Beer Church Brew Day: Saturday 9/20

We’ll be having a beer tasting and brew day on 9/20 (Saturday) at 12:00PM noon. We normally brew on Sundays, but we’re mixing it up this time. We’re looking to make an Octoberfest Lager or a Märzen, but it’s really up to whatever the people who are going to participate in the brew want to do.  Our temperature control system Chillmon is working, so any fermentation temperature is possible.

The brew is a very hands on workshop, even first timers can try their hand at various parts of the brewing process including recipe development, prep, mashing, grain grinding, mashing, sparging, boiling, pitching, kegging, and setting up our in-house bar.  We go from malt, hops and yeast infusions all the way to serving out of our chilled tower tap system. If you just want to watch and listen, that’s fine too. Any idea or person is welcome.

We’ll be tapping our Rosemary Stout for the first time this Saturday. If you’d like to share anything please bring it (craft brew, homebrew, whichever)! We love to talk about your homebrew or the interesting beer you made or found that you want to experience with other beer aficionados.  You must be 21 years old to attend Beer Church.

You can RSVP on our Meetup group.

18

09 2014

SPICE it up – Circuit Simulation using LTspice

spice_it_up

Probably the most neglected, yet most useful, tool for circuit designers is SPICE.  SPICE gives you the luxury of simulating circuits to predict the results prior to building a physical circuit.  Being able to change resistor values or transistor configurations within a couple mouse clicks and a few keyboard presses, is a very powerful and time/money saving feature.  As such, it is also very useful in troubleshooting previously built circuits to find solutions to lingering design problems.

SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) is open-source software released under the “BSD license”.  Several companies produce their own version of SPICE, such as TINA from DesignSoft or PSpice from Cadence.  However, the fastest and most user friendly implementation is LTspice.  LTspice is provided by Linear Technology and is completely free to use without restriction.  It is the same software that is used internally at Linear Tech to develop and test their line of analog/linear semiconductor ICs.  It was written by Mike Engelhardt, who periodically goes on tour teaching classes and answering detailed questions for his own software.

I’ll be holding a class to introduce the basics of using LTspice.  LTspice was originally written for Windows and was recently ported to Mac OS X.  The Windows version is capable of being run on Linux through Wine, but it obviously doesn’t run as well as on a native Windows machine.  I’ll be teaching with the Windows version, since I am the most familiar with it.  The Mac version has a slightly different user interface, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep up.  Here are the topics I’ll be covering:

  1. Placing & Wiring Up Components
  2. The Most Basic Simulation: DC Operating Point
  3. Labels and “Net” Names
  4. Finding Frequency Response: AC Sweep
  5. Using the Plot Window
  6. The Real Deal: Time-Domain Simulation (Transient Analysis)
  7. Piece-Wise Linear (PWL) Sources
  8. Using SPICE “Directives”
  9. Working with Semiconductors
  10. Linear Tech’s IC Models and Test Jigs
  11. Importing 3rd Party Models & Sub-circuits

 

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone who wants to learn LTspice (Open to the Public).  Some circuit knowledge is required.
  • When: Sunday, September 28th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

18

09 2014

SIGBOT Meeting on Thursday

Hey Hackers,

In case hacking on robots is your thing, we’re going to be having a SIGBOT meeting this Thursday. SIGBOT is the Special Interest Group for Robotics. We build, program, and do just about anything to do with robotics.

At this Thursday’s meeting, I’m going to give a brief overview of the Quickbot (http://o-botics.org/robots/quickbot/mooc/v2/), a small mobile robotics platform designed for teaching people how to control mobile robots. I should have one there and put together for people to poke at if they want to.

The meeting is at 19:00 on September 18, 2014 up in the electronics lab of Pumping Station: One.

The Quickbot

The Quickbot

See you all there!

16

09 2014

Two weeks left in the Pumping Station: One Design Contest

designcontest

Only two weeks left in the competition! Thank you to everyone who’s sent in a design, so far, and I look forward to seeing the designs to come!

You can submit your entries throughout this month of September, with the deadline on the 30th. after that will be a week of member voting. The winning submission will get a complete set of the shirt (any size), sticker, and pin, as well as a “special meet and greet with the president of Pumping Station: One” (Bry asked me to include that last bit).

Guidelines for submissions:

  • Designs are for the tees, 1″ buttons, and 3″ stickers(round or square, depending on the chosen design). Unless you think the design will be optimized to look good in all three formats, I suggest you edit your designs for each application. By all means, have the same elements in each, but keep in mind that the button has less space for detail than the shirt.
  • Unless you’re designing in vector format, make sure your original copy will be of sufficient size and detail. The canvas you work in should be about 10″ wide by 15″ tall and at LEAST 400PPI if not working in vector.
  • Be excellant! No inappropriate themes. Remember that PS: One is a safe space, I know we have just f@*!ing do it as a central theme, but keep it PG or your entry will be invalid for the contest.

Send your submissions to info@pumpingstationone.org with “Design Contest Submission” in the Subject line

 

15

09 2014

Movie Night: Codebreaker

It’s movie night time! This drama-documentary was screened last year in Chicago, and it covers the life and difficulties of Alan Turing.

Alan_Turing_photo

From http://www.turingfilm.com/:

“Alan Turing is the genius British mathematician who helped save millions of lives by breaking the German naval Enigma code during World War II. He also was the visionary scientist who gave birth to the computer age, pioneered artificial intelligence, and was the first to investigate the mathematical underpinnings of the living world. Turing is one of the great original thinkers of the 20th century who foresaw the digital world in which we now live. In the eyes of many scientists today, Turing sits alongside Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Charles Darwin at the table of scientific greats.

YouTube Preview Image

Instead of recognition for his genius, Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death – by the nation he had done so much to save…”

When: Friday September 5, 7:30 PM-9:30 PM
Doors open at 7. Feel free to BYOB. Afterwards there will be discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

Where: PS:One Lounge

Additional links of interest: 1.) http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/Turing_Paper_1936.pdf
“On Computable Numbers,” which lays out computability and the universal turing machine

2.) http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/TuringArticle.html

“Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” which contains the Turing Test

04

09 2014

NERP Tonight — A Tor Relay Demo, and a Sketchy Update

NERP Tonight — A Tor Relay Demo, and a Sketchy Update
NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer
and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One
in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping
Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Drew has put together a Tor relay using (what else) a
BeagleBone Black.
(https://www.torproject.org/index.html.en) Tonight at NERP,
he’ll show us how it’s done.
From the Tor site:
/*
Why Anonymity Matters: Tor protects you by bouncing your
communications around a distributed network of relays run
by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody
watching your Internet connection from learning what sites
you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from
learning your physical location.
*/
Use of Tor is often a sensitive discussion topic. In the
culture in which we live, there is no universal consensus
on where an individual’s right to privacy from governmental
and corporate interests ends and the larger interests of
security and commerce begin.

Tor is a tool that aims to provide user and location
anonymity on the Web. Anonymity can foster good, bad, or
indifferent ideologies and behaviors. In some contexts
anonymity can even be seen a sort of power similar to that
of a firearm. There are those who would question “a priori”
why a person would insist on total privacy unless they had
something to hide. From this perspective, using a privacy
tool is in itself suspicious. Others feel that privacy is a
basic need of human individuals, and therefore an
inalienable right. At the end of the day, technology itself
isn’t human, isn’t alive, and can’t think or feel; it’s
totally indifferent.

In tonight’s presentation we will try to stay focused on
the technology behind Tor. It’s counter intuitive to me at
least, how anonymizing technology is practically possible.
How it’s done will be an interesting study in some
non-obvious applications of low-level network programming.

Also tonight, I’ll be giving another update on development
of “Sketchy”, the network controlled servo-powered
Etch-a-Sketch.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and

http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is September
1st, 2014.

NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping
Station One

01

09 2014

Pumping Station: One Design Contest 2.0

designcontestSince the last time I posted this, my post was immediately buried in an avalanche of more prominent posts, and nobody submitted a design, I’m going to try this again!

We’re looking for designs to turn into Tee-Shirts, Buttons, and Stickers for giveaways(buttons and stickers) and sale(tees) at Pumping Station: One! Draw, vector, and photoshop your heart out and show us what Pumping Station: One means to you!

You can submit your entries throughout this month of September, with the deadline on the 30th. after that will be a week of member voting. The winning submission will get a complete set of the shirt (any size), sticker, and pin, as well as a “special meet and greet with the president of Pumping Station: One” (Bry asked me to include that last bit).

Guidelines for submissions:

  • Designs are for the tees, 1″ buttons, and 3″ stickers(round or square, depending on the chosen design). Unless you think the design will be optimized to look good in all three formats, I suggest you edit your designs for each application. By all means, have the same elements in each, but keep in mind that the button has less space for detail than the shirt.
  • Unless you’re designing in vector format, make sure your original copy will be of sufficient size and detail. The canvas you work in should be about 10″ wide by 15″ tall and at LEAST 400PPI if not working in vector.
  • Be excellant! No inappropriate themes. Remember that PS: One is a safe space, I know we have just f@*!ing do it as a central theme, but keep it PG or your entry will be invalid for the contest.

Send your submissions to info@pumpingstationone.org with “Design Contest Submission” in the Subject line

01

09 2014

Laser Collage version 2.0: The Eric Carle Method

Squid Attack by Shellie Lewis, paper, acrylic paints, gel medium, Micron pen, vector design and laser, 7.5 x 9.5 inches, 2014.

Squid Attack by Shellie Lewis, paper, acrylic paints, gel medium, Micron pen, vector design and laser, 7.5 x 9.5 inches, 2014.

The next logical extension of the Laser Collage process is something I call The Eric Carle Method. Children’s book author Eric Carle is known for his collage are using his hand painted papers. The main difference is that you are adding paint to the process rather than using ambient papers or recycled materials for the collage art.   Squid Attack 02   I had a clear idea of what I wanted in this design and drew the squid and submarine in Adobe Illustrator using the pen tool. That step took me at least three hours. I used a Gelli Arts soft monoprinting plate to roll acrylic paints onto and made the color combinations I wanted for scene, aiming for a red / blue /yellow primary color scheme. This version pops out and seems more playful. I may try a version with darker colors and low intensity hues to see if it looks more realistic. Today, I was just aiming for a fun picture. My paper was an 80# weight cardstock with a hard, smooth finish. This paper held the acrylic paints well with little to no warping and dried fast. I used the Epilog Mini laser to cut and etch my drawings. The vector cutting was at speed 20 / power 25 / hz 500. Only the slightest edge of the design had a sign of the laser, literally just the plane the thickness of the paper; viewed from above there was no visible scorch. The acrylic paints had some resistance to being etched and I used speed 100 / power 50 to etch the eye and a few lines.   Squid-Attack-03   Matte acrylic gel medium glued the arranged layers together. Boards and wax paper were helpful to press the art flat. I used a Micron pen to fill in the etched lines on the body and for the eye and some thinned white acrylic paint for highlights and reflections. I’m really happy with how my giant squids came out. This was unfortunate for anyone who was at the space today because I went around with them when they were done. It’s not often that someone comes up to you and asks, “Have you seen my squids?” File that under the heading “Because: Hackerspace.”

30

08 2014

ShapeOko Building Adventures So Far

Inventables donated a ShapeOko 2 CNC Router “The Works” kit to Pumping Station:One, and we’ve been doing a group build over four sessions so far. It’s been a chance for people to learn about open hardware and CNC firsthand from the ground up, and participate in making PS:One’s next machine. We’ve had participants with various levels of experience working together, and I think everyone learned something new.

During the first session, we assembled wheels and bearings, and attached them to plates for the x, y,and z axes. We started the next session with parts that looked like this:

shapeoko2-6

The instructions describe the z-axis assembly as the most intricate, and they’re not kidding. It took a lot of fiddly work and some mistakes to get here:

shapeoko2-7Here are some of the participants, planning what to do next:

shapeoko2-2We assembled the carriages, then the gantry and machine frame. The machine came together well during this session:

shapeoko2-8I think #1177 (“Minion”) the ShapeOko1 is jealous of its newer, larger, and shiner sibling #5549 (so far unnicknamed):

shapeoko2-1During the third session, we squared and wired the ShapeOko and installed the drag chain (“e-chain”) with some help from Zach from Inventables.

shapeoko2-5During the fourth session, we nearly finished the wiring and made a custom holder for the emergency stop button:

shapeoko2-4Thank you to everyone who helped so far! Our next build session will be Thursday, August 28th at 7pm in PS:One’s shop. We’ll be testing the motors, troubleshooting, and sending the “hello world” job. Come see the machine move!

Thank you Ron (I think) for the Session 2 photos and Allen for the Session 3 photo.

25

08 2014

Laser Collage: An art form for and from the hacker/maker community

Art-Sharks-Shellie-Lewis-2014-WEB

Art Sharks by Shellie Lewis, paper collage and laser technology, 6×8 inches, 2014.

Every artist hopes to come up with an original idea, to be on the forefront of the next big idea or movement. This is hoping against the odds as the past two centuries have seen an explosion of movements, styles and schools of thought that rained down in Western art like a meteor shower.  Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism and many other modern movements would originate, peak and dissipate rapidly, lasting a few decades or less. World Wars arose and crushed other movements like Romanticism or Der Blaue Reiter. There are many forms of art that we can reach into the past and mine: appropriate and carry on with. In fact, schools of American Impressionists are still working in different lineages since the 19th century from William Merrit Chase, John Singer Sargent and other painters. Waves of more recent artists have imitated Picasso and Warhol. For the contemporary artist hoping to create something unique, there is very little chance of inventing something new.

Current technologies are opening the door for innovation. Many times, I am seeing where maker technologies are being used to vary production of traditional physical media arts and crafts. Laser cutters are being used to etch intaglio printmaking plates, textiles are incorporating electronics and lights, robotics are animating sculpture, and digital media is widely available. Video, animation and interactive arts are now accessible to most of the general public. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the hacker/maker culture.

Laser-collage-01-Shellie-Lewis-2014-WEB

 

I may have come upon an idea that can become an art style uniquely ours: Laser Collage. I have always enjoyed collage for drawing on images and materials readily available around people. At its most basic level, the only thing needed to create collage art is some form of glue or paste. Good scissors, a razor blade or hobby knife are helpful. Throughout art history, most fine art collage works have followed their siblings in painting and drawing, largely staying within the bounds of a rectangle or square. Contemporary painters such as Elizabeth Murray, Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly set their abstract works free from the tyranny of the rectangular border. Now artists in the hacker/maker community can liberate the collage from the rectangle.

Laser Collage innovates through using two things well loved in the hacker/maker community: digital vector art and laser cutters. By using a vector design, the exterior borders of a collage art can take any form. Art works can have further elements by using raster etching as well as the vector cutting abilities of the laser. Artists can utilize recycled materials. I am excited by the possibilities for this medium. Functional and three dimensional designs are possible beyond flat two dimensional art works. Laser Collage is an art style that frees the collage art to be any size and shape. This is an art form that can be uniquely ours.

Laser-collage-02-Shellie-Lewis-2014-WEB

 

My experiments with these samples were basic in materials. I used recycled chipboard (i.e. common food packaging like cereal boxes) and a simple glue stick. I avoided PVA [polyvinyl acetate] “white” glue since it is similar enough to PVC to be a possible problem with dangerous fumes from a laser. Any glycerine and wheat-based adhesive like glue sticks, YES! Paste or acrylic-based adhesive like gel medium should be safe for laser cutting.

Using the Epilog Mini 30W laser, I got an excellent cut through the variable thickness layers of paper and chipboard using a vector setting of speed 15 / power 100 / hz 2500. The edges have a little scorch, so you may want to adjust your cutting power or increase the speed. Raster etches were at speed 40 / power 100. Etching has interesting potential for etching your collage in a fashion that lower layers reveal different colors in the design. My approach was to cover the chipboard surface first in collage elements with my glue stick and then place it in the laser cutter for cutting and etching. The artist controls the materials used, color palette, range of colors, form of the collage pieces, flow of the collage design, number of layers cut by the laser, laser etching elements and the ultimate size and shape of the border.

Creators without access to a laser cutter could use vector designs using an electronic cutter like a software hacked Cricut, a Silhouette cutter or similar machine. I have often seen owners of these tools cut elements to incorporate into collages, artist books and paper arts, yet still retain the linear borders of a square or rectangle. Shaped collages would be restricted by the width of the cutting machine which is usually around 12 – 15 inches, whereas laser cutters tend to have larger cutting dimensions. I am most excited by the potential for the medium through laser cutting technology because a laser cuts details a lot finer than a metal blade can and etching adds more depth to the design.

 

Inspired by Shark Week 2014!

Inspired by Shark Week 2014!

 

Laser Collage is my humble offering to the continuum of Western art history. Maybe I will be the only one interested in this form but I am putting the concept online hoping other people will want to try it. Mixed media elements including paints, markers, pens and pencils can also be easily incorporated. Feel free to experiment with the process on your own and please respond if you want to show your work in this medium, if you have any discoveries or develop a variation of the technique.

22

08 2014