Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Arduino, Freeduino, What Do We Know?

Sorry you missed it, but some insane fun went on in the AM at HRVA. Someone had the bright idea to take a bunch of people who couldn't solder their way out of a paper bag and teach them how to do it by having a class in the Capital Wasteland that not only gave you an important hacking skill, but it gives you a little programmable computer that you can go insane with to do amazing projects. Imagine, if you will, a fantastic little piece of silicone and metal that will obey your every command and make things move.

Robots, I'm talking about. Yes, robots.

Here's an example of one project put together successfully if poorly soldered:

It worked, which is a testament to the patience of the teachers. If you run across the young man that made this, don't feed him. He keeps showing up and no one knows where he came from. He just grunts and grumbles when we hit him out the door with the broom.

If that moron can make a mini-computer, you can do better, so come on in to HackRVA and say hello and join up to make awesome things yourself.

Seriously don't feed that guy though. Why is he here?

Boxes and Nothing More

Let's take a look at what's happening at HackRVA. We know where the action is at, and it can be only at one place.

The word is BOXES.

Six sides makes the magic. If you're not making boxes--what are you doing with your life? It's become an obsession with us. Michael made a pretty one with red velvet lining in a carefully laid out plan. Dustin made a sweet little laptop box with a Raspberry Pi, screen and keyboard and all. Both were awesome.

And then there's this thing Aaron made... 

It's his tri-copter house. Hey, tri-copters have it rough sometimes, so they sometimes can't afford the nicest accomodations, but at least it has a luxurious black pleather interior with well-meaning pop-rivet joinings. For a first attempt, I think it's a resounding success! 

Think you can do better? Let's get hacking and see what kind of awesome-sauce box you can make.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Building of the New World Conference

Sidney has co-sponsered the "Build the New World" conference through HackRVA. He will be attending the conference in the Science & Technology Sector. Details below:

Specifically, BTNW will focus on the “Wheel of Co-Creation” originally designed by Barbara Marx Hubbard, who will be opening the conference. The Wheel identifies eleven “sectors” of a full-spectrum society:
            Full-Spectrum Community Sectors:
           1.    Learning & Education
           2.    Communications & Media
           3.    Art & Culture
           4.    Economics & Business
           5.    Peacekeeping & Relations
           6.    Justice & Governance
           7.    Health & Wellness
           8.    Food, Water & Environment
           9.    Infrastructure & Resources
           10.   Science & Technology
           11.   Spirituality & Religion

Thought-leaders in each of these sectors will speak at the conference. 

Dates:             May 28 – May 31, 2015
Location:        Radford University in Radford, Virginia

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

USB Hardware Repair Saves the Day

By Aaron
Stephen got a call from a friend from across the world about a broken USB drive. From China to be exact, and the friend's daughter is a student in Charlotte, NC with a USB full of important school work files that couldn't be accessed. They actually cordinated a meetup through the hacker network to have it fixed at the Charlotte space, but ultimately decided to have it mailed to Steven. Sure enough, he fixed it. Disaster averted thanks to friendly hackers.

Stephen sez:
I was able to repair the usb drive and get Natalie's files. The solder pads had ripped off but I used a razor to remove the solder mask on different parts of the boards to access the circuit points. I cut apart a USB cable and solder the wires to the circuit board.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Quad Alphanumeric Office Hours

by Aaron

Need to talk? Check the lights!

Here's a great blog post by Daniel on how he built it at HackRVA.

Gears of "Almost" Finger Crushing

by Aaron
Michael cut these fabulous gears on the CNC in the name of learning more about mechanical systems and to make a neat demonstration. He happened to have a spare microwave turntable motor (we've kinda fallen in love with these things) so when you stick a finger in the works, it just sighs and spins the other way. You can see it hanging at the space in all its glory. 

Andrew Solderhands

by Aaron
We've done helmets, shoes, skirts, headbands, t-shirts.... and now... THE SOLDER GLOVE.

Impractical, maybe. Fun, definitely. Play is at the heart of creativity and we know how to have a good time. Just don't try any fist-bumps.

Embracing Failure

by Aaron sir-fails-a-lot
At a recent HackRVA book club meeting the idea of a "fail club" was brought up. We were all encouraged to find something we wanted to try but were afraid to fail at or thought we would fail at. For me it was chiseling stone. I learned a lot trying this. Thanks HackRVA book club!

Tracking the Stars

by Aaron
Andy knocks out another sweet project. He's really on a roll. This one tracks the night sky. He used a range of maker tools and parts to do it; CNC Router for plates, 3D printer for brackets and bearing blocks, stepper motor for movement, arduino for control, and custom circuits to connect it all. Nice Job!!

More build pics here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Skeleton Shooters' CT Scanner

by Aaron

Alright, this is just awesome. The RVA Maker Guild lego leauge Skeleton Shooters (such a sweet name) did a demo on CT scanners made from legos. More pics here.

Minecraft to the Max

by Aaron
Caught looting someones pick-axe stash?
We had an impromptu Minecraft night at HackRVA. It lasted until way-past-bedtime-oclock. It's all good though, because now we have a Minecraft server at the space and people can play at home too. The only question left is do I call into work tomorrow to build a simulated replica of the space....

Spoon Carving

by Aaron
I've been trying to make some passable spoons for awhile. I'm not a good carver, but I like to play around. Above is my DiResta style video of cutting out blanks. These are much better than others so far, but more like stirring paddles than spoons.

Heroic Age

by Aaron
HackRVA member Melanie, also known as the Indie School Librarian, embroidered this wonderful bit of inspiration. Find these tools and attitude at HackRVA.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Badge Build - It Lives

By Aaron
Jonathan has been coding away on the badges. He got the "WOOT" program running today! We're moving at a good clip this year. Any coders out there are welcome to jump in and make cool apps. Just hit up the mailing list for details.

LED Matrix, Driver, and Controls

by Aaron

Q:Will we ever get tired of LED's?  A: Not a chance.

Thad sez:
Last time my parents were in Richmond, I showed them the strip of neo-pixels I was about to install for under cabinet lights.  My father said he would like to have an adjustable color light.  Commercial solutions tend to be not very bright, or not very adjustable, or expensive.  

I'm not going to do any more with this project, my father will put the electronics in a box and mount the panel.  I believe it's for photography, but I don't really know any details.

This was my first time using toner transfer, and it worked better than expected.  Thanks again, Michael.  It might have been easier to use an AVR chip instead of using timers, but I felt like a little variety from the under cabinet lights project.

Bone Conductor Helmet

by Aaron

Yes, that is a helmet with an answering machine screwed to the side communicating via bone conductor straight into the skull.

Yes, it is awesome.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Extra Life

by Aaron

Need one more chance?

LaserCutter+3Dprinter+LED= 1UP

Slapdash Sled on Snowflakes Notice

by Aaron

Kramer and Andrew made this sled after a recent serious snow. They used the CNC to make the side-ribs, a piece of shower board for the bottom from the stockpile, chair recovered from "longterm storage"(trash bin), and LED's from former project for the badazz nightrider lights. Fastest sled on the slope, but like many beautiful fast things, it crashed into some snow and got messed up.

shower board - fast but fragile

Cooked Quad - Snow Lessons Learned

by Aaron

Andy sez -
Things I learned:

1) When a mini quad falls into half a foot of fresh snow, it makes a quad-sized hole, jumps in it, and then covers itself over, rendering itself completely invisible.

2) When removed from the snow, every possible nook and cranny of the quad will be filled with snow, to a degree of precision that strains belief.

3) This is important - when you then put the quad in the over to remove the snow, take off the propellers.

4) Quads don't make much lift with circular propellers.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Underwater Circuit Board Laminator

by Aaron
 This is an underwater circuit board laminator for fixing film to copper clad board. I find this a touch crazy, but Dupont says it eliminates air bubbles, therefore we hacked our own tool per usual. I have no plans to stick my hands in there, but if it improve badge production quality, I'm glad to let someone else do it.