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!

 

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 

ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Friday Gala Ticketing information available here.

 

The MAKE blog recently posted a notice of an event being held this weekend–Art Hack Day–that I find very intriguing. I’ve been bandying about an similar idea, in part inspired by the Bravo Channel’s reality TV series Work of Art. The show has the typical “Top XYZ” format of elimination challenges. What strikes me about the show is that their work space looks very much like a hackerspace, and once the artists settle in to the work format, they start producing some extremely intriguing pieces.

In a lot of ways, the artist’s studio and hackerspaces are very similar; indeed, we here at Hive76 have made a former artist’s studio as our fire-retardant-home-away-from-home here at 915 Studios. So with that in mind, we are putting together a similar event to the Art Hack Day. We would like to make it an open build session with recycled materials. Stay tuned for the full details in an upcoming blog post (honestly, I will write it, really, I will).

 

Open Question to our Readers

We all bring our own ideas to the table of what hackerspaces are about. For some, it’s a place to work. For others, it’s a place to socialize. For me personally, hackerspaces are a place to do work for the community in ways that are unique and effective for engineers and scientists.

I’ve participated in a lot of community service work in my life (voluntarily!) and I found that traditional community service organizations tend to mostly require manual labor from their membership. As you get more involved in the organization, there are other, minor administrative duties that you can take over, like publishing a print newsletter or keeping financial records. Some of the larger organizations have different divisions of state- and national-level management infrastructure that long-time committed members may participate in, for the greater governance of the organization.

But none of these things have any particular bearing on science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. I found myself feeling like I wasn’t contributing as much as I possibly could, because I wasn’t using my strongest skills (in my particular case, I’m an expert programmer with strengths in technical project management). While I certainly appreciate the need to just have bodies that can move trash, it seems a bit wasteful to perform traditional community service duties when you have a group of highly technical people on your hands.

But that is also just me. A lot of people have completely different ideas about what it means to have a hackerspace. Ultimately this is the beauty of the model: the hackerspace is incredibly malleable, independent, and always current. I’m very interested in knowing the variety of opinions from our readership on this very question – what DOES hackerspace mean to you? There may be an aspect of Hive76 some of our readership find intriguing that we fail to advertise to others.

 
Option 1) Lasercut, Laser engrave, and LED-light-up your very own Snowflake

Option 1) Lasercut, Laser engrave, and LED-light-up your very own Snowflake

Join us on TUESDAY, December 20th, 7 pm – Midnight

Meet-and-Make, Hive76 and NextFab Studio Members
@ http://NextFabStudio.com/ @ 3711 Market Street

This “Maker Collider” event will be a great opportunity to make awesome stuff.

We had proposed these projects:
All details are here on the Wiki

After reviewing the projects here and those proposed by NextFab members it sounds like we will be doing some form of the Chess boards, the snowflakes, some robotics, and a bunch of laser-engraving. But what if you don’t like those? Come by anyway and you can rally troops for helping you on your own project(s).

NextFab Studio will have these staff members on hand throughout the event:
Chrinstine : Textile and Industrial Design ( fabric knowledge, product design,cad, sewing )
Ian : Electronics (pcb design/fabrication, coding, wiring, soldering, etc.)
Seth : Mechanical Engineer (handtools, cad, product design)
Brandon : Multi-Media Designer ( 3d printing, graphic design, product design, cinematography, cad)

Anything you want to do, you can do. AWESOME.

Check out all their equipment.

Oh, and there will be food too. Be there at 7 pm!!

To Join in on the Discussion, please join our mailing list

 

We are excited to announce a very hacking winter-time Hive76 open-house hosted by NextFabStudio:

Hive76 Open House
December 20th, 7pm – Midnight
@ http://NextFabStudio.com/ @ 3711 Market Street

This Hack-tacular event will be at NextFabStudio and will get us free access for the night to some of their most awesome tools, such as: CNC plasma, CNC embroidery, e-textiles, electronics, 3D printers, shop bots… Check out all their equipment.

There will be food too.

So Awesome.

Now we need to brainstorm project ideas, let’s start things off in this email thread. Please reply-all so the proper NextFab people (cc’ed above) can tell us if this is possible and, if so, the logistics for how to make it happen.

All details are here on the Wiki

I’m proposing the first project (we can have many of them!!)…

A double-set of Hive76 chess pieces and boards. This will make use of their lasercutters, embroidery equipment, and possibly the electronics and 3D printers too. I really want a double-set (4 different colors) so we can play Bughouse Chess (You will love this game)

If we get really creative maybe some magnetics and electronics could be enabled as well.

Let’s get hacking!

To Join in on the Discussion, please join our mailing list

 

Saturday September 17th, Hive76 members Chris and Peejay will be co-presenting at the Phila Area Computer Society’s Season Kickoff Software Freedom Day Extravaganza.

PACS meets at the Super Giant in Willow Grove, PA.

 

 

For Wednesday’s Open House, we experimented with using simple, house-hold items to etch common, metallic objects. We found that candle wax, melted in a thin layer on the surface to be etched, worked as an excellent resist material. The firmness of the wax helped to keep the scratch lines straight, while the thickness of the paperclip made for a consistent stroke. We also tried acrylic paint as the resist, but it quickly dissolved under the cotton swab. We also tried the ink of a permanent “Sharpie” marker, but that was also easily dissolved under the cotton swab. We had other resist materials available to us, but these were the only ones that were “household” items.

Once the resist is set and the design is scraped out of the resist, the anode (negative terminal) of a 9v battery is attached to a bare metal area of the object, and the cathode (positive terminal) is attached to a cotton swab soaked with very salty (NaCl, common table salt) water. Within a few seconds, the electrolysis process creates a weak hydrochloric acid solution that eats away the steel of the object. After etching to the desired depth, the polarity of the connections can be reversed to oxidize the bare metal, as the now-anode cotton swab will produce oxygen molecules out of the electrolised water.

Here are some photos of our efforts.

Wax was at first a little difficult to scrape away consistently

 

I etched a little wine glass on my bottle opener. I believe this is nickle-plated zinc, hence the pinkish-brown color.

Matt made a negative etch of our hexagon on the bread box.

Brendan added a classic message to our bread box.

I managed a very clean etch of my monogram on my pocket knife. After etching to the desired depth, I then reversed the polarity of the setup to achieve the black color of the letters.

 

In addition to the electro-etching, we also had some fun toys to play with.

These Nintendo Wii-motes that Brendan is smashing apart will eventually become wands to be used with a Smart Board.

Brendan acquired a sick, Russian, night vision scope.

Brendan cautions one against extended exposure to the eye-piece. Apparently, the USSR did not feel the expense of leaded glass in front of a cathode ray tube was a necessary extravagance for their soldiers.

I found this circuit. I have no idea what it does. It looks to be audio related. Maybe an amp?

 

And then I just had fun taking photos of stuff.

Oscar Mike Golf! We have books!

We actually do occasionally receive post cards. Please! Send us more!

Okay, I showed up in a photo somewhere. Back behind the camera now.

We have one of the best views in the city.

 

Stop by next time when we bust out the big guns and… it’s a secret! Come by and find out!

 

Art at Hive76

It’s not all about circuits and microcontrollers and chemistry at Hive76; we love art and we love making art in an incredibly dynamic environment that has become a second home for many of us. With the hustle and bustle of an active workshop, not a lot of people notice the artwork scattered around our humble space. Some is from our members, some is from artists in our building, and all of it is a delightful expression of the duality of art and engineering that makes us what we are: hackers.

Background: photo of statue at Hoover Dam. Foreground: our stereo for all da beats.

A note left by some friends

A bad joke. So bad, it's wonderful.

The origin of this print escapes me at the moment, but I definitely love it.

A few prints of Philly's own City Hall

A colorful selection of whimsical 3D printed objects.

Even a piece of cardboard is art in the right context.

An unfortunately blurry of an intriguing concept. Samples of textiles as if they are samples of microbes, or insects.

Urban abstract, from our favorite neighbor, the one we know as "G"

Electrically conductive painting with surface mount LEDs. Unfortunately, the lights no longer work.

Another conductive ink print, an earlier prototype for the previous print.

 

 

Open House 8/17/2011 Recap

It’s been a while since we’ve had something to talk about for Open House! Believe me, I missed activity at Hive76, too. But that’s what happens in the summer, people jaunt away to far off lands for this thing called “Vacation” and forget to send us post cards. You wouldn’t forget to send Hive a post card, would you? (HINT: Our address is Hive76, 915 Spring Garden St., Suite 519, Philadelphia, PA 19123)

Ira Laefsky, Mike Hogan, Ben Sautner (developer of Nimbits, a “free, social and open source platform for the internet of things on the cloud”) and I had a lively discussion on The Internet of Things. Right now, it’s a very informal group of people interested in such things as home automation and data aggregation. If such things interest you, use any of the means available here to contact me and we will get you on the mailing list.

We have a new membeeeeeeerr! WHAAT? We totally did. Everyone give a big, ol’ “Hi-diddly-hey, neighbor” to David Morfin!

Mighty Morfin Power Ranger
Mighty Morfin Power Ranger

A bunch of faces where in our spaces last night.

Chris shaved his beard and wore contacts. He looks so young! Le rarrrr.

Mike has perfected his privacy security measure, dubbed "Quantum Head Rattle".

Jordan got pregnaaaaaaaaant! WHAT?! He totally did.

Brendan is auditioning for the part of STOP TAKING PICTURES OF ME!!!

And I forgot to get any pictures of myself. Guh, sorry. I know you miss me.

I’m working on rebuilding a toy electronic keyboard:

The case was busted, so I'm building a new one.

The original circuitry. I'll probably have to replace the amp, it's weak.

And we also played with some glow in the dark tape and an ultraviolet flashlight.

Also, take note, we’re going to be restarting the Open House Mini Projects very soon. I’ll post a more formal announcement later, but look forward to custom etching anything you own that is metallic!

 
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