Regular Member Meeting 2014 01 14

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Revision as of 19:26, 14 January 2014 by Gatohaus (talk | contribs) (Secretary's notes.. please feel free to correct or add things that occurred but were missed.)

Time and Location

January 14, 2014
Called to order at 1947 by Katie
Members present:

Katie, Jamie, Zach, Martin, Phil, Julia, Kevin, David, Dan, Mirage, Kevin, David, Shurad, Hax, Alberto.

Others present:

Butch, and missed 3

Quorum? 15
Quorum met? YES!! Finally

Approval of Previous Meeting's Minutes

Regular Member Meeting 2013 11 12

Regular Member Meeting 2013 10 08

Regular Member Meeting 2013 09 10

Regular Member Meeting 2013 08 13

  • All above meeting minutes approved.


  • Ahmed Aden. Retrieving our myDAQ and myDSP from Eric, as well as introducing me to an instructor trying to learn and share electronic design expertise.
  • "condew". Sorting through the LCD panels in the workshop.
  • Dan Barlow. Lots of help on lots of things, really awesome person, always a joy to see.
  • haxwithaxe. Confirming MiniVNA purchase.
  • Julia Longtin (aka. juri). Added even more to the $1k worth of our thick aluminum extrusions. Continues to sponsor our projection capacity!
  • Extrusions may be used for a gantry on the optical table.. for CNC and 3DP!
  • Katie Bechtold. Continuing to serve as our treasurer, promptly doing an excellent job.
  • Kevin ( for setting up a remote teleconferencing system.
  • Sharad Satsangi. Getting involved in more biohacking work again.
  • Zach. Brought all the right expertise, tools, materials and enthusiasm to build the basement shelves.
  • Various members on the mailing list for constructive criticism regarding the new shelves.

Director Reports

President's Report

-Not present.

Vice President's Report

  • influenza ftl
  • minivna extension purchased
  • grand canyon observed
  • heard a journalist on the kojo show (wamu) casually refer to hackers in a good way.

Treasurer's Report

Here is the financial summary spreadsheet for December 2013: File:HacDC Financials 2013 12.pdf. One prospective member (not yet voted in) has started paying dues. Longtime member and generous contributor Tim Collins has resigned his membership. Several members haven't paid their dues for a couple of months, and since they've been unresponsive over e-mail it's unclear whether they intend to resign.

Project Awesome

Here is the Project Awesome spreadsheet for December: File:HacDC PA Projects-2013 12.pdf. I'm able to declare a $200 dividend and add $132.29 to our un-earmarked reserves. There were 16 votes, unchanged from the previous month.

Secretary's Report

Reduced wiki users from ~140k to 1.1k (bots, bots, and damned bots). Verified that all wiki software is updated.

  • Want to focus on HacDC's calendar.. meaning, if you know of something interesting happening, send it to

.. though I'll probably pick up anything on Blabber

Director-at-Large Reports

Shawn Nock

Moved down South. Relinquishing membership and therefore directorship.


-no report

Project Awesome Reports

Project LASER

Dan: Made a snowflake with the laser cutter for security guard. ..well appreciated. Various acrylic sheets available for use for the laser cutter. Suggested donations marked, but not required. If you don't care about color, use clear, it's cheapest. Red is the most expensive.


  • We are currently scattered all across North America.
  • We have joined a group working on disaster relief networking with a focus on delay tolerant tools for identifying casualties and missing people. The group consists of people from commotion wireless and a few other projects, and has been organized by Geeks Without Bounds.


No planned kit builds but gearing up to have one in the Spring. Work is too damn high, until then. - Alberto


Healthy and stable at ~$1.4k.

Recent Purchases

  • Glass sheets for Prusa Mendel.


Only $145 after two months. At this rate, it will take another three months to buy a vertical bandsaw.

If you are holding one of the 3.783 votes for SUPPLIES, please consider voting for EXPANSION instead.


Modest improvements made. Using personal 4G which helps with the hangout connection. Discussion of placement of cameras in the classroom. How many? Cover multiple angles or just one? Asked about mounting microphone, drilling into walls. Response was not to drill into structural things, just mount via strap. Wants long usb cables, say 25 feet or more. Wants to mount the projector David W. donated to ceiling.. no objection. May want to buy Pineapple things that Byzantium uses.

Member Reports


I'm proposing to expand the HacDC Summer School series and have preliminary interest in an Intro to Electronics and I'll be repeating the physical computing series with DangerShield (a kit build!) + Arduino + Processing. If anyone wants to run a Python for physical computing or Pygame workshop (or a few), please contact me. I hope to get someone who will run a AVR Programming workshop as well.


Prusa Mendel 3D Printer

Finally, the machine is stable, reliable, and producing high quality results, down to 75 microns. Improvements include:

No further downtime is expected.

Photolithography PCB Fab

Have literally attempted every reasonable PCB fab technique, including etching spraypaint with our CO2 laser cutter, laser-printer toner transfer, scribing spraypaint with the CNC mill, and finally photolithography. At this point, the chemical process has been fully tested with excellent results, we just need a better printer for higher-quality photomasks.


Exposed and developed photoresist. Note the rather solid bare/resist regions. Fused lines are due to printed photomask quality.


Chemically etched copper. Note the high-quality edges on the large pads. Uneven and lost traces are due to manual cleanup attempt.

HacDC UV Laser Cutter

The CO2 laser cutter does not add any particularly novel functionality to HacDC. Lacking precision, it is only useful where a shopbot would likely be more versatile.

To bring higher-resolution laser cutting to HacDC, a UV 405nm laser has been strapped to our CNC mill. Unfortunately, this laser is estimated at <100mW, limited to cutting thin, dark paper. Using a 2W laser like this one for $70 would allow us to laser spraypaint off circuit boards for etching, cut high-quality soldermasks, scribe fine-pitch text, etc.

Of course, a 2W UV laser raises some safety concerns, so only trained individuals should use that with the appropriate safety equipment (just like any other laser cutter).

MiniVNA Extender

Thanks to haxwithaxe confirming the order, we now have an 1.5GHz extender for our vector network analyzer en route. This enables UHF antenna testing, transmission line testing, mid-range capacitor/inductor parasitic testing, and more.


Have 3 giant fresnel lenses from old projection TVs. If we can use the badly scratched Fresnel upstairs out-of-focus in the light gathering optics, we only need one more of these lenses from old projection TVs on craigslist.

Also, a modular pallet-and-rail will be used for the optics this time. The prototype frame that has been taking up space in the workshop is no longer useful, and was disassembled for that reason.

Flex Replicator

Multi-tool desktop factory platform. CNC Mill, Laser Cutter, 3D printer, and more, all simultaneously.

Design mechanically complete. MDF print surface will be added, along with brackets and laser-safety walls. Should be able to build one of my own within the month.


Open-source, hosted on github .

Optical Table CNC

We have been recently donated about $1k worth of large aluminum extrusions. We now have the resources to build full gantry on the Optical Table at minimal expense. Soon as that Optical Table is on its feet, will outfit it with a variety of milling/extruding/lasering tools. Similar to the Flex Replicator, but much larger at 8' x 4' , and likely accurate to 0.5 microns.

We should then be able to make large wood frames, print hundreds of objects in a week, etc.

This is urgently stalled by the HacDC cleanup. Lack of a large area CNC has recently cost at least 150 hours of my time at HacDC while maintaining 3D printer and laser cutter, and more projects are waiting.



We have a really cool product. While we would prefer not to tip off any competition as all of the exact mechanisms behind it, the system does work, and we are prepared for even more in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned!

Biosignal Amplifier

BiosignalProcessor host/driver software under development, hosted on github . Help welcome.

SigBlockly has been released. This graphical programming environment eases C development for signal processing and control systems tasks.

C_CMake_Template has been released, to ease development for new C software projects.

Host driver software is therefore nearly finished. Once libsndfile has been integrated properly, users will have an ultra-high-performance two-channel 'plug-and-play' USB ECG/EMG/EEG.

Thursday Meetings

The Thursday biohacking meetings have been getting quiet, but the core members still occasionally drop by and express interest. With the biosignal amplifier nearly finished, and hopefully more tools deployed at HacDC, we should be able to resume other projects.

Basement Shelves & Cleanup

Members are encouraged to discuss floor plan options with mirage335 after the meeting.

Personally, mirage335 has invested a lot into expanding HacDC capabilities, and doesn't see the following as particularly beneficial to those efforts:

  1. Cutting down the new shelves without first providing an adequate alternative.
  2. Unduly bureaucratizing new materials or equipment at HacDC.

Feel free to skim over the rest of this section during the meeting.

[Lively discussion..] There's disagreement on how to use the space and the amount of items being stored here and the clean up efforts. Discussion wasn't making progress and will continue after the member meeting.

The Debate

Despite a full CAD model, lengthy comment period, and general consensus that the shelves should be built, all well in advance of their construction, suggestions have emerged to cut down the new shelves, among other things.

Please consider:

  1. If the shelves were not built, we would still be doing nothing effective about lack of storage, cleanup, or equipment workstations, probably for several more years.
  2. Cutting down the new shelves could delay cleanup and equipment workstations more months and years. Every project risks non-completion.
  3. Alternative uses for the basement are going nowhere at that rate anyway.
  4. Smaller shelves will not give us any unused storage space, leaving no room for growth.

Also, it is worth noting:

  1. AFAIK, HacDC is paying very little rent for that basement, among other things I might say on that point.
  2. About $300 and four person-days of effort have gone into the shelves. Jeopardizing that needs something to show for doing so.
  3. Those who want something dramatically different can build it, demonstrate that it works, and THEN propose removal of older solutions.
  4. Personally, I have put in at least several hundred hours cleaning up the space as well as maintaining HacDC's 3D printer and laser cutter. At least half that time was wasted due to lack of maneuvering room, a problem these shelves are needed to solve.

On the positive side, there are some more reasonable ways to address concerns raised in the debate, outlined below. Also, next time I propose something like this (if ever...), dimensions will be included in the render image.


At a cost of approximately $43.17, we can add wheels to the shelves capable of supporting 1.6 metric tons. Additional wheels or fixed supports can be fitted later.

Since some concerns have been raised about placing more than a metric ton on wheels, this should probably be done only if members absolutely insist on pushing the shelves against a wall.

Floor Plans

Floor plans are still in progress, derived from the Solidworks 3D models published on github. Other members are invited to explore alternative layouts using these files.

Also, the tables and carts modeled are not only speculative, but intended to be shared with both rooms in the basement. At any time, members could push the carts out of whichever room is most in use, or perhaps even temporarily outside.

Policy Changes

Some have objected to HacDC storing anything at all, and others have proposed unduly bureaucratic processes. While this probably is not a growth-oriented viewpoint, the need for a more effective, well publicized disposal policy, may be. I have been attempting help out by drafting such a policy.


Features include:

  • Specific "Stays at HacDC Criteria" with time limits.
  • Going-out-pile and rotation processes.
  • Disposal processes.
  • Conflict resolution (BOD approval).

However, since there is still a lot of debate over this policy, I suggest it not be voted on yet.

Occupancy Sensor

The hardware and firmware at HacDC are still working, but eryc's server no longer is. We need a new server to accept and publish the data.

In the long term, a new occupancy sensor based on the raspberry pi will replace the existing system

WYSE Terminals

Created persistent USB stick image for the WYSE terminals, documented at Linux_on_Wyse_Winterm_S10_Thin_Clients. Trick is to use an old version of syslinux.

Tested about two dozen units. Surprisingly, all are functional, capable of USB and presumably PXE booting.

Request the additional 30 units mentioned by David Whiteis make it to HacDC. Planning to deploy these at HacDC as thin clients for a high-end server.

myDAQ and myDSP

Special thanks to Ahmed Aden for making a special trip to bring the myDAQ and myDSP back to us.

Old Business

From December agenda

  • Zach purchased materials for basement shelves, and should now be reimbursed up to $400 (exact receipt value is not known to mirage335).
  • Up to $400 Approved by member vote.
  • Approving another $75 will allow wheels to be added to the shelves. That is not to say the wheels will be added just because their budget was approved.
  • Mirage withdrew this request during the meeting.
  • Katie proposes we allocate $100 for our traditional holiday gift to the security guard. Update (Dec. 22): ITG has provided the $100 gift to the guard; this proposal includes reimbursing him.
  • Approved by member vote.


$600 for shelves to mirage.

  • not sure why this is here


Alusion and Julia want to start a meeting called Tinfoil Tuesdays.. focused on security topics. Full disk encryption education, Flashlight from Firefox, PGP, and much more that I missed..


Presented a hologram he made with a ruby laser.. large, highly detailed, no blur since it's a 20ns exposure.

Honorary Memberships

  • Motion to offer Hon. Memberships to the following was Approved by member vote.

The Doctor

The Doctor is one of the founding members of Project Byzantium and one of the largest contributors to the project. He has made numerous other contributions including donating time and equipment to improve the space, and helping us to network with other individuals and organizations with shared interests.

Bradford Barr

Former President of HacDC. He is also headed off the SF. Brad has been a long-time supporter of HacDC's mission. He donated a lot of time to HacDC over the years including teaching a number of classes on a variety of topics from Python to lockpicking to yo-yos.

R. Mark Adams, PhD

Long time member and contributor to the space.

New Business

New Members

Abraham - just started taking electronics course and wants more exposure, especially to robotics.

approved by member vote.


Adjourned at 2124.