Class Costs and Planning

Part of running a hackerspace is doing classes, events and workshops. Classes generally involved a teacher (and TA) and slides or a presentation. Workshops and Events are different from classes, and aren’t covered here. It’s sometimes hard to set rates and costs for classes, and it’s a tricky thing to make classes easy and affordable, but to make enough to support the space, and give people giving the class satisfaction of doing something worth the scratch.

I’ve heard some advice from different spaces on how to plan classes and costs, and (for me) one of the toughest parts was coming up with a decent cost for classes. My personal guidelines for the ‘don’t-expect-to-make-money’ classes (take it or leave it) is below. I use this for my own classes and events, and find it useful. If you also do classes or events, feel free to give us feedback on how you price yours, either by leaving a comment on the weblog, or updating the page on our wiki with your guidelines.
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Class Requests

Hive76 is gearing up to talk about classes over the next few days, and figure out exactly what we want to offer for classes. This post is an Open Thread to give us feedback on class ideas. (‘Open Thread’ means there isn’t much to say in the post, but we would like people to give us input in the comments.)

Classes we’ll probably do:

  • Makerbot
  • Python (easy and complex)
  • Guitar Effects Pedals
  • Basic Microcontrollers
  • how to teach a class

Classes we’ll try to do (but could use some help):

  • Blender 3D
  • Basic server wrangling
  • Fabrication with several fab machines

Do you have other class ideas for us? Do you want to teach a class here (for free, or for some extra scratch?) Leave us a comment, join the mailing list, or just email us your ideas.

Hive’s first Board of Directors!

Hive76 has got gotten in the results of it’s first round of elections for Board of Directors. I, for one, welcome our insect overlords. The Board (in general) does overseeing and big-picture naval-gazing for a group(wikipedia explains it a bit better), and Hive elected a great group of people watch our collective navel(s).

Our Board is:
Adam E – Is an active member of Hive76, and has a pretty great weblog about making things.

Jack Zylkin –  A founder of Hive76,  Jack is an inventor who makes laser trip-wires, tesselated puzzles, synaesthetic synthesizers, manual cnc machines, and the like. He graduated Drexel University with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 2008 but is old for his age.  He cares deeply about conserving fossil fuels.  His interests include bicycles, jazz fusion, chinese food, and funny hats. He has taught classes for Hive76 and the Hacktory concerning chocolate mold-making, talking gift cards, singing pencils, and DIY guitar pedals.

Jordan Miller – (@jmil) is a founder of Hive76, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. His research combines chemistry and rapid prototyping to direct cultured human cells to form more complex organizations of living vessels and tissues. Jordan has been a member of Hive76 since it’s inception and spearheaded the fundraising, assembly, and maintenance of our MakerBot, 3D-PO.

Steph – Is pleased as punch to serve on the board. She’s a Unix/Linux admin by trade, treehugger by training, and tinkerer by habit. She will preach about environmental justice and appropriate technology indefinitely if you let her, and alternately scowls at gratuitous gadgets, and jumps up and down at provably cool tech. She like bikes, plants, homebrew, diy renewable energy, Brazilian pop, Philadelphia, and figuring out what the heck polymerization has to do with natural wood finishes. With any luck, she’ll soon graduate from the 2010 Master Gardener program through the PSU Cooperative Extension, and finish up her Master of Environmental Studies at Penn (for which she’s doing a study about electronic waste), at which time you may call her “mistress.”

Far McKon – A loud mouth and general instigator, and is a founder of Hive76. He is often the first one jumping of bridges, and and can convincing others to follow. 87.4% percent of the time he is correct about landing on giant marshmallows at the end of the fall. 12.6% of the time the landing is just deep (sometimes hot) water. When he is not coding or building stuff, he’s coding and building stuff. Far has co-founded a Housing Cooperative, a City Wiki, 2 hackerspaces, and 1,000 weird and wonderful friendships.

[Edit: This post has been updated as Bio’s have come in from Board Members]

Hackers In An Organ

Hive76 member and quartermaster Brendan Schrader got his fellow Hive members an awesome field trip last Saturday. A journey into the inside of the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ, the worlds largest working pipe organ. Many thanks to Brendan and Andrew, the Curator’s Assistant for giving us this once in a lifetime experience. It really was amazing.

The Wanamaker Grand Court Organ, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the largest operational pipe organ in the world, located within a spacious 7-story court at Macys Center City (formerly Wanamaker’s department store). The largest organ is the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ (which is barely functional). The Wanamaker organ is played twice a day, Monday through Saturday, and more frequently during the Christmas season. The organ is also featured at several special concerts held throughout the year, including events featuring the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ Festival Chorus and Brass Ensemble.

We also got a sneak peak behind the scenes of the Macy’s Light Show, which Brendan helped build.

BarCamp Philly is this weekend

barcampphilly2Bar Camp Philly is Nov 14th (This Saturday already). It’s Philly’s version of the Bar Camp un-conference scene, and is going to be jammed with webby and invent-y people talking about what is going on in Philly.

Or if you just want to party on, you can just rock out at the Geekadelphia party. I think tickets are sold out, or close to it, so get your tickets (or not). I myself will be working the sign in table on Saturday, so if you are coming, say hi to the guy in the weird hat signing you in.

Hive76 gets a Larger Space!

We are proud to announce that we have acquired a new space to be awesome in. It’s just down the hall from where we are were, and 2.5 times the size. We’ve been around for less than a year, and this is a big step forward. Keep an eye out for more details on an Open House event.

Interested in becoming a member? Check out our wiki entry for more details.

Big Planning meeting coming up….

EDIT: We will be meeting Sunday October 22nd at 7:00PM at the space. for this meeting. See the agenda on the wiki for topics for the night.

Hive76 has a good chance to grow, and we need to move on it reasonably quick. To decide how to deal with the opportunity, and better organize our group, we are going to have a 2+ hour planning/ organization meeting. This meeting is key for Core/Basic members, and people that have a strong interest in Hive76. Input is welcome from all parties, but voting on issues is reserved for Hive76 members.

We are picking a date now, and will announce the meeting date on the mailing list. If you are interested in Hive76, and want to see become even more amazing, this is a good time to get interested. The Planning Meeting date will be added to this post as soon as we nail it down, so watch this space

September Wrap-up & Announcements

We’ve been busy at Hive (not so much solving the Hive collapse problem, but we like the idea) and have not announced anything since last month. So, lets fix that right now. FIrst off, we just finished our second “Scrum sprint” with some moderate successes. Here’s a brief summary of what we did over the last month:

August Wrap-Up:

We did a ton of awesome things in August. Brendan and Far helped Tory Franklin with her exhibit at FLUXSpace (, and we also made a Frabjous (or it’s almost done at any rate)

We built a MakerBot ( and Jordan heroically lead efforts to get it working in only two days (the last two Saturdays), with help from Dan, Brian, Far, Brendan, some Adams, and… anyone else I’m forgetting who also helped.

We attended the Make:Philly BBQ, shot some water rockets, and there was much rejoicing.

Jordan, Brian and many visitors hacked on an iPhone app for ShareUrMeal… that’s almost done. Brian & Far hacked on a Python script to enable Python shell tab completion in multiple operating systems.

We cleaned and reorganized much of the space at the Hive. It’s a little bit less cluttered now.

Here is a quick list of upcoming events at Hive76! Our calendar can be found at or on our website at

Upcoming Hive Events:
PhillyCocoa iPhone Deviation
+ Thu, September 4, 7pm – 10pm at Hive76
– The local cocoaheads hang out, and build apps for iPhone and Mac. If you want hands on mac devs to work next to, this is the place. This week we’re hoping to finish up our “ShareUrMeal” app!

Python Hacking Night
+Monday, September 14th, 7pm-10pm at HIve76
– We hack on and play with some Python code, and try to get some kind of new functionality
working by the end of the night

Django Hacking Night
+TBD, probably Thu. Sept 17th or Mon. Sept. 28th
– A complement to Python Hacking Night, Django is the web framework “for perfectionists with deadlines,” and is written entirely in Python. Anyone experienced with Django, or looking to get some experience, come on by. Contact Brian w/ interest/questions/date preference. we have one or two experience Django developers lined up to help run the class, but Brian’s organizing it to learn more himself! brian dot glusman (a) gmail dot com

Guitar Effects Workshop
+Mon, September 21, 7:30pm – 10pm
-Come hang out and work on making Pedals and effects! Bring your own.

Makerbot Class
+ Sat, September 19, 1pm – 4pm
– for more info

Makerbot Party
+ Sat, September 19, 7pm – 8pm
-Celebrate the day’s successes with the Hive!

Hive76 Scrum
+ Every Weds 7pm – 7:30 pm at Hive76
– The weekly member check-in and planning. Short and sweet (15 min) time for members to brag about what they’re doing, and talk about the space.

Hive76 Open Hours
+ Every Weds 7:30 pm to ? at Hive76
– The weekly open hours. Anyone can come hang out, and use our space (and some tools, depending on crowd/complexity). Drop in to check us out!

Make things awesome, and Make Awesome Things!
– Hive76

Hive Mind is now Active!

hive76-bulb_onlyHopefully this will be just a starting place, because right now I can’t claim credit for much of the design or implementation (Dan did the logo, and Pinax/Eldarion did most of the code), but we now have a small set of web applications for our members to use, communicate, discuss ideas, keep track of GTD, etc. Suggestions, feedback and help are all appreciated in the future development of these tools, but for now, registration is open, though e-mail is not being sent. I recommend using OpenID if you’re comfortable with it, is one of the more widely used providers. Feel free to email me for help or with questions! The site is at

Mailing Lists

A big part of a organization is communication, through email (and wiki, and IRC, and more).  While we are still spinning up the Wiki and the IRC chat channel, we do have some mailing lists up and running.

To kickstart things, there are now two google groups up and running for Hive76. There is an announcement group and an open discussion group as well.  The announcement group is a moderated list, which is only used for sending out 1 to 4 emails a month, about DiY/Maker/Hacker events happening around town, so it’s a safe low-traffic list. The discussion group is open to everyone and anyone, for talking about projects, cool stuff on the internet, or whatever else is going on.

Feel free to join both of them, or just join the Announcement list if you only want to tip of the iceberg.