A Few Class updates

May 30th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

The welding class has been opened up to beginners who havent’t taken the intro class.

The DIY Brewing class has been added to eventbrite so you can now sign up.

There is some talk of putting together a wood joinery class, have your say on the forum post if you want to see it happen.

Also the calendar has been added to the side bar of the homepage, to give a bit more upfront idea of what is happening at the space.

Oh and the whole space can now be accessed by members so come and check our our new added space!

Edit: Also, we have the Intro to Woodworking class on June 16 and 17! – wammie (via Skyler)


Brewing Class @ the Hack Factory

May 27th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

June. The 18th @ the Hack Factory

starting fairly small, the future is wide open, perhaps the perfect balmer brew.


Apple uses automated schnapps IVs.Image XKCD

Suggested $10 donation. More info at the forum post.

Now with eventbrite http://june18homebrewing.eventbrite.com/

Woodworking 101 @ The Hack Factory

May 27th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Woodworking 101 Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 7:00 PM -9:00 PM and Friday, June 17, 2011 at 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

This class is for the beginner with no or limited woodworking experience. It will cover shop safety, woodworking hand and power tool safety and knowledge, basics of joinery, etc.
The first night will consist of general shop intro and basic training on all the tools and safety. The second night will continue with tool instruction and work on small project. The two night class will be $25.

We will cover some basic tools
Table Saw
Radial Arm Saw
Compound miter saw
Band Saw
Jig Saw
Drill Press

After going over the tools and getting everyone a chance to use them, we will talk about building & assembling projects, what glues to use, clamping, and finishing. We can use the remaining time answer any questions you may have, and to work on an in-class project of your choosing. Keep it simple is the best advice I can give you here. I’ll have some example ideas with me the first night of class.

Class will begin at 7:00 pm and will go until 9:00 pm.

Any questions please see the forum post


Oxy-fuel Welding Class

May 27th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

This class will teach you the safety and fundamentals of Oxy-fuel welding. Each student will have an opportunity to try their hand at both welding and cutting.

Sunday, June 26, 2011 from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM (CT) $40

As a safety precaution do not wear open toed shoes or any synthetic fibers. Oxyacetylene burns at 3500 degrees C (6330 F). Melted plastic on skin is not a good combination. If you have leather jerkins or cotton/denim coveralls please wear them.

For more information see the forum post.

Sign up ahead of time at:

We have a lease!

May 26th, 2011 by metis

A flurry of activity today culminated a few minutes ago with the signing of a lease for our expanded home. Per the lease, as of June 1st we will have approximately 8800 square feet of space.

Please respect that the space is not yet ours, and while we have access, the Board of Directors has requested that members not move into the space until after the June 8th Annual Members Meeting. This is to give all of our members some time to tour the new spaces, get ideas about how things may work, and prevent a proverbial land rush.

As of today, all member key fobs should work on either the front door as well as the side shop door. Nothing else has changed in terms of space use or access at this time. I’m sure you’ll all have buckets of questions, and the board will get a post up in the forums explaining everything as soon as possible.

May 25th Open Hack

May 26th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

New members and more hacking, can’t get better than that right?

May 18th Open Hack Roundup

May 20th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Pictures from the May 18th Open Hack Night at the Hack Factory.

Handmade Music Minneapolis Number Seven

May 20th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

CMKT4 will be coming on their Great Western Hackerspace Tour to Minneapolis and will be having a contact microphone workshop.

Facebook Event Page

Nootropic Video Experimenter on Make:Blog

May 17th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Mike Krumpus, one of our fellow TC Makers has one of his kits up on Make:Blog

The Video Experimenter, an Arduino shield by Nootropic Design lets you program your Arduino microcontroller to manipulate and analyze NTSC or PAL video signals from a composite video source. You can also decode closed caption text, which is transmitted within the video image.

Learning to Solder

May 16th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Some shots from the learning how to solder class at the Hack Factory.

A big thanks to the great showing of TC Makers that helped with different parts of the process. Thanks Everyone!

All of the students walked away with working units, too!

A learn to solder page on the Wiki is up now as well. Wiki Page

Join Twin Cities Maker for Make Day at the Science Museum of Minnesota

May 14th, 2011 by otto_pjm


The weather did not cooperate, so we were inside for Make Day 2011. It was still a great time, I took a few pictures, but the hall was a bit dark for my phone camera, hopefully someones got more and better shots, here a quick visual recap, with pre-work on the t-shirts and treb-Foshay tossed in.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you know a Maker type, please tell them about our Member Drive.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fundraising UPDATE – Wow, thanks!

May 13th, 2011 by metis


THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

A big thank you to everyone who was able donate and participate in this fund raising effort!  Not only did we make the $1k challenge goal, which will be matched by a donor, we also completed videoman’s secondary challenge of $500 for completing the $1k goal before Friday May 13th, 2011. As well, another very generous individual has stepped forward and given anonymous donation of $5,000.  This gift will be used towards ensuring that we are able to commit to our lease and stay afloat over the summer. This generosity doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels though.  We still need to make our membership goal of a total of 80 members by September 30th, 2011 so we can pay our bills and stay cash positive.

Through your generosity, we are able to bridge the gap between where we are at now in income and where we need to be, and we don’t have to close up shop in the interim.   Our goal of 80 members will bring in enough capital to pay the lease and basic bills.  The sooner we make this goal, the more comfortably we can fulfill some other critical needs.

Many of you are aware of some safety needs, such as more fire extinguishers (of several types), a better first aid kit, a long term dust collection solution, and some other health and safety bits and pieces.  We also need to re-evaluate our insurance as we have many more items in our shop, and that may add a bit to our costs.  Member storage has also been an issue recently, we’re pondering dedicated shelving and storage bins for each member.  The sooner we have a solid income base the sooner we can solve these core issues.

Once we have a signed lease, we will start a big marketing push.  We’ll need help from all of you with that.  Not only in patience with other members and the Board as we try to coordinate moving things about, but also in being good hosts to new guests, and being excellent to other members by helping keep the shop clean and functional.

These gifts, and your continued capital support do not mean that we can be complacent, they mean we have 2 months of breathing room.  The Board of Directors is still committed to meeting our membership goals set forth prior to these anchor donations, and with your help we can make certain that our community is not only welcoming to new members, but that we have a facility that our greater community is excited to use.  While some of you may know the identities of our anchor donors, they have requested that they remain anonymous.

That said, many many thanks for the support.
We can’t say it enough.

Save the date for our Annual Member Meeting

May 12th, 2011 by metis

The Board of Directors voted last night to call our annual meeting next month on June 8th at 7PM.  The meeting will be at the Hack Factory.  There are a few things on the agenda, and we intend to get a detailed heads up next week explaining the bits and pieces that will be covered, how we arrived at them, and what they mean for us.   All recent and current members should receive this general information.  We will also list as much as possible online.

Two important things to note other than the date.  First, in order to be considered a member in good standing, and be able to vote at the meeting, you will have to be current on payment of any past dues and have paid your June dues before 11:59PM on June 1st.  That means, we need to have the money in the door by then, NO EXCEPTIONS.  Second, please send back an email to us saying that you authorize us to inform you of the meeting and provide any other future official correspondence by email (rather than regular mail) – if that is okay – and confirm that we should use the same email address or a different address for these notifications.  Otherwise we’ll need to send you the official notice by regular mail.  Our plan is on June 2nd to send the Official Notice of Meeting to all members who are in good standing.

We are sending you this heads-up notice so everyone gets June 8 on their calendar right away.  Look for more information to follow – very shortly.  We appreciate your patience while we generate a more complete informational package and look forward to seeing you in June.

UPDATE:  Links to related documents–

May Meeting Minutes are the Minutes from the Board Meeting authorizing the Annual Meeting.

This note is a briefly explains some of the documents, and the process.

The Written Action is the formal written action of the Board, which includes the Amended and Restated Articles and By-Laws.

Here is the thread on the forums to ask questions about the Annual Meeting.

5/11/11 Open Hack Roundup

May 12th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak


Lots of great things going on at the Hack Factory this week. The big news, our sub lease is up at then end of the month and we need to raise some money and members got assume the whole lease. Great news on both fronts actually as we gained 2 new members, and have raised $700 of the $1000 dollars in the matching fund. Even more great, last night our President announced on twitter that he would contribute another $500 to the challenge fund if we met the $1000 goal by Friday.  The full download on the situation with our space The Hack Factory can be found in this post.

Some exciting stuff coming up for TC Maker. We will be at Make:Day at the Science Museum this will be our third showing there, lots of hard work going into making that successful.

A learn to solder class is going to be held on Sunday evening, there are 5 spots left so if you have any interest sign-up now. The proceeds are going directly to the space fund.

A new Handmade Music Minneapolis will be announced later today, some pretty exciting details to come on that so watch the blog for info.

One of our original members who was with us when we were meeting in coffee shops for a year also learned that he is going to be moving back.

The Great Global Hackerspace Challenge has voted and while we didn’t make it down to the semifinalists some of our members are still going to Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. Adam from Wayne and Layne plans on showing off some of his gadgets at a booth.

As some of you saw on the forum we are loosing our dust collector as a member who loaned them is taking them back, thanks to bradito for letting us keep it for so long. As luck would have it last night another TCMaker stepped up and is going to loan his for 3 months, thanks Cam.

A final note to our followers at large, if you are thinking about becoming a member in any capacity, please do. We need the support. We have several members that contribute the $50 dollars a month solely because they like what we are doing, and don’t actually make it down to the space very often, if at all on any given month. This type of membership is very valuable to us as a group, if you think you are in a similar situation to this, please don’t hesitate.

The other day a potential member asked videoman, our president, what we do at the Hack Factory and he said “Yes”. If you want to be a part of that, join up or donate a few dollars from $1 to $20 to $20,000, it all helps. If you want to be part of a dynamic group of people working on lots of interesting things, that’s us.



Learn to Solder and Help Save TC Maker

May 11th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Modeled after SparkFun’s Soldering class, TC Maker is offering a soldering class. The kit and the price is all the same but the location is a not Denver, it’s Minneapolis.

Description: If you’ve never soldered before, this is the class for you! This course teaches through-hole (90% of electronic kits) soldering and is recommended for the beginner. This is a hands-on class where the students learn techniques to help them solder through-hole components. Soldering can be daunting for the first solder joint, then the 2nd solder joint is not so bad, and by the time you’ve assembled the Simon game, you will be quite confident and proficient in basic soldering skills.

Classes take place at The Hack Factory. We provide all the tools, irons, solder, parts, and seats for 8 students. You’ll be soldering the Simon PTH Kit. By the end of the night, you will have a functioning game to take home and show off to your friends (we get funny looks all the time).

There is a minimum age requirement of 8 years old, but other than that, anyone is encouraged to sign up. We teach people all the time with no previous soldering experience!

The class is expected to take around 1 hour to complete, there is a buffer built in in case we go a bit longer.

Prerequisites: None! Just bring you. The class price includes the cost of the Simon Kit. The class is open to the public and to members.

What to bring: TC Maker will provide all the tools, irons and solder.

Proceeds above will go to help keep TC Maker afloat. For more on the current situation TC Maker has found itself in, see our blog post. We will also be accepting other donations, so if you are so inclined please do donate. We have a tax deductible status too if you are interested.

Time and Place: Sunday May 15th 6:00pm to 7:00pm at the Hack Factory.

Who is Teaching: Paul Sobczak, Electrical Engineer, and other TC Maker members.

The class is $40. Sign up on the Eventbrite page.

Polls closing!

May 10th, 2011 by metis

Just over a month ago we launched our first big polling of our members to sort out how folks are using our facility and what they want out of their makerspace.    The possibilities for change in the new lease means that it’s all the more important that we know what you think, and we don’t want to exclude the half of our members who haven’t yet answered .  To try to gain as much insight into our membership as possible, we’re going to keep the polls open through Saturday of this week.   This will provide enough time to have detailed analysis to the membership in time to work on the space planning as we expand.

These polls aren’t compulsory, but we’re hoping that you’ll fill them out so that we have better tools to help make our community space more of what each of you need it to be.

We’ve got (3) polls, (2) for members, and (1) for non-members.    The polls will be close Saturday May 14th at midnight, and we won’t ever release any personally identifiable information.  (e.g. We will show “x% of our members use $tool weekly”, but not “1 member from $town wants $tool”)

The Members Use and Access Poll and Members Info Update Form are for current members (or those who have lapsed, but intend to restart their membership in the near future).

The Non-Members Poll is for folks who are not current members of Twin Cities Maker.  This is mostly targeted at folks located in and around the greater  Twin Cities metropolitan area, but if you’re farther afield we’re still interested in your answers.

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your interests.




TC Maker / Hack Factory Needs a new lease! And we need your help!

May 5th, 2011 by videoman

Dear friends of Twin Cities Maker / Hack Factory,

We need your help. In an unexpected turn of events, TC Maker has been informed that our landlord (who rents from the management company for the building) is terminating their lease on May 31st. This means that our sublet with Broadband America will terminate as well. What we are planing to do is lease directly from the building management company. This would mean that we’d go from about 4,500 square feet to about 7,800 square feet. This would give us access to the entire space to set up things like a lounge in the front office area, create a dedicated class room, and expand to have way more shop space for working on bigger projects. The TC Maker board has decided to pursue a lease with the building. This is a big gamble for us, but should have huge benefits and rewards for the community and our members.

The Board of Directors called an informal discussion at our weekly open house to solicit feedback on 5/4/2011. After discussion on costs, pros and cons of moving and other considerations, the membership in attendance, as well as the board, were unanimous in their decision to seek a lease in our current location. Unfortunately this decision had to be made quickly so we can make plans for the coming months, as 25 days to find a new space is not something that is reasonable right now.

While we don’t need everything today, we have some significant commitments to make this happen. We need to increase our membership by 25 new members (while retaining current members) through August of this year. This is a very achievable goal however we do still need some capital in order to act on this great opportunity for growth. At the meeting, one member stepped forward and generously offered us a challenge grant. If we raise $1,000 before June 3rd, that will be matched with another $1,000. While that will reinforce our security deposit, we still need to average ten members in growth each month over the next three months.

In the discussion, a number of members pledged to pay double dues for a few months to help keep us on track, but relying on the generosity of members will only get us so far. Our long-term goal is to increase our membership. We’ve been averaging a new member a week for the last few months, but we’re really going to have to step up our game in order to achieve this goal.

A number of marketing and fund-raiser ideas have been brought up, and we will pursue these to benefit the community space. Over the next week we’re going to get some formal information up on the wiki and provide some coordination tools for this, and we ask for your patience while we start this sprint. We also ask that you contribute time, skills, or capital as you are able to help to this unexpected catalyst strengthen our community.

To help us make this challenge grant you can either send money via PayPal, give us cash directly, or donate through GiveMN, but please annotate it as “Challenge” so that we can count it towards the goal. Keep an eye on the forums and on the blog for ways to volunteer, and as always, if you have input or ideas to help, please share them on the forums or via email to the board, and we’ll do what we can to help you facilitate them.

As an aside, we need approximately $1,000 – $1,200 to make up the difference for the security deposit right off the bat.

TC Maker / Hack Factory is excited for this opportunity, and we want to welcome you and your friends to become members, teach classes, or take classes.

Board of Directors, Twin Cities Maker

Email: info@tcmaker.org

Donate via GiveMN.org (tax-deductible):

Donate via GiveMN.org

Use PayPal for a one-time donations & dues payment:

The Great Global Hackerspace Challenge has ended!

May 4th, 2011 by uptownmaker

Well, after five weeks, many late nights and not a little bit of craziness, the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge has ended.

Jude, Karin and I were at the shop until contest’s end at 2am Central time this morning. We generated a lot of content and I think we have a good shot at going to Maker Faire.

Here’s a little more about the project…

The Hack Factory Big Board project has a simple goal: make it as easy as possible for students to get the electronics bug. To that end, we have created a 10x scale breadboard, with components to match, to allow instructors to demonstrate the construction of a circuit to students in a round-table or lecture type setting, especially settings where demonstrations involving a projection screen and computer are infeasible due to lack of infrastructure or funding.

Those with a passion for electronics likely have a clear memory of when they first developed the obsession, and many of us will also recognize that following that passion has afforded us a good career doing something we love. The hope here is that by providing an inexpensive tool to allow an instructor to expose low-income students to the wonders of electronics, some of those students may find themselves motivated to pursue this topic through college and into a better life.

By allowing students to build a circuit without first having to make the big conceptual leaps from schematic to real-life realization, the instructor can introduce concepts to students through living, breathing circuits that do interesting things (we have used an optical theremin, for instance). Building a functional circuit fosters a sense of accomplishment which is absent from many school curricula surrounding introduction to concepts in electricity.

For younger students, the act of building the outsize components can be a good introduction. The tangible experience of shaping a resistor or capacitor imprints the name for that object in the student’s mind, providing a framework for the uses and function of that component to later be added.

Most of our content is on the main Hack Factory Element14 blog



Components (resistors, caps, diode)

Components (LEDs)

Components (ICs)

Components (Others)

Board design



There are a few other germane posts, worth viewing, Flickr stream, Jude’s post about the Minne-faire and more board details from Jude, the primary on that part.

Thanks to the Agent Silverfox team and Element 14 for putting on this wonderful event, and congratulations to all the teams!

Open Hack Wednesday and News

May 2nd, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Pictures from last weeks Open Hack Night.

Every Wednesday from 7 to 10pm open to the public. Bring your project, work on it, or bring your ears and voice and talk about whatever. If you have never been to the Hack Factory, or are curious, this is a great opportunity to get to know the place, and the people.

In other news TC Maker membership has crossed the 60 Thank you TCMaker Members.

The Global Hackerspace Challenge is wrapping up, and a post about that is in the works. Our hackerspace worked on putting together a 10x breadboad with 10x components, it’s quite impressive.

Handmade Music Minneapolis #6 went well there are pictures from the event on the Handmade Music Minneapolis Blog.

Videoman put on an info session on brewing, this last weekend and that went well also.

Our Treasurer rolled out a new system that members should have seen.

May 3rd There is an open locksport event at The Hack Factory.

Handmade Music Minneapolis #7 is scheduled for late May more details on that next week.