What is Freeside?

Freeside is a Georgia nonprofit corporation, organized to develop a community of coders, makers, artists, and researchers in order to promote collaboration and community outreach. Learn more »

Circuit Bending Workshop

The year is off to a great start and it is almost February, which means it is almost time for our next Circuit Bending Workshop. Calling all Noise Makers, Hackers, Makers, and DIYers to Freeside Atlanta next Saturday, February 6th from 3-5 pm. Toys will be available to hack and bend for a small donation. As always Workshop and Classes are free and open to the public at Freeside Atlanta, however in order to keep Freeside Open we are asking for a $5 donation for this Workshop. This workshop is taught on beginner to intermediate level.

Sewing Lab 1: Machine Basics This Saturday!

In conjunction with a previous, more informational post, this is an RSVP reminder for Sewing Lab 1: Machine Basics, this Saturday starting at 12pm.

If you are interested in coming, please RSVP here.

Also, if you are bringing your own machine it would be recommended to come a few minutes early to set up, and don't forget some bobbins.

All other supplies will be provided!

This event is on the Makezine Event Calendar for this week!

For more information about the space, and how to get there, head on over to our wiki page.

Hope to see you there!

Double Dog House Project

Just a couple of pics from the beginning of the dog house that I'm building for both the dogs. The idea is to build the dog house and then to add touches like temperature controlled fan and solar panels so it won't run off a/c power.

Welding Class 01/24/10

Great Turnout for the Welding class today. We all got a chance to weld and as a group we added some features to the space art piece. Coming along nicely I might add.

FreeSide Social 01/19/2010

Good turn out tonight for the Freeside Social. Lots of new faces, to many to remember. Hope to see the same new faces come the next meeting.

Propaganda Mural

approved by the FreesideATL Politbureau for mass indoctrination

Circuit Bending Class 01/16/10

The circuit bending class had a great turn out yesterday. Here are some pics of the bending in action. Dantheman, succesfully completed a published hack on his korg keyboard, while the other students of have class got a basic lesson on bending in action and made some pretty unique sounds.

Makers Local 256 Visit

Justin and I greeted the visit by the Makers Local 256 crew last night. They were on their way to a concert in Atlanta and stopped by for a quick visit. During they visit, Justin and I gave them a tour of the space as well as about a 25 minute Q& A session about space politics and projects. Got a lot of good feedback that was mentioned on the public mailing list. Posting some pictures below that Justin captured. Sorry that I can make them smaller, selected the smallest posting size with the blogger:

Synchronous Hackathon #3 - Tonight!

Freeside Atlanta is once again participating in the Synchronous Hackathon #3, along with several other hackerspaces around the world. Members will be working on projects starting tonight, Jan 15 and ending Sunday Jan 17. For those who don't know what it is, it is described on the hackathon wiki:

"The Synchronous Hackathon is an event where each of the participating hackerspaces will work on their respective projects simultaneously, while in constant communication with each other. Video from each hackerspace will be broadcast to the internet for each other and the public to view. In participating with the Synchronous Hackathon, hackerspaces can utilize the motivational energy and skills of the participating hackerspace members."

There will be some programming, some crafting, maybe even some art being put up on the walls. Also, there will be a Circuit Bending Workshop at 3pm on Saturday, Jan 16, open to the public as usual.

We encourage all members to come and enjoy the space and work on projects. This is also a great opportunity for those interested in visiting the space. If you can't attend, support Freeside by following our work streaming online at ustream.tv.

Camera #1
Camera #2

Sewing Science - Basics for the Not-So-Domestically Inclined (and everyone else).

That's right folks, Saturday January 30th at 12pm marks the beginning of Freeside Atlanta's Sewing Lab Series - Lab 1: Machine Basics.

For those completely new to the realm of sewing, we'll be breaking down the mechanics of how the machine works, how it's changed over the years, and basic troubleshooting. And we'll learn some stitches while we're at it.

A machine will be provided, but feel free to bring your own, along with the instruction manual if you have it.

As per usual, this class is free to the public, with a suggested donation of $10 is encouraged to cover supplies.

This class is 18+

More details and RSVP to come next week!

2 Hacker Cons, 1 Day

Through some crazy scheduling mishaps, two of the south/southeast hacker conventions are set to happen on the same day. The weekend of March 19th will begin CarolinaCon and Outerz0ne, both returning for their 6th year. In recent years the conventions have had talks ranging from embedded malicious javascript, Security Assessment Methodology, learning NMap, Format String Vulnerabilities and even how to travel on the airlines with a firearm.

Local Hacker Cons

For those that have never been to a local hacker convention, it’s completely different than something like DefCon. There are usually only around 80-150 attendees instead of thousands, this allows for anyone to have a 1 on 1 with the speaker if it’s a subject that you’re passionate about and would like further info. This also allows for all the attendees to get to know each other, even though many of us are introverted, after seeing the same people at 2 or 3 cons you end up talking and it’s always easier to talk to strangers when you’re both into technology or Dr. Who. Local Hacker Cons also are done on the cheap, which means the cost is around 20.00 for entry and are set at a cheap hotel, which also helps for the parties (cheaper hotels usually don’t freak out when the beds are pulled out of one room and placed in another to make room for a party).

Call for Speakers

To get ready for the March 19th cons, both CarolinaCon and Outerz0ne are looking for speakers to volunteer to do an hour talk. These talks can be on a project you’re working on, technology you’ve been studying or working on or just a “how to” on something you think others would be interested in. If you’ll be in North Carolina (Raleigh area) and would like to be a speaker at CarolinaCon, visit http://www.carolinacon.org to register to be a speaker. If you’ll be around Georgia (Atlanta area) and would like to speak at Outerz0ne, watch http://www.outerz0ne.org for more info.

Remember that speaking at a local Hacker Convention will bring you minimal fame, glory, possible notoriety and mad props from all the staff and attendees. Maybe even a free t-shirt!

Magnets and Geometry

A bunch of us are in the middle of a short fad of fascination with magnets. I recently purchased about a thousand gold-plated spherical 6mm N35 neodymium-iron-boron magnets from Edwin Science. These are strong enough that swallowing two of them would probably require surgery. But I am not dumb enough to eat them, being far more interested in building things out of them, and thus I give you some photos of the nifty things I did when I got them, and some tips on how to assemble them. I regret not having the artistic skills or patience to illustrate all of the information I want to share here, but hopefully those interested can follow along.

The first building block is a loop of magnets, with the poles aligned circumferentially (that is, a string of aligned magnets joined end to end). In the photos below, anywhere you see two parallel rows of magnets arranged in a square configuration, that indicates the adjacent rows are aligned in opposite directions, and almost always part of separate loops. If the rows are arranged in a triangular configuration, that indicates they are aligned in the same direction. The loops can be treated as polygons (squares, pentagons, hexagons, octagons, etc) to create polyhedra. The strength of the magnets causes them to exert force in the direction of perfect alignment, which gives rigidity to what would otherwise be flexible circles.

Truncated OctahedronOctahedronOctahedronGreat RhombicuboctahedronCuboctahedronDodecahedronDodecahedronDodecahedronDodecahedronDodecahedron, truncated

Two or more loops of the appropriate relative size can be stacked to form a shape somewhere between a cone and a pyramid. 5-10-15-20 makes a pentagonal pyramid, 4-8-12-16 makes a square pyramid, 6-9-12-15 (a "loop" of 3 magnets is not stable) makes a triangular pyramid. For reasons related to the bulk of the individual spheres, the triangular pyramid is too tall and too circular to be of much use, which is unfortunate since a triangle is by far the most useful shape for building polyhedra. The square pyramid is better, but far less useful. This leaves the pentagonal pyramid as the building block of choice for a large number of assemblies. Each "pyramid" can be assembled from as few as two to as many as four concentric rings (a fifth ring results in most structures being too heavy to support their own weight... until I get some N52 spheres!). Each layer can be "up" or "down", so you may get a rippled surface instead of a cone shape, and the entire resulting shape can be installed into the final product pointing out or in. Also of note is that the pyramids have a "handedness". Where the rings can be simply flipped over if they are out of alignment, the pyramids have to be inverted if you need to flip them.

15-magnet Pentagon UnitDodecahedron, inverted pyramid faces, assemblyDodecahedron, inverted pyramid facesDodecahedron, offset pyramid facesTwelve Pentagon EggSix Pentagon CylinderDodecahedron, pyramid facesDodecahedron, pyramid facesDodecahedron, pyramid facesDodecahedron, pyramid faces, interior mountingTwelve Pentagon RingTetrahedronDodecahedron, pyramid faces, interior mountingRhombic Prism

Mystery Unboxing

We recently received our second order of Surprise Boxes and Display Assortments from Electronic Goldmine, and again we made a group activity out of unboxing and sorting the parts. Afterward I combined all the sorted containers from previous unboxings, both Freeside's and my own, and started categorizing things.

The take this time was similar to last time. We got a lot of VFDs from the display assortments, which we can't use right now due to lack of a good cheap easy-to-reproduce 30-40V AC power supply, but those will be much fun later. We went with the "Super" (medium size) surprise boxes this time, to get more densely packed smaller components and less larger sparse items like the security hardware and R/C cars for last time. The choice parts this time included some high voltage relays, two-prong AC outlets, a bunch more 96x64 LCDs, a few dozen dual RJ45 jacks, some 10-segment LED bar graphs, and a lot of nice trim and dual-log pots. The bulk of the order was once again capacitors.

We are going to take a break before the next order, probably 2-3 months, so that they can cycle through their stock and hopefully provide a bit more variety next time.