Monthly Archives: July 2014

Powered Up for Maker Faire!

Whew! We had quite a weekend! Somehow we managed to cram both Lotusaurus Wrecks and Iron Rose into the back of a minivan and haul them to Maker Faire Detroit. Luckily a second car followed us with all the tools and batteries.

It was a wonderful weekend of racing tiny electric cars. What’s that? You don’t know about the Power Racing Series? We take those Power Wheels cars that you buy for your kids, get them for free or super-cheap from craigslist, and then rebuild them as electric race cars for adults… for less that $500. Yes, it’s a little ridiculous, but it’s also a lot of real engineering. Some of these cars will impress the crap out of you!

So how did we do? Well, the cars held up, even through a few crashes, so that’s good. Audrey drove Lotusaurus Wrecks to victory in one race, and Iron Rose proved a dedicated mid-fielder throughout the weekend. All in all, it was pretty awesome.

Powered Up for Maker Faire!

Note: We know you want to see this crazy racing yourself… well, you’re in luck! We’ll be holding a race at Maker Faire Milwaukee happening September 27th & 28th, 2014. Join us for the madness!

Arduino Workshop Announcement for Friday August 1st: Sensors

This week’s Arduino class will be sensors: a variety of temperature, magnetic, light, sound, humidity, proximity, accelerometers, etc. are available. We will work with various kinds of sensors to learn how to use the sensors to control the Arduino.

Friday August 1st @ 6 PM @ Island Sign:
355 Hukilike St, #117
Kahului, Maui

JAM: Joy’s Art Machine – Design Meetup (Recap)

BackgroundThe JAM (Joy's Art Machine) is a machine that distributes art. This project was fully funded by the Alchemy community. We are on track to collect somewhere between 200-300 pieces of art to distribute, including works by Catlanta and Evereman. We are actively collecting works of art, so if you're interested in contributing, you can email Joy at

The JAM explores two of the 10 core Burning Man principles: Decommodification and Gifting. We express Gifting by distributing art through the machine. Gifting trees are a familiar sight at Burns, but suffer from accumulating trash or trinkets. By gifting art (a gift in itself) we create a sort of on-demand gifting tree. We express Decommodification by not allowing the JAM to accept money. Instead, art is distributed by the machine on a timer. The machine lights up, and you push a button to receive art.

If you're interested in learning more about the project or want to get involved, check out our Meetup calendar for the next meeting or build, or email me at

First off, thanks to everyone who attended!  We had an impressive attendance of both Freeside members and beyond, and there was much information exchanged and discussion.  Rob brought some pizza, and Joy and I brought some chocolate chip cookie dough hummus, spicy black bean hummus, and beer (of course!)

All apologies if I forget exactly who contributed what to the discussion!  Everyone had excellent ideas and really helped us commit to a workable design.

We spent a little time discussing a couple of key components of the project.  First, we discussed the housing itself.  Since we learned that the JAM won't be consumed in flames at the end of the event like we had planned, this meant we had to rethink the materials.  On the upside, this means that we have a lot more liberty to decorate and paint the walls of the JAM (no worries about fumes released from burning paint.)  Eventually, we settled on using 4x8ft sheets of lauan with some kind of frame backing it (somebody suggested using 3/4in steel square tubing).  Zach suggested that door hinges have been used on similar projects (like the Tardis) at past burns with good success, as it's just a matter of dropping the pins back in to secure two walls.  I'm following up with a few other folks via email to see if we can make a final design.

After much discussion related to the use of boxes, after some brainstorming we concluded that using a carousel-style design would be best, both in terms of loading the machine (cutting down on reloading frequency, due to more number of slots or "wedges") and in terms of being able to avoid using boxes altogether.  One of our members, Don suggested the carousel concept.  For art that was at risk of getting tangled in the machine (ex. felt or knit items) we would simply put them in a plastic bag.  The carousel would rotate and the slot would move over to an opening that would allow the art to drop out.

Since the base of the machine is 4x4ft, if we use something like a wheel with diameter of 3.8ft, then this works out to about 23-24 wedges (if the length of the carousel the wedge takes up is about 6in.)  If we maintain a dispense rate of about one wedge per hour, and slow it down in the early morning hours, we can probably look to reload the machine once per day, which is just about ideal for the Alchemy environment.
I spent some time tonight and added a few things to our Adafruit order: LED strips, Arduino, a big red LED button, power supply and connectors.  This should be enough to independently program the timer and button/lighting mechanism.
We're still not completely sure how exactly to drive the carousel, but we have enough to build a prototype that can be operated manually.  Kevin and Edward, who helped build the prototype for the Infinity Portal, threw their hat in to help construct the carousel.

Stay tuned for an announcement about the next meeting!

August 2014 Book Club

Thanks to everyone who made it to our July bookclub, despite it being mere hours before Dublin Maker. The next meeting will be 7:30pm, Friday 29th August. (And as some of us will be at EMF camp, we’ll be having a satellite bookclub meeting there as well!)

The book for August is ‘Sarah Canary’ by Karen Joy Fowler.

“When black cloaked Sarah Canary wanders into a railway camp in the Washington territories in 1873, Chin Ah Kin is ordered by his uncle to escort “the ugliest woman he could imagine” away. Far away. But Chin soon becomes the follower. In the first of many such instances, they are separated, both resurfacing some days later at an insane asylum. Chin has run afoul of the law and Sarah has been committed for observation. Their escape from the asylum in the company of another inmate sets into motion a series of adventures and misadventures that are at once hilarious, deeply moving, and downright terrifying.”

And because many people are away on holidays around now, and to be mindful that our dead-tree reading members can sometimes need time to locate copies, we’ve set the book for September as well, as ‘Permutation City’ by Greg Egan. More details next month.

And remember; all are welcome to come and chat about the book (members & non-members). Whether you’re in Dublin, or at EMF camp! No charge, ever. But usually some tea and a few biscuits.

*edit* Just a reminder that we have a goodreads group as well to help keep track of suggestions. Come join us!

SketchUp Class – Saturday, August 16, 1pm to 2:30pm

SketchUp 3d drawing class.  Have a 3d printer you want to design stuff for?  Building a table, deck, or kitchen and need measurements?  Want to do an art project, but your hand gestures and excited eye expressions fail to inspire assistance?  Want to draw space ships? robots? space ship robots?  Want to figure out if your shade structure will make shade at 2pm in Nevada?  We’ll cover these topics barely and other topics about SketchUp overly much!   This will be a general overview of the program.   What it is good at, what it is not good at.  It will contain tips for beginners with intermediate content from some fool who draws with it at his job.

Please  come with laptop loaded with SketchUp Make, or other versions.   Seating and power is limited.   Or just watch and absorb without digital distractions.

Open to everyone and free (though donations to CRASHspace are welcome).

SketchUp Class – Saturday, August 16, 1pm to 2:30pm



Saturday, August 16, 1pm to 2:30pm


CRASHspace 10526 Venice Blvd, Culver City CA 90232 (map)

New toys in TOG Spot Welder

As always at the BBQs at tog there is fire and dismantling of stuff involved. Group of us on Sunday during the BBQ took apart an old welder that was quite useless and converted it to a spot welder check out the video down below.


We also put up a few more pin hole photos of which will be posted in a few weeks.

Circuitos en Papel – Nueva Edición!!!

Debido a que completamos rápidamente el cupo del taller de Claudia González Godoy (Ch), decidimos hacer una nueva edición:

Circuitos Pop-up en Papel

Circuitos en Papel – Nueva Edición!!!

La ingeniería en papel como los libros móviles y pop-up contienen una gran cantidad de estructuras y pliegues de papel que dan movimiento y transforman una página impresa bi-dimensional en increíbles experiencias tridimensionales. Hay mecanismos móviles como los flaps , pull tabs y ruedas (volvelles) que causan el movimiento en la superficie de la página. Los Pop-ups emplean varios dispositivos de plegado que levantan figuras, pliegues y despliegues o se extienden cuando se abre una página.

Si sumamos a la ingeniería en papel circuitos electrónicos simples podemos potenciar la experiencia haciéndola más lúdica e interactiva. En este sentido, es posible diseñar nuestros propios elementos móviles con funciones electrónicas, transformando una rueda en un potenciometro, un pull tab en un switch o crear nuevas estructuras de papel programables. Esto nos permite explorar las posibilidades de la electrónica con base de papel buscando nuevas expresiones que toman como lenguaje las técnicas y el imaginario visual de la ingeniería en papel.

Circuitos Movibles y Pop-up es un taller práctico de circuitos electrónicos basados en estructuras móviles y pop-up. Se desarrollarán circuitos sobre papel, utilizando materiales como cintas de cobre, hilos, telas y tintas conductivas para construir mecanismos interactivos que controlen nuestros circuitos. Aprenderemos a fabricar un mini sintetizador DIY construyendo en papel los elementos de control como switch, potenciometro, pulsador y cómo se integran estos elementos al interior de una estructura de papel fusionada con componentes electrónicos.

- Conocer nociones, conceptos, nomenclatura y funciones de los componentes en electrónica básica
- Comprender la lógica de los mecanismos móviles y pop-up
- Incorporar materiales conductivos a las estructuras de papel otorgándole una función electrónica, sonora e interactiva.
- Diseñar y desarrollar un circuito movil y/o pop-up sobre papel.

Circuitos en Papel – Nueva Edición!!!

Martes 12 y Miércoles 13 de Agosto

18:30 a 22:30 / Anchorena 632

Valor: $500 (incluye todos los materiales excepto batería 9V)



Claudia González Godoy (Santiago, 1983) es Artista Visual y Profesora de Arte titulada en la Escuela de Arte y Cultura Visual de Universidad Arcis y Magíster en Artes Mediales de la Universidad de Chile. Desde el año 2006 desarrolla una propuesta en torno a la
noción de materialidad en los soportes tecnológicos analógicos y digitales, trabajando la relación entre alta y baja tecnología con procedimientos artesanales derivados del tejido a telar, materias orgánicas y la electrónica.
Ha realizado un sinnúmero de talleres y charlas sobre Arte, Open Hardware, experimentación electrónica y Cultura DIY en diversos festivales como LIWOLI (Austria), SOL (España), EEII (Croacia), FILE (Brasil), Sudex (Argentina), Tsonami (Chile) y la BVAM (Chile), Festival de la Imagen de Manizalez (Colombia).  Directora del Proyecto Laboratorio de Arte y Tecnología Chimbalab (2008-2012) y forma parte de Sudamérica Experimental,plataforma de intercambio y colaboración de proyectos artísticos independientes en
América del Sur.

Circuitos en Papel – Nueva Edición!!!

SMD August – Cooking SMD Stars

For SMD August we’re breaking out the toaster oven and controller to cook some SMD stars.  Participants are likely to end up with a working product but they’re more likely to end up more knowledgable about the electronics fabrication process.

Apparently real SMD hackers only use solder paste and toaster ovens so we’re here to prove them right.

Using a stencil you’ll be applying solder paste, a little better than I did I hope – am planing to add a template to make this easier.

Next you’ll be placing your components by hand.

SMD August – Cooking SMD Stars

Finally baking your project to perfection in the toaster oven.

SMD August – Cooking SMD Stars

There is only one stencil and one oven controller so I’m spreading the tickets out across the night.  Please make sure you can come at the allotted time or buy a ticket for another time. You’re welcome to come early and watch.

The end product is the smd star project from July’s beginners workshop but the focus is on the process.  The price reflects the need to buy the stencil and paste.

No special skills required except patience and reasonable hand co-ordination.

When: 28 August 2014, times vary
Where: VHS, 270 E 1st Ave, Vancouver
Cost: $8 plus Eventbrite Fee

Eventbrite - SMD August - SMD Star Paste and Oven Workshop (7pm)
Eventbrite - SMD August - SMD Star Paste and Oven Workshop (8pm)
Eventbrite - SMD August - SMD Star Paste and Oven Workshop (9pm)