Circuit Bending Music Hack Workshop

bent-pointSaturday March 1, 1-3 pm

Circuit bending is an experimental and creative way to modify audio electronics and discover unique and unusual sounds and functions within the original piece of equipment.

In this workshop, you’ll be introduced to the basic techniques of circuit bending using an Atari Punk Console noise maker that has already been assembled. Some experience working with electronics will help you in this workshop, but is not necessary.

GB_DTThe workshop, instructed by local experimental musician/artist David Talento, will include a background of Circuit Bending and Theory, live demonstrations (including using a modular synthesizer to make – and break – connections), instruction, and time to create your own circuit bent Atari Punk Console noise maker!

Check out a cool demo from our instructor’s YouTube channel here!

Circuit Bending Class Syllabus

Tickets ($50)

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No Project Night Tonight

In case you wondered, we won’t be having project night tonight. Our book swap with Girl Develop It and Code for Philly meetup are both postponed, so stay home and keep warm.

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Intro to Circuits, Feb. 15, 1-4 pm

Circuit_unreasonedDreamsHave you been tantalized by cool costumes & projects using LEDs, Arduinos, or EL-wire? Ever wondered what’s going on inside your computer, television, or vacuum cleaner?

Electricity permeates our modern existence, and learning your way around circuits is the first step in demystifying it. In this class, we’ll start with the very basics, teaching you how to identify common circuit components, use tools like multimeters and breadboards, read schematics and datasheets, and describe what’s going on with a few equations. You’ll build some simple circuits and go home with a mini-breadboard so you can tackle your own projects!

This class is suitable for ages 13+.

Tickets ($35)

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Focus Group Today Canceled

Due to bad weather and road conditions, we’re canceling our focus group scheduled for 2 pm today (unfortunately). Thank you to everyone who signed up, and we hope you can make it to one of the other sessions scheduled, which are this Tuesday the 28th at 6:30 pm, or next Saturday the 1st at 11 am. Stay warm everyone!

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Arduino Demo Night & Workshop Series

Arduino is back!

Demo Night – January 30 (Project Night, 7-9 pm):
To gear up for our Arduino workshops in February, we are holding a special demo night with instructor Tim Bieniosek. If you have your own Arduino projects to share, bring them in!

Photo: Adafruit


Intro to Arduino Workshop
3-session class on Tuesdays
February 11, 18, and 25 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

In this class you can expect a fun crash course on everything you will need to get busy creating with your Arduino. We’ll cover all the key concepts, from learning the fundamental aspects of programming with the Arduino language, to the different types of materials you can use in your projects and prototypes. Our aim for this course is to send you home with a cool project to show your friends, a whole bunch of new ideas and the knowledge and resources to produce some Arduino magic! All participants must have a laptop to bring to each session to work with the Arduino code.

If you have some knowledge of microprocessors, basic circuitry and/or programming, you may come to individual sessions that work best for you. Individual sessions are $40 each if purchased separately.

General tickets are $90 for all 3 sessions or $40 each.

The cost of the class does not include materials. We will have a kit with an Arduino Uno and an assortment of sensors, buzzers, and more for you to experiment with in class. This kit is an additional $45, which you can pay for online or with cash in person. After the class is over if you don’t think you’ll use them anymore, you may return the kit with all the parts intact for a full refund of $45.
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Apply to Force Field by Jan 31

Force Field is a new opportunity for artists in Philadelphia to do “large-scale installation, film, audio/video, and performance work. The work should be experimental, engage the public and no more than 3 years old.” If you’re familiar with Data Garden, then some of the amazing and talented artists behind Force Field will be familiar to you. From their website: “This project will allow emerging artists the chance to design, execute and exhibit substantial new projects. Each artist will be provided time, funding, space, and an exhibition so they can experience the full cycle of creativity from idea to public engagement. Funding for the project will be raised through Indiegogo and distributed to the selected artists. The project will benefit Philadelphia by inviting the local community of Kensington, the various arts communities, gallery-goers, and students to experience contemporary art and music like never before. We love what we do and love Philadelphia.” Heck yeah! Apply here.

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Soldering/KS Work Party + Soft Circuits, Saturday the 11th

LED displaying blue inside a 3 inch cardboard box

Join us next Saturday, January 11, when we’ll be packing T-shirts and Raspberry Pi cases to send to donors from our recent Kickstarter campaign. We’ll also be assembling the electronics for our LED lightbox starting around 1pm. If you are comfortable soldering, we can put you straight to work; if you want to learn to solder, now’s a great time!

Over the summer, we had an idea to build an LED lightbox for our Market St. display window. We built a 4′ wide plywood case with a 16×10 grid of “pixels”, and we have 160 addressable RGB LEDs to light up each cell of the grid. We’ve also started writing code to drive the display with image files; the first images on display will be chosen by several of our Kickstarter backers. Now we need to solder all those LEDs together and attach them to the case, and we want your help!

The 11th is also Soft Circuit Saturday. We’ll be hosting a contingent from the Fashion|Tech PHL Meetup, who held a cool roundtable on wearables here in December. We will also be featuring a demo using Bare Conductive Paint and a few other projects. Whether you’re just picking up a needle for the first time or you have a great project idea using the newest Adafruit toy, join us from 1-4pm for our monthly craft afternoon.

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“Ingenious” talk still on for today

We’re still planning on hosting Jason Fagone and Kevin Smith today to talk about building a 200-mpg car by hand, and the spirit of American invention. Jason and Kevin are coming from another event in NJ and may be a bit delayed, but we’ll still be there at 3 to welcome you in from the snow. Hope you can make it!

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“How Things Work” After School Program at the Lea School


One of the benefits of being part of the Department of Making + Doing is that we’ve had access to more resources, such as a grant we won from the Cognizant Foundation, which is doing a lot to support the creation of maker programs around the country. One of the first things we decided to do with those resources was to create an after school program. We’ve had some experience working with the Fleisher Art Memorial, to help create a class called “Gadgets and Sculpture that Moves!” so we wanted to build on that experience. We were fortunate to be able to use some connections through volunteers to set up our program with students at the Lea School, at 48th and Locust. The Lea School is part of Philly’s public school system, which pretty much everyone knows is operating in spite of a really  bad situation. We’re very happy to be putting our skills to use there, and the students in our program are also warming up to our activities, and have already started coming up with great modifications to the projects we’ve built. The theme for the program is “How Things Work” so we’re covering simple machines, basic circuits, and some concepts of optical illusions. So far, we’ve made a tower-building challenge with bendy straws, mousetrap cars, and this past Tuesday we built tabletop catapults.


Check out this set of photos of the projects (we’re still getting permission to use photos of the kids so there aren’t so many pics right now). Our program is scheduled to run through December 19, and possibly into next year. Though we have some great teachers running the program, we could use a few extra sets of hands to help out in the classroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4:30. If you’re free and interested please email georgia[at]thehacktory[dot]org. (Any volunteers will need to complete a background check and child abuse clearance, but we can help with that.) In the future, this exactly the class we’d like the artists in our T.E.R.A. Incognita project to help out with. We’re running a kickstarter to help fund that right now, so please back it today!

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Talk with “Ingenious” Author Jason Fagone Dec. 8

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We’re pleased to announce a new event coming up Dec. 8th with local author Jason Fagone about his recently released book “Ingenious.” Join us at 3 pm on the 8th for the kick-off event of a Northeast tour for Jason and Kevin Smith, one of the book’s characters, who built a 207-MPGe electric car by hand out of junkyard parts in an Illinois cornfield. That means that car will be here at our space for you to check out! We’re very happy to be hosting Jason, who also tells the story of the West Philly Hybrid X team in the book, which you can read an excerpt of here, and purchase in lots of places, including Amazon.

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