All posts by JohnRob920

Perfect shorts:  A machine sewing project for guys and gals.

The perfect pants also make the perfect shorts.  Ron Morse will help you convert your pair of well-loved (but possibly frayed) pants into the perfect shorts that are just the length you want.  This is a simple project, so we can also show you around a sewing machine if needed.   We have machines and thread to use, or you can bring your own.  You may also want to bring an existing pair of shorts for length reference.
The class will take place Sunday August 27th at 1 pm at our space – 425 Fairfield Avenue in Stamford.

Robot Dance Party

The students in this week’s robot class had a blast  coding their bots for a dance competition this morning.

These guys are really getting the hang of using code to control DC motors. Very Proud!!!

Thanks to everyone who showed up to our Grand Opening!

The Grand Opening party was a huge success! Thanks go out to so many who made the day special!!

It never gets old watching people be amazed while listening to Rick Francher share his lockpicking knowledge. More than a few times I saw jaws drop as people picked their first lock!! Thanks for sharing your time, Rick!!!

Thanks to Bill Saturno, the founder of CT Hackerspace in Watertown for attending. He runs the best makerspace in CT and we appreciate him sharing his knowledge!

And thanks to everyone who showed up: the Broecking family, Bryce Fortran and girlfirend, Anne Friedman, the incomparable Lyda Ruyter, Stamford City Rep (and Majority Leader) Elaine Mitchell and Albina.

Special thanks goes to Ron Morse and my wife Dani for pulling the party together!!!! Here are some pictures …

NCC Robot Week


I would have to say that this was a personal best. During the last week, I was able to teach 27 students how to build and program an autonomous robot!

It all went down at Norwalk Community College College for Kids program in the last week of June. I had a morning class made of students ranging in age of 7 to 14.  Then I taught an afternoon class of High School kids.

The sheer numbers of students was not the biggest challenge I faced. It was a late order of robot parts from Amazon that really tried my lesson plan. Just about half of my kits were not delivered on time – and I had to scramble to offer value-added info to my high school students. It actually all worked out anyway – I was able to give them a more detailed explanation of common programming constructs (loops, if-then statements, arrays, etc.) . They actually left with more skills to continue building out their bots in the future.

Here’s one of my afternoon students demonstrating his bot …

Grand Opening Party July 16th

We will officially unveil our new space to the public on Sunday, July 16th at 4 pm during our official Grand Opening ceremony. Our address is 425 Fairfield Avenue (2nd floor).

We’ve been hard at work cleaning and painting and we think its finally time to open our doors to the public. We’ll have food and music and a lot of good folks.

Rumor has it that one of the members of the NYC Chapter of the Open Organisation of lockpicking will be giving a lesson on lockpicking as well. And he has some lockpicking kits for sale *$25-$30 a piece).

We already have a whole slate of activities planned for the space, including a whole series of summer learning opportunities for teens (btw, the deadline for signing up for two upcoming classes is June 30th).

Ron is already planning his first class – he’ll teach you how to transform an old pair of work pants into shorts (why should you have to go to the mall to buy a new pair?).

Stay tuned to this page and this one for more details.

The electric skateboard really moves!!!!!

I took the electric skateboard out on a smooth road in Darien last night and I was really impressed at how fast it can go. The road had a 25 mph speed limit and I’m quite sure I was going at least as fast as that at some points. Here’s the video:

There are still openings in the upcoming class scheduled for July 10-14. But you better act fast, the deadline to sign up is June 30th.

Rippowam Labs Has a New Home

We’ve been promising a big announcement – and here it is … Rippowam Labs has a new home!!

We started moving into our new space at 425 Fairfield Avenue (2nd Floor – Suite 4211) over the weekend and we’ve already started planning our calendar of activities.

The place is slightly smaller than the place we had on Summer Street – but the best part about this new place is that we don’t have to worry about getting anything dirty!

This building is one of the few remaining industrial buildings left in Stamford (all the others have been converted into high-priced condos). It has concrete floors, high ceilings and this cool old elevator you operate with a hand crank.

The building is actually full of activity! On the first floor, the Stamford Fencing Center is the area mecca for people who want to learn how to fight with swords. Longford’s Ice Cream is also there (they sell wholesale to the public M-F from 2 to 4 PM).

Then there is Tim Eaton”s Decorative Painting and Restoration. This guy is an expert in restoring old pieces of art and furniture.

We’ll be cleaning up the space over the coming weeks and making it as friendly as possible for the area Maker community.  In a few weeks, we were hoping to have a Grand Opening party (but we are still hashing out the date [probably a Saturday]).

Here are some more pics …

Here is Ron making sure his Oscilloscope works in the new place.

Here are a couple of the many local businesses in our building.

In any case, we hope to see you in the new space soon!

PS The map to getting to the space is on our home page.

Stamford STEMfest 2017

Thanks to everyone who visited our table at Stamford STEMfest 2017! We met a lot of nice people and we hope to see you at our new location (Details TBA) very soon!

The electric skateboard was a big hit! As many as 100 kids got to ride it – and no injuries occurred.

Another big hit was the lockpicking lessons given by Tantric, from the NYC Chapter of the Open Organisation of Lockpickers.

 

Stay tuned for a major announcement!!!!!!

Bi-Cultural Day School Maker Faire 2017

I had a great time taking part in the Bicultural Day School’s Maker Faire.

The fair organizers and volunteers did a great job of transforming  the grounds of this Jewish day school into an event  that rivaled some of the more-established maker events I’ve attended.

I was really impressed with a couple of high school students I met there, who created a smart refrigerator. With their project, Moms can actually check the contents of their refregerators on their cellphones from the supermarket (via WiFi camera). They also had this pressure sensor in it that shows if shoppers needed to buy more milk. The coolest part about it was that it has this turntable in it (which the users could operate remotely), ensuring that Moms could see everything in the fridge.

These guys want to make a modular system that can be implemented in any refregerator (very smart!!!).  When they take this product to market, I will be their first customer!

Thanks to Adrianne for inviting me. And also thanks to Ruthie, Emma and the rest of the student council, who  organized the mobs of kids who lined up to ride the electric skateboard!!!

Stamford STEMfest this Saturday (May 20) at Mill River Park


Where has the time gone? Stamford STEMfest is this Saturday (May 20th) at Mill River Park.

This is the mecca of things science, geeky, DIY and just plain COOL in the area. Students, adults and groups from around the area show up to display their cool projects and the things they’ve been studying all year.

It’s always a great time! Rumor has it that the lockpickers from the NYC Chapter of the Open Organisation of Lockpickers will be giving lessons this year at our table. Also, besides our robots, we will have an electric skateboard for people to ride. But, be careful, this thing can go 22 mph!!!

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!!!!!