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.


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!


Amateur Radio at the Hack Factory

July 30th, 2011 by jrsphoto

We realize that many of our members are licensed amateur radio operators.  It has been the desire for some time to have a station at the Hack Factory where our licensed operators would be able to enjoy the hobby.  Recently, one of our members has loaned us a complete HF station for just this purpose, complete with computer for logging and digital mode fun.  The station is small for now but we are planning on expanding the station, getting a club license, and teaching some classes to get new people into this wonderful hobby.    In addition to the HF station, we also have a Icom VHF radio for local 2m repeater access.  These radios are available to all FCC Licensed – TCMaker members.

We would love you to come and be a part of the fun..  For more detailed information on the station, see our wiki page or contact jrsphoto for more information.

Reminder: Introduction to Wood Joinery this Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 21st, 2011 by jrsphoto

Just a reminder that this Saturday, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm at the Hack Factory, is a Introduction to Wood Joinery course led by Christopher Odegard

There is still space available for people so check this class out.  It a good chance to get an introduction to wood jointer and why/where to use specific joint types.  Below is the class description.  See you there…

The various styles and traditions of wood joinery can be used to make a structure stronger, more durable, and more aesthetically pleasing. The purpose of this class will be to introduce students to some of the basic and common variant styles and terminology of joinery. This will include considerations for deciding how two (or more) pieces of wood will be joined when creating an initial project plan. Techniques for lap joints, tongue and groove joints, box and dovetail interlocking joints, mortise-and-tenon joints, and some more specific styles of joinery will be discussed. There also will be demonstration of how to build a few useful jigs, and how to mark and cut a variety of joints, including dovetails and mortise joints, using both hand and machine tools. Students are encouraged to bring questions, example plans, tools, jigs, or reference material to enrich the discussion.

There is a small fee of $15 for members, $25 for non-members; no additional shop or materials fees apply

Preregister at:http://introtojoinery.eventbrite.com
contact events@tcmaker.org if you have any questions.

Shop unexcellence

June 29th, 2011 by jrsphoto


Not sure who used the jointer but guys, you need to pick up after yourselves..

The Last Supper

June 2nd, 2011 by jrsphoto

We were shoot the cover shot for a book that a TCMaker member is writing about hacker spaces.  Someone came up with another take on the cover of the book.  Somehow I don’t think this will make the cover.

A Last Supper

A Last Supper

A Last Supper

Woodworking Classes

February 16th, 2011 by jrsphoto


From May  21, 2011 through June 4th, I’ll be hosting 4 session class woodworking basics. The first few weeks I’ll cover the woodworking tools currently at the HackFactory, some hand tools, wood finishing, and general project assembly.

The final two week I’ll plan to leave open for any projects you would like to work on with the group.

The fee for this class is $25 with all proceeds going directly back to the Twin Cities Maker.

Sign-up here

Progress on new CNC Router

February 4th, 2011 by jrsphoto

Jim Hart, Boltz in the forums, made me some 1/4″ aluminum plates for my CNC Router. The plates work perfectly.

Handmade music – January 30th

January 10th, 2011 by jrsphoto

On January 30 at 8 pm, the HackFactory be hosting a Hand Made Music night.

Special Guests include

Matte Resist from Resist Instrument Works showing some cigar Box Guitars and other cool stuff.

Ryan Olcott From Food Team.  Ryan will have some crazy electronic instruments and a great performance.

So stop by and meet some old friends, make some new ones and make some stuff that makes music. Hope to see you there

More about Handmade Music: Minneapolis including info on past events can be found over at TCMaker’s Hmmm Page.

A Japanese Style Lamp

December 22nd, 2010 by jrsphoto

Many of you have been curious about the Japanese lamp I have been making over the past few week so I figured I would post a few pictures of the finished project.  I went in to the hack factory today and finished the final piece, the brace that would hold the candle, which in my case is a very realistic looking – battery operated candle.

There are three basic parts to the lamp.  The inner frames, the outer legs, and the top.  The frames are made from 1/2 inch maple, with simple lap joints to interconnect all the frames. There are a total of 4 inner frames and each frame is connected to the other frame at 90 degrees with another lap joint.


Once I had the inner frames done and covered with paper on the inside, it was time to make the outer legs. I made 4, roughly 1″ square outer legs that support the inner frames again using lap joints.  There are small dados in each of the legs that the inner frame mates to.

Not exactly sure what wood I used on the outer legs or the top piece but its basically just a square frame of 1″ x 9″ hard wood with 45 degree miters on each end.  Once glued up, I did a simple round-over using our router.  I spent several days sanding and rubbing on 3 coats of tung oil.

If anyone is interested in making one, let me know and I’ll loan you the book.















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Woodworking at the HackFactory

December 16th, 2010 by jrsphoto

It might seem at first glance that the HackFactory has turned into a woodworking shop. It seems that all the new wood has spawned an awaking of woodworkers in all of us. It has been great to see so many people working on such a variety of projects. Even those of you not familiar with woodworking have been making stuff.

With all these new found woodworkers comes dust. Lots of it, and its everywhere. Especially from stuff like MDF. And it’s not just in our area. Take a look at the metal working area after a few hours in the shop and you will see the sawdust on the table.

If all of us that are using the woodworking space do a little extra it will make a big difference for everyone. The time it will take largely depends on the time you spent there and the materials you were using. If you were there for 5 minutes and working with the drill press, it should only take you a few minutes. If you were there for an hour working with MDF, it will take you considerably longer.

We all have to try extra hard to keep the shop clean. Keeping the classroom and office space doors closed will help keep dust from these clean spaces. Make sure you take the time necessary to clean up your area and any tools you may have used. Vacuum the floor around any space you have used.

Keep in mind that some of those woods, MDF included, release vapors that are really bad for you. If you have a mask, you should be using it.

One last note, if your working on a project and need to leave the hack factory, take some time and clean up your space. That way if for some reason you don’t make it back, others can use the tools and table space and not have to clean up your mess.

If everyone spent a little extra time and clean up a little better than it was when you got there, it would really help.

-John • 651-252-4142