Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Makership for U of L Engineering Students


Hackerspaces are starting to change engineering education. Let’s put two University of Louisville Co-op interns in the LVL1 hackerspace! We are exploring how to get students working on hands-on projects sooner in the engineering curriculum.

Check out what our summer Co-ops have been up to!

As a Co-op at LVL1, you can contribute to an ongoing project or even launch your own project. You must be a Speed School student seeking a Fall 2012 Co-op to apply for this program. The deadline is September 4, 2012.

If you’re seeking a Co-op position in Spring 2013 or  Summer 2013, stay tuned! There will be another application session for each of those semesters.


Pics from last Saturday’s Meet up

Thanks to everyone who came out to our last meet up. It was a small group, but everybody who showed up had something to contribute, from great projects to show and tell, to ideas for future workshops.

  • John brought in a stylish foldable deck chair that he built himself.
  • Theo showed off a power inverter that he’s working on.
  • Robert brought in and talked about his “Old School Mixtape” project.

Here are a few pictures from the event:

John’s Deck Chair


John and his Deck Chair

Theo’s Power Inverter

Rob’s Old School Mixtape

First flight of the Hexacopter!

It's been a difficult journey, but we finally got the first flight of our DIY Drones Hexacopter. A special thank you goes out to the whole UAV team at Freeside Atlanta for donating their time, money, and resources to this project.

 Slade, who did several hours of last-mile troubleshooting to get the UAV in the air, is flying it by hand. Check out the video on Youtube, which shows us testing the pitch, yaw, and roll of the unit and finally getting flight. We were pretty surprised at how smoothly it flies.

Stay tuned, as we'll be setting up and configuring the UAV controls so that it can follow GPS waypoint flight paths. We're also going to be posting another video that explains how everything works, how we did the troubleshooting on the initial flight, and some new in-flight footage.

De “Can Do” mentaliteit



Typerend voor de Hack42 hackerspace is de volgende situatie:

  • Deelnemer komt met een obscuur stuk hardware, een (soms defect) apparaat, bizar item of een interessant idee.
  • Er wordt gebrainstormed en er vormt zich een idee over (her)gebruik en inzet.
  • Het idee wordt uitgevoerd.
  • We hebben een awesome nieuw ‘iets’ erbij.


Bovenstaand gaat soms in sneltreinvaart. Het is heerlijk om mee te kunnen werken aan het creatieve proces, maar ook gewoon om hier getuige van te zijn en te zien hoe anderen samen iets gaafs maken.


Awesome Lasercutter

Ter illustratie; we hebben sinds kort een lasercutter. Om deze aan te schaffen was natuurlijk geld nodig. Geen probleem; een groot aantal deelnemers heeft geïnvesteerd. Vervolgens moest zij gehacked worden; een flink redesign qua electronica, extra features en functionaliteiten om haar nog meer awesome te maken (en niet te vergeten: een stukje veiliger). De geschatte doorlooptijd van dit project was ongeveer 6 weken, vanaf het moment dat de lasercutter over de drempel de space binnen kwam tot aan een volledig functionele machine. Vanaf dát eerste moment is een aantal enthousiaste deelnemers hard aan de slag gegaan en het lijkt erop dat de planning gehaald gaat worden.

Last minute calculations and alterations



Sommige projecten zijn eenvoudig te kickstarten door een subtiele hint te laten vallen of een vaag idee te formuleren. Omdat er zoveel verschillende skillsets en specialismes zijn, kan er vanuit iedere denkbare (of onverwachtse!) hoek hulp of advies komen wanneer je tegen een probleem uitdaging aanloopt.

Als je een leuk project hebt en je weet niet goed hoe je het moet aanpakken, zet het op de Wiki, praat erover op IRC, in de Lounge, tijdens een van de meetings of via de mailinglijst.

Noizemaschin!!#13 – First Anniversary – with Cake! Tues 31st Jul

There will be cake! Come celebrate a year of experimental music in industrial surrounds @ The Artifactory as NoizeMaschin turns one. We’ll try to have a CD compilation of tunes and images ready….
Also, bonus points to any artist that engages with the concept of ‘Paper’, what with this being the one year anniversary of Noizemaschin!! and all…

$10 entry for non-members and non-performers. Bar d’Factory drinks & earplugs available. Doors open 7:30, let’s see if we can get underway by 8 for once…


  • The Gizzards – Everyone’s favorite fuzzed out, circuit bent pop-rocker takes to the brand new Artifactory stage with cape and guitar in tow!
  • Andrew Nonlinear Circuits brings out his latest analogue synth/seq perversion in all its terrifying blinky-lightness!
  • Karl Ford – Noizemaschin!! welcomes back the master of contact mics and champion of the musical chainsaw!
  • Michael Terren – The man who does not look out of place on a surf board or an elven throne, and fresh from his support of international artist Bee Mask, Michael Terren makes strange electronic noises for your amusement!
  • Russell Clark – Multiple components of MIDI manipulation
  • Finnish Flood Myth – Friends of Noizemaschin!! from the very start, Finnish Flood Myth celebrate our birthday with laid-back hipster style (the good kind)
  • Jack Moriarty – The OpenGL aficionado has the first gig of his Noizemaschin!! residency and unveils the makings of his music chess set…
  • Sam Gillies – Dense soundscapes and manipulated samples possibly backed up with the validity of an actual score…
  • Dr Vellocet – More musical sacrifices from the good doctor

10th Journal club 30.7.

the 10th Journal club is coming up on Monday the 30.07 20:00 in the c-base seminar room. We change the date to Monday, since the seminar room is being renovated on weekends for the next couple of weeks.

This event is for people interested in sciences who have acquired a background exceeding common A-levels in one or more disciplines of either natural sciences or engineering. Whether the knowledge was acquire through university or private study is not important, however a certain level of knowledge is necessary to understand papers in the first place.

72 hour of amazing hell is over, now it’s your turn!

Ok, so if you've been under a rock for the last week, you may have missed this, here's a recap...

Starting last Thursday, we began participation in a contest with 12 teams across the country, competing in the Red Bull Creation Contest.  At 5pm Thursday evening, they gave us this directive:

In the next 72 each shop must build a game.  It must be playable by the attendees of the World Maker Fair in New York City in September.  The Game design must have a winner, it must fit into a 7.5'x7.5'x8' crate and weigh no more than 2000lbs.

With that information in hand, and about 30 volunteers from around Southern California, we began to design.  In rapid fire brainstorming, we came up with so many good ideas it was hard to dial it down to one.  We did, and It was called BATTLE GOLF.

Two head to head players compete on opposite sides of a mini golf-like obstacle.  The goal of the game is to have captured the most number of holes at the end of the time period (2 mins), each side has 5 holes.  There's a catch though, the holes on each side are connected electronically and only one player can 'own' a hole at a time, if the opposite player makes a hole, it ejects the ball out of the first players hole.  That's the offense.

We decided to add a little more game.  Defense.  On the game board are 4 targets, these connect electronically to popup blockers on the opposing players board, when it's struck, it lifts a blocker in front of the hole preventing the opponent from either taking ownership of a hole or kicking you out of your hole!

This is Battle Golf!

Well, 72 hours later, we'd built it.  Our game wasn't perfect when the time was up.  We had to make some hard choices.  But in the end, we built the game we wanted, it looked great, it worked and we were excited.

We presented our game to an online crowd of hundreds over a live streaming link, we went last so they'd looked at the 11 other submissions before ours and we had some amazing competition.  There was a submarine simulator, there was a head-to-head labyrinth style game with trap doors and magnets throughout the game surface, a few games that spun around the players who were required to perform without vomiting and many other amazing inventions.  Our competition IS steep.

Notice I said IS, not was.  This game isn't over!!  There are two ways to be judged and win in this contest.  The first is team choice, all 12 teams submit their vote for the best entry, winner take all so to speak.  The second way is people's choice, on July 25th (two days from now), Red Bull will open up the voting on their (creative but sometimes annoying, I know, sorry) creation web page,  They'll be showing short 60 second videos submitted by each team and you can vote (once?) for the team that you like.

Did I mention 23b WON people's choice last year?  We reached out to you guys, our friends and families and asked you to Like our entry on facebook, we asked you to ask YOUR friends and families, we asked you to ask them to ask THEIR friends and families…  You get the idea.  Well, you guys rose to the challenge and we took away the prize, a $6000 Lincoln welder that we use ALL the time here in our shop and was deployed pretty heavily during the contest.   We need you to do this again!  We need you to go to the Red Bull Creation Contest page, choose 23b AS HARD AS YOU CAN.  Then, tell all of your friends and families you'll never talk to them again if they don't choose us, then they have to threaten their friends and families with a life of loneliness and solidarity (never talk to them again!), and so on, and so on. 

We're going up against two teams that have a tremendous audience, hackaday and instructables, we REALLY need to step up this game.  We can't rely on simple harassment alone, we need you guys to help us get the word out!  Facebook, youtube, reddit, twitter, G+, slashdot etc.  POST POST POST, COMMENT COMMENT COMMENT!

Now we think you should vote for us, we think think we built a winning game and we THINK you guys like us and want us to win, but there's another reason.  We're the only team that opened our doors to community at large, we put out the call, come to 23b and help us build!  We had an overwhelming response!  I would guess between 60-80 people came and went during the course of the challenge, a hardcore group of about 20 NEVER STOPPED WORKING the entire time, we ate, slept, showered and lived at the shop for the entire 72 hours.  Most of this group would get about 3 hours of sleep a night, wake up, chug an energy drink and get back to work.  We were fed and taken care of by a team of people making food and generally keeping us alive. 

We worked side by side with people we'd never laid eyes on before, total strangers, pitching in and making this happen.  This place was rock star central, the talent was AMAZING.  We had people doing the carpentry work, wiring, circuit design, micro controller programming, game play design, MC's and art, welders, cutters, gluers, painters and solderers.  Everybody was amazing.

So, finally, a MASSIVE thanks to the Southern California Makers/Hackers/Robotics/Artists, you guys rose to the challenge, we couldn't have done this without you!  YOU ARE WE!  Help us, ALL OF US, take this contest to the GROUND, give it a noogie and make it cry a little.  Let's put team 23b on the top of the podium, watch the Red Bull Creation web page, vote for us.  Between NOW and the close of voting (haven't been told when that is), drum up support for us!

Go on now, DRUM!!!!!!!!

Go see pictures here:

Constant Current Dummy Load – continued

Since the last installment, I've finalized the initial PCB design and sent it off to Seeedstudio for fabrication. I've never designed a through-hole (TH) construction board before but in general all the same rules apply to SMD and TH boards I believe.

200W 0.1Ω load
30W 1Ω load
10x10Ω 3W in ||
25 turn
trimmer pot
I changed up a few things during the PCB design phase of this project that I thought would be interesting to mention. I added a pair of trim pots to design. One trim pot reduces the maximum voltage going into the first op-amp stage. The second is the in the feedback loop of the first op amp stage. At maximum resistance, 3000Ω to GND (R2 of the voltage divider), with the 820Ω R1 (there for its role as a low pass filter in addition to the voltage divider), I should see a 27% voltage gain. Turned down to 0Ω, that pot creates a situation where the output is the high output voltage of the op-amp (essentially infinite gain). Something like 8V for the op-amp/input voltage I am using. Why did I bother to design a mechanism to adjust the highest voltage output across the load down to200mV and up to 8V? Well, so I could use a bunch of different load resistors with this circuit and not have to worry about lighting anything on fire with the knob after setting trimmers to their "final" value. I 0.1Ω load resistor is going to burn 10 times the current of a given voltage than a 1Ω resistor so it occurred to me that having a flexible system made a lot of sense. I got the trimmers on ebay for a quarter each, so while they are much more expensive than a normal resistor, they save me having to build a different board for each load resistor. You can trim it up for a given load within a minute with just a multimeter.

Basic MOSFET operating voltage graph
I also included to a switch so the user can switch between operating the main current MOSFET in the linear region (aka triode mode or ohmic region) or in the saturation region (aka active mode or fully enhanced). You can operate the MOSFET in the ohmic region by applying a relatively flat DC voltage on the MOSFET gate below the saturation voltage. The MOSFET behaves like a adjustable resistor in this mode. When operated in the saturation region (by putting high voltage on the gate) the MOSFET channel has its lowest possible resistance it has to offer but as a result you need to switch it on and off in order to limit the current. I hypothesize that the MOSFET will run cooler at a constant current in saturation mode then it will in the ohmic region but it remains to be tested. I decided to offer both options in the circuit because I figure both have their objective value. I show the difference on the scope in the video above.

In addition to these admittedly minor hardware revisions I also created the previously posted rotary encoder library so I could have both fine and course control over the output current. Might as well take full advantage of the digital circuitry, right?

The two holes labeled "LOAD" top center of the PCB rendering below are points you can use to measure the voltage across the load. That number, with a little basic Ohm's Law calculus, will tell you the current going through your load. It will be a useful point to pull data for an analog panel meter. The boards should be here within a couple weeks and then I'll build a couple up and post them up. I'll also bring one to Freeside to put on the shelf. It's always handy to have a precision load when doing electronics work.

I added the Freeside logo in copper on the top of the board.
It will be interesting to see how that looks in real life.