Hobbies and Fun Stuff

Westfield Kit Car

  • A chance to build a kit from https://westfield-sportscars.co.uk/ in the north of England.  What a fantastic place!

  • Built the car with my dad, almost every Saturday for about a year.  Special credit to my dear mum too for the extra pair of hands, finishing touches and the endless supply of tea and soup to keep us warm!  We have some of the best memories ever!  (And a few bruises!)

  • Whilst this got me away from the desk & computer for a while, we did have to hook it up to my laptop to set up the ECU though.  Okay, so I mostly got away from the screen!

  • Did a couple of track days (nothing serious, and not using our car!!)

Westfield_ChassisCollection

2015 - Unloading the bare chassis, after collection from the factory

Westfield_Chassis

A very early shot of the chassis before we fitted all the panels

Westfield_PassedIVA

2016 IVA Inspection Passed = Road Legal :)

Lego Mindstorms Car

  • A really, really poor mans car - in plastic - but using an Xbox joypad, .Net Robotics Studio, sonars, touch sensors, giros and compass - and a really primitive memory-map and dashboard! You wont be buying one soon but it was fun to build and watch it crash round my lounge!!

Non-commercial computing

  • DaVinci Resolve

    Using this to stick together the workshop build timelapse that was created with Raspberry Pi's as well as still cameras, long before I had any software to process the vast number of captures. Watch this space!

  • DesignSpark

    Used this to sketch out some electronics and circuit boards.
    A long way to go learning how best to use this app!

  • FreeCAD

    Working through a great YouTube tutorial, learning how to create my own models for 3D printing. Try it yourself

Non commercial gadget stuff

  • Raspberry Pi based Time Lapse Camera
  • I built this to record our year long Westfiield workshop build.
    Consisting of 3 Pi Cameras - they were used to record periodic images and upload to a secure server using custom Python scripts. Over 45,000 images were captured and are amazing quality for such a DIY bit of kit.  But next time we will spend a little more on the camera mounts, which unfortunately slipped a few times!

  • 8 Bit Sim Machine

    A software-modeled environment for declaring and deploying an 8 Bit simulation computer with any spec hardware, and any configuration. Why? It's cheaper than soldering and takes up far less room - and if I really wanted to, I could design my own virtual hardware to test with.
    So why not?

  • 8 Bit Breadboard Computer

    This one is a long way from being finished, but the concept worked and I managed to get an 8-bit CPU from the 80's booting my very own operating system!.  Okay, perhaps not quite!  But it did boot a custom ROM hand-coded in Z80 assembler using op-codes to prove the board worked!  It has BIOS jumps, a primitive memory and device Bank Switching handler (Arduino Nano), used an Arduino Mega with a live-via-serial-editable ROM as a kind of virtual motherboard to boot the CPU and modify its running state, another Arduino to mimic a VGA board (credit due to this wonderful person for that!), a few RAM chips and lots of wires!  Just not enough to be useful.  Yet ;)

  • Raspberry Pi Thin Client

    Using very cheap hardware, I've been running a monitoring station that just works all day, every day. Pi clients are readily available and once combined with Private Cloud services, can offer an easy to deploy ultra cheap temporary workstation, kiosk or service portal

  • Raspberry Pi / Linux based network

    Having used Linux / Raspberry Pi's for a number of little home-brew projects, I decided to expand my skills and learn a basic Linux network setup. Consisting of DHCP, DNS, file servers, backups, E-Mail, MySQL and GIT Servers, I've built a prototype network cluster to demonstrate an open-source approach and flesh out how it might work.

Other Hobbies / Non-techy

  • Cooking - Home made Soups

    Insipired by a "Thai Soup" I had a holiday, I use a rich roast chicken stock, mixed with a much lighter stock heated to just under boiling temperature.  Adding some fish sauce, turmeric, brown sugar, fresh ginger, lemon juice and fresh chillis, it creates a really nice base for a whole host of ingredients.

    My favourite, is adding some fresh shredded chicken, stir-fry vegetables, pak-choi and serving on a bed of freshly fried rice noodles.

    Without using any measuring - I simply taste the stock as I add each ingredient to make a different and refreshing mix each time.

  • Photography

    Without using any expensive cameras or equipment, and just a simple Panasonic Lumix "instant" camera, or even just a mobile phone - I try to snap holiday and scenic photos as I go.  I try not to plan any locations in advance, instead taking advantage of what I see as I visit different places.

    A few good YouTube tutorials and advice from friends have taught me to take advantage of the "framing" trick - simply using trees, bushes or other natural objects to create a surround and depth of field impression to a wide range of distant scenes. 

    The best pictures get printed out and used around the house, and a small online album will follow shortly!


Copyright © David Molson, UK
Re-inventing how software is made