News and Blogs

A look at recent events and member projects

Eclipse 2017 High Altitude Balloon

A handful and a half of our hackers collaborated over the past several weeks to design and launch a high altitude helium-filled balloon during the recent total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.

The balloon was kitted out with cameras, sensors and way-finding equipment. After being aloft for about 3.5 hours, the increasing altitude contributed to the balloon’s anticipated popping and rapid fall back to earth. It traveled around 100 miles, capturing video and photos before, during and after the eclipse.

This project page from our Wiki, prepared pre-launch, contains a wealth of details about the endeavor, including specs of the equipment, testing needs, and compliance considerations leading up to the launch. Member Dan Julio also posted about the project on Hackaday.

The balloon crew included SSD members Brandon Skari, Dan Julio, Tim Pegg, Andrew Bigoney, Specter, Rob Bryan, Sarah Gjestvang, along with additional crewmembers Kate, Bob, Tessa, Jason, and Sarah’s family.

A remote launch site surrounded by land with considerable public access to make recovery easier was carefully researched prior to the launch, though modified after reviewing different wind forecasts. The crew gradually assembled starting Friday night through Sunday, traveling from Boulder to an area about 10 miles ESE of Shoshoni Wyoming. The group split into three teams: a launch team, a recovery team and a remote telemetry receiver in Casper.

Most team members were on the launch team, who released the balloon at about 10:30 am. The initial climb rate of 2.5 m/s was a bit slower than expected and meant that the balloon was ultimately aloft for longer than initially anticipated.

The balloon traveled almost due east, eventually succumbing to the effects of partial vacuum about 20 miles north of Casper after reaching a maximum altitude of over 90,000 feet! At that point the balloon burst, and it and its payload quickly fell to earth. The recovery team, consisting of Kate, Bob, Sarah and her family, found out that the payload had landed on a private ranch. The balloon was found in about 5 hours near the last LoRa telemetry message.

In 360-degree video footage captured aloft during the event, a noticeable shadow can be seen visibly encroaching from the west over the land below. A few minutes later, totality arrived at approximately 11:39 AM. The darkened sky showed stars and the solar corona. The balloon’s cameras continued filming along its eastward trek for almost another hour before the balloon burst.

This endeavor generated a lot of interest and activity at SSD, and many thanks for helping go to: Todd LaWall, Chrobi, John West, and John Maushammer!

Spring BBQ and Spruce-Up This Past Saturday

This past Saturday over a dozen members and guests gave some well-needed TLC to our our space and enjoyed a late lunch of tasty grilled burgers and brats.

While not exactly a tradition, we have these combination bbq / clean-up / build events at least a couple times a year. For example, last fall one of the center tables in the main room of the space was built, and last spring several members built the built-in wall-side table that is also in the main room.

In addition to grilling up the meats and vegs that were enjoyed by all, Dan straightened up the Admin room and Electronics room.

Meanwhile in the wood shop, Ted and friends removed excess scrap wood, did some general cleaning up, and rearranged the tools for better access.

The entryway and Snackerspace are all sparkly now, courtesy of Specter and son.

A few of the other many accomplishments included: Brandon tackled the floors in the metal shop and beyond, Jay transferred items cluttering up common areas to the member and other storage shelves, Nick got the mask glowing again, and Liz guided several additions to our bios webpage.

Remember to stay tuned to our Meetup page to keep posted on future events!

Learning Arduino at the Hackerspace

An introduction to the arduino, the development software, and interfacing with basic hardware. The class will be broken up into two days, split one week apart. The first session will be an introduction to the arduino, and coding, and simple examples

The second session will be a deeper dive into the world of arduino using examples

No experience with arduino is necessary.

What to bring: 1 laptop
Cost:$100 for non-members, $90 for members

What you ge for $100 :

Instruction – we are going to be working through this fantastic manual from Sparkfun

Sparkfun Inventors Kit

When: Wednesday 2/15 7:30 to 9:30pm, and Wednesday 2/22 7:30 to 9:30pm

Where: Solid State Depot

Total Students: 8 (to see ammount of seats remaining see the eventbrite page)

Teachers: Paul Sobczak and Chris Davidoff

Sign up: EventBrite

Sparkfun is located right here on the Front Range, but our class will be held at Solid State Depot, Boulder’s Local Hackerspace.