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.

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:

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

« Previous Entries Next Entries »