Spy Month

December has been a very busy month for me as I gear up for the big launch of my coding classes for children in January as part of First Coding. I’ll be picking a theme each month over on our Facebook page and building and sharing projects based on said theme for all to enjoy.

December’s theme is Spies and I’m working on the final project before I post it shortly. It’s based on the Caesar cipher, a project I built in Scratch at the start of the month but this time it’s in the form of an Android app with a couple of added extras.

Codes have always interested me ever since I was a boy and this month has been a great deal of fun building various projects.

Hop of over to my Facebook page and hit the Like button to have projects delivered to your feed: www.facebook.com/lessonsincoding

First Coding - Spy Month Projects


Gaming Picture Frame Guide

My retro gaming Retropie picture frame has been really we met, which is a relief to me as I’m always nervous when posting the things I’ve made. Two people who have tried to make their own have made contact with me, which is just the best news. However, they were having a few issues with the screen so I’ve drawn up a little tutorial on how I made mine. The guide can be downloaded here.

Retro Gaming Picture Frame Guide

Here’s a quick video tour of the picture frame. It is now hanging on my wall, waiting for Player 1 to plug the USB controller into the frame and play on.


The Portable Web SDR Receiver

I’ve been a big fan of radio for most of my life, especially the ham radio side of things. Luckily nowadays with the wonder that is the internet, there are many convenient ways of listening in to amateur radio transmissions without the need for expensive kit. If you fancy having a go yourself you can download a copy of my beginners guide to Web SDR and amateur radio that gets mentioned in the video below here.

So this week I started on a very exciting project, building a portable listening receiver that hooks into Web SDR setups around the globe. My favourite one of all has to be the one located on the site of an old nuclear bunker here as I find the 2m band is best for picking up voice transmissions.

The idea was to have a nice portable box that you can carry over one shoulder that will allow you to comb the airwaves whilst on the move. I also included a Morse code translator that will decode any Morse that is picked up and display the message on the small LCD. To finish it off I found a retro handset that someone had bought me for a present years ago. I had originally wanted to incorporate an internal speaker inside the box but including the old style handset just seemed an even better idea.

I love this project and I look forward to taking it out and about with me.

Drawn to the Screen

My slow burning project of last year has finally taken shape in the form of Drawn to the Screen, where you can download and make your our working cardboard television. The idea is simply to draw on the paper ‘film’ strip before winding around the pencils. The drawings come to life as they pass by the screen. As all the dot work from previous art works started to give me headaches, I’ve been looking at other means of finishing pieces as well as imaginative ways of delivery and I think the Cardboard TV is a good one.

The site has recently been mentioned by a couple of my favourite artists and as a result popularity is growing. Click here to check the site out and maybe make yourself the star of the show.

Make your own cardboard TV

Minecraft Model Making

I started making these simple Minecraft models for my little Minecraft obsessed boy and he really enjoys drawing and constructing his own characters. I decided to tidy up the plans we’ve been using to make them so you can download and make your own. All you need to do is click on the image below, print it out and stick it on some card. You shouldn’t have any problems working out the rest.

Minecraft model making kit

How-To Guides

A few years ago I made a little credit card size penny shooter out of cardboard, made a little video of it an uploaded it to YouTube. It’s now reached over 10,500 which was nice to see, seeing as though I’ve made no effort with it at all. I remember scribbling a little guide for a few people on how to make it and popped a link in its description.

It got me thinking, as I’m making little things like this all the time why not make make some half decent videos along with nicely hand drawn guides to accompany them. It might also be a fun way of generating more traffic to my site too.


Anyway, if you would like to see the rough guide to making a penny shooter, then click on the image below:

Penny Shooter Guide

The Motorbike Conversion Kit – Free Download

When you were young did you ever put pieces of card in the spokes of your bicycle to make that fun CLICK-CLACK sound? I recently showed my little boy how to do this and he loved it, calling it his motorbike and this gave me an idea.

Ok, so it maybe a piece of card and a clothes peg but if packaged up nicely I think it would make a nice gift for someone young or young at heart. So I got drawing some ideas and this is the result. Please feel free to download the template by clicking here and go and have some fun.

The Motorbike Conversion Kit - Free download
The Motorbike Conversion Kit

Click on this lick to see it in action: https://vine.co/v/M0t79hgVFhX/embed/postcard?audio=1