Meet the Maker and Learn to Solder

January 27th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Adam Wolf of Wayne and Layne, and Twin Cities Maker Member will be hosting a class on how to solder one of his popular kits the blinky POV.

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 blinky grid, 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 up to 8 students.

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! You do not need to be a member of Twin Cities Maker to attend.

The class is expected to take around 1.5 hour to complete, there is a buffer built in in case we go a bit longer.

Prerequisites: None! Just bring yourself. The class price includes the cost of the blinky POV kit.

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

Proceeds above will go to help keep TC Maker, support the space.

Time and Place: Tuesday Feb 7th 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the Hack Factory

Cost: $16 (This is a great deal, the retail price is also $16, but with out the hack factory to solder at, and no Adam to be taught by.)

Sign up on Event Brite


2012 Membership Dues Update

January 27th, 2012 by orion

This is a reminder to everyone that the billing system has been updated to new prices but some automated payments are still at the old price. Please update your paypal subscriptions or bank bill pay to the new fees. For more information the updated dues please read the details HERE.‎

The updated membership options are:

$75 / month – Rockstar member ship you really love us!

$55 / month – Regular membership

$30 / month for students or unemployed

Links to update your paypal subscription can be found at our membership page.


1/25/12 Open Hack Night and Handmade Music Minneapolis Pictures

January 26th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

A collection of some of the happenings of the Open Hack at 1/25/12 @ the Hack Factory in Minneapolis. Every Wednesday is open to the public, 7 – ~11pm. Bring project to show, work on your projects, talk about robots or moon shovels…

And pictures from the latest Handmade Music: Minneapolis Introduction to Pure Data

CNC 3D Carving test – Skateboard Mold

January 22nd, 2012 by otto_pjm

Carving a skateboard mold prototype in foam. The mold itself will be made of laminated lumber to support the pressing process. This test was to determine what bit and step over (the overlap of each pass of the bit) would achieve sufficient detail, and not require too much finish sanding. The process and pattern for finishing is like an ink jet printer, but it cuts each pixel in 3D.

It may not be readily apparent in the photos of the carving, but the board has pretty complex compound curves. I’ll include a shot of the model which illustrates this better after the break.This is a shot of the roughing pass being completed. The test chunk is about a 1/3 of the skateboard’s total length, and the foam was a bit undersized so the board is a bit wider than what the foam could capture.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hackerspace Passports!

January 17th, 2012 by videoman

Ever gone to another state?  Most of us have, and when we do, we will make sure to visit another hacker space.  Now you can track where you’ve been with a Hackerspace Passport!

Send me a note if you want one, $2 each and I’ve ordered 15 in total.

Minnesota 2020: Inside The Maker Movement

January 13th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Part I and II are now up from Minnesota 2020.

Links to the full articles here and here.

Art Shanties On Medicine Lake, Plymouth, Minnesota

January 13th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

The monsters under the bed shanty That has been coming together at the Hack Factory is in the process of putting it’s self together, check out the progress at their blog.

Open January 14 – February 5, 2012
10am – 5pm weekends (plus MLK Day, Jan 16th)
On Medicine Lake, Plymouth, Minnesota

Some things to remember:
Wear boots and long johns!
It can often be slushy and wet on the ice, and the Shanties are a little bit of a walk from shore so please wear appropriate footwear! You will be much more comfortable.
Also remember that any wind at all has nothing to slow it down on a frozen expanse of ice so it is often colder on Medicine Lake than it is in other parts of town. Dress warmer than you think you might have to, layering is best!

Art Shanty Projects is a four-week exhibition that is part sculpture park, part artist residency and part social experiment, inspired by traditional ice fishing houses that dot the state’s lakes in winter. It is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which the relatively unregulated public space of the frozen lake can be used as a new and challenging artistic environment to expand notions of what art can be.

Photo by Felix Strates

1/11/12 Open Hack Night in Retrospect

January 12th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Pictures from 1/11/12 Open Hack Night, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, Earth.

Between now and next Open Hack Night
Jan 12th DC612 has a meeting
Jan 14 Welding Class – Fun With Metal
Jan 14 Art Shanty open to to public on Medicine Lake.
Jan 16 PyStar Hack Night (EHack Night)
Jan 17 Monthly CAD meeting

Boing Boing Gweek Podcast 34

January 11th, 2012 by videoman

The Hack Factory was recently mentioned in Boing Boing’s Gweek podcast.

Handmade Music: Minneapolis Pure Data Workshop

January 9th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Handmade Music: Minneapolis Pure Data Workshop

Pd (aka Pure Data) wikipedia is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing. It is the third major branch of the family of patcher programming languages known as Max (Max/FTS, ISPW Max, Max/MSP, jMax, etc.) originally developed by Miller Puckette and company at IRCAM. The core of Pd is written and maintained by Miller Puckette and includes the work of many developers, making the whole package very much a community effort.

Download Pure Data for free and bring your computer.

Free, open to the public, bring your computer
January 21st• 7pm – 9pm
Hack Factory
3119 East 26th Street

PyStar Presents “Code Night @ Hack Factory”

January 9th, 2012 by videoman

This upcoming Monday Jan 16th PyStar is going to have a code hacking night at the Hack Factory.  Register to join! (free event)

“PyStar and the Python MN User Group (PyMNtos) present an evening of coding at the Hack Factory! All programming languages and experience levels are welcome!

* Improve your favorite open source project!

* Start learning a new language or tool you’ve been meaning to learn.

* Work on your own projects or work through tutorials (with help).

* Help someone learn or work through their coder’s-block

Bring your questions, insights, excitement and hack on code (and maybe on the HF ice shanty!) in good, relaxing company. If you are new(ish) to programming and/or Python or JavaScript specifically, there will be folks specifically there to provide some guidance to learners.

This event strives to create a safer space for learning and growing coding skills. Please be respectful of the diverse background and experiences of attendees. We especially welcome PyStar attendees and female self-identified folks to join us.”

MN2020: Open-Source Learning

January 9th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Minnesota 2020 stopped by Twin Cities Maker awhile back and shot this video that features some our members talking and making things.

TCM and Make:Blog, and books and other stuff.

January 7th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Some recent happenings of Twin Cities Maker that have made an splash on the outside world. This is not comprehensive but kind of neat to look at none the less.

Riley’s FoshayBuchay 2.0 was featured as the opening photo for this Zero to Maker piece.

Adam Wolf of Wayne and Layne, one of two Twin Cities Maker’s open source kit manufactures, was featured in Meet the Makers

John Baicthal and Adam Wolf wrote a few articles for Make:28, they are not online so you will need to pick up a physical copy. They wrote about making a Van de Graaff generator from a soda can making a wireless arcade-quality joystick-and-button-panel for playing video games.

Matthew Varas put up directions on how to make his chomping Pacman Suit.

We are also featured in John Baicthal’s Hack This! Yep, that is Twin Cities Maker is on the cover. John also has another book out Cult of LEGO, featured in the print edition of Wired!, and if rumors are true it will be on one of those in flight magazines on one of the major airlines, so look out for that.

Join today’s new revolution in creativity and community: hackerspaces. Stop letting other people build everything for you: Do it yourself. Explore, grab the tools, get hands-on, get dirty…and create things you never imagined you could. Hack This is your glorious, full-color passport to the world of hackerspaces: your invitation to share knowledge, master tools, work together, build amazing stuff–and have a flat-out blast doing it.

Twin Cities Maker co-founder John Baichtal explains it all: what hackerspaces are, how they work, who runs them, what they’re building—and how you can join (or start!) one. Next, he walks you through 24 of today’s best hackerspace projects…everything from robotic grilled-cheese sandwich-makers to devices that make music with zaps of electricity. Every project’s packed with color photos, explanations, lists of resources and tools, and instructions for getting started on your own similar project so you can DIY!
– from

Notropic Design, the other favorite open source manufacture of Twin Cites Maker, pushed out a new design, the defusable clock and has gotten an pretty amazing response so far, above is the Christmas Advert.

Matt Mackall, of Twin Cities Maker’s favorite open source code management tool Mercurial, is in the process of getting an Art Shanty built in the space. More on the Art Shanty project here.

And finally here is a short video of Twin Cities Makers Learn Arduino class performing on thier new noise machines.

Update: Twin Cities Maker also loves the kit business Crazy But Able, check out their stella amp.


Open Hack Night Photos

January 7th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

~ 1 months or so of photos taken at Twin Cities Maker’s Open Hack Night, every Wednesday Night. Enjoy!

FoshayBuchet 2.0

January 1st, 2012 by Orkraider

FoshayBuchet 2.0
Last year, I made a Trebuchet shaped like the Foshay Tower as part of our series of Twin Cities themed siege engines. When I built it, I didn’t really know much about trebuchets, woodworking, or making physical objects in general. After having made a few more trebuchets, and some other objects of various kinds, I decided it was time to rebuild the FoshayBuchet. It’s not complete, as all the decoration on the Foshay Tower shaped throwing arm has yet to be done, but the mechanical bits are all in order.

I first rebuilt the shroud for the throwing arm, making it more a more accurate representation of the Foshay Tower, as far as ratio and proportion. The old shroud can be seen hanging from the ceiling.
The original used 2 5 gallon buckets for counterweight. I replaced those with a wooden counterweight bucket which should hold quite a bit of mass.
I added a wooden carriage with wooden wheels to the base, so that the engine can be rolled into place, rather than dragged. The carriage also improves the efficiency of the engine, by allowing it to move back and forth a bit while shooting. This allows the counterweight to fall closer to vertical, resulting in a more efficient “Hurl”.
I brought the FoshayBuchet outside briefly for some test shots. With about 150 pounds of counterweight, and what was supposed to be a 1.5 pound sand filled fabric ball, I got a new distance record for this engine of 37 yards.
I’m hoping this distance will grow as I continue to improve the machine, add counterweight, and fine tune all the details.
I’m hoping to be hurling outside the Hack Factory on Saturdays if there’s light and it’s not too nasty.