December 9th, 2009 by wammie

Our organization was recently approached by Hack Factory of Minnesota (HFM). They have expressed a strong interest in joining forces with Twin Cities Maker (TC Maker) to realize our common goal of a local, affordable, member-supported workshop. After an introductory meeting between our board and several of their members, both groups feel that working together is in both groups’ best interest, and support this as a goal we can accomplish in reasonably short order. Members of our board are working with them and other appropriate resources to formulate a plan that retains the intents of both groups in a legal format. Because there is a lot to work out, we have postponed our General Membership Meeting for December by one week, to the 16th at 7 PM.

HFM is intending to sign a lease next week, and barring any complications, we would like to hold our General Membership Meeting in their new space. Because this may be a pivotal meeting for TC Maker, we encourage all current dues paying members and interested folks who aren’t current members to attend next week’s meeting. Details are still very fluid, but the Board of Governors intends to present a plan and ballot vote to partner with HFM. Rest assured, prior agreements in terms of dues for both groups and the majority of structure of TC Maker are intended to be retained.

To help us plan for the meeting, if you plan to attend, please shoot off a quick email to twincitiesmaker(-at-) stating your intent, and we’ll get you the address in a confirmation email once the lease has been signed. Please plan to bring along a folding chair, as it’ll be an empty space.

This message is being presented simultaneously via our blog, wiki, forum, and email as we feel it’s important that all of our community be aware of it.

We wish you a happy and safe winter season and hope to see you on December 16th!

Respectfully Yours,

Twin Cities Maker Board of Governors


TC Maker Logo, Octahedronized [Updated 8-7-09]

August 4th, 2009 by wammie

Here’s a papercraft project to create a truncated octahedron with the TC Maker logo.

I’ve made a front print pattern and also a back shape pattern for a cardboard backing.

A basic way to build a model is:
1) Print the shape (back) pattern. With weak glue or tape, afix the pattern to cereal box or similar cardboard. Using a scissors or a utility knife, cut around the pattern. Remove the pattern sheet then score the cardboard where there will be folds.
2) Print the logo (front) pattern on thin white or colored paper. Position and glue it to the cardboard pattern, opposite the scored side. Trim the excess paper.
3) Fold the cardboard along the tab seams and glue tabs to assemble the model.

Have fun!


TC Maker Resolves to Build Rapid Prototyper

July 23rd, 2009 by wammie

At this week’s business meeting, Twin Cities Maker members decided to work together to create a rapid prototyping machine, inspired by the famous RepRap!

We plan to start with the basic specs of the RepRap, but probably expand on the idea to make a sturdier, more versatile machine.

As our group is still collecting funds for a space, we’re looking for people to donate time and spare materials to build this baby! Please join our forum discussion to participate or watch the development!

A TC Maker’s Sea Cow Brings Smiles at Milk Carton Boat Races

July 19th, 2009 by wammie

Today at Lake Calhoun “Bessie the Sea Cow” left a wake of giddy smiles at the famous Minneapolis Aquatennial Milk Carton Boat Races.

Bessie was built by a Twin Cities Maker (“Judeling” on the forum) over a three week period in his spare time. She was a marvelously unique creature with kick paddle propulsion and a long tail for steering. Her body was sculpted from chicken wire and covered with scalloped scales cut from white one gallon milk cartons.

Though Bessie finished last in her race, moving at a Sea Cow’s pace, she did complete the course! During her run she ran into a mass of weeds, bringing her to a prolonged standstill. She overcame her grazing temptations though and paddled on to greatness.

Alas, Bessie met her end in the belly of a larger beast, a city garbage truck. She was decapitated before her demise, however, and her memories live on!

See more photos of the Milk Carton Boat Races at the Aquatennial’s Photo Gallery and read more about the Bessie project in our forum post.

Art of Sound Contest at

July 17th, 2009 by wammie

The Art of Sound Contest submission period continues until July 26 over at! If you’ve got an original sound-related project to share, there are only a few more days left to submit your instructable. Beware, the competition is “audacious!”

This contest is open to any project that creates something beautiful with or around sound. Whether you’re into homemade/modified instruments, circuit-bending, speakers, sound activation, or anything else, this contest is for you. Simply create, modify, actuate, craft, decorate, enhance, display, amplify, or visualize sound, and tell us how and why you did it. It can be your take on a classic project, or something entirely new and unique – it’s up to you!

Now show us your original instrument, your tricked-out subwoofer, or your sound-responsive wall of LEDs! Be thorough, and document your project well so others can follow in your footsteps. Share your skills and experience to help inspire others, expand the possibilities of both sound and art, and win some fabulous prizes!

TC Maker Potluck on August 1, 2009

July 11th, 2009 by wammie


UPDATE AS OF JULY 16: The Twin Cities Maker potluck will be at Lakeland Park in Brooklyn Park. We have a site reserved from noon until 8 PM. Please use the forum link below to RSVP with what you’re bringing and for further updates.

At the last meeting, we agreed to have our potluck on Aug 1 (Saturday) at 2 p.m. It’s bring your own meat (or whatever main course you wish to have), plus one item to share.

We are in need of a venue; if you are willing to host possibly up to or more than 50 people at your home (in your backyard, most likely), please let us know. Otherwise, I am looking into Minneapolis city parks as a possibility.

Finally, I’m asking everyone to RSVP in a reply to THIS POST with the number of attendees and the dish you’re planning to bring. As replies come up, I (or another admin) will concatenate a summary.

Mike H.
President, Twin Cities Maker

Arduino for Artists – July 9, 2009

July 10th, 2009 by wammie

Yesterday I attended the first part of the Arduino for Artists class at Studio Bricolage. There were about nine students, some who brought their own laptops and some who used desktop boxes provided by Leonardo’s Basement. We were given an introduction to the Arduino and shown some working implementations, including a color-changing LED in a ping pong ball, a word game with LCD panel, a backpack with controllable fluid valves, and a large mechanized sculpture with tracks, bowling balls, and cylindrical “gong.” We experimented with basic Arduino functions such as blinking an LED. At least a couple of us though, including me, were not able to run the experiments as the desktop PCs did not provide administrator access necessary to attach the Arduino device.Studio-Bricolage-Arduino-Class-7-9-2009-2Studio-Bricolage-Arduino-Class-7-9-2009-3Studio-Bricolage-Arduino-Class-7-9-2009-4



July 1st, 2009 by wammie

Dues Schedule:

Monthly Membership payments are due on the first of the month.  Failure to pay in a timely fashion will result in membership benefits being cut off until payment is made.  Membership may be suspended for one or more months with notice to a member of the Board.  A member’s first month’s dues will be prorated based on their desired membership start date and payment date.  The shop is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week to all members, with the exception of limited access to certain facilities during scheduled classes or events using those parts of the space.

Monthly General Membership: $50 monthly
Monthly Student/Unemployed Membership: $25 monthly  (current Student ID or being on unemployment benefits required)

To gain access to the shop members must pay a one time space and keyfob deposit, or gain admission via another member or at scheduled open times.  If a member does not keep current with their dues and does not notify the Board of an intended lapse in membership.  A $10 per month maintenance fee will be deducted from their space deposit after the first month of lapse.  The deposit must be completed before a keyfob can be reactivated.

Key fob and space deposit: $50 one time

Typically the guests of members are prohibited from using any tools in the shop, however some folks are briefly in from out of town, or want a little help from a friend and they’d like their guest to be able to use tools.  Any Member may sponsor a Guest Member.  A Guest Member has all the privileges of full membership for 48 hours per fee.  The sponsoring member must have the Guest Member complete a Membership Agreement, see that payment is made (via electronic means, or cash or check in one of the donations box) and notify the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the start time of the Guest Membership and where the payment and membership Agreement has been filed.

48 hr Guest Membership:  $10

New Member Bounty:
If an existing member (of at least one month prior) brings in a new person, and the new person becomes a dues paying member, the referring member will gain a bounty of ten percent of the new member’s dues each month applied to the referring members next month’s dues for up to ten months.    Only one member can gain the discount from any one referral, and the new member must identify the sponsoring member when they sign up for their first month.  There is no limit set on this, members can not save up credit (it has to be applied to the next month’s dues)  and any surplus credit can not be claimed in any other fashion.  The ten month (inclusive) limit is chronological and does not pause for lapses in the referred or referring member’s paid dues.  A skipped month of dues can not be reclaimed either in later credit or for a month after ten months from the new membership’s initial start date should either the new member or the sponsoring member skip a month in dues payments.  Multiple referrals can be active for each referring member at once.

Updated 10-27-2010

Promotional Flyers, Wallet Cards Now Available!

June 19th, 2009 by wammie

We now have promotional flyers and wallet cards for Twin Cities Maker! They come in three flavors: 8.5″x11″, 5.5″x4.25″, and 3.5″x2″, all in PDF format. Please distribute appropriately and ask for permission at businesses as necessary! Clicking an image below will produce the full-sized version.

EDIT: Business card design updated on 9-18-2011.



A New Maker PC!

June 13th, 2009 by wammie

case-inside-2-500x3751 case-outside-200x423 I’ve been doing upgrades of my main desktop computer about every four or five years. Recently I got the “builder’s bug” and decided to do a complete rebuild. Using parts ordered from, I spent less than $900 for a gaming-class machine. Mail-in rebates should recover some of my expenses as well. Highlights of my new computer:

  • AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8 GHz triple core CPU, clocked at 3.3 GHz
  • Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P 2 oz. copper motherboard
  • Asus 512MB Radeon HD 4850 video card
  • Two hard drives: Western Digital 74GB SATA Raptor (primary), Westen Digital 1TB SATA (secondary)
  • 4GB DDR2 memory at 1066 MHz clock
  • Samsung DVD/CD-ROM RW drive/burner
  • Antec 300 case/Seasonic 550W power supply/Xigmatek cooler (massive)
  • Windows Vista 64-bit operating system

Computer building has some interesting challenges, but it’s a very satisfying “maker” project! If done with care, a DIY computer builder can create a great machine on a designated budget.

Among other places, a good overview of DIY computer building can be found at

TC Makers Attend TI Technology Day

May 8th, 2009 by wammie

Yesterday a handful of Twin Cities Makers attended Texas Instruments’ Technology Day (2009 Schedule) at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.

Texas Instruments and several of its partners/distributors such as Digi-Key, Mouser, Osram, Newark, Ingenient Technologies, Arrow Lighting, Cymbet, and Laube showed a varied array of cutting edge products of great interest to the maker community.

Exhibits included high power LEDs and drivers, DLP displays and drivers, energy harvesting modules, digital power solutions, microcontrollers, and more.  The conference offered classes touching on many important technologies such as LEDs, analog and digital data acquisition, IP multimedia, and green power, though the classes were targeted mostly for engineering professionals.

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