Science! Is Afoot

July 16th, 2014 by danbackslide

A while back I was contacted by Bede Willenbring, a research chemist at H.B. Fuller. He was getting some new equipment for their lab, and wondered if we were interested in getting a scanning electron microscope.

A Scanning. Electron. Microscope!
Obviously the correct answer in this situation is “Yes sir, please, sir!” Arrangements were made, and just a few hours ago we rolled a Cambridge Stereoscan 260 into its new home.


As I write this, McSteve is working on getting it hooked up to the 20-amp circuit in the classroom. We’re hoping that by later this evening we can get Cammie (for that is her name) powered up. After that? No idea, really. If you know how a SEM works, why not swing by? (Mr Willenbring has offered to give us a hand with it once we have power, but more brains are always better!)

I want to extend a huge thank you to Mr Willenbring and H.B. Fuller for making this possible. For great science!


December 23rd, 2013 by metis

wewonOur team has won the Ultimate Maker Vehicle Challenge sponsored by Make and Ford!

Not only did all your support get us #1 in popularity, but the wonderful, wise, and generous sponsors chose our design as the Grand Prize Winner, AND Ford is intending to build and showcase our design! Our humblest and heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported us in the voting process, we couldn’t have won without you.  Competition was stiff, and the show of support from all over the world for our design and the community we’ve built is really appreciated.

A **HUGE** “Thank You!” to the sponsors for the honor they’ve bestowed upon us, along with the giant novelty check.  We’ve got a few great plans in the works on how to spend the funds to improve our facility and outreach programs.

We’re intending on having a minor celebration at the weekly open house on the 1st of the year, and would love to see all of you there.

Official Announcement!

Update: And a follow up post!

Seward Winter Art Frolic

December 2nd, 2013 by SLSolarz


CNC-cut chair by Pete.

ATTENTION EVERYONE: The Hack Factory will be a stop on the Seward Winter Frolic Art CrawlWe want YOU to come display your cool projects, teach people skills as you work on a project, etc.

The Winter Art Crawl is THIS WEEKEND, December 7 & 8 (Sat, 10am-5pm and Sun, 12-5pm).  We advertised our stop in City Pages so we can expect a good turnout.  This is an important opportunity for us to show off the space and to promote Twin Cities Maker.

To learn more about the Art Crawl, go to  To participate in or volunteer for the event email Susan at



Give to the Max Day Update #2

November 14th, 2013 by danbackslide

Is it noon already? Wow, time flies when you’re sleep-deprived…
Give to the Max Day 2013
Donations are coming in, slowly but surely. If you haven’t already, please click on the lovely green logo and give us a donation. Everything you give through Give.MN today is being matched, so even a small gift grows almost like magic. Or if you prefer, like sufficiently advanced technology.

Fox 9 News did a story about Give to the Max Day, and it features TCMaker. Go take a look! Riley was also interviewed on KSTP’s midday news; we’ll put a link up to that as soon as we can.

Our big project, the skeeball machine, is proceeding along. We’ve got the target area pieces cut, sanded and stained. Electronics are basically working, but will need to be installed so that the IR sensors can be calibrated. The playfield pieces still need to be cut on the CNC machine, and somehow I’ve got to make a gigantic gauge to show your score…
Skeeball backfield pieces after staining
No sleep ’til skeeball!

The final push to installation: volunteers welcome!

September 14th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Hello and thanks for reading my blog!

This is me testing out my bench at the half-way point.

This is me testing out my bench at the half-way point.

At the time of my last posting I had only 2 sections of my Musical PVC Bench completed.  Again, many thanks to the TC Makers volunteers who helped me get to that point!

Here are all 6 sections lined up as they will be when bolted together.

Here are all 6 sections lined up as they will be when bolted together.

Every section is now welded together.  You can see in the attached photo that I still have some sanding to do (mostly of excess PVC cement) and that it will need to be painted in order to hide markings and solvent stains as well as to protect it from the sun.

My mentor, Jantje Visscher, tests out the full bench.

My mentor, Jantje Visscher, tests out the full bench.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with final steps will be welcomed. Remaining steps are sanding, spray painting, finishing paddles, attaching paddles, welding/cutting metal anchors & bolting sections together by Sept 22.

Willing to help?  Email me at

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