Lately, a few members have been discussing the use of 3D printed parts in use with metal casting techniques to create some stronger, lighter and more durable parts. As all good hackerspace conversations do, we immediately decided to go with the most painful and difficult solution: Metal Casting. Luckily for us the very next day, we got an e-mail that a local group, Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, that they intended on hosting an aluminium greensand casting class. A perfect opportunity to learn some metal casting techniques, even if not totally applicable to what we wanted to ultimately end up casting. Andrew S., and myself both signed up along with a few friends of Hive76.

About 30 minutes into making our own greensand molds, we realized that this was going to be a difficult process, and immediately destroyed several hours of work trying to get a good crisp mold for our first pour.

Broken Greensand Mold

A simple gear was too difficult

Several hours into our class, we managed to finally get a good solid mold of a 3D printed TARDIS. We hopped in line and got a pretty good looking cast. Andrew also attempted the TARDIS with some success. He also managed to get some good casts of a wooden puzzle, including one that blew out. However, due to our earlier troubles, we decided to hedge our bets and get one more good pour out of the class before we would start wrapping up. While waiting to pour ours, I was being shown how to work the furnace by Gus, and ended up melting down plenty of scrap and helping others make their pours which was a lot of fun to be working with. The furnace was operating at about 1300 Celsius, and moving around molten metal at that temperature can be quite a thrill. We plan on working with Gus and Darla at Philadelphia Sculpture Gym on some other types of casting techniques, especially as they apply to our 3D printing. We look forward to working with them in the future, and hope you all consider taking their next Greensand class in January.

 

Make Things Awesome(ly Scented)

I’ve been wanting to teach a class on how to make DIY/handmade personal care products for a while (a long while) now. Now, finally, it is happening! On Sunday, December 2nd, from 12-2:30pm, come learn how to craft your own personal care/beauty products from all natural ingredients! Together we will create a variety of body care products– such as aluminum-free deodorant, fabric softener, lip balms, and hand salves– using simple, inexpensive recipes composed of non-toxic materials like cornstarch, olive and coconut oils, beeswax, dried herbs, honey, and essential oils. We will also learn how benign, common household ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, salt, lemon, and hydrogen peroxide can be used to effectively clean around the home. Everyone will leave the class with their own handmade samples of lip balm, deodorant, fabric softener/scented sachet, and hand salve. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  I’m super excited to share the processes, recipes, and resources I’ve come across/developed/tweaked over the past couple of years of making my own personal care and cleaning products. Not only is it a fun way to spend an afternoon, but it feels empowering to have control and awareness of what goes on your body. I’ll be showing you just a few more ways that you can avoid consuming—and embrace making—in other aspects of your life!

Added bonus: these easy-to-make products can be re-created on your own to be used as gifts for the upcoming holiday season!!

All Natural Handmade Personal Care Products Class

Sunday, December 2, 2012, 12:00PM – 2:30PM

Hive76, 915 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

$25 (includes all materials…but feel free to bring your own essential oil if you have a specific signature scent!)

 

 

 

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Exile: The Family You Choose: The Kickstarter Campaign

ZOMG GUYZ!

One of my first projects here at Hive76 was the Burning Zombie Dummy. A friend of mine had called me, asking me if I knew how to set people on fire safely, and that led into a very stern discussion about what he was trying to do and that I would take over so that noone would get hurt. So I became the Special Effects Design Engineer for Exile: The Family You Choose, and it was one of the best times of my life. I got to do some pretty awesome things (including making an impromptu harness for doing a shotgun-to-the-chest effect), met a lot of really great people, and learned a lot about a hobby that would ignite my passion in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. Seeing our end result, this thing that we made together, from start to finish, without any adults (of course, we’re all adults, but you never really feel like it) helped to further cement my belief that anyone is capable of doing anything. The hacker spirit is strong in the indie film world. (more…)

The No-Video Game!

It’s a vidya game but not! A completely audio-based game, the objective is to use sonar to find the hidden submarine and destroy it with depth charges. But be careful! If you are not close enough to hit the submarine, it will get away and you must hunt it down again.

Got an Arduino Mega2560 on the innards side. Got the joystick and arcade buttons from Ada Fruit! Very nice quality, shipped very quickly, and not too expensive to boot. Box was just a little, prefab wooden deal from a craft store somewhere in the middle of nowhere. And the speakers, I think I pried them out of a few alarm clocks.

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I just got back from the 2012 Open Science Summit which took place in Mountain View, CA. It was an excellent meeting and a great opportunity to meet others using open tools and ideas to forward Science! Check out the list of talks and you can also access videos of all of the talks. And you can also read more about the speakers.

I gave a talk too where I delved deeper into the science behind our work with RepRap for research in Regenerative Medicine and I made the case that open source is a philosophy, not a checkbox. Try not to get caught up in semantics of open vs. not-open (e.g. one could try to label Arduino as not an “open” platform since it has proprietary Atmel chips on the board). Instead, try to think of open projects as those in which you see people as collaborators (“open”), not customers (“closed”). We all have many things we can learn from each other, and who doesn’t want more collaborators to learn science together? Some interesting Q&A at the end too.

 

Hive76 gets interviewed by CNN

CNN stopped by the space last night, Oct 22nd to interview some of the guys on their projects for a report called “Made in America” which airs Tomorrow, Oct 24th. However, we did shoot some cool video and photos alongside them. There’s a full album available on our Facebook page.  We were also fortunate enough to get some quick shots of our projects at work.

 

We are cosponsoring Cory’s Pirate Cinema event at IndyHall tonight, but since there’s not much for Hive76 to do, we decided to make him a present. Here’s a video of production last night:

That’s a 3D printed sugar head! Cory’s excited to see it in person. You should be too! Come to IndyHall 22N 3rd at 7pm tonight. Here’s the Anyvite link to RSVP. We’ll be bringing a boomcase for the PA too.

The gritty details: That’s a Baricuda extruder using air pressure to extrude molten sugar. Now I need to figure out how he can get it home to the UK in one piece.

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Fast JavaScript Game Loops

Change

Okay, so I’m going to switch over to a very simple format, with very short examples of how you do certain things. The long article format is just too much for everyone to digest and takes too much time for me to write, so I tend to put it off forever.

Types of Games

Most games fall into two patterns: turn-driven or time-driven.

Turn-driven games have distinct periods where user input is taken, then periods where game updates are made, and the two do not overlap in anyway. The user-input section waits for the user to make their choice, and the user then waits for the update section to finish before they take their next turn. Many puzzle games and most board games are going to be of this type. For example, in chess with an AI player, the game waits for the player to move a white piece. Once the player moves, the AI takes over and calculates a move for a black piece, during which time the player is stuck and cannot make any moves. Once the AI has moved the a black piece, it’s up to the player to make a move decision again, and the AI cannot progress until the user has decided.

Time-driven games work completely differently. They are constantly updating the game, never waiting for the user to first make a selection or hit a button or waggle their joystick. If a user does perform some kind of input, the input is not processed separately, it is taken into account for the next update. Think of a game of Asteroids, in which the big, giant rocks float around the screen all on their own until the user decides to turn her ship and blast them.

There is actually a third class of game called alternate-reality games (ARG) that do not really update and do not really take user input–not in the same way these other games do–but they are way outside of the scope of this project. ARGs are more literature projects than programming projects.

Turn-driven games are relatively simple to create, as the user drives everything and performance issues do not cause noticeable artifacts like frame-rate stutter or audio clipping and buzzing. When we get into handling user input, you’ll learn all you need to make turn-driven games. Actually, time-driven games turn out to have many of the same features as turn-driven games, just with the additional features of not waiting around for the user first, having its own pump to drive the game forward.

We will be focusing on time-driven games, as they are the most technically challenging.

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Fight, Robots, Fight! Built at Hive

No problem!

The original ALF 120lb combat robot, 2005.

Many folks surely remember the days of fighting robots on TV: Battlebots, Robot Wars, Robotica, etc. And while its televised days are behind it, the sport is kept alive by groups of builders and competitors across the country. The Northeast Robotics Club (NERC) is just such a group, and one that I have been a member of since I first saw robots destroy and get destroyed on TV.

In the years since, I’ve traveled up and down the East Coast competing with robots of my own. But this past weekend, our own city of Philadelphia hosted NERC’s annual Franklin Cup, held in conjunction with the Franklin Institute. For this event I decided to continue the lineage of a long-standing family of NERC bots: ALF!

Now, this is the first robot I’ve built since I’ve moved to Philadelphia. My center-city apartment is about the size of a large phone booth and lacking any machine tools, so it’s obviously not a good workspace. The Hive, on the other hand, with its storage space, large work areas, and 24hr availability of tools and resources, was the perfect place to build. It may sound like a shameless plug, but the story of ALF would be incomplete without it.

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Today, several hive members were contacted by a major Philadelphia news organization, asking if they could interview us about hacking.

Unfortunately, their idea of hacking has more to do with unattended Facebook accounts than the hacking we do, and we thought it might be a good time to clear up just what hive is, what our hackers do, and what hacking actually means within the hacking community.

Hive is a hackerspace.  A hackerspace is not full of people who try to break into your computer, steal your bank account info, or send spam.  A hackerspace, or at least THIS hackerspace, is full of people who are trying in very real ways to build, modify, and improve things. Our battle cry is “Make things awesome, make awesome things!” and we take this to heart.  Visit the space on a Wednesday night, and you’ll find people who are excited about the things they are creating both in and out of the hive space, from chocolate chess pieces, to amazing pieces of audio equipment, all the way to organs which could save someone’s life.

The common theme here is that these people that define themselves as hackers are not breaking into your computer.   Some of us write software, to make things work better.  Some of us build things, to make things work better.  And some of us screw around just to see what might be possible, or impossible, just to do it.  Bottom line, this hacking is positive.  What most of the public and the media refers to as hacking, the technical world refers to as cracking, and it rarely is it “as seen on TV.”

So lets hit on a few of the real dangers, and if the media is paying attention, they can feel free to make use of this.   Here are a few things that actually endanger your accounts and computer, which the media often refers to as hacking, but which really are not.

1.) Spammers like to send emails that look real, talking about your phone bill, your bank, or a deposit that needs to be made in your account.  Often these take you to fake sites. Instead of clicking the links in these emails, call the phone company, bank, or other company that claims to be sending the email and verify it that way.  It’s not cracking (or hacking) if you hand over your username and password.

2.) If you use the same password on all your sites, and someone gets that password, they now have access to all of your sites. Likewise, if you use a simple password for your email, and someone gets access to that, it is easy for them to request new passwords for many of your other accounts.   Use more difficult, hard to guess passwords (Good password guidelines), and don’t use the same password for all sites. At the very least, use a different password for your email, a different one for your taxes and other financial matters, and a different one for your online accounts at sites like Facebook. It’s not cracking if someone knows your password, or has access to your email, and gets access to your stuff.

3.)  Don’t leave your account logged on in an unsafe place.  Many accounts get taken simply because someone leaves them logged on in some unsafe place, like a sample machine in a mall store.  It’s not cracking if you’re already logged on and walk away.

None of this is hacking. None of this is cracking. It’s poor security, usually because of a lack of understanding of the technology.  And you know, that’s understandable.  Not everyone is a computer expert or even really a computer beginner, but as long as the media keeps pushing these things as hacking, the public won’t learn. If anyone would like to discuss what this means to Hive76, feel free to e-mail us, or leave a comment below.