Archive for category Administrivia

think|haus is closing

So long and thanks for all the fish

So sad that it should come to this

 

We have come to the unfortunate decision that think|haus must close. We have been operating at a loss for over a year, and the amount of debt we have accumulated is not sustainable. Our membership numbers are well below what we need to break even, not to mention addressing the debt.  The directors are no longer willing to incur the personal liability for the accumulating debt. Our landlord has been patient & understanding, but they too have financial obligations.

We tried over the summer to increase our membership, but those efforts yielded only marginal results. While there were many people who had ideas on expanding membership, there were not enough people who were willing & able to do the work necessary to create a viable space.

think|haus was Hamilton’s first hackerspace. A lot of great people have been affiliated with the space over the years, and many of them have gone on to do very interesting things. Several have set up their own workshops to pursue their passions. We’ve seen things like 3D printing go from an obscure, difficult DIY process to something available to the public at the library. Hamilton has hosted 2 terrific Mini Maker Faires, and has a number of new technology startups. I am proud of the part think|haus played in helping to establish the maker movement in Hamilton. Most of all, though, I am very grateful for the opportunity think|haus has given me to meet smart, engaging people, many of whom I now count as close friends.

In the coming weeks, we can discuss whether think|haus can continue to exist as a virtual community, hosting occasional meetups, etc. But for now, we must deal close our physical space.

We will be holding a “garage sale” on October 8. Watch this page for further details.

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Summer Membership Special

Make Something!

think|haus is offering a summer membership special – $50 buys you a membership from now till the end of August. Join our community, meet like minded people, get access to our tools, and learn new things in our classes & workshops.

We’d also like to thank our 3D printing filament supplier MG Chemicals for funding the production of our new brochure. Check out their line of products for 3D printing, electronics, & printed circuit board making.

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Open Haus

We had a great time at Hamilton Mini Maker Faire on the weekend. There were so many cool projects to see, and we met lots of interesting people. We look forward to seeing many of them at our weekly Open Haus, Tuesdays from 7-10pm at our space, 25 Dundurn St. N., back door & up the stairs. See you there!

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Hamilton Mini Maker Faire

think|haus will be at the Hamilton Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, June 26, 2016 from 11 am to 5 pm at the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology.

There’s always fascinating things to see & do. Meet makers, hobbyists & crafters and get inspiration for your next project.

More information can be found at makerfairehamilton.com

See you there!

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Learn New Maker Skills

As part of the think|haus reboot, we’d like to get back to holding regular classes on a variety of topics of interest to the maker community. So, what do you want to learn? Arduino? Raspberry Pi? 3D Printing? Internet of Things? Home Automation? Make your own Media Centre? How to land a rocket on an autonomous barge?

Let us know in the comments below what kinds of classes you’d like to see. We’ll gauge interest and set up classes with the most interest. We’d like to get going as soon as possible, so let your ideas fly!

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Stay of Execution for think|haus

At our meeting last Thursday, June 2, we agreed to try to save think|haus. We were encouraged by the messages we received from many people who had, at one time or another, been associated with think|haus. Everyone believed it was a special place worth saving, and that the current state of affairs could be turned around with concerted effort. We have a lot of work to do in getting the space in better physical shape, making sure all of our equipment is in good working order, and creating simple well documented workflows. We also need better management and administrative structures, and new revenue sources. Most of all, however, we need to rebuild our sense of community. It won’t be easy, and it will take a lot of dedicated effort. Enthusiasm is much easier to generate than maintain. But we are willing to try.

We will be at Hamilton Mini Maker Faire on June 26 at the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology.

Keep an eye on this space for more announcements about upcoming classes, build nights & other maker activities.

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The End of think|haus(?)

tl;dr — PUBLIC MEETING – All Interested Parties
Save think|haus – Thursday June 2nd, 2016 19:00
25 Dundurn Street North, back door and up the stairs.

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Let me be blunt: think|haus is broke. It is behind on rent. Current monthly expenses far exceed monthly revenue. Membership numbers are far below what is necessary for think|haus to be viable. It has been that way for a long time, and it cannot continue.

The current directors, Jamie, Paul & I, accept some of the blame for the current state of affairs. All 3 of us, for various professional & personal reasons, have been unable to devote the time necessary to leading & managing think|haus. We have helped think|haus through various ups & downs for many years, contributing a great deal of time, energy and money, and frankly, we just don’t have it in us anymore. Unfortunately, few people have volunteered to contribute to the management of the space in a lasting & meaningful way. think|haus has done almost nothing in the way of outreach in a very long time. We have not held classes or engaged in joint projects. We have devolved into a shared workshop that offers space & some tools, but not much more. Successful makerspaces are communities, not collections of things.

We will be holding a meeting at 7 pm on Thursday, June 2, 2016 to discuss next steps. The default position, at this point, is that think|haus will wind down as soon as possible. How to best do that will be discussed at the meeting.

If people want think|haus to continue, in one form or another, they may bring ideas & plans to the meeting. All options can be on the table, but the financial realities cannot be ignored. Any plan to continue or restructure think|haus must come with concrete ideas on how rent arrears can be cleared and how going forward would be financially sustainable. That includes having people seriously committed to taking over day to day management and responsibility for think|haus.

It saddens me to have to write this. think|haus was Hamilton’s first makerspace. Given the size of the city & surrounding area, it should be possible to make it work. But unless new people, with a new, workable plan come forward immediately, it appears think|haus has reached the end of its life.

Dave Harvey
on behalf of the Directors of think|haus

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ThinkHaus Status: Back Open

News:

Think Haus is back open on Tuesday nights from 6-10.

Equipment:

The CNC mill, the soldering and circuitry table is open. The 3D printer building equipment is available and one 3D printer is functional but needs a little TLC to know how to use and the other needs a drop more TLC. The wood cutting equipment is always open. The lathe needs a bit of fixing on the tailstock but is generally functional.

Projects:

After success with aluminum casting in December with an electric kiln, a proposal for a new kiln to be used at ThinkHaus is brought forward. This kiln would use charcoal briquettes and could melt aluminum in the back area. Cutting out styrofoam parts, the aluminum could do lost-wax-casting. There are several tutorials of how to do make this kiln and the equipment to make it has been purchased. If there is demand it will be made, else the electric kiln will be (privately) used.

There have been few projects going on at this time. If you are working on something, stop by!

Also, Brochure!

ThinkHaus Brochure

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Pre-Holiday Break / Post-Holiday Awesome!

Hey all – we’ve reached the “zomg, I need to finish my holiday season projects” stage.

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We’re going to suspend our regular weekly Open Haus in order to make sure that our members have the time and flexibility they need to make their own awesomeness happen.

We love you all, but we’re busy.

HOWEVER.

Stay tuned for really cool news about 2016-01-01!

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First circuit board

I know I made a recent post, but this ties into it. First circuit board cut out on the engraver.

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It is not the prettiest board, but it is okay. It is an audio amplifier TDA7293. I found an amplifier thrown out with 6 of these 180W chips in them. Really powerful little beasts and the power supply worked too. I couldn’t get the old board fired up, so I did the next best thing, remake it.

 

 

 

 

DSCN8583I could show you the EagleCad drawing, the Cad drawings and the G-code, but there isn’t much to show there. I made the code, it works. Here I got the cutter alinged and told the program that this spot is the touch off point for XYZ so that it can start cutting there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCN8584Here it is after engraving. I also cut out little holes, but they are not through holes. I do not have a drill for this collet and the 1/32″ end mill is four flute. Do not use a four flute end mill for drilling and plunging or it will break.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I drilled out the holes. The smallest drill (shy of the nozzle cleaning drills) are 1/16″ and are rather large for circuit boards, but they worked. The channels are 0.39 mm wide. The engraver end mill is ‘supposed to’ and is advertised to cut a 0.1 mm wide channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCN8588Here is the bottom of the board. The wide channels actually made the soldering of the board easy, but I would suggest a narrower cutter and a drill for the machine in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the circuit board again DSCN8589from above. I made a mistake thinking that a 460uF cap would be small and was on the original board, and hence the stack of capacitors. Next board is the power supply.

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