We made a giant fastener. We used the laser cutter. More fun shall ensue…
Hello, all. I’m Elijah, and I work with NoiseRep, or in other words: The folks who futz around with and build the 3D Printers.
I myself am helping to build George and Gracie. They are not from television from ages past, nor are they whales from Star Trek IV (Although if you do research about that movie you’ll see why they kind of are related to those whales). They are the names of the two new RepRap Prusa Mendels that I, Miloh, and Andrew are working on bringing into this world.
I’ll have updates thereof, as well as updates from our regularly scheduled event, Replicator Wednesday. By the way, y’all should all go to that. It runs on Wednesdays from 1700 to 2200. There, you can learn about and how to do 3D printing.
Say, why not an update now? As it stands, the frames of both Prusas are tightened up, and we are building up the Y-Stages. I’ll run along and buy some plywood and bring it in on Wednesday (2 November). We had some acrylic, but cutting it (with a jig-saw) didn’t go so well.
Miloh has our ten NEMA-17 stepper motors needed for the two machines. It’s getting exciting because we pretty much have everything we need to assemble the machines.
Anyway, that which does not get finished on Wednesdays, I try to finish on Sundays if I’m not already busy. Hopefully the machines will be done in a few weeks.
That’s all for now. I shall attempt to make an update at least one weekly, but I’m very busy at this time.
Last weekend, Noisebridge hosted Hackmeet 2011, a two-day unconference and skillshare for activists, hackers, artists and community members. There were lectures and group discussions as well as hands-on workshops and space for last-minute sessions which weren’t on the schedule. Several Noisebridge participants and Food Not Bombs and others cooked vegan food for the whole group, and around 150-200 people attended. The Hackmeet organizers after meeting expenses plan to give some money to Food Not Bombs to buy pans, and the rest to Noisebridge for hosting.
If you missed Hackmeet and you can make it to Mexico next week then you could go to Hackmitin, another free unconference! Hackmeet sponsored a representative from Hacklab Autónomo and his talk on their activities was very interesting.
Hackmitin will be held just north of Mexico City, at Cereza in Ojo de Agua, October 28-30. Here’s a link directly to their call for participation. The focus will be on software libre – privacidad – hacktivismo – resistencia y desobediencia digital: free software, privacy, hacktivism, resistance and digital civil disobedience.
Here’s some photos of the Hackmitin taken by Mitch Altman.
People sitting in a big circle for a group discussion of technology and privilege:
Morgan Mayhem (@headhntr) speaking on anti-forensics, i.e. ways to help secure data or delete it from a hard drive so it can’t be stolen, intercepted, recovered and read. Standing room only for this talk!
A medium-sized audience for a talk in Noisebridge’s main room:
And some of the intrepid cooks who fed everyone for two days:
Hackmeet organizers suggested that we might work with them in coming months to make some modifications to Noisebridge that make it easier to use for events. The main improvement, one many people have suggested in the past, is sound insulation for the different rooms. We could build up the walls between the shop and the classrooms, or put up sound baffles of some kind, or perhaps set up thick theatrical curtains to muffle noise.
I’m in Cairo. The main reason for this trip was to set up a 3-day hackerspace at Maker Faire Africa, which is in Cairo this year. Exciting time to be here! Lots of high hopes since the “Freedom Revolution”. Plus lots of attempts by the still-ruling-military at divide-and-rule.
Our trip was funded by generous donations from 186 people, who collectively gave us $8,169 so that we could spread the joy and hope provided by the international hackerspace movement. <http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bilal/3-day-egyptian-maker-space-expanding-the-maker-mov/>
The 3-day hackerspace at Maker Faire Africa was incredible! The main idea of setting this up was to show people how incredibly cool it is to be part of a supportive community where people explore and do what they love. And the energy was high. I taught about 300 people to solder (on my own) at an ongoing, 3-day-long workshop, with kits and soldering irons bought with money donated through our Kickstarter campaign. The brand new Cairo Hackerspace put together the MakerBot, donated by MakerBot Industries, and also put together the Egg-Bot, donated by Evil Mad Scientist — and they gave 3-D printing workshops. Minal gave fabric painting workshops. Bilal gave several Arduino workshops with Arduinos donated by a new local electronics store named Future-Electronics. Lots of fun for all! I gave away lots of Noisebridge keys to people who will be visiting us someday in San Francisco. And Cairo Hackerspace now has a large number of enthusiastic people who will help contribute to Egypt’s first hackerspace.
Before Maker Faire Africa we organized two Hackerspace Meetups, to get people psyched about starting and joining hackerspaces. The first was hosted by a co-working space in Cairo named Rasheed22. The second was hosted by a startup incubator in Alexandria named Tahrir2 [the 2 is actually a superscript, and pronounced "squared" -- a reference to the "Freedom Revolution" much of which took place in Tahrir Square in Cairo].
We will have two more Hackerspace meetups before we leave on the 14th.
Photos of all of the above are at my Flickr: <http://www.flickr.com/photos/maltman23/sets/>
From tweets and other postings, and stories from various news sources, I’ve been able to peace together this version of the big picture here in Egypt regarding tonight’s violence:
There is a powerful, small minority of ultra-right-wing Islamic theocrats called the Salafiyun, with ties to the supreme military council running the country. They want to rid the country of Coptic Christians (and, of course, Jews), and want to force Islamic law on Egypt.
Coptic Christians are angry at many violent and deadly attacks on them over recent days and months, and were demonstrating today in Cairo, when thugs of unknown association(s) attacked them. The Copts attacked back with weapons (perhaps ones taken from police or military).
There has been hatred exacerbated and promulgated by many religious groups: Sunni, Shiite, Sufi, Coptic Christian (with everyone hating the Jews). This is accelerating and getting worse. If this hatred and violence continues the “Freedom Revolution” is under threat of becoming a big win for the Salafiyun. (And many believe that it is being purposely spurred on by provocateurs from the previous Mubarak government and the Salfiyun.)
Let us hope that the majority of people here, who want to live in peace, and enjoy the freedom to be themselves, continue to prevail without violence (since, in my view, any apparent gains by violence will be of little long-term value).
The internet is a hard problem, not really solved yet. Getting the internet into your hacker space is another hard problem. Thirdly making it easy for folks to diagnose their (own) network problems without taking down the internet for others or killing other network hardware is also hard.
At Noisebridge we've got a network rack named Susan The Rack (she might be old but she's got one hell of a rack), she held our internet important network gear. After a month people started throwing their own gear in there (because obviously a free hacker space wants to host your internet/power hungry torrent box), she thing turned into the rats nest of cables and junk and hacker STDs, and we couldn't tell what was internet important and what was just garbage hardware not doing anything. Eventually the DSL modem got shoved off the rack and was just hanging off by its phone cord. One night a couple hard working dedicated Noisebridge members aimed to fix this problem...
Behold, The Wall-O-Tubes! The idea is that everything that involves getting the internet into the building and back out through our wifi is bolted onto this wall. If the wall has power, the internet should work through our wifi network. If the internet goes down, it'll be easy to diagnose, and hard for someone who isn't dedicated to fix (you have to go get a stool or ladder or poking stick to do much of anything). Currently the image shows version 1 of the wall.
One of the biggest problems we had was someone's laptop would stop loading web pages, the person would freak out thinking the whole internet is down, and start unplugging and rebooting device without doing any sort of diagnostics. For version 2 we're setting up a machine called Minotaur! This guy will monitor different parts of the network (our internet links, the router, servers and services on the network, wifi link), and display a sort of heart beat message in plain English on a monitor under the wall. If all is green, then your "internet problem" might most likely be somewhere between you and the keyboard.
Today at Noisebridge I learned that you don’t have to wave your lightsaber around like a fool in order for it to make the cool lightsaber noises. You can just tap it gently on the handle where the motion sensor is. Mike Kan demonstrates.
Mike explained to several people, during his signature “Telephone” tour of the space, that computer programming is difficult, a bit as if you were trying to teach someone how to make complicated origami over the telephone. It took me a minute to get this, but then I realized that in his parable the computer is making the beautiful origami for us and we are like these crazy monkeys screaming at the computer over a primitive communication medium.
Meanwhile! Ben did a bunch of work today testing some of our overhead lights as we prepare to try and figure out how to be more energy efficient, helped for a while by me and Evan, who mostly just handed him things while he was up on the ladder.
I showed Evan a trick that Mike Kan taught me a while back. If you stick a screwdriver or a thin piece of metal into a used cable tie, you can unstick the little tab from the ridges and undo the cable tie to be reused. We un-did some cable ties and gave them to Ben so he could secure the light fixtures to each other. You can learn a lot of useful and interesting things talking with Mike.
Later, while Ed was making pizza, Evan and I had the following conversation.
Me: Hey, Top of the Head Ponytail Guy. What’s your name?
Top of the Head Ponytail Guy: I’m Evan.
Me: Hi Evan. I’m Liz.
Evan: I’m a unicorn!!!!!
It's been 3 years since we initially opened our doors to all kinds of hackers from all parts of the world. Time to celebrate, hacker prom style! Bring a date (robots are totally allowed) and come on down to Noisebridge to relive those awkward moments from high school with your fellow hacker/maker.
We're also kicking off Noisetor, our no nonsense donate to help keep Tor functional service. Half of the donations collected for the night will go to feed the servers with glorious internet and provide more bandwidth for those in need!
Where: Noisebridge - 2169 Mission St, San Francisco (2 blocks from 16th Street Bart)
When: Saturday October 1st, starting at 8PM
What: The dancing, Makeout room (with Makerbots), spiked punch, awkward prom photos, geeks, Noisebridge-discuss Drama Queen and Queen
Humans: Wear either dress shirt with tie or dressy dress (bad ties will be given out at the door if needed)
Robots: All external metal bits must be polished
There will be chaperones, so no funny business, and we'll try to provide acceptable music. Come and have fun!
Flier by Tensory.
Tonight at Noisebridge there were a lot of different little projects and meetings happening all over the space. I wandered around and took some bad snapshots of them for your blogulating pleasure.
We got new soldering irons! Miloh arrayed them on a shelf near the entrance and they look very splendid. My guess is that they’re meant for Circuit Hacking Monday and other classes, as well as for general use. Someone left a bag of awesome donations including some xbee kits, some z-wave power switches, and some Raven thingamajigs. There was also a very fancy Weller soldering iron with a digital temperature controller. Do not steal it and try to sell it on the street somewhere in the city, because someone will see you.
These guys were making some sort of Arduino-controlled flamethrower with a giant battery.
Here are their schematics. The giant, scary-looking battery is sadly hidden behind the lamp. Nothing was on fire yet when I left the space around 8pm.
The sewing shop was full of people who I have never met who were going through the scrap bins and making stuff. I denied that my name was Rachel, and found out that they were learning to make button holes and then as I explained they were making buttonholes to everyone else, a plan was hatched to make the 3-D printers print some buttholes. BUTTONholes. BUTTONholes people. We don’t make buttholes at Noisebridge. Though perhaps you could say that buttholes make Noisebridge.
There was a Replicator Wednesday meeting tonight from 5 to 9pm. I met Andrew who claims to be the Fastest MakerBot Assembler in the west — and Willie who came in to talk about the Thing-o-Matic he has at home. As I left a bunch of other people were Replicating very busily. Andrew gave me a glow in the dark Dalek bottle opener! He plans to ask for donations for them, perhaps to buy more spools of printer plastic.
Bonus link to a time-lapse video of people assembling a Makerbot. I am sure Andrew is faster.
Robert was working on his motorized bicycle. Also notably he was skateboarding around the space tonight along with Dan the Guy who Always Wears Rollerskates. His motor looks like it’s coming along nicely.
My new interest is in messing with MC Hawking, the Noisebridge powerchair robot, a joint project by Lilia and Jake and whoever else helps build it. You can ssh into MC Hawking and control his motors and cameras and Kinect and missiles with a library of Python scripts written by Lilia. The latest improvement to MC Hawking is a board screwed to the wall with a power outlet — so that in theory you could drive the robot remotely right up to plug itself in for a recharge.
Other stuff going on but not photographed: Caves full of people doing something linuxy. Re-working of the Network Rack and installation of minotaur, a new server. (If you like messing with network infrastructure you should read (and update) the Network resources page on the wiki, and join the Rack mailing list.) Coding with headphones on. Grumbling that the soda vending machine uses 3.5 kilowatt hours per day even after its lightbulbs were removed; more than a fridge and not really enough to justify having it to raise money. Soldering of things. More soldering. Kitchen cleaning by Wish the lady who is running for Mayor of San Francisco. Oh and earlier in the evening as part of the glory that is Tastebridge, Francisco made empanadas, and taught people how to do it, but sadly I have no photos and did not get to eat any delicious looking empanadas.
On the way out a horde of Bitcoin meetup people were just coming in and I disconcerted them by realizing they were The Bitcoin People and screaming “BITCOIN!!!” at the top of my lungs.
I found a tiny geocache just sitting on the table! Also, I picked the lock on the donation box, took the money in there, counted it, pocketed it, transferred the amount to the Noisebridge account and emailed the treasurer. Thank you for donating, generous visitors! In fact if you enjoyed reading about Noisebridge and just wish you could be there you could donate to Noisebridge right now!
Better instructions for modifying one of the PCB types found in DKU-5 cables. These contain a prolific 2303HX which works fine for many serial purposes, speed up to 115200 settable in the standard baud rate settings (not continuously)
I’ve seen 3 different layouts for the pcb’s in the DKU-5 cables so far, this is what I call “Type A”, the one I run into most often:
Make a cable for the 6 pin header on your volksduino, boarduino, or other compatible device. There should be a cap between pin 6 of the ‘ftdi’ 6 pin header (green) and the reset pin on the arduino’s atmega chip (pin 1)
I use PATA IDE cables for the 6 pin header (connecting the vertical wires so there’s 2 of the 6 pin rows)
See the previous blog post by me for a picture of one of these cut-up IDE cables.
If you run into different PCB’s, it’s easy to figure the pinout for different pcb layouts of these common prolific 2303hx boards on your own. A rough run down of the steps to do this (my steps require a DMM and some Linux system) follows:
1) Cut out the pcb from the cable and figure out VCC and GND with continuity settings on a DMM, I use a vised hacksaw and cut the sides off.
2) Plug the board into a usb hub and see if it shows up it in your system (Linux: use dmesg and ls /dev/ttyUSB*)
3) Figure out and label possible RX and TX subjects with the voltmeter setting of your DMM.
4) Find DTR# easily by opening the Arduino software and pressing send a sketch over the connected dku-5 board. Don’t hook up a arduino, hook up your dmm to GND and the test point. DTR# to GND voltage should be ~3.3v with the device first connected to your system, get pulled to ~0V when the Arduino software starts, and then blip high every time you attempt to send a sketch out. There’s a way to toggle DTR#, CTS#, and RTS#, all the modem lines using other tools like cu, stty, minicom, and IOCTL, but I don’t remember how since I first did this.
5) build a cable and solder it on to your dku-5 pcb. Test it by opening your device in the linux terminal program screen (‘screen /dev/yourdevice 9600′), connecting pin 4 to pin 5 with a wire for loopback between TX and RX, and looking for text echo on your screen terminal when typing. Follow that up with an Arduino test by uploading a sketch.
Note: These prolific chips work at 3.3v but supply the arduino at 5v. The RX from the ‘uino back into the 2303hx is
tolerant of 5v (from the 2303hx datasheet, page 10: Schmitt inputs, 5v tolerant http://www.prolific.com.tw/eng/downloads.asp?ID=23 )