Category Archives: Holland

Whew! So what to Make now?

Well, I’m back in the UK after my totally mind-blowing trip to Eindhoven, and my head is totally spinning.

In front of me is my new copy of “The Power of Making“, the book that had a profound effect on me a couple of weeks ago, and I’m thinking, “so what do I want to make today?”

And Susan gives me the heads-up on the state of our finances (grim), so I guess the answer is, today I better make some money!

Better get writing, designing, manufacturing, and, most importantly, selling.

Today I’m looking at the potential of mini (and, maybe, not so mini) t-slot profiles in the education, prototyping and just general Making markets.

More later.  In the meantime, if you don’t know about these things, check out:


I just visited Utrecht Fab Lab, and met with Johan de Stigter,  Jelle Boomstra, and Wouter Pijzel.  Thanks for the friendly welcome, and the chat.

But mostly thanks to Johan for introducing me to (and supplying my first set of) Makerbeam.  I already built my first Makerbeam “thing”.

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It isn´t anything … just a load of Makerbeams bolted together.  But it was fun.  Later I´ll actually make something real.

I can´t wait to get back to the UK and start showing it around.

Makerbeam is VERY new.  For a running log of new projects, keep checking Johan´s Makerbeam blog.


In Utrecht, Fab Lab

Rubbish weather in Eindhoven when I left; much nicer here. I discovered how they designed the motorway system around Eindhoven. They took 27 balls of different coloured wool, and threw them all up in the air. Then they asked 10 small kittens to straighten them all out, and when the kittens got tired and fell asleep they passed the design to the engineers to implement.

The engineers didn’t manage to keep the result quite as straightforward as the kittens designed it.

There were times this morning when I needed to pull over to the hard shoulder because I was feeling dizzy.

Only I couldn’t always find the hard shoulder.

It’s quite clear that they have a laser cutter here at Fab Lab. You don’t have to ask. The holder that dispenses coffee pouches is made from laser cut wood, as are the little leaflet holders not he wall. The candy bar dispenser is made from laser-cut acrylic. I must say, I do like laser-cut acrylic; I think I may want a laser cutter even more than I want my 3D printer up and working.

On the other hand, I need the printer to make the vertices for my No Nuts Contrpator, to hold the frame of my laser cutter together!

In Eindhoven …


Well, here I am in Eindhoven, and I have already packed about 100 small bags with printer parts.

We are both working flat out to ship orders. I will do a summary later today, to let you know how we are doing.

Some people thought that it wasn’t fair that I was going to get my order by coming here when they are still waiting.

Well, my order is dated 14 June, and we think that it’s the oldest unshipped order, and we won’t actually “ship” my order until I go home in 12 days time, so my being here is helping you all to jump past me in the queue!

I also intend to make a video that shows the advantages between the V.03 and the V.02 … later!

Now, back to the packing, and struggling to understand the Dutch of this PC!


Oh my bags are packed …

Well, I got the lovely Heidi Stubbs to fix my back, got a lift from Susan and George back to the car, got to Dover in plenty of time, and am now in the VIP lounge (of course) on the DFDS Lines MV Delft.

It costs an extra £12 to upgrade to VIP on DFDS, which made my total ticket price £60 for me and the car, both ways. For my £12 I have exclusive use of the VIP lounge (not many people on board today), endless coffee, tea, juice, fruit and biscuits, a personal waitress (the posh restaurant is closed, but you can get their menu in the VIP lounge), all the newspapers you can read, reclining chairs, free WiFi, and you embark and disembark before anyone else.

Result, if you ask me!

We have now ordered and paid for a starter set of MakerBeam, complete with enough bearings to fix roller skates to a millipede, so I’m excited to get going actually building my first Cartesian robot in more than one dimension (I’m half-way through building the hen house door opener and closer, and I’m using a lead screw, because the door slides sideways, so I think of that as a one-dimensional Cartesian robot).

Actually, we’re still in very early prototype stage of the hen-house door opener, and already the user has requested modifications. Apparently the hens are tending to roost in the nest box, rather than their roosting perches, and I have it on authority that our hens tend to pooh a lot, especially overnight. So the latest mod requested is that 30 minutes before the door closes at night an inner shutter comes down and sweeps any hens out of the nesting box, and keeps them out over night. Then, in the morning the main door opens and lets them out to scratch around, and 30 minutes later the nesting box is automatically opened for business.

Next we will need an egg detector that will connect to the Internet Of Things via WiFi and Pachube, so that we can see when the eggs need collecting. Maybe a webcam inside the roosting box will do the trick.

Maybe there are too many other things to finish, before we get too excited by ultra sophistication in the hen run. Powering it all via a solar-tracking solar panel and a 3D printed Vertical Axis Wind Generator comes first.

Busy Day

Well, I think all my travel arrangements are made for this week, and I have bought some Dutch ear-worms, so I think that I can say Goedemorgen.

I’m really excited at the prospect of meeting with, and working with, some very interesting people.  I will keep the blog rolling!

In the meantime, here is a bunch of things to read:


Going to Eindhoven

I’m off to Eindhoven this week, to discover why the RepRap printer kit I ordered (and paid for) 17 weeks ago still hasn’t been delivered!

I also hope to visit some interesting folks in Utrecht while I’m in Holland.

I’m a bit nervous, but I don’t think the Dutch bite, do they?  ;0)