Archive for the ‘Class/Workshop’Category

Solder Party

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Saturday’s Solder Party was fantastic! We got all the circuit boards trimmed and tinned.

I’m thinking of doing this again for future projects (and I’m looking for circuit knit ideas and collaborators!). A few things I learned from Saturday’s event that will be helpful:

  • Removing the scrap wire  beforehand would be helpful and/or we need better diagonal cutters in the lab.
  • A piece of cardboard behind the board keeps flux off the table, and provides a guide for blocking the knit.
  • Boards to practice on would be helpful. Also, wetting down the boards will prevent scorch marks.
  • We have replacement soldering iron tips in the lab.
  • Bacon really is the best pizza topping and La Villa is the Pizza In A Bag place.

We didn’t get everything done, so I’m hanging out in the lab this week to finish. (Jay Hopkins apparently has become addicted to soldering knit circuit boards, and has been working on them even when I’m not around! Thanks, Jay!)

Everett took great pictures. I’ve posted a few here but you can find the entire album on our Meet Up page. Please visit, and tag yourselves!

 

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16

10 2014

Brew day 10/12 @ noon!

If you’d like to get into beer brewing or are already a brewer, or just like & appreciate beer, then come down to the space at noon on Sunday.  We’ll be having a beer tasting and brew day. We’ll likely taste a brew we made recently and make something new. Justin will be the brewmaster. Of course, you must be at least 21. See you Sunday!

You can RSVP on meetup if you like but it’s not required.

09

10 2014

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

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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

Beer Church Brew Day, 8/24

At 12:30pm on 8/24 we’ll start with a beer tasting (bring your favorite homebrew or craft brew), decide a beer recipe, go shopping for the ingredients, and then do a hands-on brew session with the following steps:

1) malt grinding
2) mashing
3) sparging
4) boiling
5) hopping
6) chilling
7) pitching yeast
8) setting the fermenter temperature and starting the fermentation.

We’ll probably also keg or bottle one of our previous brews.

This event is open to anyone ages 21 and over. No need to RSVP, see you on Sunday!

17

08 2014

Women’s Electronics Workshop: Circuit Building on August 3

 

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Sunday, August 3, 1-5pm

Take a circuit from diagram to breadboard to finished project.

– Learn to Solder

– Read circuit diagrams

– Breadboard a circuit

– Design an LED circuit and solder it to perfboard.

Time: 4 hours
Price: $40
Materials fee: $10
Pre-reqs: none

This workshop is for participants who identify as female or genderqueer. Open to both members and non-members of Pumping Station: One.

Taught by Jesse Seay of Columbia College

Register for the workshop at the Women’s Electronics Workshop Meet Up Page.

25

07 2014

A Crash Course in Applied Linear Algebra

Hackers frequently need to solve geometric problems for their projects. Whether it’s cutting acrylic on a laser cutter, slicing wood on a table saw, planning the route of a robotic arm on a new 3D printer, or analyzing a polygon mesh in a Python script, a working knowledge of geometry can save time, frustration, and material costs.

This isn’t the geometry you learned in high school, though. This is a crash course in the basic notions of linear algebra, perhaps the most useful branch of mathematics there is.

This course is geared towards demonstrating practical concepts and applications that can be put to use immediately in your own projects. To avoid bogging down the class with tedious details, we will use our computers to perform the calculations for us, allowing us to focus on the big picture and core ideas of each technique we cover.

The only prerequisite for the course is a solid understanding of high school algebra. Exposure to vectors and matrices would be helpful, but not required. There will be a review session before the class officially begins for anyone who wants to brush up on the basics.

Topics for the class:

  • A Review of Coordinates, Vectors, Matrices
  • Examples of Linear and Affine transformations
  • Linearity, Bases, and Where Matrices Come From?
  • Square Matrices, Determinants, and Inverses
  • Application: Solving Systems of  Linear Equations with Gaussian Elimination
  • Dot Products, Angles, and Lengths
  • Cross Products, the Plane Equation, the Normal to a Plane
  • Application: the Line-Plane Intersection Test
  • Triangles and Baricentric Coordinates
  • Application: the Line-Triangle Intersection Test

Details:

  • This event is open to the public
  • Prerequisite: High school algebra, some light exposure to vectors and matrices
  • When: Sunday July 20th at 5pm, review session starts at 4:30pm.
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: Free

11

07 2014

DC Circuits Class Notes

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Thanks to everyone who came and participated in the circuits class this past weekend.  There was a lot of material that was covered and there was no way to go through it all in exhausting detail.  So I’m making available a scanned PDF of the notes I wrote for the class.  Enjoy all the spelling errors, in addition to the one found above.  The edges might be cut-off in some areas, but it’s the best I can do:   DC_Circuits_SK

Also, Carl Karsten did the exhausting (and usually thankless) job of recording a video of the class.  It can be found here:

http://videos.pumpingstationone.org/video/32/basic-electronics-dc-circuits-class

The solution to the bonus question was never explicitly stated in the video, so here it is:

bonus_solution

 

 

05

07 2014

Women’s Electronics Workshops

Our first round of Women’s Electronics Workshops were a huge hit!

I’ve had several requests for more events like this, so I’ve created a Meet Up page for it. Please join it if you’d like to participate.

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14-06-28-Chris-n-Rodica 14-06-28-Etienne-BreadboardADSC_4535-Sara-n-Rodica14-06-28-Sheila-n-Kathy   ADSC_4546-Jill-Liz-Solder  Read the rest of this entry →

30

06 2014

PS:One and SSH present: Business Planning for Hackers, Creatives, and Other Out of the Box Types

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PS:One & SSH present: Business Planning for Hackers, Creatives, and Other Out of the Box Types

Facilitated by A. Catherine Noon of Writer Zen Garden.

Taking an idea from concept to execution poses unique challenges. One way is to just do it, throwing enough mud at the wall that eventually some will stick. This is time-intensive and may not yield much more than a mud-covered wall.

There’s a better way. Businesses have been around since the time of Babylon; why not experiment with some tools that have made others successful? A business plan can yield benefits not just from the process of clarifying your goals but as a funding tool. If you can crystallize your passion onto the page then chances are, you’ll have a shot at inspiring others as well.

After all, mud on a wall is mud on a wall.

Over twelve weeks, we will explore our own ideas using tools from right-brained artistic games to classic business school (like SWOT and budgets). You will need a copy of the book, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam, available from Amazon, the Chicago Public Library, and other booksellers.

You will also need a blank journal book, at least 8.5” x 11”. I like the Strathmore 400 Series journals, available from retailers or Mister Art.com; their 12” x 9” is my favorite.

These will be held alternating Thursdays at Pumping Station: One (PS:1) and Southside Hackerspace Chicago (SSH:C). Addresses and links are below the schedule.

Our first four sessions have been well attended and productive. We work in a collaborative fashion, alternating between roundtable discussion and work/play time on our individual projects.

If you’re curious about the process or want to get clear about your own ideas for a business, please check us out.

Week 1: What To Hack… (Thursday, 06/05/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Intro, Why Plan?
  • Exercise: Mandala 1 & 2

Week 2: Exercise: Mandalagain (Thursday, 06/12/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Exercise: Mandala 3 & 4

Week 3: Discussion (Thursday, 06/19/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Discussion: Completed Mandala share. Synthesize, answer questions in group. Guides.

Week 4: Exercise: Map Your Brain (Thursday, 06/26/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

Exercise: Left Brain/Right Brain Map.

Week 5: Exercise: Map Your Modes and Remedies (Thursday, 07/03/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Modes, Part I: Modes of Functioning: Sensing, Thinking, Feeling, Acting. Constructive & Destructive.
  • Exercise: Mapping Your Modes. Mapping Your Remedies.

Week 6: Exercise: Recipe Cards (Thursday, 07/10/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Modes, Part II: Recipe Cards – Mastering Your Modes; Self-Inquiry Portraits
  • Exercise: Recipe Cards

Week 7: Exercise: SWAT THE SWOT (Thursday, 07/17/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: The Art of Strategy: SWOT
  • Exercise: Create a SWOT; Research Punch List

Week 8: Exercise/Discussion: Be SMART! (Thursday, 07/24/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Be SMART – Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics.
  • Exercise: Prioritized Task Lists, Not To-Do List. Group Exercise – Synergy
  • Discussion: Brainstorm Objectives, Strategies and Tactics.

Week 9: Exercise: Envision it! (Thursday, 07/31/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ PS:1)

  • Topics: SMART Framework
  • Exercise: Vision Cards – Personal Strategic Plan

Week 10: Exercise: Promote it! (Thursday, 08/07/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

Topics: Promotion, Part I: Define Target Audience

  • Exercise: Customer Persona Collage, Competitive Analysis

Week 11: Branding (Thursday, 08/14/2014 @ PS:1)

  • Topics: Promotion, Part II: Customer Needs; Features vs. Benefits; Branding Basics

Week 12: Exercise/Discussion: Make It and Break It (Out)! (Thursday, 08/21/2014, 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. @ SSH:C)

  • Topics: Promotional Tactics
  • Exercise: DIY Mini-Journal & Greeting Card Cover
  • Discussion: Wrap – Roundtable – Share Completed Plans

Pumping Station: One

3519 N. Elston
Chicago, IL 60618
http://pumpingstationone.org/

Southside Hackerspace Chicago

2233 South Throop St, Unit 214
Chicago, IL 60608
http://sshchicago.org/

 

27

06 2014