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Makers in action!

by on Apr.23, 2011, under Uncategorized

Fire GOOD!

Image by Kevin Dunn

Have YOU been following us for a while wondering just what we do? Are we just another gathering space for thinkers, doers and crafts people?

Well, here is something for you to sink your teeth into! Our very own Walter Stokes has created us a foundry for melting, smelting, metal work and cooking hot dogs! Ok. So maybe we don’t want to cook hot dogs in a foundry. We have Dru’s hot dog electrocution device for that… But, that’s another story!

If you have been following our Flikr page then you have seen the forge/foundry through it’s many evolutions from a forced air fed pile of fireplace bricks housing super heated coals, all the way to a full blown foundry!.

Walter cut down an old water heater for the outside shell of the foundry, filling the void between it and the cardboard concrete form with refractory cement. He also fabricated the combination oil drip feed, propane injector and blower unit from plumbing parts and a small shop vac. While the oil drip doesn’t yet have enough flow to be self sustaining, it definitely adds to the heat this baby creates! The flow problem will be addressed soon rendering the foundry able to keep heat enough to melt metals without having the propane running.

Friday the 22nd we fired it up for a test run. It was awesome to watch the swirling vortex of flames lick up the side of the container. The heat output was nothing short of awe inspiring as we struggled to stay close enough to get pictures. Soon enough though, we ran out of propane and the test run was called on the count of no gas.

If you want to see it in action, we are planning on firing it up again at the next space gathering on the 29th. If you haven’t had a chance to come visit us to see what we are all about, this would be a great opportunity to get to know us better!

Now that you have read this; Go out and MAKE something today!

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Midsouth Hackerspace Open for Use

by on Jan.04, 2011, under Uncategorized

Hope everyone had a great holiday and got to spend lots of time with loved ones, now that the holidays have passed it’s time to get back into the maker swing of things! I’ve got some great info to pass along about the space.

First off, we WILL be meeting @ Republic Coffee Friday 7pm! Hope to see everyone there. We’ll be discussing the space and some upcoming events such as our 3rd LAN party on April 2nd! Mark your calendars. There will be discussion forthcoming about a keg for the LAN, if you’d like to partake, please let us know your thoughts on what you’d like.

The space should now be considered open for use! But wait? what does that mean to you? It means you’re free to bring up any project to the space and work on in it whenever you’d like. If you plan to be working in the shop please remember that the shop is a shared workspace between us and our landlord, Glenn (And his 2 employees). If you’re working in the shop please be courteous in the respect that they may come up and need to use the shop as well. Please leave the shop as you found it (or better). If you need to leave your project in the shop as you’re working on it, please feel free to store it in the back room in the shop (on the left), the storerooms right by the gate (across from the house), or you can leave them in the house in the back room across from the refrigerator. It’s very important that everyone leaves the shop in the same condition (or better) as they found it. Glenn needs to be able to walk in and any time and be able to do his work without us getting in his way. At the same time there is a mutual respect that we won’t leave stuff in his way, and he’ll designate area’s for us to store/work where he won’t leave his stuff in our way. Our “designated” areas of the shop seem to be the left wall once you walk in, the back left room, and the general floor area of the shop. If you have a large project, feel free to work on it, if it’s going to be in the shop for an extended period of time, check with someone to make sure it’s being stored out of the way.

Materials in the space: There are a lot of materials in the space, and Glenn has graciously agreed to let us have access to them if we need. The rule of thumb here is we’re free to use anything there is an abundance of, so long as we don’t use it all. IE: Daniel was up at the space working on a table out of some of the materials this past weekend. If you’re not sure, feel free to shoot an email over and ask and we’ll get you an answer pretty quick.

We’ve currently got a couch + tables and chairs in the front room of the house if you need a place to chill or hang out. Free / Open Wifi (SSID: Midsouth Makers). Glenn is working on fixing the front window for us, once the repairs are complete we’re going to start our “library” in that front room and use it as another chill / hang out area. There are drinks in the refrigerator in the house. They are $0.50 / each. payment is on the honor system. You can drop cash in the plastic container in the freezer or you can drop some cash across Paypal. If you’re going to do Paypal for small amounts please do $5 or more (for 10 drinks), otherwise Paypal fees eat up the money you’re sending. If you’d like to donate drinks, feel free to drop in whatever you’d like into the fridge. If you don’t want to share something, please make sure you mark it with your name on it. We’ve also got a great looking logo on the front door thanks to John. If you’re going to spend some time in the house please make sure the thermostat is left between 58-64. I was there for about 5.5 hours last night and it was quite comfortable. Remember that trash pickup is Thursday morning, please don’t leave anything sticking out of the dumpster. If the dumpster is more than half full, wait until Tues or Weds night before filling it up, Glenn may have more to dump before it’s picked up.

If anyone is artistic or motivated enough, we’ve been cleared to paint / design a mural on the left wall of the shop (left wall when you walk in). If you have ideas or suggestions, speak up and lets hear it.

If you guys have any questions feel free to reply here, contact the board directly board@midsouthmakers.org

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Midsouth Hakerspace Information & Space Access

by on Dec.16, 2010, under Uncategorized

December 17th we’ll be handing out keys to all of our members. We’ll also have general information about the space to hand out along with your set of keys. If you’re not yet a member, click on the Membership link above to get started. We have a lot of work to do in the space. The house is pretty clean, however the yard and the shop are a wreck. We have a list of things to do we’ll share with everyone on Friday. There are TONS of raw materials for us to use for whatever we want. We’re all really excited to move into our space and we’ll see everyone Friday @ Republic Coffee.

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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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