Forge Maintenance

forgeA few years ago, we built a forge based on Larry Zoeller’s designs. We’ve used it a few times and now it’s time that the forge itself gets a bit of maintenance. This is nothing more than recoating the inside with a refractory coating to help keep the insulation in good shape. We did a quick test fire after letting it dry for a week and all was well.

Machining Brass

brassThe cooker door wouldn’t snap closed properly. A quick disassembly of the hinges showed that a brass disc had a flat spot from years of wear and tear. Replacements were no longer available. Time to make some new ones on the lathe.

Took some measurements and started with a length of brass stock. Turned it down to the required diameter, then drilled a 4mm centre hole. Next cut a groove and parted off the new disc from the bar.

Brass is interesting to work with. It kinda crumbles off in fine particles, unlike steel. Drop in sometime and have a look at the lathe.

It’s back! TOG Craft Night

Well, we just about moved the last of the cobwebs off the sewing machines and preserved them for later… projects. The good news is that means we are now ready to start Craft Nights again!  Craft Night is starting on Wednesday, the 5th of October from 7pm.

Craft night is a night where any form of craft is welcome, from textile crafts, to paper crafts, to anything else you care for. Specifically on the agenda is Drawing, Painting, Knitting, Sewing, Embroidery, and that’s just the ones we know for sure. Whether you’re into making shoes, making jewellery, making candles, making bags, making clothes, the night is open to anyone who wants to make something. Bring whatever you are working on and share your knowledge or get help. Halloween is coming, maybe you can make some spooky decorations or costumes?


Find the event on Meetup.

Games Night Event at TOG – Schedule


This Friday Tog will be hosting a series of short talks about games.

This will be followed by a night of gaming (we will have Board Games, Mame & Xbox consoles, you can bring your laptop and/or any other games). There will be spot prices and competitions run throughout the night.

Schedule of the event is as follows:

6.30pm – Event starts, tours given, time to sign in

7pm – start of talks

  • Izzy, TOG – “Intro to the first part of talks”
  • Alex Nucu, Web developer/publisher, Riot Games – “The transformative power of video-games”

A story-driven account of how video-games shaped my mind, my life and my career. Answers to the ubiquitous questions of “Why do you play?”, “What’s the point?” and, most importantly, why I believe your gaming history should be on your resume.

  • Robin David, Board Games Designer – “Getting into Modern Boardgame Design”

On how boardgaming has changed in the last five years and tools, pitfalls and obstacles in the typical boardgame design process.

  • Gleb Lebedev, TOG – “Custom controls on ESP 8266 circuit boards”

An overview of conception Esp 8266 – cheap WiFi enabled solution. Introduction into Toe. Using variety sensors as input controllers – VR racing as an example.

  • Brian Kenny, tabletop games journalist , player & GM – “Tabletop board games”

Important things to cover are settings, scale, complexity and balance. Tabletop games usually fall into Fantasy, Historical, Modern and Sci-Fi settings but can vary in scope and scale, from small squad skirmishes to epic regimental engagements and relatively simple rulesets to complex systems that replicate almost every possible real-world scenario. Ultimately though you have to consider balancing realism, simplicity and enjoyment.

SHORT BREAK – 10 min max

  • Diarmaid, TOG, “Intro to the second part of talks”

John will talk about his process of storyboarding as a tool to develop visual storytelling. By showing examples he will illustrate how storyboarding is a powerful tool that can be used across many disciplines such as animation, games and live action. In the talk he will do a brief breakdown of his own working process highlighting key areas such as composition, the subject in the frame, character development and tracking story.

  • Ciara Costelloe, Board Games Designer – “Variety of types of components in Board Games and ways of testing them”

Have you ever wondered why the variety of board games has expanded so rapidly in recent times? Why do some things in games change so much and some things stay the same? I’m going to take a look at the technology involved in making components and what these components bring to the game.

  • Jeffrey Roe, TOG CEO – “Projects recap, teaching by playing”

Presentation of photos from events.

  • Louise Nolan, TOG – “Digital game design”

What makes a ‘game’?

  • Stephen Cameron – “Procedural generation of gas giant planet textures for space games”

Slide deck (contains spoilers, obviously):

SHORT BREAK & the games will start 🙂

We hope to SEE you ALL @ TOG on Friday the 30th of September, 6.30pm arrival for 7pm kick-off!


Games Night Event at TOG

games-9Don’t forget this Friday Tog will be hosting a series of short talks about games.

This will be followed by a night of gaming (we will have Board Games, Mame & Xbox consoles, you can bring your laptop and/or any other games). There will be spot prices and competitions run throughout the night.



We hope to SEE you ALL @ TOG on Friday the 30th of September, 6.30pm arrival for 7pm kick-off!

Project: Seven Segment Display and an Arduino Mega

Seven Segment Display standing on a table

Everyone has one in their house, a clock on your VCR you never set, a timer on your cooker or your microwave, a digital clock. The seven segments of LEDs that light up to form numbers are made up of Seven Segment Displays.

There are all sorts of projects you might want to add these to, but this is a basic introduction with one number.

The pins on these displays may differ, on mine, the first pin did nothing and the middle pin on the top and bottom connected to ground. Each of the other pins was a positive for a different segment on the display.

Seven Segment Display in Breadbord

First things first, look up the data sheet of your display and figure out how much current and voltage it should take, no point burning it out. You will probably need to hook up a resister for safety.

I’m using an Arduino Mega, but you could do it with any Arduino boards or a Raspberry Pi.

Put the display in a breadboard so each pin can be powered separately and first wire up the ground with a resister, then connect it to the Arduino ground.

Then, connect a jumper line to the 3.5V on the Arduino and connect it to each pin on the Display in turn. If everything works, each segment should light up as you power it up.

Seven Segment Display in Breadboard, being tested

To make it more interesting, wire up each segment to a digital pin on the board. For Arduino, I used pins 1-7, which is a bit interesting.

Seven Segment Display with all pins connected to Arduino

Firstly, you can’t connect pin 0 or pin 1 to anything while the sketch is uploading to the board. Once the program is uploaded, you can then connect these pins.

I used pins 1-7, and connected them to the display, skipping the ground pins.

The below code has 2 parts, and is derived from the blink program.


// the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board

void setup() {

pinMode(7, OUTPUT);

pinMode(6, OUTPUT);

pinMode(5, OUTPUT);

pinMode(4, OUTPUT);

pinMode(3, OUTPUT);

pinMode(2, OUTPUT);

pinMode(1, OUTPUT);

// for each pin we want to use, we need to set it to output.


// the loop function runs over and over again forever

void loop() {

digitalWrite(7, HIGH); // turn on whatever segment is connected to pin 7

digitalWrite(6, LOW); // turn off whatever segment is connected to pin 6

digitalWrite(5, HIGH);

digitalWrite(4, LOW);

digitalWrite(3, HIGH);

digitalWrite(2, LOW);

digitalWrite(2, HIGH);

delay(4000); // wait for a 4 seconds

digitalWrite(7, LOW); // now whichever segment is connected to pin 7 will turn off

digitalWrite(6, HIGH); // now whichever segment is connected to 6 will turn on

digitalWrite(5, LOW);

digitalWrite(4, HIGH);

digitalWrite(3, LOW);

digitalWrite(2, HIGH);

digitalWrite(1, LOW);

delay(4000); // wait for 4 seconds


The display is really simple, it is made up of seven LEDs and you can turn on and off each part at the same time to from numbers. This is a basic introduction, you can add more displays for more advanced features.