Mrs. Penny’s Driving School — Hardware Workshop in Dallas

In case you haven’t noticed, the Hackaday community is making more of an effort to be a community AFK. We’re at VCF East this weekend, have the Hackaday World Create Day quickly approaching, Hackaday | Belgrade a few days ago, and Hackaday Toronto next week just to name a few in close proximity to this post.

As promised, or threatened, depending on which end of the stick you’re on I will be teaching an electronics class at the Dallas Makerspace every 3rd Saturday of the month. The goal of these classes is to help you overcome the barrier between a hardware idea and having that hardware in your hand. I’m not an expert in PCB design or layout, but I’ve found more ways to do it wrong than I’d probably admit too and this is my way of sharing what I’ve painfully learned through trial and error. At the time of writing this article there are still a few spots available in the first class, follow the above link for tickets.

Images of my failed hopes and dreams wonderfully captured courtesy of [Krissy Heishman]

Class 1

In our first 6 hour session we’ll take a basic, high-level idea and work our way down. For example: our first project will be an AVR development board. This is something common enough that everyone will know what it is (an Arduino is an AVR development board, just in case my mom is reading this). We won’t be making an Arduino clone part-for-part but taking the Arduino idea and making it our own custom board. Maybe we add some terminal blocks instead of DuPont headers or perhaps we want a real time clock and a slide potentiometer on the board. We can do that if we want, you can’t stop us.

So class number 1 is a crash course in Eagle schematic capture and PCB layout. Since this is only 6 hours worth of class time and we need to have boards and parts ordered when we leave we won’t be getting too complicated with our design.

Class 2

By the time we meet for our second session we should have taken delivery of our shiny new PCBs and our parts order should have long since been delivered from the distributor (Mouser is more or less an hour drive from the Dallas Makerspace, not that we’ll pick the parts up at will-call for this project, but it’s nice to have the option). We will spend the second 6 hour session assembling and testing our boards. If we need to make changes to our boards we can talk about that as a part of the design process. Depending on how long assembly takes we can brainstorm some ideas for the next round of Mrs. Penny’s Driving School classes which will continue the following 3rd Saturday of the month.

Lead a Hackaday Meetup in Your City

If you love Hackaday and want to meet your community you should lead a Hackaday meetup in your city. This is fun and easy. Get ready, we’ll help you do it!

Fill out this form to let us know that you’re interested in leading. We’ll set up a page with you as the organizer, add an organizer badge to your profile, and send a swag pack your way. Of course we’ll also help publicize the event so that everyone in the area knows it’s happening.

World Create Day on April 23rd

A meetup can take on a life of its own with the right group of like-minded participants, but it has to start with an initial meeting. We’re hoping to provide that spark by coordinating our first world-wide live event: World Create Day on April 23rd.

World Create Day lays down a design challenge. The people at your meetup will pick a technology challenge and brainstorm a solution for it. Leverage the skills of everyone involved to come up with mechanical, electrical, and design solutions. This is what the Hackaday Prize is all about and what you come up with at World Create Day should be entered in the first challenge.

We want to see pictures and hear about what interesting build ideas sprouted from your group. We’ll be picking the most spectacular design solutions to share on the Hackaday front page, and there will be prizes. But we also want to celebrate the fun of getting together in person with all of the people who make Hackaday a part of their daily ritual.

Hackaday Meetup Beyond

World Create Day is a single day event, but your meetup can live on if you want it to. We can help with ideas for future meetups of your group, you can pass it off to someone else, or you can make this a one-time event. It’s up to you. But we are always looking for active communities when organizing Global Meetups. This is a great way to show that the Hackaday community is alive and thriving in your part of the world. Maybe our next big event will be held in your city!