Archive for the ‘Events’Category

Mini Maker Faire – or “How I annoyed hundreds of people”

On March 26th, our PR director forwarded an email to one of our mailing lists. This email detailed the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, which was to happen in a little over a month. I decided that PS:1 needed to have a presence there, and it couldn’t just be a booth with some folks sitting behind it talking about hackerspaces all day.  An electronic project was very much within my skillset, but I didn’t want it to become yet another ‘how to solder’ class — they had one or two of those already. I wanted something that could be assembled quickly and offered a chance to talk about electronics if the assembler was interested. If they weren’t, they should have a fun doodad to walk away with.

2014-04-30 18.57.30

The final revision of the board art

I needed a project, something that would engage kids and adults. Something that was easy to assemble, cheap and offered a chance to learn a little bit about electronics (but didn’t require it!). I recalled a field trip I went on in high school. We went to an engineering firm or something, and they had us assemble little crystal radios on card stock. There were just four components that twisted together on the back, then you hooked up the crystal earset and bam! crappy radio.  I settled on a crappy optical theremin – using a photoresistor to modulate the pitch of a buzzer.2014-04-27 20.28.52 Thinking about it, I decided I could probably manage something pretty cool with five components or less if I used a microcontroller of some sort. I settled on the Atmel ATTiny45, which is an AVR in an 8 pin DIP package. Some clever folks have already ported the Arduino libraries to work on these small chips, so all I had to do was come up with a design and write a few lines of code. I won’t bore you with excessive details, you can check out the github repo.

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I had a number of parents and teachers assemble kits, too.

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Justin helping someone out

I learned a lot with this project, and  I think some other people did too. I had kids as young as 5 assemble these boards with guidance, some of them with surprisingly little help. Everyone seemed to like them, and I ran out of components for kits. I’m calling it a huge success, and I hope that this project is replicated and taken to other faires, expos and ‘learn electronics’ nights.   –Derek

08

05 2014

U Can Has BeagleBone Black (but only one).

 BeagleBoard_Boris_Tux

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer 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.

The BeagleBone Black is a small single board computer in the same vein as the Raspberry Pi. The two boards are similar in appearance and composition but different in style. Both boards are based on 32-bit ARM-based processors. The Beagle’s is more recent and faster. The RPi is designed as a teaching platform that happens to have very nice graphics and video, but not much i/o. The Beagle’s graphics are wanting, but it has tons of i/o on the board. The Pi is more polished than the Beagle, in that what’s supposed to work usually does. The Beagle is more suited (for the moment) to dirty-fingernails hackers who enjoy hardware for its own sake.

One thing the two boards have in common is that their first manufacturing runs sold out quickly. It’s been weeks since there were any BeagleBone Blacks to be had for sale. (People have been hoarding them as OEM parts for their startup projects.) In the last few days, BeagleBone Blacks have been trickling out of CircuitCo’s production line. There are about 47,600 boards in the pipe, but you’re allowed to buy only one. http://specialcomp.com/beaglebone/ has them now for $45.00 each.

It’s time to give the BeagleBone Black another look at NERP.

Tonight we’ll go over some of the getting started routine, and have a peek under the hood of the Bonescript, the Beagle’s Arduino-like programming environment built on Node.js.

It’s time to give the BeagleBone Black another look at NERP.

Tonight we’ll go over some of the getting started routine, and have a peek under the hood of the Bonescript, the Beagle’s Arduino-like programming environment built on Node.js.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is April28th, 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

 

 

28

04 2014

Mini Maker Faire in Chicago at Schurz High School – May 3

Reserve your spot to the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire! Tickets are FREE to the public, but by reserving early you guarantee your spot. Now you can e-sign the media release on Eventbrite and skip the line! As always, your generous donations allow those who cannot otherwise afford Maker Faire to attend for free. Recommended donations are $10/adult, and $5/child under 12.

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/chicago-northside-mini-maker-faire-2014-tickets-10903088431

Pumping Station: One will hopefully be there with a table. Come visit us!

 

–Derek

10

04 2014

Tonight at NERP: Drew demonstrates Software Defined Radio

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer 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.
radio-1
Software Defined Radio is a set of techniques for generating modulated RF waveforms in a transmitter, and demodulating the waveforms in a receiver. In traditional radio transmitters, the broadcast carrier waveform is generated in resonating analog circuits. The carrier is subsequently modulated in a specific way to encode information onto the carrier waveform. There are several distinct methods for doing the encoding and modulation. At the receiver the modulated carrier is received, amplified, and decoded to extract the transmitted information. Analog circuits are bulky. They could never fit in a cell phone, for instance. Worse, a specific analog circuit can operate over a very narrow range of frequencies (a “band”) and the modulation/demodulation method is inflexibly determined by the circuit topology.

Software defined radio allows the radio hardware to generate the physical carrier frequency and modulation format by algorithmic synthesis. Until recently, open (or open-ish) hardware capable of doing the waveform generation math in real time was not available at an affordable price. This has changed. Tonight at NERP, Drew Fustini will demo Aafruit’s “Software Defined Radio USB Stick” receiver. From the product description on the Adafruit site, the little radio does some absolutely amazing things. Software is eating the world, and radio is on the menu.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is March 3rd, 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, Software defined Radio Pumping Station One

31

03 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

International Tabletop Day 2014

International tabletop day

International Tabletop Day

Want to hang out with a group of fun geeky people at a Hackerspace and play some awesome games? How about homemade snacks and homebrew beer? Still not awesome enough for you? Well, how about we hack an Xbox Kinect and scan you, then 3D print a custom game piece with your face on it, or make custom game counters on a laser cutter?

Come on by Pumping Station: One, Chicago’s biggest Hackerspace, on April 5th and have some fun and maybe even learn a few skills! Bring your favorite games, or if you want some supreme geeky-points, bring a game you designed and play-test it with us [we can even discuss how to spruce-up your game with lasercut or 3D printed pieces, hint-hint]!

This event is public, so bring your family, friends, or just awesome gamers you know and wanna hang out with! If you want to take part in making the 3D printed game pieces, or laser cutting custom counters, we do ask for a minimum of $1 suggested donation to cover materials. If you want to see this stuff continue into the future, please donate more! Proceeds will go to Pumping Station: One’s donation box.

31

03 2014

Bike Night – Fixing bikes in February

Hello everyone!  It’s been cold.  It’s been snowy.  But some of you people are still riding your bicycles.  Being cold and snowy doesn’t stop the need for maintenance.  Every other week is Bike Night at PS:1, and we’ve got our doors open for you.

Sometimes we bring in things to show off.  Sometimes we teach.  Usually we work on interesting bike projects.  (Learning how to wrap bars, building a bike from the frame up, etc) Last night was playing bike doctor more than “here’s fun stuff to work on.”  We had two patients last night.

Bike maintenance at PumpingStation

Bike maintenance at PumpingStation: One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patient #1 received a new chain and sprockets to replace a stretched set.  And, the rider discovered the magic of clipless pedals last year, so replaced his platforms with some SPD pedals.

Patient #2 had some cheesy short term replacement pedals replaced with some very nice platforms, and had it’s headset rebuilt.

Does your bike need a tuneup?  Do you have questions about picking a new bike this spring?  Do you want to learn a new bicycle related skill?  Come visit us, we’ll be gathering in the shop March 5 at 7PM.

-Nerobro

20

02 2014

NERP: Spark Core – Warm and Fuzzy Computing

Monday Feb 17th at 7pm Jeff Camealy will present his talk “How to control your electric blanket with a Spark Core”. He describes his use case: “The Spark Core is a small Arduino compatible chip with built in WiFi and Cloud connectivity. This functionally can be used to easily create a device that can be controlled remotely. We’ll see how we can use the Spark Core Cloud to create an iPhone App to direct your blanket from the comfort of your .. blanket.”

nerp_spark-core-2

Lest Jeff sell himself short, it should be said that he’s spotted a technology that’s powerful and significant, but also somewhat strange. Until now the Arduino programming environment hasn’t often been associated with cloud computing. It’s not clear to me whether this is a niche application, or the start of a trend in small embedded controllers. Not surprisingly, the ARM architecture continues to insinuate itself into every corner of embedded control. The Spark Core uses an STMicroelectronics STM32F103 ARM M3 running at 72 MHz. The WiFi is provided by a TI SimpleLink CC3000 module. If you don’t like the cloud you can use the Spark Core as an ordinary USB-programmed controller that has WiFi. The spark.io site contains these [edited] points to help in understanding what the Spark Core does:

The Spark Core is a tiny, open source Wi-Fi development board that makes it easy to create Internet connected hardware. The Core is all you need to get started; power it over USB and in minutes you’ll be controlling LEDs, switches and motors and collecting data from sensors over the Internet!

There’s no need to ever plug the Core into your computer; you can write code in our web IDE and download it wirelessly to the Core. The Core uses Wiring, the same programming language that Arduino uses. Plus, with an accessory called the Shield Shield, you can connect the Core to a standard Arduino shield.

The Cloud is the mother ship that the Spark Core connects to when it comes online. Once the Core is paired with the Cloud, it becomes accessible from anywhere in the world through our open but secure REST API. Cloud service comes free for life with the Core. [excerpts from https://www.spark.io/]

Excitement!

Thanks to Drew Fustini and the kind folks at element14, we’ll have a drawing for a fully assembled Gertboard. “Gertboard is the ideal add-on for Raspberry Pi. Designed by Gert van Loo, it is a flexible experimenter board that plugs directly into your Raspberry Pi, and out into the physical world…” [element14]

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is Feb 17th, 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

14

02 2014

CNC Build Club Double Feature – 1/23/2014

fsl3d

 

In addition to having Alden Hart talk about the TinyG and motion control in general, Andrew Boggeri of Full Spectrum Laser is going to show off their new sub $2000 SLA resin 3D printer. This is the printer that is currently crushing the goal on Kickstarter.

Stop by and check out the machine and see some of the prints.  Resin printers are a little messy to move around so we probably won’t see it print, but plenty of samples will be shown.  He will be able to demo the drawing speed, software and cloud interface.

prints

 

The CNC Club is free and open to members and non members.  If you want to attend, please RSVP on Meetup.

13

01 2014

CNC Build Club – TAZ 3 Unboxing

TAZ 3

 

Thursday (1/9/2014) night at 7pm we will have an unboxing party for Pumping Station One’s new 3D printer – the Lulzbot Taz 3! The Taz 3 prints larger and faster and in more materials than the other printers we have at the space. Come check out the mysterious BOX, see the printer set up, and maybe we’ll even get to Hello Squirreled.

Also, Ryan Pierce will be presenting “The Hard Knocks School of CNC Milling” covering how he made every mistake possible, and how you can avoid making them yourselves! This will include a lot of useful, practical tips, and a demo of the method he is using, showing the entire tool chain process, to route precisely aligned pockets for his and Elizabeth’s “CNC Steampunk Harp” project

08

01 2014