Mar 202013

LCD backlight teardown

These are seven layers of a backlight from an old laptop LCD. The amount of optical engineering required to produce a nice, even glow from an edge-lit panel is impressive.

Backlight filters

(Be careful if you’re taking one apart yourself– until recently many LCDs were backlit by CCFLs, which contain a small amount of mercury and need to be disposed of properly.)

 Posted by at 5:31 pm
Feb 282013

Ranjit Bhatnagar, Nick Vermeer and William Ward of NYC Resistor have teamed up with Brooklyn Ballet to create a mixed-medium performance involving captivating dancers and realtime stylized visualization of their choreography.

Performances Feb 28, March 1, 2, 8 & 9 at 8PM, with matinee performances March 3rd and 10th at 4PM for the early-to-bed crew.

Actors Fund Arts Center, 160 Schemerhorn, a 10 minute walk from NYC Resistor!

$25 ($15 for you poor students or distinguished seniors!) tickets here!



(Tools used will be discussed later, I’m going to get some sleep. — wwward)

 Posted by at 12:41 am
Feb 232013

Raspberry Pi's for sale

Raspberry Pi Model B (512 MB with wired Ethernet) boards are now available in the NYC Resistor vending machine! You can take one home during Craft Night on Thursdays or Laser Night on Mondays. Ask a NYCR member for help with purchasing these awesome embedded Linux boards if you don’t have nine $5 bills on hand since the vending machine doesn’t accept $10 or $20 bills.

 Posted by at 7:22 pm
Feb 202013

We are pleased to announce that Shelby Arnold, paper engineer and pop-up artist extraordinaire, will be joining us for Make-Along:  Paper Edition.  Be driven insane by the non-euclidean forces at work as Shelby Arnold demonstrates her ability to create a third dimension from a sheet of, what was until now, merely two dimensional paper. She bears the mystifying mark of the POP UP BOOK and she will share her bent, nay, folded visions with YOU.

But have no fear!  Behind these folded spaces and twisted geometries of this hidden universe is a delightful workshop in paper crafting.  Open your mind to origami, kirigami and book binding in a comfortable and fun setting, for only they will protect you from the horrors of plain old flat paper.

Make-Along:  Paper

Saturday, February 23, 1 to 4pm, $10 (Includes materials, tools and treats)

Click here to reserve your seat.

Feb 202013

Hello fellow makers! On Sunday I launched an Indiegogo campaign for an accordion folded booklet with pop-ups and illustrations that I’ve been working on for about 6 months. I’m pre-selling copies so that I can afford the initial printing fees. Please consider buying one if you like my project! Here’s the link:

I had a lot of fun putting this piece together, pop-ups are the best!

By the way, if you like pop-ups too, you might want to come to our Paper Make-Along this Saturday, Feb 23, from 1-4pm. I’ll be there, and I’ll have a mockup of the concertina if you want to take a look at it in person. Besides pop-ups, we’ll also have origami, bookbinding, kirigami, and more!


Feb 182013

Happy Year of the Snake! We’re celebrating the first full moon of the new lunar year with a lantern festival! We’ll meet in Prospect Park on Sunday, February 24, to share our homemade lanterns. And to get ready, we’re holding a lantern-building workshop on Saturday the 23rd at NYC Resistor!

up close and personal

lantern photo by jnthnhys

Lantern-Building Workshop
Saturday, February 23, 5-8PM
$10, for adults (though you’re welcome to make laterns for your kids, and kids can attend on Sunday)
Please RSVP through eventbrite.

Build colorful, safe glowing lanterns with LEDs!

We’ll supply: construction materials and tools, bottomless box of light-emitting diodes, soldering help.
You bring: ideas, 9 volt batteries, colorful tissue papers or plastics, transparent jars/jugs/boxes, portable objects you’d like to decorate with lights, colorful blinky toys, etc.

Lantern Festival
Sunday, February 24, 5:15pm-sunset
$FREE, open to all ages
No RSVP necessary

Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Picnic area just north of Picnic House (enter at Prospect Park West and 5th Street)
[park map, google map]
The closest subways are 2/3 at Grand Army Plaza, and F at 7th Av.
If you have trouble finding us, call Ranjit at 646-270-2694.

Bring your handmade lanterns to show off, whether you made them at the workshop or at home! We’ll have hot cider and s’mores ; bring some snacks to share if you like. As it gets dark we’ll parade our lanterns north to Grand Army Plaza.

Please: NO FIRE! Don’t bring any lanterns that use candles, flames, or heat. Electric lamps, LEDs, flashlights, and glow sticks are all good ways to make fire-free lanterns.

Feb 072013

Felting Needles

felting needles

Resistor had it’s first crafting Make-Along recently. Our theme: Felting. We started with wool roving, which is wool that has been carded or combed in preparation for being spun. It looks a bit like cotton candy. Roving can be felted by agitating it, causing the individual fibers to knot together. One way to do this is to poke a bundle of roving repeatedly with a felting needle, which has tiny grooves that catch and pull at the fibers to tangle them. This is particularly effective for delicate work, and is a nice tool for creating small balls and creatures and for doing applique.

felted creatures

felted balls and creature

Another way to felt is to wet and rub the fibers. We made some felted soaps this way. We started with glycerin soap, wet it and wrapped roving around it, and then moistened it again with hot water to press the fibers onto the soap. After this the soap was dropped into a plastic bag and rubbed until frothy and matted. Then we rinsed them, and left them to dry. The result is a decorative, scrubby soap. Designs are created by felting onto the roving before wrapping it around the soap. Surprisingly the wetting and rubbing procedure doesn’t distort the design.

felted soap

felted soap

Felting can also be a creative way to repair clothes. One of our felters at the Make-Along brought a sweater with a hole in it, and felted on a flower on as a patch.

At our next Make-Along we’ll be working with paper. We’ll have patterns, ideas, and some supplies, but you can also bring your own projects and supplies. Here’s a little inspiration.

 Posted by at 7:41 pm
Feb 032013

As midnight approached this New Year’s Eve– as champagne bubbled from uncorked necks and we all prepared for the coming year in various postures of revelry or bleak resignation– I grappled silently with the pivotal question of our time: “How awesome are robots?” The answer is of course that robots are completely awesome. That settled, I resolved to build one robot a month for the duration of 2013.

Much to the chagrin of Brooklyn’s legion of artisanal slow-cooking egg-boilers, January’s robot is a an automaton for preparing soft-boiled eggs for human consumption.

This was a junkbot, assembled from various scraps that have ended up in the space over the years. Expert junkspotters will note:

  • The heating element and thermistor from a trashed mini-espresso machine
  • One 250mL beaker of questionable provenance
  • Some off-brand extruded aluminum
  • Skate bearings
  • A haunted steel counterweight
  • Lots of lasercut acrylic and delrin
  • Some chunks of 4×4 sliced out of the loft supports from the original NYCR location
  • A couple of analog servos and a DC motor from the junk drawer
  • One half of a L298 from a driver board I designed in 2005
  • Some relays from sharesville
  • A button from a reflow oven
  • Random bolts, plywood, etc.

The whole shebang was controlled by a Teensy 2.0 and powered from a bench supply (except the heating element which was run off of 120VAC, which is why the lights keep dimming during the video).

All the code and CAD files are in my Github repo, as usual. Special thanks to Charles Pax for donating the boiler from his busted coffeemaker, Eric Skiff for providing the tunes for the video, Nick Farr for a last-minute game-changing special Club Mate delivery, and everyone at NYCR for indulging my little robot habit.

 Posted by at 10:56 pm
Jan 242013

Make music – or funny noises – with technology! On Saturday, February 16th, learn to make a soft and cuddly electronic synthesizer, and on Sunday the 17th, use the power of the LAZZZOR to make whistles and ocarinas!

Soft Circuits 2: The SofTone! Saturday, February 16, 2013 from 2PM – 5PM
Learn to use conductive thread and fabric with an inexpensive microcontroller to turn a piece of cloth into a simple electronic synthesizer. No electronics, programming, or sewing experience is necessary – but I’m hoping some embroiderers will take this class and really make something beautiful! All materials are included. Here’s a video:

Click here to buy tickets for Soft Circuits 2 on EventBrite.

Laser Whistles: Sunday, February 17, 2013 from 2PM – 5PM
Just like our regular laser class, only more whistly. In this class, you’ll learn the principles of the computer-aided laser cutter, what materials are safe to cut, and how to create your designs in Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. Plus you’ll learn how whistles work, and design and fabricate your own! After you’ve taken this class, you’re qualified to use the laser cutter at a discounted rate at NYC Resistor’s open nights. All materials are included, but please bring a laptop with Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. Here’s some of the whistles we made in a previous class:

laser whistles

laser whistles on flickr

Click here to buy tickets for Laser Whistles on EventBrite.

 Posted by at 5:37 pm
Jan 212013

Timesquare assembly animated GIF

Have you ever wanted to wear an Arduino on your wrist and tell the time with a giant LED matrix? Then you’ll love this three hour class at NYC Resistor that I’ll be teaching on February 9th. During the class you can learn how to solder through-hole components as we put together the Adafruit Timesquare DIY watch kit, and afterwards we will extend the watch firmware to add a new feature to the watch.

This class is a great introduction to soldering and some advanced embedded programming techniques. The coin-cell powered Timesquare watch isn’t exactly a normal Arduino and is very CPU limited, so techniques for limiting power consumption, waking up from deep sleep with interrupt handlers, low voltage brownout detection and some inline AVR assembly will be discussed. If you just want to learn to solder and have a very stylish wristwatch, you don’t have to stay for the walkthrough of the firmware.


Included in the class price for every student is a pre-programmed Adafruit Timesquare watch kit and an FTDI cable for re-programming it (a $49 value). You’ll need to bring your own laptop with the Arduino IDE installed to flash new firmware onto the device if you are staying for the advanced portion of the class.

Click here to buy tickets at eventbrite!

 Posted by at 9:03 pm