Category Archives: Announcements

All members can now vote!

Voting at PS1
All member tiers can now vote and propose new votes. Illustration by Mark Creasy.

Good news for Starving Hacker tier members: you can now vote at PS1 member meetings for things like purchases, activities, or elections. On January 22nd, those with Full Member status approved the Vote for All Member Suffrage. All members can propose new votes.

If you’re ready to exercise your voting rights, there are upcoming opportunities at the meeting on Tuesday, January 29, 2019:

If you can’t make the meeting, you can vote by proxy in the email sent to members on 1/24. You can also simply “abstain” on your ballot. This allows us to reach quorum – which is the minimum number of people required for a vote to be decided – without you having to decide yes or no on the proposal.

If you have questions- there’s a Voting FAQ thread on the Google Groups.
Happy voting!

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NERP: CircuitPython Workshop 12-17-18 with Kattni Rembor!

NERP (Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi) is PS1’s embedded programming interest group. At a special NERP on December 17, Kattni Rembor will be giving a workshop on Adafruit’s Circuit Playground Express board running CircuitPython. This is a paid event.

That’s right — the next NERP is not free and open to the public! There’s a first time for everything! Registration details here.

Kattni Rembor is an embedded software developer, technical writer, and community leader with Adafruit Industries. She joined Adafruit as a member of the CircuitPython team, and has written the definitive Getting Started guide, the library designed to make CircuitPython simple to use on Adafruit’s premier learning board, as well as many project guides and tutorials. She has helped build the amazing, supportive online community around CircuitPython and a wide variety of other open source topics.

Find Kattni on Twitter or Discord.

Workshop description

CircuitPython is Python that runs on microcontrollers. It is designed for learning and if you are new to programming or electronics, CircuitPython can help you get started with both. All you need to do is plug in a microcontroller board and start writing code.

Participants will be given a Circuit Playground Express microcontroller board to use. This beginner-friendly workshop will introduce CircuitPython and cover the basics. Then we will get into working with code. There will be a series of examples that use the various sensors, lights and switches built into the Circuit Playground Express board. We will start simply, and we will build on the concepts learned, combining them as we go to eventually build a light-up, capacitive touch tone piano.

Doors open at 6:30pm. NERP is usually free and open to the public, although this event is paid and requires registration.

For those who are interested, there will be the opportunity to stay after the break for further exploration.

Requirements

We will be using Mu as our code editor. Mu is an editor that has the serial REPL and a plotter built in, and makes getting started with CircuitPython particularly easy.

Participants must bring a laptop (ideally running Windows 10, Mac OSX, or a recent version of x86 Linux) and a compatible USB Micro cable (e.g., USB-C to USB Micro if you have a newer Mac). Be sure that your USB Micro cable includes data transfer capabilities, and is not charge-only as it will not work if it is charge only.

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PS1 T-Shirts, Just $10, Available for a Limited Time.

Long have you wanted to display your PS1 pride and now you can with your very own 100% cotton T-Shirt that features the ‘Fire’ version of the classic ‘Snowflake’ logo.

This durable heat pressed graphic (wash inside out and hang dry) also features an informative and impressive list of PS1 tools.

Available Tuesday nights during open house / member meetings and at certain events. They come in S,M,L,XL,2XL,3XL which run modest so if you are on the edge go up one size.

There may be another run of shirts towards the end of the year. After that there are no assurances, if shirts are available the graphics and colors may change. Next year the price for shirts (if available) goes up to $12.

A perfect gift for all the makers on your holiday list – Thank you.

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PS:1 friendship fuels a Kickstarter

Deanna and I have a Kickstarter.

If you are interested in finding out about our Kickstarter (Fingerstender) check us out.
I invented the Fingerstender in 2008 and Deanna and I made improvements to it. The current Fingerstender is better.

We are halfway to our goal and we have 10 days left, so if you are interested, back our Kickstarter.

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Locktoberfest 2017!

 

Locktoberfest is a party! First things first, we’re here to have fun. What’s fun for us? Lockpicking! Also: brats and…. you! Locktoberfest is open to everyone, from world class lockpickers to those interested in learning for the first time.

Locktoberfest is a day of learningteaching, and competitions (serious and frivolous) related to lockpicking.

The Chicago chapter of TOOOL has been getting together to play with locks for a while now and we decided that “October” is just as good an excuse for a party as any. Come on out and join us on Saturday 14th October 2017 from 1PM to 8 PM at PS1.

The event is BYOB and BYOF, but I heard there will be some brats and pickles.

Please help us know the head-count and register here: Registration

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Shine on You Crazy KiCAD — and Other Tales from Chris Gammell

Chris GammellOn Monday July 17th, NERP will host Chris Gammell. Chris is an analog electrical engineer and product manager. He may be known to some of you as co-host of The Amp Hour, and as the charter member of Contextual Electronics. CE offers subscription based electronics courses with different levels of project-oriented learning and personal interaction with an instructor. The Amp Hour is a non-scripted off-the-cuff format show that usually airs every Thursday evening US time. It is the worlds largest and most respected electronics oriented radio show. Discussions range from hobbyist electronics to the state of the electronics industry, components, circuit design, and general on and off-topic rants.

At the NERP on Monday, Chris will present a free rendition of  the Contextual Electronics course titled Shine On You Crazy KiCad. NERP has talked about the open source electronic design program called KiCAD before, but this presentation is different. It’s designed for simplicity and fast execution to give a quick win for new users who follow along on their own laptops. The course is designed as an end-to-end art-to-part experience using KiCAD.  amphour logoWhen I say quick, I mean just 20 minutes start to finish to draw an electronic schematic and then translate the schematic into a printed circuit board PCB layout. (It’s possible to spend lots of days working on a complex circuit board design…) After that, the last step in the process will be for everybody who’s following along to pack up their KiCAD PCB layout files and send them off to OSH Park to actually be made into atoms and snail-mailed back to you. Chris’s demo board is a small, but useful add-on for a Raspberry Pi. The PCB is about 1″ square, so the cost at OSH Park is very small.

made with kicadEven if you don’t plan on actually making the circuit, go ahead and load up a copy of KiCAD  http://kicad-pcb.org/download/ so you can at least have a look and ask questions. It’s open source and free. Win, Mac, & Linux. Kicad is a pretty piece of software in my opinion, and I have a few good reasons for preferring it to Eagle (KiCAD’s freemium competitor).

Chris tells me there’s one thing that NERP might be able to help him with. Contextual Electronics is getting a new course for “absolute beginners” in electronics. This would be along the lines of “what do you need to know about electronics before even thinking of a course like CE”. When you first encounter a subject as broad and deep as electronics, it’s very hard to sort out the signal from the noise. You can spend a lot of effort on something that doesn’t matter while at the same time missing some small Rosetta stone or simple concept that’s perhaps in easy reach. conceptual electronics logoAfter we move past those first trembling steps, we can forget what it was like just building a knowledge framework. To make the best connections with absolute beginners, Chris wants to hear about your conceptual roadblocks or things you wish you’d known from long (or not so long) ago, and how they resolved (or didn’t resolve) themselves. I’m sure he’ll be happy to talk about it at NERP, but consider signing up for CE and visit the Building an absolute beginner course page and add your thoughts.

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems 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. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com /NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
https://pumpingstationone.org/­

Tags: Beagle Bone,electronics,embedded,hackerspace,NERP,Open Source,Pumping Station: One,raspberry pi,OSH Park,The Amp Hour,Contextual Electronics

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NERP Can Reflow, and So Can You! [6-19, 7pm]

Surface Mount Technology is not a new thing. Eventually it’ll be the only thing because new MOSFETS, chips, and computer-on-modules are pretty much all SMT. If you’ve never  soldered SMT parts, you might be surprised at how easy it can be. In fairness, parts below a certain size can be challenging to solder, but with practice you can start big and go smaller and smaller as you get better. But where to start? At NERP on Monday, June 19th Drew Fustini will give a gentle introduction to SMT soldering.

Drew will be building   I can reflow! Badge  and showing the SMD Challenge board, also called the Unfortunate board because the 0201 resistor and LED will unfortunately make you nuts trying to solder them. The boards were made by , a commercial prototype and open source hardware board house. They have a huge catalog of boards designated as shared projects by their customers. You can buy those boards, or design your own in KiCAD or Eagle, and share them if you like.

Drew has a few extra reflow Badge boards if anyone wants to follow along. We’ll try to get enough parts together to fill the boards. Those parts are:

  • Q1 & Q2 – MMBT3904
  • R1 & R2 – 0805 100Ω
  • R3 & R4 – 0805 100kΩ
  • C1 & C2 – 0805 10µF

And two 0805 LEDs and a CR1220 battery clip.

Schematic diagram in Hackaday’s coverage of the I Can Reflow Merit Badge
NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems 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. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
https://pumpingstationone.org/­

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NERP Tonite: MOSFETs with Ste!

Mosfets – They can be “on” — They can be “off” — They can even be in between! Tonight at NERP, entrepreneur, engineer, and really good teacher Ste Kulov will guide us into the world of mosfets. Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors if you want to impress your friends.

N-Channel MOSFET [wikipedia]
Since mosfets are a wide and deep subject, I asked Ste where he wanted to focus his talk. With great economy of words, he said it better than I could.

“Most of the generic stuff, fairly quickly.  A few simple examples I was probably going to cover are: making a logic inverter, a logic controlled load-switch, and reverse battery protection. Simulating in LTspice [circuit CAD], since I can draw that stuff in two seconds and put it on the screen.  If you want to do a power MOSFET application, I would need to see the datasheet for it.  Also keep in mind that high current stuff is no good for breadboards. If you need a list:  4 vs 3 terminal, body diode, Rds(on), gate drive, switching speed, N-channel, P-channel, CMOS digital logic, CMOS analog switches.”

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems 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. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
https://pumpingstationone.org/­

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Pumping Station One

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Turning the Shopbot into a plotter

Former PS:1 president Derek Bever and I were joking in the PS:1 IRC chat room awhile back about using the Shopbot as a tool for uses it was not designed for, and turning it into a plotter seemed especially ridiculous. Since I’d wanted to learn how to use the Clausing lathe, it dawned on me that this ridiculous idea could, in fact, become a terrifying reality. So thanks to Anna Yu who taught me how to use the lathe, I made a bit with an 11mm bore to fit into the 1/2″ collet on the Shoptbot:

Having spent the time to make the part, it seemed silly to stop there, so I realized I’d have to make a post-processor for VCarve and Aspire (Fusion 360 coming soon!). I already had experience with Shopbot’s post-processors, creating a “Always turn spindle off” version of Ryan’s “Always turn spindle on” post processor as well as the XYZ Zero Finder program that works with the XYZ plate made on the Bridgeport. So hunkering down on the computer in the CNC Lounge (where Aspire is installed), I made a “Sharpie Bit” post processor that 1. always turns the spindle off, and 2. always sets Z to 0, regardless of what is done in Aspire or VCarve. This also means you have to explicitly set Z’s 0 position without use of the Z plate as there’s nothing to tell the machine when the ‘bit’ is at the right spot.

The first attempt was made using some cardboard I found in the garbage. This test did not go well because I had set Z to 0 in one corner of the cardboard, but because the cardboard was folded over, it was more puffy in the middle, which means that the Shopbot happily plunged the sharpie into the cardboard. Oops. Try #2 used a piece of acrylic that was laying around and I assumed was garbage, so I used that and the second attempt went much better. Inspired, I grabbed some acrylic from my shelf and made the version below.

I’m going to clean up the code a little (like removing a bunch of debugging stuff, unnecessary pauses, etc.,) and then will run it by Matt (CNC area host) and if he’s cool with it, the bit will go in the drawer and the post processor available to anyone using VCarve and Aspire.

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NERP Tonite: Replicape rev B!

Tonight at NERP, Elias Bakken of Intelligent Agent AS and Thing-printer, in Oslo, Norway, will tell us about the Replicape rev B. [http://wiki.thing-printer.com/index.php?title=Replicape_rev_B]

“Replicape is a high end 3D-printer electronics package in the form of
a Cape that can be placed on a BeagleBone Black. This page is about
the Major revision B. It has five high power and low noise stepper
motors with cool running MosFets and it has been designed to fit in
small spaces without active cooling and without the need for physical
access to the board once installed. That means no potentiometers to
trim or switches to flip.”

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems 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. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
http:// www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and
https://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. 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, Pumping Station One

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