Author Archives: Alex Bate

The Computers That Made Britain on sale now

via Raspberry Pi

TL;DR: Computer History nerds, we wrote you a book.

The Computers That Made Britain

The home computer boom of the 1980s brought with it now-iconic machines. Machines that would go on to inspire a generation, such as the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, and Commodore 64.

The Computers That Made Britain tells the story of those computers – and what happened behind the scenes during their creation. With dozens of new interviews discover the tales of missed deadlines, technical faults, business interference, and the unheralded geniuses behind all of it. Geniuses who brought to the UK everything from the Dragon 32 and ZX81, through to the Amstrad CPC 464 and the Commodore Amiga.

Get your copy now

You can order your copy of The Computers that Made Britain today online from the Raspberry Pi Press Store. Alternatively, you can buy it in the Raspberry Pi Store in Cambridge, and from other leading online highstreet booksellers, including Waterstones. As always, you can also download the book in PDF format, for free, directly from the Wireframe website.

The Computers That Made Britain hardback book

And now, a little word from our author, Tim Danton

It turns out that when you mention you’re writing a book about computers from the 1980s, you get two reactions. One is best paraphrased by “Awesome!” followed by a rapid check that their favourite is included. The second is a bemused expression and the question, “Why on Earth are you doing that?”

My initial reason for writing the book was simple: curiosity. I cut my computing teeth on the BBC Micro and the ZX Spectrum, but I knew little about their origins. My only recollection of the people behind the products was a hazy image of Sir Clive Sinclair driving a C5 down a busy road.

What I didn’t realise is how fascinating the stories behind these computers would turn out to be. And yes, I know there’s an element of “He would say that,” but as you’ll discover if you buy the book, it’s also 100% true.

It turns out that the 1980s was a boiling pot of controversy packed with all the passion, politics and deal-wrangling that Dallas brought to our TV screens. Except that this time, the power struggles were happening in America’s Silicon Valley and the UK’s Silicon Fen.

This book covers the stories of not just the computers, but the people behind them. Geniuses such as Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber, the co-creators of the ARM processor. Entrepreneurs like Alan Sugar, who applied his “mug’s eyeful” approach of building hi-fi units to computers, with astonishing effect. Industry legends such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who it turns out were willing to play a little dirty to succeed.

The end result is a story of not just 19 computers that upgraded Britain to the digital age, but of the people behind them. It also captures a unique time in our history, when anything could happen. And often did.

But I realise I also need to answer the other question: is your favourite computer in there? Here’s the full list, so you can find out.

  • Acorn Archimedes
  • Acorn Electron
  • Apple II
  • Apple Macintosh
  • Amstrad CPC 464
  • Amstrad PCW 8256
  • Atari 520ST
  • BBC Micro
  • Commodore 64
  • Commodore Amiga
  • Commodore PET 2001
  • Commodore VIC-20
  • Dragon 32
  • IBM Personal Computer (5150)
  • Research Machines 380Z
  • Sinclair QL
  • Sinclair ZX80 and ZX81
  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum

The post The Computers That Made Britain on sale now appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Meet Estefannie Explains it All

via Raspberry Pi

Recently listed as one of Instagram’s Top 7 Women in STEM, software engineer and content creator Estefannie talks to Alex Bate about electronics, her online community, and why she can’t stop giving away free tech in her Instagram Live streams.

estefannie at her desk in colourful hoodie
Coming from a software background, Estefannie had to learn electronics

Based in Texas, Mexican-born Estefannie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Houston with a degree in computer science and a passion for helping people discover computing.

Some years later, with an established career as a software engineer under her belt, Estefannie is best-known for her YouTube and Instagram accounts, Estefannie Explains It All, and can often be found with a soldering iron in one hand, a rescue cat in the other, all while sporting the most fabulous pair of circuit board Louboutin heels and laser-cut lightning bolt earrings. Yes, it’s fair to say that we all want to be Estefannie. But how did she get here?

Estefannie wearing her Louboutin heels
Rocking her circuit board Louboutin heels and laser-cut lightning bolt earrings

Alex  You originally made videos on your channel four years ago to make sure that you’d retained the information that you were learning at the time?

Estefannie  Mm-hmm, that’s right.

But why did you decide to move away from the early explainers and start making other types of content, such as your Daft Punk helmet, and running weekly live streams and giveaways? Because I’m assuming that when you were making those early Estefannie Explains It All videos, you didn’t plan on becoming an influencer?

E  No. The influencer part? Oh, no. I was studying for an interview with Google and I decided to make explainer videos and put them online because I knew people would correct me if I was wrong. And, if they didn’t, I knew my explanations were correct and I was better prepared for the interview.

The YouTube comments section was the scariest place on earth for me, so that’s why I went for YouTube.Later on, it was close to Halloween, and I was about to have an interview with Microsoft, this time to be a product evangelist. And I knew that IoT, the Internet of Things, was ‘the latest buzzword’, and I already wanted to dabble with that technology. So, I decided I wanted to make an IoT project and put it on my YouTube channel. That way, when the Microsoft interview arrived, I’d also have that video to show.

Halloween happened and I’d made this stupid pumpkin robot thing that wasn’t even IoT, but I put it on YouTube anyway and realised that I’d really liked doing it. I really, really liked it. And that’s when I found out about Simone Giertz and other makers, and this whole world I hadn’t known about. I thought, ‘I really like doing this, so I’m going to keep doing it.’ I didn’t even care about the interview anymore because I had found ‘the thing’, the thing that I wanted to do.

Microsoft actually loved the video and they wanted me to keep doing more of them, but on their platform, and they would own the content, which I didn’t want. So that’s how it transformed from explainers as prep for interviews to wanting to make videos. And the influencer thing happened a little bit differently. It’s a bit more Instagram-my.

It’s more personal. You’re creating a brand.

E  A brand, yes, I think that’s the key. So the Instagram thing happened for two reasons. The first one was that, before YouTube, I was going to start a business making little video games and mobile apps. And I decided to make it an ‘umbrella’ business so that anything I made could go under there. Because I thought [she laughs], ‘they’re going to go viral and so I need to be prepared legally.’

And while I was doing all of the business stuff, I realised I also need to learn how to do social media, because I need to promote these video games. So I took the time to understand Instagram, follow the people that I thought were interesting or would be doing the same stuff as me. I started out with my personal account as a test and, again, I really liked it. I started seeing people follow me because they were interested in the lifestyle of a software engineer. And I thought it was cool because I would have liked to see how software engineering was as a career before going for it. It was like a window to that world.

Do you think there’s been a change, though, because your brand was that you were a software engineer? And now you’re not in the same job. You’re a full-time creator now. Do you think that’s affected who follows you and how people interact with you?

E  I was very afraid of that when I quit my job. I tried to not talk about it at first. But it didn’t really matter because the people who have followed along, they’ve seen all the changes. And when I quit my job, they congratulated me because I was now able to do this full-time. So it was like the opposite. They were following ‘The Estefannie Experience’, ha ha. For a lot of them, it was like, ‘Oh, that’s another cool path that you can take as an engineer.’

Estefannie with her cats
Cats can provide emotional support while debugging

What was it like to make the leap from software, from something you can control totally to hardware, an area where things can go wrong all the time?

E  Oh, well, software can go wrong all the time, too. When I did that first Halloween pumpkin video, I think that really sparked a new interest in me of like, ‘Oh, I should have studied electrical engineering or computer engineering’. Because I am really passionate about the hardware aspect of it. I’d studied a low-level class as part of my computer science degree about gates and how they work. I remember having to draw them out.

And I really liked that class and understanding how electricity goes through those gates. But it didn’t matter because I was there to learn how to do the programming part. With electronics, it was so fun to go back and actually try it, and I was hurting myself, shocking myself, burning myself. It was great; I love it. It was like I was putting everything in my imagination into real, physical things. And I think that helps me. I like seeing things or touching things.

You’re a big advocate for celebrating failure and learning from failure. You’ve   done talks about it at Coolest Projects and Maker Faire, and you talk about it in your videos. In the earthquake simulator you built for Becky Stern, you showed the first way of making it and how it didn’t work, before showing the final project. Do you think it’s important to share failures on YouTube, instead of editing a perfect project build?

E  I think so. Yes. It comes from a place within me where, when I wasn’t good at something when I tried it for the first time – I’m a nineties kid, I don’t know if this is anything to do with it – but you try, and you fail, and you just assumed ‘OK, I’m not good at it.’ I’m not supposed to be playing piano, or whatever. That’s how I grew up thinking. And so, when I became an actual engineer, and I say ‘engineer’ because studying computer science is one thing, but to become an engineer is something completely different.

And when I actually became an engineer, that’s when it hit me that you have to really just go for it, stop thinking, stop planning, stop analysing, and just do it and see what happens, and learn from that.So that was a great lesson in life for me, and I want to show people like me that I make mistakes all the time and that I struggle sometimes, or that it takes several steps; it takes several tries to get somewhere. And so I want to show it for those people who feel maybe like they can’t do something because they didn’t do it the first time. I want to show them the human side of engineering.

Estefannie's desk
That’s one sweet studio setup

That’s cool. I liked when you were making the visor for your Daft Punk helmet and it was just a series of Instagram Live videos of you unsuccessfully melting plastic in your oven as you tried to learn how to vacuum-form.

E  The plastic melting was so fun, and I learned a lot. I would never do that again, ha ha.

Of all the projects you’ve made and shared, what has been the thing that you’ve been the proudest of because you managed to overcome an issue?

E  I think with most of my projects, I’ve had to overcome something. Except with the Jurassic Park Goggles. Although it was a pain to do, I already knew what I was doing, and that was because of the Daft Punk helmet. I struggled so much with that one that I knew exactly what do to with the goggles.I’ve been working on a smart litter box project for my cats, Teddy and Luna. That one required me to do a lot of woodwork and play with tools that I had never played with before. And so those days terrified me. But, I try to push myself with every project, so they’re all scary.

Estefannie's giveaway wheel
Giveaways are ruled by the random wheel of fate, like Boethius’ Wheel but nicer

You have projects that you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into, that you’ve worked hard on, that you’ve written all the code for. Where do you stand on whether you should give that code away for free? Do you provide it all the time? Do you ever think, ‘no, I’m going to keep this for myself’?

E  Oh, I am a true believer in open source. My plan is to continue to give it all away and put it on my website. This morning, I was finishing up a blog post I’m writing about the Daft Punk helmet. A step-by-step on how to do it, because I know people watch the video, but they might not be able to follow it to make their own. So now I’m going ‘here, here’s what I use’. And all those links in the post, Home Depot, etc., all the links I’m using, they’re not even affiliated. I’m making zero dollars out of that post I’ve been working on.

I know lots of the people who want to recreate my projects are kids, and they have no money. This is the type of education I wish I had had when I was younger. If I had known about this stuff, I would have started when I was very young. So, I can’t charge them. I feel, if they have to buy electronics, there’s no way I can charge extra for the schematic and the code. I cannot do that. It’s about being very conscious of who my audience is. I don’t want to stop  them from making it. It’s the opposite. That’s why I do giveaways every week on Instagram Live. I want to give them the boards. I want to give them everything so they can do it. I didn’t have any money growing up, and I know the feeling.

I respect people who want to charge for it. I understand. But I’m not in that boat. Even the smart little box that I’m currently working on, someone who I respect very much said, ‘oh, that’s a great idea, why don’t you patent it and manufacture it? There’s a market for it.’ And I know there’s a market for it, but that’s not the point. The point is to show that you can do it. Anything that’s in your imagination, you can build it, you can do it, and here are the steps. Yeah, I want more money, but I think I can get there in different ways, through YouTube ads and sponsorships.

Estefannie with soldering iron at her desk
Soldering makes us this happy too

There are a million different ways to make an LED blink, and none of them is the wrong way, they’re just the comfortable way you find to do it. Do you get backlash when you release your code from people saying, ‘Well, you should have done it this way’?

E I have never received backlash on code and, in fact, I would encourage people not to be scared to publish their code. I know people who say they want to open-source their code but they have to ‘clean it up first’, and they’re scared to publish it. But the whole point of open source is that you put it out there, you know it works, and it’s going to be OK. And it gets better because people will contribute. I’m never afraid of showing code.

Do you think, when you talk about financial accessibility that that’s one of the reasons that’s holding you back from starting a Patreon? That you’d be putting a financial wall up against people who can’t afford it.

E  One hundred percent. I don’t want to add to people’s financial strain. In fact, I am starting my new cryptocurrency so that I can send tokens to people around the world and, kinda like arcade tickets, they can spend them on things.

How does that work? How can I spend your cryptocurrency?

E  OK, so it has zero monetary value. The idea is that instead of giving out imaginary internet points to people in my live streams, they get actual internet points. And they can exchange them back to me for real items. I’ll have a menu of tech – so many points gets you a Pico, or a Raspberry Pi 400, or some other board – and people exchange their internet points for prizes. It helps me see how active someone has been in the live streams so I can say yes, it’s worth the $200 to ship this item to someone in India.

Ah, I get it. It’s like house points in school.

E  This is why it takes me so long to release a video because I’m like, let me do the cryptocurrency and then also that live stream, and then also this video about so and so. I just want to have a voice.

Close up of Estefannie's desk
Nice breadboard

A How do you decide what content to make? Is it just about creating content you think your audience will like? Or more about content you think is important for people to know?

E  I think I’ve always made videos that I felt were important, but I was always trying to, y’know, ‘play the algorithm’. And that was happening while I was still working and trying to quit my job so, of course, that was a period of my YouTube career where I was trying as much as I could to get views and hop on trends. Not the trends that were just ‘trends’, but trends by people I liked. Back then, I was a big fan of a YouTube baker, so I did a project using her stuff in the hopes she would see it. But I’m not really like that any more. If I see a channel I really like, I’ll try and do a collab, but not just because it would be beneficial for my channel. None of that any more. Just stuff I like.

One piece of advice that a lot of YouTubers have told me – that I’ve decided not to follow – is that you have to stick to one thing so that the audience knows what to expect. The same with Instagram. But I disagree, and I’ve gained more followers by being myself more. I’m Estefannie who also really, really likes crazy fashion. I like make-up and weird earrings, and why should I have to tone that down? Because I’m an engineer? I only post things that I would like. It’s not always me soldering. It’s not always code.

You create the content you want to see, not the content you think people want to see.

E  Yes. That would be easy to play that game, but that’s not what I want to do.

A lot of content creators would create a separate Instagram account or YouTube channel for their other passion, but all that’s doing is showing that it has two  different audiences. I think, especially when you are a woman in tech, if you then separate out the other things that you like, it’s almost like you’re saying, ‘Oh, well, these are two separate things that can’t exist together.’

E  Exactly. You’re saying, ‘I go to work. And I’m a scientist, and I look like this. But then I go home, and I look like this’. And it’s not true. There are some creators who have a million YouTube channels, and I don’t understand why because people really like them for who they are. But it’s following the example of how, if you want to do vlogging, you have to have a separate channel, and I don’t think you necessarily have to.

You are the brand, and people subscribe to you. You love fashion, and I couldn’t see you doing a ‘come shopping with me down Melrose Place’ video because that’s not who you are, but I could totally see you trying to make your own lipstick.

E  Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

A  You would make that video and your audience would love it because it’s you, and you’re doing something you’re passionate about.

E  Yeah, I mean, it’s like, the best example for me is Colin Furze. He is who he is. He wears his tie, he’s great. That’s very transparent. That’s him.There’s a maker who influenced the way I dressed for a bit, and I see it on all the other maker women in how they dress. And I didn’t even like those clothes. And when I noticed, and I stopped myself, and I was like, ‘this is not the Estefannie Experience’. It’s the other person experience, and I don’t need to replicate that because that’s not me. And if I want to wear my giant heels, I’ll wear my heels. You have to be yourself.

If people want to be creators, it’s OK to be yourself. And if you’re the only one and you don’t have a team like other creators, that it’s OK to take your time and not do it for the algorithm. That’s my advice. You don’t have to post every week. I mean, you can, but don’t kill yourself. It’s a one-woman show over here. I do my taxes, I do the website, I do the videos. That’s the advice I want to give here. That’s what I want people to take from this interview.

Subscribe to Estefannie on YouTube, and follow her on Instagram. And make sure to take part in her weekly live streams for a chance to win some exclusive Estefannie Internet Points.

Issue 42 of HackSpace magazine is on sale NOW!

Alex spoke to Estefannie for the latest issue of HackSpace magazine. Each month, HackSpace brings you the best projects, tips, tricks and tutorials from the makersphere. You can get it from the Raspberry Pi Press online store or your local newsagents. As always, every issue is free to download from the HackSpace magazine website.

hackspace issue 42 cover

The post Meet Estefannie Explains it All appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

What is PIO?

via Raspberry Pi

Microcontroller chips, like our own RP2040 on Raspberry Pi Pico, offer hardware support for protocols such as SPI and I2C. This allows them to send and receive data to and from supported peripherals.

But what happens when you want to use unsupported tech, or multiple SPI devices? That’s where Programmable I/O, or PIO, comes in. PIO was developed just for RP2040, and is unique to the chip.

PIO allows you to create additional hardware interfaces, or even new types of interface. If you’ve ever looked at the peripherals on a microcontroller and thought “I need four UARTs and I only have two,” or “I’d like to output DVI video,” or even “I need to communicate with this accursed serial device I found, but there is no hardware support anywhere,” then you will have fun with PIO.

We’ve put together this handy explainer to help you understand PIO and how it can be used to add more devices to your Raspberry Pi Pico.

For more information on PIO and RP2040, check out this article from HackSpace magazine.

The post What is PIO? appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Designing the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

via Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 designer Dominic Plunkett was kind enough to let us sit him down for a talk with Eben, before writing up his experience of bringing our latest board to life for today’s blog post. Enjoy.

When I joined Raspberry Pi, James, Eben and Gordon already had some ideas on the features they would like to see on the new Compute Module 4, and it was down to me to take these ideas and turn them into a product. Many people think design is a nice linear process: ideas, schematics, PCB, and then final product. In the real world the design process isn’t like this, and to get the best designs I often try something and iterate around the design loop to get the best possible solution within the constraints.

Form factor change

Previous Compute Modules were all in a 200-pin SODIMM form factor, but two important considerations pushed us to think about moving to a different form factor: the need to expose useful interfaces of the BCM2711 that are not present in earlier SoCs, and the desire to add extra components, which meant we needed to route tracks differently to make space on the PCB for the additional parts.

Breaking out BCM2711’s high-speed interfaces

We knew we wanted to get the extra features of the BCM2711 out to the connector so that users could make use of them in their products. High-speed interfaces like PCIe and HDMI are so fast coming out of the BCM2711 that they need special IO pins that can’t also support GPIO: if we were to change the functionality of a GPIO pin to one of the new high-speed signals, this would break backwards compatibility.

We could consider adding some sort of multiplexer to swap between old and new functionality, but this would cost space on the PCB, as well as reducing the integrity of the fast signals. This consideration alone drives the design to a new pinout. We could have tried to use one of the SODIMM connectors with extra pins; while this would give a board with similar dimensions to the existing Compute Modules, it too would break compatibility.

Compute Module 4 mounted on the IO Board
Compute Module 4 mounted on the IO Board

PCB space for additional components

We also wanted to add extra items to the PCB, so PCB space to put the additional parts was an important consideration. If you look carefully at a Compute Module 3 you can see a lot of tracks carrying signals from one side of the SoC to the pins on the edge connector. These tracks take up valuable PCB space, preventing components being fitted there. We could add extra PCB layers to move these tracks from an outer layer to an inner layer, but these extra layers add to the cost of the product.

This was one of the main drivers in changing to having two connectors on different edges of the board: doing so saves having to route tracks all the way across the PCB. So we arrived at a design that incorporated a rough split of which signals were going to end up on each of the connectors. The exact order of the signals wasn’t yet defined.

Trial PCB layouts

We experimented with trial PCB layouts for the Compute Module 4 and the CM4 IO Board to see how easy it would be to route the signals; even at this stage, the final size of the CM4 hadn’t been fixed. Over time, and after juggling parts around the PCB, I came to a sensible compromise. There were lots of things to consider, including the fact that the taller components had to go on the top side of the PCB.

The pinout was constantly being adjusted to an ordering that was a good compromise for both the CM4 and the IO Board. The IO Board layout was a really important consideration: after we made the first prototype boards, we decided to change the pinout slightly to make PCB layout on the IO Board even easier for the end user.

When the prototype Compute Module 4 IO Boards arrived back from manufacture, the connectors hadn’t arrived in time to be assembled by machine, so I fitted them by hand in the lab. Pro tip: if you have to fit connectors by hand, take your time to ensure they are lined up correctly, and use lots of flux to help the solder flow into the joints. Sometimes people use very small soldering iron tips thinking it will help; in fact, one of the goals of soldering is to get heat into the joint, and if the tip is too small it will be difficult to heat the solder joint sufficiently to make a good connection.

Compute Module 4 IO Board

New features

Whilst it was easy to add some headline features like a second HDMI port, other useful features don’t grab as much attention. One example is that we have simplified the powering requirements. Previous Compute Modules required multiple PSUs to power a board, and the power-up sequence had to be exactly correct. Compute Module 4 simply requires a single +5V PSU.

In fact, the simplest possible base board for Compute Module 4 just requires a +5V supply and one of the connectors and nothing else. You would need a CM4 variant with eMMC and wireless connectivity; you can boot the module with the eMMC, wireless connectivity gives you networking, and Bluetooth connectivity gives you access to IO devices. If you do add extra IO devices the CM4 also can provide a +3.3V supply to power those devices, avoiding the need for an external power supply.

We have seen some customers experience issues with adding wireless interfaces to previous Compute Modules, so a really important requirement was to provide the option of wireless support. We wanted to be as flexible as possible, so we have added support for an external antenna. Because radio certification can be a very hard and expensive process, we have a pre-certified external antenna kit that can be supplied with Compute Module 4. This should greatly simplify product certification for end products, although engineering designers should check to make certain of meeting all local requirements.

Antenna Kit and Compute Module 4

PCIe

This is probably the most exciting new interface to come to Compute Module 4. On the existing Raspberry Pi 4, this interface is used internally to add the XHCI controller which provides the USB 3 ports. By providing the PCIe externally, we are giving end users the choice of how they would like to use this interface. Many applications don’t need USB 3 performance, so the end user can make use of it in other ways — for NVMe drives, to take one example.

Ethernet

In order to have wired Ethernet connectivity with previous Compute Modules, you needed to add an external USB-to-Ethernet interface. This adds complexity to the IO board, and one of the aims of the new Compute Module 4 is to make interfacing to it simple. With this in mind, we added a physical Ethernet interface to CM4, and we also took the opportunity to add support for IEEE1588 to this. As a result, adding Gigabit wired networking to CM4 requires only the addition of a magjack; no extra silicon is needed. Because this is a true Gigabit interface, it is also faster than the USB-to-Ethernet interfaces that previous Compute Modules use.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

Open-sourcing the Compute Module 4 IO Board design files

Early on in the process, we decided that we were going to open-source the design files for the Compute Module 4 IO Board. We used our big expensive CAD system for Compute Module 4 itself, and while we could have decided to do the design for the IO Board in the big CAD system too and then port it across to KiCAD, it’s easy to introduce issues in the porting process.

So, instead, we used KiCAD for the IO Board from the start, and the design files that come out of KiCAD are the same ones that we use in manufacture. During development I had both CAD systems running at the same time on the computer.

Easier integration and enhanced possibilities

We have made some big changes to our new Compute Module 4 range, and these should make integration much simpler for our customers. Many interfaces now just need a connector and power, and the new form factor should enable people to design more compact and more powerful products. I look forward to seeing what our customers create over the next few years with Compute Module 4.

High-density connector on board underside

Get your Compute Module 4

The new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 is available from our network of Approved Resellers. Head over to the Compute Module 4 product page and select your preferred variant to find your nearest reseller.

Can’t find a reseller near you? No worries. Many of our Approved Resellers ship internationally, so try a few other locations.

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3D-printable cases for the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera

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Earlier this year, we released the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera, a brand-new 12.3 megapixel camera that allows you to use C- and CS-mount lenses with Raspberry Pi boards.

We love it. You love it.

How do we know you love it? Because the internet is now full of really awesome 3D-printable cases and add-ons our community has created in order to use their High Quality Camera out and about…or for Octoprint…or home security…or SPACE PHOTOGRAPHY, WHAT?!

The moon, captured by a Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera. Credit: Greg Annandale

We thought it would be fun to show you some of 3D designs we’ve seen pop up on sites like Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory, so that anyone with access to a 3D printer can build their own camera too!

Adafruit did a thing, obvs

Shout out to our friends at Adafruit for this really neat, retro-looking camera case designed by the Ruiz Brothers. The brown filament used for the casing is so reminiscent of the leather bodies of SLRs from my beloved 1980s childhood that I can’t help but be drawn to it. And, with snap-fit parts throughout, you can modify this case model as you see fit. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Nikon to Raspberry Pi

While the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera is suitable for C- and CS-mount lenses out of the box, this doesn’t mean you’re limited to only these sizes! There’s a plethora of C- and CS-mount adapters available on the market, and you can also 3D print your own adapter.

Thingiverse user UltiArjan has done exactly that and designed this adapter for using Nikon lenses with the High Quality Camera. Precision is key here to get a snug thread, so you may have to fiddle with your printer settings to get the right fit.

And, for the Canon users out there, here’s Zimbo1’s adapter for Canon EF lenses!

Raspberry Pi Zero minimal adapter

If you’re not interested in a full-body camera case and just need something to attach A to B, this minimal adapter for the Raspberry Pi Zero will be right up your street.

Designer ed7coyne put this model together in order to use Raspberry Pi Zero as a webcam, and according to Cura on my laptop, should only take about 2 hours to print at 0.1 with supports. In fact, since I’ve got Cura open already…

3D print a Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera?!

Not a working one, of course, but if you’re building something around the High Quality Camera and want to make sure everything fits without putting the device in jeopardy, you could always print a replica for prototyping!

Thingiverse user tmomas produced this scale replica of the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera with the help of reference photos and technical drawings, and a quick search online will uncover similar designs for replicas of other Raspberry Pi products you might want to use while building a prototype

Bonus content alert

We made this video for HackSpace magazine earlier this year, and it’s a really hand resource if you’re new to the 3D printing game.

Also…

…I wasn’t lying when I said I was going to print ed7coyne’s minimal adapter.

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Maddie and Greg go live with computers!

via Raspberry Pi

This Saturday morning, our friends Maddie Moate and Greg Foot will be live at The Centre for Computing History for a computing- and retro gaming-inspired episode of their show Let’s Go Live, and you can tune in from 10am to join the fun.

Retro gaming and computer funtimes

Saturday’s show will be a retro feast of vintage video games, and will answer questions such as ‘What is a computer?’ and ‘How do computers work?’. As always, Maddie and Greg have a number of activities planned, including designing pixel art and going on a tech safari! They’re also extremely excited to step inside a giant computer and try to put it back together!

Let’s Go Live

Let’s Go Live is a family science show that Maddie and Greg began on day 1 of lockdown to help with the challenge of homeschooling. Since then, Maddie and Greg have hosted 50 live shows from their ‘spare room studio’ and caught the attention of millions of families across the world who enjoy tuning into their daily dose of fun, facts, and science activities.

After a short break, the two are now back for the summer holidays and plan to make Let’s Go Live bigger and better than ever by bringing you live shows from unique locations across the UK — a new venue each week!

Maddie and Greg will be live on Facebook and YouTube, and we recommend subscribing to Maddie’s channel to ensure you never miss an episode.

Do you know: All Maddie’s T-shirt merch is made in a factory run by Raspberry Pis? Here’s her video about her new line of T-shirts, and here’s our video about the factory.

But I want more!

We don’t blame you! If you’ve already been following Maddie and Greg on their Let’s Go Live journey throughout lockdown, and you’re looking for more fun online content to entertain you and your family, look no further than the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Digital Making at Home:

Digital Making at Home

Each week, we share a themed code-along video and host a live stream to inspire families to have fun with coding and digital making at home! Join Christina, Marc, Mr C and their host of special guests as they work their way through our great coding activities. This week, the Digital Making at Home team has been exploring outer space, and they show you how to use Scratch and Python code to race the International Space Station, animate astronauts, and defy gravity.

And our next theme for Digital Making at Home — out tomorrow just when Let’s Go Live finishes — is retro games!

You’ll find all the episodes of Digital Making at Home on our website — new ones are added every Saturday morning. And on the website, you can also tune into our weekly code-along live stream every Wednesday at 2pm BST!

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