Workshop 88
These guys have gratiously agreed to emerge from their not so secret underground makerspace location to teach a introduction to Arduino class for us.  They are great group of people.  While you will need to buy our own Arduino for this class they have arranged a special discount from a local supplier for this event.  Information is available at

Dwayne and Dale (aka 2d kits) love their Blinkies.   They will teach almost anyone to solder.  They will have basic Blinkies available for free (donated by Musecon) and also have some really fancy Blinkies available at very reasonable prices. We have a pdf of the blinkies that 2dkits will be bringing and you can download it here as well as here also( this file has the blinkies): (Since soldering irons are hot and can burn you, we will be having you sign a waiver for this).
We are especially excited that Bart Dring will be bringing one of his open source laser cutter units (although our understanding the laser will not be functioning) and will be giving a presentation about the unit as well the MakerSlide an open source linear bearing system that he has developed....

Naperville North Physics/Robotics Club.
The Napervile North Physics club is bringing there Arduino Controlled Near Space Balloon and talk about there project.  Their balloons have reached  altitudes exceeding 100,000 feet. (Thats about 69 Sear/Willis towers stacked end to end.) If you like to see what that looks like you can check it out here.

Batavia High School Robotics  F.I.R.S.T. club are building a demonstration robot that has an onboard Arduino processor.  The Arduino communicates remotely using XBee with a Labview program on a laptop.  The team is using this project as a training exercise for the programming, design, build and management subteams.  The drive train consists of four mecanum wheels driven by four CIM motors and Victor speed controllers.  This robot is very similar to their competition robot with the National Instruments CRIO replaced by the Arduino. Ed Ford is a man who apparently had an itch that needed to be scratched.  His goal was to design a complete cnc milling machine for around $300 bucks. He did it.  His other interests include being a husband, father, brother, uncle, son, kayaker, cyclist, and lover of dogs. Eric Gregori is a guy who basically like to write software and play with robots.  Lots of robots...

His specialties are computer vision, artificial intelligence, and programming for Windows Embedded CE, Linux, and Android operating systems. Eric authored the Robot Vision Toolkit and developed the RobotSee Interpreter. He is working towards his Masters in Computer Science and holds 10 patents in industrial automation and control.

Eric will be giving a presentation on Opens source applications using the  Microsoft kinect and a workshop on his Robotvision toolkit.

Eric is also a fan of the TI instrument Launch Pad  system, which is a very inexpensive microcontroller development system. PS-1 is a makerspace from Chicago.  They will be bringing an open source 3d printer known as a RepRap. The RepRap is a machine that can replicate itself.  Apparently there has been a recent birth and they will be assembling a new RepRap at the workshop from parts printed from the other RepRap. These things could be multiplying like tribbles or replicators.
The RepRap being assembled is the Prussa variant of the original Mendel and looks a little like this:

Introduction to strain gages and force measurement, including demonstrations of:
Hooke’s Law, Wheatstone Bridge, separating axial, bending & torque loads, force vs. pressure, and “caveman” methods

Bill Shust the presenter, has been a mechanical test & analysis engineer for over 25 years.  He’s tackled problems with trains, trucks, big & small wind turbines, construction equipment, small aircraft, power plants and paper mills.  He’s on the Fox Valley ASME board, and also teaches the occasional M.E. class or seminar.

We have some other makers/ err builders in the works (Next year will be calling them makers) but we're waiting of formal commitments.

Our goal is to bring together engineers, teachers and student and the open source community for a fun event.

If you have a open source project or something really cool that would be appropriate for this event we look forward to hearing from you. You can contact us at: