On January 16, 2008, the first joint event of Dorkbot DC and the newly formed Make: DC was held at the Marian Koshland Science Museum. The evening was a smashing success, with some 65 people showing up! We built Arduino-controlled LED Cubes, inspired by the Make: Weekend Projects Podcast on building a “Pocket LED Cube.”
One bit of added excitement to our evening was the ever-present fear that we might set off the fire alarm system which would have killed power to the *entire* building. We were told about the room’s overly-sensitive alarm system — blinking its status-light taunts right above our heads and over one of our work tables — just as dozens of adorable Dorks were pouring into the place, 600-degree firesticks in hand. We nervously moved some tables and scrounged up a bladed fan to push fumes around. As probably 20 irons fired up and that heady, fluxy aroma of solder filled the air, we held our collective breath. I (only half-jokingly) told folks with cameras to have them at the ready so that, when the power went out, as the building filed out into the cold, dark streets, we could at least blog the whole sordid business (“DC Dorks Darken City Block”). Miraculously, no buildings were harmed in the making of our little LED cubes and a great time was had by all (at least as far as I could smell… er tell).
Dorkbot DC has been holding meetings in the Metro area since June 2006. Make: DC is one of a growing number of groups sprouting up in various US cities, started by fans of MAKE who want to get together to build projects inspired by the magazine. So far, there are Make: City groups in Philly, NYC, SF, and now DC. These groups are unofficial, but Maker Media has been kindly supportive of their efforts. For this first Make: DC meeting, The Maker Store generously helped subsidize the cost of the Arduino microcontrollers. A million thanks to Dan, Rob, Sherry, and everybody at Maker Media and at the store.
The next meeting of Dorkbot DC will be Feb 26, at GWU. Check our website for details as they happen. The next Make: DC is not scheduled yet. Adam Koeppel and Nick Farr, co-creators of Make: DC, have put up a website (still being constructed) and will announce the next meeting date and details there.
[Few more pics of the evening after the jump…]