Archive for category Administrivia
A quick update about a new tool we’ve added to the space. A few months back we bought a Shapeoko CNC milling machine. It’s an entry-level CNC machine, meaning it’s small, cheap and simple to assemble. It’s well-suited to smaller jobs (7×7″ working area) and can handle milling wood, plastic, styrofoam, copper clad boards, etc. It can possibly mill some metals but that’s going to take some experimenting. (check out the wiki page for more details about our setup)
(more after the break!)
One of the most rewarding (and interesting) parts of an organization like think|haus is the collision of the future and the now. Here we sit, in a city that is shedding its past and trying to determine its future. The old Hamilton isn’t working out quite the way anyone planned. The new Hamilton is finding its feet in education, medical and the catch-all “innovative technology.”
Way back in 1993, Canadian science fiction writer William Gibson famously quipped: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” I’m fairly certain that he was right then and even more right now.
When I was a kid, the future was going to include jet-powered backpacks, meals in pill format, vacations on the moon and suburbia as far as the eye could see. As long as the planet survived the nuclear holocaust.
Today, the future looks pretty different. Crumbling infrastructure, unsustainable development, paved farmland, insufficient healthcare and educational capability – it’s not a pretty picture. It will require some truly innovative thinking and an ambition that looks further ahead than the fiscal quarter or the next election.
Part of the answer lies in a focus on civic engagement – making it easier for residents to find and access services, making it easier to hear from all residents rather than just the ones with money / influence / access, and permitting residents to give back to their city by offering their skills and solutions for public consumption.
Engagement with each other and ambition won’t be enough. We’re going to need (at least) one more thing – the ability to do it ourselves. We can’t depend on our supply-lines stretching for thousands of kilometres and we cannot continue to treat everything as a disposable commodity. Over the last five years, we’ve been experiencing a renaissance in the “DIY / maker / hacker” world. For a long time the idea of repair or handmade at home has been looked down upon as the kind of thing that only poor people would do. The reality is changing. There are new tools and new techniques for creating things, new ways of sharing information on doing it yourself and renewed interest in learning and doing.
think|haus was conceived as a place where people could meet face-to-face to do the cool things and learn the new ways and share the cost of the new tools. We’ve been doing that for four years now and having a heck of a good time along the way.
- If you have just learned about Instructables or Thing-a-verse.
- If you picked up a copy of Make Magazine and can’t quite believe that it is real.
- If you’ve heard about lasers, CNC and 3D printing.
- If you’d like to be a teacher or a collaborator or a student.
Yeah. That’s what think|haus is all about.
Mohawk College will be opening The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing in March 2014 (read more here).
This creates a perfect opportunity for Mohawk to support a Hamilton treasure, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. CWHM maintains in flying condition one of the finest collections of World War II aircraft in the world. Their restoration projects, bringing abandoned, rusting aircraft back to life, are awe inspiring. But as time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult, and more expensive, to find parts for these aircraft. One of their current restoration projects, the Bolingbroke, is using the remains of 8 aircraft to try to assemble one restored to flying condition.
That’s where Mohawk’s new lab could help. Imagine the benefit of a complete digital inventory of parts for CWHM’s storied Lancaster bomber, one of only 2 still flying in the world. Imagine the dedicated volunteers at CWHM being able to 3D print or CNC machine any part they need. What a fantastic benefit to the museum. What a perfect way for the College to demonstrate these leading edge technologies. And how better to get students and faculty excited about the possibilities than by having the opportunity to use 21st century technology to help preserve some of the finest examples of 20th century technology.
This is a perfect application for 3D printing – the replication, in low volume, of parts that are not practical to produce using higher volume, lower cost methods. Even where the actual part cannot be printed (it needs to be made from high grade stainless steel, for example), having a 3D printed model to guide the machinist is invaluable.
I was at the Museum yesterday with my son on a school trip. Several other classes were there too. The volunteers take the kids through the basic physics of flight, let them do hands on experiments to learn Bernoulli’s Principle, and pass on the history of the brave young men & women who built, maintained & flew these aircraft in defence of their country and her allies. I’ve heard the story of Andy Mynarski, VC, to whom the Lancaster is dedicated, several times, and yet I still get a lump in my throat every time.
As I walked past the working part of the museum, where the aircraft are restored and maintained, I was struck by several things. First, by the tens of thousands of hours put in by the volunteers. Second, by the fact that many of them are older, and won’t be able to continue for much longer. We need to bring a new generation in to help, and find ways to manufacture parts that are becoming impossible to find.
I’m going to contact both institutions and urge them to consider this. I’m hopeful they’ll be as excited by the possibilities as I am.
Four years? Already?
One of these days, I’ll put in a reminder to myself that March 31st is the anniversary of think|haus.
Two years ago, I posted “Two Years of RELOADED…” and I think I somehow missed posting on last year’s anniversary – actually, we didn’t post a single thing from 2011/10/11 to 2012/05/13 so it’s fair to say we missed a whole lot.
We had our first meeting 2009/03/31.
We moved into think|haus v1.0 on 2009/07/01.
We moved into think|haus v2.0 on 2010/11/20.
(Still affectionately referred to as “old|haus” and “new|haus” respectively.)
This is four years later and think|haus is stronger and more vibrant than ever.
Looking back over the last four years is actually pretty cool. A non-exhaustive list of highlights includes:
- getting started at all
- hosting the first SoOnCon
- acquiring and upgrading the laser
- the great Forums debate of late 2009
- providing some dignity to the last months of a member’s life
- renovation club
- began to hold classes (and kinda stopped)
- learned that laser cutters are flammable
- participated in the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge
- participated in the Toronto MiniMakerFaire
- became sponsor and host to OpenHamilton (Hamilton’s OpenData group)
- became sponsor and host to TOOOL (The GTHA Open Organization of Lockpickers)
- participated in the Function Keys Conference
…and most importantly, heading into our fifth year with renewed enthusiasm and a strong membership with ideas on how to make think|haus even more think|hausian.
Be Ambitious With Us.
I would like to thank everyone who came out to the TOOOL-TOR meeting tonight. I know I had a blast and hope everyone else had a good time as well I would also like to thank @JoeyColeman who kindly provided us with coffee as well as trays of fruits and goodies for the meeting. [Thanks Joey! It was tasty! ]
Here are some of the photos I snapped. Read the rest of this entry »
Hello folks, I wanted to draw attention to the Function Keys Conference happening this November 1st to 4th here in Hamilton. The conference is a kind of intersection between arts, technology and culture with some great presentations, demos and workshops. Included:
- Art/Science Collaborations as an Interdisciplinary Practice
- My Experience as a G20 Hacker
- Laser-Based Collaborative Space
- INCUBATOR LAB: Reproductive Technologies from Print Media to BioART
- Beyond the Uncanny Valley
- Intro to Quadcopters
- Public Participation in Visualization
- Mediated Reality – Past, Present and Future
- Plasticity of Flesh: Breeding and BioArt
- Augmented Reality and Grand Island’s Jewish Ghosts
Three of us at thinkhaus will be presenting too! Trevyn Watson will be giving the quadcopters talk, Richard Degelder will give a 3D printing demo, and I’ll be exploring the uncanny valley. Tickets and passes are on sale now. Please visit the Function Keys website for more information and venue details. http://functionkeys.ca
Hope to see you there!!!
I just wanted to thank everyone who came out to our first ever TOOOL meeting. It was a whopping success and you all helped make it happen! I would also like to send a very special thanks to Ken Owen who REALLY saved my ass!! We have not yet received our TOOOL care package and I figured I had about enough locks/picks to keep ~ 10 people busy, but I was very surprised by the 20+ people who showed up and, had it not been for Ken and his huge collection of locks/cuffs/etc. I would have been in real trouble We had some people drive in from the Niagara Region and even one person who drove in from Ottawa o.O! Pictures from the meeting are attached at the bottom of this post.
It is my pleasure to announce that Think|Haus will be hosting TOOOL (The Open Organisation of Lockpickers) meetings on the first Saturday of the month from 2pm-4pm. Our first meeting will be on Sat. Oct. 6th. Several of the Think|Haus members and friends have pick sets already, and we have the “lockpicking” locker full of old locks to practice with. On top of this, Deviant from TOOOL.us is sending us a care package of goodies The meetings are open to everyone (ie: you do not need to be a member of the hackerspace to attend) so feel free to drop in and check it out! Since it’ll be our first meeting we’ll likely spend a bit of time on some basic tutorials and the rules. We can do some picking, bumping, jiggling and maybe even some impressioning (limited # of vices and magnifying lamps may not make this easy to accomodate until we are better equipped). Come by and check it out! There will be something for everyone! For more information about The Open Organisation of Lockpickers check out the http://toool.us/ website. You can also sign up for our TOOOL mailing list over at http://lists.thinkhaus.org/listinfo.cgi/toool-discuss-thinkhaus.org to keep up with the latest news and announcements!
Edit 9/29/2012: For those who asked, we will have pick kits for sale at the meeting. The kits available will be the “Beginner’s Blend” set listed on the TOOOL.US website here: http://toool.us/equipment.html The cost will be $25 and unfortunately (for now) I’m only equipped to accept cash. Looking into electronic payment methods for future meetings.
We have wanted to add some features to the laser like Air Assist and possibly aiming sites for the laser to assist in seeing where the laser is going to cut. Recently George has been printing a cable chain, using a design from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:10946 that he enlarged a bit, for it. A cable chain is special in that it can curl in one direction but will remain straight in the opposite direction. At the same time it is hollow inside to allow, as in our case, for wires and tubes to safely run inside it.
We are going to have to print two chains, one to go along the x-axis and another for along the y-axis, but we are going along well. There is more than enough room within the cable chain for everything we want.
We have a new space, colocated with the Staircase Theatre on Dundurn Street. It’s a super sweet second floor, with tons of natural light (daystar!). The best thing about the new space is that it’s approximately the most accessible location in the city – Dundurn and King. We’ve got a floor plan worked out, with a chem / cnc room, workshop space, and loungey space.
Buildout week starts today! At the open|haus tonight, we’ll be moving the 175 2x4s we ripped out of the old space over to the new one. We’ll talk about how things will work during buildout week and how you can lend a hand. We’ll keep this page updated for folks who can’t make it out tonight.