Bowling Night

Thursday was bowling night at Maidenhead 10 pin bowling. We were the only people there most of the evening and enjoyed two games of bowling, food and a drink for £10 each (Paul won).

Luke, Rachel, Anita, George, Eileen, Paul, Debbie attended and Chris (aka Lord Long) never quite made it although he scored quite well on the bowling whilst not even there.

After this we battled it out on the air hockey (Luke was the winner), arcade machines and then 6 of us played Laserquest (Luke won). Can’t believe how much we were all sweating at the end.

 

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Say hello to my little friend

Nerf wars has begun at work. First was an Nerf n’strike Elite and now its the Nerf Rival MXVI-4000 Khaos

40 bullet hopper battery operated rapid fire up to 27 meters and 30mps firing rate

Takes 6 D Cell batteries – not included!

Cant wait to get to the office tomorrow and retaliate against my bully of a colleague who keeps attacking me with her Nerf gun!

Daytrip to Margate

About three weeks ago I bought a log flume from a seller on Ebay. It was definitely an impulse buy. The auction was due to end one evening and I put in a cheeky bid expecting it to be declined and woke up the next day to find I was the new owner of a used log flume for £120.

When I told my colleague at work he also temporarily lost his sanity and bought a roller coaster car from the same seller based in Margate. These things really don’t come up for sale very often and we both felt we could create some crazy projects around VR using these.

After some difficult communication with the seller, we finally departed Slough on Sunday at 8.00am to drive the 100+ miles to Margate to collect both items.

It was a cold day with snow on the ground but we made good time and arrived around 10.30am in my colleagues van. The seller was still on holiday in the U.S but his colleagues were on hand to show us the items. It immediately became clear these were very large and very heavy requiring 4 or more people to lift and there were two of us. After an hour and half of lifting, winches, ratchet straps and to be honest Chris’s lifting ability more than mine, we managed to get the rollercoaster in the back of the van and turned our attention to the log flume. It was quickly obvious the log flume was too big and heavy to fit in the van with the rollercoaster. I remembered the seller was also offering some smaller log flumes for the same value and after a quick discussion it was agreed we would take one of these instead and again loaded in the van after some time and effort.

By this point it was early afternoon. Chris’s van has no heating and after loading these items we were cold and thirsty. We were told of an indoor market called the Old Kent Market where we could get some refreshments and walked around the corner to see what they had to offer. Its a fantastic little indoor market with lots of character offering food and beverages and some small indoor market stalls. We had a lovely coffee and warmed up then visited a couple of the antique shops nearby before making the 2 hour journey home in the fresh snow.

The last picture shows my log flume hidden in our server room at work after loading into the lift and taking it up to the first floor.

Arcade Machine Project Part 1

This is the start of another arcade machine project inspired by something similar I saw being sold on Ebay. It was an arcade system using Jamma or Raspberry Pi made using recycled wood.

I found someone selling old pallets on Ebay for a £1 in Slough and bought 3 thinking this should be more than enough wood for the job. The intention is to break up the pallets into strips of wood, remove any nails and then sand and varnish. I will then cut the wood to make a table top arcade machine big enough for a at least a 19″ TFT monitor or whatever else I can scrounge. I will buy some arcade joystick, buttons, speakers and then I haven’t yet decided whether I go down the usual Raspberry Pi route or with some sort of Jamma/MAME system, perhaps even one of the Pandora boxes that come with hundreds of game ROM’s already built in and can be bought cheaply from Ebay sellers?

Total cost to date £3 for pallets

More to follow…

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Nerf’ing Good fun

Bought this a few weeks ago from Argos for about £15. A Nerf gun with battery operated firing that can fire up to 10 rounds in quick succession from its revolving chamber. Works up to about 20M and can be fairly accurate. Certainly accurate enough to annoy some of my colleagues although everyone has fired it in anger at some point.

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Sunfounder DIY Arcade Kit

I first saw these online some time ago but they have been out of stock or quite expensive to get hold of in the company. Finally, Ali Express had a fantastic deal on and it was actually cheaper for me to buy from them with shipping from the US.

Bought this in January for $35.99. Cheaper than I can get in the U.K. Delivery was quoted as up to 40 days but I think I had to wait for about 10 days so was very happy with this.

This is a kit to make an arcade machine using a Raspberry Pi computer. It comes with everything you need except the Raspberry Pi and the software including:

1 x Arcade Joystick Kit (screws and fixing plates included)

6 x Arcade Buttons

1 x Paper Box

1 x 8G Micro SD Card

1 x Raspberry Pi GPIO Reference Card

1 x Guide Brochure

Several Wires

The box arrived well packaged and already looked funky from the outside. I decided to take this into work and get my students to help build it and learn some maker skills. Beow is what the kit looks like when taken out of the outer packaging. You can see the precut holes for buttons and joystick with the colourful artwork. Although this is just a printed cardboard box it still felt fairly rigid and like it will take a reasonable amount of abuse.

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Once opened there is some foam packing to keep everything in place and momentarily hide the goodies underneath.

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This quickly gives way to the goodies inside. Everything seemed well packaged and in separate compartments to make it easier to identify everything.

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Here’s the contents:

The buttons just push fit into the precut holes in the box.

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You then need to take the four screws out that secure the top plate of joystick so it can be fitted into the top of the box:

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The kit even includes a little GPIO reference board that slips over the pins to help ensure you connect the wires correctly – a nice little touch.

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After this, its time to connect the buttons and joystick together. The Raspberry Pi just sit sin the bottom of the box although we plan to secure it better using some sticky pads of some kind.

 

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And the finished hardware setup..

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Follow this guide for downloading and installing RetroPie onto the free SD card supplied with the kit. Don’t forget you will need an SD card reader/writer and Etcher installed on a PC to write the RetroPie image to the SD card.

The kit comes with full instructions to help set up the Raspberry Pi and the controls..

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I will update the post later this week when we finish the setup and copy some game ROM’s (legalley owned of course) onto the RetroPie setup. More to follow….