Inkscape Open Workshop

Last night at ArtEngine (Ottawa), Ben gave an Inkscape lesson and tutorial.

It’s a great vector graphics editor and it’s free (as was the workshop).

I learned a few things.


More ModLab pictures

Richard’s pics.

What happens at ModLab these days

ModLab is the open house that ArtEngine hosts on some Wednesdays. This is turning into quite a melting pot of support, innovation and comradery.

Matthias and Michael gave me a great idea for my rooster project. To use cam systems as well as crank systems for actuation.

Lots of other stuff going in including Emily’s citizen batteries made from common kitchen items. Here are a couple of links for that:

Capacitance tests of the rechargeable salt and sugar cells. Mechanical force tests of the Rochelle salt.

More pictures from Richard.

Inventor’s Association and ArtEngine

I did a presentation at ArtEngine for the Inventors Association last night.

I think it’s cool that they now have a time-slot in the ArtEngine lab.

I spoke about a few things that Gene (President) suggested and some stuff I thought could be good food for thought for the group. I went over the current ArtEngine Lab and emphasized the value of ModLab (ArtEngine’s open house on some Wednesdays).

I went over some of the details of the Squirrel model plane project and some of my other projects.

To promote the idea of making things, I made a perpetual motion machine while I was presenting. I cut it out of hardboard so the group could see how effective the laser is. Can you guess if it worked or not?

I used to be a member of the Inventors Association and I’m glad I was able to connect them to ArtEngine as that may bring them back into my space.

INVENTORS ASSOCIATION (Ottawa) Meeting Announcement – Wed, Nov 9, 2011 7 – 9:30 pm

November’s Meeting will be held at the ArtEngine M70 Lab (7 – 9:30 pm) at 2 Daly Ave, Ottawa. ArtEngine is an organization set up to facilitate the works of artists and other creative individuals in the Ottawa area. Initially, they were only a virtual organization, but now they have a physical facility at 2 Daly Ave within the Arts Court building. ArtEngine’s M70 Lab is equipped with with CNC and Laser-cutting Machines, etc., that are available to be used by members of ArtEngine.

Last month I met with some of the ArtEngine members and staff, and since they have decided to kindly let us meet at their M70 Lab room for our monthly meetings. But since the M70 Lab is being used on the first and third Wednesdays of the month by ArtEngine members, we changed our Monthly Meeting to the second Wed of the month. We are grateful to ArtEngine to be able to meet at the M70 Lab. Thanks!

IA (Ottawa) Meeting Date & Time: Wed, Nov 9, 2011, 7 – 9:30 pm

Guest Presenter: Darcy Whyte, current ArtEngine Member and former IA (Ottawa) Member will speak to us about the benefits of a collaboration between both groups of creative individuals. Darcy Whyte has used the ArtEngine facilities to facilitate some of his creative projects. View the ArtEngine website ( for further information about their organisation and structure.

Darcy Whyte, invented/designed an innovative rubber-powered, model airplane, the “Squirrel” ( that is currently manufactured and shipped from Ottawa. Initially, Darcy thought he would sell a few of his “Squirrels,” but as demand for his “Squirrel” kits increased worldwide, he has had to automate his production and shipping methods. Being resourceful, Darcy discovered the ArtEngine organisation that had some automated equipment that helped him with his “Squirrel” project. Darcy has had to build some other equipment himself out of older equipment, such as an old printer, etc. I’m sure Darcy will update us on his “Squirrel Project,” and what he has accomplished to-date with some ingenuity.
Meeting Location: Artengine M70 Lab at Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON which is across the street from the Rideau Centre and Novotel hotel.
Enter Arts Court from the front entrance, up all those stairs. Pass through the first two sets of doors to enter the foyer and walk straight to where the front hallway ends at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Turn LEFT and walk through two sets of doors. The Artengine Lab is on your RIGHT just after you pass through that 2nd set of doors. Fortunately, there is a receptionist to help to the right after passing through the first two sets of doors and entering the foyer.

Wheelchair access is possible via the door to the left of the front entrance. Ring the intercom bell at that door, and an attendant from the front desk will come down and open the door for you.

PUBLIC TRANSIT: Mackenzie King Bridge or Rideau St. stations at the Rideau Shopping Centre.

Parking is available on the side streets (if you can find it) or at the Rideau Centre for (I believe) $5 for the evening. An alternative, if you live far out, is to use a OCTranspo Park& Ride, and come by bus (get off at the Rideau Centre or U of O Laurier stop). Check the OCTranspo Trip Planner website to get information and detailed directions.
As space is limited, all paid-up IA (Ottawa) Members, or former Members paying their Annual Dues of $27 ($25 + $2 late fee) to Gene at this meeting are welcome to attend. Prospective new members and other individuals interested in this meeting are welcome to attend free (space permitting). Membership Applications will be available at this meeting for those interested in joining or rejoining the IA (Ottawa).
Mod Lab

The Mod Lab is a regular meeting of artists and technologists at the Artengine lab. The group meets every second Wednesday to share ideas and work on projects together. The Mod Lab is open for anyone to come and check out, even if you just want to see what kind of projects people are working!

The Mod Lab formed in the winter of 2010 out the Ottawa Hacker Society and Artengine Producing Members. It is designed to create new connections between all kinds of people engaging creatively with technology, and also to provide an access point for those interested in our electronics lab. Check out their website for further information

See you all at the M70 Lab Wed night.


ModLab, Wednesday night

Last nights ModLab was great.

Mark Stephenson took over one of my drawbots. He had to learn to solder and learn how to run an arduino.

There were lots of other projects on the go as you can see by the pictures and video.

ModLab Report

Michael and I came early. He set up a different table configuration to see if there would be different creative or social outcomes. It seemed to work well.  There was still room to add capacity if more people came by adding tables along the back wall.

I invited Matthias who showed of his pen shaker (below).

I also invited Gene who brought three others from the Inventors’s Association. Thanks to Andrew who chatted them up a bit.

I worked on my drawbot which was a major fail. There was a bristlebot activity which did not fail. I should stick to simpler stuff. 🙂

I chatted quite a bit and I rethought the architecture of the drawbot software in the back of my mind. I’ll rewrite the software and start making some real images. I may implement Breshenham‘s algorithm for lines. Also this circle algorithm. We’ll see how that gels.

ModLab, pass it on

There is an informal gathering tonight of artists and engineers tonight at 7pm.

It’s at 2 Daly Avenue, Room M70. Ask for ArtEngine at the front desk.

Street parking all over the place in the market (that’s early enough to find a space if you drive up Dalhousie usually). There is a parking garage across the way for like 4 or 5 bucks.

If you want to come and socialize you are welcome as it is an open house.

If you have a project you want to share bring it.

If you have a brain, bring it.


More ModLab pictures

Mark Stephenson was at ModLab this week. He sent me some better pictures.

Check out his Web site, he has lots on the go.



ModLab Report

Modlab was fun tonight.

I worked on my drawbot a bit but there was so much else going on. Guy et. al. were working on their quad copter, we did some laser cutting and of course piles of other projects and collaboration.

My friend Mark Stephenson came by. As you can see he made a design of his name and ModLab which we cut on the laser cutter. We did it in cardboard to figure out a few things then moved to acrylic. I had some 3/16 acrylic (extruded).

The feed rate tables suggested 10 percent feed rate, 100 percent power and 5000 frequency. After a few minutes that blew the power bar fuse. Andrew Plumb moved the air cleaner to a different plugin. We tried the same job and then we blew a main fuse. We found it in the hallway and got everything back going.

The job was completed by changing the power to 50% and doing two passes.

ModLab! Wohoo

I’m just setting up my drawbot for some hacking.

I just met Britta Evans who is the new ArtEngine lab coordinator!

Also Janak Alford of is here.