First Post

Woop! My first blog!

Who would have thought it? I’m lost for words.

Okay. Why did I start this blog?

I’m currently working on a large (for me) project and I want to record the build as I go along. It’s complicated, so whilst a diary format (like I would write in my lab book) would work, it’s a bit of a pain keeping it in order. At least, that’s my excuse. There will be pictures, links to materials, equipment and methods on other web pages, possibly videos. Who knows, someone might even find something I write useful!

The project? An alethiometer, based on the creation by Phillip Pullman in his book Northern Lights (probably better known for the film The Golden Compass). I’m not just making a replica, though. I’m taking the basic idea and turning it into a coffee table. I can already hear the purists screaming.

The original idea was to build a compass table, based on something I’d seen on the internet ( After a quick scout on the internet I discovered that 500+ small compasses were quite expensive. So the idea changed to something similar, but cutting out the majority of the compasses by inserting a compass rose in the middle and having a boarder, three or four compasses deep, around the outside. That was a year ago. A lack of equipment, knowledge and third year of Uni got in the way, so this project remained an idea.

January 2013. For some unknown reason, I started thinking about this idea again. Discussing it with my partner, a software engineer by trade and hobby, he absent-mindedly mentioned the alethiometer from the film. My brain went into overdrive. Replace the compasses with the symbols from the alethiometer, install a motor, four hands and some leds! Simple! Or not.

I’ve set myself ten weeks to complete this. Stupid, huh?

Essentially, my fourth year at Uni (I’m doing an MSci – undergrad Masters) involves ten weeks experience working in a lab, doing Real Science. This means that I have less homework; ergo, more free time outside normal working hours (the Uni frowns on Supervisors who overwork their undergrads – at least, outside of 9am – 5pm). Unfortunately, either side of this ten week window I have lots and lots of writing to do. Hence the deadline.

So. Let the challenge begin!


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