Dallas Makerspace

by katie on January 26, 2015

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been involved in the Dallas Makerspace for quite some time before. Lately I’ve been getting more involved in volunteering for events and some governance with the electronics committee.

We recently had a big “Grand Opening” for our new-ish space. We had over 500 people out that day and it was so much fun! I attempted to do some Squishy Circuits but my dough wasn’t cooperating that day. I ended up leading over 10 tours and practically losing my voice. Fun pictures of the event are below.

Attempting to make Squishy Circuit dough Attempting to make Squishy Circuit dough


Liquid nitrogen ice cream Liquid nitrogen ice cream


Room of pinball madness Room of pinball madness


The awesome (and huge!) new CNC router table The awesome (and huge!) new CNC router table


First Lego League – Round II

by katie on January 20, 2015

I got the pleasure of volunteering with First Lego League again this year. It’s such a neat program and it’s always so inspiring to see these young kids so excited about engineering, math and science. I know I’ve said it before, but I really wish this was around when I was young!


Book Reviews: Ada’s Algorithm and Zero

by katie on December 30, 2014

Over the holiday break, I was looking for some reading that was fun but still related to engineering and science. I got recommendations for two books: Ada’s Algorithm by James Essigner and Zero by Charles Seife.


Ada’s Algorithm is a look at Ada Lovelace’s contributions to the digital revolution. Her work with Charles Babbage is particularly impressive. The book also questions where we could have been had her ideas been taken more seriously. Overall, a fascinating read.

Zero examines the idea of the number zero. It seems crazy that a 215 page book can be written about 0, but it is fantastic. It goes into the history as well as the philosophy of basically nothing.

Both books were lovely and I recommend them to anyone looking for a good read.


Software Defined Radio

by katie on March 15, 2014

I have been intrigued by software defined radio (SDR) for some time. The basic premise is that many of the components of a radio that were traditionally implemented in hardware, can now be done in software. This includes filters, mixers, amplifiers, modulators, etc.

RTL-SDR came about when someone discovered that with a little software, a cheap USB TV dongle can be used for wider SDR, and I had to see this in action. After a little research, I decided to buy a Terratec T-Stick Plus (sheesh, the price has risen dramatically) because of the chip used. This particular dongle has an Elonics E400o chipset, supposedly one of the better choices.

The software was a bit of a beast to set up (first I tried on OS X, big mistake) but I finally have something going. I haven’t fiddled with it much yet, but I can’t wait to try and put that RF school-learning to some proper use. RTLSDR


Metal Clay

March 14, 2014

This week I took a metal clay class at the Dallas Makerspace. Metal clay is basically around 90% of the metal you desire (bronze, copper and silver are all examples) and 10% organic binder and some water. You shape the metal clay into whatever shape or size you want (with a few limitations), let it […]

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Using Arduino as ISP

January 20, 2014

Yesterday I attended a workshop at the Dallas Makerspace on using the Arduino as an ISP for smaller microcontrollers. As most of you know, there can be many advantages to using a smaller microcontroller instead of a full Arduino or Pi or whatever including size, battery life, cost, etc. We essentially followed the same directions […]

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Lego FTC

January 17, 2014

I’m kicking myself for forgetting to take pictures, because last weekend I had the pleasure of volunteering at a high school robotics competition that was being held at my university. The competition was through Lego FTC (First Tech Challenge). I was brand new to this whole world of competitive robotics but I had a great […]

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Dallas Makerspace

January 1, 2014

Back in April, I proudly joined the Dallas Makerspace. Makerspaces or sometimes called hackerspaces are basically community workshops where members can go and use equipment and supplies that they might not have the resources to purchase themselves. At the Dallas Makerspace, we have a laser cutter, a brand new MASSIVE CNC mill moving in next […]

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December 31, 2013

Like the soldering iron post above, this is going to be a terribly interesting post on multimeters. I had the world’s cheapest multimeter (the $4 special from Harbor Freight or something). I tested it on a pretty good 5V supply and it read 3.4 V. Once it told me I had 108A on my breadboard. […]

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SWE Region C Conference 2013

February 6, 2013

Last weekend I participated in my first Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conference. I attended the 2013 Region C Conference held in Dallas, TX. It was such a great experience. I kicked off the weekend with a tour of Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems’ Advanced Products Center (APC) and specifically the Microwave Automated Factory (MAF). In […]

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