New Year, New Wiki

January 2nd, 2011 by danbackslide

The TCMaker Wiki has been overhauled! We’ve moved over to DokuWiki, cleaned out the cruft and laid the groundwork for The Future. Work continues, so expect lots of non-existent pages for a bit. More info after the jump…

New TCMaker Wiki home page.

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Wednesday Night Roundup – Montage

December 22nd, 2010 by otto_pjm

No people, no comments just a snapshot of the evenings stuff.

Saturday at the HF

December 18th, 2010 by Booka

I stopped down to play with some passive solar concept I had for removing Ice Dams on my roof, and I found Pete working on his CNC rig (he professed to be there to work on drawers, but he must have gotten inspired on the rig.)


Wednesday Night Roundup

December 17th, 2010 by otto_pjm

In an effort to capture an overview of the projects going on at the Hack Factory and introduce some of the TC Makers who have had less online exposure due to being more stuff than bits people here is the first of a likely irregular series of the Wednesday Night Roundup.

In no particular order here are some of the people and projects happening on Wednesday December 15th. ( I took lots of pictures, most were bad, and a fair portion completely unusable hopefully things will go better next time, similarly I’m easily distracted and the HF is known for having not only lots of shinny objects, but also squirrels, so my understanding of the details, or even the general idea of the projects maybe incorrect )

In the Classroom / Lounge area:

Steve was starting on
an Arduino project
using input from a pneumatic ,
or perhaps hydraulic sensor.
Jim was also
working on an
Arduino project,
he had mouse positional
information controlling
a servo with some high
tech coat hanger
apparatuses attached
to it.

The goal as I understand it
is to use visual feedback
to allow the servo to balance
the contraption.
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Woodworking at the HackFactory

December 16th, 2010 by jrsphoto

It might seem at first glance that the HackFactory has turned into a woodworking shop. It seems that all the new wood has spawned an awaking of woodworkers in all of us. It has been great to see so many people working on such a variety of projects. Even those of you not familiar with woodworking have been making stuff.

With all these new found woodworkers comes dust. Lots of it, and its everywhere. Especially from stuff like MDF. And it’s not just in our area. Take a look at the metal working area after a few hours in the shop and you will see the sawdust on the table.

If all of us that are using the woodworking space do a little extra it will make a big difference for everyone. The time it will take largely depends on the time you spent there and the materials you were using. If you were there for 5 minutes and working with the drill press, it should only take you a few minutes. If you were there for an hour working with MDF, it will take you considerably longer.

We all have to try extra hard to keep the shop clean. Keeping the classroom and office space doors closed will help keep dust from these clean spaces. Make sure you take the time necessary to clean up your area and any tools you may have used. Vacuum the floor around any space you have used.

Keep in mind that some of those woods, MDF included, release vapors that are really bad for you. If you have a mask, you should be using it.

One last note, if your working on a project and need to leave the hack factory, take some time and clean up your space. That way if for some reason you don’t make it back, others can use the tools and table space and not have to clean up your mess.

If everyone spent a little extra time and clean up a little better than it was when you got there, it would really help.

-John • 651-252-4142

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.

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TC Maker Gets Springboard for the Arts Sponsorship

October 4th, 2010 by orion

It is with great pleasure that the board of Twin Cities Maker would like to announce that we have received fiscal sponsorship under Springboard for the Arts. This means that we can now receive tax deductible gifts. This saves us hundreds of dollars and months of time in being able to apply for many grants and for you (and your friends) to get a tax write-off by giving us things. You can give cash via GiveMN online, or by check to Springboard for the Arts with “Twin Cities Maker” in the memo line. Any cash donations have a small handling fee attached, which is more than offset by the savings from sponsorship. In kind donations (labor, tools, supplies) can also be written off, (without any overhead for us), however due to the plethora of small items in the shop that have yet to be sorted, we’re only accepting hand tools and large tools at this time, unless it’s for a specific project.

To make an online donation, click the image below for our GiveMN page:

Cut, Turn, and Burn – Ideas to 3D objects, Sat. Oct. 16th

September 30th, 2010 by otto_pjm

Cut Turn and Burn Banner

A Class Featuring 3D Printing on the MakerBot, CNC Routing, CNC Lathe turning, and possibly Laser etching will be held on Saturday October 16th from 1-4 PM at the Hack Factory.

Please Register on Eventbrite so we can plan accordingly.

Bring your ideas, CAD files, pictures, and questions. The class is open to everyone. For non-members, a donation of $5 to cover materials is suggested. We will strive to make the class relevant to the interests of those present. The class will include an overview of basic creation of g-code files, (The instructions that the CNC systems understand) by various means in the classroom, and demonstrations of how the various systems interpret the g-code to produce objects.

The intention is to keep things as interactive and hands-on as possible, if you have electronic media with your ideas, pictures, cad files please bring them. If you have CAD software (anything that can produce a dxf file), Vector Graphics Software (Illustrator, Inkscape) or 3D Design software (anything that can produce an stl file) on a laptop bring it along.

We’ll do our best to get your ideas into your hands, please be aware that the materials, tools, tooling, and time available may not allow us to produce all items.

[Update] Pyrodogg, took some great pictures during the session, check the TC Maker flicker group for more.


Hack Factory Cleanup Day, Saturday Sept. 11

September 8th, 2010 by Booka

Reminder that this Saturday is the Fall cleanup day for our space. Starting at 9 am we will try to organize and clean our space. The plan is to work on specific areas, with one person taking lead for each of the major areas. Right now only one person has stepped up and agreed to lead the Metal Working area.

This is your space and it needs your attention, we have to organize surplus/supplies, clean, build storage, identify items we still need to acquire and throw out some junk.

If you cannot make it Saturday, you as members, can access the space any time you want. Help by sweeping the shop floor, setting up PCs with Ubuntu for our lab, clean a fridge, sort the donations near the supply area, build storage for tools, surplus, stock.

A couple hours makes a dent, and it helps us show off the space to future members and visitors.

About Noon I will start a grill, so bring your grillables and we can enjoy our accomplishments and hopefully a wonderful Fall afternoon.

Hacking Up a Laser CNC

September 3rd, 2010 by otto_pjm

We have been working on converting a CNC inspection machine into a CNC capable of using multiple tools.

CyberOptic CNC

The Y axis is only supported on one side, so the tools will need to be light unless, we can devise another support. At our last open house on Wednesday, we had a great hacker collaboration and not only got the machine to draw with a Sharpie, but trying some engraving with jtbarclay’s blueray burner. Here’s a shot of the engraving in progress.

Laser Engraving

Additional information can be found on our wiki: 3D Prototyper Project

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!

The Internet of Things

August 12th, 2010 by uptownmaker

This coming Wednesday, @jmstriegel, @johnbaichtal and I will be having a little chat about “The Internet of Things”.

If you have an interest in this (either in making projects, speculating wildly on the future of embedded internet, or just listening to us pontificate), stop by and join in!  We’ll probably be getting started at about the usual meeting time of 7pm.

Bootstrapping Your Arduino Abilities

August 9th, 2010 by videoman

Adam Wolf will be teaching “Bootstrapping your Arduino Abilities” on Thursday, August 26th, 6pm @ HackFactory. If you want to attend, please register via eventbrite Preregistration is required so we know the number of parts to order. Registration ends on August 18th, and is limited to 8 students.

An Arduino board/chip, and all materials are part of the class fee. We recommend that you have a computer or laptop that you can bring with to program as well.  If not we may have one to share, but it is recommended that you have your own.

Welding Class Posted

August 6th, 2010 by videoman

A welding class for August has been posted. Please register if you want to be a part of the class.

Tonight’s Hack Factory Cabaret is cancelled!

July 27th, 2010 by mpm

Sorry, folks, we didn’t quite reach critical mass on speakers this month. If you’re interested in visiting the Hack Factory, you should drop in tomorrow night (Wednesday) for our weekly meeting.

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!

Hack Factory Cabaret Tuesday, July 27th!

July 18th, 2010 by mpm

This month’s Hack Factory Cabaret will be on Tuesday, July 27th at 7pm. This is a series of quick 5 minute talks on various maker/hacker topics and will be FREE to all and FUN so bring your friends.

If you’d like to present a topic at this month’s talk, mail a brief synopsis to mpm at

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!

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