Hacklab Summer BBQ, June 11

by on Apr.05, 2011, under Events

Hacklab is having a Summer BBQ! Mark your calendars!

Get some sun on that pale Hacker skin, enjoy the lake breeze, and have some fun on Toronto Island! I’ve booked a picnic site on Toronto Island for us on Saturday, June 11. I’ll arrange the necessary gear to provide cooking heat and bring some basic food tems. You can bring your own grillables and drinkables as well, and we can have some hacker gourmet action.

Bring a guest… bring lots of guests. Our permit allows us to have up to 100 people on our site.

There’s tons to do:

  • Find the island geocaches!
  • Do some hiking!
  • Go check out the weird little community on Ward’s Island!
  • Fall in the water! Be attacked by geese and swans!
  • Check into Foursquare from a boat!
  • Bring throwable objects to test and refine the strange built-in human ability to predict a ballistic trajectory well enough to actually snatch a flying object out of the air! It may improve your Angry Birds score!
  • Bring your computers and set up an ad-hoc LAN Party! (no generators, please!)
  • Build yourself a kite (there are tons of plans on the interweb), attach an Arduino or digital camera, and have some aerial fun!
  • Take cool photos of the Toronto skyline!
  • Try out the sketchy Centre Island rides and petting zoo!

Date: Saturday, June 11 2011
Time: 2pm – 7pm
Where: Olympic Island, Picnic Site 18

How to get there: Take the Centre Island ferry from the bottom of Bay Street. Our site is about a 5 minute walk from the ferry dock. Just follow the paths to the left and cross the little bridge onto Olympic Island.

What to bring:

  • Sunscreen and a Hat
  • Tasty beverages (park rules say they must be non-alcholic)
  • Lots of water
  • Insect repellant
  • Snacks
  • Things to Grill
  • Outdoor Amusements
  • Bicycle or in-line skates

If you want to bring your own cooking equipment, it must be charcoal or wood powered.

What NOT to bring, according to the park rules:

  • Amplified music or PA system
  • Inflatable games, dunk tanks, generators, tents or tarps
  • Outside caterers
  • Compressed flammable gasses (they are not allowed on the ferry)
  • Ballons, decorations, or signage
  • Alcoholic beverages

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to help out with organization or logistics… I’d appreciate it!

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OpenSCAD Workshop

by on Mar.22, 2011, under Events

I’m going to be running an openSCAD workshop on April 4th at 19:00.

OpenSCAD is a lot like a programming language except that instead of compiling into software it compiles into a 3D object. You have if statements, loops and functions. For a lot of purposes, it is way easier than using traditional 3D modeling software.

For example, it’s what the Hacklab RepRap is being developed in.

No reservations are necessary. It would be preferable for you to install it before coming (Ubuntu Users: there’s no package in the archives but you can use this PPA).

I hope to see you there!

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Upcoming Workshops

by on Feb.18, 2011, under Events

This coming Monday the 21st is the Arduino Workshop II. There is ONE ticket remaining ($20 to cover materials).

Monday Feb 28th, Chris will be doing a workshop on the mathematics behind fractals. It isn’t just pretty pictures, it’s pretty math too! Chris will post more details later.

Monday March 7th, I’ll be leading a workshop for hacklab members only on how to use the laser cutter. We’ll be using Inkscape to draw shapes, an Inkscape plugin to generate gcode, and of course EMC2 to do the laser cutting. By the end of the workshop you’ll be able to operate the laser cutter by yourself.

Monday March 14th, Leigh will be leading a Soldering Workshop for Women. Gents never fear because…

Monday March 21st, I’ll be leading another Soldering Workshop which anyone can attend. Both soldering workshops will have the same selection of kits as before (Bliplace, TV-be-Gone, Trippy RBG Wave, Truth Kit, North Paw).

More details (including eventbrite RSVP links) to follow as the dates get closer.

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Arduino Workshop

by on Jan.13, 2011, under Events

Hacklab’s second Monday Workshop is coming up in just a few days! It’ll be on arduino, the open source microcontroller platform that anyone can use to make their projects more interactive and fun! The workshop is open to the public, anyone is welcome to attend. January 17th, starting at 7pm, I will lead a brief tutorial for beginners, including how to set up the software, how to make an LED blink, and some very basic electronics stuff. I will demo some more advanced uses of Arduino. Then, at 8pm, we’ll open it up to people’s projects – if you’ve got one, bring it and I or some other knowledgeable hacklabber will be glad to help you out. If you don’t have a project yet, come get inspired and maybe you can learn something by helping someone else with theirs.

Note: if you’re planning to attend, bring your laptop and an arduino. Arduino’s are sold by the most excellent Creatron Electronics, only a few blocks away from hacklab on College street. If you set out a bit early, you can swing by Creatron on your way here!

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monday night workshops kick off this week with 3d Printers

by on Jan.08, 2011, under Events

This monday at 7pm at the hacklab (170a baldwin st.) Hacklab.to is kicking off monday night workshops with the first Toronto RepRap User Group Meetup. We want to bring the 3d printing community together here so really any and all robot apocalypse enthusiasts are welcome.

The plan is to meet up, do a bit of 3d printer show and tell and then have a free-for-all of 3d printing stuff; we’ll print some stuff and build some stuff and fix some printers that don’t print so well. Oh yeah and your welcome to BYOB + Bring your own printer.

If you just want to see these things in action we should have at least 1 working machine and a whole lot of problematic ones (yeah, they glitch up allot). Right now it’s looking like 2 Mendels, 1 Darwin, 1 Makerbot, 3 Prusa prototypes (in progress), 1 Deltabot prototype (in progress)



PS. oh right, what are 3d printers/repraps/any of this crap? well to put it quickly: machines that grow objects out of plastic and can print their own parts (sort of early precursors to star treck replicators). Lots more infos at reprap.org.

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Circuit Hacking Workshop

by on Jan.04, 2011, under Events

I’ve been busy ordering kits and getting ready for the upcoming workshops.  Due to the limited amount of desk space and soldering irons at Hacklab, and the awesome number of people who have sent me an email about the workshops, I have decided that we need to take RSVPs for the Circuit Hacking workshop (Monday January 24th).   Please RSVP here: http://circuithacking.eventbrite.com.  Currently RSVPs are limited to 10 people.  We might be able to handle a few more if some people can agree to come later, we will cross that bridge if we get there.

Kits we will have available:

learn to solder merit badge kit ($3)
bliplace sound reactive pendant kit ($10)
Trippy RGB Wave kit, responds to movement ($10)
TV-be-Gone remote control kit ($20)
Truth Kit galvanic skin response bracelet ($50)
North Paw compass anklet kit ($149)

Also, quick reminder – Rob’s MakerBot workshop is less than a week away! See you all soon!

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Monday Workshops at Hacklab

by on Dec.18, 2010, under Events

Some hacklabbers and I had discussions about having regular workshops at hacklab.  Rob’s recent call for a makerbot night really got the ball rolling.  I came from noisebridge, where one of the most cool events is Circuit Hacking Mondays, every Monday a half a dozen or more people come to noisebridge to learn how to solder.  It’s one of the big ways that noisebridge gets new members and keeps things interesting and focused on hacking.  Monday nights are a great time for such events because very few people make plans for Monday night and so lots of people are available.

In that spirit, I hereby announce the beginning of a series of workshops at hacklab.  We will not be narrowly focusing on soldering or circuits, but instead covering a wide variety of topics.  The first four such workshops are as follows:

January 10th: RepRap & MakerBot
January 17th: Arduino
January 24th: Circuit Hacking
January 31st: Wearables / Cyborg

Each event is suitable for both total beginners (come learn the basics!) and more knowledgeable people seeking a good hacking session.  Events start at 7pm, come for as little or as long as you like.  Rob will be leading the RepRap session, and I’ll be leading the other three.  We will send out more specific details about each event as the dates draw closer.

If you know anyone who you think would like to attend one of these sessions, please let them know!

Also, if you’re interested in helping with any of these, or in having other workshops, please contact me (mrericboyd at yahoo dot com).  I would especially love it if someone stepped forward to lead a “how to use the laser cutter” workshop.  If the workshops are popular we will be repeating them as opportunity allows.

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Hacklab.to Hackathon – Selective Laser Sintering

by on Sep.10, 2010, under Events

I’ve been talking with Rob, and Rob, Frysteev, Leigh and others have been preparing for a while now to build one of these tools for Hacklab: http://builders.reprap.org/2010/06/selective-laser-sintering-part-6.html

A Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3d printer.

Whats SLS you (possibly) ask? It’s something peter at thinkhaus is making that melts plastic or metal powder to form a 3d solid object which is stronger and of better resolution then the makerbot or reprap – and it can print any shape at all! It doesn’t have the print head problems of reprap! We want to laser cut one but need to buy the acrylic and mod peter’s files to fit on the laser.. The designs unfinished but, Rob believes that if we gave it a good weekends effort we could build one. (Ie. if we have a solid weekend hackathon with everyone who is interested, we could build one of these babies for our use.)
Ooh and SLS can make metal parts too which is 100% insane for a desktop 3d printer!

Due to this coolness, we are having a hackathon challenge on Sept 11th at Hacklab.to  starting at around 11am until we get this built (or hit a critical roadblock). Everyone who wants to help out can come in, and we’ll find work for them to get this done. Some can solder, some can help with the laser cutting, and some people just keep things moving and build one of these babies (hopefully) for Hacklab.to

Note, even if we don’t get the full laser working, we’ll be building a few of these. One to control the SLS, and perhaps a few more for other hacklab fun.

If you are a developer, hacker, or just want to have fun, come out and we’ll find something for you to do to help out.


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LED Workshop: Success!

by on Aug.09, 2010, under Events, Workshops

We had a great turnout at Andrew’s LED workshop. It was attended by regular Hacklab members and some new faces who were visiting the lab for the first time.

Andrew discussed the basics of how semiconductors and diodes behave, and how to calculate the related currents and voltages in the circuit. He showed to drive low-power LEDs simply with a current-limiting resistor, and the limitations of that design. He went on to show a circuit for an active constant-current method of driving high power LEDs, and demonstrated various models in LTSpice.

Thanks to everyone who attended the workshop, and thanks to Andrew for presenting it! Watch this blog (and our @hacklabto Twitter) for notices of future electronics and craft workshops at the Hacklab.

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LED Workshop Rescheduled for Aug 8 @ 14:00

by on Jul.24, 2010, under Events, Workshops

Unfortunately Andrew has to reschedule the LED workshop, so it will NOT be held tomorrow! It will be held on Sunday, August 8 at 14:00 instead. Update your calendars!

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