Space: The Ongoing Quest

April 10th, 2014 by danbackslide

As many of you know we recently obtained some additional space. This allowed us to move storage off the main floor and out of the wood shop.

floor.png

With the move everybody gets a bit more elbow room. The major portion of the move happened during quarterly cleanup, but we are not done yet.

The machine shop will be moving into the old member storage area, which will get the precision machines away from the grinding dust and general chaos of the metal area. Coordination with our machinists and area preparation is ongoing but it will be done soon and the move will follow closely thereafter. In the meantime, anything parked in the old member storage area is subject to being moved at any time. If you leave something there make sure it’s mobile, and expect it to move.

Remember to label your things in member storage with your name and contact info. We have to know how to get a hold of you. While neat, clearly marked storage is unlikely to be touched, there are occasions when even those areas need to be shifted to accommodate other members. As we settle into the expanded storage space expect a bit more shifting around then normal.

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IMPORTANT NOTIFICATIONS!!!

March 20th, 2014 by Nemesis

Hey everyone!

We’ve got a really busy and exciting spring ahead of us, and we want all of you to be involved!

First: Saturday, March 29th is quarterly clean-up. In case you haven’t heard, we’ve acquired some new space! The current plan is to move member storage to the new space, freeing up a lot of floor space in the main part of the shop. We’re hoping to complete the move during quarterly clean-up. What this means for you: we will need plenty of warm bodies during quarterly clean-up to help move EVERYTHING.

Also, if you currently have a project on the member storage shelves, please consider doing a bit of tidying up before clean-up. If you haven’t worked on your project in quite some time, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that the storage is for active projects only and ask you to bring any in-active projects home. If you’re project is active, please make sure that everything is properly labeled and consolidated into as small of a space as possible. And consider showing up for clean-up to help move your own things (only way to guarantee that nothing gets lost in the shuffle or that you know where your stuff ends up).

Second: Our 5th annual Minne Faire is being held this year on May 31st and June 1st. Interested in showing off a project? Email [email protected]. It is free to display something as a non-vendor (and also free to attend this year — though we won’t say no to donations). Want to register as a vendor? Email [email protected] for details.

Finally: I’d like to say thank you to Tony Fulda for all of the time that he put into the metal shop (don’t worry, he’ll still be around) and welcome Steve Skalko as our new metal shop manager.

Love,

Madame President

 

WE WON!

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!

December 5th, 2013 by SLSolarz

This weekend: ceramics and lasers and 3D printers!

 

Our latest projects will be on display at the Hack Factory this weekend!

Come check out the 3D printer we just made!
Come check out the 3D printer we just made!

We’ll be a stop on the Seward Art Crawl and we want YOU to show off your projects!  Nothing to show right now?  No worries.  Come check out what others are working on, get some ideas or just socialize.  It will all be fun! 

Checking out new and in-process maker projects is fun!
Checking out new and in-process maker projects is fun!

Stop by anytime to pick up a map of the crawl, a poster or postcards with coupons from local businesses (good for Art Crawl weekend only)!

Ceramic Sculpture by Ann Meany

Ceramic Sculpture by Ann Meany

The Seward Art Crawl is December 7 & 8 (Sat, 10am-5pm and Sun, 12-5pm).  This is an important opportunity for us to show off the space and to promote Twin Cities Maker.  Stop by Friday afternoon to help get our space ready for the weekend!

To participate in or volunteer for the event email Susan at [email protected]

Make Magazine and Ford Motor Company’s Ultimate Maker Vehicle Challenge

November 18th, 2013 by Nemesis

Ask not what TC Maker can do for you, but what you can do for TC Maker!

“What can I do for TC Maker?” you ask….

VOTE!

Here is the link:
http://makezine.com/maker-vehicle-challenge/#view/19038/1651376

I need for each and every one of you to go give this awesome design all 5′s, every single day, from now until December 12th. Yes, you can (and should) vote every day.

527802c0-274c-4ab7-b1bd-70ab0a652ac7

Here is the link, again:

http://makezine.com/maker-vehicle-challenge/#view/19038/1651376

People put in a lot of hours on this. I make a complete fool of myself. At the end of the day, none of us are making any money on this. What more do you want?

What you want is for us to win the grand prize of $10,000, with all money being donated to Twin Cities Maker. This is your maker space and you want some new toys in it! Think of all the stuff that 10 G-notes could buy! A few of us did this challenge as labor of love for a shot at giving back to a community that has given each of us so much. It is your turn to help us out. Go vote.

Love,
Madame President

Seward Winter Art Frolic

November 17th, 2013 by Nemesis

ATTENTION EVERYONE: The Hack Factory will be a location for the Seward Winter Art Frolic. We want YOU to come display your cool projects, teach people skills, etc. The Winter Art Frolic is December 7 & 8 (Sat, 10am-5pm and Sun, 12-5pm). This is an important opportunity for us to show off the space and promote Twin Cities Maker. To find out more about the Art Frolic, go to http://sewardarts.org/. To find out how you can help and participate in this event, contact [email protected]

Give to the Max Day Update #3

November 14th, 2013 by danbackslide

Unfortunately, GiveMN’s website has been down for most of the afternoon. Please keep checking back, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience…

In other news:

  • The skeeball playfield parts are being cut even as I type. Some problems with the cut files slowed things down for a while.
  • The yurt should be up Real Soon Now.
  • Art cars!
  • Steve’s smelter will be firing up shortly on its inaugural run. Come by and watch us melt stuff!

There will be music later, as well as beer. Come on by, we’d love to show you around! The Hack Factory is open until midnight tonight.

gttm_smelter

gttm_yurt

Give to the Max Day Update #1

November 14th, 2013 by danbackslide

So here’s what’s been happening so far:

  • A yurt collar has been built
  • Lots of skeeball parts have been sanded (and lots of sawdust has taken up residence in my shirt)
  • The back part of the skeeball cabinet is standing
  • Cocoa has been forgotten

Not bad for just under 5 hours’ work. The Give to the Max Micro Minne-Faire continues all day! Feel free to stop by any time. And we’d be thrilled if you were to give us a donation — every donation made today through GiveMN is being matched by a host of fine donors. Click the green logo over there to the right, or donate at our Give to the Max Day page. Remember, your donations are tax deductible, and immensely appreciated.

The wood shop at 5am

The wood shop at 5am

Micro Minne Faire Begins At Midnight November 14!

November 14th, 2013 by Obi-Bob

Twin Cities Maker’s 24 hour Micro Minne Faire and Hackathon launches at midnight this Wednesday night!  This DIY, maker and hacker event is being put on in conjunction with GiveMN’s Give To The Max Day.  Every donation made to Twin Cities Maker will increase the chance for TCM to double donations received.  Come to the Hack Factory and see what’s going one: doors will be open all day and all night for the Faire.   The trebuchet will be launching LED throwies all day and night.  Fox 9 was here earlier to film and launch a throwie of their own.  Live music starts Thursday night.

Treb4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUb0ZwKYXbg

Click on the GiveMN Donate Now button or go to http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Hack-Factory-Of-Minnesota to donate now.

 

Micro Minne Faire

October 30th, 2013 by Nemesis

November 14th is GiveMN’s Give to the Max Day! Twin Cities Maker will be participating in Give to the Max Day, allowing us the opportunity to receive matching grants for donations made. To further our fundraising campaign, Twin Cities Maker will be holding a Micro Minne Faire at the Hack Factory. This is a small DIY and Maker Expo that will begin at 12:00 AM on November 14th and end at 12:00 AM on November 15th. That’s right. This is a 24 hour event.

Makers, hackers, and DIY enthusiasts are encouraged to display projects and participate throughout the event. The event is free and open to the public. If you want to participaten or just visit, stop by!  We’ll be here, and ecstatic to see you!

In addition to project displays, there is also going to be a group build of a Steampunk themed Skeeball machine. Everyone is encouraged to contribute to the project. There will be live music and beverages in the evening.  A kiosk will be set up to facilitate online donations at the Micro Minne Faire.

Not able to make the event? Stop by any Wednesday for our weekly Open House from 7 to 10 PM.

Thank you to everyone for supporting Twin Cities Maker and we hope to see you at the Micro Minne Faire!

Wait, you wanted to support your favorite local makerspace and weren’t sure how to make your donation count to Give to the Max Day?  CLICK HERE

Halloween Open House Wednesday, October 30

October 26th, 2013 by Obi-Bob

ElectricChairDeath Small

The Wednesday, October 30 Open House will be spookier than normal!  Put on your favorite costume and come to The Hack Factory for the Second Annual Twin Cities Maker Halloween Open HouseOrama!  Ride the Electric Chair, if you dare!  Tremble in fear at the awesome power of the Jacob’s Ladder!  Who knows what else you’ll see?

Twin Cities Maker is going to Milwaukee Maker Fest 2013

October 14th, 2013 by Orkraider

aTreb
Click the pic to see it launch!

Twin Cities Maker is going to be showing our stuff at Milwaukee MakerFest 2013. I’m going to be bringing the little tiny trebuchet of doom, and a variety of other small items that I can fit on the bus with me. If you have any ideas for a great project or small object that can travel with me to Milwaukee, let me know!

Riley

Musical PVC Bench goes on display!

September 19th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Because I solvent welded each section upside-down, some PVC cement collected and dried on the seat.  Here you can see that I still have a lot of filing and sanding left before I can spray paint.

Because I solvent welded each section upside-down, some PVC cement collected and dried on the seat. Here you can see that I still have a lot of filing and sanding left before I can spray paint.

Volunteer worker Stephen VanDahm spent his Wednesday evening filing and sanding the bench in preparation for painting.

Volunteer worker Stephen VanDahm spent his Wednesday evening filing and sanding the bench in preparation for painting.

Hey, thanks for checking out my blog!

This will be my last post about my musical PVC bench. I still need to drill holes for connecting sections, make new paddles for playing music and finish lots of sanding and painting.  However, it WILL be ready to exhibit by Saturday evening when it goes into storage at the Alliance Bank Center. It will then go on display at 55 E 5th St. in Saint Paul Tues 9/24 – Thur 9/26.

Check out my press release for all the details.

Many thanks to all the TC Makers who volunteered their time to help with this project!

In my next posting, I will return to my series on redesigning the Origami Chair.

Clean-up day approaches…

September 18th, 2013 by danbackslide

 

Cleanup

It is that time again. Saturday September 28th is the next quarterly clean up.

The festivities begin at 10 AM.

With the arrival of the Industrial Sewing machines and Sergers, and of course the Laser we will have a lot of outside interest. Lets take the opportunity to really get the place in order so we can covert that interest into members.

With the wood shop and metal shop in fairly good shape we will be concentrating on member storage and up for grabs. Remember our storage is designed for active projects and personal tools. We just do not have the space for long term, someday storage and hoarding. As always we will work out something if we know about it and some longer term out of the way space has opened up. But what we don’t know about may just be gone the next time you come in. Parking Permits need to be updated if you haven’t been in recently. Outdated and undated Permits mean you are letting somebody else determine that it is junk.

Life happens and if you cannot make it to Clean Up please try and drop by in the days leading up to it and do your bit.

The Fall brings more potential membership interest, more use of the space, increased class schedules and more events. With that the staff and board can get a better handle on what we need to do with the facilities.

So let’s get the Hack Factory in shape.

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 [email protected]

Raspberry Pi Roadshow is coming to town!

July 29th, 2013 by danbackslide

raspi-in-caseWe’re pleased to announce that Rob Bishop from the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be swinging through the Hack Factory on Monday, August 12th! 

Rob Bishop was the first technical employee at Raspberry Pi and is currently one of two full time software engineers. Alongside his engineering responsibilities, Rob also acts as an “evangelist” and works to promote the educational mission of the Foundation.

Rob has given talks about the Raspberry Pi at various events worldwide, in venues ranging from conference halls to community meetings in garages.

Talk summary:

Rob Bishop, an engineer and evangelist for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, will present a talk entitled “Raspberry Pi – One Year On” that will cover both the origin story of the Raspberry Pi as well as outlining recent developments. The talk will present technical information about the Raspberry Pi alongside a discussion of the Foundation’s educational aims.

Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for an in-depth Q&A on both educational and technical matters.

Tickets for this event are free! But space is limited, so be sure to get your tickets early…

Building a musical bench: a Twin Cities Maker effort

July 22nd, 2013 by SLSolarz

A couple of weeks ago I posted an invitation to join my effort to build a musical bench of PVC.  Thank you to TC Makers Becca, Bill D, Bob G, Colleen, Jon, McSteve, Roxanne, Scott and Shawnuk for their generous help over the past 2 weekends.

Section 1 (of 6, foreground) is done!  Sections 2-4 can be seen in the background as well as one paddle prototype.

Section 1 (of 6, foreground) is done! Sections 2-4 can be seen in the background as well as one paddle prototype.

Because of them I now have a paddle prototype, 4 sections cut, 2 sections in welding progress and one section complete!

My original plan was to have the bench finished by last night—not even close!  Several complications arose as we started to build:

1.  Two circles = 0 surface area

Fellow TC Maker, Steve M, pointed out to me that before I began solvent welding, it would strengthen the bond if I increased the surface area where each pipe intersects.

There is almost no surface area at the intersection of 2 circles.

There is almost no surface area at the intersection of 2 circles.

I tried using the band saw to shave off some of the pipe exterior and flatten the places where each pipe meets another but that was really messy and slow.

Bill D generously made a jig for me to use with a router which tremendously speeded the process back up.

This is me using the jig that Bill D made for shaving a flat surface into the edge of the PVC pipe using a router.

This is me using the jig that Bill D made for shaving a flat surface into the edge of the PVC pipe using a router.

2.  Four inch diameter pipes are not musical

My friend Shawnuk stopped by the Hack Factory to help me work out details before I geared up to start building.  As soon as he saw my 4” diameter pipe samples, he pointed out that they would have to be much taller than bench height in order to make a musical note.

We tested this out and he was right.  Luckily, I had purchased only one pipe.   Recognizing that a 2” diameter pipe would probably work, I had to re-draw my design in Sketchup.  In order to keep the bench reasonably large, I now need to solvent weld 270 pieces!

My new bench design (foreground) compared to the old design shrunk along the horizontal axis to a 2" pipe diameter. The old design would have been too small if made with 2" diameter PVC pipe.

My new bench design (foreground) compared to the old design shrunk along the horizontal axis to a 2″ pipe diameter. The old design would have been too small if made with 2″ diameter PVC pipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Welding pipes takes TLC

TC Maker, Colleen, can solvent weld better than anyone else I know.  She showed me that although bungee cords and rubber bands can be helpful to hold pipes together as they dry, as the welded section grows there is no substitute for just holding the pipes in place until they are dry enough to stand on their own.  This really slows the overall process when I am working alone.

As the size of the section grows bungee cords no longer work to keep pipes in place as they dry.  Here, Colleen holds several pieces together until they can maintain their position on their own.

As the size of the section grows, bungee cords no longer work to keep pipes in place as they dry. Here, Colleen holds several pieces together until they can maintain their position on their own.

Please stay tuned for future volunteer opportunities!

Help build a musical PVC bench, improve a St. Paul community and learn how to solvent weld

July 6th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Hey, thanks very much for checking out my blog!

Last week I promised to discuss the influence of Chuck Taylor shoes on my chair design.  However, I need to take a short break from my rocker to create a bench for a block-improvement effort in the Dayton’s Bluff Community.

This is the bench that I designed for the block improvement effort at Dayton’s Bluff. To construct it, I must solvent weld 210 pieces of PVC pipe. I need a few volunteers to help cut PVC pipe and solvent weld so that I can finish the bench by July 20, 2013.

This is the bench that I designed for the block improvement effort at Dayton’s Bluff. To construct it, I must solvent weld 210 pieces of PVC pipe. I need a few volunteers to help cut PVC pipe and solvent weld so that I can finish the bench by July 20, 2013.

In this post, I will describe the bench design and invite you to help build it!  Interested?  Shoot me an email at [email protected]!

All participants will learn how to solvent weld PVC.  The skill is used to build many exciting maker projects from potato launchers  to musical instruments like the ones played by the Blue Man Group.  In fact, the bench that we build can be used both for rest and to play a few tunes while waiting for the bus!

Two sets of foam-rubber paddles with wood handles will be attached to the bench using a small gauge steel cable.  The paddles create a musical sound when the player strikes the top end of the pipe (the foam rubber must cover the entire opening) forcing the air out the bottom very quickly.  The length of the pipe determines the pitch of the note.  Shorter pipes produce higher notes and longer pipes produce lower notes.

Two sets of foam-rubber paddles with wood handles will be attached to the bench using a small gauge steel cable. The paddles create a musical sound when the player strikes the top end of the pipe (the foam rubber must cover the entire opening) forcing the air out the bottom very quickly. The length of the pipe determines the pitch of the note. Shorter pipes produce higher notes and longer pipes produce lower notes.

 

To make construction easier, I designed the bench in 6 sections.  Each section is 39 inches long and 19 inches wide.  Five of the sections are identical (just oriented differently) and one section is unique. Once I have all of the sections on site, I will bolt 3 pipes from each section to 3 pipes in an adjacent section.

Pink, orange and green colors identify 3 of the 6 sections that comprise the PVC bench.  The bench will be made in sections for ease of transport and installation.  The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council will remove the bench in the winter to avoid damage from snow plows.

 Pink, orange and green colors identify 3 of the 6 sections that comprise the PVC bench. The bench will be made in sections for ease of transport and installation. The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council will remove the bench in the winter to avoid damage from snow plows.

 

The design uses PVC pipes of 5 different lengths with the longest pipes serving as the legs of the bench.  Standard bench height is 18 inches and each section of the bench has four 18 inch-long pipes.  Placement of these bench legs will be important for balance and stability.

 

This is a view from underneath the bench illustrating how many 18 inch-long PVC pipes there are in each section.  Only the longest (18 inch) PVC pipes touch the ground and, thus, it is only the 18 inch pipes that are displayed in this view.

This is a view from underneath the bench illustrating how many 18 inch-long PVC pipes there are in each section. Only the longest (18 inch) PVC pipes touch the ground and, thus, it is only the 18 inch pipes that are displayed in this view.

Please contact me at [email protected] to help build a bench for a better block in the Dayton’s Bluff community!

Quarterly Cleanup Recap

July 1st, 2013 by Nemesis

As I’m sure you are all aware, quarterly cleanup of the Hack Factory was this past Saturday, June 29th. It looks like we had a turnout of 24 people and we accomplished quite a bit, including some major reorganization of the metal shop and the artifactory, a pretty deep cleaning of the classroom, and even a demo from Chris on how to change the cartridge and blade on the Sawstop.

We had several new faces, including a few people who came to do projects and stayed to clean instead. Everyone worked really hard and you all demonstrated why TC Maker an awesome group of people.

We did not get around to very much of the project storage for cleaning. I’d like to ask anyone who has a project stored at the Hack Factory to take a few minutes (or many minutes) the next time you are in to go through your project and help to clean up the member storage area a bit.

At this time, I want to personally thank each and every person who showed up for cleanup: Jeff, Pete M., Tony, Jude, Chris, Karin, Brandon, Susan, Jared, McSteve, Ed, Mike, Blair, Scott, Steven A., Paul, Sarah, David (sword guy), Matt (NFM), Jen, David (green polo), New guy in the Blick shirt (helped in woodshop), and White hair guy in the woodshop. I appologize to those of you whose names I didn’t catch or forgot (so you got a description, because you are valuable and awesome — and I will remember your name in the future). Once again, you are all the definition of EXCELLENT.

Thanks,
Becca

WOMEN HOST DIY CAMPING GEAR @ THE HACK FACTORY

June 21st, 2013 by Nemesis

Hey, Everyone! Camping season is upon us (well, when it isn’t busy raining). Many of us love camping, but we do not love spending $$$ on gear.  There are a lot of easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself options for camping and backpacking gear.

This month at the Hack Factory, Women Host (a group of super-awesome TC Maker ladies) is having a DIY camping gear skill share.  Everyone is welcome to attend (though we do ask that you register on Eventbrite). We’d love to have you bring your ideas, knowledge, questions, and camping related projects to share! There will also be discussion, demonstration, and construction of alcohol-burning stoves (the DIY camper’s best friend).

Feel free to bring your own brew.AGG_stove_burning

Order tickets via Eventbrite:
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/7107244961/efbevent
A note about Women Host at the Hack Factory: This event takes place the last Tuesday of every month. It is a night that is open to everyone in our community, regardless of sex or gender, but we especially love for the women in our community to demonstrate, share and connect. We believe everyone should have access to our resources and open exchange of information. Future events will continue to be posted here or on the Women Host at The Hack Factory Facebook page – please like us! This event is free of charge and open to the public, thanks to the support of Twin Cities Maker and the Hack Factory.

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