Category Archives: Classes and Workshops

MakerBar Hosting MAKER CAMP 2014

ABOUT MAKER CAMP: Maker Camp is a 6-week virtual summer camp for anyone interested in DIY, making, creating, crafting, hacking, tinkering, and discovery. Maker Camp 2014 starts July 7. MAKE and Google+ host an online Maker Camp in the summer.  This year the camp begins July 7th, with a different theme each week.  New projects to work on are posted each week.  It’s geared towards teens, but anyone can participate. MakerBar is pleased to be hosting this camp, and look forward to a future full of Maker Camps…. Join us!!

We will be meeting once a week to work on projects… More Details to follow soon!

Here’s a link for more info on MAKER CAMP 2014

Here’s a link to our meetup to reserve your spot(Volunteers Welcomed):

MakerBar to Host Instructables Dremel Build Night!

Instructables and Dremel have selected MakerBar as one of its locations to host a build night to learn Dremel and create awesome things!

We will be Dremel-ing and writing up our projects for others to learn via doing through the power of sharing knowledge. After a 15 minute safety demonstration, we will have five Dremel rotary tools with accessory kits and three Dremel reciprocating tools to make a mountain of awesome projects! We have a lot of things at MakerBar that could serve as the foundation for projects, but we want your ideas, your participation, and your projects to shine here. Bring any materials you may have and transform them into science, art, or something unique.

All are welcome, and the event will begin at 7:30 with our safety demonstration.

Come out and build things with Dremel tools and learn how to make your projects a reality fast!

See you there!

Sign up on the meetup!

MakerBar to Host Instructables Dremel Build Night!

MakerBar to Host Instructables Dremel Build Night!

Wood Burning Class Next Saturday: Still Time to Sign Up!

MakerBarBarians and Friends, back by popular demand is another edition of the intro to Wood Burning and Image Transfer class. There’s still time to sign up to learn this rewarding hobby and take home your own burning iron to customize your own wood projects.

Sign up here at Meetup:

Robots Begin Takeover– NJIT Robotics and MakerBar

So maybe the robots haven’t taken over just yet, but there were signs of life in NJIT Robotics club’s giant cube-shaped robot chassis by the end of last Wednesday’s open night.

An old relic of the trade federation   Innovation First robotics competitions that NJIT used to collaborate with Newark high schools to build their robots, this gentle giant has been gathering dust for years until it fell into the club’s hands. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been organizing some interest on both NJIT’s budding robotics club brass and MakerBarBarians to revitalize the robot and begin a series of collaborative projects. We have invited them to use our workshop and aim to pool our resources and expertise, and so far a lot of progress has been made even in only one night.

Mike and Jordan working on Chain Jordan and Mike look at Chains for the robot's sprocket drive The Cube Bot is an old IFI robot that has been collecting dust The MakerBar Shop was visited by NJIT Robotics and their giant Cube-Bot NJIT Robotics Club came to work Bilal making Motor Mount Brackets

The ultimate goal is to create a mobile robotics platform for all kinds of projects to come. Notably, the first project being talked about is a mobile base for an automated Nerf Vulcan turret. (sauce: Perhaps with some innovation, other features can be added like a method for autonomously collecting and re-loading darts. A lot of the details I will leave to your imagination as we still have a long way to go, but our gears are turning and I can hardly wait to see what we can come up with together.

Powered by two old Victor 884 speed controllers, this robot just needs a few nights of TLC and some spare parts to be ready to get upgraded to remote control. Once this benchmark is achieved, we will move on towards autonomous navigation, adding shaft encoders and sonar sensors on the bumpers and maybe sharp IR or cameras and/or a Microsoft Kinnect. Future plans may also include GPS modules and 802.11 wireless, and if we can build/find/’acquire’ one, to experiment with LIDAR.

MakerbarBarians Bilal and Travis and Jordan and myself  were on hand to meet Pat and Mike from NJIT Robotics who were eager to get things going. Once we got the bot inside the workshop (a feat itself at it’s size), we set about attaching the drive chains, building motor brackets, hooking the motor up to bench power, and other odds and ends. Once we put power to those old Victors and heard the fans buzz to life, we knew it was going to be possible to get some chains turning. In the most promising stage, we were able to turn on one of the motors with the speed controller for a few seconds before the sheer peak current tripped the ATX’s internal breaker.

Problems left to be solved are abundant, including battery power and charging of those batteries, power train wiring, finalizing the motor mounting hardware, and other tasks. Apart from this, we also will need to figure out where to attach encoders, sonar bumpers, and other sensors (including the radio transceiver). But these and other challenges are only the beginnings, and we hope to make the robotics club regular guests. Most likely their visits will take place on Wednesdays, but stay glued to Meetup to see information about any future robot hack nights, which I will be posting up soon.

If you are interested, email me and I will make sure to include you on all the robot action and updates.

Peace, love, and nerf-gun-wielding robots,


Raspberry Python Call Mom Button – Sunday April 28th


I finally got time to hack together the prototype for the class project for my class this weekend. We’re going to be using the RaspberryPi to connect to Plivo and make phone calls, nominally to our Mom’s. I thought one button was boring so our call Mom Button class will actually have 4 buttons suggested as:

* Call Mom
* Call Dad
* Text Mom “I love you”
* Mother’s day special

For more details or to sign up see Meetup.

STEM Education – Minecraft Classes hosted by MakerBar

Minecraft Poster Mar 2013

Our Gaming Technology class uses Minecraft to teach basic networking, Java, and interpersonal skills… we’re hosting these in 2 locations- MakerBar and the Hopes Computer Lab @ Jacob Rue school in Hoboken.

Come join us as we attach Raspberry Pi to Minecraft in the coming months.

Tell your Minecraft-loving friends !



Minecraft Class March 2013Ou

Raspberry Pi Inventor to Visit Hoboken MakerBar


Eben Upton, visionary engineer behind million-selling mini-computer, to visit Hoboken on international tour

Eben Upton, founder and Trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, will visit the Hoboken MakerBar Tuesday, February 26th at 7pm to talk about his experiences designing the Raspberry Pi, the $35 miniature computer designed to introduce children and adults to programming that has recently sold its millionth unit.

The MakerBar is proud to host Eben on his tour of the East Coast’s Makerspaces and Hackerspaces. The visionary inventor will meet over 30 Raspberry Pi users from the East Coast technology community to talk shop, see the latest projects, and tell the story of how his unorthodox idea became a multimillion-dollar nonprofit phenomenon.

The event will be held at the MakerBar, Hoboken’s community workshop, at 7:00pm on Tuesday, February 26th. Participants will get to tour the MakerBar’s collaborative work space, hear a brief talk with Upton about the Raspberry Pi Foundation and his six year journey, and participate in Lighting Talks about their own high-tech projects.
The Hoboken MakerBar is Hudson County’s hackerspace, a nonprofit communal workshop for learning, tinkering, and collaborating on high tech projects for fun. In its inaugural year, MakerBar has grown to 14 members who host classes and events for hundreds more. The MakerBar holds open-house events every Wednesday and Friday at 7:00pm.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity based in the United Kingdom that facilitates interest in programming by producing accessible and fun hardware. Its premier product, the Raspberry Pi, is a fully-functional computer the size of a credit card that sells for only $35 and is designed to be modified. In its first year, the Foundation sold over one million Raspberry Pi’s to children, hobbyists, educators, and others. More information is available at

Guests can RSVP online for the Eben Upton visit event via Meetup at:

Raspberry Python – Talking Clock: February 9

Cross post from


Next Saturday I’ll be teaching my third Raspberry Python class.  Following up on the initial class, and the train class.  Like the others, this workshop will cover the basic use of a Raspberry Pi, but it’s coming together really well, I’ve got a Pi sitting on my desk chattering inane things from my twitter feed at me and actually, it’s proving more useful than I expected.  Just in developing the project I’m finding more out about my friends than I had before–mostly some corporate feeds to unfriend and some friends to check up on.

The class will run about 2-3 hours so we’ll have time to get our Pis setup, on the latest version of Raspbian, which already includes NTP, and really dive into the programming and improvement.  Since most of our time and effort will be software, the hardware is perhaps not so impressive, no loop of train track here, but this is a picture, of the prototype

If you’re interested in coming, please rsvp at meetup here.  And if you need a Pi or SD card, leave a comment there, a few are on order so we should have some.

The First Clock of February


By the end of the week it will be February and we’ll be on to our February theme, MakerBar, it’s about time. The members are talking about clock and calendar projects and there are two clock classes in the works Raspberry Python – Talking Clock Feb 9th and ChipKIT for Organic Lifeforms: Clock Edition Feb 23th.

This then is the first clock of February, a ChipKIT Uno32 with a ChipKIT Basic I/O Shield attached. As befits a beginning this is a very simple project.

Step 1 Solder in RTC Crystal (based on instructions here)

Step 2 Attached Basic I/O Shield (got this for contest here)

Step 3 Program (combined OLED example here with RTC example here)

#include <IOShieldOled.h>
#include <RTCC.h>

void setup(){

// Initialize the RTCC module

// Set the time to something sensible

void loop(){
char date[9];
char time[9];

// Format the time and print it.
sprintf(date,”%02d/%02d/%02d”,, RTCC.month(), RTCC.year());
sprintf(time,”%02d:%02d:%02d”, RTCC.hours(), RTCC.minutes(), RTCC.seconds());

//Clear the virtual buffer

//Chosing Fill pattern 0
//Turn automatic updating off
IOShieldOled.setCursor(0, 0);
IOShieldOled.setCursor(0, 1);
IOShieldOled.setCursor(0, 2);
IOShieldOled.putString(“ChipKit Clock”);

This clock will become the basis of the class project for the February 23th class,  ChipKIT for Organic Lifeforms: Clock Edition. The clock in that class will not rely on this shield and will have functionality this clock does not, like setting the time, and time permitting an alarm.

Full, latest code available here.

Lab Notes: E-Z Tweet

The only thing the MakerBar loves more than publicity is back-end programming! Eric had an idea for an easy method to increase the space’s social coolness using Twitter, QR codes, the Meetup API and some back-end web programming. It’s pretty spiffy.

This is no ordinary QR code – if you scan this, your favorite Twitter client will automagically open, pre-populated with a MakerBar tweet.

The coolest feature is that the tweets are Meetup Event sensitive, meaning that if you scan this code during Wednesday Soldering Night, it’ll let your friends know you’re hanging out.

  • I am visiting @MakerBar for Wednesday Soldering Night and learning a ton!

Check your feed for MakerBar tweets, follow us @MakerBar, and drop in to try Eric’s masterpiece yourself!

Stay tuned for geeky implementation details and code up on GitHub.