Tools, Technology, and Software

Learn to Make Electronics

If you want to get started with electronics, the Maker-E offers several ways to develop skills that can make you more competitive for technology related jobs, help you in classes, or simply do projects for fun. To become certified on the main equipment, follow the directions on the Getting Started page.

Maker Skill Kits will help you learn the basics of technologies that can used in your own custom projects.   Each kit will walk you through all the steps of a simple project to learn the basics of using one of the technologies below.

  • Electronic Test and Measurement
  • Arduino Programming and Interfacing
  • TI LaunchPad Programming and Interfacing

Software used for making is freely available for use on the Maker-E workstations.

  • National Instrument Circuit Design Suite will allow you to put together schematic diagrams, model circuits, and then turn the circuit into printed circuit board files.
  • Altium Designer is a professional level design package for circuit layout.
  • TI Code Composer Studio is used for writing and compiling C code for embedded processors.
  • Keysight BenchVue will allow you to communicate with and capture data from test and measurement equipment
  • Keysight Command Expert will provide you with full control of test and measurement equipment via the GPIB programming environment
  • SolidWorks and AutoCAD provide 2D and 3D mechanical design capabilities for prototyping on 3D printers and laser cutters
  • PTC Thingsworx is a web-based software for developing Internet of Things (IoT) applications for mobile devices.  To get access to Thingsworx please email Dr. Cheville

On a less technical note, Maker-E projectors can be used wirelessly from your computer running Windows, OS X, or your Android or iOS device.  Follow these steps to access the projectors:

  • Download the EasyMP Projection utility for Windows or OS X.  If you are using a mobile device, please check the App Store or Google Play for the Epson iProjection app.
  • After installing the utility or app, follow these instructions to connect to the projector wirelessly.

If you want to learn how to integrate a specific technology into a project check out the Technology Kits that are available to be checked out.

November 3rd, 2016

TI Microcontroller (MSP43X)

Microcontrollers are tiny computers that are used to control all kinds of devices.  Many Maker projects build in microcontrollers like Arduinos and TI MSP430s to control lights and motors, collect data from sensors for robots.  These microcontrollers are very popular since they are relatively easy to program without a lot of prior experience. This tutorial will teach you how to hook up a microcontroller for the first time and write a simple program that can control devices hooked to the microcontroller board.  It is designed for people who have very little to no experience using a microcontroller or electronics.  By the time […]

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October 4th, 2016

Breville 980 XL Espresso Machine

The Maker-E has an espresso machine that used by authorized individuals to make coffee.  If you get authorized you will be responsible not only for making delicious caffeinated beverages but also keeping the machine and area clean as well as contributing to the supplies like coffee beans, milk, and water.  Failure to clean up or maintain the machine will get your certification revoked.  If you want to earn the certification click the link below. Link to Breville 980 XL Tutorial

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October 4th, 2016

Design A Printed Circuit Board

You will learn printed circuit board (PCB) design by creating a firefly board to go out on the hallway display.   To design a the PCB you will learn to generate a schematic diagram and organize the board’s components and traces. The PCB Design Tutorial, whose link can be found at the bottom of this paragraph, does not test or teach someone the electrical theory behind how the Firefly circuitry works, but instead aids a student in learning how to use the software needed to transform a schematic from paper into a useful PCB.  If you follow the instructions you’ll be able to […]

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October 3rd, 2016

3 Axis Accelerometer Connected with SPI

This kit connects a three axis accelerometer to a Texas Intruments MSP430 or MSP432 microcontroller so you can learn both about how to measure acceleration as well as how to connect devices using the Serial-Parallel Interface, otherwise known as an SP interface.  Access the tutorial for this Technology Kit here.  You should be familiar with writing a Sketch in TI’s Energia language which is almost identical to that used for Arduinos.

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October 3rd, 2016

Learn how to Print in 3D

The M3D Printer is great for learning the basics of 3D printing.  You can download a model from a site like Thingiverse, call up the print server from your computer, and use the simple interface to print the design you selected.  To get starting using one of the two M3D printers in the Maker-E read the self-guided tutorial.

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October 3rd, 2016

Printed Circuit Board Mill

A printed circuit board mill will take files from PCB design software and create a custom board you can put components on, solder, and create a new electronic device.  We have an LPKF S100 Protomat that is very powerful and flexible and can be used to create precise circuits.  This piece of equipment is for more advanced users and if you wish to learn how to use it to create printed circuit boards you’ll need to create a Firefly board by completing the training to earn your certification.  The materials you need are in the Google Drive folder linked below. […]

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