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 slsolarz@gmail.com.

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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 slsolarz@gmail.com!

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 slsolarz@gmail.com 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.

Origami chair redesign: a fiberglass exterior

June 16th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Hey, thanks for checking out my blog!  Last week I promised to write about creating the exterior of my chair.  Below, I describe my thought process around editing the seat shape, choosing a color and an exterior finish.  I also discuss the mistakes I made and how I corrected them.

Between layers of fiberglass and resin I sanded from 80-150-220 grit—a mistake.  Because resin will drip, I was limited to applying it only to surfaces that were level.  I then had to reposition the chair and again apply resin only to the level surfaces.  All of the sanding and limits to resin application meant that it took several weeks just to apply one layer of resin to the entire chair.

Between layers of fiberglass and resin I sanded from 80-150-220 grit—a mistake. Because resin will drip, I was limited to applying it only to surfaces that were level. I then had to reposition the chair and again apply resin only to the level surfaces. All of the sanding and limits to resin application meant that it took several weeks just to apply one layer of resin to the entire chair.

First, I needed to ensure that the ergonomic seat I had just carved from spray foam and covered in body filler would be comfortable for any adult.  Minne-faire was approaching, so I decided to display my unfinished chair in order to collect some data about the comfort level of the seat and whether or not I needed to edit the shape.  My carving mistake was quickly revealed:  every woman who tried the seat loved it and every man found the back half of the center ridge too high!  Oops!  Luckily, that was an easy fix.

Second, I considered the color.  I could not decide between bright orange and white so when I invited visitors to try out the seat, I also asked them to vote for a color.  Their choice was clear:  classic bright red!

Throughout the dried, but not yet sanded, layers of resin (the shiny areas in this photo) appeared dozens of small mars and dents—with every single layer.  This was one clue that resin alone was going to be insufficient coverage.

Throughout the dried, but not yet sanded, layers of resin (the shiny areas in this photo) appeared dozens of small mars and dents—with every single layer. This was one clue that resin alone was going to be insufficient coverage.

Third, for a sleek, contemporary look I decided to give the chair a fiberglass finish.  Most of the chair received one layer of fiberglass and 4-5 layers of resin.  The seat and back were coated with 3 layers of fiberglass cloth and 5 layers of resin.  Between each layer I sanded the resin from 80-150-220 grit which turned out to be a mistake.  Each non-final layer of resin should only be sanded to 80 grit so that the next layer will easily adhere.

The extra sanding did help by yielding a perfectly smooth surface before applying the next layer of resin.  However, despite the smooth application surface, each new layer of resin consistently produced substantial mars & dents.  I seemed unable to pour a smooth layer of resin which made me wonder if I was ever going to be happy with the finish.

The white circles in this photo surround dark spots on the seat and back.  Those are not shadows but, rather, the dark green body filler that I used when I ran out of pink body filler.  It is showing through 3 layers of fiberglass cloth and resin.  This was my second clue that fiberglass and resin were going to be insufficient coverage.

The white circles in this photo surround dark spots on the seat and back. Those are not shadows but, rather, the dark green body filler that I used when I ran out of pink body filler. It is showing through 3 layers of fiberglass cloth and resin. This was my second clue that fiberglass and resin were going to be insufficient coverage.

I thought that using fiberglass resin would negate the need to paint the chair because the resin can be tinted with universal pigments (the kind that your local paint store uses).  The hardware store where I bought the resin threw in the pigment for free and I combined them in a plastic bucket.  The resin color looked perfect in the bucket!  But once on the chair I realized that resin is super translucent because it contains no opaque base.  Therefore, the 2 different colors of body filler I used on the seat were very visible, even through 3 layers of fiberglass cloth and resin!

If I ever do this again, I will make sure that the color of my chair before laminating is consistent throughout. With an even-colored base, the tinted resin and fiberglass cloth would have been adequate coverage.  Still, to get a smooth surface I would have to spray the resin rather than pour or brush it on.

The difficulty in achieving a smooth surface combined with the translucency of the resin made me realize that I must paint the chair.  After pricing High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) paint spray guns ($180), primer spray guns ($50), paint ($100), and the rest of the equipment I would need to do the job myself, I decided to save some money and have my chair painted at an auto body shop ($250).  But this will be my final step and there is a lot more to do before I get there.

Next time, I will discuss the influence of Converse All Star sneakers on my design.

Hack Factory at Northern Spark 2013, June 8th 8:58 PM

June 5th, 2013 by videoman

The Hack Factory is going to be at Northern Spark this year!  We have some amazing Artists creating some super cool projects!  We also ran a fund raiser for the Hack Factory on Indiegogo to support these projects.  That ended last week, but you can still put in an order for T-Shirts or LED throwies here.  Make sure to watch WCCO Friday morning @5:10&6:10am, as they Interviewed us at the Hack Factory talking about our Northern Spark projects.

HF-NS-trebuchet-final-tshirtNorthern Spark is an over night art festival from dusk to dawn on June 8th 2013.  It’s free and open to the public, and is a completely walkable festival this year in the Lowertown part of Downtown Saint Paul.

Riley Harrison is bringing his Foshaybuchet project, and will be hurling illuminated projectiles down range, at large wall of steel!  We did a test launch of these this week, and they look like glowing fireworks!

IMG_4021-2

David Bryan, Cali Mastny, and Aaron Prust are doing Steel, Exquisite Corpse of.  This will be a steel sculpture created by three artist over the course of the night, where each artist does not know what the section before or after looks like until the entire sculpture is brought together towards the wee morning hours.  Below is a sample we created to test out the process.

IMG_3859

David Bryan is also bringing Strange Attractor to the festival, a wall of glowing lights that will mimic the phase synchronization of fireflies in nature.

IMG_4039

Steel, Exquisite corpse of – Drawings needed!

May 22nd, 2013 by videoman

IMG_3852Hello folks!  We are running the art project Steel, Exquisite corpse of, at Northern Spark this year on June 8th.  When we start out the night, we need one drawing that will help inspire us for the first segment of the art piece.  The first sculpture will have a theme of underground, above ground, and sky.

We want the first segment of the sculpture to be drawn by you!  Submit your photos by tweeting to @HackFactoryMN with the hashtags of #nspk38 and #underground.  First 20 people to tweet us before June 8th with photos of their drawings will receive two LED throwies on the night of the event.  Please help support this project by donating to our Indiegogo campaign or sharing this with your friends!

Cali, Aaron, and I did a small test run of Steel, Exquisite corpse of last night, and it turned out really cool!  IMG_3862

Strange Attractors Project for Northern Spark 2013

May 16th, 2013 by videoman

David Bryan, Riley Harrison, Cali Mansty, and Aaron Prust are presenting multiple projects for Northern Spark 2013 on June 8th in Downtown Saint Paul! Northern Spark is an overnight interactive festival starting at 8:58pm and ending at sunrise!  We are inviting everyone to come and hang out, and enjoy the festival!  The Hack Factory will have three spaces setup for people to come and interact with the Art.

We are also in the process of fundraising for this project, currently we need about $3,800 to help cover the costs of materials, and $4,200 total to cover rewards. We receive all funds that are pledged.

Go donate now!

So lets talk about one of the projects, Strange Attractors.  You may remember me from such things as the Raspberry Pi powered cat feeder.  While I’m at it again, and making stuff with the Raspberry Pi.  I was asked create a few blog posts for MCM that talked about the Raspberry Pi Camera module that I’m going to use in my next project.

Strange Attractor1Image credit: Alex Weber, http://www.flickr.com/people/8123185@N02/

I am creating an art piece, Strange Attractors, for the Northern Spark Art Festival on June 8th.  Read the rest of this entry »

General membership meeting 6/26/2013

May 10th, 2013 by orion

This is a reminder that in order to be a member in good standing and be able to vote you must have your dues paid by 11:59PM 6/1/2013. If you have questions about your dues status please email treasurer at tcmaker.org More info to follow…

Reminder Bump

MinneFaire Post-Wrapup!

April 15th, 2013 by videoman

The MinneFaire was a great success this weekend! 42 exhibitors, 690 attendees, and whole lot of awesome volunteers!  From this we were able to raise over one thousand dollars for The Hack Factory.   We want especially thank all of our awesome Volunteers and Exhibitors for making this event such a big success.

IMG_3660

Satruday’s weather was not bad- chilly, but bearable if you were wearing warm clothing.  Sunday we saw that the temperature plummet, and the wind kicked up- so it would have been impossible to keep the tent warm enough for exhibitors.  So we made the executive decision to move all the tables inside, and squished everyone together, and it worked out great!

If you have photos of the event make sure to tag them with MinneFaire.  Thanks to everyone involved!  We hope to do it again sometime!

We also have a few on-line posts from folks:

 

Members to Exhibit at Minne-Faire

April 2nd, 2013 by skw33k

Dear Members,

Several of you have asked if there will be a table dedicated for our members to exhibit their completed projects/hacked hardware. Yes, there will be!

We still need you to sign up using our exhibitor sign up form — just make a note that you want to display on the TC Maker/Hack Factory table and be sure to include the size of the space it will consume. Space is limited and will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. Please do so by April 7th, as this helps us to plan our space appropriately. By signing up, you also get the advantage of exhibitor pricing ($5 for 2 admissions, which is a steal!).

Please note: you must pre-register or contact us prior to the fair to exhibit.

Go to the Exhibitor page on Minnefaire.org, and click on the signup form under “Open Call” at the bottom.

UPDATE (4/8/2013): We have closed the registration form, but we still have space for member projects. Please email fair at tcmaker dot org to reserve your space.

If you have any problems filling out the form, Laura, Riley or David would be happy to help you!

Thank you,
Laura
Minne-Faire Co-Chair

The Mill is Closing…

April 1st, 2013 by videoman

If you haven’t seen the news already, The Mill will be closing it’s doors April, 20, 2013.  We are very sad to hear that this space is closing.  It’s super important to have a space like The Mill in our metro area, as it provides growth to inventors and innovators.

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 9.32.21 AMThe Hack Factory is a space for people to prototype, invent, share, learn, teach, and improve upon our community by empowering people.  Once a prototype has been developed in our space, and a production line is needed, The Mill would be any professional makers next step, and it will leave a void in our community.  However, we will be in talks with Brian to identify what works for our group, and how we can best support the community.

That said, we do welcome anyone to stop by The Hack Factory, and check the space out to see if it’s right for you.  Our Minne Faire is April 13th & 14th, and we have open houses every Wednesday from 7-9pm.

Convergence Costume Countdown Camp

March 30th, 2013 by swinkdaddy

Ok, way too many “C’s” I know. But I am trying to gauge interest in creating a workshop/class that goes over creating “your” costume for this years Convergence convention in July. I know, I like to work with like minded artists while creating costume designs. Thinking this could be an interesting group to put together and at the end show off our collective maker-foo at this years event.

We could go over topics like:
Sewing (yes sewing is fun and guys can be good at it)
Pattern making
Making molds and copies
Fabricating appliances
Latex mask creation
Leather masks
Airbrushing
How to not pass out from heat exhaustion.

I’d like to put this together more like a camp. Where there is a topic and it starts with information, but the rest of the day is spent with as much or as little time “making” as you need. A lot of the time a person just needs direction to get from one place to another.

To give an example: You want to make a Mystique from X-Men costume. How would you make her signature skull belt? Well with silicone/latex molding of course. But were do you get molding supplies, and how does it work. Then how do you make copies? These were question I had and I am guessing there are a lot of people interested in coplay but do not know how to get the idea into reality.

Hey, if you are interested, leave a comment. Its never too early to start making a costume, but its often too late…

Shironuri No 96
Image is of the Maker (going by the name of No 96). photo taken by Tokyo Fashion

Raspberrpy Pi 101 Classes Posted!

March 18th, 2013 by videoman

We have two upcoming Raspberry Pi Classes posted!

Classes start April 2nd, and April 20th.

So you want to play with a Raspberry Pi?  But maybe you haven’t been able to get one yet.  Well you’re in luck!  This class includes a Raspberry Pi, Wifi, Power, Cables, LEDs, SD Card!  This is everything you need to get the Pi going.  Don’t know what a Raspberry Pi is? Check out this article from the NYTimes.  The ticket includes $120 worth of hardware for you and the class tutorials.

PI!

Class Kit Includes:

Fix-It Clinic at the Hack Factory

March 6th, 2013 by danbackslide

ES_Fixit_Clinic

This Saturday, Twin Cities Maker is proud to host the Hennpin County Fix-It Clinic!

Remember that broken toaster you’ve had sitting in the basement for a year, waiting for you to figure out how to fix it? Well, now is your chance! Bring your broken household goods and clothing in need of repair to Hennepin County’s Fix-It Clinic.

Fix-It Clinics reduce the amount of stuff that gets thrown in the trash, teach valuable troubleshooting and basic repair skills, and build community connections. These are family-friendly events.

Volunteer fixers are needed to make this initiative a success. Volunteers have skills in soldering, electronics and electrical repair, computer repair, sewing and general tinkering.

Please contact Nancy Lo at nancy.lo@co.hennepin.mn.usor 612-348-9195 with questions or to volunteer, or see more details at hennepin.us/fixitclinic.

Arduino 101: February edition

February 6th, 2013 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

 Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Ever wanted to make something blink or buzz, but don’t know where to start?  This is the class that will teach you the basics of what an Arduino can do, and how microcontrollers are awesome!

The February class is on Friday nights, Feb. 22 and March 1, from 7-9pm.

Cost is $50, which includes a parts kit we’ll be using in class (it’s yours to keep!). Students will need to supply their own Arduino board and laptop. 

  • The class focuses on the Arduino Uno model, but everything works with the Arduino Mega as well. The Arduino Leonardo is new and I haven’t had a chance to play with it, but I expect it’ll play nicely.
  • Arduino-compatible boards/Arduino clones might cause some issues — pin layouts may be different, and in some cases they’re not 100% code-compatible. If you already have one, feel free to bring it in, but if you’re just getting started I recommend buying an official Arduino board.
  • If you don’t have an Arduino, they’re available at most local Radio Shack stores, and also at Micro Center in St. Louis Park. Or you can check the Vend-A-Kit machine at the Hack Factory! (And of course you can mail-order one, but where’s the instant gratification in that?)
  • If you haven’t got a laptop, please get in touch. We can possibly work something out.

 

Arduino 101: January Hack Day edition

December 23rd, 2012 by danbackslide

Arduino microcontroller

 Sign up for the class at Eventbrite!

Ever wanted to make something blink or buzz, but don’t know where to start?  This is the class that will teach you the basics of what an Arduino can do, and how microcontrollers are awesome!

The January class is on Saturday, January 5, from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

The January class is our first Saturday Arduino class. We’ll be running both sessions in one day, with a lunch break. After class, feel free to stick around for Open Hack!

Cost is $50, which includes a parts kit we’ll be using in class (it’s yours to keep!). Students will need to supply their own Arduino board and laptop. 

  • The class focuses on the Arduino Uno model, but everything works with the Arduino Mega as well. The Arduino Leonardo is new and I haven’t had a chance to play with it, but I expect it’ll play nicely.
  • Arduino-compatible boards/Arduino clones might cause some issues — pin layouts may be different, and in some cases they’re not 100% code-compatible. If you already have one, feel free to bring it in, but if you’re just getting started I recommend buying an official Arduino board.
  • If you don’t have an Arduino, they’re available at most local Radio Shack stores, and also at Micro Center in St. Louis Park. Or you can check the Vend-A-Kit machine at the Hack Factory! (And of course you can mail-order one, but where’s the instant gratification in that?)
  • If you haven’t got a laptop, please get in touch. We can possibly work something out.

 

Give to the Max Day 2012!

November 12th, 2012 by metis

UPDATE:  A member has stepped up with a $500 matching gift!   As of 1PM today we still had $480 sitting on the table, if you weren’t sure, you can double your gift’s value.   We’ll loose that money if we don’t get donations to match it!

Give to the Max Day is TODAY!  Every hour you could help us earn a bonus $1000 donation even if you can only contribute $10!

It’s the season of giving, and that means that  GiveMN is running “Give to the Max Day”.  For those of you not familiar, GiveMN is a website that manages cash donations for many non-profits, including us, and Give to the Max is a massive fundraising effort for non-profits across our state.  It’s also our first year as an independent 501c3 charity and we’ve got a new page there.

 

 

Why should you give this Thursday the 15th over any other day of the year?   The big reason for us would be the chance to win a “golden ticket.”  Every hour throughout the day, one random donor that hour will have $1000 added on to their donation, and at the end of the day, there’s a $10,000 super-sized golden ticket.  Any donation gets us a chance to win that bonus, and the more times you donate throughout the day, the better the chances we have of getting a big boost to our budget.  They’ve even made donating on Give to the Max day easier this year by adding a pre-scheduled donation link to the top of the suggested donation list.  (It triggers in the first hour of the day.)  There are a few other great promotions going on for other non-profits in the state as well, so if you usually donate to other groups as well, it’s a great way to maximize your charitable gifts.

  

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, and helped us expand our shop. 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, or if you’ve got a project for the community that you’d like a project fundraiser page set up for.

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