Bring A Hack at World Maker Faire 2014

After a hard Saturday at World Maker Faire, some of the best and brightest in the Hacker/Maker community descended on The Holiday Inn for “Bring A Hack”. Created by [Jeri Ellsworth] several years ago at the Bay Area Maker Faire, Bring A Hack (BAH) is an informal gathering. Sometimes a dinner, sometimes a group getting together at a local bar, BAH is has just one rule: You have to bring a hack!

[Sophi Kravitz] has become the unofficial event organizer for BAH in New York. This year she did a bit of live hacking, as she converted her Wobble Wonder headgear from wired to wireless control.

[Chris Gammell] brought his original Bench BudEE from Contextual Electronics. He showed off a few of his board customizations, including making a TSSOP part fit on the wrong footprint.

BAH-eggbotsmall[Windell and Lenore] from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories brought a few hacks along. They picked up an old Radio Shack music player chip at the Electronics Flea Market and built it up on a breadboard. Also on display was their new EggBot Pro. The Pro is a beautifully machined version of the eggbot. Everything is built strong to withstand the sort of duty an EggBot would see at a hackerspace or public library. [Windell] was full of surprises, as he also gave everyone chunks of Sal Ammoniac, which is a great way to bring the tin back to a tired soldering iron tip. The hack was that he found his Sal Ammoniac at a local Indian grocery in the Bay Area. Check out [Windell’s] blog entry for more information.

BAH-diyVRSmall[Cal Howard] brought his DIY VR goggles. [Cal] converted a Kindle Fire into an Oculus Rift style head mounted display by adding a couple of magnifying lenses, some bamboo kebab sticks to hold the lenses in place. Judicious use of cardboard and duct tape completed the project. His current hurdle is getting past the Fire’s lack of an accelerometer. [Cal] planned to spend Sunday at Maker Faire adding one of his own!

As the hour grew late, everyone started to trickle out. Tired but happy from a long day at Maker Faire, the Bring A Hacker partygoers headed back to their hotels to get some sleep before World Maker Faire’s final day.

Starting to Wrap Up Maker Faire

It’s almost a week since the NYC Maker Faire, and it’s about time for us to start wrapping up all the posts we’re doing on everything we’ve seen.

DSC_0216[Chris Mitchell], hackaday favorite from Cemetech did what he always does at Maker Faire: brought some stuff he’s doing with TI graphing calculators.

The TI-84 with GPS made a showing, as did the graphing calculator IRC client. By far the coolest looking calculator was the wooden casemod. It’s a TI-82 put into a (what feels and looks like) a maple enclosure. The buttons are painted on, and despite stuffing consumer electronics into a handmade case, it’s still reasonable portable.

DSC_0201There were more Hackaday fans at the faire, but I’m not sure if anyone can beat the guys from Protopalette. Wait. One guy could. Find me in public sometime and I’ll tell you about that.

The Protopalette is a board with a bunch of lights, buttons, switches, sensors, knobs, servos, and buzzers for electronics prototyping. Think of it as a stylized version of the old ‘parts and springs and wire’ radio shack beginner electronic kits.

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Some of the members of the hackerspace with the craziest group narrative, LVL1 in Louisville, made it to the faire. They’re working with GE to create a ‘maker module’ for appliances. It’s called Green Bean, and GE is actually building support for this into some of their fridges, washers, stoves and dishwashers.

There are a few modules already, like a scale that will send out a message when you’re out of milk. It’s an interesting system, and there are already a lot of appliances that support the system.

Pics below.

Continue reading “Starting to Wrap Up Maker Faire”

We’re At Maker Faire This Weekend

It’s that time of year again where the east coast division of the Hackaday crew makes the trek out to Maker Faire New York. We’ll be there the entire weekend, checking out the sights, talking to the people who make the things you make things with, and standing in an hour-long line for a hamburger.

We’ve been going to the NYC Maker Faire for a few years now, and each time we’re surprised by the sheer variety of stuff at the faire. This year, SeeMeCNC is bringing a gargantuan delta printer, [Adam] and I are going to geek out when we meet the Flite Test crew, and we’ll be filing a few interviews with the folks from Intel, Atmel, BeagleBone, and TI. If you’re wondering what the, “I can’t believe Make is allowing this at the faire” project is for this year, here you go.

If you’re heading to the faire and find some of the Hackaday crew wandering around, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. I’ll be wearing a flagpole with the Jolly Wrencher, and [Adam] will probably be wearing something emblazoned with the Hackaday logo. We have stickers to give out, and if you’re really cool, some sweet swag.

This year is a little different from the other times we’ve made the trek to Maker Faire – this time we have a press pass, and that means access to some very important people. If you have a question you’d like to ask Atmel’s VP of MCUs, Intel’s “maker czar”, [Massimo], someone at TI, or anyone else on the schedule, leave a note in the comments.

How this Power Racing Series Car got on a Plane to WMF

pwrc-on-a-plane

You really should check out the monthly meetings at your local hackerspace. It’s an excellent opportunity to hear the most interesting stories. Like the tale of how the guys from Sector67 got this electric vehicle on the plane with them. Not only did it go up in the air, but they did zero planning ahead of time on how they would actually pull it off.

[Bob Baddeley] posted an album of the PRC experience at World Maker Faire. There are captions that somewhat tell the tale, but we’ll fill you in as best we can on the rest of the story behind this second car from the hackerspace — lovingly known as the Lamebourghini.

Continue reading “How this Power Racing Series Car got on a Plane to WMF”

World Maker Faire 2013 Roundup

They built a shed using only this tool

Handibot

One of the more interesting structures at WMF was a garden shed made entirely out of plywood cut with the Handibot. It’s a handheld luggable CNC router that allows you to place the machine over a work piece, punch some settings into the software, and cut mortises, CNC engravings, and just about any other shape you can imagine.

The Handibot recently finished a very successful Kickstarter, and from the looks of it they have a really great tool on their hands. They managed to carve a few Hackaday logos in the floor of their shed, but we forgot to film that. It was a busy day.

Future Crew and a 1930s teletype Model 15 Teletype

Scope

Being from the area, NYC Resistor, the Brooklyn-based hackerspace just had to make a showing. Some of the smaller project they brought with them is Space Rocks, an Asteroids clone played on an old, slowly dying oscilloscope. They also had a Minitel terminal made for the US market, which was just weird.

Their big, impressive project for the Maker Faire was Future Crew a Starship/TARDIS bridge simulation game that pits five players against a common enemy: time itself.

Each station has a certain task, such as advancing the timeline on an old video edit console, playing a short ditty on a toy electronic piano, and reading what a Model 15 Teletype was printing out. All these stations are connected to a Raspberry Pi, and the game looks really fun, provided all the players know what’s going on.

Now we know what Make does with their networking hardware

For anyone who visited Maker Faire, you may have noticed your iDevice’s current location was in San Mateo, CA. I noticed this when my MacBook’s time was set for Pacific time, and a few other people who were there early on Saturday told me their iPhones were doing the same thing.

Apparently, shipping a bunch of WiFi routers across the country (along with a bunch of PA gear and other ephemera) is cheaper than buying two sets and warehousing them. This was mildly interesting and we’re now accepting proposals to figure out how quickly Apple/Google/Whatever’s database can be updated with the correct information. Deadline for applications is before the next SFO Maker Faire.

Phone Trucks Around the World

2600

Like most years, 2600 made a showing with their reclaimed Bell service van, ‘Free Kevin’ bumper sticker included. They had a ton of swag including a few old HOPE badges, current and back issues, t-shirts, Department of Hopeland Security passports and stickers.

The 2600 van did give us a few ideas should Hackaday ever need a booth for Maker Faires and other shows. Anyone up for building a heart-shaped bed?

Announcing Adafruit’s Bluefruit

adafruit_2098

You always meet the most interesting people wandering around Maker Faire, but by far the most interesting was Hackaday’s founder, [Phil Torrone] and bubblegum-haired compatriot [Limor] from Adafruit. They were out in full force checking out the sights and gave us the scoop on a new piece of hardware they’re releasing called Bluefruit.

Bluefruit is a very tiny and very cheap Bluetooth module breakout board that allows anyone to take 12 digital inputs and turn them into a Bluetooth HID device. If you’re planning a portable battery-powered arcade controller, just plug in a Bluefruit, set up your keypresses in your software, and rock out.

On board the Blufruit are an FTDI programming connector, 12 input pins, a few power pins, a custom FCC and CE certified CSR Bluetooth module, and that’s about it. If you’re looking for a simple GPIO to Bluetooth adapter without an overwrought Arduino setup, this is the best solution we’ve seen by far. Adafruit is also rocking their own custom firmware for the device, so this will be extremely hacker-friendly.

The price will be $20 and should be available in the Adafruit store in a bit. If you’re looking for an easy way to put a Bluetooth HID controller in your next project, this is the one.

Pictures of the Bluefruit and Adafruit crew below.

Continue reading “Announcing Adafruit’s Bluefruit”

World Maker Faire: We annoy the DIWire crew

diwire

Last year at Maker Faire we ran into the folks from Pensa Labs, the crew behind the very cool DIWire CNC wire bender. They were back again in full force this year with a new, improved, and soon-to-be commercially launched wire bender.

The first time we saw the DIWire it was a very cool piece of kit, but something that might not hold up to the rigours of a production environment. The latest version, a 14×8.5×5.5 inch machine designed to be set into a table, allowing for rapid manufacturing of nearly any shape imaginable bent into 1/8″ and 1/16″ steel wire.

Making any shape with the DIWire is extremely simple: if you have an SVG file, just import it into the software, define a few points along a path, and slip in a length of wire. One of the guys from Pensa was able to re-create the Hackaday logo is a few minutes.

It’s an impressive piece of kit that a few makers, hackers, and architects are using to build structures that can’t be made any other way. The DIWire will soon be released to the public, so check out their site for updates.