Liquid Nitrogen – Part 1

LN2 withdrawal systemLiquid nitrogen (LN2) rocks. Yes, officially speaking, I need to get liquid nitrogen at PS:One so that we can do serious sciencey stuff, like, say, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy on the scanning electron microscope. But, unofficially? Driving nails into wood with a frozen banana, or making ice cream, is just plain awesome. And the clouds of chilled water vapor billowing out of flasks like something from a mad scientist’s lab… what can I say, I’m easily amused.

First, we need a source to buy LN2. Fortunately, a very generous individual, who happens to own a really cool company that has helped us in the past with CO2 tanks and refills, and provided free LN2 to test the EDX detector on the scanning electron microscope, offered us a great deal for purchasing it. But transporting -321F liquid to PS:One and storing it presents unique challenges.

LN2 boring the plugSo we need to start with a large storage dewar. These can be ridiculously expensive. I scoured eBay, found one, posted a crowdfunding request to the PS:One mailing list, and, thanks to the generosity of a bunch of donors, I made the purchase.

Read the rest of this entry →

26

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

 

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06 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

From Laser Cutting to Casting — Starting My Projects at Pumping Station: One

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Here is my latest creation

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In wax before it is to be cast

This is a turkey vulture pendant that I created as per request of a member here for a birthday present. The recipient is a Naturalist for the Nature preserve here in IL.

So how I went about creating this: created the design through Adobe Illustrator, laser cut the pendant out with our Epilog  laser engraver, and did a lost wax cast to get the final piece in sterling silver, then added a patina to the metal for the shading.

To check out my website or contact me for collaborations see www.ellagentz.squarespace.com.

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06 2014

SIGBOT is starting tonight!

Hey everyone! We’re starting a new robotics group tonight at 19:00. SIGBOT is the Special Interest Group for Robotics. We’ll be meeting the 3rd Thursday of the month in the electronics lab at Pumping Station: One.

Tonight we’ll be talking about what this club will really be all about. I want to hear everyone’s ideas for projects we can work on as a group, and also what projects people are working on individually.

Hope to see you all there!

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06 2014

NERP June 23rd – BeagleBoard Project co-founder Jason Kridner

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NERP June 23rd – BeagleBoard Project co-founder Jason Kridner

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.

Jason Kridner, BeagleBoard project co-founder, community manager, and software cat herder will speak at NERP on June 23. His topics will be “JavaScript on BeagleBone” and “Real-time programming with BeagleBone PRUs”. As part of his job at Texas Instruments, Jason provides support and development of the BeagleBoard.org project. He is also a member of hackerspace i3 Detroit.

The BeagleBone Black is the most recent in a series of single board Linux computers created by the folks behind BeagleBone.org http://beaglebone.org. The BeagleBone is designed for educators, designers, makers, and hackers. The BoneScript language, based on JavaScript, reaches out to Web software developers who want to get out of the box. Being a Linux (plus Android and others) computer, the BBB natively runs Python, C++, and the usual suspects. There is also a growing ecosystem of hardware add-on “capes” that shield the user from the complexity of developing interface devices.

Some quick specs on the BeagleBone Black rev C : Technology: Texas Instruments Sitara® 32-bit ARM core cpu @ 1GHz, 512MB SDRAM, accelerated HDMI, Ethernet, USB, 69 (max) GPIO, and a host of i/o peripherals directly accessible from onboard headers. Dim 3.4”x2.1”, weight 1.4 oz., Debian Linux pre-installed, Price $55. Availability: everywhere. Element14 is a good place to look http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-54121?ICID=knode-beagleboneblack-space/

PLEASE NOTE: For this special NERP, we will keep introductions short and start promptly at 7pm. Please use the meetup (below) to confirm your attendance!

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 June 23rd, 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, BeagleBone, Element14, Pumping Station One

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06 2014

Special CNC Build Club – Linux CNC on Beaglebone

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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

 

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06 2014

Women’s Electronics Workshops: June 21 and 28

 

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Pumping Station: One has partnered with Chicago Women Developers to offer two introductory electronics classes Saturdays June 21 & June 28, 10am to 2pm.

The workshops are $32 for PS:One members, $42 for non-members. Participants who attend both classes will receive a $10 rebate. Registration is available through the CWD meetup page. Or click on the name of each workshop below to go to the event Meetup page. In the upper right hand corner of the page, you can join and RSVP in order to register and pay through PayPal.

The workshops are separate — you can attend #2 without attending #1. (PS:One members will receive their discount as a rebate when they attend the workshop.)

Lunch will be provided for both workshops.

These workshops are for people who don’t identify as male; people who identify as female or queer are welcome.

♦♦♦♦♦

Workshop #1: Electronics Bootcamp

A hands-on introduction to the fundamentals of electronic circuits.

  • Make a battery
  • Draw a resistor
  • Introduction to:LEDs, Resistors, Capacitors, Transistors, Switches
  • Use multimeters to measure DC voltage, resistance, continuity
  • Build multiple circuits to demonstrate each component, using Snap Circuits

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Workshop #2:  Circuit Building

Take a circuit from diagram to breadboard to finished project.

  • Introduction to soldering tools
  • Learn to Solder
  • Reading circuit diagrams
  • Breadboarding a circuit
  • Design and solder a wearable circuit bracelet (with LEDs and battery)

If you’re interested in coming, but can’t for financial reasons please contact CWD to apply for a scholarship.

♦♦♦♦♦

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.

13

06 2014

First Hackaday Prize Session

We just ended out first meeting which consisted of an overview of the contest, introductions, individual skill sets and brainstorming project ideas. So far, we are going to do something involving plants. Whether that is hacking a plant directly or using sensors around a plant is yet to be determined. Feel free to attend our second meeting which is tentatively to be held next Wednesday at 7:00 PM.

11

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.

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05 2014