Foosball Table, part 5

I bought a foosball table for the space.  It needed some cleanup & repair and Walter asked me to blog about it.  Part 5 in a 5 part series.

These events took place on November 27 & 29th, 2013.

Read Part 1 of this seriespart 2, part 3,  or part 4 if you missed them.

When last you left us, disaster had struck!  As I was reassembling the foosball table, heretofore hidden damage revealed itself on other cream-colored foosball men as they were tightened on their rods.  Oh noes!

Morgan & Celeste helped me choose a new set of guys.  I ordered from eBay seller “blazingstarbiz2009” a complete set of 26 red & blue foosball guys.  I only need 22, but having the four extra guys will mean that I will never break a guy on this table.  At least, I hope that’s what it will mean!

Yay!  It came, it came, it came!  Let’s hear it for Priority mail!


Progress, slow but sure

The new space is progressing along, slow but sure!  Here are some pics:

Rollup Door:

The garage door into the warehouse area has been trimmed out.  Last week, Bandit trimmed the two bolts protruding from the concrete, but we still need to remove the parking barrier in front of the rollup door.


3d Printing Room:

In room #10, Alfred & his brother John built this great counter & shelf.  I am thinking of stealing, er, borrowing the format for other places in the space.  It looks very professional!



Room-yet-to-be-named, you know, for crafting & junk:

We have been referring to this room (#3 on the map, for those of you keeping count) as the Crafting room, but the people that do the crafts don’t seem to like that term, so I don’t know what we are calling it.  In any case, if any of you were in the space in the first few weeks after the move, basically everything from the old space got dropped into rooms #2 & #3.  They were jam-packed. I don’t know who started the cleanout process, but I was in the space one day when Walter & Alfred were finishing it.  Addie chose this table to go into this room (though Walter & I were discussing how to re-do the damaged  trim strip around the table, so it may temporarily move to the shop for repairs, oh, “someday”, I guess).  I believe further plans call for a small counter on the east wall (where the blue cabinet is, in the below picture), and the french cleat system used in some of the shop areas may be installed in this room as well.



Gaming/Arcade Room:

This room, #2 on the map, was also jam packed from stuff during the move. I was pleasantly surprised when I came in to find it almost empty!  Walter tells me that he wants to switch rooms 5 & 2.  Room #5 was marked down as Gaming & Arcade, and indeed, we put the asteroids cabinet there during the move.  However, I agree with Walter… room 5 is narrow, and not really suited for the Arcade Cabinet (cabinetS now, I guess). Room #2 was marked for use as Library space & the open access PC.  However, room #2 is a little large for “just” that, so I think switching the two rooms makes sense to me.



Electronics Lab workshop:

Bandit has made some great progress in the Electronics space. He has a very solid base built for the counters that will be set up.  I think it might be strong enough to stand on!  We were impressed enough that Alfred used the same techniques in building the counter in room 10, the 3d Printing room.



Foosball Table, part 4

I bought a foosball table for the space.  It needed some cleanup & repair and Walter asked me to blog about it.  Part 4 in a 5 part series.

These events took place on November 23 & 24, 2013.

Read Part 1 of this series, part 2, or part 3 if you missed them.

When last you left us, I had painted all the rusty fasteners a nice glossy black:


It’s been a few days, so there’s been plenty of time for drying (or would that be curing?), even with how cold the space is kept when unoccupied.   Even though my package of new guys & foosballs isn’t here yet, I figured I could go ahead and reassemble the table except for the last four guys, the middle rod that carries four guys!

I bolted the legs back on, and put the screws back into the side rod holders… I think the paint job really dresses up the table in a nice yet subtle way!


Compare that to this shot when they were all rusty:


It’s subtle, and you may not even be consciously aware of the difference, but I bet you’ll like the table with the painted fasteners better than the one with the rusty fasteners!

So I started reassembling the table.  The legs bolted on, then flip the table.  Then start inserting the rods & assembling the bumpers & men to them. That is when disaster struck.  Even though I took great care to not overtighten the bolts & screws that hold the men on, as I tightened the bolts, cracks became visible on several of the cream-colored men. (I didn’t cause the cracks, but tightening the bolts revealed damage I had missed in my earlier assessment.)  This meant that I didn’t have four damaged foosball guys as I originally thought, I had 5, no 7, no 8!  Eight broken, damaged foosball guys!  And the shipment I am waiting for from Mueller’s only has four replacement guys.  DURN BURN IT!


What to do, what to do…

While I could order more replacement guys, that would mean even more shipping charges, and I figured the others were ticking timebombs, why not just replace the whole kit & kaboodle?  And that’s what I did. After discussion with Morgan & Celeste (they were in Quelab that day), I decided to buy a complete set of foosball men from eBay.

The next day, my order came in from Mueller’s.  Talk about bittersweet.



Well, at least now I have balls to play with.

Next time: Reassembly, and a finished table…  “this time for sure!”

Foosball Table, part 3

I bought a foosball table for the space.  It needed some cleanup & repair and Walter asked me to blog about it.  Part 3 in a 5 part series.

These events took place on November 19 & 20, 2013.

Read Part 1 of this series, or part 2 if you missed them.

Next on the agenda were repairs, more cleaning of the table, and some cosmetic work.

I wanted to repair the banked corners that had fallen.  Looks like the staples came loose.  I guess it could have been being left outside for so long, or perhaps something was set on them that caused them to come loose.  I don’t know, don’t care, just want them fixed. Hmmm… looks like I’ll have to disassemble a lot of the table for the best repair of the corners.

Flip the table:


Unbolt the legs:


Remove the bracing & the playing surface itself (man, that thing’s dirty!  How long did this thing sit outside?!?!):


What I ended up doing was gently tapping the staples back into place with a screwdriver used as a chisel (something you should never do – do as I say, kids, not as I do).  They seemed to set back into place nicely; time will tell how sturdy & long-lasting the repair will be.


Then more cleanup of the playing surface.  MAN, this thing was dirty.


AND THE BALL RETURNS, TOO!  I mean, really… how long did this thing sit in the weather?!?!  Here you see I’ve reinstalled the playing surface & bracing, and one of the ball returns cleaned (well, as cleaned as they are going to be this time around…)


Both cleaned:


Reinstalling the ball returns:


Yay!  All back together.


The only remaining thing I did today was brush down the rusty fasteners & paint them.  I pushed them into a box, and painted them with glass black Rustoleum Epoxy appliance paint.  However, I didn’t get a picture until the painting was done:


I left that to dry, and would come back for reassembly in a day or two.

Next time: DISASTER (well, as disastrous as you can get trying to fix up a foosball table)

Foosball Table, part 2

I bought a foosball table for the space.  It needed some cleanup & repair and Walter asked me to blog about it.  Part 2 in a 5 part series.

These events took place on November 17, 2013.

Read Part 1 of this series, if you missed it.

I boxed & bagged parts as I took them apart, and made some notes, too.  The bumpers could easily go together wrong: plastic washer, metal washer, rubber bumper, plastic washer.  And the metal washer goes to the inside of the table, by the foosball guy.  And the goalies have an additional metal stop ring that gets mounted… in place of additional goalies, I guess?  Anyway, take notes & lots of pictures when you do something like this… it will pay off in the end (a lesson I was reminded of with this very project.  More on that in a future installment).

The rods bumped around in the back of my truck for a day or two until I finally brought them inside and wiped them down.  They really could use some chrome polish, or barkeep’s friend or the like, but for now I just vigorously wiped them down with an all-purpose cleaner.   Then to clean the rest of the table’s parts… this little project gave me a chance to use my ultrasonic cleaner!


I love having a Harbor Freight store in the town.  It’s great! And if you check any number of magazines, the newspaper, or online, you can always find percentage off coupons to help bring down the costs of whatever you’re buying.  This particular cleaner, I bought at HarborFreight to clean motorcycle carburetors, believe it or not.  I’ve read on the ‘net (gotta love the internet) that you can use an ultrasonic cleaner with regular dish detergent (Dawn was recommended) and effectively clean out motorcycle carbs.  I have a project bike in the back yard, an ’81 Honda CB400T, that WILL someday be put back on the road.  I bought the cleaner for that purpose, but have never gotten around to opening it & actually cleaning the carbs, so this will be its maiden voyage: cleaning parts from a foosball table.

Here is the yellow team getting sonic’d:



And here is the tan team getting sonic’d:


Strange (or maybe not), but the only damaged foosball guys were the tan team… all the yellow guys were just fine.  I assume it’s a characteristic of the tan plastic, or perhaps something in the manufacturing. I suppose it could just be that the tan team was played by Moose & Reggie, while the yellow team was played by Archie & Jughead. (I bet that Moose guy would be super hard on foosball guys, don’t you think?)

Then the bumpers & washers, etc. got a bath, too:


Here is the damage tally: Four guys down.  One paraplegic (no legs), one bionic guy (legs broken off but secured back on because we have the technology to make him faster, better, etc.), and two guys that are accidents waiting to happen: cracks across their chests, right in line with the rods they are mounted on (sorry about the bad picture quality; I had real difficulty getting this shot, no idea why).


With the damage assessed, I made a decision for the project: I would do it as cheaply as possible.  I searched online and between eBay & a number of specialty web sites, I ordered (4) tan guys & a dozen foosballs from Mueller Receational Products. Four “New Style Tournament Soccer Man-Cream” (oops; I guess they’re “cream”, not “tan”) and a dozen “Tournament Soccer White Engraved Foosballs” were less than $20.  Cheap enough.   I can’t wait for the delivery…

Next time: table repairs & more cleanup.

Foosball Table, part 1

I bought a foosball table for the space.  It needed some cleanup & repair and Walter asked me to blog about it.  Part 1 in a 5 part series.

These events took place on November 15, 2013.

Not sure why, but I have had a hankering for a foosball table.  I used to play in college, thought  it might go nicely in the new space, and hoped it would be well received.  So, I’ve been perusing Craigslist.  We’re lucky; the Albuququerque CraigsList is pretty busy, so there’s plenty of opportunity to find bargains.  It’s frustrating, too, though.  So many people never answer e-mails, and many never delete their ad after the item is sold so too often if you do receive an answer back, it’s “sold”.  And that’s not considering the many CraigsList scams out there.

In this case, I eventually found a foosball table for just $50!  I emailed the seller, and received back the info that the table was left at their rental property by their last tenants as partial payment.  And of course it’s all the way on the other side of town.  I found the place, and saw the table… it was in rough shape, but he was only asking $50, and I figured the parts were worth that much.  “Rough shape” translates as left outside for, oh, I am guessing for more than a year!  There was dirt & dust all over the playing field, one guy broken in half (and several with cracks starting to form), rust on every fastener, laminate damage at various parts of the table, and the unprotected ends have started soaking up moisture, too.  That detailed analysis (aside from ‘hey, some of the guys are damaged’) all came later.  All I saw at the time was the price!  “Only” fifty bucks!

Well, obviously I wasn’t thinking clearly, because I forked over the money, the gentleman helped me load it into my Ford truck, and away we went.

Now, I don’t have room for something like this at my own house, so to Quelab it had to go.  Again, I hoped it would be well received, even in the horrible shape it was in.  I got down to the new location (such a thing would never have fit at Quelab 1.0!), and found my first problem.  We don’t yet have a garage (e.g. w-i-d-e) door to get into the space, so I was going to have to figure out how to get a foosball table through a normal sized doorway!

Here are some shots of the table in as-bought condition, taken outside the Quelab front door:




 I went ahead and disassembled the rods & guys off of the table, so it would fit through the door.  I would end up removing them as part of the refurbishment, so no big deal doing it at this point in time.


 In the pic you can see some of the damage more clearly: the dirt of course, but also the rust on all the fasteners, and the banked corners have fallen & need put back into place (tables with only one goalie usually have these corners so the ball does not end up in a dead spot).

Next time: cleanup & damage assessment.

p.s.I have since figured out a super easy way to move the table through a doorway without disassembly: stand it on end and move it on a flat furniture dolly putting the right legs through the door then then the left legs, easy-peasy.  If the table ends up living in the entryway (what we are now calling room 49), it will be moved there with this technique.


Quelab Member/Board/Public meeting Sunday 4:30-6:30 03/03/13

Reminder, our usual monthly (First Sunday of the month), planning/info meeting is coming up Sunday. And after that there will be the First meeting of the planning group for Hacker Scouts.

Below is a link to the Agenda, its a work in progress, and as usual the meeting notes will be appended to it. please show up on time 4:30 those who do show will be included in the headcount for pizza.

Hackerscouts: First meeting, 03/03/13 7-10pm

Our organizing meeting will be Sun 3 March during Open Hack Night(7-10pm). BUT – please feel free to contact me before that! … bandit

More info on Hackerscouts:

Dear Maker Families,

It is with great enthusiasm that I announce an addition to our programming. At Hacker Scouts, our mission has always been very clear to us. While our Guild must maintain an age limit to encourage and support complex concepts and skill building at a developmentally appropriate level, Open Lab has always remained all ages. We really try in Open Lab to always have at least one or two activities that can be modified for our younger Makers and engage whole families.

We hear fairly regularly, however, from parents who would like to have a more consistent experience like Guild for their younger children. When we joined the fiscal umbrella of the School Factory, we merged with Maker Scouts but kept our name. We are now pleased to announce that Maker Scouts lives on! A fully developed program for ages 4-8 that meets weekly, Maker Scout Guilds will focus on STEAM concepts and activities, and build confidence in our youngest makers. It will also give them a solid foundation for when they are old enough to graduate into a Hacker Scouts Guild. Go here to read more!

We are currently looking for leaders for our Oakland and South Bay Maker Scouts Guild. If you are interested, please let us know. Also, we are very close to securing a location for the South Bay Hacker Scouts Guild and hope to be starting next month!

We are also in the process of forming Guilds in Seattle, Los Angeles and Brookville, MD (just outside the Washington DC Metro area). If you are in these locations (or know someone who is) and would like to be involved, contact us!

Reminder: Open Lab is this Sunday 2/17 from 2-5pm! Awesome Wood Gliders that soar incredibly high, beautiful Handmade Books, and amazing Tesla Coils!

I also want to introduce two newer members of our team:
Jarick Cammarato joined us from Maker Scouts as our Director of Youth Outcomes,and is the Guild 003 leader in Charleston SC.
Jean Kaneko from the Exploratory in Los Angeles joins us as Director of Maker Scouts. She and her team have an extensive background in early childhood education and Making, and we will be working closely to consistently align the two programs.

Finally, we are migrating to new websites: hacker-scouts.org and makerscouts.org up and almost complete! Thanks for your patience as we get all the information posted.
If you have any questions or interest in any of our programs, please contact us!
Samantha Cook
Executive Director, Hacker Scouts

What is a Hacknight? Why should I show up? 1

Its been on my mind for a while that we have been running hacknights here at Quelab about twice a week for over 2 years, And we still get questions as to what “Hacknight is?”

Basically its part OpenHouse, part generic project work time, and part social time to talk about ideas and projects with other folks with diverse backgrounds and experience. (Members can arrange to get in any time, but it helps to get a good mix of members and non members)

During hacknights we invite members and nonmembers alike to come down and start/work on projects, teach, learn, inspire, share resources, and explore.

Another point of contention is what hacking is, We could call it Makenight, or Inventnight, or Craftnight. But we are a Hackerspace, Harking back to the days before hacker meant computer criminal! Back to when people were tinkering and experimenting, building actual radio shacks in their back yard and then building radios to put in them. When we say Hacking/Hacker we are not talking about the news style sensationalists whom are taking down websites or stealing identities and creditcard numbers. We are talking about grass roots inventors, the folks like Steve Wozniak whom built the first apple computer in a garage!

In the mid 90’s RadioShack started to scale back all of the tinkering bits, the diodes, the transistors, the battery packs, and even worse the kits. Folks stopped making and playing and building things and started just buying whole things with tamper resistant screws, glued shut things, with software licenses that made it illegal to see how it works. We aim to be the antidote to that.

Radioshack had a slogan kinda like “You have questions, We have blank stares!” we aim to be the opposite of that, you have questions we are here to help. You have a dead toaster? Come find out what makes it tick(maybe even fix it). You have an idea for how to build a winter planter for starting your garden seedlings, we want to help you with the tools and others to help. You want to build a robot, or a interactive sculpture, or learn to build a home security system, or even just experiment with light, or heat, or cameras, or rockets, recycling, or candy, or yarncraft… Just about anything you can think of we want you to think of ways you can use Quelab to make that happen!

Here is a quick list of some (but by no means complete list of hacknight hacks!)
Fixing: laptops, power plugs, appliances, glasses, cameras, furniture, bikes, cars, printers, locks, silverware, phones…
Making: 3dprinters, casting, soldering, robots, kits, trailers, signs, rugs, props, frames, ion generators, jewelry, steampunk crafts, cameras, fireworks, toys, puzzles, tools, shelves…
Hacking: leds, textiles, tastebuds, toys, game consoles, tvs, monitors, robots, locks, puzzles, gadgets, cameras, linux, microcontrollers, light-bulbs, rockets, bikes, solar, batteries, phones, games, typewriters, musical instruments…

Here is a link to a slideshow of some of the above mentioned hacks over the last few years, to hopefully inspire you!

So with that said, come on down, our Hacknights are currently Tuesday 7pm-10pm and Sunday 7pm-10pm! Our hope is to grow with your help to the point where we can have hack a lot more Hackdays and Hacknights! What would you build?

Solar Jar Workshop (late notice Sorry!)

You too can make these!

Solar Jar workshop at Quelab tomorrow(thursday) night at 6pm. This hasn’t been advertised at all, and there are very limited seats. We’ll be making these cool jars from solar light components. Please RSVP so we can be sure to hold a seat for you. $15 covers the workshop and supplies.


Looks like its all full up! feel free to comment if you would like to see another workshop on these.