Not So Mini Minne-Faire @ Hack Factory, Saturday, April 14, 2012

February 5th, 2012 by Judeling



Our third annual Minne-Faire is on the calendar for Saturday, April 14.

To reflect our explosive growth, this year’s fair will be bigger and better then ever!

Old favorites are returning and new friends coming.




We will have music, food, exhibits, and demonstrations.


Schedule for Saturday, April 14IMG_0573

12:00-5:00 PM: Open maker displays and demos

7:00PM: Music performances and socializing

We can use your help building this event.


Calling all makers!

It is not to late  if you would like to show at this year’s Minne-Faire. Contact us by sending email to



Twin Cities Maker’s Mill

February 5th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Twin Cities maker just got a Bridgeport mill up and running in the space. If you are inerested in using it, you need to get checked out on it, and then you are ready to start milling.

This machine is seriously awesome, a big thanks to all of those involved in acquiring, retrieving it up to northern Minnesota, and to everyone else who quickly got it up an running in the space.

Here is a short video of the machine, and what one of our members, Andy, has been using it for.

Updated to better quality video

Meet the Maker and Learn to Solder

January 27th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Adam Wolf of Wayne and Layne, and Twin Cities Maker Member will be hosting a class on how to solder one of his popular kits the blinky POV.

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 blinky grid, 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.

The class is expected to take around 1.5 hour to complete, there is a buffer built in in case we go a bit longer.

Prerequisites: None! Just bring yourself. The class price includes the cost of the blinky POV 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: Tuesday Feb 7th 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the Hack Factory

Cost: $16 (This is a great deal, the retail price is also $16, but with out the hack factory to solder at, and no Adam to be taught by.)

Sign up on Event Brite

2012 Membership Dues Update

January 27th, 2012 by orion

This is a reminder to everyone that the billing system has been updated to new prices but some automated payments are still at the old price. Please update your paypal subscriptions or bank bill pay to the new fees. For more information the updated dues please read the details HERE.‎

The updated membership options are:

$75 / month – Rockstar member ship you really love us!

$55 / month – Regular membership

$30 / month for students or unemployed

Links to update your paypal subscription can be found at our membership page.


Minnesota 2020: Inside The Maker Movement

January 13th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Part I and II are now up from Minnesota 2020.

Links to the full articles here and here.

TCM and Make:Blog, and books and other stuff.

January 7th, 2012 by Paul Sobczak

Some recent happenings of Twin Cities Maker that have made an splash on the outside world. This is not comprehensive but kind of neat to look at none the less.

Riley’s FoshayBuchay 2.0 was featured as the opening photo for this Zero to Maker piece.

Adam Wolf of Wayne and Layne, one of two Twin Cities Maker’s open source kit manufactures, was featured in Meet the Makers

John Baicthal and Adam Wolf wrote a few articles for Make:28, they are not online so you will need to pick up a physical copy. They wrote about making a Van de Graaff generator from a soda can making a wireless arcade-quality joystick-and-button-panel for playing video games.

Matthew Varas put up directions on how to make his chomping Pacman Suit.

We are also featured in John Baicthal’s Hack This! Yep, that is Twin Cities Maker is on the cover. John also has another book out Cult of LEGO, featured in the print edition of Wired!, and if rumors are true it will be on one of those in flight magazines on one of the major airlines, so look out for that.

Join today’s new revolution in creativity and community: hackerspaces. Stop letting other people build everything for you: Do it yourself. Explore, grab the tools, get hands-on, get dirty…and create things you never imagined you could. Hack This is your glorious, full-color passport to the world of hackerspaces: your invitation to share knowledge, master tools, work together, build amazing stuff–and have a flat-out blast doing it.

Twin Cities Maker co-founder John Baichtal explains it all: what hackerspaces are, how they work, who runs them, what they’re building—and how you can join (or start!) one. Next, he walks you through 24 of today’s best hackerspace projects…everything from robotic grilled-cheese sandwich-makers to devices that make music with zaps of electricity. Every project’s packed with color photos, explanations, lists of resources and tools, and instructions for getting started on your own similar project so you can DIY!
– from

Notropic Design, the other favorite open source manufacture of Twin Cites Maker, pushed out a new design, the defusable clock and has gotten an pretty amazing response so far, above is the Christmas Advert.

Matt Mackall, of Twin Cities Maker’s favorite open source code management tool Mercurial, is in the process of getting an Art Shanty built in the space. More on the Art Shanty project here.

And finally here is a short video of Twin Cities Makers Learn Arduino class performing on thier new noise machines.

Update: Twin Cities Maker also loves the kit business Crazy But Able, check out their stella amp.


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

12/07/11 Open Hack

December 9th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

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.

Open Hack Night 11/23/11

November 26th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

One new member on Wednesday, welcome! Shots from the night are up, enjoy!

Give to the Max Day 2011

November 15th, 2011 by metis

As many of you know, Twin Cities Maker is fiscally sponsored by the wonderful folks at Springboard for the Arts.  Because of this partnership, physical and capital donations to us can be tax deductible. On the right side of the blog, there’s always a link to our fundraiser page through Give MN , a group that facilitates charitable giving here in Minnesota.

Every year, Give MN sponsors a “Give to the Max” fund-raising drive for charities across Minnesota.  Today, Wednesday the 16th, our usual processing fees are waived for all donations received through Give MN. As an extra bonus, each hour all day long,  one random donor to GiveMN will get a bonus $1000 added to the first donation they made that hour. So even a small donation can have a chance to help out a lot, and every donation we get increases our odds of getting the bonus cash.    Even the most modest donation made by clicking the logo above is quite appreciated.

If you’re pondering giving financially to Twin Cities Maker before the end of the year, today is the day that we will get the most benefit from your generosity. We can always take non-cash and cash donations, but Give to the Max happens once a year. If you’ve got a maker who’s particularly hard to buy a holiday gift for, a donation in their name might be just what they were hoping for.

Membership dues cover our basic operational costs, and previous generous donations have gotten us some major improvements to our space. Help us keep our gears spinning! Your generosity will help to buy tools and equipment, improve the space, and offer even greater services to the maker community in the Twin Cities.

As always, feel free to email “development”  at our domain if you’ve got any questions about donations.

Online fundraising for Twin Cities Maker

We have a spark…

November 6th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Date: Sunday, Dec 4th
Time: 12pm – 4pm

The big Mill-er TIG is up and running. And talk about power, this thing has juice to spare. That being said, we are having an orientation class to familiarize members with this machine. The class is mandatory for anyone using the machine. We need to be SURE everyone has been given the proper startup and shutdown procedures to keep from damaging the machine. Also for simplicity sake, we want everyone to use the same collet/tungsten electrode kit rated for this welder, so you will be getting your own kit as part of the orientation materials (dont worry we get a good discount on bulk orders so its cheaper than getting it yourself). Also this unit uses quite a bit of argon. We want to make sure we can keep this thing in gas, so we trying to get a shop sized tank. The rest of the orientation cost goes right back into feeding this beast a steady diet of argon.

This will not be an introduction to welding class. You will need to have had a mig or gas welding class before signing up and be a member in good standing of the Hack Factory. You can also test out of the prerequisite classes by finding either Dave or I and showing off your wicked welding skills.

Videoman testing the big TIG

You can also register in person with Karin (class/events coordinator) up til nov 25th (we need a week to order kits)

550 101 Fun with Paracord

November 4th, 2011 by karinf22

550 cord (aka paracord) is strong, relatively inexpensive and versatile. Our “101” course will teach you to make useful, decorative and interesting things using this material. No prior experience necessary. We’ll use a few basic (and surprisingly simple) knots to tie a variety of bracelets, belts, tool lanyards, handle wraps, key fobs and holsters.

The course will cover the basics of working with cord, design and measurement considerations and pro tips of executing and finishing your projects.  Practical “lifehacker” applications for rope and cord and a few extra knots that everyone should know will also be shared. Don’t worry if you can’t even tie your shoes (we’ll teach you a superior knot for that too).

This course is very hands-on. All materials and tools will be provided. We’ll complete several projects in class and students will go home with extra cord and a basic tool kit to continue their exploration of cordcraft.

Jeff “Rigger” Berg will be the instructor. Jeff’s been fooling around with rope for over a decade. His resumé includes a stint as a yacht rigger.

Class Sign up!

November 1st, 2011 by karinf22

Make sure to check out our upcoming classes for the month of November!  We have some exciting topics that will be covered this month. Sign up today!


Oxyacetylene this Saturday Nov 5

Arduino for English Majors Nov 10 and Nov 17

Intro to Stick Welding Nov 12

550 101 Fun with Paracord Nov 19

Open house at the Hack Factory October 26th Style

October 27th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Pictures from the shenanigans that occur weekly at the Hack Factory of Minnesota, including but not limited to, robot, welding, (unfortunately not pictures of a robot welding)  pumpkin carving, paracord watches, crystal oscillator testers, people talking in a hallway, archery, and a smiley face drawn in Hack Factory dust.

Every Wednesday Twin Cities Maker opens it’s doors to the public, stop by and meet the makers of Minnesota. Congrats to the new members that signed up as well! We are still in need of about ~15 to 20 members to make this work into the future, so if you are interested is seeing Twin Cities Maker exist in the future it’s worth becoming a member.



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.

Oct 19th Open Hack Night

October 21st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Pictures and video from 10/19/2011’s Open Hack night at the one an only Hack Factory in Minneapolis. Lots of interesting and weird stuff going on. Enjoy.

Board Game Night!

October 18th, 2011 by karinf22

This Thursday, Oct 20, 2011 7:00 – 11:00 PM

Come out to the hack factory to enjoy an evening of tabletop gaming. Please bring a game, a snack to share and a couple dollars if you would like pizza.  Event itself is free and open to all ages.  Bring friends and family and enjoy some great social time.

Interview on EEweb

October 1st, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Mike Hord previous president of Twin Cities Maker and former member (he moved to Colorado) is one of the featured engineers on EEWeb.

Michael Hord

Michael Hord – Electrical Engineer, SparkFun Electronics

How did you get into electronics/engineering and when did you start?

I came to electronics fairly late in the game. It was my senior year of high school before it occurred to me that I could make a career out of it. My high school physics teacher told us some stories about the fun stuff the electrical engineering students he knew in college had made, and that sealed the deal. That is not to say I didn’t have interest in it in the past—as a child I took apart a ridiculous number of electronic gadgets, some of which my parents would rather I hadn’t.

After high school I went on to study engineering at North Dakota State University. For me it was a great decision because of its engineering program, which is very well-respected especially in the Upper Midwest region.

What are your favorite hardware tools that you use?

My senses. I start out every troubleshooting session with four of my senses: does anything look wrong (size, shape, color), does anything feel wrong (hotter or colder than expected), does anything sound wrong (clicking, buzzing, whining), and what about smell (burning, unnatural odors)?

The best part is that setup and calibration time for these tools is zero. I always know where they are, and they’re pretty easy to use.

Full Interview

Mike was one of the members who worked on the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge that we entered and recently received our soldering irons from, thanks elemment 14!

Here is a video explaining the entry into the Hackerspace challenge

In another note if you look in the bottom left hand section of the photo above from the eeweb site you will a stack of plastic corrugated boxes, Mike is the one who was so kind as to donate hundreds of them to TC Maker when we first got our space, thanks Mike!

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.



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