Clean-up day approaches…

September 18th, 2013 by danbackslide

 

Cleanup

It is that time again. Saturday September 28th is the next quarterly clean up.

The festivities begin at 10 AM.

With the arrival of the Industrial Sewing machines and Sergers, and of course the Laser we will have a lot of outside interest. Lets take the opportunity to really get the place in order so we can covert that interest into members.

With the wood shop and metal shop in fairly good shape we will be concentrating on member storage and up for grabs. Remember our storage is designed for active projects and personal tools. We just do not have the space for long term, someday storage and hoarding. As always we will work out something if we know about it and some longer term out of the way space has opened up. But what we don’t know about may just be gone the next time you come in. Parking Permits need to be updated if you haven’t been in recently. Outdated and undated Permits mean you are letting somebody else determine that it is junk.

Life happens and if you cannot make it to Clean Up please try and drop by in the days leading up to it and do your bit.

The Fall brings more potential membership interest, more use of the space, increased class schedules and more events. With that the staff and board can get a better handle on what we need to do with the facilities.

So let’s get the Hack Factory in shape.

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Big. Frikkin’. Laser.

September 13th, 2013 by danbackslide

laserThis is Cathy, our brand new Full Spectrum laser cutter. She has a 90-watt laser tube and a 24″ by 36″ cutting bed.

Jude has spent the last week and a half or so getting Cathy’s new home ready — she will be living in the former shop office, next to the metal shop. Inevitably, what was supposed to be a quick room update turned into a major operation as various interesting architectural “features” were discovered…

I and a few others have spent the last week or so getting the laser set up and running it through its paces. I gotta say, this is a wonderful machine, and I’m really looking forward to getting classes going! We are targeting the first week of October for the start of basic training classes, which will just cover safety and basic operation. Riley will also be working up a more detailed class which will feature Deep Knowledge.

Some answers to questions I’m sure you have:

  • You need to be a member to use the laser cutter. (See, one more reason to be a member!)
  • You will need to take either the basic class, or Riley’s Deep Knowledge class, before using the laser. Yes, even if you’ve used laser cutters in the past.
  • We’ll be charging $5 per hour of runtime. The laser tube will burn out eventually, and a replacement is not exactly cheap, so we need to bank up the cash.

Watch this space for class info! Or keep an eye out for the TCMaker Newsletter in your email. What, you haven’t been getting the newsletter? Look over to the right, there’s a signup form there.

lazing

Raspberry Pi Roadshow is coming to town!

July 29th, 2013 by danbackslide

raspi-in-caseWe’re pleased to announce that Rob Bishop from the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be swinging through the Hack Factory on Monday, August 12th! 

Rob Bishop was the first technical employee at Raspberry Pi and is currently one of two full time software engineers. Alongside his engineering responsibilities, Rob also acts as an “evangelist” and works to promote the educational mission of the Foundation.

Rob has given talks about the Raspberry Pi at various events worldwide, in venues ranging from conference halls to community meetings in garages.

Talk summary:

Rob Bishop, an engineer and evangelist for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, will present a talk entitled “Raspberry Pi – One Year On” that will cover both the origin story of the Raspberry Pi as well as outlining recent developments. The talk will present technical information about the Raspberry Pi alongside a discussion of the Foundation’s educational aims.

Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for an in-depth Q&A on both educational and technical matters.

Tickets for this event are free! But space is limited, so be sure to get your tickets early…

Building a classic Star Trek control panel

July 10th, 2013 by danbackslide

It just so happens that I’m a member of a local Star Trek fan club, as well as a TCMaker board member. (I am a multi-purpose nerd.) For the past eight years the USS Nokomis has run a party room at CONvergence. Last year the hotel was remodeled, and an 8 foot long, marble-topped desk replaced a (somewhat) easily-removed armoire. Since we can’t get it out of the room, I came up with an idea to make it fit into our Original Series decor — turn it into a control panel.

Sketchup model of the proposed control panel

Sketchup model of the proposed control panel

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Arduino 101 is back

May 20th, 2013 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

 Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Arduino 101 is back for one one more round, just in time for summer vacation monkeying about. This will more than likely be the last Arduino 101 class until September, so if you’ve been looking for the intro course you’ll want to sign up!

This round runs on Friday nights, 5/31 and 6/7, from 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Ever wanted to make something blink or buzz, but don’t know where to start?  This is the class that will teach you the basics of what an Arduino can do, and how microcontrollers are awesome!

Cost is $50, which includes a parts kit we’ll be using in class (it’s yours to keep!). Students will need to supply their own Arduino board and laptop. 

  • The class focuses on the Arduino Uno model, but everything works with the Arduino Mega as well. The Arduino Leonardo is new and I haven’t had a chance to play with it, but I expect it’ll play nicely.
  • Arduino-compatible boards/Arduino clones might cause some issues — pin layouts may be different, and in some cases they’re not 100% code-compatible. If you already have one, feel free to bring it in, but if you’re just getting started I recommend buying an official Arduino board.
  • If you don’t have an Arduino, they’re available at most local Radio Shack stores, and also at Micro Center in St. Louis Park. Or you can check the Vend-A-Kit machine at the Hack Factory! (And of course you can mail-order one, but where’s the instant gratification in that?)
  • If you haven’t got a laptop, please get in touch. We can possibly work something out.

 

A weekend full of gardening classes

April 23rd, 2013 by danbackslide

It’s spring! I know, it’s hard to believe what with all the snow we’ve seen over the past two weeks, but it really is time to think about building cool stuff for your garden. Mike Smieja from We Can Grow is running four classes this weekend, just in time for the warm weather to arrive. Hop over to our Eventbrite page and sign up for a class!

Build Your Own Rapotatotowerised Bed Garden

After this class you will go home with raised bed garden built by your very own hands and the knowledge to use it. We use all natural cedar because it has such a resilience to the elements, lasts for years to come, and it smells great. Along with building your garden the instructor will present a basic small space gardening class. This class is for all skill levels.

Build Your Own Potato Tower

Wanna grow your own potatoes for the year, but don’t have a lot of space? This class will provide the simple solution of a potato tower. In a space as small as 3’x3′ you can grow up to 60 pounds of potatoes.

Build Your Own Backyard Compost Bin

Nothing aids in success in your gardening efforts more that great soil. We have a growing need to reduce the waste that is put into our landfills. We all moan and groan about bagging out leaves every fall. We have a solution that addresses all those problems, it’s simple, backyard composting.

Build Your Own Kitchen Window Herb Garden

Nothing is quite as rewarding as growing and using your very own herbs. In this class we use a simple, attractive design that is very low maintenance. We will be using cedar because it is attractive and lasts for a long time.

Table Saw Etiquette

March 15th, 2013 by danbackslide

table sawTable Saw Etiquette

By Christopher Odegard, Wood Shop Manager

The table saw probably is the most-often used power tool at the Hack Factory, in part because its operation is relatively straightforward. As a result of the heavy use ours sees, the staff has to work diligently to make sure it’s running well and ready to go. There are a number of things that every member can do to help.

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Fix-It Clinic at the Hack Factory

March 6th, 2013 by danbackslide

ES_Fixit_Clinic

This Saturday, Twin Cities Maker is proud to host the Hennpin County Fix-It Clinic!

Remember that broken toaster you’ve had sitting in the basement for a year, waiting for you to figure out how to fix it? Well, now is your chance! Bring your broken household goods and clothing in need of repair to Hennepin County’s Fix-It Clinic.

Fix-It Clinics reduce the amount of stuff that gets thrown in the trash, teach valuable troubleshooting and basic repair skills, and build community connections. These are family-friendly events.

Volunteer fixers are needed to make this initiative a success. Volunteers have skills in soldering, electronics and electrical repair, computer repair, sewing and general tinkering.

Please contact Nancy Lo at nancy.lo@co.hennepin.mn.usor 612-348-9195 with questions or to volunteer, or see more details at hennepin.us/fixitclinic.

Arduino 101: February edition

February 6th, 2013 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

 Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Ever wanted to make something blink or buzz, but don’t know where to start?  This is the class that will teach you the basics of what an Arduino can do, and how microcontrollers are awesome!

The February class is on Friday nights, Feb. 22 and March 1, from 7-9pm.

Cost is $50, which includes a parts kit we’ll be using in class (it’s yours to keep!). Students will need to supply their own Arduino board and laptop. 

  • The class focuses on the Arduino Uno model, but everything works with the Arduino Mega as well. The Arduino Leonardo is new and I haven’t had a chance to play with it, but I expect it’ll play nicely.
  • Arduino-compatible boards/Arduino clones might cause some issues — pin layouts may be different, and in some cases they’re not 100% code-compatible. If you already have one, feel free to bring it in, but if you’re just getting started I recommend buying an official Arduino board.
  • If you don’t have an Arduino, they’re available at most local Radio Shack stores, and also at Micro Center in St. Louis Park. Or you can check the Vend-A-Kit machine at the Hack Factory! (And of course you can mail-order one, but where’s the instant gratification in that?)
  • If you haven’t got a laptop, please get in touch. We can possibly work something out.

 

Arduino 101: January Hack Day edition

December 23rd, 2012 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

 Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Ever wanted to make something blink or buzz, but don’t know where to start?  This is the class that will teach you the basics of what an Arduino can do, and how microcontrollers are awesome!

The January class is on Saturday, January 5, from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

The January class is our first Saturday Arduino class. We’ll be running both sessions in one day, with a lunch break. After class, feel free to stick around for Open Hack!

Cost is $50, which includes a parts kit we’ll be using in class (it’s yours to keep!). Students will need to supply their own Arduino board and laptop. 

  • The class focuses on the Arduino Uno model, but everything works with the Arduino Mega as well. The Arduino Leonardo is new and I haven’t had a chance to play with it, but I expect it’ll play nicely.
  • Arduino-compatible boards/Arduino clones might cause some issues — pin layouts may be different, and in some cases they’re not 100% code-compatible. If you already have one, feel free to bring it in, but if you’re just getting started I recommend buying an official Arduino board.
  • If you don’t have an Arduino, they’re available at most local Radio Shack stores, and also at Micro Center in St. Louis Park. Or you can check the Vend-A-Kit machine at the Hack Factory! (And of course you can mail-order one, but where’s the instant gratification in that?)
  • If you haven’t got a laptop, please get in touch. We can possibly work something out.

 

Arduino 101: November Edition

October 19th, 2012 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

 Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Ever wanted to make something blink or buzz, but don’t know where to start?  This is the class that will teach you the basics of what an Arduino can do, and how microcontrollers are awesome!

The November class runs on Thursdays, 11/8 and 11/15, from 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Cost is $50, which includes a parts kit we’ll be using in class (it’s yours to keep!). Students will need to supply their own Arduino board and laptop. 

  • The class focuses on the Arduino Uno model, but everything works with the Arduino Mega as well. The Arduino Leonardo is new and I haven’t had a chance to play with it, but I expect it’ll play nicely.
  • Arduino-compatible boards/Arduino clones might cause some issues — pin layouts may be different, and in some cases they’re not 100% code-compatible. If you already have one, feel free to bring it in, but if you’re just getting started I recommend buying an official Arduino board.
  • If you don’t have an Arduino, they’re available at most local Radio Shack stores, and also at Micro Center in St. Louis Park. Or you can check the Vend-A-Kit machine at the Hack Factory! (And of course you can mail-order one, but where’s the instant gratification in that?)
  • If you haven’t got a laptop, please get in touch. We can possibly work something out.

 

Welding classes

September 15th, 2012 by danbackslide

New classes posted!  Fun with metal Check out: http://tcmaker.eventbrite.com/ to register for the classes.

Fun with Metal – October 2012 Welding class

This is the beginning welding class.  If you don’t have experience, this the class to take.
October class: October 16th & 23rd, 6:30-9:30pm
November class: November 10th & 17th, 10am-2:30pm

OpenSlide Open House: Friday 9/21

September 14th, 2012 by danbackslide

This Friday from 6pm to 10pm, stop by the Hack Factory and meet Terence Tam, creator of the OpenBeam construction system. Terence is bringing along some OpenBeam pieces for people to play with and hack on. And if cool aluminum extrusion systems aren’t enough for you, there will also be pizza…

OpenBeam is an aluminum rail system designed to use standard M3 nuts and screws, instead of pricey T-nuts or specialized connectors. The slots are also designed to hang onto 1/8″ thick materials — a common size for laser-cut plywood or acrylic.

This looks like a really cool (and reasonably priced) building system. Come by on Friday and try it out for yourself!

Arduino 101: September edition

August 27th, 2012 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

 Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Ever wanted to make something blink or buzz, but don’t know where to start?  This is the class that will teach you the basics of what an Arduino can do, and how microcontrollers are awesome!

The September class runs on Thursdays, 9/20 and 9/27, from 6:30pm – 9:00pm

The class cost includes a parts kit, which will be used in class. Students will need to supply their own Arduino board and laptop. 

  • The class focuses on the Arduino Uno model, but everything works with the Arduino Mega as well. The Arduino Leonardo is new and I haven’t had a chance to play with it, but I expect it’ll play nicely.
  • Arduino-compatible boards/Arduino clones might cause some issues — pin layouts may be different, and in some cases they’re not 100% code-compatible. If you already have one, feel free to bring it in, but if you’re just getting started I recommend buying an official Arduino board.
  • If you don’t have an Arduino, they’re available at most local Radio Shack stores, and also at Micro Center in St. Louis Park. Or you can check the Vend-A-Kit machine at the Hack Factory! (And of course you can mail-order one, but where’s the instant gratification in that?)
  • If you haven’t got a laptop, please get in touch. We can possibly work something out.

 

More laser classes!

August 1st, 2012 by danbackslide

Everyone loves lasers. Doug’s been proving that, he’s been filling up the laser cutter classes. So much so that he’s added two more classes, on 8/20 and 9/11.

This class will teach the basics on the laser, safety and all sorts of fun things!  Graduates of this class will be authorized to use the laser cutter at the Hack Factory.  Practice using the laser cutter will be provided.

For more background information on the laser cutter see the information on the TC Maker Wiki’s Laser Engraver page, and the TC Maker Forum laser cutter discussion.

Sign up for one of the classes at Eventbrite!

More bowmaking classes!

August 1st, 2012 by danbackslide

Holy cats, more bowmaking classes! Riley’s set up three more classes, on 8/12, 8/19 and 8/26. These classes have been pretty popular (I know my daughter had a blast!). Sign up soon before the tickets are gone!

The class covers:

  • A brief review of the types of traditional wood bows and focus on the American Flatbow, it’s origin and design (This is the type of bow that participants will be making)
  • An intro on the types of designs and modifications that can improve the look and performance of an american flatbow.
  • Types of wood used for wood bows, and their characteristics
  • The pros and cons of working with red oak wood.
  • Tools used for bowmaking, including hand tools and power tools
  • Each participant will be provided with all the materials and tools needed to make this bow.
  • Class materials will include exactly one red oak board per student, of dimensions 1.5″ by .75″ by 6′, selected by the teacher.

The class will include a brief description of what archery “tackle”, or gear, is needed to actually use a bow, including bow strings, arrows, forearm protection (vambraces), finger protection (archery tabs or shooting gloves), quivers, and bow cases. Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Class: Fire the Laser!

July 19th, 2012 by danbackslide

Get checked out and up to speed to “fire the laser!”  (As Dr. Evil Says)

This class will teach the basics on the laser, safety and all sorts of fun things!  Graduates of this class will be authorized to use the laser cutter at the Hack Factory.  Practice using the laser cutter will be provided.

Two classes are scheduled:

  • Monday, July 23, 6:30PM – 8:30PM
  • Tuesday, August 14, 6:30PM – 8:30PM

For more background information on the laser cutter see the information on the TC Maker Wiki’s Laser Engraver page, and the TC Maker Forum laser cutter discussion.

Sign up for one of the classes at Eventbrite!

Class: Introduction to Bowmaking

July 19th, 2012 by danbackslide

Learn to make a fully functional american flat bow! Two classes are being offered, on 7/22 and 7/29. The class covers:

  • A brief review of the types of traditional wood bows and focus on the American Flatbow, it’s origin and design (This is the type of bow that participants will be making)
  • An intro on the types of designs and modifications that can improve the look and performance of an american flatbow.
  • Types of wood used for wood bows, and their characteristics
  • The pros and cons of working with red oak wood.
  • Tools used for bowmaking, including hand tools and power tools
  • Each participant will be provided with all the materials and tools needed to make this bow.
  • Class materials will include exactly one red oak board per student, of dimensions 1.5″ by .75″ by 6′, selected by the teacher.

The class will include a brief description of what archery “tackle”, or gear, is needed to actually use a bow, including bow strings, arrows, forearm protection (vambraces), finger protection (archery tabs or shooting gloves), quivers, and bow cases. Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Quarterly Clean-Up: This Saturday (6/30/2012)

June 28th, 2012 by danbackslide

It’s time once again to do some concentrated clean-up around the space. We’ll be doing our quarterly cleaning this Saturday, June 30, starting at 10:00 am. This time the focus will be on sweeping up the accumulated cruft behind machines and workbenches, along with the usual straightening up and throwing out. Remember, the more people that show up, the less any one of those people will have to do!

After cleaning up, the grill will be fired up and the goofing off will commence. See you Saturday!

Arduino 101: Two classes!

March 4th, 2012 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

Lots of people have been asking when we’re doing our next Arduino class. The answer is soon! Arduino 101 is a two-night class in the basics of the Arduino and electronics. It’s designed for people with no background in electronics or programming. This class should get you moving down the road to microcontroller nirvana!

The cost includes a nice little parts kit, some of which we’ll be using in class.

There are two classes scheduled:

  • Session 1: March 15 and March 22, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Session 2: April 19 and April 26, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Both sessions are listed on the registration page, so make sure you only sign up for one. (Unless you really want to take the class twice. We’d be more than happy to see you at both sessions!)

Students will need to provide their own Arduino board, and a laptop for running the software. Details and prices are on the course registration page.

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