Hackerspace In Review: 4 Year Anniversary

This last Saturday, we had a members (and friends of members) only annual meeting. Normally this is a time for everyone to hang out, eat, drink, and give presentations. Previous years, I give my personal presentation about things I wanted to do, things I failed at, things I succeeded, and things I’ll be attempting the coming year. We invited everyone this year to give a similar style presentation and the results were pretty interesting.

Our Past

A quick review of where we’re at. The organization started in September-ish of 2009, where we met in coffee shops around Rochester, to try and come up with whether or not we should make a hackerspace in the area. We came to the conclusion that we wanted to do everything from the ground up, receiving no outside financial help. At the time, we were pretty adamant about not having it called a “Makerspace” because the membership had a much wider range of interests than just making (software development, hardware reverse engineering, network security, radio, art, etc). So our bylaws stated that we will create a space focused on the interests of the members at that time. This gave us a lot of flexibility to interpret what the space would be used for. We received our New York State articles of Incorporation just about January 1st of 2010. From there we have expanded spaces starting out at a meager 200 sq ft temporary space, moving to a 500 sq ft space, and eventually to our current home which is over 1200 sq ft. Our mission statement has been the same since its inception, to provide a space to its members and the community, as well as be an organization that helps individuals developer their skills in science, art, and technology.

Our Present

As always, we had a wide range of accomplishments from our members. Here are a list of things have been working on recently:

  • Reverse engineering Ms. Pac-Man
  • Using thermite and tannerite in fun ways
  • Take EdX, Coursera, classes together: Cryptography, in-line power supplies, calculus, basic electronics
  • Creating a high power antennae with low amounts of money
  • Security research using open source intelligence
  • Using a Raspberry Pi and home sensors to graph and monitor temperature changes in your fridge
  • Artistically building a gigantic light bulb array (without burning down your apartment)
  • Converting your Perl scripts over to BASH (as an excuse to hang out with your kid)
  • Skip’s Adventures in 3D printing

This might give you an idea of the completely different background that our members have, but with the common denominator of expanding and learning more than they do right now.

from on January 13th, 2014Comments0 Comments

Hackerspace Garage Sale & Lightning Talks – Saturday 11/16

This Saturday, we’ll be doing a new kind of event: A garage sale. We’ll be selling stuff in the space now and letting our members come in and sell their interesting stuff. For example, we have a bunch of servers, workstations, ham radio equipment, odd electronics, monitors, etc etc. We really don’t know how much stuff we’ll have to get rid of.

The point of the event is to raise money for Interlock so things being sold by the hackerspace go back into keeping the space going, and expanding its facilities. We are accepting donations for items that you find around the space.

The second part of this event is that starting at 7:00pm, we’ll be doing lightning talks. You can come for the sales, but stay for the presentations. Lightning talks are 5-10 minute presentations from people all over the community about nerdy subjects that interest them. If you have something you’d like to share, come in and show us!

We’ll also be giving you food that our members have made you.

So TL;DR:

  • Garage sale 5:00pm
  • Lightning Talks 7:00pm
  • Food and drinks served
  • Outsiders welcome
  • Help us raise money and clean up the space!

Flyer_garage_sale

 

from on November 12th, 2013Comments0 Comments

Motor Controller Mini-workshop – Applying PWM for Speed Control

Last Tuesday we had a mini workshop on controlling DC brushed motors using an Arduino.  We covered controlling the speed and direction of a DC motor (in both directions) using an H-bridge. Some important take-aways from this are:

  • The motor cannot be connected directly to the Arduino, motors typically require more current and voltage.  The ATmega328 (the chip inside the Arduino) can handle a maximum of 40mA of current.  Motors (even small ones) pull 100mA to 10′s or 100A.  If this much current was pulled from the processor it would likely blow up the output port.
  • Approximated to the first order, the speed of a motor is porportional to the voltage applied to the motor.
    • This is a very first-order approximation, the speed will change when a load is applied to the resistance drops in the drive circuitry and the motor.
  • Approximated to the first order, the load on the motor (how hard it is pushing against a load), is proportional to the current through the motor.
  • In order to change the voltage on the motor, a voltage is switched on/off quickly at a certian duty cycle (on some of the time, off the other).  This is known as PWM (pulse-width modulation)
  • On an arduino, the PWM functions are called using the functions “analogWrite”

Example code from the class is:

 void setup() {                
   // initialize the digital pin as an output.
   pinMode(3, OUTPUT);
   pinMode(5, OUTPUT);  
 }
 // the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
 void loop() {
   digitalWrite(3, LOW);   // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
   analogWrite(5, 200);
   delay(5000);               // wait for a second
   digitalWrite(5, LOW);    // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
   analogWrite(3, 200);
   delay(5000);               // wait for a second
 }

PDF Presentation: Controlling_DC_Brushed_Motors_Using_Arduino

Schematic of the circuit we breadboarded: Motor_workshop_1_Schemtic

from on November 2nd, 2013Comments0 Comments