I've had this idea knocking at my brain for quite a while and I'd like to float it for input and development.
I shared my idea with others today at the Hack Factory. I got a good response and indications that others have had similar notions.
The basic idea is this:
Design a simple project that incorporates at least one tool from different areas of the Hack Factory. People participating in the project build would purchase a kit of raw materials and possibly bring some main component to work with. The project would require each person to use one or more tools from different areas of the Hack Factory to shape the component parts. For example:
- a band saw to shape some wood
- a metal stamper to form a design on a metal plate
- a soldering iron to build a circuit
- software to print stickers, labels, or decals
- the MakerBot to print a 3D plastic part
The objective is to offer a fun and practical project that brings people into new areas of craftsmanship and builds confidence working with different media.
Since the project involves moving around to different areas of the Hack Factory to fabricate parts, I propose the following language for this idea:
- "Hack-a-Roos" for the participants, since they'll be "hopping" to different areas in our space
- "Hack Treks" for the events, since the 'Roos are "trekking" to different physical and experiential places (and because most things with "trek" in the name are very cool)
- "Factory Hacks" for the projects, since projects are "hacked" together at the Hack Factory
An example Factory Hack I talked about today would be a clock build. This could maybe be constructed as follows:
- a box fashioned in the wood shop
- a circular plate (face) or brass edging made in the metal area
- an electronic circuit for LEDs assembled in the classroom
- minute/hour numbers and design printed as a decal in the participant's preferred font and style
The Hack Treks can be one- or two-day events, depending on the complexity. In a one-day event, the Hack-a-Roos are shown how to use the handful of tools needed for the Factory Hack, and are able to complete their projects in the same day. In a two-day event, participants would likely be instructed in some of tools and partially complete their projects that day, then return the next day to get instruction in the remaining tools and then finish their projects.
I suggest that Factory Hack projects conform to the following principles, as a challenge to designers:
- their designs are original in significant aspects and the product of TC Maker member contributions
- they incorporate something about the Hack Factory or TC Maker to memorialize the Hack Trek event and represent our organization (other than the label mentioned below)
- they require use of at least one of our "special" tools, a tool that a typical Hack-a-Roo wouldn't have at their own disposal - a good incentive to build at the Hack Factory itself
- they include an attached label stating details of builder name, date, Factory Hack name, organization (TC Maker and logo!), and place (Hack Factory!)
- a legitimate hack of some sort is part of the design, i.e., expanded or combined utility from altered commercial products
- builders end up with something practical or fun they would be apt to use and show frequently
- different Factory Hacks are designed to use mutually exclusive tools to some extent, so builders can get new skills and experiences by builidng different Factory Hacks
- they are carefully and playfully named to suggest at least one important feature in the build, such as "Robo-Pinnochio" for a microcontroller-based puppet or "Playdioh Radio" for a radio that can be sculpted into different shapes
- each design allows for Hack-a-Roos to employ creative freedom and personalization
I'm really excited about this idea for its potential to generate creative projects, build teamwork, and gain notoriety for our group!
What do you all think? Should we start a wiki page on this? Should we set a target date for a first Hack Trek?