making

Star Wars Armada Correllian Conflict campaign improvements

In December, Fantasy Flight Games released one of the best miniature game expansions that I have ever seen. The Corellian Conflict allows up to six Star Wars Armada players to battle for control of the Corellian sector, Han Solo's home system. Over the course of several campaign turns, the players build and destroy bases and outposts throughout the sector. In order to track who controls what planet, the designers gave you a folded map and a whole bunch of stickers.

Since we have multiple people at the local game store that want to play, I thought it would be frustrating at best to use stickers. Along came my idea to make a smart map that loads map data from the web and then changes LED colors to convey information. The map will be mounted at the store very soon.

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On the left is a close up from the front of the map where you can see the Neopixels I used for the colors. I'll be adding some 3D-printed items to diffuse the light a little better. The right photo shows the control button, the display, and the ESP8266. The ESP8266 is the brain of the whole thing. The button is used to switch between games that are displayed. It is also used to refresh the data with a long press. If there are no button presses for 30 minutes, it starts rotating through all the maps every 15 seconds.

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Each Neopixel is soldered to the next. To help me when it came time for programming, I labelled every Neopixel from behind. The photo on the right shows the whole 25-LED strip. Painters tape was great for holding everything in place.

Parts
ESP8266 Thing from Spark Fun ($15.95, https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13231)
OLED yellow/blue display ($9.99, https://www.amazon.com/Diymall-Yellow-Serial-Arduino-Display/dp/B00O2LLT30/)
Neopixel RGBW strip ($17.95, https://www.adafruit.com/products/2832)
Micro USB wall charger ($12.90, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009STIJWA/)

Supplies
1000 uF capacitor
560 and 10K Ohm resistors
Jumper wires
Push button
22 AWG bulk wire
Solder

Tools
Wire cutter
Wire stripper
Soldering iron
Hobby exacto knife
3D printed plastic disc, 15mm across
Computer (for programming and uploading to the ESP8266)

Services
Laminate and dry-mount map on foam core (unknown price because Fed Ex did it for free after they botched the first attempt)

Skills
Soldering
Cutting with the exacto knife

Time
I estimate that I spent a total of 20 hours on this project. The bulk of that was on cutting the holes and soldering the Neopixels, probably about 8 hours.

Makers keep making, August edition

I feel like I have not been giving good attention to this blog because I have not been making a lot of things, but it turns out that I have.

UAV business

With the FAA announcing new rules for commercial drone activities, I decided it was finally time to get a drone and dive into that market. We have a site up and running at airvisionservices.com, but I am still working on some portfolio videos. We are going into aerial photography and video, agricultural mapping, and construction imaging.

Star Wars Armada accessories

I really like Shapeways for print-on-demand 3D print sales. Several months ago, I created some accessories to use with Star Wars Armada. Every once in a while, I get notification that some of them have sold. When the 3D printer that I bought via Kickstarter arrives in the coming weeks, I plan to catalog building it and getting it going here. Besides Shapeways as a sales outlet, I might see about building an assembly line automation that would push prints off of the print bed so that another print could begin. Shapeways models are really nice, but you definitely pay a premium for them right now.

Teaching Arduino at Makerspace Urbana (photo by Jeff Putney)

Teaching Arduino at Makerspace Urbana (photo by Jeff Putney)

Makerspace Urbana

Earlier in August, I delivered my first workshop at Makerspace Urbana. I taught a handful of people the basics of getting started with Arduino, and it was so much fun watching them get excited to do some basics electronics. We started out with some basic LED blinking and worked our way up to creating a randomized LED to simulate a die. We are also working on the planning for the Heartland Maker Fest which will happen October 1st at Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana. If you're a maker, be sure to check out the site and submit a request to get your own table for just $15 if you've never been a maker at the Fest.