Arduino and Gmail Class This Saturday

March 15th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak


Eventbrite sign-up 8 spots available. (Thursday update one spot open)

This is a beginner Arduino Class we are going to talk about and build a Gmail identifyer.

What are we building:

What to bring: Arduino + Laptop (the hack factory has a few computers available if you need one also). We will have some LED diffusers available to use but they are just re-purposed Easter egg lights  (since when did anybody put up Easter egg lights?) and are not that impressive.

What to prepaire: Get yourself a gmail account if you don’t have one and install the arduino software, Python, and Pyserial

What to know: It is not necessary to know Arduino or Python, you should have a working knowledge of how computers work and how to install things, the basics. You don’t need to have any programming knowledge, but if you did it wouldn’t hurt.

Price: This class will be offered free for all, but we will be asking for small donations to a Twin Cities Maker Starving Hacker Fund to help those of us who would like to be members but have fallen on hard times.

Who is teaching: Paul Sobczak Electrical Engineer and one of the people who started Twin Cities Maker way back in 2009.

Don’t have an Arduino: What a better reason to get one you have a few days to order one and still get it in time for the class. Ladyada might be out but you can find them on other sites if you search around a bit.


Handmade Music 5

March 15th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak


Sunday, March 27 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm @ The Hack Factory

Handmade Music is an open event series for people who make stuff that makes music, from instruments to electronics to software. Events include workshops, get-togethers, and live music, all are welcome.

Handmade Music: Minneapolis Blog | Facebook Event

Presenting at Hmmm5:

Pi Day 3/14/11, 7 PM

March 13th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak


Pi day at the factory 3.14.11

Help celebrate this last year in pi, one where we learned that two quadrillionth “bit”  of pi is 0.

More on the forum.

Hack Factory Open Hack 3.10.11

A few pictures from 3/10/11’s open hack are up on TC Maker’s Flickr as well.

Roundabout Dog Winner

March 9th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

The Roundabout Dog winner on display in the basement of the hack factory. More information about the Roundabout Dog Challenge, who the winner is, and a google maps mash up showing all the dogs entered here. Thanks to all of those who entered.

Original Challenge Post

3/2/2011 Open Hack Night

March 3rd, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

More Pictures at TC Maker’s Flicker Group

2/23/11 Open Hack

February 24th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

“Wednesday nights at the hack factory are more fun than drinking cod liver oil”

@ the Hack Factory

Handmade Music Minneaoplis Tomorrow Night

February 19th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Due to some confusion it turns out that Handmade Music is Tomorrow (2/20/11) not April 20th as shown on the Handmade Music Minneapolis Blog. Sorry for the short notice, but the show must go on.

HMMM5 Lineup:

Matte Resist

Ryan Olcott with Food Team

Paul Sobczak (TCMaker Member) will be showing off what he has done to expand the Vidisynth.

You, if you want to show something that you have been working on.

Pictures and more on Handmade Music Minneapolis Blog

As always Handmade Music is free here in Minneapolis, but please do donate to Twin Cities Maker if you are not a member. If you want to become a member try and corner Paul or one of the other members there to inquire.

Open Hack Night 2/16/11

February 17th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Some shots from the ongoing Wednesday Open Hack Nights that happen ever so often at the Hack Factory. I got the chance to test out my new toy a Cannon’s s95. There was as always lots of neat stuff going on, The unveiling of  the TCMaker Bat Signal, and the long neglected Hack Factory Sign started to get some color, a new member showed off his lock picks and was given his complimentary plastic coordinated box, plus other stuffs. A few new people checked the place out, it was pretty fun.

On another note there are lots of awesome things going on in the way of classes and talks at the Factory

Woodworking class starting May 21, 2011.
First third Friday electronics night
Intro To Arduino (full)
Roundabout Dog Challengee ending on February 23rd
HandMade Music: Minneapolis 5 on April 20th.
Twin Cities Science Fair (not at the Factory) on February 25th

check the last week or so of blog posts for all the stuff update, you can also check out our somewhat neglected calendar. Plus there are a few class ideas brewing over on the forums.

Roundabout Dog Challenge Update

February 17th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

The Roundabout Dog Challenge is scheduled to wrap up on next Wednesday on (2/23/11), the entries are starting to trickle in, get yours in before it’s too late.

The challenge got re-blogged at Make and over and Hackerspace Challenge Blog

Announcing the wall: This lonely, soon to be covered wall, is going to be the home of the framed roundabout dog challenge winner. It’s in the basement of the Hack Factory, you can get a better idea of where it is by watching a recent video made of the place.

Bonus: Proof that filling a tape casted roundabout dog with expanding foam doesn’t work that well.

Wednesday Open Hack Night

February 8th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Pictures from Last week’s Wednesday Open House Hack, that happens every week. Lots of stuff going on as usual.

For those of you thinking about coming down and checking out the hack factory you are more than welcome. A good way to go about it is to wander around and ask people what they are up to, we are a friendly bunch. It’s also recommended to bring a laptop along if you want to stay a bit longer, we got the wifi thing happening. People start showing up around 6~6:30 open house starts at 7:00pm, and people start filtering out around 9~11pm. Bring cool projects to show off if you are, indeed working on something or things!

This week we are also trying to do a showing of Make:Live. This is set to happens at 8:00pm

Update: Jwb can’t make it, so if someone is willing to set this up go for it.

Lots of shots of the happenings from February 2nd. There are some pictures of my (Paul) failed attempt at filling a tape cast full of foam to be entered into our Roundabout dog contest.

Also Videoman took a video of the shop showing what it looks like on a Wednesday @ the Hack Factory in the middle of winter in Minneapolis.

Free Geek Minneaoplis

February 1st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Back when TCmaker was meeting in coffee shops the people that wanted to start this free linux computer thing stopped by and we got to know each other. We were going to try to work together but at the early stages of planning that we both were in it just didn’t seem to work out. On Sunday at Handmade Music: Minneapolis one of the members stopped by, turns out they are doing quite well and are called Free Geek.

What is Free Geek Twin Cities?

Free Geek Twin Cities (FGTC) is dedicated to addressing the following issues though direct, local, community-driven action:

* The Digital Divide
* Electronic Waste (eWaste)

The Digital Divide and Education

There are still many people in our community that do not have access to computers and the Internet, or do not possess the skills to adequately leverage these technologies. There are many reasons for this gap in our population, but one of our main goals is alleviate this problem through work and education. Volunteers work in programs where they gain skills on how to use, build, and understand computers, and in the process earn a free computer.
Electronic Waste and Reuse

With the rapid growth of technology, our community has created large quantities of electronic waste. FGTC accepts this waste and its first goal is to reuse this material and refurbish it into a new computer to give to volunteers or to sell in our thrift store. It is not always possible to reuse all the materials we get, so we are dedicated to recycling those materials in a way that is both environmentally and socially friendly.

From Free Geek

Dale Dougherty on Makers

February 1st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Dale Dougherty here giving an awesome talk on makers and their place in America (Hackerspaces included)

America was built by makers — curious, enthusiastic amateur inventors whose tinkering habit sparked whole new industries. At TED@MotorCity, MAKE magazine publisher Dale Dougherty says we’re all makers at heart, and shows cool new tools to tinker with, like Arduinos, affordable 3D printers, even DIY satellites.

Beckie’s Axman Go Set

February 1st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

1 Box
1 square heavy mat
180 white beads
181 black (oil colored) beads
2 bags

Make a 19/19 grid on the mat.
Use black paint to paint top of box black.
Use white paint to paint Go and mini Go board on top of box.
Put the beads in the bags.
Put the bags and mat in the box.

To Play:
Take the board out of the box.
Take the bags of beads out of the box.
Take the beads out of the bags.

All items available, at least at one point in time, from Minnesota’s favorite Surplus Store Ax-Man.

LED Signboard on the Wiki

January 31st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Pete put his code and design for his LED signboard up on TC Makers wiki.

You can find the project here.

Bare Bones Arduino and A set of GE Color Effects lights (36 count)

Right now the code is all in C, and Pete is looking for some help if your interested he brought it to last Wednesday’s Hack night and might bring it this week.

Handmade Music: Minneapolis 4 Roundup

January 31st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Handmade Music 4 was a success about 30 or so people made their way to the event, that was pretty neat and overall it was a good time.

Pictures and a short review are over at TCMaker’s Handmade Music: Minneapolis Blog.

Hmmm5 is scheduled for sometime in February, a post announcing it will come in the future.

Roundabout Dog Challenge

January 27th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Roundabout Dog = Homemade Dog Sculpture + Roundabout

Deadline: February 23rd

Prize: A picture of your roundabout dog framed and displayed in the basement of Minneapolis’ Hackerspace the Hack Factory, bragging rights.

How to Enter: Anyone can enter, kudos if your from another Hackerspace. Send a picture of your roundabout dog, the gps coordinates (Lat,Long), your name, and anything else you would like to say to

How to Win: A winner will be chosen on February 23rd based on’s decidedly geeky atmospheric noise random number generator. The more dogs you enter, the better chance you have to win.

For those of you in the Minneapolis area, a few brave souls, myself included will be at TCmaker’s weekly Wednesday hack meting on February 2nd, and we will be putting together some roundabout dogs. The meetings are informal and open to the public and usually start around 7pm or so.

The Hack Factory likes roundabout dogs.

Jan. 26th Wednesday Roundup

January 27th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

A few shots from Jan. 26th’s open meeting at the Hack Factory, lots of interesting things going on, a few things of note.

Two bows (the bow and arrow type) were being built, a successful foray into C turned some addressable Led lights into an array that spoke of “Hey Jude”, a new permutation of the arduino The Arduino Stripper saw the light of day and half a dozen or so were sold for 10 bucks a piece. The makerbot got introduced to Hunter S. Thompson’s double thumb.

The Hack Fac got introduced to Make’s new streaming show, Make: Live. Wayne started to try un-hacking the garage remote control that stopped working after the first attempt. Mike had his gloves on cleaning the gears of a piece of our equipment that has seen better days. Paul lost to Mat several times at Go.

It was a great night, a lot of other stuff was happening that I didn’t get a chance to take photos of. It was great seeing everyone. See you guys at this weekend’s Handmade Music: Minneapolis Hmmm4

Short video of a work in progress at the Hack Factory. These LED are addressable.

The message kind of says “Hello Jude!”

Handmade Music Update: HMMM4

January 19th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

A few updates to the upcoming Handmade Music 4.

Emily Iwuc is going to give a workshop on making contact Mics and she is working on screenprinting some awesome HMMM shirts (although I don’t know if they will be done in time.)

Will Dixon is going to give a workshop on guitar set up and play with his band Sorry OK.

Andres Varela is gonna show of his Handmade ribbon controller.

Matte Resist will be showing off his instruments from Resist Instrument Works .

Sorry OK are bringing along their friends from Bouncer Fighter .

Ryan from Food Team will be there but is postponing his performance/workshop for next month.

Please come, bring friends, and enjoy. You can bring your own instruments if you have them but it’s not necessary by any means, the night is free and open to the public, hope to see you there.

Plasma Cutting Introduction 1/6/11

January 5th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Nick Bauman will be going over some of the basics of plasma cutting on January 6th at the Hack Factory. More information about the plasma cutter event is over on the Fourm. Photo by dav.

The plasma cutter will cut anything that conducts electricity, although I think some things you could theoretically cut you would not ever want to, such as magnesium or galvanized steel. Everything you mention can be cut by this plasma cutter.

Clothes Line Racing 2010

January 5th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

2010 Clothes line racing in review, enjoy some of the photos in this flickr slideshow. Photo by tirsek.

TC Maker would also like to extend a big thanks to the wonderful people over at Make: Magazine who donated many gifts for the occasion, and to Bill Gurstelle who sent us an autographed book. Thanks Bill and Make!

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