Hey gang, it’s time again for OMG’s annual Gingerbread House event. Note that this event has no actual gingerbread (we use graham crackers) and few, if any, “houses” in the traditional sense. In the past, we’ve seen locomotives, hobbit holes and skyscrapers.
This years’s event coincides with the regular meeting on December 19th. As usual, doors open around 5:30pm and people are usually around until 9 or 10pm. The start time is nominally 6pm, but realistically people will arrive and work on their construction whenever on that evening.
Frosting “mortar” and whatever decorations leftover from last year will be provided, but please consider bringing a box of crackers and some things to decorate with.
This is traditionally an “open house” sort of event, with folks bringing friends and family. The holidays are for group gatherings, after all.
Just a sneak preview of an upcoming “project” at OMG… Member Ben found a great old drill at Habitat ReStore, and it spawned a conversation about torture testing various drills under extreme circumstances. As a test, we pitted Ben’s drill against one of our cordless Ryobis… More “sciencey testing” to follow.
Remember, these sorts of things aren’t really planned or scheduled in advance; the best way to get involved is to show up a the space on our regular Tuesday meeting nights (along with off-week Thursdays, like tomorrow night). Doors typically open around 5:30, and you’re invited!
This past Tuesday, Jeff Jensen, a long time friend of OMG was at our regular meeting to get some help with mechanical assembly and soldering of a dozen CEENBoT units. Jeff is part of a program that develops the CEENBoT robots for education and the program has been so successful that Jeff is overloaded with requests for new robots, so several OMG members jumped in to help out.
We had several other visitors, including first-time guest Chris, who promptly jumped in to help out. This really embodies the spirit of OMG, creating an environment where folks feel comfortable getting involved in whatever’s going on.
A few weeks back, I caught a video on AvE’s YouTube channel of graphics drawn on an oscilloscope, given an audio input. Last week, Ben, Garrick and I decided to give it a try at OMG.
According to Garrick’s research earlier that week, “older scopes” do better with this sort of thing, and OMG’s scope is plenty old. We had to do some tinkering with the settings, and the phase, eventually arriving with the left channel on Input 2, alternating vertical and External trigger (ch2). It worked best if the laptop volume was turned clear up, as it gave the best signal to noise ratio.
We’d initially hooked the scope directly to a laptop headphone jack (through a spaghetti of cables), but as Eric pointed out “To be music, there’s gotta be…music”, and no devices we had would play on the headphone jack AND the internal speakers at the same time. We ended up hacking up a powered speaker to give us a stereo output and play both channels on a single speaker. This gives us something to feed the oscilloscope AND lets folks hear what the audio actually sounds like. In addition, it had a lot less noise than our initial mess of wires.
As for what we played, we just searched YouTube for “Oscilloscope Music”. Someone who works with Jeff mentioned Aphex twins “windowlicker” and “songs about my cat” by Venetian Snares as two examples of spectrographic songs.
We’re going to be celebrating the Omaha Maker Group’s 7th anniversary on Tuesday, August 29th. As has become our custom, the evening will include dinner, dessert and the awarding of the annual Founders’ Prize. In addition, I’ve dug up some photos from long ago, showing not only the old space, but also our current K Street space as it was when we first moved in.
Dinner starts around 6, meeting and awards at 7, and dessert thereafter. Additionally, we’ve come up with a few interesting things for a raffle, so we’ll be drawing for that after dessert. Still TBD, but there might be a special “show and tell” after dark… I still need to check with Garrick for details though 🙂
This is an “open house”-type event, and members are encouraged to bring guests. It’s a great opportunity to invite your Maker-inclined friends, family and co-workers to see our new and improved space and find out what the Omaha Maker Group is all about.
Please RSVP below, indicating whether you’ll attend for dinner, dessert, both or neither. Since food needs to be ordered in advance, please be RSVP’d by August 25th so we have an accurate-ish headcount.
For years, our makerspace has used a hodgepodge of solutions for storing members’ projects in progress and other personal belongings. Most recently, we’ve used a dozen or so plastic totes. The totes worked great, but were limited in quantity (they were industrial waste, and no more matching totes were available) so that not everyone could have one. Additionally, these totes were slightly trapezoidal, which wasted quite a bit of space between them.
To that end, Ben and Kevin undertook a project to convert personal storage to standard Letter/Legal Banker’s Boxes, which are readily available and pack more densely. They are a bit smaller than the totes we were using, but most members totes weren’t full, and we can store twice as many boxes in the same space.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make today’s booth at the Robotics Expo a huge success again this year. Â Booth volunteers included Ben, Don, Mike, Michael, Brandon, Nick and Jared, with material support from Patrick, Sarah, Eric, Dave and Katlynn. Â [Apologies in advance if I missed anyone].
If you weren’t able to make it out today, but would like to volunteer at some point in the future, just keep your eyes on the mailing list, as we’ll have several more opportunities throughout the year.
OMG’s innaugeral FirLumber Rally was a great success, with 17 cars competing. Â Official results will be posted shortly, but in summary, Dave’s electric cheater was the fastest, Eric’s elephant was the most creative, and Nate’s car was the least effort to build. Â Additionally, Dan’s kids’ cars were the fastest among the Squares.
Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural 2013 Founders’ Prize:
For Opening New Frontiers – Jay Hannah and Dave Knaack
For Operational Excellence – Eric Kaplan
As stated at the meeting, the categories for these awards are entirely arbitrary and subject to change in future years; Â Also, we estimate that this prize is roughly 1 million times easier to win than a Nobel Prize, and the cash award has been scaled accordingly.
As for the award for Operational Excellence, this prize is awarded to Eric Kaplan for consistent attention to “things that need done”; He’s involved in everything from staffing booths to designing marketing material and furniture for the space. Furthermore, he successfully facilitated the Makery’s relocation to our new home.