Ace Monster Toys a success on Make: Live!

Ace Monster Toys was approached recently to appear on Make: Live as part of their "Hackerspace Roadshow." As their page says, Make: Live is a streaming show and tell show from people at Make magazine. Given that I own every issue of Make and, of course, all officers of a hackerspace are unable to turn down free press, we agreed to be on their show.

Make: Live had done a first Hackerspace Roadshow this last year, profiling a number of other hackerspaces around the United States, including our sister (cousin?) space in San Francisco, Noisebridge. This time, they profiled Ace Monster Toys (of Oakland!), Hive13 in Cincinnati, Perth Artifactory in Perth, and Tokyo Hackerspace in, you guessed it, Tokyo! A little more international this time.

For the show, they asked us to give a brief tour of the space, show our coolest tool, maybe give a little history, and then show some projects. I gave the tour (under some duress) and Stacy, Chris, and Atom Bomb all showed their projects (which are far cooler than my touring ability).

You can see all of the shows right now on the Make: Live web page. The videos are also up on Youtube. I've put the AMT video inline below or you can watch it there.

I also want to say, for the record, that the truth of samsaric suffering is revealed when you are forced to watch a video of yourself.

-- Al

AMT featured on Hackerspace Roadshow on Make:Live tonight 6pm PST

Ace Monster Toys is getting featured on Make: Live's Hackerspace Roadshow stream. Read details and links to watch below: 

Join us for a Hackerspace Roadshow tonight on Make: Live! This time, we have our passports ready to be stamped because we're taking the show international. We'll be checking in with Perth Artifactory in Australia and Tokyo Hackerspace in Japan. In the US, we'll hear from Ace Monster Toys in Oakland, CA, Hive13 in Cincinnati, OH, and NYC Resistor right here in Brooklyn, NY. Each hackerspace will give us a tour and show off a few of their members' projects. Perth Artifactory has a 30,000 volt MIDI instrument they call the Arcophone, which they'll play for us. Tokyo Hackerspace will show off their LOL Shield builds and how how they melt lead for their radiation detection experiments. Ace Monster Toys will show us their huge 100 watt laser cutter, LED blinking art, and a Minecraft Creeper bot. Hive13 will take us around their impressive space, will talk about their lock picking forensics group and their RGB LED window. And NYC Resistor members will demo their projects, including an Inspector Gadget inspired pop up book, a TV-B-Gone NES Light Gun, remote controlled HAM radio base station, and stylish RFID-blocking wallets. We'll have all that, a giveaway from Digi-Key, and so much more tonight on Make: Live.

Details about this episode:

Make: Live 21: Hackerspace Roadshow II

Wednesday November 30th at 9pm ET/6pm PT

Watch at makezine.com/live or on UStream


Please join us in the UStream chat or mark tweets with #makelive to interact live with the show. 

Thank you and I hope we'll see you in the chat tonight!

--Matt

Fixit Clinic, Sat Dec 3rd 1-5pm

Come to Ace Monster Toys to get your broken stuff un-broken! Bring electronics, appliances, computers, toys, etc. in a non-working state, and we will assess, disassemble, and possibly repair them. We'll provide workspace, specialty tools, and guidance to help you take apart and troubleshoot your device. If it turns out it's not possible to fix, or we are lacking replacement parts, you'll still learn more about the inner workings and what exactly failed in it.

Led by Peter Mui, an MIT-trained engineer who has put on several of these clinics to great success in the past.

Cost: Free, open to the public

When: Saturday, December 3rd, from 1-5pm

Where: Ace Monster Toys Global Headquarters

6050 Lowell St #214, Oakland, CA 94608. Look for the blueish building, buzz "# 2 1 4" on the door panel to get in.

More information:

College of Lockpicking a success!

Last night, Ace Monster Toys had a two hour or so workshop by guests, Eric and Jamie, from the College of Lockpicking. This was a brief history of locks and lockpicking followed by a hands on practicum where we all got to work on learning to pick locks hands on with some help and supervision.

AMT has had a few locks and a member or three who knows something about lockpicking but we haven't gone out of our way to make lockpicking a core part of what we hack on. For those that don't know, within the hacking community there is a long tradition of lockpicking as a hacking thing, learning to work hands on with the intricacies of getting through locking mechanisms. As I recall, this goes back, in engineering circles, to Richard Oppenheimer hacking locks at Los Alamos for fun, among other places.

A few years ago, Toool, The Open Organization of Lockpickers, was founded and members of Toool have chapters all over and are an omnipresent part of hacking conferences, like DEFCON. There is actual a competition form of lockpicking called "Locksport," that has a number of competitions. The Fraternal Order of Lock Sport and Locksport International are good places for more information on that.

For the class, people either purchased lockpicks from the organizers or brought their own. We then sat down, after some theoretical discusion of how tumbler and pin locks actually work, to open locks. This involves a bit of a learning curve as you need to learn to manipulate the tools, how much tension to put onto the lock, and how to "feel" the pins in the lock as you poke at them. I was able to open a cheap chinese padlock, a simple 1 pin lock (used for training) and a 3 or 4 pin lock. I wasn't able to get the Masterlock on the table or any of the 5 pin locks open. (More practice is needed, it seems.) Some people doing this for the first time, or nearly so, were able to reliably get five pin or more locks opened without too much trouble. Future dentists, one supposes...

We also got to play with police style handcuffs and zipties. It turns out that getting out of handcuffs isn't too hard if you have a little metal shim and they aren't already cutting off the blood to your wrists (since you need to tighten them a little to shim them). Zipties can be cut through with a little vigorous footwork using good shoelaces or paracord (and time alone away from the cops). Given the last week of Occupy Oakland, this might be useful.

All in all, it was a good event and I'm glad that Eric and Jamie were going to make it out to teach it. This has encouraged those of us at AMT to potentially add a few more locks to our sets in the space and I've proposed some kind of reoccurring night for people to come hang out and be frustrated by locks together.

- Al

College of Lockpicking, Thursday 10/27 7-9pm

(click to enlarge)

BONUS: Members of Ace Monster Toys get $15 off the registration price!  The discount code is in your email if you are a member. If you did not get it, or are not currently an AMT member, please feel free to contact me at treasurer@acemonstertoys.org!

RSVP TODAY - space is limited!

Ace Monster Toys at East Bay Mini Maker Faire this weekend

Christian explains the magic of making

This weekend is the second annual East Bay Mini Maker Faire in Oakland, CA. As the EBMMF website says:

A Maker Faire is about celebrating learning and doing – not the finished and perfect end product. It’s a place to share what we’re learning with others, and celebrate the fun and freedom of being an amateur.

Featuring both established and emerging local “makers,” the East Bay Mini Maker Faire is a family-friendly celebration coming to Oakland for its second year on Sunday, October 16, 2011. It will feature rockets and robots, DIY science and technology, urban farming and sustainability, alternative energy, bicycles, unique hand-made crafts, music and local food, and educational workshops and installations.

Ace Monster Toys participated in the first of these last year just a few months after we were founded and in our workshop space. (You can see last year's photos.) This year, we're returning. (Hopefully it won't be raining the entire time this year!) This is a great event for kids, hosted by the Park Day School in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, CA. AMT will have a table, be showing off a few of our projects from our laser cutter, and probably spending much of the day doing small prints on the 3D printers.

I encourage people to come to the event, have a good time, and stop by and talk to us. Bring your kids! We promise not to leave them alone with the soldering irons!

-- Al

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Ace Monster Toys is a non-profit hackerspace based in Oakland, CA, dedicated towards education, hacking, and maker culture.

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