We had a treat last night as Camdax came over for a visit, bringing his homemade Tesla Coil! We rocked out as he modulated some Metallica though the coil, reaching bolts 18-24 inches long. Check out the photos in our gallery.
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Last Sunday we had another amazing Open lab session of Hacker Scouts. With over 50 kids (plus their parents!) it was a full and active hackerspace event! Our featured project was Hydraulic Judo Bots . Other activities offered were: Learn to Solder, various advanced Soldering Kits, Compressed Air Rockets, and an LED Light-Up Bracelet Kit. We were also honored to have a reporter from NPR and from the San Jose Mercury News in attendance, both very interested and excited about what we are doing as a Maker community!
There were a couple observations we made at this Open lab that were very interesting to us:
Last night, we had our new semi-regular small open house at Ace Monster Toys. One of our members, Mark, had recently met another fellow, Tim O'Brien, and invited him to come by. While playing with a tiny toy (indoor) quadcopter that I picked up this week, Tim showed his scratch built mini-quadcopter. I gather from what he said (and what I see on his site), that he's been building and creating quads for couple of years now. Most of the ones that you see are much larger, roughly 18 inches or so across and actually kind of awe inspiring if you turn them on in an enclosed space (which I don't recommend). Some of us have been interested in mini or micro-quads because we'd like to be able to play with them inside of places like AMT or our homes and not just take our big flying lawnmowers to the park to fly. The fact that Tim had hacked a relatively nice one together of just that size made it rather fun to see and it was a nice coincidence that he showed up and brought it. Tim has a post on what I assume is a previous iteration of the same design where he built his own platform for it for a class he was in.
I took a brief phone video of him flying his in the space (pardon my shaking cam hands) that gives a sense of the size of it:
Since AMT has one member who regularly flies quads and something like four or five of us that have been building them but never really flown them, having someone with a few years of experience, including building from scratch, would be nice. (My big quad is fully built but completely uncalibrated for flight, for example, and Tim offered to help me calibrate it quickly.) I've asked Tim to come do a short presentation or introduction to quadcopters for some evening. We're going to figure out schedules so he can come to AMT for an hour or so some evening and talk about his work.