Earth is the Hackerspaces Planet

September 28, 2016

NYC Resistor

Soft Robotics Talk at Maker Faire by NYCR Members Kari Love and Matthew Borgatti

Headed to Maker Faire? Come see our members Kari Love and Matthew Borgatti speaking about their soft robotics work and their company Super-Releaser. They’ll be presenting “Iterating on Soft Robots: Bringing the Maker Ethic to Emerging Technology” from 1:00 to 1:30pm on Sunday at the Maker to Market Pavillion.

Here’s the description of the talk from MAKE’s site:

The emerging field of soft robotics has experimentation at its heart. Roboticists from Super-Releaser will highlight how hands-on experience in materials and fabrication informs their research. Designing flexible things takes flexible thinking and the rapid hacking makers know so well.

by Matthew Borgatti at September 28, 2016 12:35 PM

September 27, 2016

Swindon Makerspace

Sustainable & Mezzanine Funding Drive!

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been open less than 6 months, and yet ahead of our expectations (and with much relief), our membership level has just tipped 32 taking us into sustainability!! A huge expansion from the founding group of just 5.

Reaching that incredibly significant milestone is extremely satisfying, and I think I’m safe in saying we’re all proud of the community we’re developing, but the rapid growth brings a new challenge – space. We’re already starting to a feel a bit cramped on busy evenings, particularly the Wednesday open evening, so it’s time to focus on our next objective – expansion!


We’ve always known we needed a clear path for expansion, and having the room to expand with a mezzanine was a key priority in selecting a suitable property. This is by far the most cost effective way for us to expand, as we only pay rent on the ground floor area. Fortunately, our landlords approved this in principle back in Feb before we signed the lease.

So, let me take a break from prose and show you some concept visuals – first up is a simple overview of how we plan to insert the mezzanine:


Taking advantage of the high ceilings, we can gain a little under 600 sq ft replacing the current kitchenette/seating area with a wide staircase to the new floor. This also allows the remaining space above unit 34a (the inset unit) to continue to be used for storage (e.g. raw materials, WIP projects).

In terms of usage, the ground floor space can then be divided up into distinct metal/wood zones, with doors to contain dust/noise, leaving the whole of the upstairs for light crafts, socialising, etc. One option for fitting out the space is illustrated below – with green blocks indicating storage areas:

Mezz layout option

Similarly, here’s an option for dividing the ground floor into metal (left) and wood (right) zones, including room for a large format laser cutter (big pink block top-middle):


Funding the Mezzanine

Funding this project is highly dependant on how we tackle the construction labour, but taking the same approach we used for the original space fit-out, we plan to do the majority of it ourselves! This keeps the cost to an absolute minimum – focused on raw materials, building control/engineering and some essential equipment.

We will also split the build into two phases:

  1. Minimum viable product (£3k) – just the basic structural work, lighting, electrics and associated engineering/approval fees
  2. Furnishings and aesthetics (£1.5k)

Phase 1 gets us a usable space for minimum spend, into which we can move a lot of our existing furnishing. We also have enough spare raw materials to perform a basic fit-out prior to funding phase 2.

Thus, the immediate focus is on funding the £3k required for phase 1, starting with finding a structural engineer to validate/refine the plans. Given the huge desire from our existing membership to make this happen, we’ve kicked off a pledge drive to raise the £3k as fast as possible.

Pledge Drive

Rather than use a crowd funding platform, we’re keeping it simple and asking for honour-bound pledges from our existing members, supporters, enthusiasts and anyone else who would like to help make this happen.

So… you may be wondering how strong the initial response has been? Well, fairly stunning – since the pledge drive started last Friday (the 24th Sep), we’ve already received £1,250 from existing members!! and that’s just from the small group that happened to be around on Friday 🙂

If you’d like to make a pledge, please get in contact with the directors via our normal email address:

Other Funding Sources

Of course, pledges aren’t the only way to raise funds. We are also working to secure additional funding through grants, gifts (e.g. Swindon Soup) and sponsorship. As grants/gifts may take longer to secure, the plan is to progress those in parallel with the pledge drive and use them to fund phase 2.

More Info / Get Involved

There is a lot more detail and planning behind the brief introduction I’ve shared above – please get in touch if you’d like to know more or want to get hands on with the project.

Finally, we’re always grateful for any/all donations and until it’s funded, every penny will be put behind the mezzanine expansion:



The post Sustainable & Mezzanine Funding Drive! appeared first on Swindon Makerspace.

by Swindon Makerspace at September 27, 2016 09:33 AM

September 26, 2016

NYC Resistor

TONIGHT, is it really a debate? i don’t know.

DEBATES tonight.  yep. we’ll be screening them.  if you want to work on a noisy project or chat the chatty chat the back room will be open, but the front room will be booming with the debate.  come hang out if you want.  byob, snacks, tissues.

by Olivia Barr at September 26, 2016 06:57 PM

September 25, 2016


ECO Group 1st Meeting – Wednesday, September 28th @ 7:30pm

Interested in projects that are based around sustainability and/or are eco-friendly? Whether you want to build, have built, or are interested in learning about eco-friendly projects, then please join us at the 1st LVL1 ECO group meeting. We hope to see you there!

by Mike Revel at September 25, 2016 01:34 AM

September 22, 2016



It was fun.

Conferences torrents are here.

Consumers can watch them on youtube or

by alban at September 22, 2016 10:24 PM

September 21, 2016


Humanitarian Robot Prototypes

For the past several years, CRASH Space community member Andrew has been collaborating with a team to build a robot that works with rats to map land mine fields. This idea first came about as a sci-fi film that he wrote and directed, but is now coming to life in the form of a robot/animal collaboration aimed to help save human lives.

You can check out their GoFundMe campaign here!

by at0mbxmb at September 21, 2016 03:01 AM

September 20, 2016


Arduino 101 Workshop – Oct 15th, 12pm – 4pm

Learn the basics of Arduino and how to leverage this embedded platform for your next electronics project. We’ll cover how to control LEDs, motors, and communicate with a variety of sensors using the Arduino IDE. We’ll also cover general electronics topics including voltage and current and basic components like resistors and capacitors. We’ll provide the […]

by Nathan Armentrout at September 20, 2016 11:37 PM


Dr. Tobin: Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the (Nitrogen) bond.

WHAT: Lecture
WHEN: Saturday October 8th: 5:00pm-6:30pm
WHERE: CRASH Space (Directions & Parking)
WHO: Open to the public

Hey folks, it's our nitrogen-fixing enzyme nitrogenase!

Hey folks, it’s our nitrogen-fixing enzyme nitrogenase!


Ever wonder how the world’s population increased six-fold over the past century while the number of people starving dropped?  This is in large part due to the Haber-Bosch process, the most important invention you’ve probably never heard of.  The Haber-Bosch process allows for human beings to create nitrate fertilizers using nitrogen from the atmosphere and hydrogen gas.  It’s a pretty cool trick, but it still requires the use of a lot of energy as well as fossil fuels.


What if we use biotechnology to do same trick but in a more environmentally friendly way?  Come on by CRASH Space on Saturday October 8th at 5pm and hear about one such project from Dr. Cory Tobin.

by levisimons at September 20, 2016 08:28 PM

NYC Resistor

Intro to Inflatables on Sept 24

Want to make your own balloons? Our very own Kari Love will be leading an Intro to Inflatables course on September 24th!


Learn about DIY flat-patterned inflatables from an intro lecture to design constraint basics, material choices, fabrication techniques, leak rates vs flow, etc. Then follow-up with hands-on experimentation making your own heat-sealed mylar balloons.

Tickets are on sale now.

by Bonnie Eisenman at September 20, 2016 05:39 PM

September 19, 2016

NYC Resistor

CraftJam: Make a Laptop or Tablet Case

We’re hosting the good folks of CraftJam for a class on Sunday, September 25th. Make your own laptop or tablet case!


In this CraftJam you get to create a custom cover for your tablet or laptop made of felt and leather, our favorite duo of materials. We’ve got all the materials you need, including an assortment of felt and leather, colorful thread options, all the right tools, and a leather stamping station.

Hurry up and grab a ticket before we sell out!

by Bonnie Eisenman at September 19, 2016 06:57 PM


Lvl1 on Local News Stations

  Well, Give and Local Louisville has come and gone. Funds were raised; things were burned; videos were made. Thanks to everyone who took the time to give. We had as many as 640 viewers at any one time on our live stream as we burnt everything from Marshmallows to electronics. We raised $1,095 thanks […]

by Divinity Rose at September 19, 2016 06:01 PM

September 15, 2016

NYC Resistor

Join us for a Costumes Make-Along on Sept 18!

What if you didn’t procrastinate on your Halloween planning this year? Weird idea, right? To help you kick off your costume-making, we’ve got a Costumes Make-Along planned for September 18th!


Do you have a totally kick-ass halloween costume idea and no clue how to make it? Do you want to be the star of the NYCC show floor? We can help! We’ll have costume bits, fabric bits, and LEDs to help inspire you. Get your ticket from Eventbrite!

by Bonnie Eisenman at September 15, 2016 02:36 PM

Milwaukee Makerspace

Luke, I am your fire pit…

Darth Head

Whether you think this looks like Darth Vader or Dark Helmet it’s still cool. Mark has been making fire pits and wood burning stoves out of used propane tanks for a while at the space. This is the first one I’ve seen him make that is meant to look like a character. As usual he’s doing a great job. Mark has also been giving some more one-on-one welding classes at the space. Don’t miss out if you want to learn how to weld from a master.2 imagesDarthThe welding is only the beginning.  It can be easy to forget about the less sexy part of making.  Grinding and painting.  Though the natural look of rust is cool Darth Vader was black.  I am looking forward to seeing more characters represented in Mark’s work.  If you see him around the space suggest one to him.vader 3 images

by Carl Stevens at September 15, 2016 12:00 PM

September 14, 2016


Open House moves to 8PM!

Hive76 will be moving the Open House start time from 7PM to 8PM starting next week (9/21/2016). The reason for the shift is to accommodate member meetings during the 7 o’clock hour, so be on the lookout for more awesome things™ at Hive76!!

See you at the next Open House!

by peej at September 14, 2016 08:24 PM

September 13, 2016

Pumping Station: One

Free Workshop: Earring Exposition




When: Saturday, October 1, 2016, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Where: Arts Area (upstairs) Pumping Station: One 3519 N Elston Chicago, IL 60618

Drop in and make a pair of earrings for yourself or as a gift for someone! This is a very basic form of jewelry assembly, no prior experience is required. Learning this skill may help you financially as the “winter holiday gift season” of various faiths approaches.

Beads and findings will be supplied in nickel-free gold and silver costume metal. Bringing a pair of basic round nose pliers will be helpful if you have your own. Expect total time commitment to be in the range of 10 to 20 minutes. Please limit one project per member so the maximum number of people can participate.

by shellie at September 13, 2016 09:26 PM

Milwaukee Makerspace

Come Visit Us During Doors Open 2016!


Doors Open Milwaukee is back!  Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

This is Milwaukee Makerspace’s third year participating in the city-wide event and each year we’ve seen about 800 guests per weekend!  If you’ve been meaning to check us out, but haven’t done so, Doors Open will be a great time to get a tour and ask your questions.  We hope to see you this weekend!

by BrantH at September 13, 2016 12:27 AM

September 12, 2016


2016 Fire Challenge: Give Local Louisville

Greater Louisville & LVL1 community members — our membership has a challenge for you. LVL1 is taking part in the 2016 Give Local Louisville 24-hour fundraiser. We’re just 1 of over 600 nonprofits in Greater Louisville to take part in this event. How can you help? RSVP for our Facebook Event Donate Like our Facebook […]

by Daniel Johnsen at September 12, 2016 06:22 PM

Hackspace Manchester

Designing a pressure sensor using Velostat

In the previous post I designed a circuit which was supposed to read in when pressure was applied to a custom sensor made from velostat.

The first post on the Piano conversion

I made a sensor out of some single sided FR4 printed circuit board material, some foam tape, two pieces of wire, a small 1 cm x 1 cm piece of velostat and some sticky tape!

Custom Pressure Sensor using Velostat
This is just a prototype and may not be my final version of the sensor. I wanted to see how well velostat worked and how it would behave. It seems to work really well!

I found from measurements with my multimeter that when the pressure sensor is not touched the resistance across the wires is 30 kΩ. When pressure is applied it drops to 1 kΩ. That should be more than good enough for the purposes of detecting a key-press!

The constructed pressure sensor
Next the PCB designed in the previous post was etched, drilled and populated. It etched well and I populated it with the designed components:
The underside of the PCB, etched and populated
The populated PCB and the pressure sensor
I then wrote some quick test code for the arduino because I'm leaning towards using an arduino for the microcontroller:

Pressure Sensor test Code
For Electronic Piano
(c) A. Lang 2016


// These constants won't change. They're used to give names
// to the pins used:
const int analogInPin = A0; // Pressure Sensor connected to A0

int sensorValue = 0; // value read from the pressure sensor via the amplifier stage
float outputValue = 0; // value output to the Serial port

void setup() {
// initialize serial communications at 9600 bps:

void loop() {
// read the analog in value:
sensorValue = analogRead(analogInPin);

// print the results to the serial monitor:
Serial.print("sensor = " );

// wait 10 milliseconds before the next loop
// for the analog-to-digital converter to settle
// after the last reading:
The code is very similar to code I had written before - what is it with me and pressure sensors at the moment! I then uploaded the code to the arduino and tested it - It didn't work as planned - I may have been a little disappointed at this point....

I then thought about my circuit and looked at the schematic:
The original Key Press schematic

I realised I had made a mistake. I didn't account for how the velostat would behave in terms of it's resistance. I thought it would have a resistance of around 1 kΩ and doesn't it's resistance is 
30 kΩ and varies down from that when pressure is applied. Because of this I need to tweak my circuit from behaving as a two stage buffer to a simple analogue comparator and buffer. Luckily it won't be too hard to change things!

Here is the new circuit:

The Key Press Schematic Version 2 

The new circuits works in a similar fashion as the previous one. The velostat pressure sensor makes up a voltage divider. The output of the voltage divider is connected to an analogue comparator made with the first op-amp in an LM358 dual op-amp IC. The negative input has a 2.75 V reference set by the 8.2 kΩ resistor and the 10 kΩ resistor. The output of the 1st op-amp is then connected to a buffer amplifier with a gain of two and then the output is connected to a FET and an LED. The output will be sent to the ADC of the micro-controller which will probably be an Arduino.

To test the circuit I removed a 10 kΩ resistor and then added a 7.5 kΩ resistor (because I couldn't find an 8.2 kΩ resistor). Here is a photo of the modification:

The modified PCB
Here is the modified PCB layout although I probably won't etch this board again. I'm going to re-design it to use surface mount components and be a smaller form factor. It would be nice if each board fit snugly under each piano key.

The New Key Press Layout
I then connected the circuit back up to the arduino and pressed the sensor! It worked. The LED lit up - although I wish I had used a brighter LED...but SUCCESS!! So sweet...

Here is a graph I made from the serial monitor results. It looks very similar to the simulated oscilloscope trace from the first post!
The results from the serial monitor
So now we have a valid method of reading key presses we need to scale things up - and shrink a few things down. I will redesign the key press PCB layout to use surface mount components to take up as little room as possible. Then we need to look at multiplexing all of the signals together...and for that I'm going to use the 74HC4076 integrated circuit breakout board.

That's all for now people - take care!

by langster1980 at September 12, 2016 05:44 PM

Pumping Station: One

NERP Tonite! Improving the Retro Gaming Experience

Ste Kulov is Lead Design Engineer at HD Retrovision. Ste (known in NBA Jam as STE) was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and spent most of his childhood with his hands glued to a SNES controller. Like so many life-long nerds, Ste went to school for electrical engineering and became an expert at working with circuits. His passion for working on really cool engineering projects is second only to his obsession with video games. Ste conceived the original idea for HD Retrovision in his engineering design class to solve the world’s most pressing problem: allowing gamers to play their old systems on TV’s that don’t have the right inputs. [NERP Note: HD Retrovision cables are analog circuit devices. The HD Retrovision circuit board is molded into the cable.]

PS:One knows Ste for being a really good teacher. We wish he could find time to do more analog and fpga circuit classes (hint, hint).

A vital aspect of manufacturing is testing and quality control. Someone has to do it, and they need test instruments, test fixtures, custom software, and detailed written test requirements and procedures. Ste had to design a turnkey QC system for use by his contract manufacturer. The HD retrovision circuit itself is all analog, but the QC system is FPGA based. At NERP tonite, Ste will explain how you QC a cable on the other side of the world.

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at



Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is free and open to the public. Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

by edbennett at September 12, 2016 08:18 AM


Introduction to Arduino Workshop on Saturday, 19th November

Nottingham Hackspace will be hosting an all-day Introduction to Arduino Workshop, run by James Fowkes, John Moody, and Ian Dickinson, on Saturday, 19th November.

The Arduino system is a microcontroller board and software designed for extreme ease-of-use and learning, and has been wildly successful all over the world – not just in electronics, but for all sorts of maker projects. If you want to learn how to incorporate electronic control into your projects, this is definitely the workshop for you.

This workshop will cover:

  • What an Arduino is, and how to program it
  • Components and tools
  • Basics of electronics (voltage, current, resistance, etc.)
  • Arduino input and outputs
  • Controlling high-power components
  • Analog output
  • And more!

Aimed for complete beginners, this workshop doesn’t require you to have written a single line of code, switched on a soldering iron or even own an Arduino to take part. All the electronics equipment, including Arduino boards, will be provided on the day, but you will need to bring a laptop to program the Arduino with. It would also help if you installed the Arduino software onto your laptop before the workshop.

This workshop will run from 11am to 4pm, with a break for lunch at 1pm, and will cost £20, which includes use of all tools, boards and components, and free tea or coffee.

Arduino Unos will be available to purchase for £18 and Arduino Starter Kits will be available to purchase for £35. Please bring cash if you would like to buy either of these.

You can purchase your tickets now at EventBrite. This is a very popular workshop, so please buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

by Kate at September 12, 2016 08:00 AM

September 11, 2016


How to Make a Semi-Successful Low Production Run Device

WHAT: Lecture
WHEN: Wed, Oct 12th: 8:00pm-10:00pm
WHERE: CRASH Space (Directions & Parking)
WHO: Open to the public


Kevin and Steve’s custom chip counter, designed for Dave & Busters

Are you interested in how to do short run product development and manufacturing? Come hear a short talk from Kevin Jordan (@idreamincode) and Steve Goldstein (@stevegoldstein) on their process for developing and manufacturing low production run devices. Following the lecture, Kevin and Steve will host a short Q&A to answer questions from the audience.

Steve Goldstein is a product designer, fabricator and inventor named on 19 patents. In addition to his own product development, Goldstein spent a total of ten years as Director of Entertainment Technology at Disney Imagineering and Sony Retail Entertainment.

Kevin Jordan is a programmer/roboticist that programs a lot of random stuff, from rocket sleds to wind tunnels to kids toys to cat wheels.

by at0mbxmb at September 11, 2016 07:34 PM

September 10, 2016

Milwaukee Makerspace

Casting Maker Faire Ingots

For the last few months Kayla has been working on casting a pile of ingots for Maker Faire Milwaukee.  These ingots are made from scrap metal donated to the Milwaukee Makerspace by its members.  Everything from Kayla’s personal favorite, hard drive casings, to parts of tools and engines.  Its really cool to see her take trash and turn it into treasure in the form of aluminum bars.

casting 2 images

Be sure to watch for Kayla at Maker Faire Milwaukee pouring hot metal and helping people make stuff September 24th-25th at Wisconsin State Faire Park.


by Carl Stevens at September 10, 2016 01:00 PM

Pumping Station: One

Mandolin Plates on the ShopBot

My name is Ralph, and I’m an amateur luthier and PS:1 “starving hacker”.

I make all kinds of instruments: guitars, ukuleles, bouzoukis, and more, but my favorite thing to build is mandolins.  They are far and away the most difficult instrument that I make, and require a level of craftsmanship not found in the simpler instruments.

There’s only one real downside to building mandolins— the carving.  Mandolin plates are made from 1” thick stock, carved into a very precise dome shape ranging from 3mm thick at the rim up to 6mm thick at the bridge.  Making the plate accurately is the key to getting a good tone from the instrument: too thick and it sounds “dead”, too thin and the top can’t withstand the force of the strings.

To make the plates requires a set of inside and outside templates that show the proper curves (making these templates on the laser cutter was a primary reason I joined PS:1), using carving gouges to get close the the final shape, and then curved planes and scrapers to get the dimensions exact.  There is about 40-50 hours of carving and scraping that go into a set of mandolin plates.  To make things worse, the back plate is made of hard maple, which is VERY difficult to carve.  Even with leather carving gloves, my hands are a mess of blisters and callouses after making a plate.

When I saw the CNC routers at PS:1, I was immediately struck by the idea of using CNC to produce a rough mandolin plate.  Even if I would still need to scrape to get things perfect, the hard carving work (and blisters) would be taken care of by the machine.

Thus began a year-long journey of discovery…

I learned about CAM, and taught myself to use Fusion 360, only to discover that this 3D modeling stuff is HARD.  I managed to turn out some pretty simple models for bridges and headstocks, which I was able to make on the Shapeoko and ShopBot, but every attempt at modeling a mandolin plate failed.

After flailing around for many months, I discovered the Fusion 360 meetup (sponsored by Autodesk and held at PS:1), and everything changed.  With the help of Autodesk’s Michael Aubrey (Fusion evangelist), and PS:1’s resident CAD experts, I improved my skills to the point where I was able to make a reasonable model of the top plate for an A-style mandolin.


Last weekend, I got to test the model on the ShopBot!  The initial version is in MDF, just to test the model and the machining commands.  Once everything is tweaked, I will do the real thing in Sitka spruce.

Since the plate needs to be machined on both sides, I needed to create a fixture to align everything.  It’s a pretty straightforward plate, with two alignment pegs that match holes drilled into the ShopBot wasteboard.  All of the shaping was done with a 1/2” round-nose bit running at 12000 rpm and a chip load of .35mm.

The inside is machined first, referencing the stock top.  It uses a pretty simple adaptive pocket to remove most of the waste, followed by a spiral with a 1mm overlap to take things to the finished size.


You’ll note that the pocket is not centered in the picture— my origin was in the wrong place in my model.  I fixed that, and the second attempt came out much better.  There is still a bit of scraping/sanding to remove the machine marks, but that was to be expected.


After the inside surface was machined, I flipped the workpiece over and re-registered the Z axis to the bottom of the piece.  That way, I know the thickness of the part will be accurate even if my stock thickness is off by a little bit.

Once again an adaptive pocket removed most of the stock, starting with a channel around the rim.


After the rim was rough-sized, the “hump” was roughed in.


A second pass of the adaptive pocket got the rim down to 4mm thick, and smoothed the transitions.


Just as with the inside, the finishing step used a spiral to clean the surface and eliminate the tool marks.  The net result was quite good, and will need only a bit of scraping to finish


After all was said and done I swapped in a 1/8” straight bit to cut the outer profile and f-holes.


Cutting off the excess stock left me with a quite nice-looking mandolin top plate!  Total elapsed time (not counting my initial screwup) was about 90 minutes.


Putting my micrometer to the finished product, the results were better than I expected.  Thickness is accurate within 1mm across the entire profile, with most areas within 0.5mm.  That leaves only a bit of scraping to get things perfect!

Next weekend… the real thing, in sitka spruce.

Many thanks to Michael Aubrey from Autodesk, Ray Doeksen and Andrew Carmadella from PS:1, and all of the Fusion 360 Meetup crew that helped me along the way!  I’m still a modeling rookie, but I’ve come a LONG way with your help!

Ralph Brendler

by rebrendler at September 10, 2016 07:38 AM

September 08, 2016

NYC Resistor

Craft night is rocking!

We are craft nighting now. If you want noodles head down to zuzu:

by zellio at September 08, 2016 09:57 PM

September 07, 2016

NYC Resistor

Sloth Nails! DIY Custom Nail Art Plates from Colleen AF Venable

Colleen has a new book coming out!


And if that’s not exciting enough, she’s got sloth nails to go with it, and a new Instructable on how to make them yourself! From the tutorial:

Did you know you could easily stamp intricate patterns on your nails using etched metal “nail plates”? Did you know you can make your OWN designs? Did you know it’s illegal to own 10 sloths as pets? Okay, okay it’s illegal to own ONE, but you get the idea.

I’ll walk you through the basics of getting started with nail stamping, give you some suggestions to make your own, and show how to be covered in sloths.(Make sure to look at the end because I am giving away stamp supplies to one lucky person!)


Check out the tutorial on Instructables: Sloth Nails! Make Your Own Custom Nail Art Plates. You should also definitely buy her book.

by Bonnie Eisenman at September 07, 2016 06:29 PM

September 05, 2016

Milwaukee Makerspace

Maker Faire Signs

IMG_2528 head

Over the last few weeks the Maker Faire team has been hard at work making some new signs to hang in the exhibit hall.  These signs are 10 x 5 feet and will make finding your way around much easier.  The logos are first traced on vinyl sheets and then carefully cut out.

signs 2 images

After the stencils are cut they are laid out on the fabric banner for painting.  It can be a challenge to get the curved lines of these very large logos to lay flat.  Kim, Mike, Kathy, and Pete have been doing a great job.  This project has been a labor of love for Kim who designed these signs and has seen them from drawing to fabrication.


Be sure to look for these signs and lots of others this month at the largest free Maker Faire in the US right here in Milwaukee at Wisconsin State Faire Park.  For more information about Maker Faire Milwaukee and all the amazing makers that will be there click here.


by Carl Stevens at September 05, 2016 01:00 PM


It’s Not Aliens (probably)

On May 15th of last year, a Russian radio telescope picked up a “strong signal” coming from the direction of a star known as HD 164595.


Suddenly, everyone is talking about aliens.

HD 164595 is mostly similar to our own sun, and we know it has at least one planet. And it’s reasonably close (as far as nearby stars go).

There are a lot of things this could be other than aliens trying to talk to us, such as Earth-based interference or gravitational lensing from a more distance source. So when something like this comes up, others have to be able to repeat the observation to treat it as an intentional artificial signal.

The SETI@home project makes it easy to help search for repeat observations. But even they are pretty sure that the signal isn’t of alien origin.

And now the Russian team has announced that they believe it to be a signal from Earth.

In the framework of this program, an interesting radio signal at a wavelength of 2.7 cm was detected in the direction of one of the objects (star system HD164595 in Hercules) in 2015. Subsequent processing and analysis of the signal revealed its most probable terrestrial origin.

The best speculation I’ve seen is that since the 11 GHz (2.7 cm) signal was in a band typically reserved for military purposes, they may have picked up a bit of communication from a surveillance satellite.

So no aliens. Yet.

by theron at September 05, 2016 12:06 AM

September 04, 2016


Solder Your Own Arduino – Oct 1st @ 1pm – 4pm

(Yours won’t look quite like this…) What better way is there to start your journey into electronics than to solder your own Arduino? This workshop will teach you how to identify and solder through-hole components, a very helpful skill, especially when working with Arduino shields. You do not need to bring anything other than yourself! […]

by Nathan Armentrout at September 04, 2016 05:32 PM

**CANCELLED** Arduino 101 Workshop – September 17 @ 12PM – 4PM

Learn the basics of Arduino and how to leverage this embedded platform for your next electronics project. We’ll cover how to control LEDs, motors, and communicate with a variety of sensors using the Arduino IDE. We’ll also cover general electronics topics including voltage and current and basic components like resistors and capacitors. We’ll provide the […]

by Nathan Armentrout at September 04, 2016 04:56 PM

Start Sewing! An Intro for Beginners Workshop – Sep 21 @ 7PM

This workshop will cover the basics of sewing, following a theoretical garment from start to finish. Get introduced to a sewing machine, how to read a pattern, what tools that can make construction easier, and fabrics to consider. With these basics down, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever sewing project you can dream up. You […]

by Nathan Armentrout at September 04, 2016 04:41 PM

NYC Resistor

Knit Knight is On!

What better way to spend Labor Day than with us? Craft Night + Knit Knight are still happening on Monday, September 5th!

Doors open at 7:30pm, as per usual.

by Bonnie Eisenman at September 04, 2016 02:00 PM

September 03, 2016

Hackspace Manchester

We need your help!

English not your first language? Wish I’d stop waffling? You want the Simple English Version

Dearest members,

We need your help running the hackspace.

A community organisation such as HacMan doesn’t run itself, there are a lot of small behind the scenes jobs to do and quite a few big front of house ones too. One of the largest at the moment is making our new space habitable and accessible. It has become increasingly obvious that there is an expectation that that the board will orchestrate this, sadly we collectively have neither the capacity nor the time to micromanage such a large project. The board is intended solely to do the following:

  • make sure the bills are paid and that we have things like insurance
  • assist with the on boarding process for new members
  • provide a single point of contact for complaints
  • provide an abstraction layer for dealing with the landlord, utilities companies etc.

The board are of course dedicated members who donate a lot of their time and energy to the hackspace however, we are only 5 people, we cannot do everything.

At the moment there are a few dedicated members attempting to put together the hackspace and keep it operable so that you can use it. They’re not all board members but there aren’t enough of them. We really should be further on with the rebuilding of the space than we are. The hackspace belongs to all of us, please help us build it into a better community.

Specifically we need help with:

  • Accessibility: we’d love the space to be as accessible as possible for all makers however, the board are not experienced enough to judge what is and isn’t accessible. Nor are we capable of judging whether a given adaptation will fix a given issue or not. As we don’t have the experience and knowledge to allow us to make the changes some of our members, and potential members, need we’re asking for help from our community to lead the space towards a better, more inclusive future.
  • Promotion: we’re doing our best but:
    • Our Facebook group and page are run by someone who is ambivalent about the medium.
    • We could use someone who is prepared to put more time into our MeetUp group.
    • We need people to write blog posts about what we’re up to and organise our presence at events such as Maker Faire UK and MakeFest Manchester.
    • We need people who are happy to find groups and communities both online and off, and spread the word about the fantastic world of hackspaces, and ours in particular.
  • Infrastructure: some of our areas have groups of people who have taken responsibility for them. The areas are as follows:
    • CNC: this is pretty well covered but if you’re particularly interested in joining the maintenance teams speak to Tas (NotQuiteHere)
    • Craft Corner: needs more people, talk to Chris (Badspyro). If you’re interested in anything from paper craft through to model painting, via our glorious sewing machines, or even something entirely off our radar that you think would make a great addition, please give us a shout. There are plans afoot for screen printing (Ruth is particularly interested and will point you in the right direction) as well as a myriad of other notions and hobbies too numerous to mention!
    • Metalwork desperately needs more people, talk to Greg (GregMorris)
    • Woodwork ditto, talk to Bob (thinkl33t)
  • Documentation, Health & Safety: much of the equipment we have in the hackspace is potentially new to a lot of members. A key function of a hackspace is knowledge sharing, including how not to injure yourself, how to use it to the best of its ability, and how to take care of the equipment (such as noticing when something is wrong with it). We need more people involved in the effort to make as much knowledge available as possible, and welcome involvement from anyone who wants to help. Speak to Chris (Badspyro) if you think documentation is awesome.
  • Snackspace: the list is available on the wiki. If we’re running low on stuff feel free to top us up. Shout for a Bookers/Makro card ( telegram is the best place to find us ) and knock yourself out. Don’t spend more than £200. Email the receipt to for reimbursement.  Get a VAT receipt!  We’re not VAT registered but if we ever do, we can claim 5 year’s worth of VAT paid!
  • Volunteer: we always need people to help run stalls at events and generally talk about our hackspace and the projects that people do there. So, if you’re a people person and are happy to turn up and chat about what you do at the hackspace (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, electronics, laser cutting, 3D printing, crafts, whatever) and/or assist with a more structured  workshop such as Build A BUG! please let us know. We announce events via but can’t run them without people to assist.
  • Organise an event: got something you want to do? Organise it! Events can be run in the space providing you don’t prevent other members from using it and there is at least one member present at all times. If you want to run something that would stop members using the space that is also fine providing it’s announced via the mailing list ( ) in plenty of time and no one seriously objects.
  • Hack-the-space days! – Organise one of these! Hack-the-space days are our chance to house keep and maintain the space infrastructure from regular equipment maintenance to building the physical space and everything in between.
  • Run a workshop, start meet up, introduce a regular open night activity. Want examples? 3DPUG (Bob/Thinkl33t), Locksport (originally I have no idea now Tas/NotQuiteHere and Greg), DandD (Kat/BinaryKitten), Sanctuary Games (Kat/BinaryKitten), Manchester Space Programme (externally organised and changed venue when we moved).

I don’t have enough time/experience/spoons to help with the big stuff what can I do?

10 minutes of tidying

The biggest thing that every member can do for the space is spend 10 minutes each time they come in tidying or cleaning the space. Particularly the tables, workspaces, and walkways. Walk around, pick up any dirty cups people have missed, throw away rubbish, put things back where they belong, wipe down the tables, brush the floor, empty the bins and take the bags down to the skips. If everyone spends just 10 minutes making our space better each time they come in it will make a huge difference.

Simple English Version

Dear Members,

We need help to make the hackspace work well for everybody.

Hacman is a community organisation. That means all the members are equal partners. We have a board. This is 5 people who do some admin jobs for Hacman. The board makes sure the bills get paid on time. The board makes sure that new members learn how to use the hackspace. The board deals with any complaints from members.

All members need to help create a good working hackspace. Our new hackspace still needs a lot of work so that everyone can use it. At the moment we need more people to do some of this work.

Here is a list of things that we need members to help with:

  • Accessibility. This means that we need people to say what they need to be able to use the space. We also need people who can explain what changes other people might need to be able to use the space. This could be changes for people in wheelchairs, people with seeing or hearing problems, people with assistance dogs or people with other disabilities that are not obvious. We want to make the space a good place that everyone can use.
  • Promotion. We need people who like using social media like Facebook and MeetUp to do Hacman posts. We need people to write blog posts about Hacman events. We need people to run Hacman stands at makerfaire and other events. We would like members to find places to talk about hackspaces and Hacman so that more people find out us.
  • Infrastructure. This means the physical areas in the new hackspace. If you can help make these areas ready to use, please help.
    • CNC – if you want to help with this, please talk to Tas (NotQuiteHere)
    • Craft Corner – physical crafts like paper modelling, sewing, screen printing. Please talk to Chris (Badspyro).
    • Metalwork – Please talk to Greg (GregMorris)
    • Woodwork – Please talk to Bob (thinkl33t)
  • Documentation, Health & Safety. We have a lot of tools and equipment. We need help with training new members, and writing signs and instructions. Some of the tools and equipment can be dangerous. New members need to learn how to stay safe and have fun in the hackspace. We all need to know how to look after the tools and equipment properly. This will keep the tools and equipment in good condition. Please ask Chris (Badspyro) if you can help with this.
  • Snackspace: This is the food and drinks that we sell to members at Hacman. The list of items is available on the wiki. Any member can ask for a wholesale      shop card (Bookers or Makro) and buy more food/drinks when there is not      much left. Please ask on the hacman Telegram channel for a card. Please do      not spend more than £200. You will need to email the receipt to to get paid back      the money you spent in the shop. Please get a VAT receipt when you shop.
  • Volunteer: we always need people to help run stalls at events. We need people who are happy to talk about what they do at the hackspace. We also need people who can do demonstrations at events e.g. building a mini robot. We tell members about events on the Hacman Telegram channel.
  • Organise an event: Any member can run an event in the hackspace. Events must have at least one Hacman member present. If the event means that other members cannot use the hackspace at the same time, then other members must agree that this is okay.
  • “Hack the space” days. We want people to organise one-off days where members work together to improve the hackspace. This could be painting the walls, or building a bench, or organising storage, or making the hackspace easier for everyone to use.
  • Run a workshop. We would love people to offer a one-off or regular session that is open to the public, as well as members. You can share a skill or interest with other people. You can ask other members for information about past workshops to get ideas.

Lastly, all members can help every time they are in the space. Please spend a few minutes tidying up. You can clear the tables and benches. You can sweep the floor or empty the bins. It is very important that we keep the space clean and tidy for everyone to use. Please also make sure that nothing is left where people could trip over it, or it gets in the way. This will make the hackspace a safer and more fun place for all of us to use.


by NotQuiteHere at September 03, 2016 10:02 PM

August 30, 2016

Milwaukee Makerspace

Dryhootch Fence Removal

This month a team from the our makerspace volunteered to remove some fencing for Dryhootch coffee shop.  Dryhootch is a coffee shop that provides a way for veterans to reconnect.  The front patio of the shop was enclosed with 6 foot steel bars, which does not make it look inviting.  The organization came by the space to ask for some help and said we could take the fence with us.

Dryhootch 2 images IMG_2462

We call that a “WIN, WIN” scenario.  We got to help a good cause and got a bunch of raw material for making things with.  I’m sure you can look forward to more projects with Dryhootch.  Now that we have a pile of steel its time to get making.


Special thanks to Tom G., Wolfgang, Shane, Vishal, and Mark for volunteering a Sunday morning to help.

by Carl Stevens at August 30, 2016 01:00 PM

August 25, 2016


Happy Birthday Linux! (kind of)

Speaking of internet lore, Linux is 25 years old today!


(yeah, it’s a wedding cake, sorry – but all of the photos of cakes featuring Tux on Flickr are “all rights reserved” – what the heck is up with that?)

25 years ago today, Linus Torvalds announced he was working on a free MINIX-like OS:

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and
professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.  This has been brewing
since april, and is starting to get ready.

The kernel wasn’t released until September, but the August 25th announcement is considered the birth of Linux.

Linux runs some 96% of the servers on the internet – not bad for a hobby!

by theron at August 25, 2016 10:02 PM

Milwaukee Makerspace

Some Great Milwaukee Makers

Just in case you missed it yesterday local makers Milwaukee Blacksmith were on TV.  We are excited to see all the amazing stuff they will make this season. If as you watch the drama and excitement unfolding and want to give it a try stop by Milwaukee Makerspace.  We have a great team of members that use our forge regularly. Members make everything from trivets and Knifes, to coat hooks and metal roses. Blacksmith forging can be hard work, but is a lot of fun.

Check your local listings for showtimes.

Click Here

by Carl Stevens at August 25, 2016 02:00 PM

August 24, 2016

NYC Resistor

Kari Love repping NYCR at the flipping White House!!!

Something ya’ll may not know, the house used to be pink.

But, our awesome member, Kari Love don’t care. She’s too busy inspiring makers all over the nation. Check this awesome video:

by Matt at August 24, 2016 03:07 PM

August 23, 2016

KwartzLab Makerspace

3D Printer Meetup: Wed. Aug. 24, 6-9pm

On the 4th Wednesday of each month (6-9pm), Kwartzlab has a 3D printer meetup, for everyone who is interested in 3D printing, or for those who would like to learn more about it. Each month, we try to invite guest speakers or arrange technical demos.

Tomorrow (Wednesday August 24), Pablo Eder from Lani Labs will be visiting. They make tools that make it easy to share, control and automate 3D printers over the internet.

In addition, Kwartzlab member Chris Gibson will be demoing his “RoVa4D” Full Color Blender 3D Printer, which is now working and making prints. The kickstarter for this printer ends Wednesday morning at 10am. Check it out:

by doug.moen at August 23, 2016 06:30 PM


Happy Internaut Day!

Hey, Internet (or is it just “internet” now?) you’re 25 years old? You don’t look a day over 24!

The internet was supposedly opened to the public on August 23, 1991. The problem with this date doesn’t seem to have any relevance in the history of the internet or the web. Who doesn’t love a little contrarian history? Go read a debunking by Fortune:

The building blocks (the HTML language, URI web addresses, and the HTTP protocol) were specified and written up by October 1990. The first webpage went live in December of that year. To quote the Web Foundation’s Berners-Lee-approved history: “By the end of 1990, the first web page was served on the open internet.”

So technically, the world-wide web has been on the internet for more than a quarter century. Only they didn’t tell anyone about it until a news group post on August 6, 1991. And of course, the first graphical web browser program, Mosaic, wasn’t released until 1993.

So happy roughly 24-26th birthday, internet!

by theron at August 23, 2016 05:53 PM


Mayor’s Summer Works at LVL1

Over the summer, member Divinity Rose coached a team of Junior Achievers as they worked to develop their technology based product and startup “Sensor Buddies.”  The team was being paid as part of the Mayor’s Summer Works program that employed 4200 youth over the summer. The team of three 17-year-old students from Central High School […]

by Divinity Rose at August 23, 2016 01:01 AM

August 20, 2016

Milwaukee Makerspace

Power Wheels Racing

Race HeadLast month the Milwaukee Makerspace power wheels team packed up the cars and road tripped to2 images vertical Maker Faire Detroit.  After long nights working at the space until 4am for the week before the drive Ed, Kathy, Pete, Andy, Vishal, and too many others to mention got 3 cars race ready.  The Bluth Stair Car, Super Tux Kart, and Hippie Rose made the journey to Detroit without damage are and were a blast to drive.


Our 3 cars raced with 34 others in the biggest Power Racing Series event to date on the biggest track ever made.  It was great to see all the hard work paying off as the builders of the cars became the happy drivers of the cars. Both days of races were streamed live by our friends at Make Magazine to where they can still be watched. Be sure to check out the race at Maker Faire Milwaukee September 24th-25th.


Check out the race from day one at the link below:

by Carl Stevens at August 20, 2016 12:00 PM

August 18, 2016

NYC Resistor

Last Call for Sunday’s Arduino Class!

Come join us for an Intro to Arduino class on Sunday, Aug 21! Our ever-popular Arduino class is back for another round. Learn how to use the Arduino microcontroller to control LEDs, light sensors, buzzers, and more, including how to wire up your own circuits and how to program it using the Arduino IDE. No previous electronics  experience is required!


Grab your tickets now!

by Bonnie Eisenman at August 18, 2016 05:29 AM

August 15, 2016

Milwaukee Makerspace

Time To Get Nerdy!

Nerdy Head

Make sure not to miss this weekend’s Nerdy Derby at American Science and Surplus. Adrian and the rest of the nerdy team will be helping kids and kids at heart turn blocks of wood into rolling masterpieces of speed. If you have not been to a Nerdy Derby event this will be one not to miss.  3D printed wheels have been coming in from printers all over the city and from our Makerspace 80 at a time.

2 images nerdy

Building a car is easy and there will be a nice long track to race down once you’ve finished your creation.  You start by picking a block of wood and some wheels. After a bit of nailing its off to nerdy up your car from piles of amazing decorations. Makers are encouraged to decorate, test, and re-decorate. Everything that you glue onto a car affects the way it moves down the track. See you there!


August 20th 11am-3pm
American Science & Surplus Milwaukee
6901 W Oklahoma Ave
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53219

by Carl Stevens at August 15, 2016 12:00 PM

August 11, 2016

Swindon Makerspace

3D Printing fest, metal work, freebies and other goodness

It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update, so this is going to be a long one!



Membership levels are climbing steadily, now at 25 – just short of the our sustainable target.  Wednesday’s have also been getting busier, to the extent we’ve had to extend the table area and buy a bunch more chairs.

As we settle into the space, we’ve (the directors) felt the need to gather some feedback on how everyones feeling – so we’ve just issued a member satisfaction survey.  We’ll review the outputs at the September General Meeting.


3D Printing 

Even as 3D printing goes mainstream, most people still haven’t seen/touched/experienced it in person, so it remains a hot topic for us to talk about.   In the last 6 wks, we’ve organised:

  • Two 3D printing workshops at the space
  • A 3D printing workshop at Oakhurst Primary school, along with a printed roller coaster kit (thanks to Rob/Jess)
  • A 3D printing intro the for new Swindon Drone Club

3d printing at oakhurst

We received some great feedback from these sessions (and a little revenue), and will no doubt continue organising/running them whilst we have time/energy – volunteers for running future workshops wanted!

Steve has also been busy upgrading the donated Wanhao i3 with a new extruder (and replacement thermistor).  At this point, both printers are usable, albeit the Wanhao still needs a firmware tweak to correct thermistor readings (it’s measuring about 50 deg below actual).  Also had some more filament donated, adding to the already large selection.


Metal work

Our welding setup is now ready to rock.  The welder itself is on loan from Steve, plus we’ve now acquired safety gear (welding mask, gloves) and a large 8’x8′ welding screen (stored on the roof of 34a).  It’s a dangerous piece of kit, so anyone wanting to use it needs to be inducted via Steve, or one of the other members with welding experience.

We also received a Proxxon MF70 CNC mill last week (long term loan), which came with tool bits, clamps, indexing head, etc.  Runs on a GRBL-based Arduino+driver board, but needs a host computer to generate/feed G-Code.  There’s a few bits of final setup to go (wiring, toolchain), but very close to usable.

The Shapeoko 1 is still progressing through it’s dual Y-belt upgrade, next step is to fit the drive pulleys and new belts.  Then it’ll be onto limit switches and a firmware update.


Influx of Freebies (Junk?!)

We got a bit carried away with a unit clearance down the corridor, taking a huge influx of “stuff”, caused a fair bit of disruption for a week and has left us with a lot of probably junk.  A cautionary tale for handling future freebies, and one we’ll loop back on at the Gen Mtg.

influx of junk

Nonetheless, there is now a LOT of timber and metal available for member projects, most of which has been tidied up onto the roof of 34a.

tidy roof space

There’s also a whole bunch of random items if anyone can make use of them:

  • Collection of fire extinguishers
  • Large gas bottle
  • Petrol strimmer motor
  • AC motor from a submersible pump

… and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten.  This also provokes the need to improve our process for getting rid of unwanted items  – another thing we’ll review at the Gen Mtg.


General Bits

Aside from the more obvious changes, there’s also been a whole bunch of other things going on, to mention just a few:

  • Donation of a Binocular Watson Barnet Microscope from John
  • Rob upgraded the RPI running the internal CCTV
  • We’ve got permission to use the Twigs Kiln if anyone wants something fired
  • The sewing machine is confirmed working and getting some use on Textile Tuesdays
  • Josh donated a spray booth, Jess & James a compressor and Damian an airbrush – so we now have a full airbrush setup for modelwork, etc
  • Josh completed a proper PCB for the door controller (which now needs to be tested/installed) and Damian upgraded the door controller firmware to lock on close
  • We’re trying to organise water into the space from next door
  • A quote for ventilation via the glazing is in progress



Coming Up

We have a couple of activities/workshops coming up (see events calendar for more info), including:

  • Arduino surgery – Sat 13th Aug
  • Toy Blaster workshops with a local youth group and the 1st Swindon Cubs

Along with a whole bunch of improvement tasks to work through on Trello, including a couple I’m very keen to see progressed:

  • Finish getting ShapeOko and Proxxon working
  • Test radio setups and wifi link on the roof


Look forward to seeing you at the space  🙂


The post 3D Printing fest, metal work, freebies and other goodness appeared first on Swindon Makerspace.

by Swindon Makerspace at August 11, 2016 01:07 PM

Milwaukee Makerspace

3D Printed Origami

The Digital Dentist, Mark, is printing up a storm as usual.  When he’s not printing wheels for upcoming Nerdy Derby races he’s working on something unique.  This week Mark is working on 3D printed origami.  Triangular forms are printed flat and then folded into geodesic spheres.

3d 3 images

These shapes are destined to be lights.  Each of the ping pong balls will have a light in it.  Be sure to watch for the final product at Maker Faire Milwaukee.

by Carl Stevens at August 11, 2016 12:00 PM

NYC Resistor

Intro to Arduino Class on August 21st

Come join us for an Intro to Arduino class on August 21st! Want to get started with physical computing?
We’ll learn to program an Arduino and interact with the physical world! This class covers an introduction to Arduino, including how to use light sensors, LEDs, buzzers, and more.


Our Arduino classes tend to sell out, so grab your tickets now!

by Bonnie Eisenman at August 11, 2016 07:35 AM

Pumping Station: One

A Light Diversion


In the last days of Radio Shack, I was in a store on Michigan Avenue when I spotted, buried amongst the disassembled shelving units and discarded phone cases, a small red box that turned out to be an Arduino-based soldering project, the 2770158 LED Cube ( I bought it for something like $5, took it home, and promptly put it on the shelf as a project I’ll ‘get to’ at some point.

The honest truth is that I was somewhat intimidated by the soldering; it’s a 3x3x3 cube of LEDs that are soldered together and the lights were smaller than i was expecting, and looking at some pics of the final result, I resigned myself to likely screwing it up and at best hoping that I might learn something from what I assumed would be a complete failure. So I somehow justified to myself that, in order to not waste my $5, I shouldn’t actually try to make the thing I spent $5 on.

At some point I hit myself with a clue-by-four and realized the stupidity of my situation; accept the possible loss of the $5 and actually try instead of fretting about what-ifs. So I took the kit to PS:1, sat down in the Electronics area, got out the soldering iron, magnifying glass, and went to work. It took a couple of hours, and I was certain, absolutely positively certain, that, even though it looked right, there was no chance that I had actually gotten the leads all wired together correctly, especially the ones in the middle that were extremely hard to reach with the big tip of the soldering iron. Okay, well, only thing left was to actually plug it into the Arduino Uno I had, load up the sample sketch (available in the RS GitHub repo above), and see what happens.

I fired up the Arduino IDE, loaded the sample sketch, hit upload, and all of a sudden all the lights came on as it started through the canned routines. I was initially skeptical, checking every single light to see which one was never lighting up, and all of a sudden it dawned on me that I had actually done it, all the lights actually lit up as part of the demo routine, and HOLY CRAP I MADE A THING AND IT WORKED!!!!1111

And then in my excitement I dropped it, ripping the USB cord from the Arduino, and landed lights-down on the floor. Well, of course I did. Of course I broke it, right? But as I checked the connections, nothing had come loose, there were no broken connections. I plugged the Arduino back in, and sure enough, it happily came back to life and started going through the routine. Whew!


So I resolved to make this truly my own; running a demo program that I didn’t write was not ‘finishing the job’. I remembered the QBasic ‘Snake’ program that drew a line bouncing around the screen, hitting the edge and then randomly turning and going off into another direction. Ah, but this is a cube, in threeeee deeeeeeee, so the challenge would be that more interesting, especially as I resolved to sit down and actually try to implement it without any help from the Internet; a three-dimensional matrix of lights, translated into C++.

This is where I remembered a line from Top Gun that went something along the lines of “Our pilots had become dependent on missiles” as a reason for loss of dogfighting ability. (And then I got that Everly Brothers song stuck in my head). Well, writing C++ for years, I had become dependent on the containers provided by the Standard Template Library (map, vector, etc.). While the Arduino is programmed using C++, it’s really a pretty small subset of C++ (which sort-of-kinda-not-really makes sense) and the STL is not available; go ahead and #include <map> all you like, all the compiler’s gonna do is complain. So I knew I’d have to regain some amount of dogfighting capability and do all the array/matrix stuff in pure C. So I decided the best way to keep myself honest and regain some of the skills I think I used to have, I created a C file in Vim (using Emacs always made me angry, straight-up I hate this, whatever this is), wrote the program, saved, compiled and ran straight from the terminal prompt. Again and again and again.

One of the biggest problems was forcing myself to get past the ‘sheesh, this woulda been easy to use <insert some STL thing> here’ and just focus on getting the values in the right cells of the matrix. It took a few hours to get the algorithm right, but pretty soon I had it spitting out numbers that seemed right, but how was I gonna know that it was right?

This is where I decided to make a quick diversion and build a virtual version of the matrix in OpenSCAD:


Using this model, I could walk through the output of the program and verify that the snake was truly moving correctly around the matrix. I rotated the model around, checking that the numbers were right and HOLY CRAP I MADE ANOTHER THING THAT WORKED!


The last thing to do was to actually get the program to work with the LEDs. This is where the spartan documentation of the original Radio Shack code became a problem; the sketch did a passable job of explaining how the lights were addressed, but the examples were all arrays of pre-baked values without having to do anything dynamic, and my program was all dynamic. I studied how the demo program worked, started fiddling with the values, and discovered how to set the bits in the right way to turn on individual lights, on specific levels. From there I modified my C program and added some code to translate my positioning, which turned out to be the mirror opposite of the way the lights are addressed; I solved the problem by physically turning the Arduino around so I was looking at the other side. Problem solved!)

I uploaded my sketch to the Arduino and it suddenly the lights were lighting up in what appeared to be a snake moving around the matrix. HOLY CRAP I GOT IT TO WORK!!!!!!11111


This is a long post for what amounts to a small light toy, but whilst I was feeling rather verbose (a consequence of sitting and waiting for an unrelated program to finish), I can’t emphasize how foolish I feel for not starting all this earlier; fear of failure is a very, very powerful emotion and if there’s a TL;DR in here somewhere, it’s that it is always better to try and fail than to never try at all, which is something PS:1 has done a very good job of teaching me.


Click here to view the embedded video.

The code is available at

by tachoknight at August 11, 2016 03:58 AM

August 07, 2016

Milwaukee Makerspace

The Tormach Training Begins

Header Positive

It has been amazing to see this group purchase come together over the last 6 months.  This mill is a great example of what we can achieve together.  It all started with one member stepping out on a ledge and offering to match funds raised by the space for a CNC mill.  If you see Larry walking around the space make sure to shake his hand and say thanks.  Because he stepped up we all have a new tool to make things with.2 imagesNow that we have a big fancy Tormach CNC mill it’s time to make some makers.  Our very own Larry will be donating his time to give one on one training starting this week.  Your first project will be your name engraved in a block of aluminum created using the conversational mode.  As someone with some milling experience it was a straight forward process and Larry was a great teacher. Don’t be intimidated by the big scary mill, Make something.  I would encourage you to not stop at the milling.  Take your name plate and buff it or powder coat it to make it unique.  Contact Larry via email or at a Tuesday night meeting to schedule a time to get checked out on the mill.

IMG_2410 copy

A special thanks to Tormach for helping us get this mill.  Without their help the money raised by our members would not have got us such an amazing tool.  We look forward to sharing all the things we make with the mill with them and supporting them any way we can.  TORMACH IS THE BEST!  For more info on Tormach and the cool tools they make click here.

by Carl Stevens at August 07, 2016 09:24 PM

August 01, 2016

Pumping Station: One

Spacecats Rocket Build!

A good friend of mine had the vision to make a memorial to lost cats at Burning Man 2016. It would be a whimsical project with a deeper side to it to honor our fallen feline companions.  To see more of what is behind the project can go to see the Spacecats Indiegogo at . I was asked by her to assist with creating the rocketship part of the project for the intrepid spacecats. I just starting doing CNC work this year and leaped at the opportunity to further improve my skills with a big project. Over a period of 2 months many models were created to arrive at the final form. I will detail the workflow for this and share some of the iterations!

It all started with Fusion 360, a great program for makers, to create a basic rocketship model. Well, I thought it was basic but my inexperience made it a bit harder than expected and went through many hours of “learning time” to arrive at a model I was happy with. From making the 3d model in Fusion 360, I then took it to 123d Make to have it piece together in radial slices so that it can be put together in real life! With the parts generated from 123dMake I was able to create some laser models to show my friend and get her input for her vision. As you can see it took about 4 times to get it right. These models were done 1:10 scale then 1:7 scale. it really helps to have something in front of you to decide what will look best.


After finally arriving at a model that was good it was time to bring it to the shopbot for a 1:2 model (that is also one of the indiegogo rewards!). There was much dialing in to make sure that the slot fit was tight but not too tight to be able to fit the pieces together.  Found that adding in .01 helped immensely to get the perfect fit. I did many test notch pieces to ensure the fit. One problem I had was making the test pieces too small so it did not get the full effect of sliding all the way into the wood. I found that making them larger really helped. It paid off to prototype and make test pieces , saved me from wasting many materials , especially when I moved to the more expensive wood!  Finally, we had something that the Spacecats seemed somewhat happy about – other than that orange tabby Floyd at least!


Also learned how to use a V bit for this project , very challenging to get the right font in so that it looks nice but was not too thin. This is the plate with the names of departed cats.


And finally , was able to do the full-size model that will go out to burning man! They were displayed at an event last weekend that was a Hawaiian luau, they seemed pretty pleased with it if I do say so myself!


Thanks to everyone at PS:One for the patience to answer many of my questions and excessive use of the shopbot to dial this project in 😀

If curious about the indiegogo project and the other elements of the installation can check out the page at Spacecats . And if going to Black Rock City this year, look for some spacecats in the deep playa!

by jeffz at August 01, 2016 12:28 AM

July 28, 2016

Pumping Station: One

How to Wear a Cabochon with an Irregular Shape



Now that members have made a bunch of fused glass cabochons this week, what can we do with them? You can make several cabochons and mount them on your own Medieval style gemstone covered book, hot glue it onto your stapler at work and really establish that one is yours, make some really shiny refrigerator magnets but jewelry is the most common application.

I encased my cabochon in a mount by free form hand weaving seed beads. This piece used different stitches and a strong nylon mono-filament thread. The beads are 11/0 size Czech glass and 15/0 size Japanese Miyuki glass. I encased the whole cabochon because the back of the fused glass was rough and uneven.




Other methods to make jewelry with a cabochon with an irregular shape are:

  • You can stitch bead embroidery around the cabochon securing it onto a backing of leather or heavy fabric. This will be similar to my example but simpler in its execution.
  • Glue on a bar pin back to wear it as a pin.
  • Glue on a bail to wear it on a chain or cord. There are many colors, sizes and shapes of ready made jewelry bails.
  • Wire wrap the cabochon with jewelry wire.

Given the resources we have at the space, someone could even 3D print a setting for their piece and then cast it in metal!






by shellie at July 28, 2016 08:25 PM

July 27, 2016

Pumping Station: One

The Joy of Melting Glass in a Microwave Oven



Samuel and Sylvia Sion brought in to last night’s member meeting an amazing impromptu class on fused glass. Glass usually has melting points higher than metal, yet there are these new miniature kilns that work inside of a conventional microwave oven! This makes fused glass work far more accessible and affordable from past days of using a larger plug-in electric kiln for hours. The time to melt an art glass cabochon was usually under five minutes with about 45 minutes needed for cooling. The larger kiln fit several pieces at once.

The microwave being used for glass fusing needs to be dedicated to art use only and never used for food again. (Cadmium and other pigments used for colorants are toxic, so this is a needed safety precaution.) Care needs to be taken to not overheat the microwave and destroy it, so letting the door stand open and the unit cool off between rounds of fusing glass is needed. Also, microwave kiln shelf paper needs to be placed on the base of the kiln to keep glass from melting onto the surface the kiln and destroying it. Heavy weight welding gloves worked as oven mitts to transfer hot kilns and the kilns rested safely on our ceramic fire bricks to cool.

Glass specifically made for fusing needs to be used for projects, like the brightly colored Dichroic glass example I made below. Dichroic and fusing glasses are the shiny, beautiful art glass pieces you always see in jewelry at art fairs. The price for making them yourself is very reasonable with this new method; you can buy enough to make several pieces for $20-$30. The kilns and tools to get started are being added to the small metals area and will be available within the following weeks.



by shellie at July 27, 2016 08:06 PM

July 26, 2016


Start Sewing! An Intro for Beginners – August 18 @ 7PM

This workshop will cover the basics of sewing, following a theoretical garment from start to finish. Get introduced to a sewing machine, how to read a pattern, what tools that can make construction easier, and fabrics to consider. With these basics down, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever sewing project you can dream up. You […]

by Nathan Armentrout at July 26, 2016 03:53 PM

July 19, 2016

Pumping Station: One

July Beer Church

The opening round

The opening round

In this month’s edition of Beer Church, the bombers flowed smoothly as we started off with the beer tasting:

After several rounds of tasting, we headed to Brew & Grow to start on our Brown Ale.  If you’ve never gone to Brew & Grow, this brew shop will have everything you need to start your own batch of beer from start to finish.



Gathering our ingredients entailed grabbing a cart with a bucket and scale attached and digging through our recipe book to catch all of our various grains needed for the mash.  We also grabbed some yeast and hops pellets to finish up our collecting.  Of course when you go to Brew & Grow you can sample some of their brews while you shop.

Wort Prep

Wort Prep

While the wort was being prepared I then decided it was grilling time!

Roll burgers into balls

Roll burgers into balls

Using a 75% / 25% fat mix, the beef was rolled into giant meat balls for smashing.

Smash into patties

Smash into patties

Once the burgers are made into balls, it’s time to smash them down and evening out the edges to make solid patties that will not disintegrate or crumble on the flame.  Salt, pepper, cajun seasoning were added on both sides of the burger.

Grill, flip only once and add cheese

Grill, flip only once and add cheese

Once the charcoal (which was started before the burgers were started) turns white, the lighter fluid should have burnt off and the grill is ready for use.  Toss on the buns to toast them but pay attention or they can scorch to a crisp.  Toss on the burgers with a spatula and note that the center is the hottest area so burgers are susceptible to scorching if you’re not careful.



Medium Rare

Medium Rare

Add condiments if necessary, and avoid shrinkage by removing the burgers before they are charred to a crisp.  Grill flame can get up to 500 degrees, so watch out or you or your food may get burnt!


Back in brewing land, while the mash was settling, the kettle was loaded with water and lit to reach 190 degrees.


After letting the wort settle, it was time to separate the sugars from the grain.


In sparging we rinse the grain with hot water that is about 170 degrees, using the wrong temp can result in unwanted consequences!


After the wort is in the kettle we turn back on the turkey fryer in order to begin the sterilization process and killing off bacteria.  As we mix the wort with a giant paddle, the heat coming from the turkey fryer singes everyone’s shins.

Pumping wort to carboy

Once the wort is heated up, we then cool it down by pumping cold water through the copper coils to bring the temperature back down.  Once the temperature drops, we then pump the remainder  through a tube into the carboy.

Here our decision to use pellet hops cause a lot of blockages in the tubes.  Using a mesh or filter bag on the pellet hops may have prevented some blockage but we were able to get most of the wort out into the carboy and did not smash it.

The ring of shame

The ring of shame

From last Beer Church we got to this final end stage and this handle failed causing the carboy to fall and smash all over the shop floor.  We were not to be tricked again and employed a harness setup to prevent any dropping.

Overall another successful Beer Church, we now have beer in progress which will be ready to be tapped soon.  Next iteration will use Creeping Charlie as the bittering agent in lieu of hops so it will be interesting to see how these two beers compare when it’s time.

If you are interested in beer or brewing, make sure to stop by next month’s edition of Beer Church!

by goatking at July 19, 2016 04:01 PM

July 17, 2016

Pumping Station: One

Configuring Pi 3 with a TFT touchscreen and GPIO buttons

A while back I built a pair of sound-reactive LED towers which were on display a few times, at some local Chicago events.

To plug into the DJ mixer output required a relatively expensive device to get the stereo signals (with external gain control) seen by a computer running as a microphone input.  Also, it was a relatively bulky affair to have yet another laptop sitting next to the mixer when the artist wasn’t using it to make the music.

Recently I discovered that starting with the 3.1 release, Processing can now run on a Raspberry Pi and has built-in ability to manipulate the GPIO ports.  This blog entry highlights the release.  This is exciting news as now the laptop can be replaced by a Pi 3 with a small touchscreen.

Here is a video of the light towers in action.

The towers each have 8 panels with 60 individually addressable RGB LEDs.  These pictures show off more of the visual esthetic and the cutaway view reveals something of the construction.  The LED strips are hidden in a channel in the wood supports which side illuminate acrylic panels (backed with just a strip of white cardboard).  The acrylic is impregnated with a diffuser which reflects the edge-lit light 90 degrees to exit out of the faces of the panels.  The white cardboard reflects the 1/2 of the light that would otherwise be directed inwards.   The acrylic is produced by Evonik and is called Acrylite EndLighten.  The towers themselves only require 110 VAC power.  The data frames to control the LED strips are sent wirelessly from the processing script using an Open Pixel Control  module which maps points on the processing screen into frames sent to a Fadecandy server running inside a OpenWRT Wifi device which is then physically connected to a Fadecandy board.  I used TP-Link TL-MR3040 WiFi devices to run OpenWRT and added the Fadecandy server application into the img file used to reflash the WiFi devices.  The Fadecandy GIT repository can be found here.

IMG_1689 IMG_1682

This is the assembled Raspberry Pi 3 w/ 2.8″ TFT Capacitive Touchscreen mirroring the HDMI frame buffer in a Zebra case without the top cover.

Pi 3 w/ 2.8

There were a lot of possible paths to follow in getting this build working the way I wanted it to be.  Most of my Google searching turned up outdated examples, particularly due to the changes introduced in the 4.4 kernel with /boot/config.txt use of overlays.  Adafruit had this very nice looking tutorial of how to get the touchscreen working with their version of the Jassie Raspbian os image.  The inclusion of how to use FBCP was of particular interest as mirroring the HDMI output is important for displaying processing scripts with the 2D or 3D graphics libraries.  Their Raspbian image was based on an older kernel and updating the os (sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get dist-upgrade) turned out not to just work.

After much tinkering, these are the steps that worked for me.  (note that I working with OSX 10.11)

  1. Download the latest Raspbian Jessie image here.
  2. Extract the .img file using “The” as opposed to the built-in “Archive” as I saw many comments that the default app caused issues.
  3. I chose a 32GB Samsung EVO Plus (model MB-MC32D) micro SD.  It has a red background.
  4. Flash the SD card with the extracted image file.  Instructions for doing this can be found easily.  I used the following procedure:
    • open a terminal window and change to the directory with the extracted image file
    • $ diskutil list
    • note the device path of the SD card (eg: /dev/disk4)
    • unmount the SD card, replace disk4 with what was discovered in the previous step
    • $ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk4
    • flash the SD card, again update rdisk4 and also make sure the if= filename is correct
    • $ sudo dd if=./2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/rdisk4 bs=1m
    • this will take at least 5 minutes to complete, but it is possible to see some status without interrupting the transfer, by pressing ctrl-t
    • exit the terminal window and eject the SD card
  5. Insert the SD card into the Pi and hook it up to an HDMI monitor.  You will need a keyboard and mouse as well.
  6. Open a terminal window
    • disable power management for the onboard WiFi module for stability
    • $ sudo nano /etc/network/if-up.d/wlan0
      iwconfig wlan0 power off
    • $ sudo chmod +x /etc/network/if-up.d/wlan0
    • $ sudo raspi-config
    • select Expand Filesystem and reboot
  7. Configure the WiFi as usual from icon at the top of the desktop
  8. Open a terminal window
    1. install updates
    2. $ sudo apt-get update
    3. $ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    4. install build utility
    5. $ sudo apt-get install cmake
    6. fetch the FBCP source, compile and install
    7. $ git clone
    8. $ mkdir ./rpi-fbcp/fbcp/build
    9. $ cd ./rpi-fbcp/fbcp/build
    10. $ cmake ..
    11. $ make
    12. $ sudo install fbcp /usr/local/bin/fbcp
    13. configure the touchscreen by uncommenting, changing or adding the following config entries
    14. $ sudo nano /boot/config.txt
      # match console size
      # force 640x480 VGA on HDMI
      # 2.8" Capacitive 320x240 Touchscreen
    15. expose touchscreen events
    16. $ sudo nano /etc/udev/rules.d/95-ft6206.rules
      SUBSYSTEM=="input", ATTRS{name}=="ft6236", ENV{DEVNAME}=="*event*", SYMLINK+="input/touchscreen"
    17. select an easier to read console font
    18. $ sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup
      • UTF-8
      • “Guess optimal character set”
      • Terminus
      • 6×12 (framebuffer only)
    19. remove extra GLES library see this issue
    20. $ sudo aptitude remove libgles2-mesa
    21. install processing
    22. $ curl | sudo sh
    23. disable auto monitor-off
    24. $ sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
      xserver-command=X -s 0 -dpms
  9. Reboot

The touchscreen should now display the 640×480 desktop scaled down to the 320×240 PiTFT screen.  This makes things look less crisp but has the advantage that connecting to an external HDMI display will work and that most apps need the larger dimensions be usable.  Note that many HDMI displays will not be able to handle a 320×240 HDMI signal.

FBCP stands for frame buffer copy, which rescales and mirrors the HDMI framebuffer (/dev/fb0) onto the PiTFT framebuffer (/dev/fb1)

The version of the 2.8″ PiTFT I got from Adafruit, comes with 4 buttons and I created this test Python script to demonstrate not only how to use the RPi.GPIO library, but how to manipulate the PiTFT backlight (so as to not burn-in the screen), use multi-threaded event handlers, and shutdown the os to safely disconnect the power.

I created this script as: /home/pi/  (chmod +c to make it executable) and test by typing ./  Note that pressing the bottom right button (#27) will ask for authentication for powering off the Pi.  See below to set this script running as a service, in which case, the user will not be asked for authentication.

#!/usr/bin/env python2.7

# example code tested with Pi 3
# Raspibian Jassie (4.4 kernel):
# Adafruit 2.8" Capacitive Touchscreen:
# for running on startup see:
# make sure to update the ExecStart= entry in the Adafruit script after copying from the example

import subprocess
import time
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO

# list of BCM channels from RPO.GPIO (printed on the Adafruit PCB next to each button)
channel_list = [17, 22, 23, 27]
backlightOn = True

# event handler to toggle the TFT backlight
def toggleBacklight(channel):
    global backlightOn
    if backlightOn:
        backlightOn = False
        backlightOn = True

# event handler to manage button presses
def buttonEvent(channel):
    startTime = time.time()
    while GPIO.input(channel) == GPIO.LOW:
    print "Button #%d pressed for %f seconds." % (channel, time.time() - startTime)

# event handler to manage Pi shutdown
def poweroff(channel):
    startTime = time.time()
    while GPIO.input(channel) == GPIO.LOW:
    if (time.time() - startTime) &amp;amp;amp;gt; 2:['poweroff'], shell=True, stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stderr=subprocess.PIPE)

# initialize GPIO library
GPIO.setup(channel_list, GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_UP)
GPIO.setup(18, GPIO.OUT)
backlight = GPIO.PWM(18, 1000)

print "Button #17 exits."
print "Button #22 toggles the TFT backlight."
print "Button #23 displayed the time the button is pressed."
print "!!! Pressing button #27 for at least 2 seconds, powers down the Pi !!!"

GPIO.add_event_detect(22, GPIO.FALLING, callback=toggleBacklight, bouncetime=200)
GPIO.add_event_detect(23, GPIO.FALLING, callback=buttonEvent, bouncetime=200)
GPIO.add_event_detect(27, GPIO.FALLING, callback=poweroff, bouncetime=200)

    GPIO.wait_for_edge(17, GPIO.FALLING)
    print "Exit button pressed."


# exit gracefully

To install as a service,

# pitft_buttons service file, start a daemon on startup
# file: /etc/systemd/system/pitft_buttons.service

Description=Start PiTFT buttons daemon

ExecStart=/usr/bin/python -u /home/pi/


Run a processing sketch from a script or from a terminal window or ssh session.
$ DISPLAY=:0 processing-java –sketch=/home/pi/HelloWorld –present

by Brian Chojnowski at July 17, 2016 05:15 PM

July 10, 2016

Milwaukee Makerspace


Harbor Freight

We went crazy a few days before Maker Faire Kansas City and rebuilt a vehicle for The Power Racing Series. The boat that was a basket turned into a duck…

Of course no PPPRS trip is complete without a stop at Harbor Fright. We bought all the pink tires they had. You know the pink tires, the ones the destroy themselves? Yeah, those pink tires…

Duck Car

Duallies again! Brings back memories of Red Lotus, doesn’t it? But this time we did not destroy any pink tires. We destroyed other things, but we fixed most of them.

Duck Car

Ed was our primary mechanic and handled all of the electrical system stuff and most of the other difficult things. Ed has a lot of experience building cars and other things…

Duck Car

Lori (aka “The Lorry”, aka “The Truck”) has raced before in Kansas City, and it was good to have her back behind the wheel, er, well, handle bars… Unless you count the main drive wheel when we say wheel. Yeah, let’s talk about that bicycle hub motor that runs at 24 volts, and not 36 volts.

Duck Car

Kathy went full-on duck, but can you blame her? About that hub motor… It’s built for 24 volts, but after the controller malfunctioned we switched it out for a 36 volt controller, which would only work with 36 volts attached to it, so we added a third battery and went crazy. Things worked until they didn’t and the motor burned up, even though we kept pouring water all over it. Drat!

Duck Car

Well, that’s the way it goes in the PPPRS, you either taste victory or you smell things burning. We did manage to get within the top five during the Endurance Race, and maybe even hit second place at one point. It’s all a blur really, and honestly we care more about having fun than we do about winning.

See you in Detroit!

by Pete Prodoehl at July 10, 2016 11:03 PM

July 08, 2016


This Saturday July 9, 2016 – Burning for Benjamin

Its about time we had burn to money. Date: Saturday July 9, 2016 Time: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Moment of Truth: 2:30 PM Prize: $100.00 Max Participants: 15 individuals or Teams Fires not permitted inside space, that is what the outdoors is for. All you have to do to compete is start a fire. […]

by JAC_101 at July 08, 2016 03:47 PM

July 07, 2016

NYC Resistor

DIY Musical Instruments Class is on Saturday!

We still have some tickets left for our DIY Musical Instruments class on Saturday!

Turn almost anything into a musical instrument with Teensy, an inexpensive Arduino-compatible microcontroller. The Teensy 3.2 has a bunch of touch sensors and analog and digital inputs, and it can plug into almost any music software through USB MIDI. teensy instruments

In this class, we’ll stick touch pads on any objects to make them into keyboards, drum controllers, or trigger pads. No coding or soldering experience is needed, but you’ll have the opportunity to do either or both if you like. Bring an object you’d like to instrumentify! And hurry up and buy your ticket.

instrument-a-day 7: Bottle Imp 1

by Bonnie Eisenman at July 07, 2016 02:00 PM

Swindon Makerspace

Making a Makerspace Temperature Logger

The making of a Makerspace temperature logger, mainly in pictures. To see the chart of what has been recorded see

First, use the Makerspace PCB milling machine to cut a circuit board. This was the first attempt to cut a board that uses surface mount components. Really the surface mount components are on the wrong side of the board because they should be on the same side as the through hole components. This caused some odd issues with mirroring of connectors, but making double sided boards is a job for another day!


Next, soldering. Even the finest of soldering iron tips looks massive next to some of those components, so a good magnifying lamp helps. I should probably have tried to use the hot air rework station at the Makerspace. Maybe next time, either that or wait for the reflow oven project to be completed 🙂


Soldering resistors and capacitors was actually a lot easier that soldering the voltage regulator. Using the crocodile clips from a pair of helping hands to hold them in place helped a lot.


After testing the boards for shorts and checking that all the resistors were correctly soldered, an initial power-on with the ESP8266 board in place proved that everything actually worked.


Using SMD components meant that the circuit board wasn’t all that much larger than the ESP8266 and the Dallas DS18B20 temperature sensor could fit in the space between the two boards.


Finally the red power led from the ESP8266 was removed to save a little bit of power, and the necessary additional wire from the ESP8266 chip to the reset pin was added so that deep sleep mode would work. Quite a decent result, tests with a multi-meter show it using only 28 micro amps when sleeping, which is how it spends most of it’s time.


Finally connection to a 3xAA batter holder and the project is ready to deploy. The code is written to connect to wifi, read the temperature sensor and send the data to, then go back to sleep to conserve power.


Finally, create a 3d printed cover and place it in the space. I’ve had a variant of one of these running on a breadboard on my desk for well over a month, it only wakes up for about 4.5 seconds every 10 minutes so hopefully the batteries should last a while.

The post Making a Makerspace Temperature Logger appeared first on Swindon Makerspace.

by RobertCL at July 07, 2016 07:54 AM

July 06, 2016


Maker’s Meetup 6 July

Join us tonight at our space at Insight for a Maker’s Meetup.

The post Maker’s Meetup 6 July appeared first on 091 Labs.

by Alanna at July 06, 2016 12:51 PM

July 05, 2016

Pumping Station: One

4th of July – BBQ o’clock!

A long time ago a friend moved to Chicago and I invited her to my BBQ.  When she got there, she was very confused.

“This is a cookout!” she said.  Not understanding, I tried to figure out what she was talking about.  Apparently in the south, BBQ’g means you take a smoker and smoke meat low and slow for long periods of time and a cookout is when you take your grill and cook some hamburgers and hot dogs.

Fast forward three years, it’s now 12:45am and it’s time to start BBQ’g.  Today’s recipe is 18.5 pounds of pork shoulder otherwise known as Boston Butt.

What is Pork Shoulder?

Boston Butt / Pork Shoulder

A staple of American barbecue, pork shoulder counts itself as one of the most forgiving of meats.  If you smoke it for too long, the meat tends to dry out some but with enough BBQ sauce, you won’t need to worry.  From a default, I usually serve my pork shoulder with no BBQ sauce as good BBQ doesn’t really need it but BBQ sauce is not faux pas and will bring more complexity to the dish.

Starting your fire

To start your fire you will need

  1. Charcoal briquettes
  2. Hickory Wood Chunks (read chunks, not chips)
  3. Water
  4. Chimney Starter


What you will need to do is lay the charcoal and hickory into the coal pan of the smoker.  Once placed, the chimney starter will be lit from the bottom to start the flame without lighter fluid.  You can either use newspaper or Weber ignition cubes to get the fire started.  The goal here is to get the coals in the chimney smoking and red hot so that you can dump them into the coal pile below.  Avoiding lighter fluid is important here because the gasoline/lighter fluid smell will get into the food which will make for some unappetizing eats!

Meat Preparation


While the chimney is smoking, grab some pork shoulder and lightly apply yellow mustard.  The mustard will work to hold the rub to the pork shoulder while it smokes to help the rub caramelize and give the pork shoulder nice bark.  Once light mustard is applied, add on the rub on both sides of the pork shoulder


Once the chimney is on fire you will need to exercise caution to pick up the chimney starter, remove the grate and dump it onto the bed of coal and wood below.


By dumping the hot chimney coals to the pile below, it will ignite the rest of the coals without the use of lighter fluid and sustain itself for a prolonged period of time.


Next up fill your water pan with a watering can, this will help regulate temperature as well as generate additional smoke.


Once you have the smoker up and running you will have smoke from coal and wood that will run for a good 5-7 hour stretch before the temperature starts to diminish.


The trick with smoking meat is to try to keep the temperature low and slow.  Too much heat and you will end up burning the meat.  Not enough heat and the meat will not get past the stall and will not be as tender as you need it to be.



Smoking meat is somewhat of a marathon.  The target temperature to hit with most meat is about 200 degrees F.  At this point, meat tenderizes and reaches peak flavor.  While it’s still possible to eat pork shoulder at 180 or even 190F, I’ve definitely seen that breaking past 200F will yield great results.  Some people will go 215F but risk the meat drying out when smoked for that long.  When smoking meat applying some apple cider with a spray bottle about 5 hours into the smoke.  You can also wrap the pork shoulder in foil and spray the shoulder, this Texas Crutch will help speed up the process and shave off a few hours off the total smoke time.

After 6 hours the coals will die down, so at that point apple cider vinegar will be misted on the shoulder and you can either finish it up in the oven or load a new chimney or charcoal and keep going.  It’s up to you if you want to wrap the pork shoulder or let it ride on the smoker.  Since I was in a time crunch I decided to deploy the Texas Crutch and bring the pork shoulders to the finish line.

IMG_2624IMG_2627 IMG_2631

Once the pork shoulder eclipses 200F, it is time to let it sit in a tray and cool off and rest.  This resting period lets the pork shoulder reabsorb some of the juice that may be in the foil to get juicier pork shoulder.  Once the shoulder is rested 45 minutes to 1 hour, take your favorite set of bear claws and start ripping up the pork.  You’ll find it therapeutic but if you have no bear claws you can use your bare hands or two fork method.  Since I got a set of bear claws I’ve never had to turn back.  After you’re done, it’s ready to go, make sure to mix up the pork shoulder and make sure the juice gets on a lot of pieces.  One 9lb of pork shoulder should be able to feed 20 people or so, so not bad in a long night’s work.

by goatking at July 05, 2016 07:45 PM

CNC Birdbath Bowl

I recently completed my most ambitious ShopBot project to date: casting a concrete birdbath bowl in a mold that I CNC’d. This was also my first attempt at producing a video about a project as I’m working on it. Watch the video below:

by Matt Meshulam at July 05, 2016 07:14 PM