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Over the weekend we built a WiFi guest code generator for our Unifi wireless network. The setup is built around a Raspberry Pi and USB thermal receipt printer. You can see the build in action below:

The Raspberry Pi runs a simple python script waiting for an input from the button press. Once pressed the script contacts the Unifi controller, requests a wireless access code, adds some formatting and prints. The code for the Raspberry Pi and Unifi can be found on GitHub. The thermal printer is available from Amazon.

With that, lets get into how to do it.

Connecting the Button

Required Tools:
soldering iron

Required Hardware:
momentary pushbutton (LED lit optional)
10k ohm resistor 1/4 watt
22 gauge wire

Optional Hardware:
heatshrink
5×2 2.54mm (.1″) female header

The button requires only 3 pins on the Pi to be connected and a 10k ohm resistor. Pin 2 (3.3V) pin 5 (Ground) and pin 7 (GPIO 14 / TX). Pin 2 is used to Power the button LED and provide the positive rail for the common pin on the momentary switch. Pin 5 to provide a ground for the LED and to connect one side of the 10k ohm resistor to. And pin 7 to be connected to the Normally Open (NO) pin of the switch as well as the other leg of the 10k resistor to prevent the GPIO pin from floating. We used a 2×5 pin female 2.54 mm (.1″) connector and some 22 gauge wire to connect everything.

Here’s the fritzing verion:
Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 10.49.34 PM

Close up of the completed wiring harness on the Pi for reference:
2017-02-06 18.14.41

2017-02-06 18.14.20

Now that everything is connected together, it’s time to install the software that powers it.

Setting Up the Controller

The script that runs on the controller accesses the controller’s MongoDB database directly, so first, install git as well as the library for that. Our wireless controller runs CentOS, where the commands to do that look like the following:

# yum install http://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm
# yum install git pymongo

With the libraries installed, it’s time to grab the script:

# git clone https://gist.github.com/gholms/760fa4f6621c91001b9f2b449e4e4155 wifi-button
# cd wifi-button

The script needs to know the internal ID number of the site in your Unifi controller in order to add everything to the database correctly. Once you have this number, open the script in your favorite text editor and edit the UNIFI_SITE line.

# ed voucherator.py

Finally, install the script and tell systemd to run it when the system boots.

# cp voucherator.py /usr/local/bin/voucherator
# chmod +x /usr/local/bin/voucherator
# cp voucherator.service /usr/local/lib/systemd/system/voucherator.service
# systemctl daemon-reload
# systemctl start voucherator.service
# systemctl enable voucherator.service

Don’t forget to allow traffic through the controller’s firewall if necessary. By default, the script uses TCP port 8080.

With the controller’s setup complete, it’s time to set up the Raspberry Pi to manage button presses and the receipt printer.

Setting Up the Pi

To install the script on the Raspberry Pi open the terminal or SSH in from another computer.

Next, install the script’s dependencies that are packaged as part of Raspbian. These commands will vary if your Pi happens to be running another operating system.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install git build-essential python3-rpi.gpio

Now install the python printer interface and requests library.

$ pip install python-escpos requests

With the repositories installed its time to grab the scripts.

$ git clone https://gist.github.com/gholms/760fa4f6621c91001b9f2b449e4e4155 wifi-button
$ cd wifi-button

The top of the button-managing script has a couple settings that you should tweak as well.

$ ed buttond.py

At a minimum, you should edit the VOUCHER_URL setting to tell it where to find your voucher-creating server. For example, if you need to access it using the IP address 192.0.2.1 then that setting may look something like the following:

VOUCHER_URL = 'http://192.0.2.1:8080/voucher/new'

The script also assumes you have a cool logo installed at /srv/voucherprinter/logo.jpg. If you have such a logo and you put it somewhere else instead, edit the LOGO_PATH setting. If you do not have such a logo, comment out the line of code that attempts to print it further down in the script. We should improve this in the code later.

Next, install the script and set it up as a service so it can run when the Raspberry Pi starts:

$ sudo cp buttond.py /usr/local/bin/buttond
$ sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/buttond
$ sudo cp buttond.service /usr/local/lib/systemd/system/buttond.service
$ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
$ sudo systemctl start buttond.service
$ sudo systemctl enable buttond.service

Now connect the Pi to your network, press the button, and see if it works!

Here’s our finished printer with a sleek built in button and all the Raspberry Pi bits tucked into the printer for inspiration:

Intro to Eagle CAD / Circuit Design

To Sign up please visit: http://sbhackerspace.com/shop/
and select the Eagle CAD class and checkout, payment is available via PAYPAL, credit, Cash, or Check. If you would like to pay with cash or check please email sbhackerspace@gmail.com so we can reserver your spot for the class.

The class is currently scheduled to last for four weeks, with one class per week lasting one hour each.. The class assumes zero knowledge of Eagle CAD and PCB / circuit design, though the depth of the class will likely be informative for those familiar with Eagle CAD. PCBs are the heart of most every modern electronic device and being able to create them can be an extremely useful skill for executing most any electronic device.

Eagle CAD is a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design tool with a version of the software available for free. It is widely used by the hobbyist community (including at the Hackerspace) and is a powerful tool for PCB creation. Eagle CAD includes tools for creating a schematic and generating a PCB from the schematic.

Below is the class outline which outlines the goals of the class and what will be covered. The class will be taught by Mike “Swiss” Bales and other SB Hackerspace members.

 

An Intro to Using Eagle CAD to design circuits and PCBs

 

Class Outline and Goals:

The goal of this class is to teach participants with no CAD or circuit design knowledge the necessary skills  to take an idea and develop it into a working circuit / PCB. PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) are an integral part of nearly all modern electronic devices. Eagle CAD is one of the most popular entry level tools available for developing schematics and PCBs. The class will cover every step of the PCB design process from schematic design, PCB layout, production, and assembly.

 

Prerequisites:

A computer capable of running Eagle CAD (specs and download available at: http://www.cadsoftusa.com/download-eagle/ )

A desire to learn how to create an electronic device with a PCB

 

Class Schedule:

The class will be held over the course of three weeks, with one, one hour and a half classes per week. Classes start Thursday 7/7/16 with the next two on the following Thursday evenings (7/14  and 7/21)

 

Class Schedule:

Class 1:

Why use Eagle CAD

Installing Eagle CAD (on Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Navigating the Eagle UI

Creating a new project, Schematic, and PCB

Installing additional libraries

Using Github for revision control and collaboration

 

Class 2:

Adding parts to a schematic

Connecting components and nets

Schematic best practices

Creating a PCB from schematic

Part placement and signal routing

PCB layout best practices

 

Class 3:

Working in 2 layers, Vias, Planes

Assembling a completed PCB

Making a PCB at home / sending a PCB for manufacture

Soldering

Debugging PCB errors  and iterating designs

 

 

Class Fee:

The class fee is $25 for non-members and  covers the materials included in the class and a fee to help fund the space and make more classes like this possible.

SBHX member’s fee is $20

We want to make our classes as available as possible, if you would like to attend the class but are unable to pay the fee please email us for other arrangements.

After about 3 weeks of working on tracking down manuals and schematics the two Mikes were able to successfully assemble and power up the behemoth Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) that was donated to the Space by Santa Barbara Infrared. This puts the SB Hackerspace into a small exclusive group of maker spaces which have electron microscopes for use by members and the public.  We are planning on sharing all the technical docs and steps on this blog soon.

In the mean time, here are some photos of this amazing machine in action.

After over a year in development we are finally just days away from launching our first Kickstarter campaign. The Campaign is for a product we call the Tracksoar, it is the smallest commercially available weather balloon tracker. It uses APRS / 2 Meter amateur radio to transmit it’s location, altitude, temperature, pressure, and humidity. Additionally it is open source and has available GPIO so you can add your own sensors. It is very compact and light weight, weighing in at just 45 grams with batteries. Making it suitable for use in model rockets, RC planes / helicopters / etc, and more. FOr more in depth information please visit the Tracksoar’s website.

Clear your calendar! You are cordiorally invited to SBHX’s opening party. 

Santa Barbara Hackerspace is throwing its first ever second opening party on July 17th starting at 6PM. 

We will be showing off our brand new location and tools, as well as doing live demos, hosting lightning talks by our members and unveiling a super secret new project. 

The open house is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. Attendees must register to for free on eventbrite.

There will be free BBQ and beer* as well as snacks and drinks.

 For more information about who we are and what we do go to sbhackerspace.com or follow us on twitter @sbhackerspace

* Free as in free beer. Subject to the terms of LGPL V3**.

**We are not lawyers. Please contact an actual lawyer for legal/licensing licensing advice

 

FAQs

 

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

All ages are welcome however you must be 21 or older with a valid ID to consume alcohol.

 

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Email: sbhackerspace@gmail.com

Twitter: @sbhackerspace

Facebook: facebook.com/sbhackerspace

 

I am happy to announce our second class of 2015: Intro to Eagle CAD / Circuit Design

To Sign up please visit: http://sbhackerspace.com/shop/
and select the Eagle CAD class and checkout, payment is available via PAYPAL, credit, Cash, or Check. If you would like to pay with cash or check please email sbhackerspace@gmail.com so we can reserver your spot for the class.

The class is currently scheduled to last for four weeks, with one class per week lasting one hour each.. The class assumes zero knowledge of Eagle CAD and PCB / circuit design, though the depth of the class will likely be informative for those familiar with Eagle CAD. PCBs are the heart of most every modern electronic device and being able to create them can be an extremely useful skill for executing most any electronic device.

Eagle CAD is a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design tool with a version of the software available for free. It is widely used by the hobbyist community (including at the Hackerspace) and is a powerful tool for PCB creation. Eagle CAD includes tools for creating a schematic and generating a PCB from the schematic.

Below is the class outline which outlines the goals of the class and what will be covered. The class will be taught by Mike “Swiss” Bales and other SB Hackerspace members.

Update:
Class sign ups are now live, please visit the SBHX store at: http://sbhackerspace.com/shop/
to sign up. The official schedule is as follows:
First class – Monday 8/3/15 6pm – 7:30 (possibly 8pm depending on how quickly we cover the material. All classes will be the same hours)
Second class – Thursday 8/13/15
Third class – Thursday 8/20/15
Fourth class – Thursday 8/27/15
If necessary there will be a fifth class following the same schedule.
Beginning Eagle CAD

An Intro to Using Eagle CAD to design circuits and PCBs

 

Class Outline and Goals:

The goal of this class is to teach participants with no CAD or circuit design knowledge the necessary skills  to take an idea and develop it into a working circuit / PCB. PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) are an integral part of nearly all modern electronic devices. Eagle CAD is one of the most popular entry level tools available for developing schematics and PCBs. The class will cover every step of the PCB design process from schematic design, PCB layout, production, and assembly.

 

Prerequisites:

A computer capable of running Eagle CAD (specs and download available at: http://www.cadsoftusa.com/download-eagle/ )

A desire to learn how to create an electronic device with a PCB

 

Class Schedule:

The class will be held over the course of four weeks, with one, one hour classes per week (specific dates to be announced).

 

Included in The Class:

a USB thumb drive with Eagle CAD installers, and some of the more useful parts libraries

A copy of all materials covered in the class

A PCB and electronic components to create a device designed during the class

Class Schedule:

Class 1:

Why use Eagle CAD

Installing Eagle CAD (on Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Navigating the Eagle UI

Creating a new project, Schematic, and PCB

Installing additional libraries

Using Github for revision control and collaboration

 

Class 2:

Adding parts to a schematic

Connecting components and nets

Schematic best practices

 

Class 3:

Creating a PCB from schematic

Part placement and signal routing

PCB layout best practices

Working in 2 layers, Vias, Planes

 

Class 4:

Assembling a completed PCB

Making a PCB at home / sending a PCB for manufacture

Soldering

Debugging PCB errors  and iterating designs

 

 

Class Fee:

The class fee is $35 for non-members and  covers the materials included in the class and a fee to help fund the space and make more classes like this possible.

SBHX member’s fee is $25

We want to make our classes as available as possible, if you would like to attend the class but are unable to pay the fee please email us for other arrangements.

 

 

We need to give a big shout out to Milpas Rentals for the floor buffer and Mike Kapuscik, and volunteers John Craighead, Mike Ray, Dan Loman and Nick Winters for making the work happen to clean the floors at the new hackerspace. Without them all we wouldn’t be able to go from this

IMG_6285

To this beautiful location with SBHX colors:
IMG_6265

The floors were cleaned a few weeks ago. Now nearly everything is moved and we’re working on unpacking and getting utilities sorted before a grand reopening. Stay tuned for updates.

What a weekend we had at the 2015 Bay Area Maker Faire. We brought a number of projects which were a big hit, and talked to a lot of people about them. It was a long weekend and we all had a lot of fun showing off the hackerspace and seeing all the great projects everyone brought. For more information please email sbhackerspace@gmail.com or join our mailing list here, or hop in the occasionally active IRC here. We will be updating this post with photos and videos once we have recovered.

Here are the details for some of the projects we brought that we promised more info on

Skateboard:
The SBHX electric skateboard has a 4 HP brushless DC motor, controlled by a Vedder ESC. We machined a mounting bracket at the shop and will be posting the CAD file shortly. The board is controlled by an aftermarket Wii nunchuck controller and we will post the link to that shortly as well. It has a 4S 6ah lithium polymer batter for power.

Raspberry Apple Pi:

Built by SBHX member chad page, the teensy code to convert the Apple ][e keyboard to USB is available here. We were running an apple ][e emulator called Chameleon Pi.

Tracksoar:

Made by SBHX member Mike “Swiss” Bales, the exact full source code and board files will be published shortly and will be available here shortly. I’m still working on building the page so please excuse the terribleness. The Tracksoar is built around an ATMEGA 328p running the Arduino bootloader and  a modified version of the Trackuino firmware. It uses a Radiometrix 2 meter transmitter putting out 300mw. I am in the process of setting up a kickstarter page for this project and hope to have it up and running somewhere around the end of June and beginning of April.

SBHXY:

Built by Nick Winters, the SBHXY is a 3D printer base on the CoreXY 3D printer. More info coming soon, once I convince Nick to update this.

 

Musical White Board:
We brought our formerly broken Smart Board that now is a midi instrument to Maker faire. Below is a video of it running. Further right on the X axis sends higher notes on the MIDI scale.

The sketch is running on an arduino Leonardo using the “arcore” libraries in Arduino 1.6 for MIDI USB support.
https://github.com/sphereinabox/Whiteboard

The wiring to the 4 pin resistive panel is the following:

  • red: 5V
  • white: Leonardo pin A0. Also connected to one leg of 8.2K ohm resistor, the other leg going to GND.
  • black: Not connected. This is the Y axis pin
  • green: GND

Mayan Coins Cast in Pewter:
Dr. John Gomm had at our booth his latest laser cut molds and coins. The molds were laser cut from 1/8 inch MDF. He has written up an explanation of the process on instructables: http://instructables.com/id/Pewter-Cast-Coins-From-Laser-Cut-Molds/

The time has come to make our big secret announcement we’ve been holding back for the past couple of months!

The Santa Barbara Hackerspace is moving.
This is great news for us and our members. We have found a new location in a better area, with more room, and much better suited to us. We have been looking to move for a while now as we are quickly out growing our current offices, and we have found a great place off Thornwood drive, just down Hollister in Goleta. As with any move we are looking for volunteers to help us get everything moved. If you don’t want to help by physically moving things (and who could blame you) you can also help by donating to our indiegogo here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/santa-barbara-hackerspace-moving-fundraiser/ . The funds raised will go towards moving costs, ie renting trucks, pallets, shipping materials, etc. In addition money raised will help cover improvements like adding 220V outlets, furniture and fixtures, etc. You can also donate directly by clicking the donate button on our homepage.

Photos of the new space will be coming soon, as well as a floor plan. We are very excited for all the possibilities in the new space and will be upping our outreach to the community to help us grow into the new space and improve our offerings. We will also be upping our class game, including the eagle cad class, and 3D printer building class, after the move to help get us established in the new building.

For the move we have divided the space into zones, each of which has a director in charge of getting everything boxed and ready for the move, in addition to leading the ubloading and setup at the new space. If you would like to volunteer please email sbhackerspace@gmail.com and we’ll get you signed up and assigned to a zone. Moving will start May 15th and we have 2 weeks to complete it. A short deadline to be sure, but I think we can pull it off.

Facts and / or figures:
Concrete Floors: No more losing tiny surface mount parts in the carpet
Roll up doors: No more having to maneuver through an alley, we have 2 roll up doors with easy access for big projects
More space: The new space will have an extra 1000sqft of common space everyone can use
Parking: we have a guaranteed 10 spaces available to us at all times
Power: we have 120, 220, and 440 volt outlets available for all your power needs
Building: The new building is one big building, no more navigating an alley to get between the machine shop and electronics rooms. In addition, no more leaky roof!

Hey Everyone, go check out our latest youtube sensation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7USxSXoA30

Some Background:
We got the chance to play around with a Phantom high speed camera and decided filming electrolytic capacitors blowing up would be a great subject. So we setup a table, power supply, and some lights and started the explosions. We used some old 330uf electrolytic capacitors, which were unvented and reversed biased them. After a few seconds the electrolyte boils and builds up enough steam pressure to blow off the can. Estimated speeds from watching the film puts the can at around 300mph after they explode.

Safety Warning:
Don’t blow up capacitors on purpose, steam, metal, and (depending on the capacitor, paper in our case) will go flying everywhere. We took all the usual safety precautions, filming from a distance behind a shield, goggles, fire extinguishers, etc.


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What is the Hackerspace?

We are a group of makers and developers in the Santa Barbara community who love building things. The Hackerspace has a Makerbot printer, piles of Arduinos, and much, much more. Learn More →
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5782 Thornwood Dr
Goleta CA 93117

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Current status of the Hackerspace: "awesome".
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