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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

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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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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.

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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

Movie Night: Revolution OS (GNU, Linux, FOSS)

It’s time for another movie night! This is our third tech-documentary related movie night, and we will be showing Revolution OS. “Revolution OS is a 2001 documentary film that traces the twenty-year history of GNU, Linux, open source, and the free software movement.”-Wikipedia

Since LinuxCon Chicago ends on Friday at 5 PM, this is an excellent after-con event to bring your friends to!

There will be popcorn and feel free to BOYB.

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Where: Lounge of Pumping Station: One
3519 N. Elston
When: Friday August 22, 7:30-9:30 PM
Doors open at 7 PM
This event is open to the public.

19

08 2014

Intro to Arduino Workshop

WEB-Chip

Women’s Electronics Workshop: Intro to Arduino is scheduled for Sunday August 24, 2-5pm. Register on the Meet Up page. Here’s the blurb:

Learn to program Arduino using the ATtiny85, a $2 chip that’s perfect for simple projects. You’ll receive your own Tiny Programmer ($20) which uploads your code to the chip, and your first ATtiny85.

We’ll cover basic Arduino syntax, controlling LEDs, and using a photocell as a sensor. You’ll also learn about the best online resources for teaching yourself more Arduino.

***The ATtiny85 is the same chip that powers boards like the Trinket and the Gemma. To learn more about making your own wearable Arduino with the ATtiny85, check out this instructable (pictured above).***

Cost:

Workshop fee: $30

Materials fee: $30
Requirements:

-BYOB: Bring your own breadboard. If you did the circuit building workshop, you should have one already. Please bring it with you.

-laptop with Arduino and ATtiny Support installed and USB port

This workshop is for participants who identify as female or genderqueer.

♦♦♦♦♦

Jesse Seay About the instructor: Jesse Seay is a professor at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches electronic art in the Audio Arts & Acoustics Dept. She has an MFA from SAIC and an MA in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel Hill. Find her work online at www.jesseseay.com and blog.jesseseay.com.

 

14

08 2014

Pumping Station: One Design Contest!

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!

The first wave is a call for submissions, this will last until the 31st of August, followed by an open voting period until the 30th of September. Finally, the board will order everything and get it shipped to the space.

Guidelines for submissions:

  • Designs are for the tees, buttons, and stickers. 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.
  • Be excellant! No inappropriate themes, remember that PS: One is a safe space, and we don’t want to ban our own merch from the space.

31

07 2014

We have videos

Did you miss the talk on Machinekit: BeagleBone CNC & beyond!? Or maybe you weren’t there for the unboxing of the Shop Bot.

We have videos.

Carl and I have set up Pumping Station: One Videos.

02

07 2014

Microcontroller Talk: Energia & Rekam1 Wireless Projects

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“Energia & Rekam1 Wireless Microcontroller Projects”

Wednesday, June 25th, 7PM

Open to the Public and Free

Texas Instruments engineer Leo Estevez will be in town for the Sensors Expo & offered to give on a talk on developing microcontroller projects with Energia IDE and Rekam1 wireless operating system.

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Rekam1 enables easy communication between a microcontroller and a mobile device (Android or iOS) via WiFi or Bluetooth. Rekam1 currently supports the MSP430 LaunchPad. Leo will demo his MSP430-based Beer Machine which can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet

Further info on the Events calendar

25

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

 

cramps

 

 

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