IPMS Livonia

Livonia, Michigan, USA
A Proud Chapter of IPMS USA Since 1976

Monthly Meeting – February 2020

There weren’t many empty seats at our February meeting.  It was a great turnout for our Demo Night with Erik and Ian.

Keith brought his friend Richard to check out the club.  Nice to see a new face!

We’ve begun to gear up for the 2020 CAN-AM show in October.  The flyer is ready to share.

Members, if you haven’t been to the IPMS Livonia Christmas Party at Ian’s house, then you should.  It’s Saturday, Feb 22.  Yes, Christmas in February.  Contact Ian, Albert, or one of the officers for the address.  Bring your best model that you presented in 2019.  We’ll have food, fun, raffle, and voting for the Model-of-the-Year.

After the usual business, we got an update on the 4M Mayhem Bay City Show.  Our club was there to represent with Adult and Junior members.  Robert took an award for Best Junior.  Alex carted away the winnings of the 50/50 raffle, as well as some Silvers.  And Nathan, one of our newest members, took Best Ship, and a special award from Jim Church!  (Who did I miss?  Let me know! )  You can check out the full gallery from the show here.

Ian gave our first demo of the night.  He discussed the compatibility of different paints, thinners, and finishes.  Primers vs Acrylics vs Enamels vs Oils vs Lacquers.  Can you make them work together?  Ian notes that you may prefer different colors in multiple brands of paint for one project, so you have to make them work.  But a strong lacquer might make an acrylic undercoat bubble up!  He had a nice printed presentation, some of which was taken from here.  The take-away from the presentation is that, unfortunately, a lot of understanding compatibility is trial, error, and goof-ups.  Test on scraps beforehand for best results.   Thanks, Ian!


Erik gave a presentation on Using an Arduino with your Lighting Project.  If you haven’t heard of Arduino, it’s a prototyping system where you can program, test, and create all kinds of lighting and small electronics projects.  The simplest projects might consist of wiring a single LED, and controlling its brightness and/or flicker rate.  An advanced project might include small robotics, with gears, motors, switches, and lights!  Many projects are available free online for people to use, modify, or add on to.  And an Arduino starter hardware kit starts as low as $15.

Erik demonstrated a typical prototyping setup: A laptop, loaded with free Arduino programming software, connects to the Arduino circuit board via USB cable.  The Arduino board then connects to various hardware elements (in this case, LEDs and an on/off button) on a breadboard via wire jumpers.   The breadboard allows you to easily fine-tune your arrangement before you hard-wire your project together.   Once you’ve finalized your design,  you can power your Ardunio setup with a battery box, or other methods, and build it into your modeling project.

This is a project that may seem intimidating at first.  Maybe you don’t think software programming is for you.  But walking through the tutorial projects will introduce you to the basics of wiring, electronics, and coding.  It’s pretty easy to get powerful results quickly.

Thanks for another great demo, Erik!

Want to learn more?  This video demonstrates a very basic lighting project.

Check out the Arduino site here.   The is where you can get the free Arduino software, too.

It’s possible to buy just an Arduino board, but companies also sell kits that include a lot of typical add-ons, like jumpers, the breadboard, usb cable, LEDs, buttons, etc.  Here’s a link to the official kit, but there are others.

Here’s a link to one of the popular how-to books.


In  March we’ll have the Model-of-the-Month contest.   See you then!