Regular Member Meeting 2014 04 08

From HacDC Wiki

Time and Location

April 8, 2014
Called to order at 20:15 by Dan B.
Members present: Dan B, Mirage, Shawn, Ben the Pyrate, Eben, Phil, Kevin, Lee, Katie, Hax online, Juri online, ITG online, Dan K online, Nell?!?!?!
Others present: Bobby, Jamie, Harry, Travis, Robin
Quorum met? Yes.

Approval of Previous Meeting's Minutes

Annual Meeting 2014


  • Everyone involved in moving the Scanning Electron Microscope!
  • Ben Mendis (sitwon) and haxwithaxe for truck driving!
  • Zach for improving CNC mill, Laser Cutter, and 3D printer functionality.

Director Reports

President's Report

Dan B has been instigating things! He introduced himself to Brian. They're with Megapath Internet with 3 up and down. Something on Megapath's end keeps dropping the VoIP traffic. They've been thinking about switching to Allied Communciations, but they're halfway through the Megapath contract. Dan talked to Covad and Comcast about business fiber ethernet to the Internet -- both are extremely expensive. Also, you're going to get Verizon for the last mile, no matter who you buy from. If we were to acquire another 15-20 members, we could think about having awesome internet in the space, providing there's a consensus. USA SEF and classes this summer could bring in some of these members. The church may be able to use HacDC's expertise in fixing their organ. Electricity problem: we have 1920s wiring, sometimes upgraded with 1970s wiring. The church's fund drive for building maintenance succeeded. We have 3 new breakers in the hallway panel. We can have 3 new 20-amp circuits in addition to our existing circuits. Brian would appreciate our doing the grunt work up to the point where a licensed electrician is required. Brian also says it would be okay to install more sound-absorbing panels on our ceiling without getting in trouble with the fire marshal. Dan has been trying to push people to take some of our stickers and fliers with them! Let's do more advertising. Let's make an effort at the USA SEF especially. Dan plans to bring his 3D-scanner-to-plotter setup. Mirage is talking with one of the festival vendors who seems interested in donating a high-end 3D printer to us after the festival.

Vice President's Report

Treasurer's Report

Here is the financial summary spreadsheet for March 2014: File:HacDC Financials 2014 03.pdf. We gained two members in the past month: Christopher Hermance and Kevin Cole. We lost one member, Alex Stone. We have 48 dues-paying members in good standing, two permanently dues-waived members, five temporarily dues-waived members, and three members who are behind on dues.

Project Awesome

Here is the Project Awesome spreadsheet for March: File:HacDC PA Projects-2014 03.pdf. We were back to a positive cash flow last month, so I can declare a Project Awesome dividend of $300 while adding the remaining $103.84 to our unearmarked reserves. There were 14 votes, unchanged from the previous month.

Secretary's Report


Director-at-Large Reports


We moved the SEM! It was quite an adventure and I'd like to thank everyone who helped us out with this.


In Shenzhen.

Project Awesome Reports

Project LASER

Dan has completely failed to perform the air isolation for the mirrors, because he was helping with the SEM, then got sick, etc. Still some vibration on the rastering. Mirage applied some special grease to the track which will probably help. Still more maintenance to be done. Some weekend we should rent a truck and go and buy the materials for the cabinet and build it.


Didn't have much movement in the last month. The Doctor is back in town this week and they're working on Byzantium again in the evenings. Dan B has been soaking some of the USB sticks in acetone, removing the sticker, and finding that they work.




Still healthy and stable. Pleased to see this month's expenses almost exactly matched income. Plan to spend the SUPPLIES fund as necessary to repair HacDC equipment. So long as we have at least a few hundred dollars reserve, this includes replacement parts for new equipment like the SEM.


  • $57.95 Dial Test Indicator (Used to level the CNC mill.)
  • $20.47 Air dusters (General purpose and SEM cleaning supply.)


  • ~$100 in filament from Microcenter (receipt not yet submitted).
  • ~$10 LetraTag Material for Label Maker (need to order)
  • ~$80 in SEM supplies (projected)
  • ~$80 for EPSON T5646 Light Magenta Ink Cartridge

Some of these may be delayed, due to the $250 spending limit.


There have been no objections raised to purchase of a small vertical bandsaw like this one for less than the existing $145 budget:


This should be at least as usable as the last bandsaw. Given our present financial situation, I think we should just get something suitable for cutting CNC mill/laser cutter stock rather than seek a more expensive machine.

If there are still no objections, will select the best one within the current EXPANSION budget, and direct Katie to order it. Preference will be given to support for cheap, standard blades.


The baffling idea sounds great. We can mount the newer, cleaner whiteboards on the wall. Kevin will need help with these efforts. The big old original whiteboard should be discarded. We received other donations: an inkjet printer/scanner/fax, a handful of workstations (Kevin will be installing memory and hard drives so they can be used for projects), monitors, two projectors (one working, one dead), cable locks, surge protectors. There's a rollabout cart that works well for the working projector.

Kevin will talk about community wireless with DC OCTO, which Ben says has been engaged with several times in the past to be shut down by the rich telecom lobbyists. Since HARC is providing training for the amateur radio community, it could be argued that HacDC should be given some community wireless authority (?) as a public safety support provider.

Member Reports


Prusa Mendel

Was on the fence for a while what to do about this beast. After approximately 300 hours of work, there was every reason to expect the last maintenance cycle would be the last. However, multiple spontaneous failures now cast any plans for long-term stability into doubt. Even if we actually did stabilize it, the effort would be sunk into a slow (45mm/s vs. 300mm/s) machine with ever-present alignment issues. First-layer alignment in particular has been particularly difficult to maintain to any reasonable degree. The non-linear surface has been estimated as a 6th order problem.

Current state of the art designs are likely more than an order of magnitude better, using a 'delta-bot' configuration and highly rigid construction from aluminum extrusions. Such designs are not subject to many of the fundamental design flaws our Prusa Mendel suffers:

Recommend we either purchase one of these, or direct our efforts away from 3D printing until we are ready to fully polish off our own designs (eg. Optical Table, Flex Replicator, etc).

Recommend the Kossel mini kit ($600 + shipping). Julia Longtin (aka. juri) has expressed an interest in getting it running, in exchange for taking our Prusa Mendel. That would also give us some hope that it may become an experimental machine for educational purposes.

We also have an opportunity to pick-up one of these high-grade printers for free at USASEF. Efforts are being made to inform HacDC BOD and members participating in USASEF.

Biosignal Amplifier

As a reminder, fully operational and documented:

Photolithography PCB Fab

As a reminder, fully tested, working, and documented:

Need to create a 'photolithography materials' box to keep the equipment organized and available.

SEM Progress

Organized the wiki pages and began research on replacement electronics. Looks like we need an FPGA managing a bunch of I2S ADC/DAC devices typically used on high-end 24bit 192kS/s soundcards. Have already thoroughly investigated the FPGA toolchains, and HacDC should have already have some usable FPGAs to begin experiments.


Nearly there, another HacDC member has the final Giant Fresnel lens. Projector construction can commence once lens has been retrieved.

Imagnus, Flex Replicator, Optical Table

Still in the same state as last meeting. All in progress.

Unnecessary Mess

Spent >3.5 hours cleaning up work benches at HacDC. Some of the more egregious problems included a melted space heater plug, still plugged into a power strip, a messy chemical spill, and misused solder paste left exposed. In all cases, the responsible parties could have cleaned up much more easily before leaving.

We can do better, and for a long time we have done better.

This does not concern any new items showing up at HacDC, nor project SEM, and probably not any other ongoing activity. Looks like someone using the space couldn't bother to put tools back where they came from or clean up after their mess. Seriously, who here feels comfortable leaving the space with a chemical spill on a work table to harden into sticky residue for the next user? Since I don't know, I can only politely request it not happen again.

This also goes for anyone administrating HacDC events - please watch your guests.


Literally just disposing of the sheer quantity of e-waste is a problem, owing to past inability to dispose of junk more frequently. Failing other options, Waste Management 'dumpster in a bag' is a possibility, at a cost of approximately $200 (not recommended).

Phil Stewart

Gave a tour to some journalism students.

Old Business

New Business

Allocate $750 to purchase and commissioning of a new 3D printer. Approved.


In order to move the SEM I rented a truck and drove it down to Norfolk and back. I would like to get reimbursed the $724.94 for the truck rental. Approved.

New Members

Harry: has been working on projects on his own but doesn't have much workspace. Brought a remote-controlled robotic thing to Greenbelt Mini Maker Faire. Memberified.

Travis: has been coming to the space. Has gotten some help getting started with Python and getting his PogoPlug server running. He likes coming here to find out what he'd like to do and then figuring out how to do it. Memberified.

Robin: video editor. Took Alberto's class last summer. Interested to bring stuff he's doing with lights and video to HacDC. Memberified.


Adjourned at 21:55 by Dan B.