Thanks to everyone who came out to the Baltimore/DC area RepRap Users Group today at Baltimore Node. It was the first in a long while!
Marty McGuire and Anderson Ta brought their MakerBot’s (#131 and #1727, respectively), and a bunch of folks interested in 3D printing descended on Baltimore Node to share technology, knowledge, and bottle openers!
A good (and educational!) time was had by all, so we hope to host more of these events in the future. 3D-printing enthusiasts: take note!
RepRap! Darwin! Mendel! Cupcake! Huxley?
What does it all mean?
A RepRap Users Group is a group of enthusiasts for Desktop 3D printers – 3D printers that you can build and run at home to make whatever you want out of plastic!
This Sunday at 2pm, come on down to the Baltimore Node and join us for a Baltimore/DC Area RepRap Users Group meetup! Learn what this stuff is all about!
A RepRap Users Group meetup is a chance for operators, developers, or just plain curious people to meet and show off their printers, share tips and tricks, learn more about building their own, or just chat about how exciting the world of do-it-yourself 3D printing has become!
Operators: bring a machine if you can! Everyone loves (and learns more) by seeing these things in person. I’ll be there with MakerBot Cupcake CNC #131, for sure!
Not an operator? Just bring yourself! We love to answer questions and encourage folks to get involved!
What: A meetup of RepRap/RepStrap operators and anyone curious about desktop 3D printing
When: Sunday, September 12th from 2PM to 4PM
Where: Baltimore Node (120 W. North Ave., a few blocks from Penn Station)
Bring: Your 3D printer, your projects (or ideas), and your questions!
Hope to see you there!
Unfortunately Joshua Penrose, the artist who was going to come out and chat with us about Max/MSP and his work in new musical interfaces and interactive art installations was stranded in Morgantown, WV due to car trouble (complete thermal failure) and had to return to his home in Columbus, OH. Since I suck at Max/MSP I’ve got nothing to talk about and we’ll have to do it another time.
Joshua used to live in Baltimore and would love to come back and visit, but with the fall semester starting up pretty soon his schedule is tightening up. The event scheduled for Monday, August 23 at the Node is off and I’ll post an announcement if we’re able to reschedule the event in the fall or winter.
In happier news and for those who missed it, Jesse Kriss’ talk a couple weeks ago rocked. A power outage shifted us down to The Windup Space, but we still got to see Jesse’s work from the installation artwork he wrote the code for (“Dreaming F.I.D.S.” pics and video of the piece) and bug him with questions about details of the project and creative programming in general. It’d be cool to have more artists stopping by the Node to talk about their work. If you’re an artist or know about someone awesome living in or stopping through Baltimore, give us a shout via email or the mailing list.
Heads up, we have a workshop coming up August 28th, details are below and you can register here
In this beginner-to-intermediate workshop, you’ll learn to solder and do some simple prototyping by building your own Boarduino kit!
The Boarduino (http://www.ladyada.net/make/boarduino/) is a clone of the popular Arduino (http://arduino.cc/). It’s an inexpensive microcontroller that is a great way to get started learning electronics and building your own awesome projects.
We will give an introduction to soldering and then take you through each step required to get your Boarduino up and running. We’ll also show you the Arduino programming environment, and help you prototype a simple circuit and program.
Bring your laptop and we’ll also help you get the Arduino software up and running, so you can write your first Arduino program!
The proceeds from each ticket support Baltimore Node, so that we can continue to run workshops in the future.
Parking is available in the lot North of the building on Howard.
What to Bring (optional): laptop, your favorite soldering iron
What You Get: Boarduino kit, USB programming cable, and a mini-breadboard
Location: Baltimore Node; 120 W North Avenue, Baltimore MD 21218
When: August 28, 2010, Noon – 4pm
Ticket Price: $50
Limit: 10 people
As part of one of the mini-revivals that we like to do every once in awhile, a bunch of members sat down this week and finally put some workshops on the Calendar. We’ve got beginners soldering classes, a chance to meet a MakerBot, and a command-line boot camp, but I’m going to share a few words about two I’m taking responsibility for that are coming up in the next several weeks.
Neither is really a proper workshop–you know, fees, quizzes, and certificates of achievement–but more a chance to pick the brain of a working programmer/artist who’s doing1 interesting work.
Coming up first on Thursday, August 12 at 7:30 PM we have Jesse Kriss, a Processing.org specialist2 who recently put together the code and hardware for a public art installation at the San Jose International airport, “Dreaming F.I.D.S.”.
Jesse’s going to talk about and demonstrate computer vision, beautiful code, and reliable architectures for ambient interactive media displays (i.e., “How to Use Processing and Have It Not Fall Apart When You’re Not There”). The talking portion will be brief and it’ll be mingled with Q&A and followed by some time to explore code on your own, so bring your laptop and your brain. This will also be a great chance to get some help with any Processing ideas you have floating around but aren’t sure how to start.
Since the event is falling on one of our open hack nights, feel free to stop by even if you’re not much of a programmer. Open hacks are always a great time to meet people with interests different from yours and get inspired.
Visiting Baltimore a few weeks after that on Monday, August 23 at 7:30 PM is Joshua Penrose, a composer and interactive media artist well versed in Max/MSP3. His recent work includes Remediated Wall an installation at the Urban Arts Space in Columbus, OH. The piece explores Extremely Low Frequency electromagnetic vibrations via, among other components, a 7-foot long induction coil feeding data to pachube, a source for “realtime sensor, energy and environment data from objects, devices & buildings around the world”.
I’ve asked him to share his thoughts on designing, developing, and finally implementing a complex piece of interactive art. What are the tools and processes that have produced success, and what hasn’t worked as well? A lot of us at the Node work in highly precise, customer-oriented technical fields. We get specifications and we turn that into a product without a lot of room to branch off into wildly different worlds of use, re-use, exploration, invention, and discovery. Joshua will share some of his work and we’ll hopefully have a chance to build something new. Max/MSP is a little deep (and expensive) for an introductory class, but it can talk to just about anything, so you can prepare for this session by getting your networking / sensors programming in order4.
Like I said at the beginning, both events are free and open to the public. Just show up. Drop us a line on the mailing list if you have any questions or suggestions.
tl;dr – Events! At the Node!
– Node is all about doing.
– Jesse is also a practicing DJ (like with records and everything!), so come with ideas for bridging the vinyl/digital divide
– Joshua is a musician too. Be thinking about New Interfaces for Musical Expression
– maybe ask yourself, “how can I attach an accelerometer to this weasel?”. Write down what you come up with and bring it along. We’ll compare notes.
When you are a poor member driven organization with a fly problem what are you gonna do? Hack together a fly trap!
- Soda Bottle – to create trap
- Vinegar – in this case an old bottle of white wine opened 6 months prior
- Soap – to reduce surface tension so flys drown faster
- Cut off top of bottle and invert to create a funnel. I used masking tape to help hold it up
- Squirt in a couple of pumps of any type of liquid soap
- Pour in the vinegar substance
- Place on Table or Hang somewhere
Results after 1 day:
- 10 dead fruit flys
- 3 dead house flys
This Wednesday Baltimore Dorkbot will be hosting digital artist Steven Silberg. Silberg’s work centers on the pixel, processing still and video imagery pixel by pixel into new forms. See his website for more information.
Afterwards we’ll open up the group for folks that want to share projects that they’ve been working on. The meetup will be hosted at Baltimore Node on 120 W. North Ave in the Load of Fun building (Across from Joe Squared), come out and share!
Betascape was this previous weekend and Harford Hackerspace was on hand with robots, lightning bug jars, and general awesomeness. We setup early Saturday morning between Baltimore Node and the First Lego League representatives. The day was spent forging various cardboard blades with crayons and stickers with various children blacksmiths quietly honing their craft. All in all we gave away approximately 50 swords to young lads and lasses who, no doubt, brought these mighty cardboard weapons to bear against a variety of fiends.
Check out the full blog post.
File this under hackerspace design patterns.
As a disclaimer, I’m not a leader or an organizer of people. I prefer to pick a direction and go with it and if people want to help out/come along, that’s cool.
Since I took over as President of the Baltimore Node I’ve tried to not be pushy about getting things done but I’ve noticed that there’s a mismatch between the desire to make workshops happen and actual workshops happening and possibly as President it might be my duty to help actualize that desire. (I’m not sure about that)
There’s probably any number of reasons for things being this way but I think a large part of it is that putting together a workshop by yourself is time consuming.
As a way around that we’ll be trying a workshop barn raising tomorrow night. The idea is for those willing to get together and accomplish a large portion of producing a workshop.
What does that involve? Here’s a general list:
- Find consensus on a schedule and put it on the calendar
- Create the eventbrite listing
- Pick workshop topics and write course materials/sample code
- Find people willing to run the workshop
- Order parts (if we can get a vote for funds approved)
- Put together marketing materials
- Drink beers. (ok maybe not required)
Previously this planning has happened on our mailing list over the course of a couple of days and to me it felt tedious. I hope that by getting together we can get 90% of the legwork done and finish the rest through our mailing list. Moreover, I hope that this makes it easier for people to participate as this is a process that requires multiple skill sets.
One last caveat, this isn’t meant to be a meeting, meetings are slow and inefficient. I hope that as we come to conclusions we can spin off people to get certain items done and executed, sort of like a weekend hack-a-thon model.
Anyhow, we’ll see how this goes. Baltimore Node continually surprises me with what a consensus based organization can accomplish when folks put their mind to it.
Just so it’s fresh in your mind, at 3:00 PM on June 27 Cory Doctorow is going to be crashing Red Emma’s (the anarchist collective bookstore and coffeehouse here in Baltimore) for a reading from his latest book, For the Win, and discussion. Baltimore Node is co-sponsoring the event, which pretty much means talking about it to everyone we know. In case you didn’t know, Cory is a science fiction author, blogger, and copyright thinker/speaker/writer/activist (that means do-er) with a great fondness for the internet and hackerspaces, so it should be an interesting time.
Even if you’re not down for the latest in gaming-economic-near-future-youth-rebellion lit, you should still stop by to ask your questions about copyright, the CreativeCommons, the future of the internet, creation-vs-consumption, information security, and workers rights. At the very least, you’ll meet some local folks interested in the same things. At the very very least, Red Emma’s has good coffee. If even that’s not enough, I’ve got one more for you…
Because Baltimore Node is about a mile from Red Emma’s [map] we are hosting a potluck dinner at the workshop after the reading. The folks from Red Emma’s expect the discussion to end at or around 5PM, so we’ll officially start festivities at *6PM* and probably go to whenever the last person with a key wants to go home. That’s up in the air, though, depending on how late the discussion goes. You’re [always] free to drop by the Node whenever the door’s unlocked.
So bring a plate and a spoon (forks are superfluous) and a dish or drink to share and eat with geeks. There’s no formal topic planned, but if folks wanted to talk about stuff from earlier in the day, that would rock. Cory has been officially invited, but it’ll be “schedule permitting” for him.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE POTLUCK: please fill out the form at https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dC0xUnpvYnJWc2Zmc0JzUTVvc1RsSEE6MQ .
That’s June 27, 6PM, potluck dinner at the Node, 120 W North Ave.
If this goes well, I’d love to keep a regular geek potluck/dinner running at the Node. I like food and I like people (though it’s not always obvious). I also believe potlucks are one of the most important and valuable social activities in the history of human civilization. But that’s just me.