2011 in Review!

Collage of 2011 events, projects, classes, etc.
It’s the time of year to look back over, celebrate, and briefly recap what we’ve done in 2011.
THANK YOU to everyone who made this a great year!
Special THANK YOUs to the non-members who came in to give talks and demos and who helped us bring new folks in to see the shop and become involved. This is a group effort and we appreciate everyone who has chipped in: current members, former members, and outside folks.

Brief highlights of what we did this year:

Mini Maker Faire Pittsburgh

Our BIGGEST event! On Oct 23rd we co-hosted with the Children’s Museum Pittsburgh’s First (Mini) Maker Faire. Almost every shop member participated in some way, many in large ways, and we had a great turn out. Several members had booths presenting their own projects as well.

MakerFaire Detroit
Our second Biggest event, involving many members of the shop; the PowerWheels Race Car was our shop-wide project for this event and we took second place in the drag race on our very first year competing.

We launched our fourth Near-Space Balloon on August 27th. Many members worked in advance of the flight, with our biggest launch team to date making the road trip to Ohio. The left-over helium was used for our follow on Ping Pong Ball Drop project, where over the course of nearly two months we launched over 120 ping pong balls; the furthest recovery was reported in upstate New York.

We appeared in HACK THIS by John Baichtal, including the Hack-Signal and the two balloon projects just mentioned.

Dayton Hamvention at the end of May was a big event for the Ham Radio operators in the shop and the second year we’ve been representin’ there.


From time to time we offer classes or workshops where we can go deeper in depth on a subject than we have time for during a Friday night talk. Classes are open to the public (past classes have drawn attendees from several states away). Our goal is community outreach and education as well as getting folks into and exposed to the shop and what we do here. (Instructors donate their time, ticket prices cover the cost of materials and little extra as a small fund raising.) This past year was soldering focused:
* Learn to solder with the Wayne & Layne Video Game Shield Kit
* Learn to Solder EL-Wire
* “The Maker Experience” – a special event for students of an English class at the University of Pittsburgh who had an evening in the shop, which included soldering.

Outside groups:

We open our space to several open-to-the-public outside groups who need a place to meet. Our goals here are to help out the larger community, and to get folks in to our shop who might not have exposure to it another way.

* The Pittsburgh Knot tying club
* The jQuery Users Group
* LoopPgh (Adobe and UX group)
* The Lock Picking Club
* Open Fabrication Users Group


* Mini Maker Faire Pittsburgh w/The Children’s Museum (see above)
* BirdBrain Labs has been bringing their Tech-To-Go Shop to our Friday night events for folks who need electronics delivered, or who want to pick up something on the spot.
* The Cyberpunk Apocalypse’s 2011 Cool-Off
* Python Coding Sprint (also a Friday Night event)
* Python Coding Spring for the Gibson project
* Cheerlights on Make Live – we hosted Hans Scharler from IOBridge and served as the set for his featured on Make Live! video about the Cheerlights project.

Friday Night events:

The shop is open to the public every Friday night with a talk, demo, or other event. Our goal is two fold: to get folks into the shop to see our space and what we do, and to provide education and entertainment to our members and the community. Presenters come both from our membership ranks and outside folks; they donate their time to come in and talk about, and sometimes demo, the cool stuff they’re doing.

Connecting an Arduino to an Android Phone

Transit in Pittsburgh, Open Maps, etc.

Intro to Inkscape and EMSL’s Egg-Bot

Crafting night

Making Oil Lamps

Making Bath Fizzies

Intro to Schematics and Circuit Simulation

Intro to Beekeeping

Intro to Man-in-the-middle Network Attacks

CMKT-4 (a “Prehistoric Circuit Bent Acid Rock” Band)

Intro to Circuit bending (w/ Kevin Smith from CMKT-4)

Hacking Guns

Yurt Building

Intro to EL-Wire

Intro to APRS: xastir and APRSIS (Ham Radio)

Intro to GIBSON (network intrusion visualization)

Intro to Robotics

Frequent Flyer Hacks

Intro to Needle Felting

LED Yarn Bombing

Intro to Vacuforming

Kipp – Network HoneyPots

Green Cleaning

Interaction and Industrial Design: IxDA and ISDA

IOBridge: Demo of Upcoming Products

Miracle Fruit Tasting

Spark Gap Speakers

CypherStyles: Turn Your Hobby into a Business

SpareRoom Shop’s Vinyl Cutting demo

Obscure Games

LEDs and Needle Felting: Glowing Ghosts

Intro to OpenSCAD and 3D Printing

Make your own Candles

Make your own Didgeridoo

Making holiday ornaments with EMSL’s Egg-Bot

Making Origami Ornaments

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