Meeting 11: May 21st

May 21st, 2009

Start your engines! The 11th Phoenix DIY meeting is tonight, May 21st, at 6:30 PM. Our presenters will be:

Mark Rehorst will present his Van de Graff generator

Matt Mets will talk about his experiences in brewing beer.

There will be great snacks and cool drinks, so come on out and enjoy the fun!

The fine details:
What: Phoenix DIY meeting #11
When: Thursday, May 21st at 6:30PM
Where: Casa de Coleman, Tempe AZ (map)
$$$: Free!

The quick directions: University and Mill, West 1/2mile to Mitchell, South a few blocks to 10th, and you’re there 707 W 10th.

Meeting 10: January 24th

January 9th, 2009

Mark your calendars!The long-awaited paper making workshop, hosted by talented paper maker Lisa Jacobs, will take place on Saturday, January 24th. Lisa will be instructing us on how to make paper. Bring colored napkins if you have them (they contain lots of dye), and anything flat that you want to incorporate into paper. Some suggestions are pressed flowers, wires, RFID tags and bacon.

There is room to accommodate everyone, but RSVP’s are appreciated. This meeting will be held outside so to dress appropriately!

The fine details:
What: Phoenix DIY meeting #10
When: Saturday, January 24th at 1 PM
Where: Conspire, 901 N 5th St., Phoenix (NE corner of Garfield and 5th St.) map
$$$: Free!

Meeting 9: October 28

October 21st, 2008

Mark your calendars!  The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 28th.  Tho X. Bui will give an introduction to magnetics and magnetic material, and Bobby Metz will present his homebrew photography ball head.  See you there!

Phoenix DIY Meeting 9
Tuesday, October 28th @7PM
North Tempe Community Center

Meeting 8: June 17

June 16th, 2008

Join us at the North Tempe Community Center (Sisso Room)

1555 N. Bridalwreath St. Tempe


for two lovely presentations by:


Suneth Attygalle - Bat Goggles

Wish you were bat? Want to Experience Echolocation? Want to try to “see” with your ears? These goggles allow you to experience what it is like to use auditory cues like a bat and is intended for children in a science center setting to learn about echolocation. The goal was to keep costs as low as possible, avoid making the form of the interaction to be generic or unrelated to its educational purpose and to ensure that the physical form of device embodies the subject matter. For a more thorough discussion of its design, please see the project webpage.

Bill Mar - Gumstix

Gumstix is an “open source” hardware company with a line of embedded boards the size of a stick of chewing gum ( The Gumstix engineers have Open Embedded on their hardware and I’ve been working with other hobbyists since late last year porting Windows CE and Micro Framework to the Gumstix board. I also setup a deal with Microsoft to offer hobbyist kits with full versions of Microsoft Visual Studio and Windows CE Platform Builder. I’ll be bringing several examples of Gumstix hardware in action, including the eInk prototype kit.

Meeting 7: April 17

April 9th, 2008


What: Phoenix DIY 7

When: Thursday, April 17th 7.00 pm

Where: DAR (Digital Art Ranch), ASU, on the SE corner of Myrtle &
University Drive, Tempe, 85281 [map]

Enter through the south-facing door; there is a little silver bell you
can ring – somebody will come and let you in.

There is parking south and west of the building + in the public
parking basement at the north end of Myrtle.

Bring snacks to share! This event is free and open to the public.

This month’s presenters:

The A.L.E.R.T. team: Natalie Freed, Camilla Jensen, Byron Lahey & Alex Kim, plus Winslow Burleson and Patrick Lu.

The Active Learning Environment with Robotics Tangibles (ALERT) system provides an entertaining and easy to use method of interacting with and programming a robot. A user simply places a sign in the path of the robot. The robot sees the sign and obeys the directions given by the sign.

Our robot recognizes “command tiles” placed in view of its mounted camera and acts accordingly (”turn left,” “stop,” “go in the direction of the arrow”, “repeat last command,” etc.) The commands mapped to each symbol can vary with the type, position, and orientation of the symbol. The idea is to teach basic programming and spatial reasoning concepts in a tangible way. We’ve created challenge scenarios in which participants have to plan where to place the tiles in order to complete a particular task.

The A.L.E.R.T. system makes use of the Create robot from iRobot (the company behind the Roomba vacuuming robot), the open source computer vision symbol recognition system Reactivision, and Hacking Roomba’s Java programming platform.

In less than a month the A.L.E.R.T. team will demo this project at Maker Faire. For that event we need some activities that will mesmerize both kids and adults.

We will divide all the participants into groups. Each group will have a robot to work with. We will make our pre-programmed fiducials (the icons that can be observed by the Reactivision) and the software available to you on your laptops.

We’ve got the toolbox – you’ve got the brains – come and let your creativity loose!

Using our existing command tiles – or you can come up with new commands – the teams will develop cool game/learning scenarios. By the end of the evening each team will demo their concept. That can be done via a fully functioning demo, “wizard-of-Oz” demo, (demo using people as robots, etc.)

For anyone who wants to get a head start with the tools check the links below to find the essential software and more reference to our project. We will try to have a full package of the necessary software, visual icons and sample code available for you by the time we see you.

Note: No prior experience with robotics or programming is necessary. If you like logic puzzles or toys, you’re good to go!

More info on the project:

Meeting 6: Thanks!

March 27th, 2008

Phx DIY 6: Mark Rehorst

Phx DIY 6: Alex Schlegel

We had an evening of great presentations, question-asking, and prize-giving. Big thanks go out to Mark and Alex for such superb talks. Extra thanks go to Lisa and Conspire for hosting us, Bill for the projector, Instructables for the shirts/patches/stickers, Lawrence for the technicolor polyhedron, and everyone who brought chairs and snacks. What a great group effort!

Here are some links from Mark:
Spice Software:

Sample Circuits (netlists):

Limitations of Spice:

More LTSpice stuff:

Meeting 6: This Wednesday

March 24th, 2008

What: Phoenix DIY 6
When: Wednesday, March 26 7:30pm
Where: Conspire Phoenix
901 N 5th St (on the NE corner of 5th St and Garfield)
Phoenix, AZ 85006 [map]

This month’s meeting will be outside at Conspire. Please bring a chair or two to share! Also bring a jacket in case it gets chilly.

This month’s presenters:

[image source]

Mark Rehorst: SPICE circuit simulation software tutorial
Mark will lead us through the basics and an example of using Linear Technology’s free SPICE simulator: SwitcherCAD. You can predict how your circuit will function before you build it! Bring a laptop preloaded with the software if you want to play along:
Windows & Linux
Mac OS X


Alex Schlegel: Build your own Greenhouse
Alex built a backyard greenhouse equipped with solar powered circulation fans, and he’ll share with us how he did it.

Our friends at Instructables donated some awesome door prizes including t-shirts, patches and stickers! See you there!


Meeting 5 rocked the Casabah!

February 29th, 2008

[photo by John Kittelsrud]

It got off to a rocky start, but meeting 5 was a good time. The open air filled our lungs, and visions of SketchUp danced in our heads. Thanks, everyone, for the opportunity to rant about stoves last night. Appropriate technology is something I am passionate about, and I really enjoyed sharing it with everyone. I encourage you all to check out the pdf of my aborted presentation and visit the links in there, and find a way to give something back to humanity and the world.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” -Nelson Henderson

February 28: Meeting Five!

February 26th, 2008


Thursday night is the February meeting for Phoenix DIY!! We’ll be meeting at 7:00 at Conspire, in Phoenix. Please bring
anything you’d like to share (food, drinks, ideas, etc). and a folding chair or two. ;)


Josh Campbell, earthen stoves (DIY old-tech)

Bill Mar, Google Sketchup (free 3-D modeling software) tutorial. Anyone interested in following along should bring a laptop and have the free software pre-installed so we can get rolling.

Conspire Gallery
901 N 5th St (on the NE corner of 5th St and Garfield)
Phoenix, AZ 85006 [map]

See you there!!

Meeting 4: Thanks!

January 25th, 2008


Last night’s soldering/555 timer workshop was a huge success! Almost everyone’s kits worked, and everyone left with a smile. Thaniks to Lisa and Conspire Phoenix for hosting us! Thanks to Matt Mets for ordering the parts, and Matt, Ryan Spicer, and everyone else who helped coach, brought tools/irons/ and snacks! Matt Mets has a nice photoset - Link.

Other photos on flickr are tagged with phoenixdiy, so if you have some, tag ‘em!

We have some kits left over, so if you’re interested, let us know. We may give some of them away at the next meeting. You can also download the instructional document we used last night - Link.

Phoenix DIY 4