TC Maker a hit at Artist Maker Day

September 14th, 2014 by SLSolarz

Today TC Maker President, Becca Steffen, Secretary, Bob Poate, and I represented TC Maker at Artist Maker Day on the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza.

TC Maker President, Becca Steffen, and Secretary, Bob Poate, show visitors how to make their own Musical PVC Chair at Artist Maker Day.

TC Maker President, Becca Steffen (R), and Secretary, Bob Poate (far L), show visitors how to make their own Musical PVC Chair at Artist Maker Day.

About 700 visitors attended the event where they encountered “TC Maker presents Make Your Own Musical PVC Chair with Susan Solarz“. Although we had 4 work stations, there were people waiting in line for most of the 6 hour event!

TC Maker can provide artists with the space and equipment necessary to produce work.  And we met with a lot of enthusiasm from the arts community.

Thank you to everyone who helped out including Becca, Bob P, Bob G., Sarah B, Steve Skalko, Steven Anderson, Jude Dornisch and Mike N.

Susan L Solarz helps a TC Maker enthusiast finish her Musical PVC Chair.

Susan L Solarz helps a TC Maker enthusiast finish her Musical PVC Chair.

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Wash your TC Maker T-shirt–Saturday is Maker Day!

September 10th, 2014 by SLSolarz

TC Maker President, Becca Steffen says,

 

“I  want YOU to throw on your TC Maker shirt, help load up Big Yellow and head on down to Maker Day”!

“I want YOU to throw on your TC Maker shirt, help load up Big Yellow and head on down to Maker Day”!

WHAT: Creative City Challenge, Maker Day

WHEN: Saturday 9/13/2014 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

WHERE: Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza— yes, it’s outside!

WHO: YOU!

Help load up Big Yellow, make a cool project or talk to visitors about TC Maker.

Help load up Big Yellow, make a cool project or talk to visitors about TC Maker.

This is an opportunity to talk to a whole new audience about our maker space.

WE NEED HELP!

Unloading materials at the site;

Guiding participants through the process of making a musical chair from PVC pipes (like the one upon which our president is enthroned; see above photo);

Talking to visitors about our maker space!

Contact Susan Solarz at slsolarz@gmail.com

The Front Door Is Open

September 10th, 2014 by Nemesis

As an update: the front door is open. You may enter. There is still work to be done on the remodeling, but we’ve made some great progress and you may use the front door.

Cam anticipates that everything will be done before October 1st, except for new lighting.

Thank you all for your help and patience.

Project updates, macro and micro

August 2nd, 2014 by danbackslide

Time for a couple of updates:

The lobby is closed for now

The floor in the lobby was painted and sealed on Friday. The sealer will need at least the weekend to cure, and possibly longer than that. So, until further notice, the front door is locked and the lobby is off limits. Don’t even think about trying to go in there! You can get into the shop through the yellow metal shop door, or the dock door if it’s open.

To stave off your curiosity, here are a couple of teaser pics (taken before the floor was painted):

Scanning Electron Awesomescope!

This morning I met up with the SEM’s former caretaker, and he fixed a couple of mistakes we made while setting it up. Then he showed me how it works. So we now have a functioning scanning electron microscope!

That said, please don’t try to run the SEM without first being shown how it works. It’s a complex scientific instrument, easy to break if you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ll will be working out the training details, and there may be a SEM party somewhere in the near future.

Here are a few photos for you to drool over in the meantime:

Cathy the Laser

July 19th, 2014 by Nemesis

The laser cutter has been realigned and is reported to be functioning normally. Thank you very much, Riley and Jon!

Science! Is Afoot

July 16th, 2014 by danbackslide

A while back I was contacted by Bede Willenbring, a research chemist at H.B. Fuller. He was getting some new equipment for their lab, and wondered if we were interested in getting a scanning electron microscope.

A Scanning. Electron. Microscope!
Stereoscan_260_panel
Obviously the correct answer in this situation is “Yes sir, please, sir!” Arrangements were made, and just a few hours ago we rolled a Cambridge Stereoscan 260 into its new home.

stereoscan_260_overview

As I write this, McSteve is working on getting it hooked up to the 20-amp circuit in the classroom. We’re hoping that by later this evening we can get Cammie (for that is her name) powered up. After that? No idea, really. If you know how a SEM works, why not swing by? (Mr Willenbring has offered to give us a hand with it once we have power, but more brains are always better!)

I want to extend a huge thank you to Mr Willenbring and H.B. Fuller for making this possible. For great science!

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

July 15th, 2014 by Nemesis

Everyone,
My apologies for this blog post coming a few days late. There are some very important announcements that you should all read.

1) Quarterly clean up happened this past Saturday, July 12th. Thank you to everyone who showed up: Becca, Jon A., Riley, Pete M., Jeff S., Sebastian, Seven, Scott, Ted, Steve S., Bob P., Tim, Steven A., Barb, Nick T., Brandon, Frank, Bob G., Patrick, Ian, Tall Steve, Phil, Molly, Kevin, Zhifan, Cam’s friend Dave, Sarah, Andy, Justin, and Ben. All future quarterly clean ups are now on the TC Maker calendar. Please show up for them. It takes the efforts of everyone in the community to make our space possible.
2) The scary bathroom (bathroom off the wood shop) was cleaned as part of quarterly clean up. All storage lockers were cleaned out as part of this. Each locker’s contents were placed in a cardboard box. Nothing was thrown out. These boxes are located on the table next to the scaffolding. A policy regarding the storage lockers is in development.
3) ALL members should be using the member storage space, unless they have permission from an area manager to store a project elsewhere. This is a reminder that storage is for active projects only. A fully filled out parking permit must accompany anything that is being stored at the shop. Please organize and consolidate your project as much as possible. If you have anything in member storage, be sure to come in this week and clean it. Some items were found around the shop and in member storage without parking permits or with parking tickets or very old permits. These items have been moved to the scaffolding as a temporary measure. Some of these items have also been moved to the very top shelf of membership storage. Anything that has not been claimed and taken home or properly stored will be thrown out in two weeks.
4) Regarding the scary bathroom: this was cleaned out as the first phase of repairing and remodeling the bathroom to make it function as a bathroom. Please do NOT store ANYTHING in the scary bathroom. Steven Anderson has graciously agreed to get the toilets working again (once we figure out a few plumbing issues) and do the plumbing for a shower and large utility sink installation. We’ve talked about it for a long time, but it is actually going to happen.
5) Metal shop manager Steve (guy with the ponytail for those of you who don’t know) would like for everyone who has metal stored in the metal shop to put it into the new storage rack that he and Clara built. Anything that is not moved in one week will be assumed to be abandoned and go into the up for grabs. Thank you to both Clara and Steve for getting that done.
6) The main bathroom toilet is fixed. Thank you, Steven Anderson.
7) The upstairs refrigerator is now for beverages only. All food should be stored in the downstairs refrigerator. ALL consumables should be labeled with your name and the date they were put in the refrigerator. Any unlabeled food and beverages will be assumed to be fair game. The refrigerators are also going to be cleaned out weekly, as a heads up.
8) The ashtray has been moved to near the parking lot by the loading dock, along with the lawn furniture. We’d like to encourage people to smoke away from the main door as much as possible.
9) The front area will be undergoing remodeling from July 22nd to July 25th. The front door will be closed and everyone will need to enter the building through the metal shop door. Thank you in advance for your patience as we get a much needed facelift to the space. Also, we’ll be looking for a ton of volunteers to help with the remodel. If you are interested in helping, please contact Cam.

Shapeoko: It’s alive!

June 27th, 2014 by danbackslide

Thanks to the folks who helped put our Shapeoko CNC together. Last Saturday evening, Mark and Pete helped me assemble the hardware. Then on Wednesday, Bill put the belts on, and Jim and Adam ran the wiring and hooked up the electronics. We ran the “Hello World” test with a pencil jury-rigged in place of the rotary tool. Success!

Now it’s time to dial it in and start getting some experience on it. CNC people, let me know if you want to play with it. Not a CNC person? Hang tight while the Shapeoko gets calibrated, then we’ll start turning other loose on it.

Time to make a Shapeoko!

June 20th, 2014 by danbackslide

shapeoko-kitIf you haven’t heard yet, the kind folks at Inventables have donated a Shapeoko desktop CNC kit to Twin Cities Maker. The kit arrived Thursday afternoon — time to put it together!

We’ll be starting out at 5pm tomorrow, Saturday 6/21. If you’re interested in helping out, please come on by. There will be something for everyone to do. Of course if you just want to hang out, that’s cool too. The more the merrier!

Computer Aided Design, Sunday June 15th

June 9th, 2014 by breakfastsandwich

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) programs are powerful sets of tools for designing anyMystery Gear Devicething from toys to furniture to mechanical devices. CAD can speed up your work immensely and help you make sure parts are aligned and properly fitted. But these awesome features are often hidden behind unfamiliar terminology and confusing user interfaces. To help you wade through all this and make stuff faster, Graham will be running a CAD class at the Hack Factory this Sunday, June 15th! The course will cover:

  • Different CAD programs and their capabilities (which program do I need?)
  • Solid Modeling
  • Modeling for a Laser Cutter or Waterjet

To sign up for the class, head on over to the registration page on Eventbrite

The Hackmobile is coming to Minne-Faire

May 28th, 2014 by danbackslide

hackmobile

If you’ll remember, back in November and December we were bugging you all to vote for TCMaker’s entry in the Ford/Make: Ultimate Maker Vehicle Challenge. You might also remember that we won. (If you don’t remember — WE WON!)

What you might not know is that Ford has actually built out a Transit Connect based on our design. And now some exciting news: We found out yesterday that, barring any last-minute issues, the Hackmobile is coming to Minne-Faire.

So there’s one more reason to come see us this weekend. As if you needed another reason, what with all the awesome we have lined up. The fun starts at 11AM on Saturday and Sunday — we hope to see you!

You can see some more photos of the Hackmobile on Ford’s Media Center website, and on Make’s blog.

Minne-Faire V: The Poster of Awesomeness

May 3rd, 2014 by danbackslide

minne-faire-v-poster-small

This year’s poster for Minne-Faire is out and available. Look at that thing — ain’t it gorgeous? Chris Odegard really knocked it outta the park with this one. We need you to get it distributed. Drop by the Shop, grab some and put them up in places you frequent — the lunchroom at work, coffeshops, schools, restaurants, bars, and wherever else you think interested people will see it.

Please force us to print another batch. We depend on you to get the word out, and this is an awesome graphic that deserves to be widely distributed. Don’t count on somebody else doing it.

We are filling up fast, but there are still some places to fill if you want to display at this year’s Minne-Faire. Email Fair@TCMaker.org for more information. Remember, it’s free admission, and there’s no charge to display. (Although we’ll happily take donations!)

 

Computer-Aided Design: Saturday, May 3rd

April 26th, 2014 by breakfastsandwich

awingcreo

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) programs are powerful sets of tools for designing anything from toys to furniture to mechanical devices.

CAD can speed up your work immensely and help you make sure parts are aligned and properly fitted. But these awesome features are often hidden behind unfamiliar terminology and confusing user interfaces. To help you wade through all this and make stuff faster, Graham will be running a CAD class at the Hack Factory next Saturday!
The course will cover:

  • Different CAD programs and their capabilities (which program do I need?)
  • Solid Modeling
  • Surface Modeling (complex curves)
  • Planar Material Modeling (for a laser cutter or waterjet)

To sign up for the class, head on over to the registration page on Eventbrite

Space: The Ongoing Quest

April 10th, 2014 by danbackslide

As many of you know we recently obtained some additional space. This allowed us to move storage off the main floor and out of the wood shop.

floor.png

With the move everybody gets a bit more elbow room. The major portion of the move happened during quarterly cleanup, but we are not done yet.

The machine shop will be moving into the old member storage area, which will get the precision machines away from the grinding dust and general chaos of the metal area. Coordination with our machinists and area preparation is ongoing but it will be done soon and the move will follow closely thereafter. In the meantime, anything parked in the old member storage area is subject to being moved at any time. If you leave something there make sure it’s mobile, and expect it to move.

Remember to label your things in member storage with your name and contact info. We have to know how to get a hold of you. While neat, clearly marked storage is unlikely to be touched, there are occasions when even those areas need to be shifted to accommodate other members. As we settle into the expanded storage space expect a bit more shifting around then normal.

Minne-Faire V Approaches…

April 4th, 2014 by danbackslide

For those of you looking for Minne Faire this weekend, the dates have moved to May 31st and June 1st. It seems that some people just didn’t trust the weather after last year.

minnefaire_2014_teaser

Wow! Minne-Faire five. Has it been that long? Yes, it has. Plan on helping us celebrate.

This two day event will be returning to its roots. Admission will be free, though we’ll happily accept donations to keep it running next year. We’ll be showing off our expanded space and capabilities and celebrating all things Maker — that is after all what this is all about.

We expect the usual mix of old and new friends, along with our own members contributions. Music, food, fun, and the chance to learn new things will all be available for your enjoyment.

If you’re interested in participating, feel free to email us at fair@tcmaker.org. Slots are filling up, but there’s still time to get one. The coolness factor is as always our major selection criteria, but coolness is a very broad category. We are looking for both people who have stuff to show off and anyone interested in giving talks and presentations. Expect that the foundry will be pouring, blacksmiths will be smithing, lasers lasing, 3d printing discussions and much more. We know that’s not all there is, though, so help us fill in the blanks!

IMPORTANT NOTIFICATIONS!!!

March 20th, 2014 by Nemesis

Hey everyone!

We’ve got a really busy and exciting spring ahead of us, and we want all of you to be involved!

First: Saturday, March 29th is quarterly clean-up. In case you haven’t heard, we’ve acquired some new space! The current plan is to move member storage to the new space, freeing up a lot of floor space in the main part of the shop. We’re hoping to complete the move during quarterly clean-up. What this means for you: we will need plenty of warm bodies during quarterly clean-up to help move EVERYTHING.

Also, if you currently have a project on the member storage shelves, please consider doing a bit of tidying up before clean-up. If you haven’t worked on your project in quite some time, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that the storage is for active projects only and ask you to bring any in-active projects home. If you’re project is active, please make sure that everything is properly labeled and consolidated into as small of a space as possible. And consider showing up for clean-up to help move your own things (only way to guarantee that nothing gets lost in the shuffle or that you know where your stuff ends up).

Second: Our 5th annual Minne Faire is being held this year on May 31st and June 1st. Interested in showing off a project? Email fair@tcmaker.org. It is free to display something as a non-vendor (and also free to attend this year — though we won’t say no to donations). Want to register as a vendor? Email fair@tcmaker.org for details.

Finally: I’d like to say thank you to Tony Fulda for all of the time that he put into the metal shop (don’t worry, he’ll still be around) and welcome Steve Skalko as our new metal shop manager.

Love,

Madame President

 

Intro to CNC: Sunday, March 9

March 3rd, 2014 by danbackslide

3D relief carving of the TC Maker logo

Twin Cities Maker has three CNC machines at the Hack Factory. For those who don’t know, a CNC machine is a computer-controlled router which you can use to carve out all sorts of 2D and 3D items. They take a bit of training to be able to use, so Matt is running a class this Sunday!

The  course covers the fundamentals of using the large CNC Router:

  • Safety
  • Materials you can and can’t use.
  • Powering up and shutting down.
  • Basic use of the Vectric’s Cut2D software which makes cut paths.
  • Basic use of Mach3 software which controls the router.
  • Basic uses and advantages of router bits.

To sign up for the class, head over to the registration page at Eventbrite.

WE WON!

December 23rd, 2013 by metis

wewonOur team has won the Ultimate Maker Vehicle Challenge sponsored by Make and Ford!

Not only did all your support get us #1 in popularity, but the wonderful, wise, and generous sponsors chose our design as the Grand Prize Winner, AND Ford is intending to build and showcase our design! Our humblest and heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported us in the voting process, we couldn’t have won without you.  Competition was stiff, and the show of support from all over the world for our design and the community we’ve built is really appreciated.

A **HUGE** “Thank You!” to the sponsors for the honor they’ve bestowed upon us, along with the giant novelty check.  We’ve got a few great plans in the works on how to spend the funds to improve our facility and outreach programs.

We’re intending on having a minor celebration at the weekly open house on the 1st of the year, and would love to see all of you there.

Official Announcement!

Update: And a follow up post!

December 5th, 2013 by SLSolarz

This weekend: ceramics and lasers and 3D printers!

 

Our latest projects will be on display at the Hack Factory this weekend!

Come check out the 3D printer we just made!
Come check out the 3D printer we just made!

We’ll be a stop on the Seward Art Crawl and we want YOU to show off your projects!  Nothing to show right now?  No worries.  Come check out what others are working on, get some ideas or just socialize.  It will all be fun! 

Checking out new and in-process maker projects is fun!
Checking out new and in-process maker projects is fun!

Stop by anytime to pick up a map of the crawl, a poster or postcards with coupons from local businesses (good for Art Crawl weekend only)!

Ceramic Sculpture by Ann Meany

Ceramic Sculpture by Ann Meany

The Seward Art Crawl is December 7 & 8 (Sat, 10am-5pm and Sun, 12-5pm).  This is an important opportunity for us to show off the space and to promote Twin Cities Maker.  Stop by Friday afternoon to help get our space ready for the weekend!

To participate in or volunteer for the event email Susan at slsolarz@gmail.com.

Seward Winter Art Frolic

December 2nd, 2013 by SLSolarz

IMG_2506

CNC-cut chair by Pete.

ATTENTION EVERYONE: The Hack Factory will be a stop on the Seward Winter Frolic Art CrawlWe want YOU to come display your cool projects, teach people skills as you work on a project, etc.

The Winter Art Crawl is THIS WEEKEND, December 7 & 8 (Sat, 10am-5pm and Sun, 12-5pm).  We advertised our stop in City Pages so we can expect a good turnout.  This is an important opportunity for us to show off the space and to promote Twin Cities Maker.

To learn more about the Art Crawl, go to sewardarts.org.  To participate in or volunteer for the event email Susan at slsolarz@gmail.com.

 

 

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