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February 20 2019

DIY Zines come to PS1

We’re excited to welcome CHI PRC’s Zine Zine Club Thursday 2/21 from 7-9pm in the lounge.  We’ll be discussing DIY zines that teach and inspire readers to do it yourself. Bring your favorite titles that instruct us on how you can make, design, build, create, tinker, and hack anything. Zine newbies and longtime enthusiasts alike are welcome to join us for a fun discussion and snacks.

If you’d like to participate in a Mystery Zine Swap bring a zine (concealed in some way) to trade with someone else on the spot. This free event will be led by PS1 member (and Zine Club regular) Mariano Muñoz and Chicago Zine Fest organizer Cynthia E. Hanifin.

Here’s a Facebook event and Meetup link. Hope to see you there!

February 05 2019

Lab B Moves into New Digs at 12-22 North Street!

Location of the new Lab B entrance on the exterior of the buildingAfter a heroic move-out effort by Lab members and volunteers, and a month of being a “virtual Lab” operating out of a storage locker, Loomio group, and pop-up event spaces (thanks, Bytes.co!) we’re pleased to announce that Laboratory B once again has a space!

After considering several possibilities, our membership voted to move into a room on the second floor of 12-22 North Street in the Old North End. In addition to our new HQ space, where we’ll be holding public hours, meetings, co-working sessions and small workshops, the lease also gives us access to a number of shared spaces we can use after business hours, including a dedicated electronics lab, a sizeable class/event space on the first floor, and basement storage.

Many things about the Lab will stay the same, but a sampling some of the changes the move offers that our members are excited about include:

  • Handicapped Accessibility for Many Events: In the Soda Plant, all of our space was up a set of steep stairs, limiting accessibility of workshops and other events for folks with mobility challenges. While the Lab’s dedicated room is similarly only stair-accessible, our ability to reserve the large downstairs space means that many of our public-facing workshops and events, such as mobile security night and LAN parties, will take place in accessible spaces.
  • Direct Access to Our Space In Off Hours: In the Soda Plant, the outside door was usually locked after 5pm, so public event attendees needed to ring a doorbell and be guided through a labyrinth to access the space. So, we’re every excited that our new space has a door opening directly to the outside.

    Some members in the new Lab B (after hauling up the first load of chairs and a table)

  • Environmental Impact: In the Soda Plant (and the Hood Plant before it), we were occupying the decaying remains of industrial infrastructure, and it definitely showed in the winter time with heat loss through single-pane windows, etc. By contrast, 12-22 North Street is an optimized energy-efficiency machine: it was built by a worker co-op in the 1980s with a passive solar design, has significant installed solar electric capability (including wiring for DC lighting), and is run by a landlord who works on IoT sustainability and environmental impact monitoring. The fact that we have a monthly kWh cap in our lease has sparked our thinking on how to sip rather than chug energy (no more using out-of-date servers and crypto miners as de facto space heaters in the winter). Whether this transition means our aesthetic center-of-gravity will shift from cyberpunk to solarpunk remains to be seen…
  • Space that is more fully “ours”: At the soda plant, we were subletting from Brandthropology, who were incredibly accommodating partners, but pretty much all of our space was at least somewhat shared, in they needed to walk through our main room to get to the shared Couch Room and kitchen. We now fully control our core space, while also having access to additional shared spaces and resources in the building.

We’ll be spending the next few weeks moving in and setting up, and are planning to host a “Lab Warming Party” for our initial Thursday public hours on February 21 from 7-9pm. For more details, check the Facebook event, and, as always, keep an eye on our calendar for upcoming Lab B happenings!

The post Lab B Moves into New Digs at 12-22 North Street! appeared first on Laboratory B.

January 31 2019

ShopWare and Markforged

We had a visit from ShopWare during our open night on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019. They thought we might be interested in seeing a Markforged 3D printer capable of printing with nylon, Kevlar, and carbon fiber. And they were right, we were interested!

They showed a few videos that featured the capabilities of very strong 3D printed parts, and then answered questions, and had a number of samples to pass around and show off. They also brought a Mark Two for us to take a look at.

One of the weird things about how the Mark Two functioned was that it homed the x and y after every layer it printed. It also lowered the z just a bit while it homed the x and y, then raised the z back up to meet the extruder (which was dripping a small bit of filament) before then starting a new layer. (None of us could figure out why it was doing that, or what benefit it offered, though we had some guesses.)

These appear to be some sort of brake lever, maybe for a bicycle or motor cycle. They were very strong. There was no flex at all when trying to bend them by hand. Typically parts printed with PLA or ABS feel pretty “breakable” but these seemed like you’d need some tools to break them. (I really wanted to crush one in the hydraulic press when no one was looking!)

Printed threads are no problem, and again, appeared to be very strong, and the ball joint moved pretty good.

The metal part was not printed on the Mark Two, but another Markforged printer. The part gets processed after it’s printed, so it shrinks a bit, but the software deals with sizing up your model before printing so it comes out the correct size when done. We’re pretty sure this part was “finished” a bit after printing as well, perhaps on a lathe, which would explain why the rounded part is polished while the flat hexagonal part is not.

While the extreme cold weather kept some members away, we had a pretty good turnout to welcome ShopWare, and for those who were there, got to see some cool technology we home to someday have a the space.

January 30 2019

Sewing 101: Can I Even Machine?

If you’ve got the bare basic knowledge, come learn how to use one of our basic sewing machines. Learn how to thread and clean the machine, read the manuals, and a variety of stitches that you can use with any project — and how to push your skills further. Suggested donation to Sewing Zone of $5 includes supplies for a sewing “sampler.”

 

Wednesday, February 6 @ 7:30 in the classroom.
Six Max, Members get preference.
Guests must be accompanied by a member.
RSVP on Eventbrite.

Sewing 099: I Know Nothing

Learn the basic ideas behind sewing and textile/garment construction. Includes basic stitches, fasteners like buttons and snaps, and cutting techniques. You get supplies for a sewing “sampler.” Suggested donation to Sewing Zone $5. 

Tuesday, February 5 @ 7:30, Classroom
Guests must be accompanied by a member.
RSVP on Eventbrite.

January 28 2019

Milwaukee Tool at Milwaukee Makerspace

We had Milwaukee Tool join us on January 15th, 2019 for a brief demo about how they use an iterative process to design new products. They showed a series of prototypes and talked about how they work to identify new markets and potential products. They also brought a few goodies for the space. :)

Over the years they’ve also hired a few of our members, and they came looking for more, specifically for their concepting team. We’ve also got a few members who happen to be Milwaukee Tool employees before they joined the space, so it’s nice to have a positive relationship with them.

As a designer I really enjoyed their presentation, and I hope we’ll find ways to collaborate in the future. (At least a few members volunteered to stress-test any new tools they come up with!

January 26 2019

All members can now vote!

Voting at PS1 All member tiers can now vote and propose new votes. Illustration by Mark Creasy.

Good news for Starving Hacker tier members: you can now vote at PS1 member meetings for things like purchases, activities, or elections. On January 22nd, those with Full Member status approved the Vote for All Member Suffrage. All members can propose new votes.

If you’re ready to exercise your voting rights, there are upcoming opportunities at the meeting on Tuesday, January 29, 2019:

If you can’t make the meeting, you can vote by proxy in the email sent to members on 1/24. You can also simply “abstain” on your ballot. This allows us to reach quorum – which is the minimum number of people required for a vote to be decided – without you having to decide yes or no on the proposal.

If you have questions- there’s a Voting FAQ thread on the Google Groups.
Happy voting!

January 16 2019

Vacuum Chamber

Yet another new addition to the space, a vacuum chamber. Mainly for degassing resin but I would be lying if I said we hadn’t experimented with marshmallows!

 

The post Vacuum Chamber appeared first on fizzPOP.

January 14 2019

Deutsche Haus, DRO, Screen Printing and Wood Stuff!

Neil made a Deutsche Haus! Neil’s wife, Fran had a great great grandfather who lived on the second floor of Hotel Deutsches Haus in Dinkelsbühl, Germany. As a gift for his wife Neil made a replica of the hotel as if it stood alone rather than sharing walls with the adjacent buildings. He created it using one of the laser cutters. He also lit the tiny windows from within to show the light inside. The Deutsches Haus was built in the 15th Century and remains in use as a hotel to this day.

Bill**W (yeah, that’s what we call him) activated the Z-axis on the Gorton DRO. Now you can see some sweet digital readout

Rick made a custom rig for screen printing PCBs. He utilized the metal shop and the wood shop quite a bit.

William Re-purposed some red wine barrel staves into various gifts last month, including candle holders, platters and plant hangers.

January 07 2019

Art area: new for 2019!

Hello, everyone!

Here is an overview of what is incoming for the Art Area in 2019. I expect to have everything in place hopefully before the end of January to early February. Thank you to everyone that responded to the annual usage and needs survey.

Make t-shirts on demand

Color printing! This has been a while in the making. Many t-shirt printing systems I have looked into had no actual third party reviews, usually are dedicated units of questionable functionality, lack any information on ink permanence and are super over-priced. The ‘direct to garment’ units look super shady. After looking at option after option for years, I am going with an easy solution. We have a mid-range Konica Minolta CMYK color laser printer coming. We will be able to affordably refill its toner thanks to member Latrice Dixon; she tipped me off to inkowl.com and their great deals. Transfer films for printing color will be available to use with a heat press. If you want to make MAD amount of t-shirts, Neenah Paper Techni heat press transfer paper films for laser printers films are as low as $31 for 50 films on Amazon. This brand has two types for light or dark color t-shirts. Members interested in zines and self publishing will be happy to know this unit accepts a pretty wide range of paper weights and finishes. Printing patterns and instructions will be easier. Manufacturers do not claim full-bleed (edge to edge) page printing in the specs that often as OS, software and users are all a factor: so I am not sure if we can manage full-bleed printing on this unit until we have time to check it out. Konica Minolta has an overall good reputation with the graphic design community for out-performing HP or Lexmark similarly priced printers.

Dye sublimation has been upgraded

The prior gravity feed system gets air bubbles and the flow is poor. Members got some use but it under-performed. This gravity feed system has been replaced with a refillable cartridge system for the Artisan 1430 printer. Dye sublimation works for transfer sheets to put images on synthetic fabrics, glass and metal projects. Make your auntie that cat pillow for 2019. =^-^=

More paintbrushes

Please wash paintbrushes you use with soap and water and heckin put them back. If you are using an oil-based media, please use a proper solvent and then wash brushes with soap and water. More brush soap has been ordered. Also, it is bad to leave brushes sitting bristles down in liquid; they warp. (I have a set of watercolor brushes that I have been consistently using for 28 years.) Brushes are not a single-use item. Do your part. Be kind to the brushes. A clean brush is a happy brush!

Swivel headed heat press

This is a smaller 9×12″ unit but may be easier and safer for members to use as you can keep the heat element away from your hands. If you think a clamshell heat press is kind of scary, this new one is kinder and gentler.

Noise suppression

Heavy weight fitness center rubber mats are going under the Singer 20U industrial machine and the work bench that has the heat presses. Hopefully this will muffle any whomping and hammering sounds that carry through the floor to CNC below. Thanks to Ray Doeksen for advising me that this was happening.

Upgraded lighting

Two new LED daylight tabletop task laps are coming and the overhead daylight light bulb tubes are getting replaced. LED lighting for the printmaking bench will replace the old halogen lamp.

Pro model button maker

You LOVE LOVE LOVE button making! You literally wore out the small button press; the plastic slider warped. This budget unit has been replaced with an all-steel pro model. We have a 1.25″ and 2.25″ button making presses and new pro circle cutters for each. IF you want to make insane amounts of buttons, I can refer you to sources to buy parts; Amazon also has vendors for button making parts.

New leather working tools

Leather working tools are replaced. Please return any leather crafting hand tools when you are done using them and do not take them home. I have needed to replace every single item this year. Share the tools, please!

Power strips and extensions cords

New and not frayed. Please do not remove these from the Art Area. If people need to plug in a piece of equipment at a particular table, I want them to easily be able to grab an extension cord or reach a power strip. Do not take them down to the other shops as they will get dirty.

Sewing machines

A new electronic Brother CE8100 with automated button holes is here, replacing the prior Husqvarna machine. The Brother has many more stitch styles. There is also a pro bobbin winder for the Singer 20U that I just have to install. Also, on the white book shelf is a small tin box with these new plastic fabric clips to use instead of pokey pins. These are helpful for delicate fabrics you do not want to put holes in or thick fabrics like fleece that are not easily pinned. Less stabbing, more sewing!

Let’s be tidy!

Lemon disinfectant wipes, Simple Green and window cleaner are in stock; see the drawer under the black and white printer. There are dusting cloths. I also discovered and ordered a mega box of paper towels to help with spills and stuff that gets on tables. Please do not leave your projects laying around and do not stash your project materials in nooks around the space.

New light boxes for photography

The old photography light tents tore and the frames broke, the tripod lamps wore out or broke when they tipped over. The new units are hard bodied boxes that collapse easily, so you do not have to be an origami master to put them away. The new light boxes fold out, snap into place, and have LED lighting built into the photo box itself. A 12″ and 20″ light box with sweeps are incoming. Heavy weight colored artist drawing papers make better background sweeps if you want a particular color. Document your projects for blogs or portfolios, get product images for online sales, or make weird 3D clay animations. The potential is huge.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is on both PCs for you to use; both the Artastic PC and the one with the Wacon Cintiq HD22 pen tablet.

Soliciting class ideas

Partner with me for planning and the art area can fund needed materials. If there is money and enough interest, let’s get some classes running. I have ideas for zero cost / free classes for 2019 which will be easiest to run in the summer when school is out.

As always, touch base with me in open office hours or by email if there is anything I can help you with or if you feel there is a need that could be met. Please help by putting hand tools away in their labelled storage containers; which has been going very well so keep it up. If anything is broken or not working properly, please put a sign on that piece of equipment and email me right away.

All the best to everyone being creating and making stuff for 2019!

Growth and churn analysis of PS1’s membership

I used historical payment records to analyze member growth and member churn, the rates at which people join and leave the organization. The data set also allows analysis of how these rates differ by gender.

Growth: fairly slow and getting slower

New members joined PS1 at a remarkably consistent rate on an absolute basis between 2015 and 2018. On average, 25 new members join per month: 20 men and 5 women. On a percentage basis, this represents a declining growth rate, despite the fact that PS1 dues continue to fall in real terms, and the space doubled in size and added new equipment during this period.

25 new members might seem like significant growth, but members leave at a similar rate. Net growth averages 1.0% per month. Net growth of female members was actually negative every month between July 2017 through March 2018.

Churn: new members don’t stick around long, especially if they are female

Churn, the rate at which people leave PS1, has varied over time. For male members, the churn rate has dropped steadily from 9.6% per month to 5.0% per month. For female members, churn rate has been as high as 12.3% per month, and was 8.5% per month in early 2018.

Cohort analysis provides a behavioral lens on the data. In their first six months of membership, female members churn at an average rate of 11.5% per month, compared to an average rate of 7.5% for male members. 45.9% of women leave PS1 within six months. 33.7% of men leave PS1 within six months. Overall, 55.6% of new members leave within the first year.

A club of older members

The “age” of a member refers to the duration of their membership. For example, a “two-year-old” member joined two years ago. In growing organizations, average member age is often flat or even declining over time, as new members join and older members leave. At PS1, member age has climbed steadily, a reflection of moderate growth and churn that is concentrated in new members.

What it means

There are at least two ways to view the high churn rate among new members. The first is that this reflects a natural sorting process as people discover whether there is a good fit between their interests and what PS1 offers. Perhaps PS1 is like a gym membership for many: an aspirational purchase that they don’t end up using.

Alternatively, perhaps PS1 is failing its new members. Anecdotally, many have noted the difficulty of navigating PS1’s authorization processes, rules, and cultural practices. Some might find the hurdles too high to clear.

These explanations aren’t mutually exclusive, or exhaustive. Almost certainly they are both at least partly true. The gender disparity in growth and churn, however, suggests that the hurdles are higher for some groups than others.

Less ambiguous are the implications of a high churn rate for PS1’s finances. The space’s sole source of funding is member dues. A high churn rate makes growth difficult; adds additional administrative overhead and demand for authorizations; and raises the risk that the low net growth rate could tip negative with small changes in underlying trends.

See a more detailed analysis and discussion the methodology here.

January 05 2019

How to watch the live stream of Tuesday’s election Q&A

Update: great event! A recording is available here.

All are encouraged to attend the candidate Q&A at PS1 on Tuesday, January 8, 8:15PM. Come for the pizza, stay for the democracy!

But if you can’t make it in person, we will be broadcasting it live in amazing 360° pano-vision. The easiest way to participate is to bookmark this page and click the video below to join in:

For a more immersive experience that includes chat, reaction emojis, and 360° panning, head over to the Facebook website. And don’t forget that you can participate directly in the candidate Q&A even if you are remote.

The live stream will be recorded and made available for viewing after the event.

January 04 2019

Lab B Seeks New Space for 2019 and Beyond

After several years in residence on the top floor of the Soda Plant on Pine Street, Laboratory B has officially left the building as of 1/1/2019. Many thanks to the members who put in lots of hours, leg, and back-work over the past month to prep to space for our move, and also great appreciation to the friends of the Lab who showed up on the 30th to help with the big move day!

Half-way into filling the storage locker…

The move has been a great opportunity to assess and discard a good deal of superfluous stuff, while our core materials are safely ensconced in a Champlain Housing Trust storage locker, ready to be deployed at our next space….

We’re already in talks with a few possible new sites for the Lab, but are being deliberate about the process so we can land on the best spot for our community’s needs. We’re in search of a space with a maximum all-inclusive cost of $700/month; it can have shared spaces, be a sublet arrangement, etc., but needs at least one room that Lab members will have exclusive access to. So, if you have a lead for the next venue for Burlington’s member-run and -governed hackerspace, please get in touch by shooting an email to info@laboratoryb.org !

In the meantime, Lab-sponsored events will be popping up in various locations around town, and we’ll be using the spare capacity derived from not having weekly public hours to do some internal work to position us for success in our 5th (!) location since the Lab was founded in 2009. If you want to keep in the loop, follow our shared calendar and Facebook page, where events and announcements will be posted, and we’ll post to this blog when your new space is finalized.

Happy New Year, and we look forward to sharing the next iteration of Laboratory B with the Burlington community in the coming months!

The post Lab B Seeks New Space for 2019 and Beyond appeared first on Laboratory B.

November 16 2018

17.11.2018: PhenCoCo – Colloquium on Artificial Ignorance, Digital Counter-Enlightenment and “User Experience Design”

PhenCoCo is a trans-national community of researchers in philosophy and cognitive science whose aim is to explore the possibilities of dialogue(s) between phenomenological approaches to the mind and the empirical and computational sciences of cognition. The participants in PhenCoCo events come from various theoretical and practical fields, which makes the events a stimulating experience.

The colloquium starts 14:00 CET – open end.

More details at http://phencoco.net

November 06 2018

Glossary of broken Dreams – Screening 30. 11. 2018

Berlinpremiere des vielfach ausgezeichneten Dokumentarfilms „Glossary of Broken Dreams“ – in Anwesenheit des Regisseurs Johannes Grenzfurthner vom Künstlerkollektiv Monochrom aus Wien.

Wir freuen uns nach „Traceroute“ nun auch den neuen Film „Glossary of Broken Dreams“ an Bord der Raumstation präsentieren zu können.

Freitag 30. 11. 2018, 20 Uhr Screening

danach Gespräch mit dem Regisseur

anschliessend Lounge mit DJ Saetchmo

Die c-base cult-crew bedankt sich für eine weitere Zusammenarbeit mit der Heinrich Böll Stiftung.

 

Puppets! Pixels! Anime! Live action! Stock footage!

Lumpennerd Johannes Grenzfurthner gives an ideotaining cinematic revue about important political concepts. Everyone is talking about freedom! Privacy! Identity! Resistance! The Market! The Left! But, yikes, Johannes can’t tolerate ignorant and topically abusive comments on the „Internet“ anymore! Supported by writer Ishan Raval, in this film, Johannes explains, re-evaluates, and sometimes sacrifices political golden calves of discourse.

Not to be used with false consciousness or silicone-based lubricant.

www.monochrom.at/glossary/

 

October 02 2018

Dust Extraction

After far to long a time we have finally installed a central dust extraction system in the woodwork room. We still have a few tools left to connect up. All in all things are heading in the correct direction. As long as we remember to empty the bag on a regular basis things should be a lot less dusty!

The post Dust Extraction appeared first on fizzPOP.

September 23 2018

9/27, 7pm – FOIA Party at the Lab!

Ever wondered exactly what those black helicopters are up to? Thanks to a federal law called the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), you can find out!

At the FOIA party, we’ll get together, brainstorm ideas, teach the basics, and discuss techniques for getting the information you’re after. Bring your most burning government questions (local, state, or federal), and we’ll make sure everyone leaves with at least one request under their belt.

The “Intro to FOIA” presentation by Brian Waters will start at 7:15 and run approximately 30 minutes, including Q&A.

Following the presentation, there will be a workshop session in which attendees will file their first FOIA requests, so, if you are interested in doing so, bring along a laptop!

The post 9/27, 7pm – FOIA Party at the Lab! appeared first on Laboratory B.

September 10 2018

France24 über die Berliner Hacker- & Startup-Szene

Der Sender France24 über die Berliner „Silicon Allee“

hier gibt’s auch eine französische Version:

Berlin numerique auf France 24

September 08 2018

Horizontal Band Saw

We have recently received the donation of a horizontal band saw. It also came with a pillar drill, along with various other engineering tools and materials.

Horizontal band saw

Training is required before use and will be offered on a one to one adhoc basis.

The post Horizontal Band Saw appeared first on fizzPOP.

August 25 2018

Radial Arm Saw

We have made a new addition to the wood shop. In the form of a Dewalt Radial Arm Saw. A bench for it has already built and it will be available for member use shortly. Training on its use will now be included in future Introduction to Woodwork Machinery Part 1 courses but if you have already completed your part 1 we will be offering free add on training.

We are intending to incorporate the route table into the end of the bench. This will be next months project along with dust extraction.

The post Radial Arm Saw appeared first on fizzPOP.

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