Trippy RGB Waves Kit

Soldering is an essential skill to learn if you’d like to build your own electronic circuits. Come on in to Hive76 and we can teach you how to solder using Mitch Altman’s Trippy RGB Waves kit!

This specific circuit has a red-green-blue (RGB) LED that slowly changes colors over time. When you wave an object (like your hand) over it, you reset the color-changing pattern. With several boards laid out before you, this creates a wave-like effect.

You can check out a video of the circuit in action here!

When: Saturday, September 8th, 1-4PM

Where: Hive76

Cost: $20 (covers kit and instruction)




I know I certainly had a really fun time last night with everyone.

To recap, we did a walk through the Pong example (play it here, or read the code here) and saw a lot of things that are common to games programming. We looked at some ways that simple changes to specific values can have a huge impact on the look and feel of the game. We discussed the discovery process of programming and how integral the act of testing is to finding good gameplay elements. And we discussed some tools and habits that are good to learn to be a more effective programmer.
I want to get everyone started with playing with code as quickly as possible now. The more you do, the more you will learn. There have been tons of times in my career that I’ve pontificated on how to do something with no good result coming from mere speculation, only to be able to figure it out within minutes by just trying it. So with that in mind:

Game Programming: A Pong Clone

Class Time!

Tonight is the first lab session for our series on learning how to program in study of games with JavaScript. Can’t wait to see everyone here in just a few hours!

Additionally, for anyone who couldn’t make the weeknight-at-7pm time slot, I’ve cleared some time this Sunday to do a repeat/additional session–Sunday, August 12th, at 3pm. You can get tickets here:

Or hell, just click the button:
Sunday, August 12th, 3pm – 5pm, @ Hive76 Register


The first game is, as promised, Pong. You can see the game in action here:

And you can read the source code online in my GitHub repository here:

I’ll have printouts for everyone when you get here. If this is your first time trying to read code, try not to cross your eyes too much. We’ll cover how to read code along the way.

Though this game is pretty simple, it has a few interesting features…



Only 5 Tickets Left!

Wow, these things are selling a lot faster than I expected. There is still a week left and most of the tickets are gone. If you’re still interested, you should hurry and buy one to secure your place. If you are interested but can’t make it to Monday, August 6th, leave a comment on what dates would work better as I’m looking to have an alternate class schedule as well.

Some Q/A

A few questions came up in the last post, so here are some answers summarized for anyone who doesn’t read blog-post comments.

  • What time is the class? The class starts at 7pm on Monday, August 6th, 2012.
  • Can I just show up? I would prefer if you signed up for a ticket first, so I know how many people are coming.
  • Is there anything we should have/know before the class? You’ll need your own laptop computer, we don’t have enough public computers to go around at Hive. I will briefly cover some options for text editors in a blog post or at the beginning of the class, but if you already have a favorite text editor like Notepad++, Gvim, or TextMate, then by all means use that. Also, it would be advantageous for you to setup some sort of webspace. There are some free places like, or you could even use the Public folder if you have a Dropbox account, which is quite convenient.
  • Is it just JavaScript in general, or does it include HTML 5 and Canvas? Various HTML 5 techs will definitely be covered, eventually. You can’t really do much graphically without it. JavaScript, HTML 5, and CSS 3 all go hand-in-hand. While there are some Dynamic HTML stuff that can be done (and we will certainly cover it just because DOM manipulation is a good skill to have), eventually Canvas and Audio are a necessities.
  • Why not do <insert language> instead? That’s a really big question…

I have been using OpenSCAD to design the objects I 3D print these days. Take for example my printed towel rack pictured here.

3D printed Towel Rack

3D printed Towel Rack

The design is parametric, which means that each aspect of the design is customizable. I had a specific diameter rod to use, so I entered that value into the code. If you would like to make your own towel rod, you could download the code that I wrote, and change the diameter of whatever rod you find to use. In this way the design can meet everyone’s needs with very little effort. This also means that sharing the design is much more valuable for others.

In this class you will learn the basics of OpenSCAD and reproduce a simple design from scratch. Some prior knowledge is required; basically that when you code, you need to spell things right and close brackets. OpenSCAD is fully cross platform and easy to install. Feel free to bring an idea for a 3D printed object, but make it practical. OpenSCAD does not excel at organic pretty things. (more…)


Zen and the art of soldering …

This Friday, we were able to inaugurate our newly completed class space with a most auspicious visitor — Mitch Altman!

PJ, Brendan, Robert et al were working until the wee hours the night before making sure that the space was ready to rock — and it was — literally.

Mitch arrived a bit before the appointed time, snapped a few photos, schmoozed, chowed down some local Chinese food etc. and, while documenting our stash of Elephant Heads,

Even this Diavolino was glad to see Mitch

anointed Hive76 as the most organized hacker space he’s seen. Quartermaster Brendan took appropriate pride in the observation.

Mitch basically talked about the Maker/Hacker movement in general, showed some of the kits that were keeping him company on the train, and weaved it all in a thematic web reminiscent of Arlo Guthrie’s is-this-guy-rambling-no-holy-shit-he’s-a-genius-because-it-all-makes-sense-in-the-end style.

After that, everyone bought a kit or two and lost themselves in the task of soldering.  I don’t know whether it’s the solder fumes or just the act of soldering itself, but I felt pretty good at the end of it all.

The new space is completely awesome and turned out to be nearly perfect for the event. Hats off to Brendan, Robert, PJ and Jordan!


Meet Mitch Altman!!!!

Next Friday (July 6), Mitch Altman’s nationwide AMTRAK tour of hackerspaces rolls into Philadelphia, and Hive76 will be welcoming him in style. Stop by our space on Friday night for an free lecture and electronics hacking workshop officiated by Mitch himself.  There will be food, drink, merriment, and of course the opportunity to swap ideas and stories with a living legend in the DIY community.

If you haven’t followed Mitch Altman’s career, you probably still know of some of his very cool projects, like his TV-B-Gone remote, or his Brain Machine glasses, and his many cool articles for Make: Magazine. Despite the great commercial success of his inventions, Mitch helped pioneer the Open-Source Hardware movement by publicly refusing to patent his ideas, and continues to inspire the maker community by advocating the free exchange of DIY electronics knowledge.

Come by on Friday, July 6, as Mitch demos his latest inventions and kits, and leads a fun hacking workshop suitable for everyone from total novices to advanced solder-smiths! Its guaranteed to be a great time!

Date: July 6, 2012
Time: 6:00
Location: Hive76 (915 Spring Garden St.)
Price:  ADMISSION IS FREE! (kits for the workshop start around $10)


OMG, we’re having a class!

You may have heard of the Arduino microcontroller before, but if not, we’re here to tell you all about it! This class will be geared towards those that have no experience with programming, microcontrollers, electronics, or even hackerspaces! Rest assured that those with some deeper digging questions will have knowledgeable members of Hive76 on hand to answer them.

With the purchase of a ticket, you will get 12 hours of instruction spread over 4 class sessions (that’s 4 three-hour sessions) and an Arduino “starter kit” of parts. You have the option of bringing your own Arduino ($55), if you have one, or choosing the package that comes with the Arduino ($75).

Sessions start on June 3rd and continue each Sunday, through June 24th. Class times are 1PM-4PM. Students must bring a laptop with a USB port (Windows, Linux, OS X), and a willingness to have fun.

Tickets can be purchased here. To clarify, students only need to purchase one ticket to attend all four classes.

Seating is limited to only 10 students! Tickets are expected to go VERY fast!


Monday – MMMM  Microcontroller Madness

Tuesday – DIY Music Night

Wednesday – Open House

Thursday – Game Night Featuring Tetris Arm Wrestling Tournament

Friday – PTW Gala demonstration (offsite)

Events at Hive76 Monday through Thursday start at 7pm and 


Friday Gala Ticketing information available here.


There has been some interest from members for our lovely Sells Mendel 3D printer Bronzebot. We also have a brand new (from the garbage) large format Designjet printer.

So we are running a quick workshop to show members and others how to use these new tools. Stop by if you are curious. It will be like a mini open house.

Training workshop
Sunday, 3/25, 2pm
at Hive76

RSVP with a comment if you’re coming. See you there!