Saturday, April 25, 2009

Denver Has a Maker Group!

Denver now has a Makers group! Its first meeting was this Thursday at Club Workshop. The next one is tentatively May 21st. They are going to try for the third Thursday of the month.

Turnout was HUGE, especially given this was the first meeting, and a little out of the way, even if right off of I-25 - i.e., not right in DTC, and not right downtown Denver. I got there right about 7, and parking lot for Club Workshop already appeared to be full, and people were parking on street or other parking lots.

The topic was by John Maushammer, talking about his Pong Watch. He gave an overview of how he decided on components - things like size, battery life, being rechargeable, the cpu, cost, etc...he detailed how he went about designing the watch case, how he first prototyped in wood, how he went from designing in CAD, and then having a sort of low-tech 3d printer (forget the brand - but it was something he got from Ebay and said was much like a Dremel, but hooked up to a computer) carve it out of the wood, then aluminum, (and later, plastic, I think, for the face of the watch) for him.

He talked about how he created the board himself from a kit, how he sautered. He talked about how the instructions he needed barely fit in the thousand instructions the CPU permits. The code was in C, so you don't know ahead of time how many instructions that will result in. I forget the CPU type. In fact, I didn't have any way to take notes except by Blackberry, so all this is from memory.

It was all very interesting. He of course brought in the pieces so people could come up and see them. The down side was that there was no PA system, so it was a bit hard to hear him at times, especially when people were coughing or talking. I had to leave early too - didn't stick around to mingle or take a look at all the things brought, since I just happened to be exhausted that day as it was.

A bunch of Denver Mad Scientists showed up, too. Since people were invited to also bring in their projects and/or talk about what they were working on, one of the Denver Mad Scientists talked about what they do. They are known for many things, but the most famous is having the first robot battles. They were also the first to have pumpkin guns on the Front Range.

One guy jumped up and talked about his experiences with using a laser product to engrave wood. Another jumped up to talk about his net gun.

Before the talks the folks from Club Workshop walked us through a short intro to what they do, and that sounds incredibly interesting, too. They offer all kinds of classes in all sorts of things. They even sound open to starting up classes based on interest. Someone during the meeting if anyone knows anything about patent lawyers, and the guy from Club Workshop (forget his name, but I think he owns it) asked if there was interest in a class on filing patents...

And the classes sound very - get this - affordable, so if/when I'm ready to tackle some of these things, I know right where I'm going. I'd really like to learn to weld, and they offer that. They also offer a yearly membership, in which a few classes seem to be included.

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