Monday, December 23, 2013

BeagleBrick - The SDR Ham Radio Station

by Aaron


The BeagleBrick was conceived by HackRVA member Robert Thomas, KC4NYK. Robert is an Industrial Designer and Ham Radio enthusiast. He designed the BeagleBrick to be an inexpensive entry point for ham radio enthusiasts, students, educators and other experimenters to study Software Defined Radio technology. 

In its current form the BeagleBrick represents a completely self-contained SDR Ham Radio Station using the Beagleboard as a fully functional embedded Linux workstation featuring High Definition Video and sophisticated, chip-level accelerated graphics. It is designed to operate with an array of inexpensive QRP transceiver kits. 

Click here to learn more about the BeagleBrick!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Power Wheels Driven With XBOX Controller

by Aaron

RC Jeep from Dustin Firebaugh on Vimeo.

Neal built this Power Wheels Jeep with the help of friends at HackRVA. Checkout the video above and get the full build details at his Instructables link here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Aluminium Casting With Li'l Birtha

We spent last Saturday melting aluminum with Paul's "Li'l Bertha" Electric Furnace then sand casting the molten metal into various shapes. We cut down heat sinks and other scrap then threw them in the crucible. The cast in this video didn't go as planned, but others worked well.

See more pics of sand casting.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Building a Personal Cloud

by Aaron
Hardware for a Personal Cloud

Jamie Duncan is a key member of HackRVA and his blog is LOST IN OPEN SOURCE. There, he covers such things as building a personal cloud as well as general musings on technology. Plenty of details to get people started.


The name Jamie Duncan and HackRVA just go together. Jamie was our "head cheerleader" for over a year, doing everything from organizing the badge build for the Richmond Security Conference to making sure the bills got paid. He's also very involved with RVaLUG. Thanks Jamie, and we'll be seeing what's next on your blog and other places.

From FIRST Robotics to DIY Segway

By Aaron

Checkout this DIY Segway built by Brandon Davies and Dustin Thomson I first saw featured at the Chesterfield County Main Library Makerspace Grand Opening. 


Brandon is the son of HackRVA member Bruce "Doc" Davies who's very involved with area FIRST Robotics. This elegant and wonderfully built Segway is an excellent example of FIRST Robotics graduates going on to build more advanced things. They based it on this design from an MIT resource.


Learn more about how they did it after the break.

HackRVA at Hampton Roads Maker Faire

by Aaron

HackRVA presented at the 2013 Hampton Roads Maker Faire. Didn't have time to take many pics, but will upload some as they become available from the HR Maker Faire Facebook.

Here's a link to some good pictures.

Here's a link to a video of the event.


Neal says:


There were some pretty amazing things there but I didn't get a chance to see it all. I spent most of the day driving kids around in the Power Wheels and answering questions about it. 


There were shopbots, and laser cutters, stained glass, robots shooting basketballs, a lifesized theremin shaped like a tree, original comic books, an electric Ford Roadster, composting bins designed to be indoors (no smell, that was awesome), an Oculus on a flight simulator, 9 foot tall rockets, an entire house {with furnishings) made of plywood, and a Big RC Power Wheels Jeep that drove kids and adults alike around the floor.


My wife and kids were there and got to see and interact with a lot more things.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Halloween Hackathon 2013

by Aaron

Halloween Hackathon 2013 at HackRVA. We made LED Throwie Ghost Boxes and Haunted Houses, 3D printed decorations, paper masks, and played some classic scary movies.  We were also visited by the PUMKINATOR; a sawz-all welding jack-o'-lantern cutting madman. 


More pics and a video of the PUMKINATOR after the break.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hacking it Old School - DIY Lasers From a Previous Era

by Aaron

Laser V1.0.  Cyberpunk before they knew what to call it.

Check out these awesome laser and light creations from Eric! It might be hard to believe for all those arduino-naughts, but there was a time many microseconds ago when ubiquitous microelectronics, readily available IC's, and off-the-shelf lasers didn't exist and a guy just had to roll up his sleeves and do it himself - like for real. This just goes to show the wide range and deep experience the HackRVA membership has. Doesn't get much more hackerly than this. 

⇓ More pics after the break.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

An Afternoon With Blender

by Aaron

An introduction to Blender was given at HackRVA during our Saturday Hack-a-thon. We've been trying out the idea of moderated video-driven classes at HackRVA and this was one of them.


Instead of the overhead and planning involved with a full-on class, we hangout and watch the best tutorials available from the web and learn together. Dustin was our moderator and resident expert for this class. Many people learned and were able to ask questions as we went.


The slight drawback to this method is that videos tend to cover things quickly. If you're sitting at home, you can hit pause. On the other hand you miss out on the fun of doing it with friends and you don't have the ability to ask an experienced user the specific thing that you might want to know not covered by the video.


In short, it was a success and the moderated video class is a viable option for learning.


Here's a link to the tutorial video we covered. It's an excellent primer.

ATX to Lab Power Supply

by Aaron

Power projects of the future with trash from the past. Michael built this utilitarian lab power supply using an ATX power supply from an old computer during one of our weekly Saturday hackathons. A little rewiring, add a few three-way binding posts and resistors... and voila. Here's a link to a very detailed build log to make your own.

Light Up Your Extra Lives - An 8-Bit Inspired Sign

by Aaron

We created this sign by projecting an 8-Bit Font onto a 1/8" Baltic birch plywood sheet then tracing it with a pencil. We then cutout the letters with a jigsaw, built a 2x4 frame, and applied paper as a light deffuser. Finally, we lit it with an LED light-strip along the inside frame driven by a 12V DC power supply.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's Good!! - Thingiverse Back to School Challenge

by Aaron

Amy spearheaded the effort to get HackRVA more involved in hackerly contests around the web by entering us in the Thingiverse Back To School Challenge. After kicking around a few ideas at our weekly Saturday hackathon, we came up with this paper football themed pencil set. Several members contributed on the CAD design and after a few rounds of tweaks we completed the project. We didn't win... THIS TIME. But it was good practice for contests to come.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Festival of Community Makers

by Aaron

HackRVA tabled at Festival of Community Makers in Fredericksburg, VA. Neal got to show off his Xbox controlled power wheels project and we spent the day discussing the merits of hacking and making. Also in attendance were Mark Fraunfelder, Frederickswerken, and several other area makers. Mark flew in from LA to present a wonderful talk about the history of making and the origins of Make Magazine.  He also signed copies of his book Made By Hand.


More pics after the break.

Monday, September 9, 2013

"The Spooklet" Zine Assembly

by Aaron

The sub-sub-sub group assembled the 3rd edition of their zine "The Spooklet", a Halloween-themed literary arts publication, which will be featured at the RVA ZineFest in October. We sewed simple pamphlet binding and created special edition copies of The Spooklet with paper circuits and light-up covers. Snacks and spooky entertainment were enjoyed by all. More pics of the event here.


See paper circuit after the break. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Floppy Disk Bag

by Aaron


One floppy disk bag created using the drill press, zip ties, bus cable, and 50 megabytes of sweet retro magnetic storage medium. Here's a link to the original Instructable.

There's still plenty of disks around HackRVA, so if you want a bag, a vest, or an 3-piece suit, just come to a Saturday hackathon and we'll have you looking snazzy faster than a reformat.

⇓ More pics after the break.

Sunday, June 2, 2013