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Hack This: 24 Incredible Hackerspace Projects from the DIY Movement

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Hack This: 24 Incredible Hackerspace Projects from the DIY Movement


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  • Copyright 2012
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-4897-5
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-4897-3

Join today’s new revolution in creativity and community: hackerspaces. Stop letting other people build everything for you: Do it yourself. Explore, grab the tools, get hands-on, get dirty…and create things you never imagined you could. Hack This is your glorious, full-color passport to the world of hackerspaces: your invitation to share knowledge, master tools, work together, build amazing stuff–and have a flat-out blast doing it.

Twin Cities Maker co-founder John Baichtal explains it all: what hackerspaces are, how they work, who runs them, what they’re building—and how you can join (or start!) one. Next, he walks you through 24 of today’s best hackerspace projects…everything from robotic grilled-cheese sandwich-makers to devices that make music with zaps of electricity. Every project’s packed with color photos, explanations, lists of resources and tools, and instructions for getting started on your own similar project so you can DIY!


• Kung-fu fighting robots

• Home-brewed Geiger counter

• TransAtlantic balloon

• Twitter-monitoring Christmas tree

• Sandwich-making robot

• Interactive Space Invaders mural

• CNC mill that carves designs into wood, plastic and metal

• Telepresence robot that runs an Internet classroom

• Toy cars that are ridden by people

• Bronze-melting blast furnace

• Laptop-controlled robot fashioned from a wheelchair

• DIY book scanner

JOHN BAICHTAL is a founding member of Twin Cities Maker, a hackerspace organization that has been collaborating for almost two years. Based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, Twin  ities Maker has its own rented warehouse complete with a welding station, woodshop, classroom, and ham radio transmitter. Baichtal has written dozens of articles, including pieces for AKE, the D&D publication Kobold Quarterly, and 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. He has contributed to Wired.com’s GeekDad blog for four years and blogged at Make: Online for two, publishing more than 1,500 posts during that time. He is now writing a book about Lego.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Hack This: Milkymist VJ Console Hackerspace Project

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 6 and Index)

Table of Contents

Foreword  1

Introduction: The Bleeding Edge of the DIY Movement  3

    It’s All About the Community  3

    Hackerspace U  5

    The First Wave of Hackerspaces  7

    Hackers on a Plane  8

    The First Hackers  9

    Hackers and Crime  10

    Pranks  11

    A Love of Community  12

Project 1: Karate Champ Game  15

    Hackerspace Profile: The Hack Factory  16

    The Hack Factory Space Details  16

    The Project  17

Project 2: Sudo Make Me a Sandwich Robot  29

    Hackerspace Profile: NYC Resistor  30

    Space Details  30

    The Project  31

    Basic Building Steps  36

    Further Reading  37

Project 3: Networked Geiger Counter  39

    Hackerspace Profile: Tokyo Hackerspace  40

    Tokyo Hackerspace Details  40

    The Project  41

    Further Reading  48

Project 4: Glass Block LED Matrix  49

    Hackerspace Profile: Hive13  50

    Space Details  50

    The Project  51

Project 5: Bronze-Melting Blast Furnace  57

    Hackerspace Profile: Quad City Co-Lab  58

    The Project  59

Project 6: Milkymist VJ Console  65

    Hackerspace Profile: /tmp/lab  66

    Space Details  66

    The Project  67

    Further Reading  74

Project 7: White Star Trans-Atlantic Balloon  75

    Hackerspace Profile: LVL1  76

    Space Details  76

    The Project  77

    Further Reading  87

Project 8: Twitter-Monitoring Christmas Tree  89

    Hackerspace Profile: Alpha One Labs  90

    Space Details  91

    The Project  91

Project 9: Live Wire Go Game  99

    Hackerspace Profile: BrmLab (Hackerspace Prague)  100

    Notable Equipment  100

    Space Details  100

    The Project  102

Project 10: Hack Signal  109

    Hackerspace Profile: Hack Pittsburgh  110

    Space Details  110

    The Project  111

Proeject 11: TARDIS Photobooth  119

    Hackerspace Profile: Pumping Station: One  120

    Space Details  121

    The Project  121

Project 12: Interactive Space Invaders Mural  129

    Hackerspace Profile: Metalab  130

    Space Details  130

    The Project  131

    Further Reading  138

Project 13: Telepresence Robot  139

    Hackerspace Profile: XinCheJian  140

    Space Details  140

    The Project  141

    Further Reading and Viewing  149

Project 14: The Polyplasmic Arcophone  ..151

    Hackerspace Profile: The Perth Artifactory  152

    The Project  153

Project 15: DIY CNC Router  159

    Hackerspace Profile: Harford Hackerspace  160

    Space Details  161

    The Project  161

    Building the Model  166

    Converting the Model to Toolpaths  166

    Further Reading  168

Project 16: LED Matrix Gaming System  169

    Hackerspace Profile: Forsknings-avdelningen  170

    Space Details  170

    The Project  171

    Additional Resources  178

Project 17: MAME Cabinet  179

    Hackerspace Profile: theTransistor  180

    Space Details  180

    The Project  182

Project 18: Book Scanner  189

    Hackerspace Profile: Ace Monster Toys  190

    Space Details  190

    The Project  191

    Further Reading  198

Project 19: OpenDuino  199

    Hackerspace Profile: syn2cat  200

    Space Details  200

    The Project  202

    Further Reading  208

Project 20: Project-a-Sketch  209

    Hackerspace Profile: HAC:Manchester  210

    Space Details  210

    The Project  211

Porject 21: Power Racing Car  217

    Hackerspace Profile: Milwaukee Makerspace  218

    Space Details  218

    The Project  219

Project 22: Party Land Pinball Game  227

    Hackerspace Profile: Garoa Hacker Clube  228

    Space Details  228

    The Project  229

    Further Reading  234

Project 23: Store Front Music  235

    Hackerspace Profile: Collaborative Research Association of Social

    Hacktivity  236

    Notable Equipment  236

    Space Details  236

    The Project  238

    Further Reading  245

Project 24: Wheelchair Robot  247

    Hackerspace Profile: Noisebridge  248

    Space Details  248

    The Project  250

    Conway’s Game of Life  255

    Additional Resources  257

Do It Yourself  259

    Spread the Word  260

    Decide on an Organization Type  261

    Name Your Group  262

    Hold Meetings  263

    Create Bylaws and Rules  264

    Choose Leaders  265

    Raise Money 266

    Find a Space  268

    Equip the Space  270

    Make Improvements  273

    Keep It Clean  273

    Secure the Space  274

    Be Safe  274

    Resolve Conflicts  275

    Share Everything  275

    Recruit New Members  .276

    Teach Classes  277

    Help the Community  277

    Now What?  278

Hackerspeak  281


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