Dec 182018

 I know that you are all avid readers of the Panellist and wait on the edges of your seats for each new edition. However, if you haven’t got round to reading your copy yet, you won’t know that our new site, MakeAbility, is now online.

We’re really excited about the potential this offers for collaboration and I’d encourage you all to have a look and sign up for an account. We’ve had a lot of input from our volunteers on how the new project classification system should work, in particular. Hopefully you’ll find it much easier to find past cases now that the old Hamilton Index is nowhere to be seen. It gets quite addictive to browse as well (if I do say so myself) — check out our single-handed pet care gadgets for starters.

MakeAbility offers you several options for communicating with each other. You can leave comments and ask questions of the maker directly on the site without having to put your email address in the public domain. Just like on this site, public comments also allow you follow the discussion so far and see what other people have suggested. (If you want to show your appreciation to a maker, you can also ‘like’ their project, no commenting required). For more sensitive discussion, there is also a protected forum which is visible only to Remap volunteers, not the whole Internet.

It’s possible to subscribe to individual forum threads, or to a discussion board as a whole, by clicking the blue ‘subscribe’ link at the top of the page. Subscription to new projects on the main site will be coming in 2019.

As well as being able to participate in the forums, signing up for an account has lots of other advantages, including access to the hidden volunteers’ area where you’ll find the updated Operations Manual, order forms for clothing and publicity materials, and a page of useful resources to download.

We will be cross-posting our requests for assistance across both MakeAbility and this news blog for now, to give you all a chance to get signed up and settled in. If you wish to make a request of your own, I’d encourage you to use MakeAbility as it will allow you to post your own question whenever you like, rather than having to go through Paula. We will be withdrawing support for this site in 2019.

Thank you all for having made this site such a useful resource and I look forward to seeing you over at MakeAbility!


Dec 222015

Mike Stevens, a member of the Norfolk Central Panel, would like to inform  fellow panel members about a current offer on TurboCAD Deluxe 2D/3D.  He believes it really is a phenomenal piece of software and astonishing value at just £9.99.

Version 20 is 32-bit and 64-bit compatible – Mike reports it works well on Windows 10. The installation disk has excellent instructional videos as well and there are lots of resources and videos available on the web.  Note that V20 is not the latest version, that is either V21 or V2015 and much more expensive.  V20 was a fairly major update and people seem to like it (TurboCad has somewhat idiosyncratic version numbering).  V20 appears to export the STL file type used by many 3D printers.

It is available from Maplin at that price ( – but for store collection only.  Quite a few Maplin stores appear not to have stock (as of 22 Dec 2015) so best check before travelling.

Despite it’s name TurboCad Deluxe is actually the basic version but would seem to do everything most users would want (there are two much more expensive versions – for comparison see

Older versions of TurboCad  Deluxe are quite often heavily discounted so if you want a version but have missed this look around Amazon and the like, you will usually find a copy at not too high a price.  There is a trial version available at :-

Currently the following suppliers have it at around £10 –

The following free programs may also be useful :-

Onshape – free CAD (mechanical and electrical) from RS Components (RadioSpares as was).

Autodesk 123D and Autodesk123d Catch ( a free and simple to use package for creating 3-D meshes from user supplied digital imagery)

It would be useful if anyone who has used any of these programs could comment on them below.