Archive for the ‘Class/Workshop’Category

NERP tonight: The revolution is over! Let the battles begin!

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at
Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

There are a bunch of credit card size and smaller computers out there, but the
one closest to the Raspberry Pi in purpose and features is the Beagle Bone. The
BeagleBone is a credit-card sized Linux computer that connects with the Internet
and runs software such as Android 4.0 and Ubuntu. NERP first saw the Beagle
Board during Drew’s high-level overview in March.


The current Beagle Bone (~$89) costs more than the Raspberry Pi, but the Bone
has better perfomance. Tomorrow, 4/23/13, will publicly announce a
new, more powerful, more featureful, and cheaper Beagle Bone. The price for the
new board will put it closer to the Pi. The revolution is over, but the
competiton for the smallest, most powerful, most versatile, and cheapest
embeddable computer has just begun. Adafruit, one of several Beagle Bone
resellers, is getting revved up for the new release.

Tonight Brian Chamberlain will give an in depth introduction to writing code on
the Beagle Bone. Brian’s talk will  “…cover how to setup and run remote
debugging on a BeagleBone from within the Eclipse IDE. It will include a
walkthrough of the key steps for setting things up. Then a demonstration of how
to step through lines of code, inspect variables, and generally cause havoc on a
simple program running remotely on the BeagleBone. Also, as a segway from our
normal RaspberryPi discussions there will be a brief overview of the BeagleBone,
its features, and how it compares to the RaspberryPi.”

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One

NERP meets at 7pm 4-22-13 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in
Chicago. NERP is free and open to the public.

Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics . com


04 2013

CNC Build Club

Every Thursday night…

The CNC Build Club meets to build, use and learn about CNC machines.

April 18th at 7:00 PM.
Open to non- members

Quantum Delta 3D printer

Quantum Delta 3D printer

Over the last three weeks we built this little delta 3D printer.
There are a few little changes to make to it this week, like a spool holder on top.

This medium sized CNC Router Read the rest of this entry →


04 2013




I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from the NERP FPGA workshop we did a couple weeks back.  There were a few people who asked me to post the Verilog code that went along with the two demos we did.  I added comments to the Verilog files in an attempt to clear up a lot of the stuff we cruised through to avoid turning this purely into a Verilog class.  The most useful comments will be in the VGA controller module we wrote: vga640x480.v.  Anyway, all the required project files to synthesize the logic we wrote are right here:

The software we used to build everything is the Xilinx ISE WebPACK 13.4.  You have to register with Xilinx and generate/download a license on their website to use the software.  Just remember that the above project will only work on the Digilent Nexys2-1200 board that I was using.

If you’re interested in grabbing a budget board for messing around with FPGAs or CPLDs, there are a few notable options:

  1. Papilio One
  2. CoolRunner-II
  3. DE0-Nano
  4. Basys2
  5. XuLA-200
  6. BORA

Also, thanks to Drew Fustini for the lovely photos you ‘re seeing above.  Actually, this whole FPGA thing was Drew’s idea.  So, if you were really itching to do some Raspberry Pi that week and walked in to find a bunch of nerds talking about programmable logic gates, then all your blame should be focused towards him.  On the other hand, if you enjoyed this FPGA crash-course you should thank him for that and any subsequent class/workshop he forces me to do.



04 2013

Beer Church Tasting & Tour – Ours & Theirs: Revolution Brewery

Hello all beer brewers, hackers, and those just interested in the methods of making and tasting beers. This Saturday the 13th of April at 12:30PM we’ll be meeting up at Pumping Station: One to taste our own beers and anything you feel the need to share with us. We’ll try at least 3 of our own homebrews made by Beer Church, followed by a short work session and introduction to our own beer making equipment.

Revolution Brewery Tour

At 2:15PM we’ll head over to Revolution Brewery’s Kedzie location for a private tour with only our group. Up to 40 people can participate and will share the total $75 fee for the tour – which comes with 2 complementary samples of Revolution’s beers. With just 8 people, we’d pay less than $10 each. The tour will involve visiting and seeing the workings of the production brewery that Revolution uses to create such brews as Cross of Gold which they generously donated 2 kegs of for our Locktoberfest event last fall – and we enjoyed for some time afterward at our bar.

We expect the tour to teach us aspiring brewers a great deal about how a “real” brewery works, given that we’ll have the ear of one of Revolution’s staff throughout. After the tour we’ll have a few sips of their brew and head back to PS:One. If we’re feeling up to it, perhaps we’ll create something off the cuff. The new fermenter is nearly complete thanks by the large to the efforts of Tucker & the contributions of some Beer Church regulars last weekend, and will at least be able to support a simple Ale fermentation.

We hope to see you this Saturday for a pleasant afternoon.


When: Saturday, April 13 2013 at 12:30PM until 4:00PM or later.
Where: 3519 N Elston, Chicago IL
Why: Because you like making & tasting beer.
Who: Anyone 21 years of age or older.
What: Beer tasting, brewery tour, potential beer brewing


04 2013

Blacksmithing 101 Classes

Both the fire poker and the railroad spike knife classes will be offered on SUNDAY April 14th at Pumping Station:One.
knife forge
Ever thought of Blacksmithing as a way to relieve stress? Well then, sign up for THE FIRE POKER CLASS where you will make a fire poker to soothe your
anger while also pleasing your inner pyro . You will learn to taper & draw, twist, and to scroll some steel. And you get to take it home and show it off!

Or, if you are more into stabbing junk mail through the heart, make yourself a RAIL ROAD SPIKE letter opener! You’ll learn to sledge, taper & draw, and maybe even twist your handle.

Please sign up for your preferred class and time using the booking link HERE!


  • $40 for members ($50 for non-members) for the two and a half hour long instruction & materials needed for the *fire poker class*
  • $25 for members ($30 for non-members) for the *rail road spike* class.

Both classes will also certify members to use the forge!
What you need to know:IMG_20130210_122708_948

1. If you have a nice pair of safety glasses, bring them – we have some available, but they may not be comfortable.
2. Wear ONLY cotton clothing and closed toe shoes (preferably leather with rubber soles) Any other fabric may catch fire and will melt onto your skin and continue burning you which is never fun. A lightweight, long-sleeved shirt is preferable to protect from flying slag.
3. Bring a water bottle- forging is hot work.
4. Your off hand (non hammering hand) will be holding the steel and will require a glove (though two gloves is REALLY preferable). Please bring well fitting all LEATHER gloves if you have some (calf skin gloves work best). This helps reduce chafing and prevents burns. Your hammer hand does not have to be gloved, but better safe than sorry.
5. This activity has a high risk of burns – you will be dealing with glowing hot steel, sparks, and hot slag. Wearing appropriate clothing and gloves minimizes this risk, but accidents still happen. You have been warned, now come have some fun!

• Please try to arrive 5-10 minutes early so we can get started
right away.


03 2013

Elementary Fourier Analysis, Sunday March 24th at 1PM

Sines, sines, everywhere a sine.

Engraving of Fourier.

This is a Fourier. We will not be analyzing it.

This 2.5 hour class will cover:

  • When and why does the fourier transform ‘work’? (Convergence conditions, etc)
  • What does linear algebra have to do with Fourier analysis? (A lot.)
  • How do we know it works? (Somewhat rigorous derivation)
  • Are there similar concepts/tools worth knowing? (Yes.)

The overarching goal is to demystify the magic formulas
and give a more conceptual grounding in what’s going on.

Recommended background: Calculus II (integration),
trig identities, and basic knowledge of complex numbers, with a
provided cheat sheet and a refresher/intro to those tools at noon.

  • When: Sunday March 24th at 1PM
  • Where: Pumping Station: One Electronics Lab, 3519 N Elston Ave
  • What: Deltas, epsilons, bases, sines.
  • Who: All are welcome, PS:One members or not. Please RSVP to by Saturday so I can make enough handouts.
  • Cost: Free!


03 2013

Introduction to PS:One: N00bs’ Paradise March 24th at 4pm

Are you interested in learning about PS:One or are generally just new around here?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and you’re hardly alone.

We’ve decided to create a formal way of teaching curious new folk how the PS:One community works.

Meet with PS:One old-timers (including at least one former president) to learn the many ways to get involved, and the opportunities available to PS:One members, plus hacks for getting around easier.

You’ll learn:

  • the one and only rule you need to remember at PS:One!
  • what mailing lists and IRC channels you should join
  • how to get discounts on classes, tee-shirts, stuff around town, and even monthly dues!
  • how to get certified on equipment
  • how to donate equipment to PS:One
  • how to create a class, event, group, meeting, or what have you
  • how to request a class, event, group, whatever
  • how to blog
  • the wiki.
  • do-ocracy and how to do-ocratize things

The basics:

  • Who: anyone who wants to learn more about PS:One and how it works
  • When: Sunday March 24th, 4 pm until about 6pm
  • Where: PS:One 1st floor lounge
  • Cost: free

Here are the class notes – please feel free to read beforehand (Note: these notes are not a good substitute for class attendance).


03 2013

Beer Church March 17th @ 1PM: Make Your Own Hard Cider

An event description from Tucker Tomlinson:

Interested in home brewing but unsure how to start? Confused by mash
schedules and monitoring? Well I have the Beer Church for you! This
Sunday I’ll be running a cider making workshop, which will show you
how to make 1 gallon batches of cider in your own kitchen. Each
attendee that wants to participate should leave with a 1 gallon jug of
precursor potent potables, and instructions for its care and use.

The plan will be to start around 1PM at PS:One. We will make a quick stop
at Jewel for anybody that hasn’t picked up juice or spices. Then we
will head over to Brew and Grow to pick up some fermentable sugars and
equipment. Then it’s back to PS:One to mix up some delicious concoctions.

all the required items to participate can be purchased at the event,
but participants should consider bringing the following:

  • 1 gallon of fruit juice.
  • 1 or more spices to complement the juice
  • a 1 gallon fermentation vessel: this can be the jug your juice came in.
  • Some tips:

  • A 1 gallon milk jug makes a fine fermentation vessel, just make sure
    to clean it completely before bringing it.
  • If you want a glass vessel, Whole foods frequently sells unfiltered
    apple juice in 1gal glass jugs. This is where I got most of my cider
    fermentation jugs because you get a nice jug and juice for the same
    price as the glass jug alone would cost elsewhere. Brew and Grow also
    has empty glass jugs that will work great.
  • I will bring a spice grinder, so whole spices are encouraged.
  • When considering spices there are two good routes to follow: 1)
    common flavor profiles: if you make apple cider with the standard
    complement of apple pie spices you have a very nice drink that tastes
    like the holidays. 2) Think weird and exciting; I like to try new
    things (so far cranberry juice and black pepper is my favorite), but I
    recommend keeping it simple. Try one spice per batch at first to see
    how the flavors meld, If you like it then make another batch with
    additional spices.
  • Honey can be added to your cider rather than fructose. The yeasts
    will consume some of this but it will still lend a more complex,
    heavy, flavor than the basic sugars. Honey can be expensive, and while
    Brew and Grow has honey at an OK price, you might find a better price
    somewhere else.
  • If you have more questions, get on the Beer Church mailing list and ask! We have several knowledgeable folks who can give you all kinds of helpful advice.

    Nitty Gritty

    Event Host: Tucker Tomlinson
    Date: 3/17/2013, 1PM
    Location: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago IL
    RSVP: Please post to the beer church mailing list or otherwise notify Tucker Tomlinson that you are attending so he knows how many people to plan for.
    Requirements: Be 21 or older, and that’s it! You don’t have to be a Pumping Station: One member to participate.


    03 2013

    Beer Church: March 3rd @ 2PM

    Howdy from Beer Church! Just this weekend we put Rhubarb Waves of Grain on tap, and it’s super tasty. Putting the India back in IPA is also quite great, but isn’t yet on tap.

    This coming Sunday we plan to brew a simple ale or porter (to be determined!). Suggestions are welcome via our twitter @ps1beerchurch or on the Beer Church mailing list.

    To start off, we’ll have a beer tasting featuring any homebrew you bring, both the Cardamom IPA & the Rhubarb mentioned above, and anything from the store you bring too! Tiny beer steins will be provided – please bring a bottle of something if you can.

    Once we’ve had a taste, met each other, and talked over the basics of brewing in the process, we’ll move on to brewing a beer. This is just the first day of a weeks long journey that a beer takes from the boil kettle to your mouth, but it’s the most labor intensive and the most interesting to see, so we like to show people this step. Watching a bucket ferment isn’t as fun. Since we’re going for something simple, we’ll probably be done brewing in around 3.5 hours. The ingredients will have been purchased ahead of time, so we’ll get into the brew by around 3PM. The steps include mashing, sparging, boiling, chilling, and pitching. You can lend a hand with most of them, and learn a lot in the process.

    Currently in the fermenter are Barely Barley Ale and A Horrible Missake which we’ll be taking a peek at to see if they’re ready to transfer to kegs.

    Nitty Gritty

    When: Sunday March 3rd, 2PM. We expect to be brewing until around 7 PM or so, but you don’t have to hang around the whole time if you don’t want to. People who help out until the end get a bottle of the beverages they helped with when it’s completed (approximately 1 month later).
    Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
    What: Beer tasting and brewing hands-on
    Who: Anyone 21 or over, Pumping Station: One members or not!
    Why: Because beer is a worthy purpose for your Sunday afternoon
    To Brew: TBD
    Brewmaster: TBD


    02 2013

    Analog Signal Processing – Class Knowtes



    Thanks to all who showed up on Monday night (Feb 18th, 2013) for the signal processing class.  It was a lot of material to cover in one night, but I hope everyone at least learned (and retained) something.  I was asked by several people to post my lecture notes online so people can review them.  It took me awhile to go through my notes and clear them up (somewhat) for someone besides me reading through them.  Also, I had to erase and rewrite a bunch of stuff because they were too close to the edges and were being cut off by my scanner.  So that’s why it took so long.  Anyway, here are the notes, the notes for the pre-class Math Review, and the 8-page info packet that I passed out during class:




    Now that the class is over, the next thing to do is figure out what class to teach next.  I noticed that many of the attendees enjoyed the filter design example we went over.  Perhaps we could do a short class on some practical Analog Filter Synthesis?  Some people have “thumbsed-up” the idea for doing a class on learning how to use LTSpice to build schematics & simulate circuits.  Recently, I’ve been reverse-engineering schematics from double-sided printed circuit boards in older consumer electronics.  I could demonstrate some techniques on how to do that.  Another idea is moving directly past the Analog Signal Processing class and going right into Digital Signal Processing.  All the same topics from analog appear in digital such as convolution, impulse response, frequency response, & transfer functions.  Except most of the integrals become discrete summations when in the digital domain.  There are neat topics specific to digital such as FIR filters and sample rate conversion, which I think are the most interesting.  Actually, the website Coursera just started a DSP class this week.  If you were at Monday’s class, the Coursera course should be much easier since most of the topics are similar, like I described above.  Check it out.

    If you have any feedback on Monday’s class, ideas for other electronics classes, or any other comment, then please let us know.  If you see me at Pumping Station: One and remember what I look like, then feel free to talk to me in person.



    02 2013