On Thursday I popped along to the latest "Soldering irons and Software" evening with the Ipswich Makerspace group. This was easily the best attended so far with a wide range of projects in various stages of completion. The thing I found most intriguing about the number and variety of people was how quickly we have reached a sort of "critical mass". Despite little or no pre-planning several people quickly found someone else there who was in a great position to help with their projects.
In my own case, I took along the ultrasonic distance sensor which have recently been playing with. Mainly I intended to fiddle with it and try to get a better, more linear and higher resolution, response for its use as a human input device. What actually happened was that someone sat down beside me with a big box of possibly-working bat detectors. If you have read many of the older posts here, you are probably aware that I'm very interested in bat detectors, so we had some fun discussions. Most interesting of all, though, was the way that I was able to set up my ultrasonic rangefinder to repeatedly "ping" so it could work as a passable "bat simulator". All that was needed was to point one of the detectors at the distance sensor to quickly find out if it was working. Operational detectors gave out a clear clicking in time with the transmission from the distance sensor.
Other people found themselves in similar situations, and the result was a great social atmosphere and some real progress made on several projects.
Now I'm looking forward to the next meeting even more.