CNC Router Crowdfunding Underway


We’re crowdfunding a CNC Router!

Go to the HackRVA IndieGoGo Campaign for all the details.

Thanks everyone, can’t wait to start subtractive manufacturing *things*with our cyberbrains!

sketch chair


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RVAsec Badge Build 2014 WrapUp


The RVAsec Badge 2014 is complete!

RVA Security Conference goers thoroughly enjoyed their badges which you can read about in more technical depth on our wiki here and GitHub here. We made 300 of them over several months of sustained effort.

The “Badge Build” has become the preeminent annual group project at HackRVA offering an array of challenges from circuit board design and manufacture, to coding, to how to work together on a large scale project.

We’re super proud of this creation. We’ve improved on our capabilities each year while simultaneously expanding the scope of the project itself. We’re already looking ahead to next year, so stay tuned for upcoming badge related events.

In the meantime, here’s some photos from our odessey!



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Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!

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Sorry for the mixed metaphors.

Artemis Bridge Build underway. Go to the HackRVA Meetup to join us for gaming teamwork fun Saturday nights!

For hardware details, go to wiki here. Cool pics here.

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Game Development at HackRVA


New Picture

There’s been some game making going on around HackRVA. It’s messy, strange, and most of us don’t really know what we’re doing (except Brandon, pictured in Unreal4 Fugue State(TM) in top pic).

But we’ve been doing it long enough that it’s become a thing. The 2 projects in action right now: A Unity based 2D Beat’em Up and an Unreal4 Asteroid Mining Simulator (there’s a story there, just ask when you come by, if you dare).

If you’re interested in game development, double-check the calender(we take the day off sometimes), then feel free to join us at 5pm on Saturdays. It’s what we do after we’ve exhausted the power tools and before we launch into Artimes.

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HackRVA Wiki Improvement Day

HackRVA Floor Plan.png

We document, therefore we wiki. Or in some cases Git/Instructables/ThingAVerse/ProjectBlog/BuildLog/*things*… but in this case we were all about getting the HackRVA Wiki back up to speed.

We re-located the wiki, added many new needed pages, cleaned out the old stuff, documented equipment, and made a place for member pages.

And perhaps the number one improvement, we made it easier for members to get a log-in. Just create an account from the page and answer a human-question + captcha.

We hope to see the wiki getting more use so members can learn about the equipment, projects, and other (like the killer floor plan above) at the space.

Check it out! Or even better, get an account and add your improvements!

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Maker Workshop Series – Electronic Wearables


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Brittany put on an absolutely stellar class last Saturday!

We started the morning talking about wearables in the wild, what some key innovators are doing, and the future/now of the tech such as haptics and the possible normalization of electronics in our clothing for social and utility purposes.

Then Brittany presented some hardware evolution of recent years with multiple development boards and components to pass around for attendees to examine.

The bottom line: much progress. There are a plethora of options for sensors, connecting in flex, and I/O thanks to innovators like Sparkfun and especially AdaFruit.

Then, we dug into our Lilypad LilyTwinkle ProtoSnap kits. I made my tote bag blink in about an hour using the specially designed stainless thread, circuit board, LED’s, and coin battery holder.

See more pics of the event here.

And here are some suggested links by our teacher for those interested in the art of soft circuits.

We’re having another wearables class later this year, so watch our meetup to join the fun!

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VCU Students, IEEE Leaders, and HackRVA Members

3D Printed Water Wheel

VCU 2013-2014 Year in Review.pptx

Marian and Shelly are about the busiest people I’ve met in a long time. In addition to being engineering students at VCU, they hang out at HackRVA for the fun of making things, and do numerous IEEE related event’s throughout the year.

Pictured above are results from the hydro power demo that they built primarily at the space through 3D printing and various traditional fab techniques.

Here’s a slide review of their year as student leaders in IEEE. They’ve also been major contributors to this years badge build and to general improvements around the space such as workbench creation and welder upkeep.

It’s this kind of enthusiasm and commitment to community that keeps places like HackRVA awesome!

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Makers in the Community – DIY Care Package for NAMI of VA

NAMI Thank You Cards

HackRVA came together for a good cause last Saturday.  HandsOn Greater Richmond sent out a call for makers to benefit NAMI; we heard the call and responded!

We made stress-balls out of (2) balloons cut down and little sacks of rice. We also made Thank You cards and Thinking of You cards. It was a fun and relaxing morning of crafting, coffee, and bagels. We even had a few walk in participants.

More pictures are on Flickr.

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Maker Workshop Series – Learning CAD

CAD Class Printout

We learned some CAD last Saturday using Autodesk Design 123D. The pic above is a custom box that was designed in CAD and printed out on the HackRVA 3D printer by a total beginner. He drew it from scratch and did a crash course in 3D printing in about 2 hours.

I give the 123D software decent marks. It’s a step up from tinkercad, but not as powerful as a full commercial CAD package. Still a solid free offering from Autodesk to the maker community.

We’re looking at some other software options such as open source FreeCAD or maybe using full AutoCAD for the next class. We’d like to see more of our maker community empowered with the ability to draw their own designs, and ultimately 3D print, laser cut, or CNC their inventions.

Watch our Meetup page for future classes and events!

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Intro to IT Careers Event at HackRVA

HackRVA member Huy Tran has been a mentor for many young IT professionals. They often wanted to know, “Which direction should I go with my career?”

So he decided to put together a talk about just that question. Using his varied experiences and knowledge as an IT pro, he explained the details of what one can expect from different IT career paths, complete with education level, types of responsibility and expertise level, as well as certifications to be acquired.

Huy was able to beta test the presentation at HackRVA with our members before he takes it on the road with other groups such as high school and college students.

Way to give back to the community Huy! And thanks also Kelly Mitchel for sponsoring the event!

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