Maker Faire Orlando soldering kit


We are proud to be a sponsor of this Maker Faire Orlando soldering kit:

Advanced soldering training at Maker Faire Orlando

For the past six years at Maker Faire Orlando, members of FamiLab have taught attendees how to solder with a cool little Makey pin with 2 self-flashing LEDs.  We’ve been asked for more advanced soldering training, and we responded with the addition of a PIC-microcontroller-based board twinkling several LEDs, and with a switch that can be used to change the LED display pattern.

We opted to design the board such that it can be used as a pendant on a necklace (lanyard) or as a keychain (especially for those of you who like large keychains). The design is a scalloped 2.7″ circle with LEDs on the outside circle, and a hole at the top for a keyring. Batteries are on the back of the board.


Maker Faire Orlando soldering kit

Making A Pickit 3 Clone


Making A Pickit 3 Clone

After using the Microchip tools to program and debug the projects I work on, I wondered about creating my own programming/debugging module that I could put on my own boards – just like Microchip does with their starter kits and such.


I decided to use the open-source EDA program Kicad to design a 4 layer SMD project. I had only used it for 2 layer PTH designs previously, but wanted to see how it would do in something a little more complex than the ones I had already done. Here is a link to the completed Kicad project files

Sybex23 has shared the board on OSH Park:

PICKIT 3 Programmer


Order from OSH Park

Making A Pickit 3 Clone

Acrylic Solenoid Engine

Extreme Electronics designed this easy-to-build solenoid engine:


I’ve always loved solenoid engines. The first one I built was many,many years ago out of Mechano. Many others have followed since, But they always ran badly and only for a short while as the accuracy of the construction medium was poor. I am not a metal worker, making a “proper” engine out of cast pieces is out of my (and many other peoples) capabilities.

With modern laser cutting it is easy to make accurate components, it is relatively cheap and fairly quick.

So the Acrylic Solenoid Engine came into being


The initial driver is using a small PIC 12F675 and and an IR detector to give me pulse timing information from the solenoid. I went the IR sensor route rather than a mechanical switch so there was no rubbing parts that could wear as acrylic is rather soft. To get a good timing signal aluminum foil is placed on one side of the flywheel to give a good reflection back to the IR emitter receiver pair on the PCB.

Acrylic Solenoid Engine

Dogbone VFD Wristwatch

Callum Nunes-Vaz repurposed an old soviet vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) for use in a wristwatch:


Dogbone VFD Wristwatch

The VFD display (IVL2-7/5) is a piece of soviet new-old-stock (NOS), and has a unique look to it. Making a watch out of it is a logical progression for anyone wants to give portability to the mesmerising glow of the display.

Callum shared the board on OSH Park:

IVL2-7/5 VFD Wristwatch (Prototype)

Order from OSH Park

Here’s a video of the display in action:



Dogbone VFD Wristwatch