We hit Hamilton this weekend to attend the first-ever Southern Ontario Conference (SoOnCon) of hacker spaces. A fantastic time was had by all. Thanks go out to thinkhaus for hosting this year and for letting us camp out in their loft Friday night.
Click through for details and pics…
Cheryl, Bevan, Ben, and I got down there after dark. Mike, James, and Natalie were already there as were Seth and Alex from hacklab. Andrew, AlexW, and Gus came on Saturday, boosting the kwartzlab showing to 10 members!
From other spaces we met:
- thinkhaus – James, Trevyn, Marilyn, Adina, Ben, Paul, Jeff
- hacklab – Seth, Leigh, Alex
- protospace – Paul
- foulab – Max, Michel, Francois
The Friday social component started with beer…
and went until 3am hacking the sooncon badges (5am for the hardcore kwartzlabbers).
Hats off to JB and Mike for bringing pelican cases full of components for the mods. James welded this knockoff 3W Cree RGB LED to the front of his badge. He only drove it at 100mA (less that 1/3 max) and it was blinding. He hooked it up and configured the firmware to fade-cycle through the colours. Looked amazing.
Ben dropped some cool patterns in his firmware. Mike added a piezo and LDR to his badge. Cheryl built what I can only describe as an LED flower out the front of her badge which was truly beautiful. I chose some blinding white, seizure-inducing replacement LEDs and patterns for mine.
Big thanks to Trevyn and James Arlen of thinkhaus for creating a cool, arduino-based badge with so many possibilities for hacking. And thanks to our very own JB for production assistance.
We left these guys + Mike around 3am to retire to the recently reordered loft above (thanks again thinkhaus!) and crash in sleeping bags with other campers from hacklab, protospace, and foulab.
Saturday: here’s the covershot for the album… no, wait, this is our crew waiting for a table at…
this place on Burlington St. for breakfast.
The Breakfast Skillet is recommended. Joke-telling waitstaff were the icing on this cake.
We made it back to thinkhaus not a moment too soon and James Arlen kicked off the event.
JB, the poster-boy of badge hacking was determined to add an 8×8 LED matrix to his badge and spent most of the day trying.
Ben’s pursuit of the perfect firmware was unstoppable.
Here is Wayne MacPhail and his journalism students from Western and Ryerson. They’re doing a project called MakerCulture in the Making and we were happy to chat with them extensively. Check out their site for vids of Leigh unpacking hacklab’s new CupCake 3D printer.
I ended up only seeing Gus’ talk and doing my talk and happily spent the rest of the time talking to visitors about the projects I brought. Once again, the Wacky Sound Generator got the most bang for buck, but there was a lot of interest in the metal casting and screen printing as well. There were a lot of conversations around maker culture and motivations for doing what we do. Getting that a lot lately and it’s fun to think and talk about.
Max from foulab had this interesting lens on his netbook.
JB was later joined by Francois from foulab and our Gus.
Leigh was going to town on the CupCake assembly.
Gus, le professeur.
I had been racking my brain trying to think of something we could give thinkhaus as a gift of friendship and thanks. For those new to the game, this is standard etiquette when first visiting a new space. Then Wayne MacPhail, looking at my metal casting display, asked if I was going to do any casting here at the con. Sure, we can do that… I think. Wayne found me a hacksaw to split the cuttlefish bone and I got to work carving the thinkhaus logo mold under the watchful eyes of the video cameras.
I did the pour while Gus illuminated the history of casting for our growing audience. With every finger crossed I cracked open the mold and the cast was good. We brought James Arlen (thinkhaus’ fearless leader) over and presented him with the casting. He seemed very pleased. Only today did I realize I got the chimney of the logo on the wrong side of the roof. Classic mold inversion issue, but it was a great success overall.
While we waited for the thinkhaus logo to cool I recast my sun mold. The first pour leaked, but the second one was tight enough to work. I love the burn marks on the mold itself.
The con wrapped up around 6pm and we packed up and left under a beautiful rainbow. A good omen.
With some of us headed to Nuit Blanche in TO and some of us back to KW, we stopped by One Duke Street restaurant in Hamilton for some great pizza and con recap.
Way to come out and fly the colours, kwartzlabbers. You should be very proud of your space. I am.