and let me know if you’re coming. If enough people are interested I’ll put something together! I’ll also be at the lab’s open night on the last Thursday of the month (30th October) to chat about the jam.   This MakGaMon is especially exciting to me because the middle two weeks of November are ProcJam: an awesome game jam about procedural games. It’s absolutely possible to work on a game for ProcJam for MakGaMon, and in fact I’ll happily talk about procedural generation on the 1st of November if anyone is keen to learn more. I am no expert whatsoever but I think it’s a very exciting concept.   I am @tinyblob on twitter, please get in contact there, on our discussion list, or in the comments below if you have questions.

Our usual list of things that aren’t rules

  1. Click the reply button below, and tell us what you’re going to make!
  2. Sign up and chat on the hacklab-discuss mailing list.  Tell us about the game you’re going to make, tell us how you’re getting on, ask questions, send us pictures when you’re finished, find beta testers, whatever you like.
  3. Tweet using the hashtag #makgammon.
  4. I’ll organise an event at the beginning of December to show off and play the games.
  5. It can be any sort of game.  Make a card game, a roleplaying game, a music game, whatever might entertain you.
  6. The only official prize is the game that you made, but I may try to get something else sorted out.
  7. You can give your game to someone for Christmas.