We passed through Tulsa Oklahoma the first day we were traveling, but it was very early in the morning, so we skipped the Fablab. On the way home though, the timing was perfect for a quick visit. [Blixa] was happy to show me around and explain how the fablab works.
I had an idea for keeping things interesting on this long road trip through the southwest. I was going to gather a few bits from each hackerspace and build something using minimal tools while we were driving down the road. I settled on the idea of a really simple “jailhouse” tattoo gun. I knew I could build one from parts I could source very easily and that I wouldn’t need much in terms of tools to make it happen.
While on our southwest tour, we were sure to make some time to go visit [Mikey Sklar]. He’s been a friend of hackaday for a long time, both as a writer and as someone who sends us cool projects. As you may have noticed from some of the posts we’ve done on his projects, [Mikey] lives in the middle of the desert and is attempting to lead a fairly self sustaining life style. He and [Wendy] showed us their gardens, the hot spring on their property,and some cool building materials they’ve utilized. We got to tour [Mikey’s] workshop and check out how his solar system was set up. It was pretty cool seeing “da Pimp” being used to revive old batteries. [Mikey] even mentioned that he’s building in a lot of safeguards in the next revision based on the feedback he got online.
What I really enjoyed about talking with [Mikey] and [Wendy] was that they didn’t act like they had it all figured out. They’re approaching this whole lifestyle as a learning adventure as you can hear when [Mikey] talks about their bees.
Traveling further south through Arizona, we ended up in Tucson to meet up with [Connor] at Xerocraft. [Connor] immediately apologized for the slightly disheveled state of the shop, but as I told him, I prefer a shop that has been used. Xerocraft was an interesting stop in our southwest tour. There was a workshop area in the front foyer that was nearly outdoors, something I’m not used to seeing in Missouri. The indoor areas included their electronics, library, 3d printing, and kitchen area. A nice little back yard allowed for some larger work to get done, like an electronic conversion that is currently in process on that car you can see in the video.
If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely swing by and at least attempt to de-throne [Connor] in Super Smash Bros.
With temperatures rising to around 117degrees, we arrived in Mesa Arizona to visit Heatsync Labs as part of our Southwest Tour. We have actually seen a tour of Heatsync in the past, and you should probably refer back to it for the quick run-through of the facility. When I was there, there was simply so much to see and talk about that the video ended up running over 10 minutes and I feel we barely scratched the surface of what was going on.
Our travels brought us to Quelab in Albuquerque New Mexico for the 2nd stop on our southwest tour. [Adric] agreed to give us a tour of this really cool space and a few other folks were there working on various projects. There were several things I really enjoyed that will hopefully be gracing our pages soon with full writeups.
The Quelab hackerspace has a small machine shop area as well as a few collaborative spaces. They occasionally hold events where you can come and learn different skills as well. While I was there, I saw some cool high altitude balloon projects, a teletype playing Zork, and a 3d printer spitting out some custom Quelab tokens.
The group seemed to be very a really cool bunch. Everyone was enthusiastic about their projects and their space. They even tried to feed us (but the timing just wasn’t right). If you ever make it by, be sure to go play with the phosphorescent wall in their bathroom. Easily one of my favorite simple projects.
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.