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.

Parking Tags

September 9th, 2011 by pyrodogg

TC Maker member Chris Odegard recently implemented the Parking Tags system for the Hack Factory. The system was envisioned at i3Detroid and brought back to the Hack Factory by some of our members who recently went to Maker Faire: Detroit.

The goal of the Parking Tag system is to keep the space cleaner, safer and more accessible to members by identifying a projects responsible parties and setting certain expectations. Some expectations include projects being completed within reasonable time frames or moved around so as not to consume valuable space; safety of equipment and items around the shop; if it’s borked or broken don’t use it, try to fix it.

The system consists of the four color coded tags below. Here is a quick introduction:

The Parking Permit

The parking permit is intended to identify the party responsible for a project or its supplies, and when the project started. Permits are valid for 30 days and can be renewed for an additional 30-day period, subject to shop manager approval. This policy should keep things fluid around the shop so that projects don’t stagnate and take up precious work space from other projects.

You are able to indicate that your project is fragile/in a critical stage so that other members will not move your project without contacting you first.

The Parking Ticket

The Parking Ticket is used to identify any item that needs to be removed from the space for a variety of reasons, including: abandonment, personal and property safety, items parked in a hallway, etc.

The tag includes space for description of the infraction, issuer, and time of issue. Items so tagged have a two week window to be fixed up, removed by owner, or made safe before they will be removed from the Hack Factory.

All members are encouraged to use this ticket to tag items that are breaking the rules. Please keep in mind that the issuer is required to make a good-faith effort to contact the owner of the item (should be easy since it should have a permit ;) . If the owner cannot be reached, please bring the ticket you issued to the attention of a Shop Manager.

Borked or Broken

The Borked or Broken tag is used to identify things that just aren’t working correctly around the space; it serves two functions. First, it identifies to users of the item that either additional care must be taken, or that it’s completely unusable.

Second, it brings the item to the attention of  other members who might not be regular users of said item but have domain knowledge on how to fix it.

Project Invitation

The Project Invitation is intended to highlight a project so that other members know that they are welcome to get involved with it. Since the space is open 24/7 it’s likely that someone sharing your interests might be a regular at times you’re not at the shop. This tag can help initiate the conversation for others to join in working on your project.

This tag may indicate that a project is open for immediate involvement, i.e., pick up the tools and go at it. It might also indicate that the owner is looking for help but should be contacted first. So please look closely at the specific ticket before diving in.

This post is just a brief introduction to the different tags.  Please refer to the Parking Tags wiki article for evolving, up-to-date information.

If you have questions about the parking tags, you can look up any of the department heads, the shop manager or ask your question in this forum thread.

Upcoming Events

9/11 – Swap-O-Rama Rama
9/13 – Twin Cities Asterisk User’s Group
9/14 – Open House
9/15 – Hair coloring not actually happening sorry :(
9/17 – King’s Fair Festival, Seward Neighborhood

See calendar events in sidebar for more information.

Introduction to Bow Making Class

September 4th, 2011 by Orkraider

Introduction to Bow Making

shooting an american flat bow
learn how to make a fully functional american flat bow!

The fee will be $60, $45 for the class itself and $15 for materials and the tools, both of which the student will keep at the end of the class. (the tools and materials, not the money.)

This class will be open to 8 students.

Register and pay at Eventbrite: bowyer101.eventbrite.com

The class is going to cover the following:

a brief history of bows and archery in warfare and other uses

a brief survey of the types of traditional bows

a brief history of the English longbow, it’s design, and construction

the American Flatbow, it’s origin and design (This is the type of bow that participants will be making)

A description of the types of design variations and additions that can improve the look and performance of an american flatbow, but that will not be taught as part of this introductory class

Types of wood used for wood bows, and their characteristics

The plusses and minuses of red oak, which will be the wood used for this class

Tools used for bowmaking, including hand tools and power tools

How to execute the design and construction of a red oak american flat bow using the described tools, materials and design.

A brief description of what archery “tackle”, or gear, is needed to actually use a bow, including bow strings, arrows, forearm protection (vambraces), finger protection (archery tabs or shooting gloves), quivers, and bow cases.

The class will take place over the course of 6 hours.

Each participant will be provided with all the materials and tools needed to make this bow.

The materials will include exactly one red oak board per student, of dimensions 1.5″ by .75″ by 6′, selected by me.

It is my plan for each student to end the class by leaving with a fully functional bow.

Due to the fact that the students will be making the bow, and that wood under tension sometimes breaks, I can make no guarantee that this will be the case, but I will do my best as time, money, and materials allow.

The class will cover making this bow both with and without the use of power tools. The use of power tools will be optional for each student, with the caveat that while it’s very easy to make a bow fast with power tools, it’s also very easy to wreck one fast too.

Once the bow itself is completed, you will need at least a bow string and arrows to use it, at the barest minimum.

I might be teaching a class on arrow making, or “fletching”, down the road, but that’s a different kettle of fish.

Arrows can be bought locally, and I’ll be providing information on that.

Strings can also be bought locally, but I will offer finished bowstrings as an option, seperate from the class, at a cost of $10, made by me.

Vacuum Form Station – Group Build

August 23rd, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Kicking off a group build to make a large vacuum forming station for the Hack Factory. We have a number of group projects coming up that could really use the ability to form lightweight plastic parts (soon to be re-announced pedal dragon build).

If you want to help or have questions, follow the project on the forums.

Welcome the new interim department managers for TCMaker

August 22nd, 2011 by jrsphoto

Hello Everyone,

I would like to welcome three new area shop managers for the Hack Factory!

We have recently made some important changes to the Hack Factory that should go a long way to keeping our space both clean and organized going forward.  Originally we had one position, shop manager, filled by myself, who was responsible for the overall operation of the Hack Factory.  Keeping every area of the Hack Factory clean was a daunting task for one person. After a recent trip to the Detroit maker fair, and our recent growth, it became clear that that the job would require more than one person.

At our last board meeting, we split the roll of shop manager into four individual job functions, and asked three volunteers if they would be interested in filling these jobs.  They did and here are your new, interim area shop managers for the Hack Factory:

Overall Shop Manager………….. John Scherer
Wood Shop Manager……………. Chris Odegard
Metal Shop Manager…………… Anthony Fulda
Common Areas/Electronics……… Steve McGrath

Each has made a huge effort in cleaning up their respective areas and will continue to do so as part of their job functions.  In addition, each has been asked to spend a few hours, three days a week (one of those days is Wednesday) at the Hack Factory. They should be your first point of contact if you have question or concerns about a given area.  As always, you can feel free to contact me for anything regarding the operation of the shop in general. There is also a page on our wiki dedicate to the these functions. Please view them and view them often for updates.

I would like to take this opportunity to stress that each area is not a one man job.  It takes ALL of us to pick up after ourselves when we have finished working in an area.  All too often I see sawdust and wood scraps left near a tool and on the floor around a tool.  This should not happen.  If you use a tool, clean it.  The time it takes you should be proportional to the time you used it.  If we all do our part, the shop will be a much better, cleaner and safer place to enjoy.

Cheers and welcome to our new area shop managers.


August 21st, 2011 by swinkdaddy

The annual MSP/STP zombie pub crawl is happening this OCT 8th.
Anyone making an awesome zombie costume for a night of undead merriment?
Well why not, whats wrong with you! You should!

Lets meet Monday Oct 3rd and work on some molds and latex prosthetic to amp up your zombie-ness. We will have an informal costume hacking night. I’ll bring some mold making supplies and some latex to help make the undead – more undead-ish.


Questions and comments here


August 18th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

BarCampMilwaukee6 is happening October 1st-2nd, 2011.

Bucketworks 706 South 5th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204

We start at 9am on Saturday, and run through 4pm on Sunday. Feel free to come any time, and/or be there the entire time. (There’s a schedule.)

First time at an unconference? Read this.

You! BarCamp is made up of people. The people who show up and make it happen. We’ll be there… will you?

barcamp logo

Clean Up – Part Duex

August 18th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Missed last Saturdays clean up?
Thought it sounded like a good idea, but had a previous obligation?
Well never fear, you no longer have to live with the crushing guilt.

Clean Up Part Duex!
Sweep away that guilt while you help your fellow makers spruce up the place.
We have some public events coming up in the near future, and we want to look our best.

Sat 10-4pm
Please lend a hand for a couple hours.
Sleep well, knowing you made a difference…

Hack Factory Cleanup Day

August 12th, 2011 by jrsphoto

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow, Saturday August 13th, is our quarterly cleanup day.  If you can spare a few hours tomorrow stop by and help get our space cleaned up.  The shop is our community space and we can’t do it without your help. We will be making some changes soon that should help keep the shop cleaner going forward.

I believe that some sort of food will be provided for those in attendance – someone correct me if I’m wrong.

Hours are from 10a to 6p  - Hope to see EVERYONE there!


Riley Tests the 1/4 scale floating arm trebuchet

August 6th, 2011 by KellyM


Check out Riley at Detroit Maker Faire shooting it. http://multimedia.detnews.com/pix/photogalleries/newsgallery/MarkersFaire/index4.html 


Free Hot Metal Pour – Sat 8/6 – Franconia Sculpture Park

August 6th, 2011 by swinkdaddy


Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour
Saturday · August 6th · 10:00am to 8:00pm

Come and be part of art history and the direct casting of metal sculptures. Cast metal artists from around the world converge on FSP for a two-week workshop at the end of July. On August 6th, we invite the public to be part of out cast metal artist workshop and create (or collaborate on) your own small sculptures. A nominal fee is charged to cover expenses. Molds are $25, $40, and $75. For more information: click here or email [email protected] As our tradition upholds, Savage Aural Hotbed performs at 12:30 , 2:30, and 4:00pm .
There are a limited number of educational grants to cover the expense if you cannot afford the fee.
There will be two community scratch mold workshops on Saturday July 30th 1-4pm and Wednesday August 3rd 4-8pm.


Hot metal pour

Fundraiser Garage Sale Announcement

August 6th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Hey got any stuff that you’d like to put in a garage sale, but dont want to bother with actually having a garage sale?

Well, your in luck! we will take care of that for you.

First Annual TC MAKERS Garage Sale at the Hack Factory

We need to raise some funds for a couple of infrastructure projects that benefit all the members.
Hows this sound?

- shop-wide dust collection
- refurbished bathrooms and member locker space
- air-conditioning more of the shop
- air power for the entire space

Now that we have your attention. we need all that stuff sitting in your garage and basement that you could donate to a fundraiser garage sale for the Hack Factory “Make the Hack Factory Nicer For All” Fund.

Tentative Sale date Sept 17-18st
Tentative Setup and pack in Sept 14th

Note- date changed to allow more collection time and announce at wen meeting.

The plan is to clean out/up the hack factory the previous weekend and identify items we no longer want. Those items will either be thrown out or designated as garage sale items.

Bring your stuff to the hack factory with prices/name attached. The plan is to advertise the garage sale as a geek/maker centric sale.

Any questions or comments, please post to the forum.

Group Project Brainstorm on Forum

August 5th, 2011 by swinkdaddy

Last Wen open house we announced that we would like to start a large prestige build. After going to Detroit Makers Faire and seeing some really awesome stuff. The idea of a large project to get TC Makers on the map was a worthy goal.

So lets start brain storming, nothing is set in stone, but here are a few basic requirements.
- pedal powered (mpls/stp is a biking community after all)
- light weight but large
- able to take down/apart for travel to events
- fire and/or smoke
- some form of illuminated fabric or e-fabric with arduino control.
- sound system with interactive inputs

Some of these seemingly random requirements are in place to make sure everyone in the hack fac can participate in some way.

Let the ideas flow….

Any and all ideas are welcome, just submit a post on the forum in the Group Build – Brainstorm Phase thread. In a couple of weeks, we can go through them together at the wen open house.

Makers faire dragon image 2011 Detroit

Digi-Key sent us One-Day passes to Maker Faire Detroit & SWAG!!!

July 26th, 2011 by videoman

Maker Faire
The awesome folks at Digi-Key send us a box of T-Shirts and Maker Faire Detroit one day passes to give out. So if your going and want a free pass, follow @tcmaker and @digikey on twitter and post a pic of a project that you have made. Doesn’t have to be Digikey purchased parts, but it would help. Project posts will get choice of a Digi-Key T-Shirt and Tickets.

When tweeting, include @tcmaker and @digikey in the tweet so we can track them, thanks and good luck!


-David (@_videoman_)

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