This Weekend: Hackaday x Tindie Meetup At Bay Area Maker Faire.

Maker Faire Bay Area is this weekend, and the Hackaday and Tindie crew are getting ready to jack some cupcake cars. The Bay Area Maker Faire is one of the greatest gatherings of all the cool people we know, and five years ago we started host a meetup. This Saturday, we’re blowing the roof off our favorite joint in San Mateo yet again. Join us at O’Neill’s Irish Pub for the 5th annual Hackaday x Tindie BAMF Meetup!

This meetup is a well established tradition — it’s all the cool kids at Maker Faire, hanging out in a bar. Well, all the cool 21+ kids that is. There will be blinky, there will be bring-a-hack, and there will be the people who build stuff and make things happen. This is the mixer for everyone who is passionate about hardware, and a refreshing escape from the heat and the five dollar bottles of water.

Want an idea of what’s in store for the Hackaday x Tindie Bay Area Meetup? Last year it spilled into the streets. We cajoled [Josef Prusa] to head out, we had tiny 3D printers in action, [Ben Heck] made an appearance, and someone brought a HoloLens. the MOnSter 6502 was there, slowly increasing its program counter. If you want to see the coolest DIY hardware without the dealing with the masses at Maker Faire, this is the event you want to hit up.

But wait, there’s more: HDDG is Thursday!

Are you heading to San Fransisco early? Awesome, because we’re also hosting the Hardware Developers Didactic Galactic on the Thursday before the Faire! The HDDG is our monthly expand-your-mind gathering for hardware developers in the Bay Area. We have some amazing guests that will be talking about the latest hardware they’ve been developing.

On deck for this installment of HDDG is [Tanya Fish] who has been working at Pimoroni for the past couple of years. She’ll be discussing the ‘invisible magic’ of electronics and how to explain electrons to the uninitiated. Also on board for HDDG is [Roy Jui Liang Hung], the founder of Perkūnas Studio, one of the most renowned 3D printing experts in Taiwan. He’ll be talking about 3D sculpture. Also on board is [Jason Kridner], co-founder of BeagleBone.org, who will be talking about simplifying hardware design with the BeagleBone On A Chip.

Hackaday’s BAMF Meetup Spills into the Streets of San Mateo

Saturday night marked the fourth annual Hackaday BAMF meetup. The night when weary exhibitors close up their booths at Bay Area Maker Faire and head over to O’Neil’s Irish Pub where the real fun starts. There are many drawbacks to having a booth; you’re on your feet all day repeating the same small snippet to everyone passing by, and usually you don’t get much of a chance to mingle with friends old and new.

Walking into the meetup, it was striking to watch aching bodies slow with weariness perk up to the energy and excitement of the Hackaday Community incarnate. Join me after the break for a peek into the fun of the evening.

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BAMF2011: Google’s SKPR Bot, not for arachnophobes

Google’s Maker Faire exhibit space is swarmed with robots…er, androids. Amidst some cool bipeds and Segway-balancers, our inner sci-fi nerd was most smitten with this hexapod design, which they’ve dubbed SKPR Bot. The “Skipper” is on hand to showcase the ease of various Google technologies: SketchUp, Android OS and the Android Open Accessory Development Kit. The whole project came together in less than six weeks.

18 servos are mounted to a framework designed in SketchUp and laser-cut by Ponoko. The low-level servo PWM control is handled by the Dev Kit (essentially a rebadged Arduino Mega, as we’ve seen), while an Android OS phone provides a slick GUI and handles all the inverse kinematics calculations required as the robot takes each step. The coolest bit is that it’s all up for grabs. At this moment you’ll have to scrounge around the ’net a bit to find the plans and code, but some time post-Faire they plan to bring everything together at the SKPR Bot site.

BAMF2011: Lasersaur is one BIG laser cutter!

Psst…wanna buy a laser cutter, but not ready to sell your internal organs? Nortd Labs’ Lasersaur project aims to create an open source large-format laser cutter/engraver that undercuts (har har!) the cost of commercial models by an order of magnitude.

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BAMF2011: Keyboards built from scratch

As the most direct interface between computer and programmer, keyboards can be a deeply personal, sometimes almost religious thing. Some find solace in their vintage IBM Model M, or luxurious leather keyboard, but maker [Carol Chen] took things into her own hands, quite literally. [Carol]’s Maker Faire exhibit has a half dozen specimens of interesting commercial tactile and ergonomic options…but [Chen]’s personal keyboard, where she commits to her work as a full-time coder, has been made to her own exacting specifications.

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BAMF2011: Bloxes, a building kit with a nifty pedigree

Not every cool hack needs to involve microcontrollers, LEDs or other bling. We were initially drawn to the Bloxes display simply because we love a good multipurpose construction set, whether it be Lego, 80/20 aluminum, or in this case, a system of interlocking cubes formed from six identical pieces of corrugated cardboard, cut and scored in such a manner as to form a surprisingly sturdy little building block. They can become simple furniture, groovy Logan’s Run-style room decor, or the all-important kids’ forts…then later dismantled and made into something else.

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BAMF2011: chipKIT is Arduino to the power of 32

If you’ve been hungry for more power for your microcontroller projects, but reluctant to dump your investment in Arduino shields or the libraries and community knowledge that go with them all, Digilent has you covered. Their new chipKIT boards are built around the Microchip PIC32 MCU…a powerful 32-bit chip that until recently was left out of the cross-platform scene. A majority of code and quite a number of Arduino shields will work “out of the box” with the chipKIT, and the familiar development tools are available for all three major operating systems: Windows, Mac and Linux.

We first mentioned these a couple weeks ago, but the software was unavailable at the time. Seeing the development tools in action was quite unexpected…

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