Project Night Recap 6.20 and 6.13


So I got a little behind on reporting back after our most recent Project Nights. This past week’s event was pretty quiet, though we had some regular volunteers from The Hacktory working on their projects. One of the awesome coders we met at the LadyHacks Hackathon back in March, Jana, came and worked a little more on a web app for our Hacking the Gender Gap workshop. A new walk-in, Tom D. came and we batted around some ideas with him about a tablet device that could help writers, by having a decent text editor and not much else, to minimize distractions. Our conversation meandered into using technology for all kinds of art, and I showed him this recent kickstarter project I backed called the NeoLucida, which is similar to the Camera Obscura, which helps you draw with the use of prisms.


For the 6.13 Project Night we had a few new people, including Tom, pictured here. Tom is working on some hardware he wants to be compatible with apple’s products, and he was trying to figure out how to make a connector that would do the first step of charging an iphone. He read on the Adafruit blog that idevices have tricky settings on different pins of the USB connection, so he was experimenting with that but was having trouble getting the current to flow through his board at all. Fortunately, Pete showed up, having traveled all the way from Miami to visit! Pete had looked up local hackerspaces while on a business trip to Delaware, and came to our Project Night to get some ideas, and potentially go back to Miami and start his own hackerspace. Pete also was knowledgeable about electronics and sat and helped Tom troubleshoot for the last half hour or so of project night. Christalee, another core organizer at The Hacktory, also helped Lyric, a local artist, think through some grant opportunities she might be able to use to create a Manic Machine event at The Hacktory, which we would love.

So, there you have it, two more Project Nights gone by when you could have been here experimenting, learning, or just chilling. Hope to see you at the next one!

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Document All Some of the Things, Saturday @ 12

Have you wanted to get involved at the Hacktory, but you’re not sure how? Most of our calls for volunteers involve helping out with public events & classes, but here’s one for people who like to work with words: this Saturday, June 22, we’re having a work party to knock off a pile of documentation-related tasks, and you’re invited! We’re hoping to finish migrating some old documents from Google to our new wiki; create how-tos for new volunteers working with our WordPress website, publicizing events, and other popular tasks; transcribe stories from recent Hacking the Gender Gap workshops; and other updates that will help the Hacktory keep working effectively.

We’ll start around noon with a brief rundown of tasks and an optional lesson on wiki markup. Anyone with a laptop and the ability to write a how-to is encouraged to participate. Folks are welcome to join us virtually; I’ll send out a PiratePad at the beginning of the day with details on how to stay in touch. Snacks & pizza will be provided. Please RSVP with dietary restrictions or any questions to bergey at thehacktory dot org.

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What if you worked at DMD?

DMD Opening Party

So by now you’ve hopefully heard about our new partnership and home base called the Department of Making + Doing. It’s a collaborative effort between us, NextFab Studio, Breadboard, and Public Workshop. You can imagine all the awesome stuff we’re up to already, and we need some help pulling it off. That’s why DMD is looking to hire a Program Manager to assist with all things DMD. The hours will be a lot of afternoons/evenings/Saturdays, but flexible, to assist with programming when it happens. Here’s the official details:

Job Posting: University City Science Center
Program Manager, DMD

The University City Science Center has an immediate opening for a Temporary (Present to November 30, 2014) full-time position for Program Manager, Department of Making + Doing (DMD). The Program Manager, DMD coordinates DMD operations and is vital to the success of this unique collaborative partnership. The Program Manager, DMD serves as the linchpin coordinating all events, programming and overseeing the daily operations of the DMD space. This position collaborates with the Science Center’s STEAM Program (“STEAM” refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) partners and the Science Center’s Development, Marketing and Legal/Government Relations teams on program development and execution, fundraising, grant compliance, marketing and public relations efforts for DMD.

About DMD: DMD is building a collaborative space for curious Philadelphians to come together to realize ground-breaking art and design that inspires, educates, excites, and encourages creative “making” in Philadelphia. The DMD partner organizations – Breadboard (a program of the Science Center), The Hacktory, NextFab Studio and Public Workshop —will collaborate to provide programming that will transform the space at 3711 Market Street into a vibrant place of creative production and civic innovation, where participants are encouraged to use technology and scientific concepts to tackle creative challenges. The partners envision that the space will produce hybrid projects and products that could shine equally in an art exhibition, patent office, scientific conference or even a bus stop.

The successful candidate will have 3-5 years of experience managing projects, developing and delivering programming, and coordinating partnerships. Experience in arts, design and STEM education programming development is preferred. Prior non-profit experience is a plus. BFA/BA/BD/BS degree from an accredited college or university.

The Science Center offers a comprehensive employee benefit package which includes Medical, Dental, Short and Long Term Disability, Flexible Spending, Life Insurance and 403(b) with a significant company match.

Interested candidates should forward their resumes along with salary requirements by June 28th to:

Human Resources, University City Science Center
3711 Market Street, Suite 800
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Fax# 215-966-6151

Or email Kindra Sloan at

For more information, visit us on the web at

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer

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Manic Machine: Artists Wanted!

This post comes from Lyric Prince, who’s recently contacted the Hacktory about her next round of Manic Machine participatory art events. Artists who want to make some large interactive art with crowd participation: read on!

Manic Machine, an interactive art installation series that travels around the city of Philadelphia, is currently looking for artists and designers who are interested in creating large scale works. Not only will artists create in front of a live audience, they’ll do it with their help as well.

Here’s how it works:

Manic Machine is about beating the clock as well as crowd participation. Each event will be 4 hours long, during which materials are provided for the group to construct a work of art. Manic Machine attendees will work in groups of 4 to act in different shifts of “assistants”. Each assistant team will follow the leading artist’s directions in order to learn how to build their artwork according to specifications. As the art piece grows, more and more participants get the chance to help create something awesome that otherwise would not be possible to build in such a short time.

In short, Manic Machine is about:

If you have an awesome project that would fit within the Manic Machine show structure, or would just like to learn more, contact Lyric for more information. Also check out the official ManicMachine site, with past shows, photos, and animated GIFs detailing the process in action.

Feel the energy!
– Manic Machine Team

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Etsy Craft Party at NextFab June 20!


Hey don’t miss this great event coming up at NextFab this week! Here’s your chance to prepare your patio or stoop for late spring and summer by making your own planter. Mixed materials, tools, and snacks will be provided, and it’s FREE. There will also be a chance to do a show & tell, leftover material giveaway, and project swap. If you’re interested, be sure to register here.

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ARTspiration Last Saturday

ARTspiration2013.1If you didn’t make it out to ARTspiration at the Fleisher last Saturday, well… you blew it. But seriously, it was another great festival; the rain held off for us as we staffed a table with a couple new volunteers (yay! Thanks David and Kim!) and it turned out to be a really beautiful day. We had the usual oohs and aahs for our table full of old electronics to make jewelry and sculpture with. This was our 3rd time coming to ARTspiration, and it’s been nice to see the same faces that are excited to come to our table and get their hands on our electronics. Of course there are lots more chances for all ages to play with these components, it’s become kind of a staple activity for us. We’re looking forward to stocking up on supplies at the upcoming Ham Fests in the area (that’s for Ham Radio enthusiasts – their swap meets are a great place to stock up on old supplies). If you’re interested in going, let us know, you need to get there early so carpooling may be a good idea!

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Project Night 6.6.13 Recap

ProjectNight6.6.13We had a great project night last week, nothing fancy, just some standard electronics hacking, some networking, and a little app trouble-shooting.

Tim continued working on his circuit-laden blanket (seen in the background here). Colin, a high school Comp Sci teacher came and got started learning how to program the Arduino since he missed the first session of our Arduino class series last Tuesday. As you can see he was still able to get this potentiometer working, which controlled three LEDs by twisting a knob.

I helped out a member of Quorum who stopped by looking for some advice about an app he is building. Though I can’t say I was sold on using the app myself (it was a way to chat with people in your geographic vicinity), we thought through some steps he would need to get the programming capabilities he needed.

We also had an intrepid entrepreneur interested in hacking the Apple dock connector to charge an iPad with a normally-non-charging connection.

Next week: we may have coffee, or maybe even popcorn!

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Meet The Multimeter, June 23

Photo by Andrew Mason.

Photo by Andrew Mason.

The multimeter is the Swiss Army knife of electricity – with it, you can troubleshoot household appliances, car batteries, and electronics. Join us at The Hacktory for a hands-on workshop on how to get the most out of your multimeter, Sunday June 23, 10am-noon. We’ll talk about measuring voltage, current, resistance, and capacitance; identifying common circuit components; the difference between alternating (AC) and direct current (DC); and basic safety when working around electricity.

This event is suitable for ages 13+. We will have multimeters for use during the workshop; if you would like to purchase one for yourself, please select “Workshop + Multimeter” when registering or bring $15 to the event.

Sunday, June 23, 10am-noon

Online ticketing with TicketLeap
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Hacking the Gender Gap: Please Help!

If you’re a regular on our blog, you are probably familiar with a workshop we created to talk about the gender gap in the tech world, called Hacking the Gender Gap. We did the first workshop over a year ago, with a great reception at the Women in Tech Summit, and have presented in many more venues, including IgnitePhilly11. You can watch a video of our Ignite Presentation above for a quick summary.

We have an opportunity now to apply for a grant that recognizes innovative programs in nonprofits that are simple, focused, and start small. We think we can make a good case for the Hacking the Gender Gap workshop as an innovative program. The application also asks for a description of how the program makes a demonstrable impact in the lives of the people it’s aiming for, which is where we could use some help. We’ve collected some surveys from workshops, but not all. If you’ve been to one of our workshops, or have followed our progress, maybe by looking at the photo sets of the stories, please consider helping us now by filling in this quick form with a sentence or two of how the workshop had an impact for you. This grant could help us match our Knight project grant, and provide funds for regularly paid staff, which we could really use to help us plan classes on a more regular basis.

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Tickets Going Fast for Our Intro to Arduino Class!


Do you have an idea for a cool new tech tool and want to learn how to begin prototyping?

Do you love robots like Wall-E, Johnny5 and the Curiosity rover and wish you could make your own?

Want to take part in the rise of the Philadelphia maker community but not sure where to start?

Sign up for our 3-day Intro to Arduino class on June 4, 11, 18.  In 6 hours you will learn to build and program your own Arduino-based project. We’ll be working with knobs, buttons, LEDs, piezo-buzzers, light sensors, and more!

Past participants have gone on to make handheld games, music instruments, wearable electronics, and even a controller for wireless robotics. Bring your ideas and we can look into how to develop these advanced projects from what is learned your first day. 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!

Tickets here:

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