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).

 

The GPSd Project

Eric S. Raymond has recently asked for some help from Philadelphia’s DIY and engineering community with an exciting project. Amongst many other interesting projects, ESR is the lead developer on GPSd, a “service daemon that monitors one or more GPSes…”. He needs help building a cheap GPS repeater to forward the RF data from his roof antenna to his test rack in his office. For any student or hobbiest electrical engineers looking to make a name for themselves, this could be an excellent opportunity.

 

See... rendering is fun!! I downloaded a partially completed batmobile model from Blendswap.com (thanks Xuan!), but it wasn't ready for primetime yet. So I segmented, textured, and lit everything (including the Tron style wheels), before rendering it with Cycles. Everything was done in Blender 2.61 FTW.


Blender continues to be my favorite open-source 3D modeling and rendering software package. It has seen tremendous growth over the last couple of years, moving from a fledgling modeling project to a blockbuster production quality modeling, animation, lighting, rendering, and post-processing toolkit.

It’s snowballing into a truly stunning software package. So, there’s no better time than now to teach you how to use it!

In about two weeks I’ll be offering an Intro Blender interface, rendering, compositing, and video motion tracking class right here at Hive76. I’m looking at a 2-day class January 28th-29th, probably 4 hours each day. The beauty is you don’t need to have any 3D modeling skills… there are a TON of LEGALLY FREE and INSANELY DETAILED 3D models widely available. Pick your favorite model and I’ll help you work with it over 2-days to get you positioning, rendering, texturing, and lighting. Hopefully on day 2 we’ll have enough time to try some basic animations inserted over video recorded from meatspace.

Any questions, come to our weekly Wednesday night open house and see what we’re talking about.

 

Creating the “Common”

This came in to my inbox this morning. It sounds very interesting, in line with a lot of our core values, especially considering the history of libraries in Philadelphia. I’m a little disappointed because I can’t get in to that part of the city by the necessary time on a weekday, so I won’t be able to go.

 
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

 

Just bought myself a Beagle Bone as an early Xmas present.  I’m tempted to write a long, gushy tome about it, but for the sake of folks reading this, I’ll restrain myself.   I’ll just offer that if you like Arduino, you’ll adore Beagle Bone — in my view, it leapfrogs every physical computing platform out there,  and it’s cheap too.  I got one for $80 + shipping — about the same price as an Arduino with an ethernet shield — and the BB is about 1000x the machine.

To begin with, it has node.js baked right into its Ångström Linux OS.  This node.js installation is extended with a “Wiring-like” API.  Then add the fact that BB “sketches” (for lack of a better term) are edited right in your favorite browser, using the Cloud9 IDE.  Cloud9 is clean and simple and it supports the essential IDE features that you might expect — a decent editor with code colorization, management of the files that comprise a project, an interactive debugger etc.  The idea of a web-enabled physical computing platform that is itself programmed using a web interface seems so obvious and so “right” that it feels like it was always meant to be.   Pure elegance meets sheer genius.

At any rate, the fact that this puppy is an outstanding physical computing platform with righteous networking capabilities makes it about the perfect platform for Internet Of Things architectures, so that’s where I’m focusing for now.

Since I have a background in process control systems and a bit of a bias towards Philly-grown tech,  I settled on NimBits for my back-end.  It has all the attributes of a real process control historian with a cloud architecture and some nice bells and whistles to boot.  Since NimBits counts an XMPP based API among its various access methods, I wrote a little study to see if I could send IMs using node.js.  Turns out it’s incredibly simple (check out the picture)  This app doesn’t push stuff to NimBits (yet), but it’s only a half-step away from it — and being able to have a physical computing platform send you IMs is pretty darn useful in its own right.

Keep an eye out here for more Beagle Bone and Internet Of Things stuff.  We live in fascinating times!

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.

 

 

Hive Cleans Up

As mentioned previously, on Sunday, the 5th of September, members of Hive76 spent time cleaning up the street at 915 Spring Garden St. The work proved to be hard but rewarding. While there are still significant areas of garbage and weeds, we made a big impact on the areas in which we worked, paving the way for future improvements.

As the coordinator for this particular activity, I really want to give my deepest thanks to our members Mike Hogan, PJ Santoro, and Dan Toliaferro for coming out and busting their asses in the 80+F weather. I also want to thank Dave Sharp for providing some supplies as well as one of our fellow tenants at 915 Spring Garden St. for bringing us water while we were working.

More cleanup efforts are still to come, we really want to develop the garden box and maybe add more garden boxes around the building. We’d also like to spiff the place up a little it with some local art, any sort of standing sculptures that can live permanently in our new garden. If you would like to donate to our cause, with plants or dirt or trees or money to buy such things, then please contact us at hive76@hive76.org.

In the meantime, check out the before and after pictures:

The sidewalk had weeds poking through the cracks and lots of cigarette butts and broken glass.

More sidewalk weeds

 

A completely overgrown garden

The garden from another angle

So we got to work!

PJ was ready!

And jumped right in

All of the weeds are gone from the sidewalk

And the garden is now cleared out of all of the weeds.

Ready for some flowers or maybe some grass

 

Neighborhood Cleanup 9/5

le broom

The block on which our building for our space sits is a bit of a… wayward soul. There is a lot of garbage tumbleweeding through the street, giant weeds poke up through the sidewalk everywhere, and a smattering of graffiti makes someone’s presence known.

Well, we’ve decided to clean it up. All of it. Next Sunday, September 5th, from 12pm to 5pm, we’ll meet at the space and just start doing. We originally planned to do it this weekend, but the IMPENDING DOOM NAMED IRENE has forced us to postpone.

Bring what you can, plastic garbage bags, shovels and rakes, brooms, leftover paint, etc. Don’t forget some heavy gloves, there are a lot of broken glass and other sharps in the area.

If you can’t make it to this date but still want to help out, we will have other dates in the near future, so stay tuned to the blog for future announcements.

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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.