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TheMakersWorkbench has a new look!

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Welcome to the new TheMakersWorkbench.com. We have worked hard over the past few months to completely redesign the site from the ground up. Our site owner Charles Gantt spent over 250 hours building the new site with help from his good friends Will Jackson and Curtis Gauger.  You may notice that the site is much faster than it used to be, and things are much easier to find now. We have a lot planned for 2013 and the old site was really holding us back. [node:read-more:link]


Review: Digilent ChipKIT Uno32 and Max32


Digilent ChipKIT Uno32 and Max32. Pic32 Arduino Compatible

Last week we posted an image of Digilent’s new 100% Arduino Mega Compatible dev board dubbed Max32. Normally a new Arduino board would not be news worthy, but this one is based around a Microchip Pic32 instead of one of Atmel’s AVR Chips. I won’t lie, we have known about this board for a couple of weeks now. In fact Microchip’s PR department contacted us about receiving a sample board along with an invite to attend their official online launch and press conference which was held about 2 hours ago. Keep reading to find out some interesting facts about Digilent’s new MCU boards the MAX32 and Uno32. The Testing Samples [node:read-more:link]

Reading PC Fan RPM with an Arduino

Reading PC Fan RPM and Waterpump RPM with Arduino

Today we are going to learn how to read the RPM of a PC Fan. This also works well for the Water Pumps used in PC Water Cooling as well as any dc pump or fan that has a rotation sense wire. This is accomplished by counting the falling edge of the square wave generated by the  Hall effect sensor that is located inside the fan or pump. All we have to do is use the arduino to do is count that data, do some math for us, and output the converted data onto an LCD Screen. Lets get started!  [node:read-more:link]

Reading and Displaying Temperature with an Arduino

Reading Temperature with an Arduino

Today we are going to walk you through the process of reading temperature with your Arduino and displaying it on a  16x2 character parallel LCD. This set up has many uses including displayign temperatures during home brewing, fish tanks, PC Temperature display etc. The code will scale nicely and it is so simple that a 5 year old can do it. So lets get started!  [node:read-more:link]


Element14 Roadtest: Texas Instruments MSP430 Launchpad

TI Launchpad

You might remember our original coverage of Texas Instrument's MSP430 LaunchPad back when it was launched. We even hosted a Q and A Session with is development team. We promised more coverage and some hands on examples, but unfortunately we never received our media sample kit and the 4 boards we actually purchased took over 13 weeks to arrive. By then we were wrapped up in Digilent's ChipKIT line of development boards. Recently Element14 asked us to join their list of Media Road Testers, and we gladly accepted! Our first roadtest we were issued was a MSP430 LaunchPad. So sit back and enjoy the blast from the past show!  [node:read-more:link]

Tutorial: Cheap 9 Component Theremin

Cheap 9 component Theremin

This morning I woke up very early. Nothing was on TV, the interwebs were boring me and I was not in a mood to play a video game. So I sat down at my workbench and decided to make a theremin. I remember as a child a neighbor having a tube theremin that produced those eerie high pitched notes of classic b grade horror movies. When ever we would visit their home for a cook out or party I would play with the theremin every chance I got. To me, it was the coolest noise maker ever. The fact that I could manipulate the tone and pitch of the sound with out touching anything together was simply awesome. So with a theremin project in mind I jumped back on the web and a quick search yielded me this pocket theremin project from Popular Science. It is comprised of just 9 components, all of which I had on hand. So with the schematic chosen I sat down and bread-boarded my first theremin. [node:read-more:link]


Review: Digilent Cerebot MX4 cK

Digilent Cerebot 32MX4 cK review on TheMakersWorkbench

Digilent Inc Logo Cerebot MX4 cK


Last spring Digilent released the chipKIT line of development boards which were the first PIC32 based Arduino compatible development boards. It was no surprise that they were a huge success among the DIY / Maker community. Building off of thes success of the first chipKIT boards; the Uno32 and Max32, Digilent revamped their Cerebot line of PIC32 microcontroller trainer boards. The Cerebot MX3 cK, Cerebot MX4 cK, and Cerebot MX7 cK boards have officially replaced the Cerebot 32MX4 and Cerebot 32MX7 boards. Today we are going to take a quick look at the Cerebot MX4 cK and upload a few sketches from both Digilents Arduino based MPIDE and Microchip's MPLAB X. [node:read-more:link]

Fire consumes TheMakersWorkbench Lab.


On the afternoon of July 16 2012 my home was struck by lightening which led to my work room catching fire.The fire consumed the room along with an adjacent bedroom. I lost my RepRap, all of my development boards and supporting hardware. Also lost was a laptop, file server, and many tools. At this point I have no idea when I will be able to post new content. This is a devestating blow to both myself and TheMakersWorkbench. We are in the process of a complete website redesign on a new server with an all new look. I had big plans and a series of tutorials planned around Digilent's Cerebot cK line as well as the Raspberry Pi and some pretty cool Arduino tutorials. I also lost all of my custom PC gear and have no idea how long it will take me to build that back up. I plan on keeping the Workbench alive and will as time and finances alow, create new content. My prized soldering setup is a total loss as is everything else in the room. I lost my Airbrushing gear, all of my photography gear, and brand new HD webcam which was purchased with the intent of creating some nice video tutorials and reviews. 
This is what is left of my workbench. 
For those of you who do not follow us on facebook, this is what it use to look like. 
I only have a single arduino compatible board left and it is actually a seeeduino with a Atmega 168 on it. If any manufactures or retailers would like to donate any hardware, components or tools I would greatly appreciate it and can offer free advertising in exchange. If you would like to get intouch with me please send an email to [email protected] Thanks again for your years of support and loyal devotion. You guys are the reason I continue to keep this site up. 

Diavolino is one badass Arduino clone! Cheap too!

Evil Mad Science Diavolino

Evil Mad Science's Diavolino


The Diavolino is a simple Arduino Duemilanove clone developed by Evil Mad Science Labs. Normally we wouldn't cover a basic non USB Arduino clone, but the the Diavolino is just too damn sexy to ignore. The "Little Devil" sports one hell of a solder mask job, featuring a black pcb with red flames consuming the board. This has to be the best looking PCB we have seen to date! To top things off, EMSL is offering the DIY Diavolino kit for under $12 and blank PCBs under $5. This is the perfect board to get your kids started in the maker scene, and offers a perfect opportunity to teach them how to solder! We are going to order a few to add to our collection. Keep reading after the break for the official specs on the Diavolino!


Make your own soldering flux.

DIY Soldering Flux Tutorial on TheMakersWorkbench.comHomebrew Soldering Flux Tutorial on TheMakersWorkbench.com

The use of flux when soldering electronics is one of the fundamental skills that everyone who thinks of picking up a hot soldering iron should have. A lot of times, those new to soldering think that the application of flux is not a necessary component of the soldering process. Judging by the emails I get, this is mainly because of two reasons. They watched a youtube video of an inexperienced kid solder two wires together using $5 pencil iron and plumbing solder then state that flux core solder is all that is needed. The other reason I hear most often is that flux is too expensive for the average hobbyist. We paid $15 for the 2 flux pens we purchased last and $25 for the jar of liquid flux we purchased before that. Today we are going to show you how to create your own flux and create a large quanitity for much less than you would spend by purchasing it premade.