Vacuum Form Station – Group Build

August 23rd, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Kicking off a group build to make a large vacuum forming station for the Hack Factory. We have a number of group projects coming up that could really use the ability to form lightweight plastic parts (soon to be re-announced pedal dragon build).

If you want to help or have questions, follow the project on the forums.


Welcome the new interim department managers for TCMaker

August 22nd, 2011 by jrsphoto

Hello Everyone,

I would like to welcome three new area shop managers for the Hack Factory!

We have recently made some important changes to the Hack Factory that should go a long way to keeping our space both clean and organized going forward.  Originally we had one position, shop manager, filled by myself, who was responsible for the overall operation of the Hack Factory.  Keeping every area of the Hack Factory clean was a daunting task for one person. After a recent trip to the Detroit maker fair, and our recent growth, it became clear that that the job would require more than one person.

At our last board meeting, we split the roll of shop manager into four individual job functions, and asked three volunteers if they would be interested in filling these jobs.  They did and here are your new, interim area shop managers for the Hack Factory:

Overall Shop Manager………….. John Scherer
Wood Shop Manager……………. Chris Odegard
Metal Shop Manager…………… Anthony Fulda
Common Areas/Electronics……… Steve McGrath

Each has made a huge effort in cleaning up their respective areas and will continue to do so as part of their job functions.  In addition, each has been asked to spend a few hours, three days a week (one of those days is Wednesday) at the Hack Factory. They should be your first point of contact if you have question or concerns about a given area.  As always, you can feel free to contact me for anything regarding the operation of the shop in general. There is also a page on our wiki dedicate to the these functions. Please view them and view them often for updates.

I would like to take this opportunity to stress that each area is not a one man job.  It takes ALL of us to pick up after ourselves when we have finished working in an area.  All too often I see sawdust and wood scraps left near a tool and on the floor around a tool.  This should not happen.  If you use a tool, clean it.  The time it takes you should be proportional to the time you used it.  If we all do our part, the shop will be a much better, cleaner and safer place to enjoy.

Cheers and welcome to our new area shop managers.


August 21st, 2011 by swinkdaddy

The annual MSP/STP zombie pub crawl is happening this OCT 8th.
Anyone making an awesome zombie costume for a night of undead merriment?
Well why not, whats wrong with you! You should!

Lets meet Monday Oct 3rd and work on some molds and latex prosthetic to amp up your zombie-ness. We will have an informal costume hacking night. I’ll bring some mold making supplies and some latex to help make the undead – more undead-ish.

Questions and comments here

Learn To Solder @ The Hack Factory

August 21st, 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 electronics area, we want to get some decent components for the place. We will also be accepting other donations, including components if you have any around. If you are so inclined please do donate.

Time and Place: Friday Aug 26th 7:00pm to 10:00pm at the Hack Factory.

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

The class is $40. Sign up on theEventbrite page.

Pictures From The Clean Up

August 21st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Thanks to all who came in and helped clean up the Hack Factory over the last two weekends. Here are a few pictures from the first time around.

Handmade Music Minneapolis: Nine

August 21st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Handmade Music 9
Sunday, August 28 at 8:00pm
Location: Hack Factory, Minneapolis

facebook page

Birthday Party for Leon Theremin!!

Ice Cream
Paul Metzger
Kevin Cosgrove

Arduino for English Majors

August 21st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Arduino for English Majors


Watch the TC Maker Blog for future classes.

An introduction to the arduino, the development software, and interfacing with basic hardware. The class will be broken up into two days, split one week apart. The first session will be an introduction to the arduino, and coding. We will also be making a LED blink.

The second session will be working with sound and resources related to arduino.

No experience with arduinos or as an English major necessary.

What to bring: 1 arduino, 1 laptop, and the usb cable to connect the two.
Cost:$15 for non-members, $10 for members
When: 9/22 6:30 to 9:30pm, 9/29 6:30 to 9:30pm
Where: The Hack Factory. Minneapolis, MN
Total Students: 8
Teachers: Scott Hill (English Major) and Paul Sobczak (Engineering Major)
Sign up: EventBrite (if you are a tcmaker member you will need to pay $15 on the eventbrite page and we will refund you at the event)

If you do not have an arudino, please take some time to order one from sparkfun, or pick one up in town at Micro Center. If you do not have a computer send Paul a message to sobczak.paul at gmail.


August 18th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

BarCampMilwaukee6 is happening October 1st-2nd, 2011.

Bucketworks 706 South 5th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204

We start at 9am on Saturday, and run through 4pm on Sunday. Feel free to come any time, and/or be there the entire time. (There’s a schedule.)

First time at an unconference? Read this.

You! BarCamp is made up of people. The people who show up and make it happen. We’ll be there… will you?

barcamp logo

Clean Up – Part Duex

August 18th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Missed last Saturdays clean up?
Thought it sounded like a good idea, but had a previous obligation?
Well never fear, you no longer have to live with the crushing guilt.

Clean Up Part Duex!
Sweep away that guilt while you help your fellow makers spruce up the place.
We have some public events coming up in the near future, and we want to look our best.

Sat 10-4pm
Please lend a hand for a couple hours.
Sleep well, knowing you made a difference…

Hack Factory Cleanup Day

August 12th, 2011 by jrsphoto

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow, Saturday August 13th, is our quarterly cleanup day.  If you can spare a few hours tomorrow stop by and help get our space cleaned up.  The shop is our community space and we can’t do it without your help. We will be making some changes soon that should help keep the shop cleaner going forward.

I believe that some sort of food will be provided for those in attendance – someone correct me if I’m wrong.

Hours are from 10a to 6p  – Hope to see EVERYONE there!


Riley Tests the 1/4 scale floating arm trebuchet

August 6th, 2011 by KellyM


Check out Riley at Detroit Maker Faire shooting it. 


Free Hot Metal Pour – Sat 8/6 – Franconia Sculpture Park

August 6th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour
Saturday · August 6th · 10:00am to 8:00pm

Come and be part of art history and the direct casting of metal sculptures. Cast metal artists from around the world converge on FSP for a two-week workshop at the end of July. On August 6th, we invite the public to be part of out cast metal artist workshop and create (or collaborate on) your own small sculptures. A nominal fee is charged to cover expenses. Molds are $25, $40, and $75. For more information: click here or email As our tradition upholds, Savage Aural Hotbed performs at 12:30 , 2:30, and 4:00pm .
There are a limited number of educational grants to cover the expense if you cannot afford the fee.
There will be two community scratch mold workshops on Saturday July 30th 1-4pm and Wednesday August 3rd 4-8pm.

Hot metal pour

Fundraiser Garage Sale Announcement

August 6th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Hey got any stuff that you’d like to put in a garage sale, but dont want to bother with actually having a garage sale?

Well, your in luck! we will take care of that for you.

First Annual TC MAKERS Garage Sale at the Hack Factory

We need to raise some funds for a couple of infrastructure projects that benefit all the members.
Hows this sound?

– shop-wide dust collection
– refurbished bathrooms and member locker space
– air-conditioning more of the shop
– air power for the entire space

Now that we have your attention. we need all that stuff sitting in your garage and basement that you could donate to a fundraiser garage sale for the Hack Factory “Make the Hack Factory Nicer For All” Fund.

Tentative Sale date Sept 17-18st
Tentative Setup and pack in Sept 14th

Note- date changed to allow more collection time and announce at wen meeting.

The plan is to clean out/up the hack factory the previous weekend and identify items we no longer want. Those items will either be thrown out or designated as garage sale items.

Bring your stuff to the hack factory with prices/name attached. The plan is to advertise the garage sale as a geek/maker centric sale.

Any questions or comments, please post to the forum.

Group Project Brainstorm on Forum

August 5th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Last Wen open house we announced that we would like to start a large prestige build. After going to Detroit Makers Faire and seeing some really awesome stuff. The idea of a large project to get TC Makers on the map was a worthy goal.

So lets start brain storming, nothing is set in stone, but here are a few basic requirements.
– pedal powered (mpls/stp is a biking community after all)
– light weight but large
– able to take down/apart for travel to events
– fire and/or smoke
– some form of illuminated fabric or e-fabric with arduino control.
– sound system with interactive inputs

Some of these seemingly random requirements are in place to make sure everyone in the hack fac can participate in some way.

Let the ideas flow….

Any and all ideas are welcome, just submit a post on the forum in the Group Build – Brainstorm Phase thread. In a couple of weeks, we can go through them together at the wen open house.

Makers faire dragon image 2011 Detroit