Jigsaw Renaissance is a learning and making community based out of Seattle, WA. It was founded in 2009 out of a Transhumanist Discussion Group.
Jigsaw’s new home is Inscape, the rennovated Immigrant Detention Center of Seattle, now full of artist lofts and robots. Jigsaw was in a temporary space for several months while they removed the questionable chemicals and did a custom build-out for the permanent home. And here it is – all sealed concrete floors and freshly painted walls. There is a huge classroom, a seperate space for the loud and dirty activities, and a shared workspace. There are still some improvements to make, but it’s ours and it’s home. You can come check it out February 11th for our house warming if you find yourself in Sunny Seattle.
Moving your Hacker/Maker Space is a Big Undertaking
Here are some things you should think about:
Do you need to move?
The moving process
What have your experiences been? Add them in the comments!
Thanks to Michael Park, Jigsaw blogger extraordinaire, for the lovely images.
Last year we launched our Skill Builder series on the site, a monthly educational program exploring core maker skills (electronics, woodworking, metalworking, etc.). We think we got off to a good start and want to continue building on that content. But this year, we’re approaching the skill sets from a different angle: The materials that go into what you build. So, over the coming year, each month, we’ll be featuring a different material (or category of material) and how it is used in various projects and areas of making.
To start things off, we’ll be covering Advanced Materials. For the rest of January, we’ll be looking at things like new conductive materials, soft circuits, shape-memory alloys (SMA), ferrofluids, and more.
We’re also going to have Maker Profiles each week celebrating the work of someone who’s doing amazing things with the materials that we’re featuring. And we’ll have articles explaining the materials, where/how to source them, how to use them, etc. And we’ll have new content in Make: Projects.
We’re excited about this series and are looking forward to delving deeper into the tools, techniques, and materials used in making. Stay tuned…
Recently, I visited Switch Vehicles, which is near the MAKE office in Sebastopol. They have produce a three-wheel electric car, which will be sold as a kit later this year. I met the founders, Peter Oliver, Jim McGreen, and Mark Perlmutter in what was formerly a Ford dealership and now is occupied by a variety of makers, mechanics, and entrepreneurs. Their goal is to connect with makers and carve out a new DIY niche in the electric car market.
Peter, who is an engineer and programmer, began teaching a class in electric car conversions at the Santa Rosa Junior College. “It’s going to take a person 450-500 hours to do a car or truck conversion,” he explained, adding that his course was based on modifying a Chevy S-10 truck. “It’s just not practical for most people to spend that much time on a conversion,” he said. That led him to think about developing a kit, which might take 30-40 hours to build. He connected with Jim McGreen, who was the founder of ZAP, which produced electric scooters and trikes, but had the original goal of building electric cars.
Peter said that this electric car comes in under 1300 pounds and qualifies as street legal as a motorcycle. The target price for the kit is somewhere between $10-$15K. They expect to be able deliver kits in August 2012. Their goal is to “start at a rock bottom price with a bare bones model that can be upgraded when owners are ready.” For instance, a wide range of covers or shells are possible add-ons.
I had to take it for a short test drive:
Two things were really interesting to me. One was how fast it accelerated. The other was the feeling of being in an open-cockpit where you can see the wheels turning and you can see the road. I imagine it’s something like the feeling of a race car.
Here’s a driver who got the car up to speed, squealing tires and all:
Here’s another driver having some fun fishtailing on wet pavement:
We’ll be following the progress of Switch Vehicles and we hope to have them at Maker Faire this year.
Remember, just because Weekend Projects is on break at the moment, that doesn’t mean you can’t send us your stories and pictures of your mods! Belfast-based hacker David writes in with this awesome upcycled Light Theremin, built on an otherwise discarded dot matrix printer circuit board. He explains:
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This is a bit of an unusual review, for two reasons: First, I can’t tell you exactly what model the tool in question happens to be, and second, regardless of exactly which model it is, it hasn’t been manufactured, as such, for many decades. Dymo still makes a 1/2″ metal-embossing labelmaker under its Rhino brand, but it is quite expensive, listed at $250 on the Dymo website as of this writing. I haven’t used that model, but I can’t imagine that for my limited home and hobby purposes it would be worth the cost.
But the $25 I spent to snag this old, used model of what is essentially the same tool was definitely money well spent. And if you want one of your own, an eBay search on “tapewriter” turns up a half-dozen analogous models priced less than $30, as of this writing.
If you’ve ever used one of Dymo’s small 1/4″ or 3/8″ plastic-embossing labelmakers (and who hasn’t?) you already understand how this tool works, and how to operate it. But in terms of construction quality and durability, the Tapewriter is as far removed from those cheap plastic embossers as a Mercedes is from a Kia. It’s 10″ long, weighs almost two pounds, and is made almost entirely from cast aluminum, with steel fittings here and there, and all held together with machine screws. The only polymer in the thing, as far as I can tell, is a rubber friction coating on the internal tape drive wheels.
When it arrived in the mail, I took it out of the box in the condition you see here. I loaded it with a new roll of 1/2″ aluminum embossing tape (which is still manufactured, with and without adhesive, and costs about $5 a roll) and found it worked perfectly.
Embossed aluminum is pretty much the ultimate labeling material. Without wanting to be morbid, there is a reason why military services around the world choose it for personnel identification tags. Secured with mechanical fasteners, instead of adhesives, an embossed aluminum label will stand up for years against water, extremes of heat and cold, prolonged direct sunlight, and any organic solvent you care to throw at it. This is a true “industrial-grade” labeling tool, and if you can snag a used one for a reasonable price, you can expect a lifetime of use from it.
I hope this helps, and that your friend makes a speedy recovery. Please let us know how your project works out. And for readers, please give any suggestions you have for Phil in the comments.
Circuit Milling With Roland iModela. My friend Davide from the Arduino team writes…
Not something you’ll see at CES :) This is really cool, lots of people will be able to quickly crank out shields on site for the Arduinos at workshops and/or at home.
This time around on Tiny Yellow House, I decided to mess around with passive solar heat so as to warm the always-cold front foyer of my home. The result: a smallish, closeable, passive solar collector that fits into a window opening. Its not rocket science (and it NEVER will be here on Tiny Yellow House) but it does work, even in January, in New England.
The NEW version of my book Humble Homes, Simple Shacks is out in a week or two! Check it out (part of this design is from that book).
Subscribe to the Tiny Yellow House podcast in iTunes, download the m4v video directly, or watch it on YouTube and Vimeo.
Uwe Oehler has written a simple program that prints out fold-up paper templates for the conic sections that make up the reflective surface of a Fresnel mirror. Cut the templates out of cardboard, cover the cardboard with aluminum tape, fold up the sections, and apply them to a flat backing. Even the relatively simple, five ring, 59% coverage reflector shown in the video will burn holes in construction paper under modest sunlight. [via Hack a Day]
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