Busy weekend: Hamvention, Open Shop, Jam Session, RepRap meeting, etc!

Been watching that Google Calendar sidebar fill up, have you? We’ve got a busy couple days coming up, so if you’ve been looking for an excuse to swing by the space, now is a great time! Bring a friend…

Starting Friday and running all weekend, Hamvention happens in Dayton, Ohio. Okay, technically it’s Trotwood, but every amateur radio operator and electronics hobbyist in the eastern US just knows the annual pilgrimage as “Dayton”. Hundreds of vendor booths, forums on a variety of topics, license exams, and thousands of hams occupy every inch of Hara Arena, but most of us actually go for the thirty-acre fleamarket in the parking lot. A handful of i3Detroit members and mi2600 regulars are headed down, and if you are too, say hi!

Saturday at Noon, Nate_LapT opens the doors for a Maker Faire work party, suspiciously similar to a regular Open Shop day. Members and non-members alike are encouraged to bring projects to work on, or just come hang out.

Saturday at 6pm, the monthly Unusual Musical Instrument Jam Session gets underway. Bring a hand-made instrument, or just bring parts and assemble it on site! Normal instruments are fine, too. As always, visitors are welcome! This event usually runs pretty late…

Sunday at 1pm, the Michigan RepRap group invades the shop with their army of clones. Or not; nobody’s actually printed a complete replica of a human yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not trying! If you’re interested in the RepRap project, or if you just heard of it now, come in and get involved, regardless of your experience level.

Monday evening at 6:30 is another Maker Faire work party. Is your exhibit coming along? Have you submitted your application yet? Come by the shop for help, or to help others further their own efforts. Note: Even i3Detroit members exhibiting with the group must submit each project separately!

On Tuesday it’s meeting time again! The group assembles to discuss, decide, and work on issues that affect us all. We say 7pm but it’s usually more like 8. Meetings are open, though not guaranteed to be interesting.

(CC-licensed RepRap photo from CabFabLab on Flickr.)

From hackerspace to art show, lamps headed to NYC

Where would a couple of artists/designers go for help with converting their latest lighting project over to LED illumination? Why, their friendly local hackerspace, of course!

Lisa Smith and Caroline Linder‘s “Pipette Lamps”, pictured here, got blisteringly hot when equipped with halogen bulbs. Before showing the lamps at Cite, they wanted to switch light sources. But multiwatt illumination-class LEDs are a bit tricky to drive, and that expertise proved elusive. After pursuing dead-ends with overworked grad students, local electricians, and other leads, the designers asked a geeky friend, who happened to be an i3Detroit member. The connection was instant and, in retrospect, obvious.

Smith and Linder’s request was modest — design hints, electronics help, links to parts suppliers — but shipping takes time, and the looming deadline made it clear that the arm’s-length approach wouldn’t succeed. Read more

i3 Detroit on Kickstarter.com

We are really excited to announce that we are live on Kickstarter.com.  Kickstarter is a really cool website where projects and groups like us can obtain outside funding.  We have a determined goal of raising $5,000 in the next 31 days to expand and develop our new space.  We are growing and it is time to expand.  But we really need your help for the initial up front costs of this task.  Your money will go towards paint, lumber, flooring, drywall, and even nails and screws. It will help us build mobile tables and electronics benches. It will help us expand our craft area and create more classrooms. It will give us the raw materials to physically build our vision of a better community for all.

Kickstarter is a pledge based system which means you don’t get charged until we have actually met our funding goal.  So when we meet our funding goal on April 4th that is when your donation goes through.  You have time to save up!

One great part about Kickstarter is that we can give back to you when you donate.  For example, a $50 donation means an i3 Detroit Tshirt, button, sticker, card and a Free class.  How awesome is that?!  The community has been such a great supporter of i3 and we want you to know just how much it means to have your continued support.

The best part about all of this is that you can watch where your donation goes.  In fact, you can even come pick up a hammer and build with those supplies that you helped us buy.  We are ready for i3 Detroit v2.0.  Are you?

Robots: DONE

As regular readers may know, i3Detroit has been sponsoring two FIRST Robotics teams, giving them full use of our shop and other resources. It’s been hectic, crowded, noisy, and very productive. And now it’s (almost) over.

Tonight was “ship day”, meaning that all work on the robots had to be completed before midnight, and bags and tamper-evident seals affixed. After that, there was some of the silliness that accompanies a late-night sink-or-swim deadline, and some cleanup. We made it! Two functional robots, a whole bunch of involved students, no fights, no injuries, nothing more than minor tool breakage and wear. Competition starts in two weeks. In the meantime, there’s software to work on, t-shirts to distribute, buttons to design…

Congratulations, 1216 Oak Park and 3302 Clawson! You’ve come a long way, and we’ll be rooting for you at competition!