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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Meet The Maker & Learn To Solder 2: Sat., 2-5-2012, 4-6 PM @ Hack Factory

February 10th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak


Michael from Nootropic will be teaching a class on how to solder his Hackvision kits.

Hackvision is a simple, retro gaming platform based on Arduino technology that you can assemble and connect to your TV. You can write your own games and make your own controllers!
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If you’ve never soldered before, this is the class for you! This course teaches through-hole (90% of electronic kits) soldering and is recommended for the beginner. This is a hands-on class where the students learn techniques to help them solder through-hole components. Soldering can be daunting for the first solder joint, then the 2nd solder joint is not so bad, and by the time you’ve assembled the Hackvision, you will be quite confident and proficient in basic soldering skills.

Classes take place at The Hack Factory. We provide all the tools, irons, solder, parts, and seats for up to 8 students.

There is a minimum age requirement of 8 years old, but other than that, anyone is encouraged to sign up. We teach people all the time with no previous soldering experience! You do not need to be a member of Twin Cities Maker to attend.

Prerequisites: None! Just bring yourself. The class price includes the cost of the Hackvision kit.

What to bring: TC Maker will provide all the tools, irons and solder.

Proceeds above will go to help keep TC Maker, support the space.

Time and Place: Saturday Feb 25th 4:00pm to 6:00pm with a break for Pizza (it will be extra $$ but, good)

Cost: $30 (This is a great deal, the retail price is $33, and doesn’t come with the hack factory to solder at, and no Michael to be taught by.)

Sign up on Event Brite

Open Hack Night 11/16/11

November 17th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Pictures from the open Hack Night!

Welcome to the 4 new members that signed up on Wednesday! Our total right now is at 91, we update the bar which is currently at 81 at the start of each month so, there is a really good chance next month we will exceed our goal which will be really great. Thanks to all of our new and continuing members, you are TC Maker!

Also our starving hacker fund has been depleted so if you are so inclined to donate some money to help out fellow members that have fallen on tough times you can do so by talking with Brandon our treasurer@tcmaker.org.

Arduino for English Majors

October 27th, 2011 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

We meet a lot of people who want to play with the Arduino, but they don’t know where to start. Back when I was getting started with the Arduino I was in the same boat. I’m an English major. I had no electronics knowledge to speak of, and nothing like Twin Cities Maker to turn to for help. It would have been so much easier if there had been a friendly makerspace offering a class…

Good news, everyone!

Arduino for English Majors 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. Taught by an actual English major (with help from someone who actually knows electricy stuff), Arduino for English Majors will get you started down the path of microcontroller-y goodness.

Students will need to provide their own Arduino board, and a laptop for running the software. The class is on 11/10 and 11/17 (Thursday nights), from 7.00pm to 9.30pm. Details and prices are on the course registration page.

Make: Live @ the Hack Factory

June 10th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Twin cities maker was featured on episode 10 of the Make: Live series! Here is the section that we were in.

The rest of the show and a bit more information can been seen here.

Nootropic Video Experimenter on Make:Blog

May 17th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Mike Krumpus, one of our fellow TC Makers has one of his kits up on Make:Blog

The Video Experimenter, an Arduino shield by Nootropic Design lets you program your Arduino microcontroller to manipulate and analyze NTSC or PAL video signals from a composite video source. You can also decode closed caption text, which is transmitted within the video image.

Learning to Solder

May 16th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Some shots from the learning how to solder class at the Hack Factory.

A big thanks to the great showing of TC Makers that helped with different parts of the process. Thanks Everyone!

All of the students walked away with working units, too!

A learn to solder page on the Wiki is up now as well. Wiki Page

Learn to Solder and Help Save TC Maker

May 11th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Modeled after SparkFun’s Soldering class, TC Maker is offering a soldering class. The kit and the price is all the same but the location is a not Denver, it’s Minneapolis.

Description: If you’ve never soldered before, this is the class for you! This course teaches through-hole (90% of electronic kits) soldering and is recommended for the beginner. This is a hands-on class where the students learn techniques to help them solder through-hole components. Soldering can be daunting for the first solder joint, then the 2nd solder joint is not so bad, and by the time you’ve assembled the Simon game, you will be quite confident and proficient in basic soldering skills.

Classes take place at The Hack Factory. We provide all the tools, irons, solder, parts, and seats for 8 students. You’ll be soldering the Simon PTH Kit. By the end of the night, you will have a functioning game to take home and show off to your friends (we get funny looks all the time).

There is a minimum age requirement of 8 years old, but other than that, anyone is encouraged to sign up. We teach people all the time with no previous soldering experience!

The class is expected to take around 1 hour to complete, there is a buffer built in in case we go a bit longer.

Prerequisites: None! Just bring you. The class price includes the cost of the Simon Kit. The class is open to the public and to members.

What to bring: TC Maker will provide all the tools, irons and solder.

Proceeds above will go to help keep TC Maker afloat. For more on the current situation TC Maker has found itself in, see our blog post. We will also be accepting other donations, so if you are so inclined please do donate. We have a tax deductible status too if you are interested.

Time and Place: Sunday May 15th 6:00pm to 7:00pm at the Hack Factory.

Who is Teaching: Paul Sobczak, Electrical Engineer, and other TC Maker members.

The class is $40. Sign up on the Eventbrite page.

GGHC Project Introduction

March 25th, 2011 by uptownmaker

Our GHC project actually has its roots in a class in the basement of the Hack Factory. Member Mike Hord (that’s me!) teaches semi-regular introduction to electronics courses, and the syllabus is daunting: take a complete neophyte and explain current, voltage, ohms, breadboards, and circuit diagrams well enough for them to build a simple circuit.

One of the bigger problems is making the leap from circuit diagram to breadboarded circuit. Those of us who’ve been working with electronics for a long time forget how what it’s like to not intrinsically understand the ins and outs of schematic representation of a circuit. It’s like reading- chances are, you can’t remember what it was like before you could read every word you saw (taking a trip in a country with a completely foreign alphabet- for instance, predominantly Arabic- can be a revelatory experience in this regard!).

Enter the 10x breadboard- a 2′x5′ scaled-up breadboard with similarly sized components (fully functional, of course!).

With a tool like this on the wall (or table), an instructor can easily and visibly demonstrate EXACTLY which connections the students are expected to make. The benefit of this is clear- it gives the students a jumpstart past the frustrating and awkward “why isn’t this working” phase straight into the “hey, a blinking LED!” phase.

The major benefit of it is that it can be constructed out of very cheap, very crude materials. The most expensive parts are the actual electronic components themselves, which get hidden away inside the scaled-up components- and even those are relatively cheap (the assortment of parts that I provide to my introductory students runs to about $10 if purchased in bulk). The breadboard itself can be constructed of plywood with holes drilled in it, pegboard, foamcore, disused cardboard scrap, or any other relatively flat and sturdy substrate, and the contacts can be aluminum foil, cut-down pop cans, bean and vegetable cans, or thin sheet steel. For wire, solid or stranded copper wire, baling wire, or even bent coat hangers with the paint scraped off the end can be put to the job.

The end result is a teaching aid that can bring electronics instruction ANYWHERE- mountaintop villages, inner city schools, refugee camps. Certainly there are other options for demonstrating these things to students but nothing that has the same tangible quality, or the same visual clarity. This can be used in places where a printer is unavailble, where the idea of a laptop and projector are laughable because there isn’t even electricity.

While it may seem trivial to think of instructing people in extreme poverty in electronics, the goal isn’t to create hobbyists in a Brazilian favela- it’s to plant the itch in those kids that says “I need to find out more about this”. Electronics is one of those things that, to the right person, becomes a mad, consuming passion. Hopefully, this project will provide a means to reach out to kids who would otherwise never get a chance to discover that passion and maybe, just maybe, that passion will lift a few of them out of poverty.

Handmade Music 5

March 15th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

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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:
MATTE RESIST
SORRY OK
PAUL SOBCZAK

Arduino for the complete newbie

February 10th, 2011 by uptownmaker

Arduino in hand

Image courtesy of the Arduino team

Twin Cities Maker is proud to offer an introductory class to the Arduino. This class will focus on breaking users into the Arduino gently by explaining the basics of the programming environment, terminology and concepts, use of online help, and modifying an existing program to suit your needs.

It assumes no prior programming experience; if you are a fairly confident programmer, you may wish to wait until the future sessions, or attend an upcoming electronics discussion night (third Fridays).

For more information, please see the Eventbrite page. Four of five tickets are already sold; if I get enough interest I will open another session as a single class on a Saturday.

Fundamentals of Electronics class

January 13th, 2011 by uptownmaker

I’ll be teaching a “Fundamentals of Electronics” class on February 1 and 3 (Tuesday and Thursday) at the Hack Factory.

The intent of this class is to lay a ground work for understanding what electronics is, why we do it, how it relates to the real world, and to provide some introductory tools for getting started tinkering.

For more information, check out the Eventbrite page. Class size is limited to five students, so register soon!

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