Twin Cities Maker Gets a Laser Engraver/Cutter!

May 10th, 2012 by wammie

The Hack Factory will be getting a laser cutter/engraver!

The tool has a 40 watt laser, sufficient for burning and cutting softer materials, but not something that will cut through thick metal. The unit is located in the lower level of the Hack Factory.  You must take the class in order to use this guy.  The class will be a few hours, and cost $40.  When using the laser it’s $1/10 minutes, or $5/hour.  We are only asking that you track and pay for the time that the laser is active and burning.

We will need to be careful when using this tool, observing applicable safety rules to prevent damage and personal harm.

For more information on our new acquisition, see our wiki article on the DC-KIII Laser Engraver/Cutter.


2012 Member Dues Updates and More!

December 15th, 2011 by wammie

Dear Community,

The Hack Factory and Twin Cities Maker are announcing an updated dues schedule.

The great news is that we’ve experienced a blossoming of membership numbers over the past two years, and we want to keep the space going strong!

Over the last two years, the organization has been absorbing the cost of sales tax for all membership dues. What we need to do is recover that cost so we can more accurately budget our finances and our member needs.

Going forward, we are going to increase the dues by $5 per month.

Effective January 1st, 2012:

  • Regular membership dues will be $55/month
  • Student memberships dues will be $30/month

For the month of January, 2012 we are going to have a membership special, giving a chance for folks to save on dues:

  • One year membership for $550this includes two free classes. This is a savings of $110 to $250.
  • Six month membership for $275 – This is savings of $55.

TC Maker is offering these deals so we can help to increase our membership and have a stronger cash flow. We need your help in spreading the word about TC Maker, and recruit new members.

Important Notes:

  • All memberships are deemed non-refundable, and are kept by the organization.
  • For the classes, if the materials fees exceed $25, we may ask that you pay the difference that would apply to materials fees.

TC Maker will also be offering Rock Star memberships of $75/month.  What does this give you?  A warm place in our heart, and a listing on our Rock Star page.

Want to do a prepaid membership? Send an email to treasurer[-at]

If you have questions or comments about these changes, please send an email to info[-at-]

Thank you for your continued support and membership in TC Maker. Have a wonderful, productive, and Makerly New Year!


The Hack Factory & Twin Cites Maker

Welcome to Seward Arts Fest Crawlers, Dec. 2-3!

December 2nd, 2011 by wammie

Twin Cities Maker’s Hack Factory is open for visitors during the Seward Arts Fest and Frankin Frolic!

Come see some of the art and fun things that are built here at the Hack Factory. We’re showing some movie and tv props, costumes, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and of course our ever-popular Spoonapult and Trebfoshay.

We’re welcoming visitors on Friday, Dec. 2 from 5-7 PM and Saturday, Dec. 3 from noon until 5 PM.


October 21st, 2011 by wammie

I love playing with words and I think I’ve come up with a new, original wordplay idea: HACKRONYMS. I’ve Googled this and not found an instance, so maybe my claim of originality is legit.

Here’s the idea.

Definition of HACKRONYM: a hacked acronym (e.g., butchered, baked, maked) from a commonly known acronym, for its appeal to the hacker and maker communities.

Especially good HACKRONYMS would bear a definition (or definitions) related to the acronym from which it originated, strike immediate accord with the hacker/maker experience, lingo, and ethic, and embrace irony or humor. They would also not be generated from special acronyms already well established in the communities, lest they cause confusion in use.


FBI – Fixed, But Inscrutable
NASA – Needs A Space Assessment
IRS – Is Really Sucky
PBJ – Pretty Badly Jammed
UFO – Unidentified “Fixed” Object
BTW – Better This Way
AM – Ante Make
PM – Post Make
TBA – To Be Attacked
TGIF – Thank God It’s Finished

Can you come up with some good HACKRONYMS?

There is a discussion thread on HACKRONYMS in our forum.

TC Maker to Appear at King’s Fair, Saturday, Sept. 17 at 12 Noon

September 15th, 2011 by wammie

Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye!

Twin Cities Maker shall be appearing at the illustrious King’s Fair in Minneapolis this coming Saturday!

At the behest of the King, His Court, and a Jester’s mirthful bidding, we beseech thee to join us for fun, food, and game, at the Park of Matthews.

The merriment commences at 12 noon and shall persist until 5 PM. For the goodness and sake of our beloved Sewardship, we plead thee also to partake of the historical makings of our fair affair.



TC Maker @ Bastille Day Block Party, Sunday July 17, 2011

July 10th, 2011 by wammie

Hey, it’s party time at the Bastille Day Block Party on Sunday, July 17, and TC Maker will be there! Join the fun and see our table near Barbette Restaurant at Irving and Lagoon Avenues in Minneapolis!

Bastille Day 2011 Poster

TC Maker @ Uptown Pride Block Party, Today 6 PM

June 24th, 2011 by wammie

See TC Maker @ Bryant Lake Bowl Uptown Pride Block Party, June 24, 2011, 6-10:30 PM

Twin Cities Maker will have a table today at Bryant Lake Bowl for the Uptown Pride Block Party, which starts at 6 PM. Visit with some of our group members to talk shop and find out what TC Maker is all about!

Promo Flyers for TCMaker Minne-Faire 2011, April 9

February 27th, 2011 by wammie

Twin Cities Maker is gearing up for its Minne-Faire on April 9 and we’re spreading the word! Here are some flyers which can be printed up and distributed. We have a full sheet version and quarter sheet version, both for 8.5″ x 11.0″ sheets. The quarter sheet versions are great for leaving at coffee shops or other businesses. We suggest printing on red card stock, but whatever you have on hand to print on is fine too!

Click on a thumbnail image below to get the PDF version.

If you’re able to post any flyers, we’d appreciate it! Please remember to gain permission for posting or leaving flyers at business places.

Thumbnail for TCMaker Minne-Fair 2011 flyer, full sheet

Clothesline Race-O-Rama MK2: Sat., Nov. 20, 2010

October 20th, 2010 by wammie

Twin Cities Maker will be hosting our second annual aerial variant on those little wooden derby cars at the Hack Factory on Saturday, November 20th at 1 pm, an event which we’re dubbing:


You will build a racer, attach it to the cable in the shop, and have it race to the finish and back to the start on its own power. Fabulous prizes will be awarded in various categories. We had a potluck for our Alpha and MK1 races; we’ll stick with that tried and true formula. Autumnal jollity will be had by all.

*** UPDATE ***

Make Magazine has generously offered to sponsor this event with some pretty swanky prizes, and Bill Gurstelle has donated an autographed book as well. We anticipate a nice participation goodie for everyone who fields a racer, and we’re not talking about something from the shop’s junk bin. More details on prizes in the reminder post in a week or so!

Guests are more than welcome to come see machines fail in humorous ways. Prizes will be based in part on the number of racers, but there’ll be buckets of Make swag, other goodies yet to be determined, and at least a month’s free membership to TC Maker if we get 10 racers. Odds are that everyone will get something swanky.

Read the rest of this entry »

Visit TC Maker at Red Stag Supper Club Block Party: Saturday, Aug. 21, 3 PM

August 20th, 2010 by wammie

Red Stag Supper Club

Twin Cities Maker invites you to visit our booth at the Red Stag Supper Club Block Party, Saturday, Aug. 21, starting at 3 PM. We’ll have our ever popular life-sized Operation game on hand, and TC Maker members will be available to answer questions and talk shop.

The Red Stag Supper club is located at 509 1st Avenue NE in Minneapolis.

Hope to see you there!

TC Maker Logo Wallpapers for iPhone and iPod

July 25th, 2010 by wammie

Here are a couple wallpapers for an iPhone or iPod with the TC Maker logo. These wallpapers are appropriate for the following devices:  iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 1st/2nd/3rd Generation.  They are 320×480 pixels and 163 ppi. Enjoy and recolor as you’d like!

Happy Virtual Independence Day!

July 4th, 2010 by wammie

Happy Independence Day from Twin Cities Maker! We hope all of our members and friends are enjoying this national holiday and staying safe!

Today I bring you a little virtual version of Independence Day!

First, I’ve made a high quality synthetic recording of John Phillips Sousa’s Stars and Strips Forever. This was recorded from a midi file and played back using the excellent midi input plugin in XMPlay. I’ve done a lot of work selecting high quality soundfonts and tweaking the real time DSP for this star quality performance. Click the picture below to access this MP3 file:

Stars and Stripes March Poster

I think this sounds pretty realistic, but for comparison you can hear Sousa recordings from the real world at

My other virtual goody for the day is to point you to the excellent Skyrocket screensaver from Really Slick Screensavers. This screensaver is simply outstanding, but may require a computer with a bit of graphics oomph to run with high quality settings.

From the website:

“The most full-blown fireworks screensaver ever. It has bright lights, smoke trails, clouds that are illuminated by the explosions, sound effects, and plenty of other eye candy. Keyboard commands allow you to launch various types of rockets, pause the movement of the fireworks, and control the camera with the mouse. OpenGL is used for the graphics and OpenAL is used for the sound.”

Click the image below to visit Really Slick Screensavers and grab the Skyrocket screensaver. The author has created a lot of other fantastic screensavers too, so check them out!

Image of Skyrocket screensaver from Really Slick Screensavers

For a real virtual blast, try playing the midi file in a loop and running the screensaver at the same time! It’s an out of this world experience!

New Business Card Designs for TC Maker and Hack Factory

June 26th, 2010 by wammie

We have new business card designs for Twin Cities Maker and Hack Factory. They were created recently, prior to Make: Day. Click the image to get a PDF file for the design, and tell others about Twin Cities Maker and Hack Factory!

EDIT: Design updated on 9-18-2011.

MPR NewsQ: DIY for Lifestyle and Livelihood

June 25th, 2010 by wammie

Today, Minnesota Public Radio News broadcast a show “DIY for Lifestyle and Livelihood” on their midmorning segment.

Guests were Mark Frauenfelder, editor of Make: Magazine and author of “Make by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World,” and Eric Wilhelm, CEO of The show considered common questions on what the DIY craze is all about.

Mark and Eric emphasized the importance of starting a DIY project without fear of making mistakes, since we tend to learn unexpected things by making mistakes and actually learn better by working through our mistakes.

The guests also discussed the rewards of doing things yourself, the challenges of including DIY activity in daily life, the  meaning of “hacking,” income possibilities, and reasons for the DIY movement.

During the show, TC Maker President Mike H. successfully called in and suggested the Hack Factory and TC Maker as a place where people can take DIY knowledge from the Internet into the community and real world personal experience.

At the time of this writing, the archived show can be accessed and heard on the Minnesota Public Radio website at:

This was a very good show on the topic. There’s no telling how long the show will remain posted, so I’d advise to listen as soon as possible!

TC Makers Bring Fun to Make: Day 2010 at Science Museum of Minnesota

June 22nd, 2010 by wammie

Twin Cities Maker played a big part in Make: Day 2010 at the Science Museum of Minnesota, bringing some of its do-it-yourself magic to the local masses.

Spoonapault, Make: Day 2010. Click for TC Maker slideshow.

Sunday, June 21, was a sunny Father’s Day in St. Paul for local makers to show off their stuff. Twin Cities Maker and other local groups and musicians participated in this exciting event which celebrates the ingenuity and inventiveness in our community.

Twin Cities Makers at Clothesline Racers Table

Members of Twin Cities Maker worked together to establish three displays: the Spoonapault, clothesline racers, and a life-sized Operation game.

TC Makers Life-Sized Operation Game
Life-Sized Operation Game by TC Maker

Make: Day 2010 was just an awesome day for making, sharing and learning, what the Twin Cities Maker organization is all about! A big THANK YOU goes out to Science Musuem of Minnesota staff, who were absolutely fantastic at hosting this event.

Visit our Flickr photo collection to see more snapshots of the day and previous TC Maker activity.

TC Maker / Hack Factory Tri-Fold Brochure Update

June 18th, 2010 by wammie

We have updated our brochure for TC Maker and the Hack Factory. Click on the image below to get the full size PDF file for this brochure.

[EDIT: Updated 9/21/2011]

TC Maker, Hack Factory Brochure

TC Maker Circular Sticker

May 16th, 2010 by wammie

We have a circular sticker design that can be used on your own laptop, notebook, computer, or whatever.

Click the single circular image for a high quality JPG file to print.

Click the page image to download the full page design. Warning: The page file size is 104MB, so it will take a while to download. The page layout is compatible with the Avery 5293 and 5294 forms.


February 14th, 2010 by wammie

Yesterday’s Minne-Faire at the Hack Factory in Minneapolis was an outstanding success!

We showcased 16 different exhibitors and attracted hundreds of visitors.

Twin Cities Maker would like to thank everyone involved who put their time, talents, and energy into making this event such a grand success.

To our exhibitors: Thank you for making, sharing, and helping us learn!

To our sponsors: Thank you for supporting us financially and helping to make this event possible.

To our members, visitors, community, and maker friends everywhere: Thank you for your spirited encouragement and interest in the TC Maker organization. We hope to see you frequently in the future as members, attendees at our open events, or contacts in the cyber world.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Be sure to visit our Flickr location to see Minne-Faire photos.

Update: If you missed it, Tim Kaiser’s performance has been archived and is available to stream and download over at Canada Goose Records.

Very humbly yours,

Twin Cities Makers

TC Maker / Hack Factory Tri-Fold Brochure

February 11th, 2010 by wammie

We now have a tri-fold brochure for TC Maker and Hack Factory. Click on the image below to get the full size PDF file for this brochure.


January 7th, 2010 by wammie

Dear Members and Friends of Twin Cities Maker,

The TC Maker Board of Governors wishes to thank all of you who, since our inception, have shown your support and encouragement in establishing a hacker/maker space in our area. We especially thank Hack Factory of Minnesota for taking the important step of going forward with an initial lease on a workshop space and merging with TC Maker as a unified group.

As you know, we signed a month-to-month lease on December 15, 2009 for part of a space, hoping to expand into the full space over time. On December 31 we found ourselves in a tough position, forced to decide on leasing the entire space on short notice. We were given a deadline of Thursday, January 7 to choose: a one year lease on all of it, or lose it all.

With quick resolve, we worked to assess our membership needs and create a plan. We moved our regular monthly member meeting ahead one week and set an aggressive membership goal. We put out pleas for support to the community via many channels and crossed our fingers for a strong response.

Yesterday, January 6, 2010, on the one year anniversary of Twin Cities Maker’s inception as a website, we held our monthly member meeting. We were astounded by the showing of new faces and expressed support. At the meeting and electronically, many new and returning members paid their dues.

In response to the outcome from this member drive and the excitement at the meeting, we are very, very, happy to announce that Twin Cities Maker has signed a lease for this year at 3119 E. 26th Street in Minneapolis – The Hack Factory!

We did not receive the full level of dues commitments we set as our goal for January 7, however we did achieve enough to cover minimum expenses. We are confident that with continued membership growth and other income channels, we have a viable plan for Twin Cities Maker to continue and grow healthily.

Happy birthday, Twin Cities Maker! Welcome to your new home!

Respectfully Yours,
Twin Cities Maker Board of Governors and The Hack Factory

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