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Proposal: International RepRap Hackathon in Houston or New Orleans - Memorial Weekend

Posted by RoundSparrow 
I am wanting to organize a International RepRap Hackathon. This is just in the IDEA stage - so tossing out my thinking.

Hackathon to me is based on my observation of the OpenBSD project - goal is to basically do constructive work that benefits the greater good of the project. Wiki: [en.wikipedia.org]

Houston or New Orleans

New Orleans would be more exciting to me, as I've been going there for extended trips the past few years and I think the city needs support. (I'm a WWOZ public radio sponsor and have attended Jazz Festival and other events). However, New Orleans may not be very practical as we may want to bring considerable equipment and I really don't know anyone who lives in the city proper. I suppose we could try to recruit people there who could provide some of the harder to transport things such as drill press, etc.

Houston is probably the more practical choice: Several active RepRap people, generally inexpensive hotel facilities, better international airport.

The low value of the USD really should help make this a cheap event for international. I've been finding lots of cheap airfare of late. Bad news is that coming to the USA isn't all fun when it comes to airport security.

As soon as possible - but I know many people work successful jobs and have families with children - so need lead time.

A 3 day weekend like Memorial Day (May 24 to May 26) seems ideal. 3 Days and 2 nights for full attendance, people welcome to attend shorter "core period" of Saturday 1:00pm to Sunday 5:00pm. i think organized dinner events, parties is critical.

I am willing to personally put up $1500.00 to fund suitable meeting locations (likely Hotel facilities) and/or food+party. In case you think I'm rich - I'm not: I consider this a cheap investment for my own education this year, as opposed to paying college Tuition or whatever winking smiley

We could take donations via PayPal to try and go beyond the initial budget.

To me this only makes sense if there is general interest and enough people really see value in getting together.

I think it would be a goal to have at least 15 people actively building a RepRap [not just interested] who commit to come at least the core time period. Everyone would be encouraged to come Friday night and stay into Monday ... but a core period would be Saturday afternoon and all Sunday.

We would start to compile a list and announce once we have reached the key critical minimum attendee numbers (15 minimum).

I have considerable experience organizing travel and such and can help people with logistics on air, hotel, ground transport, etc. Plenty of time to do a good job here.

If this falls through
If there isn't enough interest - we can try to get a room at one of the Linux industry events / Make, etc. But I want this to be focused on development, assembly, debugging, experimentation - not just dog and pony demo of RepRap.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2008 11:22PM by RoundSparrow.
Re: Proposal: International RepRap Hackathon in Houston or New Orleans - Memorial Weekend
January 15, 2008 04:42AM
I've been planning on heading out for
Maker Faire Bay Area 2008
(May 3-4 - official dates, plus 1-2 days setup)

We can just as easily do actual work there as dog-and-pony stuff.

(This is not to say an earlier date somewhere else isn't a bad idea, only that I've already got Maker Faire penned in my datebook/budget.)
I think this is a great idea! I won't be able to make it Memorial Weekend as I already have plans. The Maker Faire came to mind too as it is a lot of fun. I have to say here though I have worked at two Maker Faires and you have to plan to have some people there just to answer questions all day, as the questions from the crowds never stop. This was such a great family event I can't even imagine how crowded it will be this year.

This Maker Faire should be a must for growing this project as that is the place to find creative people spending their weekend looking around. If they find an interest in RepRap they may contribute a lot to this project. That being said there is something to be said about being held up in a lab for an entire weekend too. Having all your tools just a few feet away and having an experienced group tackle ideas can push this project very quickly.
A goal for the first RepRap Hackathon should be to get some RepRaps built and working so at the end of the weekend everyone can return home and start printing parts.
The second RepRap Hackathon should be dedicated to designing improvements and enhancements into the design.
The third RepRap Hackathon should be dedicated to making other print heads that use different materials.
The fourth RepRap Hackathon should then be used to design some useful product like a

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2008 01:06PM by Cheap!.
Re: Proposal: International RepRap Hackathon in Houston or New Orleans - Memorial Weekend
January 15, 2008 09:12PM
I would love to go to the maker faire even if the reprap project wasn't there, but it's out of the question for finances for me. I wouldn't be able to afford the travel, let alone the missed money from days off work. If someone were to donate airfair and shared a hotel....
At least if it's in driving distance from Houston then all I might miss is some time at work.
So I'm in for that. That should be at 3 people already.

@everyone. we should probably come up with a list of definite goals for the meeting. That would probably depend on the progress of each individual though.
i.e. at the next Hrug meeting we'll make a cartesian system. We might not get all the bugs worked out of it in that day, but we should have 3 axis moving.
Re: Proposal: International RepRap Hackathon in Houston or New Orleans - Memorial Weekend
January 16, 2008 08:39AM
I have a thought how about using Skype with video I would be willing to share some incite and then you could add others to your meeting and we would not have to travel? Maybe you could have an hour of the meeting devoted to a skype session or maybe a meeting on a weeknight..

Bruce W.
You know you can ride to the Austin Maker Faire with me. Also, they have camping for cheap! If I could get the blessing from the core group I can help oversee a RepRap presence at the next faire. That is what I did for CalCars last year there. I can email the people at Make and get things rolling once asked to do so.

Bruce W.,
what is Skype?

Dylan, and RoundSparrow,
Do you think you could help me get internet out to my lab? I have a good video camera and I could add a projector to use for RepRap video conferences durring our working meetings. What do you think about that?
Re: Proposal: International RepRap Hackathon in Houston or New Orleans - Memorial Weekend
January 16, 2008 12:42PM
skype is a free internet phone with video service. that is in my eyes very good quality www.skype.com it is also available for Linux, Mac and Windows. you just need a decent web cam.

this is a good excuse for me to buy a better web cam.


as a side note I do know Ed, Sells was working on setting up for skype for this kind of thing. So this could lead to something.
Re: Proposal: International RepRap Hackathon in Houston or New Orleans - Memorial Weekend
January 16, 2008 01:29PM
Cheap! no problem, we can get that working in the next meeting. I used to run cable in houses anyway. (check your email, I sent you something about the next meeting) I'll look up when the Austin one is, but that sound like fun too.
"They have camping for Cheap!" They have camping just for you, that's odd, lol.

Skype does sound like a decent idea, I don't know how many connections you can have up though and the video will be kinda small for each person if they are all open at once. That will save a lot on travel time and money for everyone though.

I'm actually using my ps2 eyetoy as my webcam. I think the quality of the picture is also very dependant on the drivers for it in skype.

Should not be an issue to setup video conferencing. I have co-located internet servers I can use for online meeting point if we want more than strictly point to point. I also have 12 Linux+WIndows compatible cameras (I'm not kidding) for a home security project I am working on. I will offer both resources for the event and even pledge a couple computers to run the cameras from.

As for Make. I think this is actually a chance to promote RepRap but not necessarily a great opportunity to _work_ on RepRap. Not unless we really consider it some kind of rally point and ask everyone to stay a day or two longer? Better to add days on the _end_ of Make event as people can still adjust their return flights a lot cheaper than their originating flights.
I think we are all on the same page. We need to make sure RepRap is at the Maker fair and most likely both of them, San Mateo, CA, and Austin, TX.

Then on development side we need to get these things built, and printing. One we need to get supplies built up for a weekend build-a-thon. We can have one group build and test boards, while a second builds the RepStraps. We need boards, components, motors, solder, cable, and lots of soldering guns. On the bot side I can
I'm open to suggestions on earlier dates. i think it needs to be 1 month out to give a chance for airfare purchases to anyone. But sooner the better.

I'm also focused on software side too. I expect that within 1 month that we will have at least 4 working RepStrap machines so hopefully we can be onto working on some other aspects like optimizing output / testing print ideas / or validating reliability.

For example, I've put the idea on the table and had good feedback that some kind of calibration print would be nice. Something you print on a reprap that takes maybe 15 minutes that you could measure / study to be sure you have your machine in order. Or to test various materials.
Re: Proposal: International RepRap Hackathon in Houston or New Orleans - Memorial Weekend
January 19, 2008 01:27PM
Our next local meeting isn't for another 2 weeks, so I agree at least a month. The more working machines we have, the more people will be interested I think.
I like the video idea, but it might get confusing having so many people with some of them trying to talk at the same time.
It would be a lot cheaper though. Anyone can afford a webcam. I'm using my old PS2 eyetoy for a webcam. lol.

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