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

PyWeek Kickoff

pygameDo you like video games? Do you like making video games? Do you like hanging out with other people while making video games?!  Well then, we're kicking of pyweek, a week-long video game competition starting this Saturday at 5pm.

What's that? You don't know how to make video games or write in Python? That's cool! Come down and learn. It's "Learn Python the Hardest Way". I'll do my best to teach and get you started with tools and how to produce crummy programmer art and basic pathfinding algorithms and everything you need to produce your own questionable game! Here's the details, hope to see you there!

Learn Google Sketchup!

Join us at Ace Monster Toys on Monday, August 22 at 7:00 PM for a free public class on 3d modelling using Google Sketchup.

Sketchup is a free (sort of) cross-platform 3d modelling program which is great for quickly turning your ideas into reality.

 What will be covered:

  • Installing and configuring Sketchup
  • Use of each standard tool
  • Creation and manipulation of various shapes and primitives
  • Maintaining model integrity
  • Exporting models for laser cutting / 3d printing

 What may be covered depending on time/interest:

  • Exporting scenes for 3rd party rendering
  • Creating blueprints of your model
  • Gears and Joints

 What you should bring:

  • Yourself!
  • A laptop with Sketchup so you can follow along

 Cost: FREE! If you learn something you find useful donations to AMT are always accepted! If I make you stupider, you get nothing. Sorry.

How to RSVP: Our meetup page, so we know how many people to expect

Ace Monster Toys on Meetup

East Bay Mini Maker Faire

We decided (well, David the treasurer did…) to start using Meetup to promote events at Ace Monster Toys very recently. Last night was the first public event using the new AMT page on Meetup.

Wow! We had something like 14 non-members RSVP for our Thursday night weekly meeting. I thought to myself, "Well, we'll probably get two or three, maybe four if we're lucky but cool!" Instead, we had, I would guess, about 12 people show up that had never been to the space before.

To give some context, AMT has about 25 dues paying members, average, month to month. We've been slowly growing by a member or two a month for the last nine months but we've also lost a few members due to attrition. Given that we're in a slightly industrial part of north Oakland near Berkeley and Emeryville, California, this isn't surprising. The other hackerspaces in the Bay Area, Noisebridge and Hacker Dojo, are either right in the middle of walking areas of the city (for NB) or right next to Silicon Valley and all of its tech companies (for HD).

We're ok with being small but we haven't done a lot of marketing and it would be nice if we were about double our current size, just for critical mass for events, workshops, and people hacking on things.

Given the amount of people who showed up and expressed interest, I really do think that Meetup is a good advertising vehicle for us. I expect that we'll keep using it and we've already listed a number of upcoming events on our page. Check it out and come by if you're in the Bay area.

Next week, we begin a series on learning PCB design run by David Rorex.

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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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