Archive for the ‘Class/Workshop’Category

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

DC_circuits

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

Basic Electronics – DC Circuits Class – Sunday June 29th @ 2pm

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Well, I finally got around to finishing the curriculum for a beginning Electronics class.  This class will cover a lot of the fundamentals that should be known when designing any type of electronic circuit.  DC circuits will be covered here, so no frequency dependent (AC) topics will be touched.  Hopefully in the future, I’ll have time to eventually write a followup Intermediate Electronics class that will cover AC circuits.

It will be broken up into two parts, a lecture-ish part with lots of fun whiteboard time and a lab (hands-on) portion:

Lecture Topics:

  1. Electricity, conductors, and insulators
  2. Ohm’s Law
  3. KVL & KCL: Series and Parallel circuits
  4. Voltage Dividers
  5. Traditional Circuit Analysis: Mesh Currents & Node Voltage
  6. Better Analysis Tools: Superposition & Thevenin’s Theorem
  7. Silicon Diodes and LEDs

Lab Topics:

  1. DC Circuit Simulation with LTspice (the best analysis tool)
  2. Learn how to use solderless breadboards
  3. Build simple circuits using resistors and LEDs

I will be giving away one small electronics “starter kit” consisting of a solderless breadboard, bags of resistors and capacitors, a bunch of jumper wires, and a digital multimeter.  I’ll most likely dish this kit out by asking a bonus question and giving it away to the first person with the correct answer.  Anyway, hope to see you there!

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone who knows basic Algebra (Open to the Public)
  • When: Sunday, June 29th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm…..or 5pm or 6pm or however long you wanna stay and learn
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

26

06 2014

Special CNC Build Club – Linux CNC on Beaglebone

CharlesSteinkuehler

Charles Steinkuehle, the guy behind the Machinekit port of Linux CNC to the Beaglebone microcontroller is going to be in town Thursday 6/26/2014, so we are going to have a special edition of the CNC build club.  Special features on the Beaglebone make it the first general use microcontroller to be able to effectively run Linux CNC.

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He will be showing off his new CRAMPS (Cape RAMPS) board.  This is a cape for the Beaglebone that all all the periferals you would need for a CNC machine or 3D printer

 

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We have featured LinuxCNC on Beaglebone at a few other CNC Build Club events, so it is great to have Charles stop by:

When: Thursday, June 26th 2014 at 7:00pm

Where: Pumping Station One, Electronics Lab

Who Can Come: Members and Non-Members….Please RSVP Here

 

16

06 2014

Demo Day: Ancona Edition

Soldering kidHello everyone! You know those demonstration days we did for the library a month or so back? Well, Elizabeth and I thought it’d be a good idea to reach out to the school where we teach the after school Maker class and do the same. We thought that having an open demonstration for parents, kids, and faculty would be a great idea to cultivate our image as a valuable educational resource for kids and adults alike.

We want to showcase the value of Maker culture and skills in the development of kids in gradeschool. We want to be entertaining, so we plan on doing the Learn to Solder kits, Laser cutter demo, possibly some 3D printing demos, and the like. If anyone has any demonstrations that would be appropriate for kids, and would like to help out by hosting that demonstration, please come.  And if you just want to be there and mingle with the parents, maybe bring your own kids, show them what our community means, and what it means to your kids, please come.
The event is Sunday, June 8th, from 2-4pm, at Pumping Station: One.

30

05 2014

Intro to Programmable Logic & FPGAs – April 27

fpga-architecture

I’ve been bugged to death lately about doing another FPGA intro class…and after a full year, it’s finally here.  We’ll be going over some theory & concepts first before we hit the real stuff.  Familiarity with digital logic circuits is highly recommended, but you will still learn something regardless.  A basic overview of what will be covered:

  1. Combinational Logic – Basic Logic Gates
  2. Sequential Logic – Flips Flops
  3. CPLD – Complex Programmable Logic Device
  4. FPGA – Field Programmable Gate Array
  5. Nintendo DS ReView – An Example of What FPGAs Can Do
  6. Xilinx ISE & Verilog – Synthesizing the First Project
  7. Using Clocks – Blink that LED!
  8. State Machines – Alternate between blinking different LEDs!
  9. Video Example – Making an 8-bit VGA controller

I’ll be using the Elbert FPGA development board for most of the examples we’ll be doing.  Having the board is not required to attend.  I will bring a disc with the software tools in case anyone would like to install them.  We will be using Verilog as the HDL (hardware description language) in this class, since that is what I am familiar with.

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone (Open to the Public)
  • When: Sunday, April 27th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm….but we can chill until 5:00pm.
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

19

04 2014

A Good Egg or, What Happens When Hackers Celebrate Pysanky Day

Okay, so first of all, Pysanky Day is a very special day celebrating the thousands-of-years-old art of Ukrainian egg decorating (a “pysanka” is one such egg, “pysanky” is multiples of them).  Now, there’s not an actual Pysanky Day; folks decorate the eggs traditionally around Easter time.  In my household, however, we celebrate several different holidays around Spring:  Passover, Easter, and Ostara.  Each year we decorate eggs and it’s grown from just Paas dyes to pysanky.

When I asked one of my fellow hackers if they’d like to learn the art, they got totally excited about using the Egg Bot.

The what?

The Egg Bot!

Of course, there’s a bot for eggs.  Why?  Because Hackerspace.

And thus, Pysanky Day was born.

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A celebration of the ancient:  the plain egg is drawn on with melted beeswax using a tool called a “kistka.”  Based on technology that’s about four thousand years old, it just consists of a stick or dowel with a hole drilled in one end, into which is inserted a metal funnel.  The funnel is held in place with copper wire.

After heating the tip of the kistka in a candle flame, a small amount of wax is scooped into the fat part of the funnel.  It takes some practice to get the wax to flow smoothly without making drops of wax on the egg.

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One of my favorite designs, this is from one of the series of five Ukrainian Design Books available from the Ukrainian Gift Shop in Roseville, Minnesota. Part of the design was done with a traditional kistka, and part was done with an electric kistka.

In principle, the electric one works the same as the manual one; I like it better because the flow of wax is much more even.

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We got to playing with the Egg Bot, which brings us up to present day technology. Using a pen, it writes on the egg. The writing is completely programmable.

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And finally, in true hacker style, we used the 3-D printer to print an egg holder in the shape of a bunny rabbit. One of our members, walking through the space toward the end of Pysanky Day, commented, “Oh! Rabbit Pants!”

Yup. Hackerspace.

 

All egg images used by permission, copyright: CC-BY-SA Everett C. Wilson ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/).

Image of the Egg Bot from the Egg Bot site, (http://egg-bot.com/)

05

04 2014

Special Circuit Bending eSymposium this Sunday

Sunday, April 6

12 PM – 4 PM, FREE

Hacking upstairs in Electronics, open jam session downstairs in the Lounge.

Hosted by Patrick McCarthy of the circuit-bending act Roth Mobot.

Bring something to hack, something to drink, and whatever tools you think you’ll need. PS:One has an excellent assortment of tools but they are finite. Components are available, but please donate some cash to help cover whatever you use.

Radio WFMT will be on location recording a documentary about the eSymposium.

31

03 2014