Month: August 2015

First Month Recap and Top Ten Things We’ve Learned

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At Wednesday’s Arduino class, YLab regulars were talking about how hard it is to believe that it’s only been a month since our Kick-Off event. That was way back on July 25, and the Arduino class was on August 26. OK, a month and a day.

It’s been a challenge, an inspiration, and most of all, a whole lot of fun for the growing group of volunteers, makers, techies, geeks and just plain enthusiastic people who’ve been showing up. All ages. All skill levels. All having a great time.

Our planning is best described as “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”. Much to our amazement, it all worked out. We’ve been growing in numbers as more and more York Region makers are discovering us. We’re always happy for those curious to check us out or contact us on social media if you have any questions at all (Facebook or Twitter)

So what’s next? Watch this space for the announcements – we’re working on some new amazing events and updates! They’ll be up soon we promise. In the meantime I bet you’re wondering what we’ve learned in our first month?

Top 10 Things Learned in YLab’s First Month:

YLab Outside The Markham Library
10. Libraries Love Geeks
YLab at DDO 3D Printing
9. People love lightsabers and 3D Printing, but they really love lightsabers.
Building a Telescope Presentation
8. Amateur astronomers are also uber-makers? Who knew???
YLab at Markham Library OBD Reader
7. Embarrassed yourself because your car diagnostics demo isn’t working? No problem. The attendees will figure it out for you.
YLab at Logics Academy
6. How do you get two robotics shops, a library and a giant telescope to let themselves be invaded by a bunch of makers? Just ask!
OBD Presentation at Markham Library
5. The owner’s manual says you don’t have to change those spark plugs for 160,000 km? With our road salt, they might rust in place by then.
Making an Arduino Blink
4. If we build it, they will come. They’ll even come from Toronto to York Region. You know who you are. We have pictures.
YLab Volunteers at the DDO
3. Amazing how a bunch of uncoordinated volunteers can make a website and social media come together.
DDO Telescope Closeup
2. Need a 70 inch mirror re-coated by aluminum vapour deposition? No problem. We got yer’ big honkin’ vacuum chamber right here. In Richmond Hill.

And the number one thing we learned:

YLab Member Group Shot
1. York Region has AMAZING makers!

Thanks to Pek, Markham Library, and Uncle D for the pictures.

A Physicist, Programmers, Roboticists and Some Newbies Walk into an Arduino Class

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It’s no joke. Attendees for YLab’s first formal training class ranged from beginners to experienced hardware hackers with enough experience to teach the class themselves. And how did it all work out? Unbelievably well. Attendees helped each other out, and everyone got their circuits and programs working.

Arduino Lightup
Its Alive! The first project was to make the LED light blink.

The class was generously hosted by Logics Academy . Ramy and his team did an amazing job setting up the class, projector, wifi and anything else we could think of. They let everyone hang out until I-can’t-remember-how-late to talk shop and compare notes.

Arduino Class Overview
After everyone got their bugs sorted out, the challenges began.

Ramy and instructor Brett Hagman amazed us with some of the contraptions they’ve built using the Arduino controllers. Logics Academy uses it in their facility for [Shut up! That might be confidential!] and in their robotics and electronics courses.

RJ from YLabs and Remy from Logics Academy
Discussing fun uses for robotics with Remy from Logics Academy.

Big thanks instructor Brett, Logics Academy, the growing cast of YLab volunteers, and most of all to everyone who attended to make it another successful YLab maker evening.

Sold Out Event At The David Dunlop Observatory

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00-onsite

DDO. WOW.

We sold out and filled every seat available for Makers at the David Dunlap Observatory: Old Tech Meets New Tech. Arriving visitors who had never seen the site were slack-jawed at the beautiful telescope and administration building.

YLab outside the DDO

The David Dunlap Observatory, sitting right smack in the middle or Richmond Hill, is Canada’s largest optical telescope. It’s operated by an all-volunteer force of members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Toronto Centre.

Starting The Tour

Who knew that the RASC-TC members are uber-makers? The session featured presentations and equipment demos by Jim Chung, author of Astro Imaging Projects for Amateur Astronomers , and Lance Clarke and Allard Schipper of the Southern Ontario Telescope Makers Group. We were astounded at the variety and complexity of amateur-built telescopes. We heard how Allard built much of his equipment using facilities and tools from the Toronto Tool Library. The Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan libraries may be hearing from us.

YLab DDO Presentation

We had the special privilege of seeing and hearing how the volunteers maintain the main telescope. Who knew that mirror resurfacing by aluminum vapor deposition in a vacuum chamber could be done on site? Who knew what the preceding sentence meant before their patient explanations? Where else do you get to see huge 110V DC (not AC!) systems?

YLab Inspecting The Homemade Telescopes

Along with the telescopes, YLab makers Jack, Jay and Richard brought out a 3D printer, robots, light sabers and other creations. Richard drew up a 3D model of the DDO dome and had it printed out by the end of the evening.

Printing the DDO

We’d like to thank:

  • The RASC-TC’s Diane, Karen, Paul, Nicole, Gilles, Eric (those are the names we remember) and other members who so generously took the time to show us this gem of a facility and explain its workings.
  • The DDO’s volunteer high-school students for helping the RASC-TC members
  • YLab’s high school volunteers Katrina and Maxine for handling welcome and registration duties.
  • Pek and Uncle D for taking the awesome photos you see above and on our Facebook page

Last note: we owe someone with initials AB a $5 refund because the registration desk didn’t have enough change. The volunteers did try looking around for you. We have your name but no other info. Contact us through the ylab.ca web site.

Car Hacks Event at MPL – and Ylab Showing Signs of Social Media Life!

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Y Lab’s Car Hacks night was a big success, with about 25 people coming out for our talk on how it’s still possible to work on your car yourself, on some of the auto security hacks we’ve been reading about in the news, and finally, by demonstrating several different devices you can use to read and reset a car’s engine readings and diagnostic codes. Emily from autoniche kept us in line with some most appropriate words of caution and advice to keep us from harming ourselves and others.

obd

After the talk, we went out to the parking lot, brought together people’s cars, and tried out the devices. There were some glitches, and everyone chipped in to sort them out. No vehicles were harmed.

carhack1 carhack2 carhack3 carhack4

We’re thrilled at the turn-out – we originally thought we would have about 10 people, so a big thanks to Markham Public Library for stepping in with a room at Thornhill Public Library to accommodate everyone.

MPL logo BW

This was the first event where we had live tweets to @ylab_maker. Tip of the hat to Avery, Jack and Pek for dragging us out of the dark ages and working twitter, our web site and ylab_maker on facebook.  And thanks for all the positive tweets and comments and for helping get the word out.

Don’t forget to register for our big night at The David Dunlap Observatory on Wednesday, August 19.

First Three Events Open for Registration

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We are happy to announce that our first three events are open for registration. Hurry up and get your tickets. Seats are limited so book soon.

 

Wed Aug 12, 2015, 7PM-9PM

Event: Car Hack: OBD-II/CAN Readers for diagnostics and fun

Where: Markham Public Library’s Thornhill Community Centre

Cost: Donation

Ticket: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/y-lab-car-hack-night-obd-iican-readers-for-auto-diagnostics-and-fun-tickets-17904881984

 

Wed Aug 19, 2015, 8PM-11PM

Event: Old Tech Meets New Tech at David Dunlap Observatory

Where: The David Dunlap Observatory

Cost: $15 ($12 before Aug 10)

Ticket: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ylab-makers-at-the-david-dunlap-observatory-old-tech-meets-new-tech-tickets-17902894038

 

Wed Aug 26, 2015, 7PM-10PM

Event: Getting Started with Wiring and Arduino (no kids)

Where: Logics Academy

Cost: $85 with Arduino ($60 bring your own Arduino)

Ticket: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ylab-getting-started-with-wiring-and-arduino-18-event-tickets-17930294995

Lots of YLab Friends at Toronto’s Maker Festival

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The Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor opened its doors to host Maker Festival 2015 this past Saturday and Sunday.   Makers invaded the three floors for the GTA’s  biggest maker show yet. Hordes of  kids and adults came out to create and share in the fun!
makerfestival
Maker Jay booked himself a display table to showcase his light sabres and robots, just as he did at our kick-off event on July 25. Jay generously allocated some of his table space for some YLab event announcements and email sign-up.
IMG_20150801_140513
And he let Maker Ross join in with his Turtlebot.
IMG_20150801_140529
 Jay runs his own website at http://MakerFun.ca where you can check out many of his creations. For those eager to make their own light sabres, Jay has a tutorial on his site.