FamiLAB https://familab.org Orlando's Community Lab / Hackerspace Mon, 01 Jun 2015 03:08:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Build-Out Update: Videos!https://familab.org/2015/05/build-out-update-videos/ https://familab.org/2015/05/build-out-update-videos/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 16:39:13 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3400 Hi, all! Things have certainly been busy here at FamiLAB as we continue to work extremely hard on our new space. We’ve got most of our drywall up and mudded, the electrical is coming along nicely, the networking is looking great, and so many things are coming together.

Our landlord, Dave Woods, has continued taking and posting a lot of videos of our progress. We’ve been linking them in the members-only section of our forums, but we’ve had non-members come out to help, too (thanks, guys!), so we wanted to let you know how to find these videos. There are so many by now that the best way to find them is to search “FamiLAB 1.5X” on YouTube (FamiLAB 1.5X construction videos!)

If you’ve got some time, we could always use any and all kinds of help to continue moving forward. We’re generally working on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and can put people of all skill levels and abilities to work right away! Feel free to contact us by the form on this site, or shoot an email to web@familab.org if you’d like more information on volunteering to help.

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FamiLAB 1.5x Buildout Updatehttps://familab.org/2015/02/familab-1-5x-buildout-update/ https://familab.org/2015/02/familab-1-5x-buildout-update/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:41:33 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3383 Hey guys! we’ve all been working hard on building our new space over the last few months. Dave Woods, has compiled this video so far of our progress, showcasing some of the more amusing moments some of you might have been there to witness. Leave some comments and let us know what you think!

If you’ve got some time, we could always use any and all kinds of help to continue moving forward. We’re generally working on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and can put people of all skill levels and abilities to work right away! Feel free to contact us by the form on this site, or shoot an email to web@familab.org if you’d like more information on volunteering to help.

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We’re Moving! (next door)https://familab.org/2015/01/were-moving-next-door/ https://familab.org/2015/01/were-moving-next-door/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 02:50:21 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3348

Why move?

Three years ago FamiLAB took a big step in its growth and moved from a small 400 sq/ft storage facility to our current 4000 sq/ft location. At the time we had less than 30 members and having 10x the space was a huge step. Since then our membership has grown to over 70 members and we have added a number of new, large tools. Needless to say, our current space is getting a bit cozy. An opportunity to move to a larger unit within the same building has presented itself and our membership has chosen to move. This move will mean big changes for our facilities as we will be building out the office space to suit our needs. We anticipate beginning our build-out over the next couple of weeks and hope to move in at the beginning of 2015.

We will also be changing our mailing address to a more convenient post office. If you need to send us correspondence of any kind please take note of the new addresses

Physical Address  (for visits only)

1355 Bennett Dr
Suite 105
Longwood, FL 32750

Mailing Address (for all correspondence)

PO Box 522047
Longwood, FL 32752

Below are just a few of the new features we’ve designed into the space

  • Biohacking lab (Funded through a generous donation by one of our members and his employer)
  • Darkroom
  • Laser/3D Printer room with dedicated, isolated HVAC
  • Lounge/Reception area
  • Much larger room for meetings and classes
  • Dedicated social/break room for small group work
  • Two restrooms
  • ADA compliant spaces/layout
  • Oh, and more warehouse space…

See the floor plan below for the layout of the new office space…



How can you help?


With the exception of specialized labor that must be performed by licensed professionals we will be completing the build-out of the new office using all volunteer labor. Even if you are not a member of FamiLAB we would love to have you out to help contribute to the build. It’s a great way to meet our members and get a great start on the membership process.


The build-out will be EXPENSIVE. We are open to accepting donations of any kind. Corporate sponsorship of materials or monetary donations would be the most helpful. If you know any companies that you think would be interested in supporting our group please have them contact us at board@familab.org. Keep in mind that FamiLAB is a 501C3 nonprofit so all donations (corporate and individual) are tax deductible.


Below are some time-lapse videos showing the build process so far. Enjoy!

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FamiLAB Soldering… Now Brought to You by Sparkfun! And Gadgetcat!https://familab.org/2014/12/familab-soldering-now-brought-to-you-by-sparkfun-and-gadgetcat/ https://familab.org/2014/12/familab-soldering-now-brought-to-you-by-sparkfun-and-gadgetcat/#comments Wed, 31 Dec 2014 03:38:43 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3371 FamiLAB’s soldering supplies have been quickly dwindling, its soldering irons being used so much that they’re falling apart. We made it through teaching soldering at Maker Faire Orlando due to the generosity of Melbourne Makerspace (thanks for the loaned irons, guys!), but we were in sore need of supplies.

In came Gadgetcat! Gadgetcat was kind enough to donate 10 brand new Weller soldering irons, which will be used exclusively for classes.

Then came Sparkfun! An email exchange with Sparkfun about sponsorship ensued before MFO, the lab following up later with Sparkfun by applying for a sponsorship. They ended up sending us the following:




Thanks, Sparkfun! Thanks, Gadgetcat!

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Making Sunshinehttps://familab.org/2014/10/making-sunshine/ https://familab.org/2014/10/making-sunshine/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 01:03:32 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3324 So it’s nothing new when I interrupt one project for another, but this time was a bit different. My friend Brooks over at Sunshine Labs asked me to make her a sign for her new business. She didn’t give me specifications or her ideas, just make me a sign. I couldn’t just do an ordinary sign, not for Brooks who had not one but two dresses with NeoPixels. So I took a look at her logo,


and thought… it needs to stand out more and have lights (but not NeoPixels, not this time). So a bit of quick work with a laser cutter with 4 different acrylics. Some translucent white, some very thin black and some neon-orange & blue. The neon blue went behind the black as a drop shadow. The orange was heated and bent, mainly to see how well it does edge lit.


So the initial test looked good, the orange shined and the blue accent was subtle. Now on to the hardest part, bending acrylic in multiple stages to create a 3d representation of her logo. Here is a shot where I have made the first bend and I’m now heating the second  area to bend.  The odd notch in the wood I have laying on top is so I can see the acrylic.  It changes optically when it gets hot enough.


After 5 tries and lots of scrap, I finally got one perfect.  A helpful hint if you are ever working on a project bending acrylic.  Don’t have a fan on nearby, it takes much longer to heat and it heats unevenly.


What may not be obvious in this picture is that the logo is not just a bend in a straight piece of acrylic. It was cut so that it would have a forced perspective. The reason for the perspective cut and all the little divots in the ends is for LEDs to be inserted for edge lighting the acrylic. So even when standing directly in front of the sign you will see the edge lighting.

Here is the patter I used to cut the piece.  At each point that it angles is where I bent the acrylic.


Here is a shot of how the LEDs are to be mounted.  I didn’t use blue tape in the final piece. I used heat shrink tubing and some electrical tape as I wanted this light isolated from the rest of the sign.

LED Light Test
Doing the letters was a bit of a pain, but blue tape to the rescue. After aligning each letter with it’s blue drop shadow I taped them together then use acrylic cement. I despise the bottles they give you as they leak (the cheap one I had anyway). So I used insulin syringes to apply the cement.


I couldn’t find a frame, so I decided to make one instead. I ended up cutting two pieces from MDF and gluing them together. I needed the depth for the light to disperse from the LED back lights to the white acrylic, otherwise you see each individual led shining through.


Next was mounting the led back lighting. But first some math, to evenly space all the led strips so that there was uniform brightness (that sheet of paper on the left are all my calculations). I shouldn’t have bothered. The strip lighting I picked up online and it was insanely bright. Ended up cutting the voltage down and then adding a filter screen to get it to where it didn’t overpower the logo effect.


The LED light strip had glue on backing that was incredible stuff. When I removed one piece it destroyed part of the dry erase board I used for the background. So quickly line it up and solder it in….


and test the lights


Back to the logo for a second. The idea behind having LEDs in the logo with the edge lighting was for a specific effect. A slow churning of light, like the sun. Never fully off, but constantly moving.   To this end I used a Texas Instrument TLC5940 connected to a Arduino Pro Mini. The program was simple.

1. Randomly pick one of the 8 LEDS, if it’s off turn it on, if it’s on turn it off.

2. When turning and LED on or off,  change the brightness from 100 to 4095 (or reversed) over 2 seconds.

I kept a base value of 100 so the LEDs never fully turned off.

Little more wiring and…


A little more assembly…

and a final light test


Every project I work on usually includes something new, either learning a new tool or using a new material. So every project there is always a learning curve. On this project, I had originally planned to have the blue shadows of the letters light up as part of the animation. I did some testing and it looked good, but I tested late at night with the lights dim, so when I turned it all on for a pre-assembly test the lights were non existent, washed out. When I lowered the intensity of the white back light, the white acrylic glowed blue (not what I wanted). So in the end I removed the blue LEDS and left the blue as an accent piece. The sign looks good and quite a few people have told me the pictures do not do it justice, but I still wish I could have done the animation of the letters. In hindsight I should have used blue mirrored acrylic, this would have focused the light in the blue area and not let it ‘escape’ into the white acrylic.

Here is the sign with it’s molten movements

I don’t track time working on projects very well. Usually I just find my first file and check the date stamp, nevermind that all my projects start on paper.  This was not a one weekend project and took me far longer to do than I intended. My first file has a date of April and I didn’t deliver this until August, but that’s cause I’m a busy guy.


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FamiLAB Visits the Intertel Annual General Assemblyhttps://familab.org/2014/10/familab-visits-the-intertel-annual-general-assembly/ https://familab.org/2014/10/familab-visits-the-intertel-annual-general-assembly/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 03:31:23 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3337 On Saturday, September 20th, FamiLAB members Jamie Szafran and David Sikes went to the Intertel Southeast Region’s Annual General Assembly (held this year in Orlando) to give a talk about hackerspaces.  The talk covered hackerspaces in general (definitions, characteristics, examples, history, etc.), Maker culture/the Maker movement, FamiLAB history (“the genesis of a hackerspace”), and Maker education. The talk, planned for an hour, lasted an hour and a half and spawned continued conversation with Intertel members for a further hour and a half.

FamiLAB member and Central Florida Raspberry Pi User Group organizer Mac Rutan, who also spoke, grabbed these photos after his talk.


Jamie and David watch the previous speaker while they wait to speak. – Image Credit: 2014 Mac Rutan


Jamie and David, right before their talk. – Image Credit: 2014 Mac Rutan


FamiLAB thanks the Southeast Region of Intertel for the invitation and hopes to see some of its members at the lab soon!





Founded in 1966, Intertel is a high-IQ society that has only one qualification for membership: a score at or above the 99th percentile on a standardized IQ test.

The society has three purposes:

  • to encourage meaningful intellectual fellowship
  • to foster an exchange of ideas on any and all subjects
  • to assist in research relating to high intelligence

Learn more at http://www.intertel-iq.org/

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Maker Faire Orlandohttps://familab.org/2014/08/maker-faire-orlando/ https://familab.org/2014/08/maker-faire-orlando/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:19:04 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3305 Come and visit FamiLAB – Greater Orlando’s hackerspace at Maker Faire Orlando! We have many members who will be showing off their creations and works in progress! We’ll be in the center of “Lowry Hall” right on the lobby floor of the Orlando Science Center.

Click the logo above to head straight to the Maker Faire Orlando Website!




About Maker Faire:

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker Movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning. Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community. The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2014 celebrated its ninth annual show with some 1100 makers and 125,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in three years to 500+ makers and 55,000 attendees. Detroit, Kansas City, Newcastle (UK), Rome, Shenzhen, Oslo, Atlanta and Tokyo are the home of “featured” 2014 Maker Faires (200+ makers), and community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced around the United States and the world.

What is Maker Faire Orlando?

Maker Faire Orlando is a community-organized, family-friendly celebration featuring local do-it-yourself science, art, rockets, robots, crafts, technology, music, hands-on-activities, and more. It’s an event where people show what they are making and share what they are learning.

What is a Maker?

We are parents, students, scientists, and garage tinkerers. We are young and old and we all share a love for innovation, creativity and inspiring others to make something—anything—as long as it makes people happy.

What’s new?

The 2014 Maker Faire Orlando at the Orlando Science Center and surrounding area is bigger then ever before. More exhibits, more crazy creations, and more Makers! You’ll enjoy 2-days packed with exhibits and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.

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FamiLAB Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Class: a Maker’s Perspectivehttps://familab.org/2014/06/pcb-class/ https://familab.org/2014/06/pcb-class/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 07:07:07 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3265 PCB class 43

On Friday March 28th 2014, Mike Smith ran his first version of the pcb class that is now being offered at FamiLAB. Mike showed up at 2 p.m. to prepare the classroom for his 6:30 p.m. workshop. Arriving over 4 hours early might seem like overkill, but in a makerspace, there is no telling what condition the space, or the makers, may be in at any time. Plus, he had mechanisms to assemble, parts to sort, and instructional materials to be laid out.

Attendees will show up early to workshops. Some will assist in the set up. Other makers may show up anticipating the build with equal parts anxiousness and doubt. This is a first run and there are no guarantees that what is planned will produce positive, if any, results.

PCB class 3b

As the class begins each maker started off with a pre-sensitized pcb blank, a bag of electronic components, and some volatile chemicals. In addition to that were a UV radiation chamber plus a rotary tool and soldering tools.

After a brief process overview and some valuable technical instruction, we set up the registration of our circuit templates and solder mask transparencies onto glass plates.

Once the plates were aligned, we went out into the well-ventilated warehouse and mixed our chemical developer and etching solutions. Once the chemicals were measured and mixed, we headed back into the classroom to make the printed circuit boards.

PCB class 62

 Mike walked us through the process at a moderate pace. No one was left behind, which is why the last 3 makers, the only 3 to complete the project in one sitting, finished at 5 a.m. By this time each of us was in a euphoric state, pleased with the results but exhausted. As individuals, each one of us had difficulties with some aspect of the process. As a group, we got through it. Being able to get stuck and simply look across the table or ask the person next to you for answers is the essence of the maker community experience. Had I been working at home I would have paused or shelved the project and put it off to be completed at another time. At FamiLAB, momentum builds over time, friction is low, and the gravity is strong.

PCB class  94

Note: Mike has run the pcb workshop since this first trial and has streamlined the process and adjusted the scope of the project. If you want to gain insight into microcontrollers, build confidence in your technical prowess, and have fun at the same time, I recommend this workshop!

PCB class 8

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Team with FamiLAB connections wins NASA Space Apps Challenge NYChttps://familab.org/2014/04/team-with-familab-connections-wins-nasa-space-apps-challenge-nyc/ https://familab.org/2014/04/team-with-familab-connections-wins-nasa-space-apps-challenge-nyc/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 22:53:52 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3253 FamiLAB member Brooks Zurn traveled to New York City to participate in the NASA SpaceApps Challenge on April 12-13, 2014. She was a member of team “Senti8”, which addressed the challenge “Space Wearable: Fashion Designer to Astronauts”. Astronaut Doug Wheelock told Senti8 team members that the smell of the earth – trees, grass, dirt, were what he missed most during his tenure on the International Space Station. 

Team Senti8 decided to try to bring the smells of Earth to space and beyond by developing a wearable technology bracelet that could send a “scent message”. Press a button on a phone, and the bracelet remotely emits scent to the receiver.  Scenti8 extended this concept to 5 categories of scent – Nature, Food, Earth, Home, and Custom Scents.

By the end of the two-day hackathon, Senti8 had successfully created a prototype that could receive communication from the phone, and a mock-up of the design including working lights and graphics. Senti8 also developed an extensive “company presence” including a website, tumblr progress blogfacebook page, twitter account, Google Plus page, and a “Scent Mall” describing the variety available.

Senti8 won “Best Use of Hardware”, and were one of three winners for the NYC Mainstage site. They have submitted their entry for the International NASA SpaceApps competition. View their entry at their website here.  Press includes an Adafruit blog post on the team and several invitations to present at tech and wearables events.

FamiLAB members Mike, Jamie, Jessica and Pat  also participated in last year’s 2013 NASA SpaceApps project and won the Kennedy Space Center competition with their project “Deployable Greenhouse“.

Brooks hopes to continue with the project and involve additional FamiLAB members as it progresses.

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The Tim Tracker visits FamiLABhttps://familab.org/2014/04/the-tim-tracker-visits-familab/ https://familab.org/2014/04/the-tim-tracker-visits-familab/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 01:57:59 +0000 https://familab.org/?p=3228 FamiLAB was very grateful to have Tim and Jen  from the Tim Tracker YouTube channel out the other night to our monthly Open House event on April 1st. Story and links below.


 The Tim Tracker visits FamilLAB – YouTube


FamiLAB was very grateful to have Tim and Jen  from the Tim Tracker YouTube channel out the other night to our monthly Open House event on April 1st.

We were glad  that both Tim and Jen were able to make it out to see our space, and had a great time! Be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel for all the crazy antics and updates on his daily video blog.

From the Tim Tracker YouTube Page:


Hello, I am TheTimTracker. Welcome to my crazy beard and mustache driven life! Come with me as we adventure around Orlando, Florida and explore all of the amazing places that have made Orlando a top tourist destination, and a few that no one knows about! The beautiful blond chick you always see in my videos is my hot wife Jenn. Make sure you say hello and hit the subscribe button, because we are always doing something new. Whether it’s home science experiments for kids, roller coaster POV ride alongs or Theme Park Events; you will be sure to have a blast hanging out with us! We also have a skit channel you might enjoy over at http://www.youtube.com/skittyskittyba… We always have fun filming new things for you guys and showing you things to do in Orlando, Florida!”


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