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May 21 2018

Visit TOG? Electronics, Coding, Lock Picking, Crafting, Wikipedia Editing

We had a great Open Social on Saturday with a lot of pizza from our famous pizza oven, tours, projects and even some board games! Keep an eye out for the next one in June!

Tonight(Monday) we have Electronics Night. Bring a project and/or your laptop. You could work on a kit or just bring a board or something you want to work on, or learn about!
Next Week we have 4 great events!
Monday we have Coding! Bring your laptop and work on a coding project you have been putting off. Contribute to an open source project or ask for help and we’ll point you to the best online resources for learning to code!

If coding isn’t your thing we also have Lock Picking! Learn about Physical Security with this fun manual skill!

Next Wednesday is Craft Night! Sewing, Knitting or any other craft you want to work on, bring a project and get creative!

On Wednesday we also have our monthly Wikipedia Editing night with Wikimedia Ireland!  There’s not only free knowledge at this event, there’s also free pizza!

May 18 2018

OpenChaos am Donnerstag, 24. Mai: Das neue Polizeigesetz NRW

Das geplante neue Polizeigesetz NRW fügt sich ein in die immer länger werdende Liste von verschärften Polizeigesetzen. Bayern macht es vor, und NRW zieht nach. Weitere Länder werden folgen.

Coolest Projects 2018

Coolest Projects offers young people from the international CoderDojo, Code Club, Raspberry Jam and wider Raspberry Pi community the opportunity to present the projects they have created at their local club. The event is both a competition and an exhibition to inspire and enable innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, and technology skills in young coders aged up to 18.

Tog will be showcasing at Coolest Prjects again this year. We will have soldering classes, Lockpicking demos and a host of projects on display. The event runs from 10am – 6pm on Saturday 26th of May in RDS Simmonscourt. This family and educator friendly event is free for all young people under 18 to attend. More tickets visit -> https://www.universe.com/events/coolest-projects-international-2018-tickets-JVCBH7

 

Wanted: help planning PS:1’s future location and, well, future

One of the tricky things in a volunteer-run organization is planning for the long-term. Positions turn over frequently, and it can be a challenge to develop institutional memory or focus on issues that play out over years.

Are you interested in helping to meet that challenge? PS:1’s building is up for sale. Although we have up to eight years left on our lease, most paths forward require action much sooner than that. We need to get our hands around this problem, and we especially need the help of volunteers who are invested in PS:1’s future and excited about making sure PS:1’s second decade is even better than its first.

At the same time, we have an opportunity to prototype a process for doing long-range planning of the kind that, so far, we mostly haven’t had much experience with.

To these ends, we are convening a Planning Working Group. Read more on the concept here.

Better yet, let us know if you are potentially interested in participating. Send an email to board@pumpingstationone.org and write a sentence or two on the following:

  1. Why you are interested in joining the Planning Working Group.
  2. How much time you think you can realistically commit.
  3. Any relevant skills or knowledge you bring (none required, but if you have any, we’d love to hear about it).

The post Wanted: help planning PS:1’s future location and, well, future appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

May 15 2018

MagneTag

The Idea

I love magnets. What kind of dark magic powers their mysterious forces?  It is questions like this that led me to study physics at university.  My Buckyball set is my favorite desk toy, it is my go-to fidget device.  Several years ago I was playing with them when an idea struck me hard., an idea I could not get rid of.   You could use magnets as an electronic scoring system for tag. I do enjoy a nice game of tag.  Back in the day my friends and I would run around the back woods of South Carolina shooting each other with paintballs.  It was super fun, but the sport is not all that accessible.  You need a some disposable income and a high pain threshold (especially in winter when the balls froze).  On top of that you could count on an argument about someone being “out” or not.  Magnets could be encased in soft foam darts or balls (sound familiar?) that you could could collect and reuse in an indoor setting; detecting them electronically has been possible since Maxwell wrote down his famous equations of electromagnetism.

There are several ways to detect a magnet electronically.  You could use a reed switch or a hall effect sensor, but nothing is simpler than a coil of wire.  Electromagnetic induction is a very useful phenomenon, and it is found in technology all around you.

Studying physics was certainly inspiring, but my education failed me when I tried to build a prototype.  It turns out, making things is hard.  While I was trying to understand basic electronics, a new company called Arduino, introduced a product onto the market; I got one.  Additionally, a new magazine called MAKE had just been published, which was where I learned about the concept of a makerspace.   At that time in Milwaukee, a group of 10 or so had leased as small space in a turn of the century industrial complex that looked like a set from a Batman movie, where the bad guys are.  Over the years I have been working on this project at Milwaukee Makerspace, I have seen it grow into an amazingly successful institution in our community.

It didn’t take me long to start blinking LEDs on my Arduino, that platform is really easy to learn.  Learning about amplifiers and comparators took a bit longer, but after several failed attempts I was able to prove the concept. This video from below is from 2012.  That’s when I met Jason, who is holding the camera here.  He joined team MagneTag not long after.

I was pretty stoked about the proof of concept, and was excited to build a wearable system.  I learned how to etch my own circuit boards, 3d print enclosures, and wind my own coils on the sewing machine.

 

I spent a lot of time on this project.  More than I care the count to be honest.  But the process was actually very fun and challenging; there is great value in the journey.  I made many mistakes, but each one made the system better and better.

 

Once I started playing MagneTag for real, it was more fun than I had even initially imagined!  I also learned what it was really great for: foam noodle fighting!  Jason and I went all around Milwaukee testing our system with anyone that would give it a try.

We did not need to add a soundtrack to this. The dude brought his own in a fanny pack.

Posted by MagneTag on Saturday, June 21, 2014

Concept to Production

The game was so much fun we were totally driven to get it out into the world where everyone else could enjoy it like we do.  It was about this time that crowdfunding had become all the rage and we saw it as an opportunity to get our system into production.  Looking back it’s clear what we didn’t know could fill… a very large container…

 

Good Idea? Maybe. But not great execution.

The first mistake we made was a classic one: feature creep.  Of course it had to have Bluetooth. Bluetooth all the things!  We didn’t really have a plan for it, and the system was already pretty great without it. We thought who would want this thing without an app? It took us the better part of a year to make an app for the system and get the hardware going. When it was “done” it wasn’t all that awesome.  Bluetooth is slow; there was a painfully slow lag between the sensor and the smartphone.  The idea does have potential, but we were not executing it well. The only good thing about this excursion into software is that we were able to have my buddy Chris join the team, so now there were three. When you are doing something very challenging it really helps to have people with you on the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second mistake we made was building a product before understanding the market. I just wanted to build the coolest thing because that’s what I wanted to make.  I considered myself the target customer and nothing less than the best would do.  This prompted another near-total redesign of the system. I flippantly told myself that the added costs would be worth it and didn’t give it too much thought.  What we ended up with was very awesome, but it has to be for what we needed to charge for it.

 

The third mistake I made was also classic:  The Field of Dreams Fallacy.  If you build it they will come…No they won’t.  We launched our awesome new product on Kickstarter and failed spectacularly.   I looked at the site analytics, nobody came to the page. As an engineer I used to make snide remarks about the marketing department.  I no longer do this because it turns out that what they do is extremely important.  Even if you’ve made something awesome it takes a whole other set of skills to get people to see it.  I still haven’t figured this one out, but I haven’t given up.

Link to our second Kickstarter campaign

May 13 2018

Factory tours! Who’s interested?

On my list of “things to make happen at PS:1” is arranging factory tours to give members an up-close look at how things are made at industrial scale. The maker movement is about putting the tools of production in the hands of individuals, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate or draw inspiration from the pros. Chicagoland has a rich industrial past and present. And a lot of this stuff is just plain cool.

I was reminded of this idea when I took a recent tour of a factory in South Chicago (more on that below). So consider this a call for interest and also a call for ideas. Does anyone know of any businesses, or even types of businesses, they would like to see the inside of? I’m happy to make cold calls, but of course if you have any contacts, all the better. Email me at press@pumpingstationone.org.


And here’s a quick photo essay on my recent tour. I’m not going to identify the company, or even the industry, but suffice to say it’s an old-school family business that has been manufacturing products in America for almost 100 years.

Although the factory mainly relies on CNC machines, vacuum formers, and water jets these days, it also keeps around a 120-year-old sewing machine for certain specialized jobs:

The nail-sized needle can punch through almost anything, and the machine ain’t broke, so…

There are a few other pieces of antique equipment still in use, like this cutter. It’s a little hard to see in the photo, but there are some nice hand-painted designs on the blade (click for a close-up):

This cutter is a little less antique, but no less pretty:

Foam is sold in massive blocks called “buns” because of the way they rise like loaves of bread when formed. Apparently you don’t want to be around to smell this process.

Buns are cut to size on massive vertical and horizontal bandsaws, in a process known as skiving. Skiving is a precision operation that results in thin, even slices:

<!--[if lt IE 9]><script>document.createElement('video');</script><![endif]--> https://pumpingstationone.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/skiving.mp4

The roller that feeds the foam into the blade can be replaced by “convoluter” dies, which come in a number of different patterns. Ever wonder how egg crate foam is made? This is how:

The dies squeeze the foam as it passes over the blade, creating the familiar dimpled effect:

Once cut to size, foam can be cut into more specific shapes using a 350-ton press. Notice the razor-edged patterns set into the wooden board. I thought I misheard when the press was described to me. Wouldn’t 350 pounds be about enough for cutting squishy foam? Nope, a clean cut requires a lot of force.

The post Factory tours! Who’s interested? appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

May 11 2018

Dublin Maker 2018 – Open Call

The Open Call for Dublin Maker 2018 projects now has gone live. You have probably noticed celebrations in your local villages and parishes to mark this event or perhaps spotted one of the numerous and bankrupting sky writing campaigns we have commissioned to display the Dublin Maker Logo above the city.

In any case, what we want to know is do you have cool stuff? and do want to show if off to 10,000 people? This is your chance. We are looking for all sorts of makers, tinkerers, artists, inventors, hackers and do-it-yourselfers.

Whether you have taken part before or still tinkering on something crafty, we’d love for you to apply for a place at our biggest Dublin Maker yet. Take the opportunity to glimpse into the future, get hands-on and join the Maker Revolution. There’s nothing else like it. Remember, your project doesn’t need to be finished, and it definitely doesn’t need to be for sale. We want you to share how you make, so in-progress, hobbyist projects are A-OK!

Go on, throw in a project! The Open Call closes 28th of May.

http://www.dublinmaker.ie/open-call/

We are very proud to be a supporting organisation for such a great event. We hope to see you all their with our new creations for 2018. 

May 09 2018

Intro to Arduino: Sensors and Input/Output on May 19th

Help!

We need your help! We recently got some news regarding our space which has presented quite a challenge to us. We’re still digesting the news and discussing our options. As you know, we hold our regular Open Social every month. This months Social is on Saturday 19th May from 19:00. Please make a special effort to visit us. We want to tell you more about the challenge facing us. We also want YOU to tell US how we can make TOG more available to you, and to listen to your opinion and suggestions.

If you’ve never been to our Social, you’ll find it a great alternative Saturday evening in town. Come in and look around. If you’ve never been in before, we’ll give you the grand tour of the space. Talk to members and visitors about projects or things you’d like to do. If you like what you see, ask about joining as a full member. Weather permitting, we’ll have our pizza oven going outside, so come and have some pizza on us. Hopefully there’ll be caint, ceol agus craic as usual. The space stays open until the last member is left……usually the small hours of Sunday morning.

Our Open Socials are always free to attend for both members and visitors alike. No need to book…. just turn up. You can drop in for 10 minutes, or stay the whole night. We have parking available. Bring beer, food, gadgets! Our doors will be open from 19:00. Hope to see you there.

May 07 2018

25.5.2018 20h Towelday

Da stand ich also mal wieder am Rand der Datenautobahn und hielt meinen Sub-Etha-Daumen in die neblige Atmosphäre in der Hoffnung, einer dieser halbautonomen Gleiter könne mich zu dieser sagenumwobenen Raumstation mitnehmen. Per Anhalter unterwegs zu sein wurde ja schon immer romantisiert, aber in Zeiten des Interwebs wurde es immer schwieriger einen Ride zu hitchen ohne sich vorher auf drei Plattformen anzumelden. Die Abgase kratzten im Hals und Transportschiffe und Flugtaxis ignorierten mich. Nun ja, der Bademantel hatte schon bessere Zeiten gesehen, aber das inzwischen fadenscheinige Handtuch über der Schulter hatte mir bisher immer Anhalter-Glück gebracht. Es war der 25.5. – Towelday – und ich hatte fest vor, den Space-Drinc-Contest dieses Jahr in allen Kategorien zu gewinnen.

Geschmack – wenn ich das Mischungsverhältnis von Janx-Geist und Zamphour richtig hinbekomme, habe ich gute Chancen die Gaumen der Jury zu überzeugen.

Aussehen – nun ja, mein Cocktail sprudelt, dampft und leuchtet in drei Farben; das sollte doch machbar sein.

Story – Das Herzstück des Wettbewerbs. All die legendären Geschichten, die ich mit diesem Drinc erlebt habe in fünf Minuten zu erzählen wird eine echte Herausforderung. Von den Erlebnissen am nächsten Tag ganz zu schweigen.

Handtuch – Die Verwendung des wichtigsten Anhalter-Utensils beim Mixen oder Konsumieren des Cocktails könnte knifflig werden, aber ich hatte mir da was überlegt…

Das Kreischen der Bremsen eines Night-Liners riss mich aus den Gedanken. Ein riesiges mattschwarzes Vehikel von der Größe eines Überssee-Containers senkte sich auf Fahrbahn-Level herab und eine Tür glitt langsam zur Seite. Das Logo am Heck kam mir bekannt vor: „Desaster Area“. Ich schnappte mir mein Flightcase mit den Flaschen und stieg ein…

Ja, das ist ein offener Wettbewerb!

Macht mit und meldet Euch an: e-punc (A) c-base.org

May 04 2018

Bags, Boxes, Sliders, and Worms!

Maddy got a sewing lesson from Colleen (our new Craft Area Co-Champion!) and made a hobo bag. First sewing project using a machine, nice job!

Bill R. has been learning some new woodworking joints thanks to a little help from Dillan and made some awesome looking boxes. (Isn’t it great when members learn from other members?)

Dustin has been expanding his synth hardware collection and he’s scaled things up quite a bit from what he had last year. (“Quite a bit” may still be an understatement!)

Jack has been working on an camera slider that will be controlled by an Arduino, EasyDriver, and stepper motor. He’s still got some work to do on the code so if you’re handy with Arduino development, see if he needs some help!

If Mark isn’t 3D printing something, he’s probably working on one of his 3D printers, and he might even be working on his 3D printers by 3D printing parts for his 3D printers. He’s been working on a gearbox for a wormdrive for his super-tall UMMD printer. How’s that?

May 02 2018

Last call for this Sunday’s Rhino 3D Modeling Class

May 01 2018

Replacing the member management system: help wanted

Big news: i n the coming weeks PS:1 will move to a new member management system as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize some of our digital systems and infrastructure.

Details below, but here are some of the key points:

  • This will affect everyone, as people will have to move over to a new (better) payment system. Detailed instructions coming soon.
  • The new system will bring a number of advantages, including a more automated onboarding process; access to our new learning management system; an RFID-based  entry system to the building (no more PIN codes); better data security; and a system that is better able to handle future member growth.

We are switching to a new commercial system called Wild Apricot to manage members. At the same we are switching over to a payment processor called Stripe, which is very similar to Paypal except for the part about sucking the life out of anyone who touches it.

On to the details, including ways that you can help (please!).

What are we doing?

We are implementing a completely new Active Directory (AD) infrastructure to support the Windows systems in the space, which effectively requires rebuilding many of the critical systems that power space resources. AD will offer a robust and reliable infrastructure, while retaining the ability to use open source software where applicable for space operations. AD will be the primary source of authentication for almost all services. This includes access to space computers, RFID, the Canvas learning management system, and any future software systems.

How can you help?

We’re looking for members to help build up documentation and assist in overall maintenance of these systems. We’ll also need help with switching computers over to the new system and transferring member data and authorization, which is a manual process.

There are no prerequisites for volunteering to help other than an enthusiasm for computers. We are also looking for fresh ideas and helpful software beyond the list below, so if you have any ideas, please do reach out!

In addition, experience with the following systems would be helpful:

  • Active Directory / Windows Administration
  • Azure Administration
  • ESXi / vCenter
  • WildApricot / Member management systems
  • Database applications
  • Open Source Software (not limited to)
  • NGINX
  • Ansible (& other IT automation infrastructure)
  • MediaWiki
  • WordPress
  • OpenVPN
  • RFID systems

Whether or not you have experience in any of the above, if you are interested in learning more about our systems, feel free to attend systems group meetings. These will be regularly scheduled and posted to the Google Calendar moving forward. These will mostly be weekend sessions devoting a couple of hours to building new infrastructure, brainstorming, and occasioally stabilizing old infrastructure.

We also need help with documentation. Assisting with documentation is an excellent way to become intimately familiar with our systems, and to ensure PS:1’s digital continuity.

Timeline

The upgrade and maintenance process is ongoing (with no end in sight…sad face). We are first going to enable the new system for all new and incoming members. Then we will transfer current memberships to the new system. More details soon.

The post Replacing the member management system: help wanted appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

Stroll on over to the Northside Mini Maker Faire this Saturday

Schurz High School hosts the seventh annual Northside Mini Maker Faire this weekend just up the street from PS:1.

Up to 1,000 people are expected to attend, making this one of the largest such events in Chicago. The PS:1 Power Racing team will host an exhibit.

The event runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, May 5 at 3601 N. Milwaukee Ave (at Addison). Stop by to support the local maker community.

The post Stroll on over to the Northside Mini Maker Faire this Saturday appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

Speaking of VR, there’s a party in this cat’s mouth

The “Make Video Games” group at PS:1 came into existence about 12 months ago with a credo of “half art, half code.” Each session features a unique workshop, with a priority on demos.

Typically newcomer demos are featured first, followed by a code review of something simple, yet spectacular, in Unity 3D.

Workshops also focus on the creative aspects of game-making, including narrative design and game mechanics. Projects have ranged from pencil-and-paper board games to a storyline for a game that hacked a telephone automation system.

The focus for 2018 will be on hands-on workshops in creation of immersive content to be ported to multiple VR and AR (and XR) platforms, including HTC Vive, Oculus, Windows MR, Galaxy Gear and whatever the group can get its hands on.

Over time, the group has attracted the participation of talented professional game makers and video artists. For example, PS:1 member Mark Creasy 3D scanned his head and the PS:1 kitchen to pop out this psychedelic gem:

Here’s a bit of behind-the-scenes on how Mark scanned the room for the video:

For more of this goodness, of course, show up at the next session of “Make Video Games.”

The post Speaking of VR, there’s a party in this cat’s mouth appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

CNC round-up: new areas hosts (!) and structure

As the old saying goes, it takes a village to replace Ash Jasani, and accordingly the responsibilities in the CNC area have now been distributed across three people. Thank you to three new area hosts for graciously offering their time:

  • Andrew Sowa is host for the 3D printers
  • Zander Bueno is host for the laser cutters (and vinyl cutter)
  • Hank Peterson is host for machining — the ShopBot, Shapeoko, Tormach, and other devices for making chips

This change reflects a longstanding issue: the number of members and pieces of equipment has ballooned over the years, but the number of people filling operational roles has remained nearly constant. These means an ever-increasing workload for the area hosts, which in turn requires them to focus their energy on only the most pressing issues.

Dividing up responsibilities allows the hosts to focus their energy more narrowly and productively. As a case in point, Andrew Sowa has kicked off his tenure by donating a homemade post-cure station to PS:1.

This fancy Easy-Bake oven will make it easier to use our two Form 1 machines. Says Andrew:

UV resin does not come out of the printer fully cured, so further processing is required.  UV light (405nm) and heat are applied to make sure the print is converted to a solid. This process can drastically change the material properties, and it is important that conditions be reasonably well controlled. My little toaster should offer good enough control of heat and light to dial in the best post-cure for different materials.

Also, it looks cool:

The post CNC round-up: new areas hosts (!) and structure appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

Vote on a VR headset for PS:1 and sending delegates to NOMCON

Update: both votes passed.

We’ve got two votes scheduled for tomorrow, May 1. You can still vote by proxy if you get your vote in today. Otherwise, show up at tomorrow’s member meeting to weigh on these matters of urgent public concern.

First up: vote to authorize $1,528 for the purchase of a Windows Mixed Reality Headset, controllers, and gaming laptop. Details here.

Pumping Station: One originally touted itself as a place for hackers, programmers, woodworkers and game designers. In 2017, a game design group was formed to re-energize this aspect of our charter.

This new equipment will be:

  • The centerpiece of a 3-month workshop series on immersive environment development.
  • Available for a working group specifically formed to create a demo about PS:1.
  • Available at parties and events, along with special events just for members to try the unit.
  • Available to the CNC area and any other areas that do not currently have adequate video cards or processing power to perform needed tasks.
  • Available for checkout by any member.
  • Secured when not in use.

Next up: vote to spend up to $2,000 (more likely $1,200) to defray the cost of attending the first ever Nation of Makers national conference (NOMCON) for up to two delegates from PS:1. Details here.

Nation of Makers is a national collective of makerspaces “dedicated to helping support America’s maker organizations through advocacy, resource sharing, and the building of community within the maker movement and beyond.” They are holding their first annual conference this year from June 9-10 in Santa Fe, NM. The theme is “intentional inclusion.”

The agenda for the conference covers a lot of topics of relevance to PS:1, and also affords us a great opportunity to forge ties with other mission-aligned organizations.

The post Vote on a VR headset for PS:1 and sending delegates to NOMCON appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

April 24 2018

Introduction to 3D Computer Modeling with Rhino3D on May 6th

April 20 2018

OpenChaos am Donnerstag, 26. April: Onlinewerbung - kein Problem anderer Leute

Banner, Popups oder Autoplay-Videos - Onlinewerbung findet sich überall im Internet. Nur selten ist sie beim Nutzer willkommen. Gerade technikaffine Nutzer haben eine einfache Lösung, sich von der überall nervenden Online-Werbung zu befreien. Man installiert einen Adblocker und lebt scheinbar werbefrei. Doch so einfach ist es nicht, sich den Folgen des Werbegeschäfts zu entziehen.

April 19 2018

OpenStreetMap Ireland OGM

On Saturday the 28th of April, OpenStreetMap Ireland will be holding an OGM for all who are interested in knowing about our ongoing process to set up a company, that will represent the collaborative mapping of Ireland through OpenStreetMap. The interim committee will keep the community up to date with our progress so far, in what should be finished in a few months. This means the meeting will predominantly be about legal and administrative matters. This is your chance to talk with many of the interim committee members who will be present, during the midpoint in our work and raise any matters you may have or are simply curious about. We hope this will be the second last meeting before we can formally announce the creation of the company. One question that has been raised is “Why create a company to represent OSM Ireland?”. The answer is that part of the work members have done is to lobby government bodies to open data and bring it into the sphere of the citizen, where it can be used to improve our lives. On another occasion, a member was offered a grant to continue our work. To be able to accept money, lobby effectively, or any related task, we need to have a legal entity behind us. Which will, in turn, boost our ability to spread the benefits of open source maps for and by the people and not solely in the hands of large corporations or government bodies.

We are aware most members have a greater interest in actual mapping, so we hope to resume normal services by the end of summertime. We talked about doing a little mapping towards the end of the upcoming meeting. Perhaps a short walk around the area to submit some updates to OpenStreetMap. Or using some new tools like Mapillary or StreetComplete, this will depend on interest and who shows up.

 

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