Saturday, January 24, 2015

Jill's Chameleon Scarf

I've been comparing and contrasting my LilyPad Arduino to the Adafruit Flora.  Using the Chameleon Scarf tutorial (and code) from the Adafruit website, I have created my first eTextile made with Flora.  This scarf has a color sensor and neopixel LEDs that change color, based upon what is placed in front of the sensor.

Although I did not write any of the code for this project (which feels like cheating), I learned how to use a new feature of my sewing machine, how to add Arduino libraries, and the advantages of using Adafruit conductive thread, rather than cheaper thread.  

To get started, I bought an inexpensive cashmere scarf and sewed it in half to create the tube you see here. Using a special foot on my sewing machine that zig-zags over a cord, I was able to gather the tube into ruffles and quickly sew my power and ground lines.

The trickiest part of this project was making sure that my computer had the correct Arduino libraries added.

While sewing the circuit together, I discovered that Adafruit thread is stronger, shinier, and much easier to work with than the Spark Fun thread!  I will never go back!

Rather than sewing the ribbon into a circle, I used Velcro, making it easier to remove the ribbon and LEDs from inside the scarf.

I enjoy the process of coding with a LilyPad, but I really like the way that a Flora doesn't require as many pins to create something truly inspiring; I am a fan of neopixel LEDs and the Flora Color Sensor.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Before a laser cutter.. might we try these?

Many Maker spaces are looking into laser cutters and vinyl cutters. All of which are not affordable for most spaces.

But today while I was looking at this Pop Up Light up card project that uses a Cameo Cutter, I started to wonder if this might not be a good entry point for classroom or library maker spaces.

 Made with this cutter

 I have seen these type of cutters in craft stores but have not yet tried one.

 Here is a side by side comparison of two different types of cutters: 
The Silhouettes and the Cricut

 Looks like I also found another possible sources for LEDs ! DigiKey The site is confusing but looks like a potential source for purchasing in quantity.