Hive Retro Game Night

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Join Hive76 members for one of our signature tech week events, our retro machines and game consoles are dusted off brought from the brink of obsolescence for your enjoyment! Your favorite classic consoles – NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Game gear, Commodore 64, 3D0, and more – will be available on a ‘does it work and is there a spare CRT tv’ basis, and one of our members will be debuting something new, multiplayer, and completely righteous.

When: Tuesday May 3 7 PM – 11 PM
Where: Hive76 HeadquartersThe Bok Building
Room B06
1901 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

 
On Thursday May 5th, Hive76 will be hosting DIY Music Night which will engage participants of all experience levels in electronics, programming, and sound. The event is FREE to attend, participants can pay to take home their instructional materials at cost.
There are two activities to do, design your own analog synthesizer and design your own computer interface. Participants will be able to do both activities if they wish.
Build your own synthesizer
Using breadboards and a handful of very affordable components, participants will get hands on instruction in the field of analog signals. We will be making headphone amplifiers, oscillators, noise generators, filters, and more!Build your own USB control surface
Using a specialized Arduino board called a Teensy participants will get to create USB MIDI control surfaces that will work with any music software. Instructors will be helping everyone to adapt sample code for their unique design. Learn how easy and inexpensive it can be to create your own controller customized to your needs!

7:00 PM
Free to attend, $10 to take home a synthesizer
1901 S 9th St Philadelphia, PA 19148
Entrance is on Dudley st in the middle of the block, look for the touchpad to call a Hive76 member
 

We’re baaaaaaack

It was just over six years ago that we had our last grand re-opening.hive-76-logo

 

I’m pleased to say that Hive76 is about to re-open its door to the public once again, and in our new location! This time around, we thought we’d do things a little differently and decided to kick off our new space with a Grand Open House! If you haven’t been to a Hive76 open house before, why not make your first one a Grand one?!

 

When is this exciting event, you ask? Why, it’s tonight!! That’s right! Make your way to the Bok building at 9th & Mifflin (entrance on Dudley St.) this evening for all of your hackerspace needs! We’ll have plenty of our past projects on hand for you all to play with and our members will be hanging out for any & all of your questions, such as: “How do I become a member of this awesome organization?” We can’t wait to meet you!

 

When: Friday, January 29th, 7-11PM

Where: 1901 S. 9th St., Suite 106, Philadelphia, PA 19148 (entrance on Dudley St.)

How: RSVP here

Why? Because we like you

 

 

 

Announcing Hive76’s–The City Maker

Hello readers!

As some of you know Hive76 has moved into the Bok School on 9th and Mifflin Street. For over 10 years I have lived and made work in South philly. With our maker space now located in the community, I want to make a small publication championing some of south philly’s awesome Makers and Artists.

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Now I’m looking for people making cool stuff! So if you know any, or are one, pass on your information and I will try and include you!

Send your info to me at ChrisTerrell@Hive76.org

 

Hive76 finds a new Home

The long-awaited announcement is here. Hive76 has found a new hombok_maule1e in Philadelphia. After several weeks of searching and negotiating, we’ve managed to make a deal and sign a lease with our new home, Bok. We’re looking forward to moving in and announcing the first Open House  in our new home. Look forward to new projects, new classes, and new events.

 

 

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Look! It’s Hive76!

It’s a bit late, with all the building shut downs and nautical hackerspacing lately, but here they are, pictures I took with my face-backpack-thing at Maker Faire while wearing an orange spandex skin suit! We pulled together a heroic effort to fix it after everything was basically broken on arrival, so the mask now supports a new raspberry pi and fresh camera. Other than that it went great! I even had an extra battery to swap out as needed. See you all at the next Maker Faire (and other assorted local events!)!

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Playing the Lumiphonic Creature Choir!

 

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Hello, mortal.

 
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buskers76 – photo by Matt Yarema

Time for a long overdue update on the building situation. As many of our regular open house visitors have noticed, 915 Spring Garden, the building where Hive76 has set up shop since its inception in 2009, has been shut down due to code violations after a small fire in another artist’s studio. It is an ongoing issue with the city and owners of the building to resolve, but meanwhile we have no access to the building, our space, or our tools, so open house is postponed.

In the meantime, Hive76 members have been working on new projects in our garages and home workshops, and are going to public events to stay involved in the community, such as PumpCon this weekend. Stay tuned to our mailing list, along with our IRC Channel, #hive76 on irc.freenode.net, where we will make announcements of these events. We encourage everyone to reach out via e-mail and in person at any events we’re attending.

Hive76 is currently working with the realty company to find out when the building can re-open. We’re also investigating other options, such as moving Hive76 to a new location within Philadelphia. Either way, we’ll try to keep you informed about Philadelphia’s Premiere Hackerspace.

hivelord contemplates the future - photo by Matt Yarema

onward & upward – photo by Matt Yarema

 

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Sorry everyone, due to a fire that happened last week in another artist’s studio, the 915 Arts building is closed to occupants, pending repairs and bringing things up to code. We will keep everyone updated when our scheduled open houses and everything is back in order.

 

 

 

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How to build your own keyboard, or as I like to call it, spending way too much money on a computer peripheral you could get for like ten bucks. Hearken back to the old days, though, a true aficionado knows the glory of a loud, heavy, indestructible keyboard, like the IBM Model M, which has a cult following to this day. I was surprised to find out that there is a small but thriving community of manufacturers and hobbyists making mechanical keyboards, keycaps, switches, firmware, and all. You can design and assemble the entire keyboard yourself, and it can be fully customizable, with the firmware running on a Teensy 2.0 microcontroller.

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I’d like to thank matt3o, who wrote the guides I followed to build this keyboard, and helped with a few issues in my design. His guides are linked below [0]. I’ll probably refer to them a lot, as my keyboard is pretty much a stright run through his guides, though with a different layout and a (what seems to be) novel and much faster way to solder the diode grid to all the switches. I also added a nifty transistor switched LED strip to illuminate through the acrylic layers on the case. I hope this guide can convince anyone interested in custom keyboarding to take the plunge and build their own!

Pictured above are the three keyboards I made. The first one, with the unlabelled keycaps, I considered purely a prototype, but it turned out perfectly functional. It’s made out of clear acrylic and some wood middle layers. The goal was to just test out my layout, CAD design, LED strip, minimize costs, and develop firmware before dropping the huge moneybomb on aluminum/wood cases. What I like to refer to as the ‘executive’ version is made of of waterjet cut 6061 Aluminum 0.06″ sheet, laser cut 0.15″ Poplar wood, and 0.062″ clear acrylic. The switches are all handwired with bare pre-tinned 28 AWG wire and heatshrink on the columns to prevent shorts. The keyboard with the NERV key is a work in progress and is basically the same as the DSA dolch keyset, but with different keycaps and a teensy++ microcontroller.

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On to the tutorial! I’m going to break it up into multiple posts since it is a fairly long process. Here are the categories:

1. Case design and manufacture
2. Switches and keycaps and stablizers
3. Assembly and soldering
4. Firmware, LED strip, and transistor

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[Part 1 – Case Design and Manufacture]
This part was the biggest learning curve for me to deal with, but thankfully there are a few tools made by members of the keyboarding community that takes a lot of the tedious gruntwork out of the situation.

You’ll first want to check out www.keyboard-layout-editor.com [1]. I highly recommend sticking with a straight ANSI layout pictured below, which is the standard you will find on most stock keyboards. My custom layout is similar to an ANSI 60% layout, but I added a column and scrunched in the arrow keys at the bottom right. I like it a lot, but buying keycaps is a pain, you’ll have to use a blank layout or pay too much for a special modifier pack to get the correctly sized right shift key and function keys. I designed it to fit a stock DSA Dolch kit from Signature Plastics. I’ll comment more on choosing keycaps in the next section, for now keep in mind that, when planning your layout, you are going to have to later spend money on the keycaps.

 

 

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The nice part about keyboard-layout-editor.com is that you can export your layout as text in the Raw data tab. Cut and paste my layout below if you want to follow along. It will also come in handy with the next tool, which can do the majority of the CAD design for you. You can import your design from keyboard-layout-editor and http://builder.swillkb.com/ will make a CAD file for you [2]! That’s easily 90% of the work done right there! It’s an ongoing project, so you’ll want to open the output files in CAD and make any changes or modifications you want. Here’s the code for my keyboard layout, pictured below:

[{c:”#f16f3b”,a:7},”ESC”,{c:”#909596″,f:6},”1\n1″,”2″,”3″,”4″,”5″,”6″,”7″,”8″,”9″,”0″,{a:4,f:3},”-\n_”,”+\n=”,{c:”#f16f3b”,w:2},”Backspace”,”DEL\n~`”],
[{w:1.5},”Tab”,{c:”#909596″,a:7,f:6},”Q”,”W”,”E”,”R”,”T”,”Y”,”U”,”I”,”O”,”P”,{a:4,f:3},”{\n[“,”}\n]”,{c:”#f16f3b”,w:1.5},”|\n\\”,”Pg up”],
[{w:1.75},”Caps Lock”,{c:”#909596″,a:7,f:6},”A”,”S”,”D”,”F”,”G”,”H”,”J”,”K”,”L”,{a:4,f:3},”:\n;”,”\”\n'”,{c:”#f16f3b”,w:2.25},”Enter”,”Pg dn”],
[{w:2.25},”Shift”,{c:”#909596″,a:7,f:6},”Z”,”X”,”C”,”V”,”B”,”N”,”M”,{a:4,f:3},”<\n,”,”>\n.”,”?\n/”,{c:”#f16f3b”,w:1.75},”Shift”,{c:”#909596″},”\n\n\n\n\n\nup”,{c:”#f16f3b”},”End”],
[{w:1.25},”Ctrl”,{c:”#909596″},”Win”,{c:”#f16f3b”,w:1.25},”Alt”,{w:6.25},””,{w:1.25},”Func”,”Ctrl”,”Home”,{c:”#909596″},”\n\n\n\n\n\nleft”,”\n\n\n\n\n\ndown”,”\n\n\n\n\n\nright”]

 

 

layout_keysizes

I’ll explain more about stabilizer types in the next section, but a quick intro will suffice for now. When you press a key, stabilizers transfer the force from the sides of larger keys to the switch. There are a few different types, but I recommend going with costar stabilizers, since they fit in a rectangle and are easy to work with and readily available to purchase on The Internet (don’t ever underestimate how difficult it can be to source the parts you want for a keyboard).

When I first used swillkb it only output the top plate design, but it was easy enough to start from there with some basic CAD knowledge and make all the other layers for a the entire case. Use cut and paste and try your best to run up the learning curve of your CAD program of choice.

Without having and 2D CAD experience I tried out a few software packages before settling on Draftsight [3]. It’s free once you register and pretty straightforward to use. I also ordered the aluminum plates from eMachineShop, which has its own CAD program you can import dxf files into and order your own custom parts, which made it easy to get an instant quote on the design cost. Incidentally they were also the cheapest option. I ordered the Poplar wooden middle layers from Big Blue Saw, which was cheap but it turned out they were out of stock, so it took a month before the parts arrived in the mail. It’s worth sending off an email to double check what they have in stock if their website isn’t explicit.

Once you have your top plate designed, and if you already ordered your keycaps or have a spare set laying around, go ahead and print off, to scale, a paper version of the top plate. It’s an easy way to double check your layout and design before sending the CAD files off to be manufactured.

 

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I lucked out, and have a friend in a design shop who cut out the entire design in acrylic so I could first verify the layout and case design before dropping the cash on a metal and wood case. Thankfully the layout was spot on, all I had to do was raise the stabilizer holes 0.25mm on the y axis to get them to work smoothly. With the tight tolerances in the design, you may end up having to file down the stabilizers to get a smooth travel. That’s fine and almost expected, I haven’t had any issues with it after filing down a bit of the plastic.

Next article I’ll talk about the fun part, choosing the switch types and keycaps to get the right look and feel for your keyboard!

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Links:
[0] http://deskthority.net/workshop-f7/brownfox-step-by-step-t6050.html
[1] http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com
[2] http://builder.swillkb.com/
[3] https://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight-cad-software/

 

This week we have a very special request for those planning to attend our Wednesday Open House event. One of our members has organized a clothing & toiletry drive to benefit those experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia. She works at Mary Howard Health Center—a local health center that provides primary care and social services to patients on the homeless continuum—which  is hosting a summer clothing boutique this week, July 22-24. The boutique will offer an opportunity for individuals in need to “shop” (all items being FREE, of course!) for summer clothing, accessories, and personal care items.

Spring Boutique_final_for Hive

They are looking for donations of the following needed items:

 

  • Gently used men’s clothing (t-shirts, dress shirts, shorts, pants, shoes—they are particularly in need of sizes XL & up/size 36 and up
  • New men’s socks (preferably white for their diabetic patients)
  • New Toiletries (soaps, shampoos, deodorants, lotions, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving supplies)

 

Any quantity of the above items would help them give to their patients  in need this summer.

 

Please bring donations with you this Wednesday to our Open House event! Corrie (Hiver & Mary Howard HC employee) will be there and is happy to share more details about the event and the work that Mary Howard Health Center does within the homeless community in Philadelphia.

You can also drop off items at Mary Howard Health Center, located at the corner of 9th & Sansom Streets (entrance on Sansom).

 

Please feel free to contact Corrie with any inquiries (ctice_at_phmc_dot_org).

 

Corrie thanks you in advance for helping make this event a success!

 
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