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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RVA RN’s Dance In Style Thanks to HackRVA


Dustin and a few others helped make these cool shirts for the RVA RNs using our new screen printing abilities. The RVA RNs (Registered Nurses) are wearing them for today’s Dance-A-Thon “Dance For a Cause” event. That’s right, DANCEATHON -> 12 hours of dancing. Sounds awesome right!

Btw, we’ve been making HackRVA shirts too, so if you want one, just bring a blank shirt during an open house and we’ll print one.

IMAG0183 IMAG0115


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Solder 101 – Maker Workshop Series at HackRVA

We recently held a workshop on learning to solder. We had 12 makerspace enthusiasts attend.  Some were getting a refresher and others were new to the art of connecting wire with hot metal. We had a great time!

We assembled the kit pictured above.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and definitely got a solid intro experience to this key maker skill, but the end-result of the kits were a little anti-climatic on features, so we’ll be looking for a more expansive kit next go around.

If you’re interested in future classes in the maker workshop series at HackRVA, just follow us on Meetup. We’re going to be doing CAD, wearables, and basic electronics in the near future.

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NoVa Mini Maker Faire

We had a great time at the NoVa Mini Maker Faire!  There was plenty to see and do with over 100 makers featuring a wide variety of exhibits.  Nearly 4,000 people attended and the venue was packed wall to wall.

Our table was busy during the entire event (and even after the event ended!) spreading the mission of our makerspace and showcasing a few projects we’ve created.

Enthusiasm for science, technology and making is really taking off!  If you’re looking for more events, check out the Mini Maker Faire in Greenbelt, MD, the USA Science Festival, and TEDxRVA.

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RVAsec Badge Build 2014 Begins

2013 RVAsec Badges

The badge build for the RVAsec Richmond Security conference is underway. This will be the third year HackRVA has created badges for the conference.

For a really nice preview about the badges, check out this QandA with HackRVA member Morgan Stuart on the RVAsec blog.

We did some group soldering of speakers in a recent preliminary session. More opportunities for HackRVA members to contribute, build, and solder will be coming soon as plans materialize. Watch the calender and mailing list.

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WRIR Birthday Party


We spread the word about 3D printing, maker technology, and makerspaces at the recent WRIR Birthday “Party for the Rest of Us. Rob presented his “Beagle Brick” project and we had an arduino project to share as well. Independent radio enthusiasts really enjoyed the spectacle of 3D printing as well as talking about all things hackerdom. We saw a lot of great acts and some wowed faces that came by our table. Thanks for the food and festivities WRIR! Go Richmond and Independent Radio!

For more pics, go here. And btw, those aren’t just cat ears, they read brain waves  : ) .

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BARC Jeep Wins Instructables Contest

Neal’s BARC Jeep won a second prize in the recent Instructables Microcontroller Contest. Neal is a HackRVA member and built much of his project at the space.

He had some helping hands such as Fred troubleshooting software problems and others helping with fab. Dustin shot the video and I got to help write up the project for Instructables. Projects have a way of coming together at the space with multiple brains and hands.

The modded power wheels jeep is driven remotely from an xbox controller. Check out the complete build on Instructable here.

Way to go on your win Neal! Enjoy that new tablet!

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