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College of Lockpicking Workshop - 11/20/12

college of lockpicking logo

You can pick your friends.
You can pick your beer.
But can you pick... a Lock?

Join us on Tuesday, November 20th, from 7-9pm at Ace Monster Toys, as we embark on an ancient mechanical adventure to explore the inner workings of a modern lock, first developed by the Mesopotamians and Egyptians over 4000 years ago. Led by lockpicker Eric Michaud, this workshop will cover - soup to nuts - everything you need to know about how common locks work... and how to pick them open.

Whether you're a complete novice curious to find out what pin-tumbler really means, a homeowner protecting your family's treasures, or a veteran lockpicker with questions about advanced locks and techniques, this event is for you! With 2 solid hours of history, mechanical diagrams ("lock pr0n"), and hands-on lockpicking instruction... first we'll open your minds, and then we'll open some locks!

To properly learn this ancient art, you will need the proper tools.  By registering for a ticket with a lockpick set, this guarantees you a seat at the workshop, and reserves - all for you - a brand-new 10-piece custom lockpick set made entirely in the USA, hand-picked by College of Lockpicking faculty to maximize utility for beginners and locksport enthusiasts alike, and offered for only $30.
If you already have some picks you're itching to practice with, you can bring them along and your workshop cost is only $30!

  • When: Tuesday, Nov 20th, 7-9pm
  • Where: AMT HQ, 6050 Lowell St #214, Oakland, CA 94608
  • How much:
    • $60 for class + lockpicks
    • $30 for just the class

BONUS: AMT members get $15 off a ticket!  (Check the mailing list to find out how!)

SUPER BONUS:  25% of the workshop fees collected go straight to AMT! Yay!

See ya there!

Camdax visits!

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.

Open House: Wednesday, October 24th - 7pm to 9:30pm

Please join us this Wednesday from 7 to 9:30pm for our Game Night and Open house

15% off of the admission price at East Bay Mini Maker Faire

We're almost a week away from EBMMF!

Save 15% off Addmission with the discount code: MONSTER
Tickets can be purchased through
What is EBMMF?  East Bay Mini Maker Faire is a full-blown community fair that celebrates making, invention and creativity.  This family-friendly event brings together science, art, craft, homesteading and engineering plus music, food, workshops, and performance, and showcases the amazing work of makers across the East Bay and beyond. For more information, schedule, list of makers, and tickets, check

Hacker Scouts Plushies in Action

Last Sunday at Hacker Scouts Open Lab few of the scouts made a little flick with their new creations.

Image courtesy of Rusty Blazenhoff

Hacker Scouts: Judo Bots

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:

Read More


Photos from the event thanks to Eugene Chan, here

We are grateful and honored that Hacker Scouts is resonating with so many families and hope see everyone on the first Sunday in October for our featured project: Spy Gadgets!

Mini Quadcopter fun at AMT

Cross-posted from Al's blog at

Tim O'Brien's mini-quadcopter

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.

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Ace Monster Toys is a non-profit hackerspace based in Oakland, CA, dedicated towards education, hacking, and maker culture.

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