3D Printing, Using Eagle, Windowfarms and more Fun with Microprocessors


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Our workshop and makeshop schedule is now up for the rest of May and June!  Call or come by to sign up for these workshops and makeshops. 

Start your summer with a foray into 3D printing: check out our Intro to OpenSCAD Workshop and 3D Printing Makeshop on Sunday, June 19.  Or learn how to make your own custom printed circuit board with our two part workshop on Using Eagle on Tuesdays, June 7 and 14.  We are offering a new and improved Windowfarm workshop (also in two parts) on Saturday, June 11 with the second session on Tuesday, June 28.  We are also excited to announce workshops in two more microcontroller prototyping platforms.  We have been offering workshops in Arduino’s ATMega-based platform and will continue to do so; we love that it’s open source and so easy to use.  Next Intro to Arduino workshop will be on Thursday, June 16.  For those of you looking for something a little less expensive, we’re trying out a workshop on TI’s MSP430 on Thursday, June 23.  If you’ve tried the Arduino and want another challenge or enjoy some additional programming challenges, we encourage you to get a Parallax board and try our Intro to Parallax Propeller workshop on Saturday, June 18. 

For all the details, check out the rest of the post after the break or check out our calendar


Saturday, May 14 11:30am-1:30pm (rescheduled from 5/8): Programming for the Arduino
Programming for the Arduino is the second in a series of workshops focusing on getting you up and running with your Arduino.  This workshop focuses on developing your understanding of the programming environment for the Arduino as well as of programming concepts. Participants must bring a laptop, an Arduino and USB cable, and a breadboard to the workshop. If taking the Intro to Arduino workshop, you will have the necessary materials. The workshop fee is $50.

Saturday, May 14 2-4pm: Basics of Working with EL Wire
Working with EL wire is easy!  In this workshop you will learn the basics of working with electroluminescent wire. At the end of the workshop, you will walk out with a piece of EL wire firmly attached to a driver.  You will also walk out with the knowledge and confidence you need to start your first real EL wire project. Workshop is $50 per person.

Saturday, May 21 2-4:30pm: Inkscape for the Laser Engraver
Cancelled: If you are interested in taking this workshop, please sign up for the workshop on Saturday, June 25 from 2-4:30pm (see details below).
This workshop is an introduction to Inkscape, focusing on the tools needed for laser cutting. It is directed toward those who have never used or have limited experience with Inkscape. The last half hour of the workshop is supervised design time where you can create your own 3”x5” design and have it cut it out in 3mm thick birch using the laser cutter. This workshop requires a laptop with the latest version of Inkscape installed and a mouse with a scroll wheel. Workshop is $50/person.

Friday, May 27 7-9pm: CMKT4 Bottle Cap Contact Microphone Makeshop and Band Demo
This special, one-time makeshop is facilitated by the circuit bent band CMKT4. 
During the makeshop, CMKT4 will lead you through putting together their Bottle-Cap Contact Microphones.  Participants will learn to solder, work with hot glue, zip ties, shielded cable, a piezo-electric disc, and recycled bottle-caps to make a fully functioning
Bottle-Cap Contact Microphone.  These microphones pick up physical vibrations and transduce the vibrations into an electrical audio signal.  Participants are encouraged to bring instruments and found objects to listen to through the microphones.
While the microphones are curing, CMKT4 will put on a brief performance for attendees.
The workshop is $20, and each participant will make one Bottle-Cap Contact Microphone.  Additional kits will be available from CMKT4 the day of to take home with you for $10 (please bring cash).
You can hear more about CMKT4 at http://www.facebook.com/cmkt4
http://www.myspace.com/cmkt4 and http://cmkt4.bandcamp.com/, with performance videos at http://www.vimeo.com/channels/cremedementi

Tuesday, June 7 7-9pm: Intro to PCB Design and Production using Eagle (Part 1 of 2): Using Eagle and Basics of Board Design
Ever wanted to make a custom circuit board but were frustrated by trying to use the tool?  This first of this two-part workshop series will cover the basics of PCB design using Eagle.  We’ll review basic layout, using component libraries, placing artwork on your design, and layout.  A demo board with common part sizes and example board artwork will given to each participant.  Participants must bring a laptop with Eagle installed on it.  Participants are encouraged to created their own PCB layout before the second workshop in the series (to be held on Tuesday, June 14 7-9pm).  Workshop is $50.  (If taking both workshops, the second workshop is $30 in advance and $40 at the door.) 

Thursday, June 9 7-9:30pm: Intro to Electronics
Ever wondered how your T.V. or computer works? How about your cell phone. Come find out the basics behind these devices at our Introduction to Electronics workshop. You’ll learn what current and voltage really are, how to read a circuit diagram, and how to put together your own small projects using discrete and integrated components. This workshop is $50 and comes with a kit of parts which are yours to keep. It is suggested that you sign up in advance; this popular workshop fills up quickly!

Saturday, June 11 2-4pm: Hydroponics: Build a Windowfarm! (Part 1 of 2): Getting Started, Bottle Modification, and What you Need
Build an indoor hydroponic farm! We’ll be following the DIY style from Windowfarms to turn recycled plastic bottles and an aquarium pump into a vertical garden. The workshop will be in two parts. The first meeting will discuss materials and options. We will take you through the process of modifying one water bottle (materials provided) and provide you with a shopping list and a few parts to get you started.  The second workshop will be on Tuesday, June 28 7-9pm to give participants time to buy or find the necessary materials.  The second workshop will be about building and troubleshooting your particular setup.  Please bring all parts requested on the shopping list with you to the second workshop.  It is assumed you will attend both sessions of this workshop.  Workshop is $70.   

Tuesday, June 14 7-9pm: Intro to PCB Design and Production using Eagle (Part 2 of 2): Troubleshooting Your Design, Production Options, and Best Practices
This second of this two-part workshop series will provide troubleshooting help with Eagle for your design and will review production options as well as tips and tricks for ensuring your board is produced the way you intend.  Participants must bring a laptop with Eagle installed on it and are encouraged to bring their own PCB design.  Workshop is $50 if purchased individually.  (If taking both workshops, this second workshop is $30 if purchased in advance or $40 at the door.) 

Thursday, June 16 7-9pm: Intro to Arduino
This workshop is the first in our Arduino series. This introductory workshop focuses on using the Arduino IDE, getting comfortable writing code for and using your Arduino, and creating simple circuits to interface with your Arduino. Participants must bring a laptop and, if not purchasing an Arduino and cable, an Arduino and USB cable. The second in the series, Programming for the Arduino, will be offered again next month.  The workshop fee is $50. If you would like to purchase an Arduino and USB cable at the time of the workshop, you can get them for only a $10 material fee. It is highly recommended that you sign up in advance for this workshop; it fills up quickly!

Saturday, June 18 2-4:30pm: Intro to Parallax Propeller
Parallax’s P8X32A ‘Propeller’ is a microcontroller similar to the ATMega chips used in Arduinos, but with some exciting and unique capabilities for intermediate-to-advanced designers, including 8 parallel CPU cores in a single chip, built-in video and timer modules in each core, simple to implement mouse, button, or keyboard input, and 32 general purpose I/O pins.  The chip includes a built-in high level language interpreter (“SPIN”) for easy programming, as well as a high-speed assembly language.
This session, designed for those with some amount of previous programming experience in Arduino or similar platforms, will provide you with a thorough introduction to the Propeller programming environment, use of the parallel cores, and demonstration of the unique abilities of this chip for use in your own projects.  To get the most out of this session, you should plan to purchase in advance the Parallax QuickStart board ($20) or the Propeller Demo Board ($60) to follow along with the example programs that will be demonstrated and to prototype your own designs.  Any other materials required will be provided.  A limited number of QuickStart boards may be available to purchase at the time of the workshop.  The workshop is $50/person. 

Seattle Toorcon is Saturday and Sunday, June 18th and 19th!
Sunday, June 19 2-4:30pm: Intro to OpenSCAD
Come learn the basics of OpenSCAD from Nicholas, member of Open3DP and creator of RepRapBreeding.  This workshop is great even if you have little or no CAD or programming experience. We will cover the user interface, basic shapes, transformations and Boolean operations, and exporting for 3D printing. 
Participants must bring a laptop with OpenSCAD installed and a mouse with scroll wheel if you have it. Workshop is $50.
Stay for the 3D Printing Makeshop and print your part!

Sunday, June 19 6-8pm: 3D Printing Makeshop
Join us for a primer on 3d printing!  We’ll be reviewing the different capabilities and techniques available for DIY 3D printing and you’ll get a chance to 3D print in plastic or plaster.  If you take the OpenSCAD workshop, we can start printing your model (you may need to wait or come back for your model depending on size and the number of participants).
Glazed or Glass will take a couple of days, so if you are in town for Toorcon, you should plan ahead.  Makeshop is $25 and includes a basic 3D print (there is an additional fee for finishing your 3D print in glass or with glaze). 


Thursday, June 23 7-9pm: Intro to MSP430
Put off by the high price tag of the Arduino? Texas Instruments has you covered. The MSP430 Launchpad is a microcontroller dev board that makes it easy to build projects with these chips. In this workshop, we will teach you how to write programs for these chips and use the toolchain to upload them.  We’ll also explore the basics of this platform’s capabilities. 
Participants must bring a laptop with appropriate software installed. You can get installation instructions on our wiki (feel free to come by the shop if you need help getting this software installed). All other parts will be included with the workshop. This workshop is $50.

Saturday, June 25 2-4:30pm: Inkscape for the Laser Engraver
This workshop is an introduction to Inkscape, focusing on the tools needed for laser cutting. It is directed toward those who have never used or have limited experience with Inkscape. The last half hour of the workshop is supervised design time where you can create your own 3”x5” design and have it cut it out in 3mm thick birch using the laser cutter.
This workshop requires a laptop with the latest version of Inkscape installed and a mouse with a scroll wheel. Workshop is $50/person.

Sunday, June 26 2-4:30pm: Arduino Shields
Arduino shields provide the ability to mount peripherals onto your Arduino in order to add any functionality you can come up with. This class is taught by two real-life inventors: the engineer behind Logos Electromechanical and Metrix’ Dr. Intern. We’ll survey some of the existing shields on the market and teach you step-by-step how to design your own fabulous shields.
Participants will need a laptop, an Arduino, and a USB cable. A protoshield and other required components will be provided. The workshop is $50.

Thursday, June 28 7-9pm: Hydroponics: Build a Windowfarm! (Part 2 of 2): Assembly and Troubleshooting
This second (of two) workshops is about building and troubleshooting your chosen Windowfarm setup.  Please bring all parts requested on the shopping list with you to the second workshop.  It is assumed you will attend both sessions of this workshop (the first session is on Saturday, June 11 from 2-4pm).  Both sessions of this workshop are included in the $70 price.   

Thursday, June 30 7-9pm: Intro to Transistors
Transistors rule the modern world! Your computers, audio amplifiers, and some other third thing are all made possible by the magic of transistors. In this workshop, you’ll learn about how semiconductor junctions lead to transistor behavior, and how that can be used in logic gates and amplifiers. You’ll use bipolar junction transistors in functional circuits that demonstrate these concepts. This workshop will build on the information in the Intro to Electronics workshop. Understanding of the material in that workshop is a prerequisite. Please bring a breadboard and multimeter.  Workshop is $50.