3D printed coat hooks, wi-fi enabled bike lights and virtual reality

Just an average Wednesday open night down at York Hackspace.

Nick took an old plank from a pallet and with a little elbow grease and some shared knowledge turned it into a fine backing plate to the hold the coat hooks that he designed and printed on the space 3D printer.

Finished Coat Hooks

I took a very cheap hand plane and managed to get a good enough edge on it to let Nick clean up old pallet wood and turn it into quite a fine looking board.

This ended up with a fine mess of wood shavings that Nick was particularly pleased with.
Everybody likes to make some mess.

We had the loan of a PS4 and VR Headset for the night and Nathan spent some time playing at “Job” a virtual world created by the future robots to simulate what it was like to do Job in the 21st century. A lot more fun than it sounds. Everybody was enjoying his attempts to “repair” a car.

Through some more donations of kit we now have a fine looking multimedia setup in the works. It started with a projector that got attached to the ceiling. Then an amplifier and some speakers that is to be mounted on top of a shelving unit ( if you know of any spare shelving please let us know). Then through a convoluted set of connections and boxes we should be able to hook all the ageing kit up to most things. Wire lengths where measured ( in feet, meters, ceiling tiles and string lengths) and we may be able to hook it up next week. It will be useful for doing presentations or just playing tutorials from Youtube. Even the laser painting might be setup at some point.

As any true hackspacer knows things can always be improved with more LEDs and so I added a few more to his bike. Wrapped around the handmade wooden box on the front they currently provide a neat running light setup, red and white back and front then pulsing orange down the side. As they are run from an ESP8266 chip that has built in wifi it seems only a natural next step to add a wifi hotspot to the bike and a web server to control the lights.

More Bike Lights

Many more things where happening. John was having some problems with his new 3D printer but was having fun developing shapes in OpenSCAD. Dave and John where discussing wiring up sheds and sharing the tools to do it. A surprising amount of time spent trying to find something to play music to test the speakers, /dev/urandom, the computers random number generator, only goes so far. I really love the mixture of physical and digital that is happening in the space especially when there is a big group. Oh and we have a new member, Carwyn.

See you all next week.

We are now five years old

We celebrated our fifth birthday last Wednesday! (26th of October)

The first real YHS meeting was on October the 26th 2011 at Guppy’s enterprise club. (See our history page.) This was timed quite nicely, the exact day was a Wednesday this year, no need to break the open evening rhythm.

We lit up the space with all the LEDs we could find, filled a table with food and proceeded to disorient ourselves with a combination of alcohol and VR games.

Table full of party food

A plethora of party snacks.

For such a special occasion, there had to be a giant double-layer Millie’s cookie with the York Hackspace logo recreated in icing.

giant cookie with York Hackspace logo

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We went to Derby Mini Maker faire

We’ve been to lots of maker events. This weekend we went to Derby mini maker faire. This is the third year we’ve been to the event along with spacehack and some other projects from hackspace members. As usual the whole day had a great atmosphere.

Spacehack at Derby

Spacehack has now been to eighteen events and still it keeps going. We have a long list of problems to fix as spacehack slowly takes on the persona of the ageing and barely space-worthy spacecraft is was designed to simulate. We don’t have any events planned for spacehack at the moment, so perhaps we’ll have a chance to fix things before the next event.

Bob also brought some retro computing gear along. He was demoing the RC2014 Z80 Microcomputer he and the PiDP8 recreation of the PDP8 computer powered by a raspberry pi. To add some extra retro-tech into the mix, he was using a psion netbook as a serial terminal for the PiDP8.

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John also brought along his tetris table. It’s a table with a grid of LEDs that plays tetris. Many people, including me, were very easily distracted by the tetris table and held up the queue of people wanting to play.

tetristable

In the four years I have been to the Derby maker faire (as a visitor at first and now an exhibitor) it has always improved each year. We look forward to DMMF 2017 being even better.

I’ll leave you with this video of a dinosaur having a wander around the makerfaire.

The space is ours!

We recently got a new space!

Our space at Fulford Business Centre

Our space at Fulford Business Centre

The timing of this move has worked out nicely. Our fifth birthday is approaching and so we have decided to have a combined “welcome to the new space” and “happy fifth birthday” celebration on our open evening on the 26th of October. Come along and join us. If you can; bring some party food too!

On the 15th of August 2016 we moved in to our new home in Fulford business centre. This is a significant change from our previous meeting places. Our previous space was only temporary, this one isn’t. It’s also the largest space we’ve had so far.

We have lots of equipment already available at the space, including a 3D printer, soldering equipment and oscilloscopes. But we want to add more as and when we can. If you have some equipment to donate, we’d love to hear from you.

We want to grow our membership, and we encourage anyone to join us. Come along to an open evening to have a chat and find out more. York Hackspace is run for it’s members by it’s members, not for profit.

So, join us at the next open evening, and be sure not to miss the celebration on the 26th.

Happy hacking!

Goodbye, Stonebow!

Back in August, we moved into Stonebow House along with the Arts Barge people.  As the developers now want to start doing work on the building, we’ve moved out.  From the fourth floor, with no working lift, there was a lot of manual handling down the narrow fire escape to the car park with all our gear!


View from Stonebow house; flickr photo shared by choffee under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Having a temporary space to use when we like has been a great thing for the Hackspace (and not just because of the beautiful views either) – it’s attracted some new members, and given us a chance to see what freedoms that offers.  Being able to leave tools and gadgets out has given us a great community feeling, and it’s certainly saved me a lot of backache carrying my stuff to and fro.

Sharing with the other artists has also been really enjoyable – we’ve seen people doing all sorts of creative things, and we’ve had a fair amount of interest in our own work too.

We’re still working on finding “Hackspace 3.0”, so watch this space (and if you know anyone who might be able to offer us cheap office space, please let us know)!

We’ll continue to meet weekly in the Black Swan (or other pub as agreed) to keep the momentum going until we have a new space.

York Hackspace new space – Stonebow House

York Hackspace has a new space! We’ve got a sort of corner of a room on the second floor of Stonebow House, an unoccupied office building, which is being allocated as temporary pop-up art studio space whilst the developers negotiate planning permissions with the council. This means it’s not permanent – in around six months or so this’ll be sorted out and we’ll be kicked out again – but till then, we’ve got some space to work in and leave things in at last! Now we just need some furniture such as tables and chairs.

Stonebow

Manchester MakeFest 2015

We were in Manchester last weekend, we took Spacehack and some other things to MakeFest 2015.

As usual Spacehack was thoroughly enjoyed by many ambitious new crew members, who all exploded in the vast expanse of deep space. As usual, Spacehack came home with more failed controls than when it left.

There was also a great atmosphere in the pub on Saturday evening. John took plenty of photos while he was there, I have selected a few to put in this post, you can see them all here: https://flic.kr/s/aHski3i5Xo

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Raspberry Jam at The Digital Garage from Google, Leeds

On Saturday we took SpaceHack to Leeds to a Raspberry Jam event set up by Alan O’Donohoe and Claire Garside as part of their great JamPackedUK roadshow, in partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Google.org.

The day was well organized, and there was a variety of things to do and toys to play with.  Makey Makey was set up with PlayDoh (and sweets), and was connected to a Pi running scratch, so people could program with it.  Sonic Pi was also set up, which was fun to play with, and there was a demonstration set up with BareConductive paint.  My personal favourite was WaterColorBot, a robot that can paint pictures with block paints.  Bob even got it to draw our logo!

WaterColorBot paints YHS

Apart from the ready-to-go demonstrations (which were very fun and interactive), there was also an area set up to tinker with some Raspberry Pi, and a room upstairs for the workshops that were running.

As usual, we had plenty of folk playing SpaceHack, and it was great to see so many different people around – teachers, kids, and other hackers.  There were a few members from Preston Hackspace, who are relatively new; it’s always nice to see other local groups starting up!

Teamwork

All in all, it was a great day out, topped off nicely by the free water taxi back to the station!

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We’ve been accepted for Maker Faire UK 2015

Yes, we will be making a return to the Life Centre in Newcastle near the end of April to show off spacehack again and bring some interesting new stuff too.

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Our setup from last year

The consoles are being upgraded and we should soon have four consoles fully functional. We’re hoping that new for this year will be: up to four player games or at least two simultaneous two player games, improved gameplay and streamlined startup, and then mostly just some bug fixes.

Bob has also mentioned that he plans to bring along an “out of body experience”. The fine details are being kept top secret right now but if all goes well, this should be ready to go for April too.

We can’t wait to see you there.

http://www.makerfaireuk.com/

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