Archive for category Administrivia

When it rains, build a geodesic dome

With rain on the way and a party imminent, did what anyone would do: build the geodesic dome and cover it with a Jeep parachute. Bonus of the parachute is it has Kevlar ropes that are very bounce-free.


The dome. Just going around and tightening it up.



Putting the parachute on top. Worked quite well as a rain cover. Played a bunch of games inside.


This is what the metal bars were. The shape is a general Level 2 isosphere that you may recognize from a soccer ball. 3 lengths of bars, clamp the ends, drill, and paint. Took about 3 hours to make with 3 people. If anyone is interested in the designs, just ask!


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Do you want to make a dinosaur?

We have wood. And a laser cutter. And designs. Here are the files, go and cut a dinosaur! Takes about 45 minutest to cut out, but drop a line and stop by! Three dinosaurs are here ready to cut. I sent them as a Secret Santa gift (pic shown) and they have been just sitting on my computer. Want to make one?


Three Dinosaurs

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Updates At ThinkHaus

The mill is moving!


The gearbox is fixed. The mill motor can be wired up and works. The collet was removed and opened. As well, a source of more collets was found and we may be able to get a whole set. All that is needed now is a box to put the motor capacitor in and a vice to clamp to the ways.

The kiln is very nearly done!


The wiring is done shy of the two heating elements that will be purchased from The Pottery Supply House and a sheet metal plate to cover the back. Now, moving forward a shed will need to be built and discussions with insurance will be needed, but it is very nearly done.

As for the stilts, the clips have not come. They were supposed to arrive by Friday…. And that was the second time I ordered them…. Anyways, they will sit/stand waiting.


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think|haus Computer Clinic – April 2015

Hello Everyone!

You are once again invited to join us for this months think|haus Computer Clinic on April 25th, 2015.

Need help with your computer problems? Join us from Noon to 3pm.

Admission is free to all, membership not required.

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open|haus 6th Anniversary

OpenHausOn this day in 2009, a group of individuals would come together for the first time.   During the following weeks while meeting in the basement of Freeway Coffee House, this unnamed group would come to create think|haus.  It wouldn’t be until June 1st, 2009 that we moved into a permanent residence on Niagara St. and really began to build our community. Over the next 8 or so weeks, we will pull out some of our pictures from over the years to share!

We are now located at 25 Dundurn St. North and have continued every Tuesday to open our doors at 7 pm to invite in the members of the general public.

We’d love for you to come in and show off the projects you’ve been working on or if you are stuck on a project and need other people to help you brainstorm answers we are here to help you with your questions too!

Whatever the skill level, you are always welcome in our ‘Haus’. We love teaching beginners the skills they need to succeed and sharping our own skill by learning from experts who drop by.

See you tonight @ 7pm

Google Map

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MiniMakerFaireToronto 2013!!!!



We’re going to the Toronto Mini Maker Faire — September 21 and 22 at the Wychwood Barns (former TTC streetcar facility)


You could come too if you get a ticket 🙂


Also, there will be moustaches… lots of moustaches.


UPDATE: Added the link where you can buy tickets. derp.

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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!)

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Future Is Already Here – Just Not Very Evenly Distributed.


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.

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Perfect Opportunity for a Hamilton 3D Printing Win-Win

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.


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Four years? Already?


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.

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