If you’re free the first week of April and don’t mind sitting on a plane for a looooong time you should check out the Hacker Camp that Dangerous Prototypes is planning. We’re sure you remember [Ian Lesnet] who is a Hackaday Alum, creator of the Bus Pirate, and geeky world traveler. Now’s your chance to try out what to him is a way of life.
The event is April 3-5 in Shenzhen, China. Although marketed as a “Hacker Camp”, to us it sounds more like training for those interested in running hardware companies that use the Shenzhen manufacturing district as the anchor of their supply chain. Part of the prep-work for the trip includes submitting board files which will be fabbed and ready for you on the first day. [Ian] and his crew will be your guides for the culture of the area; complete with meals and bar time. But there are also soldering workshops as part of the package. Don’t pooh-pooh the idea. This is unhuman soldering… BGA and QFN soldering instruction from the people who repair cellphones and other microelectronics.
This [Rick Steves] style adventure is the first that we remember hearing about that targets the open hardware community. But we must admit, it sounds like a lot more fun than a European river cruise!
[Al] recently returned from a trip to China. While there he toured some of the component markets in Shenzhen, the electronics assembly epicenter of the world. While he doesn’t focus too closely on what is actually being sold there, we found his description of the markets themselves and other notable attractions around the area quite interesting.
Shenzhen is different from some of the other component wonderlands we’ve heard about ([Ian Lesnet’s] tour of Akihabara in Japan comes to mind). First of all it may be a bit more difficult to get there. US Citizens need a Visa to enter China, and must fly to Hong Kong and take a ferry to the mainland. [Al] reports that the traffic is horrendous and rush-hour can turn a ten mile ride that usually takes ninety minutes into a three hour tour… a three hour tour!
The side affect of the market being out of the way is that the prices aren’t as inflated as they may be in more geek-tourist-friendly locations. That being said it also sounds like the vendors are interested in selling you a few thousand units rather than a single component. Follow the link at the top for the market tour, a stop at Seeed Studios (who will apparently sell you a map of the best markets to visit), and the rest of the attractions that [Al] encountered.
It’s a stretch to call this one a hack, but USB thumb drives are around us constantly and we always assumed that the boards inside were machine populated (like with a pick and place machine). [Bunnie] tells us otherwise. He recently had the chance to tour a factory where USB flash drives are made.
The image above shows a worker populating a set of boards with the flash memory dies. The waffle-grid to the right holds the dies. Each is a tiny glint of a component. The worker is not in a clean room, and is using a bamboo tool to pick up the pieces. [Bunnie] explains that he’s seen the tools before but doesn’t fully comprehend how they work. He figures that the hand-cut manipulator has just the right amount of grab to pick up the die, but will also release it when it touches down on the dot of glue applied to the landing zone on the board.
If you’re into this sort of thing you should check out the PCB factory tour we saw a couple of years back. The article link is dead but the embedded tour video still works.
[Todd Harrison] wrote in not with a project but with a video tour of his local hackerspace: HeatSync Labs in Mesa, Arizona. He took a camera along with him over the weekend to record what you can expect when visiting the space. You’ll find the tour embedded after the break.
It starts off with something we love to see. The space is being used for a talk and it looks to be quite well attended. The building is one unit in a string of storefronts and this provides a big open space as soon as you walk in the door. Just past this gathering area there are a few rows of electronics work benches which include hardware like bench supplies and scopes, as well as soldering and rework areas. In the back corner they’ve got a great big laser cutter and [Todd] spends some time with one of the members looking through all the fun stuff they’ve made with it. The back room keeps the messy projects like wood working, machine tools, and welding separate from the rest.
The place is remarkably clean and we’ll organized. Make sure you stop by and check it out for yourself if you’re in the area.
This is the second time we’ve seen HeatSync Labs. The first tour was hosted by our own [Caleb Kraft]
Continue reading “Hackerspace intro: HeatSync Labs”
Located in Kitchener, Ontario, Kwartzlab is a 3000 square foot hackerspace. In 2009, the group was founded and set up their space in a former box factory. We dropped by the space on one of their Tuesday Open Nights to take a tour. Join us after the break for a quick walk through of Kwartzlab.
Continue reading “Hackerspace Tour: Kwartzlab”
The signs on the front door might be a little small, but the space which AssentWorks and Skullspace inhabit is anything but. [Matt] takes us on a tour of the Winnipeg, Canada makerspace and hackerspace.
The two spaces occupy one floor of the building but are partitioned for different purposes. AssentWorks, which is called a makerspace, is a business incubator. The tour shows it as a large and tidy area where small businesses can pool resources to maintain and stock the various shop and work areas. We can’t help but think of it as an OSB jungle as it seems all the interior walls have been built from Oriented Strand Board.
The second part of the video shows off the hackerspace: Skullspace. This is much less polished, but shows a lot of promise. There are several work spaces for electronics, machining, and woodworking. There is also an arcade room, a classroom, and a few other offerings. All in all there’s 8350 square feet of space between the two.
You can see the ten-minute tour embedded after the break. Continue reading “Hackerspace intro: Skullspace and AssentWorks in Winnipeg”
OhmSpace in Oklahoma City is the very first stop on our southwest tour.
When we arrived it was around 2 in the afternoon and the temperature outside was nearly 110 degrees. It was HOT. [Stan] met up with us to give us a tour of the space. As you can see, the facility is huge. While at first glance it may appear somewhat disheveled, there is order to the madness. There is a nice community work area set up in the middle as well as several different stations throughout. Since the facility is almost just one giant room, storage is out in the open giving the illusion of a mess. We were there in the early afternoon, so there wasn’t anyone around working on anything, but you can see projects in various states of progress throughout the tour.
Continue reading “Southwest tour: OhmSpace in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma”