Arduino Shields with Real Personality

As one does while in bed at 3am and unable to sleep, I was thinking of the Strobit Triggr (which is probably why I couldn’t get to sleep in the first place) an idea presented itself for Arduino type shields (in particular Strobit Triggr personality boards) where they could be given some real personality.
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Open Source Wireless Trigger

After getting back into photography after many many years (and because Digital SLRs are so much cheaper)  I’ve been an avid follower of the stobist website ( for off camera lighting.  To do this off camera lighting you need a way of triggering the remote stobes, some are wired, some are wireless either RF or Infrared, but obviously the easiest is via wireless.  Well there are many solutions, some cheap (ebay triggers) some expensive (Pocket wizards) and you get what you pay for, the cheaper ones (of which I one a couple) are notorious for false triggers, while the Pocket wizards are way out of my price range.

So in the true spirit of Open Source, of which I’m a huge fan, I’ve proposed an open source wireless trigger for the strobist community.  Initial thread found here –  So far the response has been great fantastic.

 I’ve now setup a wiki for a brain dump of ideas and will shortly have a mailing list up and running.

 forums are now also up and running  hopefully these will eventually fall under the domain


I came across an interesting article yesterday on Hack-A-Day about using a LED as a Photo Sensor and cheap communictaion device.  This is achieved by using some physical properties of the LED for both Transmit and Receive.  The article also links to a cool video clip demonstrating this. Original Article can be found here

Anyway this sparked my interest and I soon had a PICAXE-08M hooked up to test if it-in fact it works (I also made sure that the date was not 1st April LOL).  After about an hour I had it working, this code requires 3 LEDs, One acts as the Light Source and is always on (not really necessary, you can use anything as a light source, the brighter the better), the Second LED acts as the Sensor and is connected to two outputs along with the current limiting resistor, this is really the heart of the concept.  The third LED is a status Indicator and gets switched on and off depending on the reading of the LED Sensor.  

This idea, as simple as it is, makes for some interesting sensor ideas.

Here’s the PICAXE code –


CNC – MK1 Modelling Begins

After lots of research I’ve started to put some ideas to paper for the MK1 CNC Machine.  

Yes I know I could probably jump right in and start putting together bit and pieces, but I really want to learn to use some 3-D Modelling CAD Packages for future Robotics projects and since I will eventually need to model components so they can be exported to the CNC machine for milling, I thought it might be a good exercise by modelling the MK1 itself.

So here is the start of the X-Axis Linear Bearings

CNC - MK1 X-Axis Bearings