FoshayBuchet 2.0

January 1st, 2012 by Orkraider

FoshayBuchet 2.0
Last year, I made a Trebuchet shaped like the Foshay Tower as part of our series of Twin Cities themed siege engines. When I built it, I didn’t really know much about trebuchets, woodworking, or making physical objects in general. After having made a few more trebuchets, and some other objects of various kinds, I decided it was time to rebuild the FoshayBuchet. It’s not complete, as all the decoration on the Foshay Tower shaped throwing arm has yet to be done, but the mechanical bits are all in order.

I first rebuilt the shroud for the throwing arm, making it more a more accurate representation of the Foshay Tower, as far as ratio and proportion. The old shroud can be seen hanging from the ceiling.
The original used 2 5 gallon buckets for counterweight. I replaced those with a wooden counterweight bucket which should hold quite a bit of mass.
I added a wooden carriage with wooden wheels to the base, so that the engine can be rolled into place, rather than dragged. The carriage also improves the efficiency of the engine, by allowing it to move back and forth a bit while shooting. This allows the counterweight to fall closer to vertical, resulting in a more efficient “Hurl”.
I brought the FoshayBuchet outside briefly for some test shots. With about 150 pounds of counterweight, and what was supposed to be a 1.5 pound sand filled fabric ball, I got a new distance record for this engine of 37 yards.
I’m hoping this distance will grow as I continue to improve the machine, add counterweight, and fine tune all the details.
I’m hoping to be hurling outside the Hack Factory on Saturdays if there’s light and it’s not too nasty.


Updates for member dues!

December 21st, 2011 by videoman

Are you a member?  Do you use a PayPal subscription to pay your dues?  Please update your subscription for the new year by visiting our Membership page, and subscribe for another year!  We have added a $75/month membership for those can afford it, and also added a followers monthly donation for $5/month.

A Last Supper

Makers making...

That’s it!  Hope everyone has a great holiday and year end!  Without you and the community this space and community would not exist.  A big thank you to everyone who has helped make this happen!

Live @ The Hack Factory: Luke Armstrong

December 9th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak



SATURDAY 12.10.11

7:00 – 8:30


After college Luke Maguire Armstrong joyfully committed financial suicide by taking out a last minute student loan so he could hitchhike from Chile to Alaska. Fodder from these shenanigans, which include narrowly escaping muggers in Peru and visiting a FARC run cocaine factory in Colombia, are part of the inspiration inspirations for his award winning fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

For the last four years he has been hiding from the Student Loan Debt Monsters in Guatemala where he directs the humanitarian development organization Nuestros Ahijados. Through schools, clinics, a homeless shelter, a malnourished infant center, and other sustainable programs, this project works to “break the bitter chains of
poverty.” These efforts have been featured in The Huffington Post and ABC News 20/20 amongst others.

December 2011 is Luke’s multi-city Rabble Rousing Tour to recite poetry from his book iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About, sing songs (some about potatoes and chicken patties), promote social justice and spread awareness about issues ranging from human trafficking, infant malnutrition, illiteracy and the troubling lack of education opportunities for parrots and dogs.

Rabble Rousing Tour 2011 Flyer 

Big Blue Club

December 4th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Welcome to the first couple members of the Big Blue Club. Or in other words, those that have gone through the Miller TIG orientation and are authorized to use the Miller 330A/BP.


Leatherworking for steampunk projects

November 28th, 2011 by swinkdaddy


Material provided as part of class:

  • Speed stitcher/awl
  • Brown nylon waxed
  • 4oz veg tanned tooling leather

Materials you should bring:

  • Really sharp and strong scissors (get them at a sewing store not hardware store)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Objects to “steampunk” your creations

This informal class will cover the basics of leathercrafting for steampunk projects. The first day we will cover basic leatherworking skills like cutting and sewing.After a quick break we will start working leather and plan a quick project that you can finish that evening. The next Thursday will be a full workshop where you can bring in ideas for personal projects to work on and get help with. We will also cover a few more detailed leather working skills on the second Thursday too. So start collecting brass and copper bits to steampunk your creations!

leather working class

Chili Cookoff – Nov 30th

November 21st, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Got a special chili recipe? One that you have to keep in the safe deposit box, lest your brother steal it and make millions? Well we dont want your recipe, just the awesome chili to taste. Winner gets bragging rights and the coveted 1st Annual Hack Factory Chili Trophy of Awesomeness!

Rules: Its a hackerspace, come on?!? Well wait, it has to be chili at least…
Voting: ballot in a box
Winner: most votes

Date: Nov 30th Open House
Time: Pack in 7pm, Tasting at 8pm

Pedal Dragon Brainstorm Kickoff

November 17th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

When – November 30th Hack Factory Open House, 8pm, classroom
What – Making awesome out of thin air
Why – Why not…

After a couple of months to stew on the pedal dragon concept, we are going to have a formal brainstorm session to really hash out a realistic (yeah right) plan that we can start on. Bring those idea and sketches you make while unable to move after eating too much turkey, or avoiding black Friday.

Give to the Max Day 2011

November 15th, 2011 by metis

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

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

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

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

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

Online fundraising for Twin Cities Maker

CNC Engraving with Inkscape

November 11th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Class title: CNC Engraving with Inkscape
Preregister at:
Requirements: A laptop/netbook running Windows/MacOS/Linux with Inkscape
( installed.

In the first portion of the class, we’ll explore the Hershey Text and
Gcodetools extensions for Inkscape, then we’ll create some art to engrave.
If you have existing vector or raster artwork you’d like to engrave, please
bring it to class. Once we’re finished with the designs, we’ll render
Gcode, the step needed to tell our CNC router what to do.

In the second portion of the class, we’ll be using the CNC router (driven by
EMC2 ( to create real-world objects engraved with our
Inkscape art. Blanks of pine (3.5″ by 8″) will be provided for engraving.

$25 for members, $30 for non-members. 15 Students max.

6pm-9pm November 22nd.

More information at

11/9/11 Open Hack Night Photos

November 10th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Pictures from the weekly open hack nights at Twin Cities Maker’s Hack Factory.

Welcome to the new members that joined up last night, not sure on the count but I know we had at least one! We updated our number goal for the upcoming month to 90, hopefully we will get there!

Handmade Music 10

November 10th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

We will be building an easy to build LoFi Fuzz distortion effect using kits provided by

This transistor based circuit will instantly add gritty tones, sustain, and oscillations to your guitar, microphone, or any other electronic instrument with a 1/4 inch output.

Price of the workshop is only $10 and that will include the cost of the kit. Soldering experience is not required. Bring your own tools if you like. Duration 2hrs.

Talking Computron and The Ring Toss Twins performance after the workshop.

Saturday, November 19 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Hack Factory
3119 east 26th street
Minneapolis, MN

facebook event

 More information as it comes in.

Intro to Arduino

November 10th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

Our intro to arduino class is going on, this session is full. Be sure to keep an eye on the calendar for up-coming classes. Here are some pictures and a video from the first session.

Board Meeting – Date Change!

November 7th, 2011 by pyrodogg

Board meetings for Twin Cities Maker are now held on the second Tuesday of each month. The time and place remain unchanged; 7pm  at the Hack Factory. The first meeting on this new schedule will be held on November 8th.

The board voted and moved on the date change at the October meeting. The board is dedicated to transparency which is partly why the meetings were originally held on the Wednesday night, which corresponds with the weekly open house at TC Maker.  While it provided a great intersection of many members at the space space and important things happening it became too much of a hassle for the board members to conduct a meeting and perform other duties.

By tying up the Boards time for up to two hours on the busiest night of the week, it prevented the board members from socialising with the members to solicit their opinions on how the organization is doing.  It also tied up Brandon and Karin (our two primary member intake folks – thanks!) from helping new members fill out their applications and getting their key fobs.

This isn’t to say that the board members are going to have a decreased presence on Wednesday nights, far from it.  They already remain quite active at the space on non-meeting Wednesdays currently.  This just means that the board can have a more dedicated time where they can focus on the meeting at hand and still have time to socialize with the members.  The meetings are still open to the public and participation from the membership is encouraged.

If you’re interested on the goings-on of the board I highly encourage you to show up to the next meeting, Nov. 8th at 7pm at the Hack Factory.

More information on the Board’s proceedings, including agendas and past meeting minutes, can be found on our wiki.

What: Board Meeting
When: Second Tuesday of each month, 7pm
Where: Hack Factory







We have a spark…

November 6th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

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

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

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

Videoman testing the big TIG

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

Open house at the Hack Factory October 26th Style

October 27th, 2011 by Paul Sobczak

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

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


Pumpkin Hacking – Tonight 10/26 7pm

October 26th, 2011 by pyrodogg

Photo By Bre Pettis

Bring a pumpkin to open house and join the pumpkin hacking party! We will have some tools on hand but feel free to bring your own.

Women’s Night – Tonight 10/25 at 6pm

October 25th, 2011 by pyrodogg

What: Women’s Night
Where: Hack Factory
When: Tonight, Tues. Oct 25th form 6pm to 9pm
Why: Tonight we will be offering a crochet lesson and an intro to mig welding class at 7pm


The last Tuesday of every month we will holding an open night for women only. We would like to open the Hack Factory to all women in our community and showcase what we can offer. We believe everyone should have access to our resources and open exchange of information.

Barcamp 6 in Milwaukee = WIN

October 2nd, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Got back today from attending Barcamp 6 in Milwaukee. Basically it was a 36 hour (straight through the night) of talks/hacking/demoing/learning. The conference is set up to not be a bunch of big wig speakers, but passionate attendees that share their knowledge to the group. I was kinda of unsure how well this would work, but I have to say now, that I AM A FAN!

First off we sent a microphone around the room of 100+ people with the purpose of getting a name and what that person wanted to teach and what they wanted to learn. So that right there changed what was being presented that day, as someone wanting to learn X, inspire someone else to teach X as we went around the room.

Needless to say we need to send more people to this barcamp. The Milwaukee barcamp is very hackerspace focused, and the ideas presented were fresh and fun. I am planning to go back next year.logo

Pow, Pow, Power Wheels Racing Series!

September 20th, 2011 by videoman

Power Racing Series 13.jpg

The power wheels racing series has created a Kickstarter project to help fund next years efforts! This was really a great opportunity for a few of the makers in our space to come togher at the 11th hour to create a car! I would love to see stronger and larger team from the Hack Factory next year!

To help support the project, go to the Kickstarter project page.

E-Hack Night – Mon. 19th 6:30pm

September 18th, 2011 by pyrodogg

Come out to the Hack Factory this evening for a few hours of electronic hackery.

  • Have questions on an electronics project or looking for inspiration?
  • Need help getting something soldered together?
  • Need fresh eyes on a problem that’s been driving you nuts?
  • Just looking to get things done along with other electronics folks?

Then this night is for you!

We’ll be set-up in the classroom. This hack night starts whenever people show up to hack, say around 6-?. I’ll be there by 6:30.

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