Essentially it was aiming to be a quick highlight of what someone could do in the realm of mechanical projects, since the usual target of the show is very much EEs and software folks. I gave a rundown of some of the projects (the entire build histories of which are to the left in the sidebar) and answered a few questions about EV technology. One thing that cropped up was where to start reading or joining if you want to build mechanical things, and I really couldn’t provide a good answer on the show.
I still can’t think of one – unlike the Ardusphere, there’s not really any well known big names that ‘unify’ the mechanical hobbies, such as what Sparkfun and Adafruit might do for the modern EE hobbyist, since the scope of these is so much larger than open-source electronics. You’d generally have to break it down further, like ‘modified electric bikes’, or ‘battlebots’ or something, which is why I suggested with only a bit of irony for people to google search the thing they want to build. For instance, there’s pretty much a community for every make and model of car in existence.
But here’s a classic-me onslaught of links which should help at least a few people get hooked and started…
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
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