Making Things Maker-Friendly

A possible maker-friendly badge (public domain). Click for .svg.

(A longer version of this post is at my blog)

Think about your microwave or mobile phone. How easy would they be for an average consumer (or perhaps even you), to repair? Very difficult – in fact, stickers on many appliances note that there are “no user-serviceable parts inside”. If you have an iPhone, you’ll notice that it uses special, rare screws that it’s difficult to find a screwdriver for. Even the battery is encased within the phone and impossible to replace without serious intervention.

There are some legitimate reasons for this. Microwaves, for example, probably discourage users from fiddling around with them for product liability reasons – if a user tries to repair their microwave and injures themselves, a small appliance manufacturer wants to be able to say that they told you not to mess with it. But there are also lots of reasons why you should be able to take apart, and perhaps then modify, the things you buy. (more…)

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Eyes!
photo by peej

That time is once again upon us! This coming Monday, October the 10th, is our second installment of the Monthly Monday Microcontroller Madness series!

 

This month’s workshop will feature the concept of motion sensing in relation to microcontrollers. We’ll be taking a look at passive infrared sensors (PIR) for motion detection, ultrasonic range finders for distance measuring, and even looking at how to integrate a webcam into your Arduino project for motion analysis. These sensors and techniques are great for adding to your Halloween projects (wink, wink).

 

In addition to talking about motion, we will be offering our usual advice and guidance to those currently working on projects, or looking where to get started. All skill levels are welcome and we look forward to seeing you on Monday!

 

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the Arduino Reference page for the Parallax ultrasonic sensor and a code page for the Parallax PIR.

Manufacturer information can be found here and here, respectively.

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Drying out flooded N64 carts

Brendan got a little water in his basement and almost ruined 36 of his childhood memories.
But after dismantling and cleaning them, they still work! 20110915-074956.jpg

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 
Pile of Arduino things. by Andreas Wetterberg

Pile of Arduino things. by Andreas Wetterberg, on Flickr

Starting at 7 PM on Monday, September 12, Hive76 will be starting a new ongoing monthly workshop focusing solely on the wonderful world of microcontrollers.

“What’s a microcontroller,” you ask? Let’s take a quick glance at the Wikipedia page!

“Yeah, so?? Why should I care?”

“What if I’m familiar with microcontrollers, and I’m just looking for a place to talk shop, jump-start a stalled project, or help other folks learn a thing or two?”

  • Come on down!!! (up, or over also apply here)

Great! Now that you’re coming, what can you expect?

You can expect to be welcomed into a friendly environment and you are encouraged to bring your ideas, aspirations, projects, and most importantly, your questions! Individual projects, group projects, build challenges, basic skill instruction, hardware buying guidance, and experts on hand! I would like to emphasize that this workshop is open to complete beginners. No prior experience with electronics OR programming needed! We’ve all got to start somewhere!

PIC, Basic Stamp, MSP430, Arduino, etc… no microcontrollers will be turned away! This is an all-inclusive, open workshop to promote learning!

The Fine Print: Materials will be available for use within the space and a limited amount of hardware will be available for purchase. If you’ve got a laptop or netbook handy, please bring it along. Instruction and guidance will be available free of charge!

(Donations are always appreciated)

 

This workshop is brought to you by: KBI, Inc.

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Build Your Own 3D Printer!

ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT TO SIGN-UP!

In collaboration with NextFabStudio, we are offering a state-of-the-art and upgraded RepRap printer kit and accompanying 3-day Build Workshop from August 26th-28th. The class cost is $998 ($1,200 for non-members) and includes EVERYTHING you need to get up and running, and more importantly, a fully calibrated and fine-tuned robot.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND TO SIGN-UP

Check out the time-lapse video below from our first class in Baltimore where we got 10 printers up and running in 3 days.

We’ll help you and a friend or two to build your very own open-source RepRap 3D printer, which has more than 4x(!!) the build volume of it’s closest competitor, the MakerBot Thing-o-Matic. Note that you will save $202 off the class if you’re a member of Hive76 or NextFab Studio. Total class cost for members is only $998. This is a crazy cheap deal! You can’t even buy a MakerBot for that price, let alone learn how to assemble it and fine tune it correctly in just a weekend.

There’s lots of additional bells and whistles on this bot that you won’t find anywhere else: custom machined aluminum motor couplers, linear bearings, the latest RAMPS electronics, and much more!

Any questions or concerns? Click Here to contact Jordan.

First RepRap World Tour 3D Printing Class from jmil on Vimeo.

 

A few months ago Enrique Muyshondt (President of DesktopFab, aka Endeavour on IRC) gave us a set of Sells Mendel parts that he had cast for our work on various research projects at UPenn and here at Hive76. We slowly assembled it and got it running, and thanks to this past weekend’s RepRap World Tour stop in Baltimore, we have it running! In addition to 3D printing like a champ, we’re now using it to work on the firmware and customize printing scripts for tissue engineering research. We are grateful for the support!

The parts are cold cast bronze, this means Enrique painted several layers of bronze powder into his molds and then cast them with resin. What came out were the brown parts you see in the pictures and video below.

This 3D printer rocks. The RepRap 3D printing project still has a lot of rough edges, but that’s why we love it. We’ll have BronzeBot on exhibit at the next RepRapWorldTour in Baltimore, and then back in Philly in August to do it again.

Slideshow:

 

FDM2000 progress

Adam, Peejay, Justin, and I met Saturday to see just how fµ¢%ed our old enterprise Stratasys FDM 2000 is.

toolhead

Toolhead

To catchup: we got a Stratasys FDM2000 from a garage sale for a song and it came with lots of unknowns. It has sat in our hackerspace and moved with us for almost 2 years.

These things are in good order:

  • All 3 axes
  • Two extruder steppers and gearboxes
  • Two extruder heaters and the envelope heater
  • Onboard controllers
  • Lights
  • Model liquefier hot end

Problems that we found:

  • Support liquefier blew out. Need to tear down and fix.
  • Can’t connect via software. May be related to Adam’s serial adapter.

Great news! We have tons of consumables! Spools and spools of ABS, support material, some cool looking elastomer and foam for the build platform.

 

Apple gave everyone a new shiny thing to talk about today and I will not be left out of the discussion! Apple’s refreshed MacBook Pro contains a new Intel chipset Core i5 and i7, codenamed Sandy Bridge. Sandy Bridge chainOne lovely “feature” of this new processor is the Intel Insider built in to every Core i chip. This feature unlocks HD content playback on your machine for a limited time. Intel denies that this is DRM, and rightly so. DRM has been a hated buzzword among consumers and Apple alike. (No customer ever asks for more restrictions.) What Intel Insider has is worse: trusted computing, and for the worst reason too. It seems Hollywood has asked our biggest processor manufacturer to protect their business model with a feature that prevents streaming video from being recorded. Doesn’t that sound kind of unhinged?

Trusted computing is a hardware solution to the problem of trust. It has some noble goals. Your computer today may be exploited in some invisible way, but a trusted computing platform would verify all the code through it’s own protected hardware before allowing any software to run at all. The only way around this is to saw away at a encryption chip epoxied onto your motherboard. So, no malware is a good thing, right? That sounds fine until the keys to the computer are taken out of your hands and given to Hollywood/Intel/Apple/anyone-else because you, a de-facto pirate, can’t be trusted. Just wait until your repressive authorities request control of your shiny MacBook from Apple, and Apple acquiesces.

Add to that the recent processor recall, and it’s a scary time to buy new Mac hardware. Isn’t there room enough in the smart consumer market for some Linux hardware that Just Works? Today I’m one step closer to kicking my addiction for sandblasted aluminum and high-strength alkali-aluminosilicate glass.

Of course, I got all my opinions from the story 0wnz0red written Cory Doctorow for Salon.

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Hive76 is well known for sparking groundbreaking ideas. In the last year alone, we have been the home base for innovating products such as the USB Typewriter, Meatcards, Boomcases and Math Clocks.

We are proud, tonight, to continue this tradition. We would like to congratulate long time Hive76 member Adam Kaufman, also know as Adam[0] on IRC, for joining the ranks of our elite.

Take a bow Adam. You’ve earned it.


inventor

photo courtesy of fynflood

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