September Meetup Summary

Last night around 20 SoutHACKtoners met up at The Arthouse
in Southampton to discuss hacking, making and various other topics.

3D printing was a hot topic. There was much talk over what various CAD
software, slice software, printer firmware and drivers were being used.
There are a number of members who have 3D printers now, and even better
one of our members turned up and handed another member the 3D printed
pieces required to build his own 3D printer; the printing of these parts
took 40 hours! The discussion depicted below focuses on how to deal with
holes in 3D printed objects coming out smaller than in the CAD plan.

One member brought a work-in-progress wheeled robot, making it clear
which table was the SoutHACKton one, and soliciting interest from other
Arthouse attendees! There was a demo of it going backwards and forwards
at various speeds (turning was not working quite so well!) and its
working was explained to anyone who was interested. Robot related
discussions included the viability of using a 12V cigarette lighter USB
charger as a voltage regulator from a 7.4V battery supply, potential
ways to improve the steering, the negatives of running two motors in
series, Lithium-Ion batteries and their massive ability to supply
current (300A burst), and motor driver boards.

Some other members were discussing more software related items,
including: the creation of a social network designed to help people find
other people who share their interests to help them with their hacking
projects; a work-in-progress game engine for a multiplayer JRPG
(Japanese-style Role Playing Game) which has evolved from a number of
spreadsheets to a system written in JavaScript; and the possibility of
running a Project Euler event, whereby members can come and attempt
the Project Euler problems in a programming language of their choice,
where others can help them to solve the problem, or to code the

Home automation was discussed – one member has a system set up whereby
depending on the order his doormat and door sensors were triggered, and
the outside temperature, it puts the kettle on when you enter the
property on a cold day. Using capacitive touch for automated light
switches was discussed, with two members pleased to find each other -
apparently the only two people out of the group to have had capacitive
touch light switches as children. One major issue of these switches was
discussed – that of terrified toddlers during thunderstorms, where the
electro-magnetic pulses could trigger the light switch randomly during a

Other topics included the recent meeting with Southampton University,
concerns with security when setting up a hackerspace, needlework, and
the viability of creating a t-shirt capable of displaying where an
unborn baby was kicking. Various methods for this were discussed,
including electrodes, flex sensors, ultrasound and repurposing of a
chest strap pulse rate monitor. It was suggested that this might be of
particular interest to our friends over at MzTEK.

It was a great evening and many are looking forward to joining us at the
Hack day in October. If you have any stories or photos you wish to
share, or feedback, please post it straight into this thread
(or you can email it to Benjie at

Next event: Hack day, Sunday 14th October 10:30am-4:30pm.

Next meetup: Thursday 25th October, 7:30pm at the Arthouse.