Sep 302010

Make your own Arduino and learn to program it! One of our most requested classes is back – come join us Sunday at noon and get started with Arduino, soldering, and electronics. There’s so much fun stuff you can do once you’ve got an Ardunio and some basic skills and this class gets you set up with both. No previous skills (programming, or soldering) required.

Sign up here

This is your friendly introductory class to soldering and micro-controllers. In this three-hour class we will:

  • Solder together a Freeduino board (an Arduino Duemilanove-compatible board)
  • learn how to program it using the Arduino environment
  • wire up several circuits and load up code to read sensors and light LEDs
  • cover variables, functions, basic Arduino functionality
  • show you how to get more help in the future for all your projects
  • When you leave, you’ll have a micro-controller, a mini-USB cable, a power supply and a few programs to play with.

Please bring a laptop with the Arduino environment on it. It’s available at

You can register for the class here

Sep 282010

New parts on playfield

Pinball Hacking!

Juca will speak on building an Arduino-controlled pinball machine from scratch! Topics will cover reverse-engineering the “PARTY Land” game from the 1993 Amiga video game, “Pinball Fantasies.” Many of us pined for our own pinball machines as children – come learn how to roll your own.

When? THIS THURSDAY – 6PM – Coincident with NYCR’s excellent Craft Night!

Speaker: Felipe “Juca” Sanches

  • “Pinball Hacker”
  • Inkscape and GNU LibreDWG developer
  • founding member of Garoa Hackerspace in São Paulo, Brazil
 Posted by at 12:39 am
Sep 202010

NYC Resistor was invited to join a 21 day hacking competition against 4 other hackerspaces. The competition video is hosted by Mitch Altman of Noisebridge, VIMBY, and Scion. Our episode will be featured next week!

Zoom out on logo

Episode 1 is here on VIMBY.

Meeting called to order!

Meeting called to order!

Mr. Stabby and Envelope

Mr. Stabby delivers the envelope containing the challenge.

NYCR huddle

Awesome assignment

Slot Machine entering NYCR

Slot Machine entering NYCR

Max hacking the interface

Max hacking the interface

Adam and Herb drill the machine

Adam and Herb "drill" the machine on Bartending 101


Our humble little BarBot


VIMBY Player in action

Go to VIMBY and watch Episode 1 now!

 Posted by at 5:28 pm
Sep 172010

It's hard to imagine that 15 years have passed since Hackers came out. It seems like only yesterday we were grimacing through the bad acting and worse "technology" references that Hackers brought to life.

Whether you love or hate the movie, everyone can agree that the 15th Anniversary Party is the perfect excuse to dress up in ridiculous looking retro clothing and drink with a bunch of other wannabe cyberpunks. In other words, it will be a typical night in Williamsburg.

More information on the party Kickstarter Page

Sep 142010

Wanna make a 1/10 scale trebuchet to test out your PunkinChunkin design?

Do you have a great holiday gift idea in your head that laser cut rapid prototyping would help you realize? Hmmm.

Wish you could make a Pop-up but are afraid you’ll cut yourself with an Exacto knife?

Come take the laser class! It cuts wood, acrylic, paper, foamcore, leather, acetal, mylar and a lot of other things. We’ll teach you all the basics to get you cutting your own designs.

Click here to sign up for the October 2nd class.

 Posted by at 1:15 am
Sep 132010

Andrew O’Malley
Hacker in Residence @ NYCResistor, Summer 2010

Hi, I’m Andrew O’Malley, a Canadian new-media artist with a formal background in Electrical Engineering.  Back in July, my wife, Deborah, and I relocated from Ottawa, Ontario to NYC for the summer, and the kind folks at NYC Resistor graciously opened up their space to me as “hacker/artist in residence” for July and August.

Before arriving in NYC, I spent a busy spring developing a line of decorative, animated light boxes built into wood and acrylic enclosures.  Some were based around LED screens from Sure Electronics populated with retro video game animations and random drawing algorithms:

While others featured diffused grids of LEDs driven with sinusoidal and random algorithms:

I set up a shop at Makers Market and have been selling these boxes on-line since the spring of this year.  A primary goal of my time this summer was to further this line of fixtures with an open-source clock kit featuring multiple animations for displaying the time both literally and abstracted. Working with NYCResistor was a perfect pairing for this project thanks to their extensive electronics resources/tools, and fabrication tools – Tool Town and the laser.

Before setting to work on the clock project, however, a great “distraction” arrived in town in the form of The Next Hope.

The conference and energy of all the attendees was inspiring, and really deserves a blog post of its own.  In short, it was a great way to get my gears going. Even the badge was memorable:

I didn’t get a chance to do any badge hacking, but was thoroughly impressed with Adam Mayer’s “doppelganger” firmware which cloned and rebroadcast the id of nearby badges . . .

Back at Resistor headquarters, my clock screens had yet to arrive so I turned my attention to a few other random projects.  The first was hacking the Disco Chip, a break-out board from Rachel’s Electronics in NYC.

The Disco Chip takes a mic or line input, and drives an RGB LED to the low, mid, and high frequencies of the input audio, most likely to drive keypad backlights in mobile phones.  I’d like to take advantage of all that small footprint filtering to control more LEDs, or anything else for that matter, so I worked on sampling the LED drive signals into the analog inputs of an Arduino.  Thus far I’ve had average results, and need to spend more time finessing the system. I’ll soon be writing a detailed post about this for my project blog.

In the meantime, an Ottawa-based deadline was creeping up on me so it was onto another project, and thankfully some of my LED screens had arrived:

The above piece was for a charity art auction called “Portraits of Bluesfest 2,” and featured two 24×16 LED screens displaying random Tweets mined from during the Ottawa Bluesfest in July.  I won’t repeat the whole back story on this one, which you can read here. This project proved a great opportunity to finally fire up NYCR’s laser cutter and make something pretty.

By this time, I’d accumulated all the parts I needed to get started on the clock project, so I soldered up a prototype:

Adafruit has a nice tutorial on the DS1307 RTC chip, so I had a simple clock up and running pretty quickly.

Next it was back to the laser cutter to fire off a nice little enclosure:

Here’s a video showing a few of the animations I’ve programmed so far:

DOTKLOK prototype preview from The Latest Artists on Vimeo.

The final kit should be ready sometime in October, and will most likely feature a black and smoked acrylic case, with the choice of a red or green LED screen.  I’m going to source some classier buttons, but their position remains undecided: along the bottom, or on the sides?  I’d love to hear people’s preferences on button placement, please share your thoughts in the comments!

I think I became what they call “laser crazy,” as I started another project based on my access to the laser cutter.  This one is a multi-panel, edge-lit design, depicting the iconic New York subway map, with a different colored subway line on each panel:

This piece is destined for an annual show back in Ottawa called Candela, dedicated to light as an artistic medium.  Here’s the formal proposal for the project which describes the entire piece, including an animated simulation written with Processing.

I had a few projects on the go outside of Resistor headquarters as well. Deb and I were able to use our mutual free time in NYC to put together a hardcopy portfolio showcasing a bunch of my previous lighting projects:

You can check out a softcopy here.

All the credit for this one goes to Deb and her awesome graphic design skillz.  For printing, we used a web-based service called Smartpress and were really happy with the cost and quality.

Lastly, I interned with Hernani Dias during his residency at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center to develop some hardware for his ReFarm the City project. Specifically, I designed an LED board for remote data visualization. Here’s a pic of the partially soldered board:

The board features an Atmega168 running the Arduino bootloader, wirelessly updateable via XBee, for controlling 48 Charlieplex’d LEDs. Serendipitously, days before being asked to design this board, I learned about the LOLShield at The Next HOPE conference, so a big thanks to Jimmie P. Rodgers and his documentation which schooled me in the art of Charlieplex’ing.

Speaking of thank you’s, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of NYC Resistor for their amazing hospitality, welcoming me into their extremely enabling and fun space.  It was also especially inspiring to meet the Makerbot crew downstairs, and see them hard at work, creating and reiterating prototypes for future generations and features of the Makerbot.

I look forward to sharing some of the NYCR spirit that’s rubbed off on me with the members of Ottawa’s Mod Lab at Artengine, who just recently acquired and assembled their own Makerbot.

And of course, if any of the Makerbot or Resistor gang find themselves headed to Ottawa, Montreal, or even Toronto, make sure to give me a shout!

Thanks again,

Andrew O’Malley

PS  I’m not affiliated with Adafruit, Sure Electronics, or any of the other products or services mentioned in the above blog post, I just figure it’s handy to provide the info for anyone interested.

Sep 022010

Dan Steingart of City College taught a 2 hour introduction to batteries, we had 25+, standing room only after announcing it less than a week before. so I guess this is a hot topic! Watch our classes page for upcoming hands on battery workshops.

You can download the slides from Dan Steingert here:

 Posted by at 5:27 pm
Sep 022010

NYC Resistor will be hosting a MakerBot build party today (Thursday, September 2nd) during craft night from 6 to 10 pm.

Calling all NYC MakerBot operators! We’re building a bot farm and we need your help! Today (Thursday, September 2nd) at NYC Resistor (map) we are throwing a build party. The goal: assemble three MakerBots in four hours. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

A bot farm is a group of MakerBots available to a group of people ready to print whatever is wished. We would love to print more of the great things popping up on Thingiverse, but here at the bot cave our machines are mostly used for developing future hardware and software. To increase the awesome we need to increase the number of bot hours available for printing. We need more bots and we need your help building them.

Everyone is encouraged to attend. There will be three or more kits for assembly. Just let us know you came for the build party and we’ll get you started on a task. If you’re thinking about buying a Cupcake CNC, this is a great opportunity to experience the build process. Feel free to bring your own MakerBot and work along with us. Several MakerBot employees will be in attendance, building bots and ready to help. We’re looking  forward to seeing you there.