2012 class/talk ideas

Discussions on anything related to the evolving idea of Saskatoon's first "makerspace". What is a makerspace to you? What should it be called? What's the charter?
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Re: 2012 class/talk ideas

Post by Odemia » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:19 pm

Checked on IRC and there was some interest in doing something on bike tuning. I will work with Icars to organize some tools and maybe a couple bike stands.

The main issue is going to be finding enough room, is there any chance we could get the event space on the 31st of March or the 14th of April? Otherwise we will have to push the tables too one side for a few hours to get enough room.

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Re: 2012 class/talk ideas

Post by FingerTech » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:09 am

The Den shouldn't be a problem. We aren't doing anything else with it in April.

I can contact Shift once you know the date and time. Would you mind if I told Shift to put it in their newsletter? I bet some of the coworkers would be interested.

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Re: 2012 class/talk ideas

Post by Icars » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:02 pm

Sounds like a good idea, but we should likely go with the april date as we need some prep time.

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Re: 2012 class/talk ideas

Post by JamesCooper » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:07 pm

I've been helping out newest member, nall, with some basic electronics, and a few other people have shown interest in learning too. I think this is a good opportunity to hold the first of our classes.

I'm going to put together a short curriculum over the next little while and let people know what I have in mind. I'll be gearing it towards us, as members, assuming we all have some basic math skills, but not necessarily an understanding of what electricity is or how it works. If non-members are interested in attending, they may, but I would like to keep it to a small group (at most 8 people). I'm also planning on trying to make it as practical and hands-on as possible, so we'll be designing, prototyping, and analyzing simple circuits.

As an example, on Tuesday I showed nall how a 555 works. I explained the functional components inside it (flip flop, comparators, the discharge transistor), the basic configurations of how it is connected and what happens while they are operating, I took a step back and went over what charge, voltage, and current are (to help explain what a Farad is), we built an astable multivibrator that blinked an LED, and we used an oscilloscope to see the voltage of the capacitor as it charges and discharges.

That was a bit more advanced than I intend to start off, though. I'll begin with the basics of electricity (charge, voltage, current, etc), some basic passives (R, L, C), and the most rudimentary of semiconductors (diodes and LEDs). Once we've had a chance to explore those and build neat things, we can graduate to active devices (transistors, opamps), some digital (boolean logic, gates, flip-flops, shift registers), and eventually work our way up to some more advanced analog (amplifiers, filters) and digital (not sure how far I want to take that).

By the time that's all done, I think the digital world will take us more into microcontrollers and other medium/large scale integrated circuits, since I don't think low-level digital will be that applicable to most of us. My goal through all of this is to emphasize devices and techniques that we are likely to use in our personal projects.

Along the way, I'd like us to build a few things we can take home. As part of this, we'll take some of the neater items and build permanent ones. This will be a good time to learn soldering and perhaps the basic of designing and manufacturing PCBs.

I realize this sounds like a lot, but it's really just a brainstorm of what we could do and how far we could take it. I intend on start with just the beginnings of this and seeing where it leads us.

What are your thoughts? I'll let you know more as I develop my plans.

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Re: 2012 class/talk ideas

Post by thesaxmachine » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:50 am

I can put together a class about etching PCBs from paper to product. Also Rev if you get any more classes about electronics going fire me an email, I will check with the school board if there is interest for students coming down to learn.

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Re: 2012 class/talk ideas

Post by Kaldonis » Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:23 pm

James, sounds great. I'll be there for sure.

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Re: 2012 class/talk ideas

Post by JamesCooper » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:08 pm

sax: The PCB lesson would be great. You could be a guest lecturer for me, since I don't have any actual experience etching PCBs.

As for the school board, I'm not sure if I'd be comfortable teaching kids. Maybe late high school? I'd like to move quickly, and part of that is assuming some strong math skills and maturity. I suppose we can offer it. Honestly, I know I wish I had this kind of teaching long before university.

I'm already starting to write up the curriculum. I'll post a link to the doc when I've got more done.