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Memphis Area Makerspace Trys Its Hand At Soldering

by on Apr.19, 2010, under Events, Uncategorized, Workshops

Midsouth Hackerspace Learns to Solder

Midsouth Hackerspace Learns to Solder

So last Friday we had our very first workshop. We tried our hand at soldering. Despite a couple of burns, or two, or several, we hope everyone at least enjoyed themselves and the opportunity to introduce themselves to the world of discrete electronic components. So whether you were able to get your circuit to work or not, hopefully you at least learned how to solder. And hey, don’t get too terribly discouraged as you’ll have another shot on May 14th.

The circuit that we worked on was a 555 Timer based One-Shot (see monostable multivibrator.) The purpose of this circuit is to provide a steady, constant, digital signal that goes high for a predetermined amount of time no matter what the input trigger does and then shuts off until triggered again. In other words, no matter how many times you press the button on the circuit, the output generated will remain high for the set period and go off. Once it is off you can then press the button and it will repeat the same thing again. In the electronics world this is a very important, yet simple circuit. The 555 Timer is used in almost anything that requires a simple clock. Even more important for the purposes of our workshop, the circuit has several soldering points, and involves some creativity with component placement.

If you have any other questions about the circuit, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at [dhess at midsouthmakers dot org] and I can attempt to explain (or confuse you) even more. The links for the circuit diagram and Fritzing file should be below. If you have any issues getting to the files, just leave a comment.

Circuit Diagram: here.
Fritzing File: here.

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Local Memphis Hackerspace is Growing, Looking for a space

by on Apr.15, 2010, under Business, News

Looking towards the front of the space

Fellow Members, Builders, Tinkerers, Creators, and Makers,

Today, four of the board members met with a real estate agent, Bud Worsham, to scope out a potential space. We wanted to give Bud an idea of what we were about and what kind of space we were interested in. He showed us a small 1800 square foot warehouse at 132 Cumberland St. pictured is the inside of it. This did a couple of things for us. It gave us the feel of what we might be able to obtain as a group, a little better understanding of the interactions needed to obtain such a space, and an idea of cost that we could expect. The cost is slightly daunting at first, but is certainly not out of reach if we can all pull together to accomplish what we want.

At first glance it seems that everyone is very interested in the idea of having a space to work on projects and various other events. The catch is that everyone seems very interested, but lacks the interest to assist in the formation of a location of our own. This puts us in a very strange position. We need members to have funds, we need funds to have a space, and we need a space to have members. It becomes cyclical very quickly, and if we are unable to break that cycle, we will stagnate equally as fast. All of this means that we simply cannot do anything without biting the bullet, pulling together, and building our funds before we have a space.

With that being said, everything that we have asked for thus far in the way of dues is not mandatory. Since it is very obvious that we do not have a space to provide in turn for a fee, we are unable to set any sort of dues that could even remotely be considered mandatory. In fact, we never have, and never will set any type of mandatory payments so long as a space is not provided. It is best to instead consider this a pledge or donation to the group for a means to accomplish the goal that we have all expressed interest in. So currently we ask that anyone who wishes to assist us in moving forward, make a donation to the group. If it is a monthly pledge, fantastic. If it is a one time thing that you can do, wonderful. Every little bit helps, and we can’t make any of this possible without the help that you can provide.

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Midsouth Makers Meetings Moving to CBU

by on Mar.19, 2010, under Meetings

A small map of where we'll be.In case you have not been informed, hopefully you have, but just in case. The Midsouth Makers meetings are moving. As you can see from the location info on the right hand side here, we are now meeting in the Nolan Engineering Building at Christian Brothers University. Many thanks goes to Dr. Ventura and CBU for this one. They have been watching over us almost since our conception as a group, and had a reasonable amount of interest in what we are trying to accomplish. Even more so now than ever before, everyone is encouraged to bring anything you wish to show off to the meetings. We’ll have plenty of room and plenty more people who will be interested in the various projects found at our meetings. We hope that this new location will prove to be not only beneficial for us, but them as well. This will be a great opportunity for us to expand now that we have more breathing room. There are several interesting projects this year from the seniors so keep your fingers crossed, we just might get to check some of them out.

Directions are relatively simple, and we really hope you don’t get lost. You will park in the Central Ave. parking lot and head north towards campus where you will quickly see the Nolan Engineering building. Typically the glass doors closest to the parking lot are locked during the evening so you may wish to try the next set a little further down on the building. Once you’re inside just head up the stairs on either end of the building and we’ll be in room 241 (the numbers are listed over top of the doors.) For anyone that feels like they need it, there is an elevator in the center of the building. In the event that you do get lost we have one other measure in place. You’ll be able to find our signs around campus with our logo and arrows on them directing you to the room. If you have any issues, questions, or all around problems don’t hesitate to send an e-mail to info@midsouthmakers.org.

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Zombie Walk 2010

by on Feb.24, 2010, under Events

You got it, we have our very own Zombie Walk here in Memphis.  Who woulda thought that we would actually have something cool.  For those of you who aren’t into the geeky aspect of zombies, I do seriously apologize for the fun that you will miss out on.  Any who, this event has gone on since spring of 2007 and is back again for its fourth run.  Maybe this will be a good chance for us to get out there, have some fun, and put ourselves in a visible light while doing so.

The general idea is this.  You dress up like a zombie.  You meet a Beale St. dressed like said zombie.  When the walk begins, you “travel” (not exactly walk) down a predetermined path “attacking” the people that are clearly marked as “innocent bystanders.”  Rinse, eat brains, repeat.  Sounds like fun right?  Well then let’s make sure that some of us are there.  Hope there are plenty available to attend, and I hope everyone has a blast being slightly straaaaaaaaaaange.

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Feb 19th Meeting

by on Feb.23, 2010, under Meetings

My apologies for taking so long to get a post up about our last meeting.  The shortest and sweetest description of it I can give is, it was excellent.  To note before anything is said, I have the pictures at home.  They just aren’t put up yet.  I’ll edit the post and add them as soon as I can.

[Edit] As promised, pictures are now up.  Check out the Flickr and Facebook postings to see the rest.

We had a record number of people show up.  Quite well more than I think any of us expected.  A whole seven new people showed up, nearly doubling our attendance from the previous meetings.  To top it all off, four of those that showed up knew no one in the group previously, and found us entirely based on our web presence.  So welcome to all those that were brave enough to drop in.  For those that have yet to come, the new people showed up and left with all limbs intact.  We seriously try not to bite, and those that do are kept chained in the shed out back as pets.

In all the meetings seem to be improving as well.  We spent a bit of time covering various portions of our agenda, and had quite a bit more time dedicated to goofing off.  A few of us even managed to pick a lock or two this time around!  There was a lot of good discussion about the non profit status of the organization.  Some suggestions on places to go and people to contact about getting everything up and going.  There’s still a lot of research to be done, but we are certainly well on our way!  The idea was only thrown out there, but everyone definitely needs to be thinking and brainstorming about our bylaws as we’ll be working on our draft soon.  So everyone please keep the ideas rolling, we need every bit of help we can get.  At the end of it all, we finished what business there was to cover and really had a great time speculating what the group can accomplish and directions for it to head in.  Pretty much it came down to the idea that there is little we won’t be able to do.

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Random Quote

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t. — anonymous