Jam Jar CollectiveJam Jar Collective | Jam Jar Collective http://www.jamjarcollective.com Fun with technology Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:53:50 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 floppy drawbot! http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/08/24/floppy-drawbot/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/08/24/floppy-drawbot/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2011 05:05:00 +0000 MattVenn http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/08/24/floppy-drawbot/ Make a fun spiral drawing robot out of an old floppy drive and arduino! Here is the instructable.

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TEDxYork mood lamps! http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/07/06/tedxyork-mood-lamps/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/07/06/tedxyork-mood-lamps/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2011 15:29:00 +0000 MattVenn http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/07/06/tedxyork-mood-lamps/ We’ve put together 50 kits for TEDxYork attendees! Click here for the instructions.

more info on other workshops can be found on my learning-to-learn.org.uk site.

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FriiSpraying at Maker Faire UK 2011 http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/03/16/friispray-maker-faire-uk-2011/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/03/16/friispray-maker-faire-uk-2011/#comments Wed, 16 Mar 2011 22:52:34 +0000 Richard http://www.jamjarcollective.com/?p=221 The Jam Jar Collective were at Maker Faire UK this weekend. We had a bigger stand than last year where we were showing off FriiSpray and a few other projects we’re working on.

We were kept very busy by a crowd of young artists wanting to try FriiSpray out. Here is the wonderful artwork they created:

[flickr-gallery mode="photoset" photoset="72157626280448972"]

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Howduino Leeds http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/03/16/howduino-leeds/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/03/16/howduino-leeds/#comments Wed, 16 Mar 2011 19:47:17 +0000 Stuart http://www.jamjarcollective.com/?p=211

I’ve been to a few Howduino events since Adrian McEwen and Thom Shannon started organising + running them and always thought it would be good to get one happening in Leeds. So I nudged them and said we could help out with the organising, funding and arranging.


Howduino is a free Arduino based event – for any skill level. Whether you’re a seasoned Arduinoist or have never seen one before and are just curious – you’re very welcome to bob along to try your hand at a project. You don’t need your own Arduino (but bring yours along if you have one!) – we will have plenty to play with thanks to our friends over at .:oomlout:.

There are some project ideas on the wiki – http://howduino.pbworks.com/w/page/19570370/FrontPage

What’s an Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.” More at arduino.cc

We have been using the Arduino platform for a while now and have had a lot of fun with the boards. Howduino events have really helped us out in the past – and we enjoy helping others to learn more about the boards and how to use them.


Howduino Leeds will be on 26th + 27th of March 2011 at Temple Works Leeds, 10:00 – 16:00 each day.

More details are available on the Howduino website – http://www.howduino.com/ – and you can sign up for your free tickets here – http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1384169087

Why go?

Howduino events are grand environments for sharing your idea, getting some help on a project you’ve been stuck with for a while, or generally hanging out and learning / working with some new people. You can turn up for a few hours, a day or the full weekend depending on how you feel! You must register on the eventbrite page though – so we can keep track of numbers.

Have a read of my post about the Newcastle Howduino for more of an idea of what goes on – http://stuartchilds.com/2010/07/26/howduino-newcastle/

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FriiSpray LASER cans http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/03/10/friispray-laser-cans/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/03/10/friispray-laser-cans/#comments Fri, 11 Mar 2011 01:13:52 +0000 Stuart http://www.jamjarcollective.com/?p=172

It’s been a busy few months at the Jam Jar HQ – we’ve been working on getting some new virtual graffiti cans working with new software and hardware.

In January we started testing out the Nintendo Wii nunchuck boards as a way of getting cap pressure data out of the cans – check out this blog post – then we stumbled across the wireless nunchucks from Clas Ohlson – with in-built Li-ion charging circuit and wireless connectivity.

The no-name wireless nunchuck contains lots more goodies than the official Nintendo Nunchuck

top: no-name nunchuck // bottom: Nintendo Nunchuck

We got some of the wireless nunchucks and got them hooked up to an Arduino board with a breakout board adaptor and breadboard. Quick prototyping meant we could experiment – necessary as to start with we were getting an unreliable data connection between the wireless nunchuck board and receiver circuit. This was quickly solved with a bit of web research and rewiring.

All details from the latest testing will go up on the FriiSpray wiki when we’ve documented them.

Hardware details

mk0.97 FriiSpray can internals

main ingredients:

  • 3mm acrylic sheet (latest design available here )
  • a number of 3mm nuts + bolts (steel + nylon)
  • 200mm length of 3mm threaded rod
  • no-name wireless nunchuck
  • 18650 size li-ion battery (like this )
  • 2 x 10mW 980nm LASER diodes (like this ) – 5Mw to be tested soon


Although this is the most advanced can we’ve made to date, it is still very much beta! We think it’s getting there though – we have had some positive results from tracking the output from the two IR LASERs and the wireless connection between the can and the rx circuit seems reliable enough. We’re also still testing out different cameras (WiiMote, PS Eye, webcams, etc) along with different IR filters. Again, more info on the wiki.

Video showing the latest testing by Matt Venn:


We will be testing the new can for the first time at Maker Faire UK in Newcastle on 12th + 13th of March. Come and say hello.


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Open projection screen http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/03/09/open-projection-screen/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/03/09/open-projection-screen/#comments Wed, 09 Mar 2011 14:49:11 +0000 Stuart http://www.jamjarcollective.com/?p=160

Projection screens can be expensive, and we needed one to use with our FriiSpray virtual graffiti system. After looking into some different screens available on the market, we decided we could probably have a good go at making one of our own.

We wanted to make the project open so others can make, use, modify and alter their own screens and help to improve the project. Accessibility is a big thing for us – we want to enable as many people as possible to make their own virtual graffiti wall – and bringing the cost of it down is a step in the right direction.

Design criteria:

  • low cost
  • allow for rear projection
  • robust enough to survive a virtual graffiti event for children
  • easy to reproduce
  • as flat pack as possible

We have recently had access to a laser cutter and will be soon getting our own and thought this project would be a good way of seeing what we could do. We decided to use sheet MDF as a construction material as it is more durable than acrylic – and cheaper.


  • 3mm sheet MDF
  • 6mm sheet MDF
  • M5 wing nuts + 35mm bolts (48 of each)
  • GORM timber from IKEA (7x 174cm lengths)

When deciding upon materials we first looked at what we had in our workshop / material store. The IKEA timber seemed to make sense as it was cheap and widely available – as well as pre drilled and cut to lengths. The lengths are intended as shelving legs, but can be bought separately and so are ideal as a material to use. I’d bet that you’d struggle to find similar timber cheaper anywhere else, especially if you only wanted to buy a few lengths.

The basis is simple: we needed to make brackets that could make use of the IKEA timber – we needed to make a frame and supporting legs.

The MDF and hardware side was fairly quick + easy to prototype + get working. We have been having a little more trouble getting a decent looking screen material / solution working – we need your help!

Screen material

‘Professional’ rear projection screens – such as the fast fold type tend to come with quite a thick screen material – this is great for projecting on to but isn’t optimised for allowing infrared light from our LED spray cans pass through it. Other, cheaper materials have proved to be more effective and so we are still experimenting.

We have tried white cotton sheet with bias binding as a border – to try and allow for stretching of the screen. We added press studs to this and the frame – it held the screen material in place but wasn’t as clean a finish as we wanted.

Next up we’re trying some lycra and velcro, any other ideas or trials are welcome. What successes or failures have you had with your own DIY projection screens?

Make your own

You can get all of the materials needed for this project for easily under £50.

Take a look at the links and resources below to get started:

Link to bracket laser files: pdf link

Link to IKEA GORM timber: IKEA link

Example of the M5 nuts + bolts: supplier link

Beta how-to-put-together instructions: pdf link

We will be selling the bracket kits online soon – drop us a line if you’re interested in advance beta testing.

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Virtual graffiti becomes Friispray http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/01/31/virtual-graffiti-becomes-friispray/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/01/31/virtual-graffiti-becomes-friispray/#comments Mon, 31 Jan 2011 11:47:00 +0000 MattVenn http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2011/01/31/virtual-graffiti-becomes-friispray/ I’ve linked up with the jam jar collective in Leeds. They have independently developed a virtual graffiti tool called Friispray.

Last weekend I went up to Leeds for a mini residency to develop the software and hardware further. It was great working with Stuart, and we managed to come up with a way to track where the can is pointing (a big problem with both our previous versions).

Here’s a sneak preview of our new laser based system…

For all further developments of this project, please see the Friispray website, or our github wiki and source code repo

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Workshops http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2010/11/15/workshops/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2010/11/15/workshops/#comments Mon, 15 Nov 2010 18:02:30 +0000 Stuart http://jamjarcollective.com/?p=88 Creative electronics

  • Design and build simple electronic circuits
  • Level: beginner – intermediate
  • Duration: 2 hours – full day
  • Age range: 10+

Never picked up a soldering iron? Don’t know your resistor from your capacitor? We can provide a tailored electronics session to your group: usually with a quick introduction to different electronic components before cracking on with the fun stuff: the making!

We offer a range of different pre-designed circuit kits or can make up a new design for your group. Get in touch for a chat about what you would like. Our sessions are aimed at getting people doing things rather than sitting down and learning.

FriiSpray virtual graffiti workshop

  • Learn how a FriiSpray setup works
  • Build your own infra-red pens or spray cans
  • Level: beginner
  • Duration: 4 hours – full day
  • Age: 10+

Want to know about virtual graffiti? We can show you how to set up your own FriiSpray virtual graffiti wall and make your own infra-red devices to work with it. We can guide you through some simple soldering skills and circuit making as well as the software setup on your computer.

Each workshop can be adjusted to fit the group we deliver to, including discussion / presentation about open source technology, using FriiSpray as an animation tool and the developments we are working on at the moment.

Build your own TagTool system

  • Learn how to build and wire up your own TagTool setup
  • Level: beginner – intermediate
  • Duration: full day
  • Age: 14+

TagTool is an open source project designed by OMA international in Vienna. It is designed to be used by two people at a time – one drawing and one animating – and uses a graphics tablet and USB gamepad as an interface. Stuart is a contributor to their wiki site and has built a number of different TagTool boxes, including this all-in-one flight case.

Using a TagTool system with a projector effectively allows you to virtually draw on anything you want – depending on how powerful your projector is. We have used the system both indoors and outdoors for events and have had a lot of fun in the process.

There are full instructions on the TagTool website on how to make your own.

Our workshop sessions can include:

  • All of the bits and pieces you need
  • Soldering and box-making tutorial / guidance
  • Learning to program an Arduino board with the code needed to make your TagTool work
  • Guided set up of your own computer / a demonstration system
  • Testing your setup with a projector

Podcast workshops

  • Learn how to make podcasts
  • Devise content and interview techniques
  • Learn about sound design and production
  • Record your podcasts and upload them
  • Duration: 1-3 days, depending on activities
  • Level: beginner – intermediate
  • Age: 14+

Want to learn more about making podcasts? We can run sessions starting from the basics of planning content and music selection right through to the more technical sides of recording and publishing.

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Tweeting when you meet at Shift Happens http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2010/07/04/tweeting-when-you-meet/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2010/07/04/tweeting-when-you-meet/#comments Sun, 04 Jul 2010 21:48:02 +0000 Richard http://jamjarcollective.com/?p=68 It’s the day before Shift Happens and we’re almost sorted. Just a few things left on our ToDo list. This Shift is going to be particularly exciting for us. We had a great time last year showing off FriiSpray, which we’re taking again. And this year we also get to unveil our new project Tweet When You Meet.

screenshot  of Tweet When You Meet

Pilot Theatre, the people behind Shift Happens asked us if we had any ideas how we could help people meet each other at their event. We didn’t. So, we went away and thought about it.

The idea started with the thought of making a networking machine or computer program. Some thing that could help you break the ice with people you’d not met before. When you and a group of people approach the machine, it knows who you are and it knows enough about you all to suggest something that you’d like to talk about.

We also thought it would be nice if the machine would tweet when people met, and that’s where the name came from.

As the machine tweets all these meetings it also remembers them, so you can ask it later who you’ve met. We’re hoping this will be really useful to everyone taking part.

If you’re at Shift Happens, we really hope you like Tweet When You Meet. This is its first time being tested in the real wide world and we’d really like to know what you think. We’d also love to hear your suggestions about what else it could do to help you meet more people and remember who you’ve met. So please come and play with us at Shift Happens and let us know what you think.

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Temple Works Leeds Residency http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2010/03/31/temple-works-leeds-residency/ http://www.jamjarcollective.com/2010/03/31/temple-works-leeds-residency/#comments Wed, 31 Mar 2010 12:34:49 +0000 admin http://jamjarcollective.com/?p=63 Temple Works (photo by Jim Moran flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moran/

Temple Works // photo by Jim Moran flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moran/

The Jam Jar Collective are now artists in residence at the incredible Temple Works site in Leeds.

We first worked on site in 2009 and created a large scale light and sound installation ‘Bloom’ in the large main warehouse space as part of Leeds’ Light Night. There is a video of the series of installations including ours here.

We are now working in some of the space on site as a new workshop and test bed for upcoming projects. Check out http://www.templeworksleeds.com/tw/ for more information about what’s going on at Temple Works and how you can get involved.

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