I heart electronics

When I first came into i3Detroit, I didn’t know what to expect. I never thought in a million years that I would be doing the things that I do when I spend time at the space. Clearly I was the odd “man” out. I was surrounded with individuals versed in things I had never even dreamed of; things I never thought i could comprehend and understand. I took a very basic electronics class, and was fascinated that i actually could understand and retain the information. It blew me away that an individual would take the time to teach me something I knew nothing about; it blew me away that an individual had the patience to teach me things I had never even heard of. I came to find that i3Detroit was full of people like this; sharing ideas an knowledge, and having a genuine want to teach you mindset. I quickly found a home where I was accepted, even though I didn’t quite “fit the mold”.


For Valentine’s day this year, I created my very first circuit board. I found the idea here while I was searching for “heart shape circuit board” images on Google  I had planned on doing something more in my realm of knowledge. I was going to create circuit board flowers out of e-waste that can always be found floating in our graveyard.

The concept seemed simple; a circuit board that blinks a few LED’s in some pretty neat patterns.

I quickly found the process to be much more complicated than I had anticipated; but in this process, I learned how to solder, and got  a crash course in how to use our PCB Mill. I connected with fellow members, and spent some fun late nights at the space. I felt at home. I felt smart. I felt awesome. (granted two of the LED’s need some tweaking, but let’s not get down on that.)

When I hit that switch for the first time, I was reminded of how passionate I was about this place, and the people in it. This is my home, and these people are my family. This place makes my Heart Blink.

Below is the video of my reaction. <3

I heart electronics

<3 brodi3

Help us name the balloon project!

Nate B and ZurielSeven test a GPS module

The poll is now live!  Help us name the balloon project by picking your five favorite names from the poll, linked at http://polldaddy.com/poll/6757133/

Please keep in mind when choosing a name that we will use this name to make an impact on social media including corporate visibility.  The poll closes next Saturday, December 15th, 2012.  Thanks!

Inlay Using Laser Engraving

Here is an example of a distinctive effect you can get with laser-cutting. I laser-engraved the laser cutter donation box made by the wood shop warden, Greg Smith. Then I laser-cut the same shapes out of marbled formica, and set those shapes into the engraving.

The Balloon Launch Project

Balloon project payload housing and spare GPS parts

Balloon project payload housing and spare GPS parts

I’m forming a group to work on a balloon-launch project. With a tentative launch date of June 2013, we plan to launch a weather balloon-powered payload to the mid-stratosphere, take measurements, and recover it.

The first question I always get is “Why”, and I invariably look up, seeking the depths of the sky for an answer. George Mallory, one of the first hikers to climb Mount Everest, was once asked why he felt compelled to climb the world’s highest peak. His famous answer was “Because it’s there”. Those that have ever felt the call of the explorer know how irresistible that is. I’ve come to love hearing people tell me “Well, people have done that before.” True, but *we* have not. Not yet, but we will.

We will not be the first to get to this altitude, nor will we be the last, but it isn’t a trivial task. For the trouble we’re going through to try to achieve our goals, we’re serious about doing some science while we’re there. Up there, we’ll be outside of typical FAA flight zones – this airspace is usually reserved for military use. We know its cold, we know the air is thin, but we also know it’s beautiful up there – a silent and rareified place where, in the words of Felix Baumgartner, you feel as if “you’re on top of the world.” We will collect temperature measurements, pressure measurements, and, of course, take some pictures. We will have the rare opportunity to change our perspective on the world for a little while, and maybe even make some ‘firsts’ while we do it.

In the end we’ve got so much going for us: a legacy of flights to build and improve upon, a hackerspace full of know-how and ingenuity, and the patience to know that we may fail here and there, but what we learn will get us to our goal with that much more experience.

We’re always excited to hear from people who are inspired by this project and we welcome anyone who wants to join the group, learn how to move the project forward, and contribute to the team effort.