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.

Gremlins in the machine

November 6th, 2012 by orion

So it has been brought to my attention that invoices were not being credited when paypal got the money for the subscription accounts. I have found the issue and it should no longer be a problem. If anyone else is still getting incorrect invoices please email treasurer at and it will be fixed.


The money guy

Halloween fun starts now!

October 30th, 2012 by Nemesis

Ladies and Gentlemen (and all other humanoids),
Tonight begins the Halloween celebration. Join us at the Hack Factory where the Women are hosting “Pumpkins and Powertools”. This title should be a fairly accurate description of the event. Bring a pumpkin. We have powertools. Enough said. Also, if you’d like to bring an extra pumpkin in case someone needs one, we are always greatful for people being excellent to each other.

Do not forget / neglect to join TC Maker at the Hack Factory for our open house and Halloween celebration tomorrow evening.
– Costume contest from 6-9 PM. You do not have to be present to win and there are prizes to be won.
– Rumor has it that there will be a reptile show happening early to mid evening.
– Mad scientist lab with props and decorations that will be making their debut tomorrow night.
– Trick or treating
– Pumpking carving
– There will most likely be edibles on the grill (donations encouraged)
– We have gotten permission to show the Transylvania Television Halloween Special at the shop. This will be happening after 10 pm.

The Hack Factory is the place to be for Halloween tomorrow night. If you find yourself with extra Halloween spirit, don’t forget that Pumpkins and Powertools is happening tonight.

Operation red tape

October 17th, 2012 by orion

Hello members,

I am doing an audit of our member database and and I am looking to get updated and current information from members (EG: you pay for a monthly membership). From my research I have found that I’m getting 15% bounces for official member announcements and some members are missing information in there file. If you are a current member paying dues, please help us out by updating in your information. We have setup a Google doc that will capture your info HERE.

Thanks for your time,
TC Maker Treasurer

edit for clarity

Halloween @ Hack Factory

October 10th, 2012 by Nemesis

Greetings to all makers, hackers, and lovers of all things spooky:

Make Magazine – How-To: Carve astounding art-pumpkins

As some of you have noticed, Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year.  Since Wednesday is open house night at the Hack Factory, we have decided to have an open house Halloween party. We will have trick-or-treating for children from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, along with food on the grill (donation based) beginning around 7:00 pm.  There will be pumpkin carving for all ages as a BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) event.  Twin Cities Maker will provide some child-safe carving tools.  A costume contest is being held, with more details later this week.

I hope to see you all there!


Quarterly Clean Up Saturday, September 29

September 23rd, 2012 by Obi-Bob

Saturday, September 29 will be the fall clean up at The Hack Factory. This is one of the perfect times of the year to get the shop looking all spic and span. If you are unable to be here Saturday, make sure if there are any things you have stored in the shop that have Parking Tickets on them that you have them moved before Saturday, or else it may wind up in the dumpster or recycling. Saturday is the best time to help clean, but if you can’t make it then, please try to help clean and organize beforehand.

September Board Meeting

September 12th, 2012 by Obi-Bob

The TCM Board had another triumphant meeting Tuesday night.   There was planning and discussion  for TCM (Twin Cities Monsters?) Halloween Open House Night and Minne Maker Faire 2013, and a report from the NAMAC Conference which many Twin Cities Makers participated in.  Quarterly Cleanup is on Saturday, September 29, so if you can’t participate, make sure anything you don’t want thrown out is labeled.

Upcoming events which TC Maker will be participating in:

  • Southeast Minneapolis Learning Carnival, September 29  Registration deadline is this Friday.
  • Pancakes And Booze Art Show, September 22 is looking for art and artists.
  • Students from Augsburg College will be at The Hack Factory on September 20th for a found art class.

Raspberry Pi too

August 27th, 2012 by Judeling

Alex has taken over one of Vending Machines.


Vendakit vending machine is the side project of Alex from GetLoFi, it is meant is a physical distribution outlet for geeky things that we normally order over the Internet. At the moment the machine stocks kits Minneapolis based Nootropic Design, GetLoFi, CrazyButAble, and soon to include more makers. Other items currently in the machine include Arduino boards, Raspberry Pi computers, Proto Shields, and USB soldering irons.To learn about the machine updates, changes to the inventory, and new products please follow us on twitter:


Now if you are looking for a quick project its right here.

This looks like just the beginning for Alex.  He is talking about another machine, stocking components. Cash only right now.



August 15th, 2012 by Judeling

The long quest is over. We have officially received our 501 c(3) non profit tax exempt status.

This means we can directly accept financial, equipment and in kind donations (sorry dues don’t count).

While donation have been possible for some time thanks to Springboard for the Arts and other great financial sponsors. Eliminating a layer will give us much greater flexibility.  We have already begun the process of seeking underwriting for our community outreach (Minne-Faire, Handmade Music, Women’s Night, Makers in the Park etc.). While we expect that our members will provide the majority of our support, our new status will allow us to enhance and expand our core mission of making sharing and learning.


I’d like to thank Metis, Becca, Brandon and Dave for all their hard work. Our lawyers certainly shortened the process. Springboard and our other sponsors made the transition as painless as possible.

Power Wheels Build Team Request

June 29th, 2012 by Judeling

Steve, Dave, Andy and I were generally pleased with the outcome of our recent build.  Considering we built it in a week and it finished and finished forth in the endurance test, how could we not be.  The drivers report good handling characteristics.


…. But ….

We really never had a good chance to tweak and baseline test and so we slightly exceeded our motor’s ability. So in addition to our other tweaks we are searching for a better motor.  We are limited by rule to battery power and a 12 – 36 volt RMS to the motor. The thinking is that a cordless electric lawn mower or other continuous duty motor would work.


So if any of you out there have such a motor squirreled away not in use we could use it.

MakerBot Industries! BBQ, Beverages, and MakerBots?

June 26th, 2012 by videoman

MakerBot Industries, who create awesome kits for DIY 3-D printing will be in town Wednesday June 27th to demo their latest and super cool MakerBot Replicator. This is open to everyone, if you can, RSVP via Facebook so we get a count for the food.

Their new printer has a much larger bed, heated build platform, and can print using two colors. They will be doing demos during our Open House (open to all every Wednesday) at the Hack Factory starting at 8pm. We will also be doing a BBQ with grillables and beer provided by Makerbot starting at 7pm, and showing off our hacked 3-D printer that had a previous life as a medical device sampler. This is a great opportunity for the community to check out their new products, and talk with MakerBot.

Power wheels racing! 4th place!

June 26th, 2012 by videoman

The Hack Factory placed fourth at this years Power Wheels Racing series! It was awesome! We love our car!

Maker Faire KC 2012 Power Racing Series: Stop Breaking Down from Power Racing Series on Vimeo.

Thanks to the following folks for making this happen:
Build crew

  • Andy Kvamme
  • Steven Anderson
  • Jude Dornisch
  • David Bryan

Pit Crew

  • David Bryan
  • Karin Fitchett
  • Riley Harrison
  • Brandon Paplow
  • Becca Steffen


  • David Bryan
  • Karin Fitchett
  • Riley Harrison
  • Becca Steffen


  • David Bryan

A big thank you to Hammer Space for hosting the team, and for the tips and tricks from Sector67. It was super awesome!

PPPRS Coming along!

June 19th, 2012 by videoman

Andy, Jude, and Steven are helping to bring the 2012 PPPRS to life!

We need to help the PPPRS raise another 3k in 15 hours, with your help we can do it!



PPPRS 2012 Build, a set on Flickr.

Keyfob access update

May 15th, 2012 by orion

Hey folks, we have the shiny new Open Access Control System in place, and it works great!  So what does that mean?  We will be shutting off the old key access system June 1st.  If you have an old fob, we can cross trade you for a new one, just see David, Brandon, or Jude to get a new fob.  If you can’t make it to a Wednesday night open house,  email Brandon; treasurer at tcmaker dot org to setup a time to swap out your fob.


UPDATE 6/3/2012 The old controller is now inactive if you have not changed your key you will not get in.

Beginning Luthier Workshop – Tonite

May 7th, 2012 by swinkdaddy

Beginning Luthier Workshop – Electric Guitar
Mondays 7pm
May 7th-28th
Class Sign Up

Tonight kicks off the first class of DIY guitar building. Still 2 tickets left.


April 26th, 2012 by orion

The servers are undergoing downtime April 27, 2012, from 22:00 til 0600 CST the blog forum and wiki will be affected.

Thank You !!!

April 15th, 2012 by Judeling

getting ready

So another Faire is in the books. Despite some early weather worries the day couldn’t have been more perfect. The rain held off, the Sun came out, what more could you desire?


Over the next couple of days I’ll be posting a more formal recap, but I wanted to get out this big thank you right away.



Thank you visitors.

Thank you for giving us a chance to show off our space and the neat stuff we do. That you came and showed us your good will is greatly appreciated. (The fact that you were so neat and pick up was a breeze was a bonus).


Thank you exhibitors.

Thank you for your grace and understanding. There wouldn’t be an event without you.


Thank you performers.

Thank you for your patience, professionalism, skill and artistry. Your efforts took the event up a level and made it memorable.


Thank you volunteers.

Thank you for your willingness to take on any job and your inventiveness in solving any problems.


closing the day

I only have two last requests.

If you have any photos, video or sounds of the day you would like to share please email the links to [email protected] with photo in the subject line.

I would also like any feedback on the event you would like to share. We want to make this annual event as great as it can be. So email or use the contact us form with any impressions, suggestions or criticisms.

Thanks again and see you next year at Minne-Faire IV 4/13/2013.

It’s a Celebration

April 11th, 2012 by Judeling

In addition to the Projects, Exhibitions, Prizes and Hands on Demonstrations during Saturday’s Minne Faire from Noon until 5:00 Pm, we will have a Celebration starting at 7Pm.

After a hard day of showing off all our cool stuff, the only thing left for us to do is throw a party.

Come and join us.


Tim Kaiser
Will be starting us out with his gonkulations and acousto-electric contraptions, weaving aural sculptures that are haunting, startling, just down right amazing. It is no wonder that he is the troubadour of the Maker/Hacker movement. (Tim will also be exhibiting at the Fair).


Is up next. Patrick Flanagan’s steamfunk percussive driving sound is unique and unforgettable. As the human component of the cybernetic juggernaut that is Jazari, Patrick brings an impressive level of skill and craftsmanship to the creation of his instruments, the beauty of his software and the energy of his performance. I can never decide if the awe his instruments inspire or the inventiveness of his performance is more impressive.



Savage Aural Hotbed

Closes the show.

“…the sound of steel and rust, oil drums and hubcaps, screeches, sparks, grinders and gears finding new fury and energy… It’s also fun, it makes you smile to see a man make music with an electric saw…”
— Scott Simon, Weekend Edition, National Public Radio
‘nough said.

It is Complex

April 11th, 2012 by Judeling

Despite the recent controversy the show will go on.

The Minneapolis’s The Hacktor’s Collective Production of

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs:


Will be presented Friday April 13th

Both the author and the subject have their good and bad. The performance of this work at this time highlights the complexity of the Human makers of things and art.





Because of the performance Friday night drop off for the Minne – Faire will be closed from 6pm – 10pm.

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