We are published–go forth and see our article!

Hey All!

SSH:C was recently reached out by the online community TechStorey’s founder Zaman Mecci! He wrote an article about us, titled “Southside Hackerspace in Chicago and its Thriving Tech Community,” which can be found here.

What is TechStorey? TechStorey is a hackerspace media start-up company that “…provides insights in the field of technology and reports about hackerspace and publishes interviews from experts and hackers,” as quoted from Mecci. His website, www.techstorey.com, contains additional hackerspace-related articles, videos, beginning knowledgebases, a technology dictionary, and even a marketplace!

We encourage you to visit the website, share our newly published article, and see all the resources offered!


2015 Chicago Maker Summit

Dmitriy and I had a great time connecting with leaders in the Chicago Maker Movement at the 2015 Chicago Maker Summit held at Harold Washington Library! Dinner and mingling was followed by a formal welcome from CPL representatives Brian Bannon, Mark Andersen, and Andrea Saenz.

I was unable to attend the last Maker Summit, but Dmitriy had, and was really excited to see the progress Jorge Garcia had made on the “Makers In Chicago Website (http://www.makersinchicago.org/) The website has three main components we hope to expand on: calendar, directory, and resources. Jorge welcomes any fellow maker to critique the website and email him with any suggestions (jgarcia@chipublib.org).

The best part was breaking into table discussions. The topics included:

  • engagement: how can we activate our maker community?
  • community: how do we stay more engaged with one another between summits?
  • funding: what needs or opportunities does your organization perceive?
  • advanced manufacturing: how do we fit into the advanced manufacturing landscape?
  • teaching: what methods do you use to teach?
  • shared values and language: how can we come together to help achieve our goals?
  • unconference: miscellaneous topics
The entire evening was filled with positive vibes and serious discussion. It was fantastic to meet so many new makers, tinkerers, educators and hackerspace leaders!

Everyone was in agreement: let’s meet on a quarterly basis at the very least! We might even host one of these summits at SSH:C in the future, so keep an eye out. 🙂

Cyclone Collector

I (Phil) walked into my work place on day, and saw a 5 gal bucket and 35 gal drum we being thrown out. I brought the bucket and the drum to the hacker space. It was a project in the making…

Cyclone Collector 2Our wood shop produces a lot of dust, and the shopvacs we use for clean up always need to be emptied and cleaned themselves. So, I figured we would benefit from a dust separator. The mission was set. Andrew, Dmitriy, and I accepted the challenge.

We got together the list of things we would need:
  • 3′ x 3′ sheet aluminum
  • Some acrylic sheeting
  • 2′ of 2″ PVC piping
  • 2 tubes of silicone caulk
  • a caulk gun
  • hose hangers/clamps
  • 4″ hose
  • a blower fan
  • 5 gal plastic bucket
  • 35 gal plastic drum
  • misc plumbing bits to fit it all together
The dust separator works by separating particles based on density. This process is commonly used in industry, and the pieces of equipment go by the names “hydro-cleaners”, “centri-cleaners” or “centrifugal separators”. A lot of the commercial dust collection set ups for wood shops use this same process. Youtube has an abundance of videos to check out on the subject.
In our case, we want to sweep the dust up in an air flow, and get it to the dust separator. The air and dust com into the top of the cone at a smooth tangent. The air is forced to keep accelerating as it goes in smaller circles as it traverses it’s way down the cone. The dust gets pushed to the outside, because of it’s density, and resistance to that acceleration. The air then make a quick upturn to go out the exhaust, while the saw dust continues down and falls from bottom of the cone into the 35 gal drum. This allows us to fill up the 35 gallon drum (a long time between when we have to empty it), and not have all the dust clog the filter sock on the blower. This system gives us cleaner air, a more user friendly interface, a quieter shop, and it looks really cool.
Cyclone Collector 5
We started by making a funnel the size and shape that we needed out of paper. We did some extra math to make sure we would be happy with the result, and then traced our desired shape onto our piece of sheet aluminum. We cut the shape out with metal snips, and cleaned up the edges with the dremel. We used metal tape to hold the cone in the desired shape. Next we cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket and a hole in the top of the drum. Those two then got caulked together. Then we dremeled a hole in top side of the bucket for the PVC to come in tangential to the inside curve of the bucket. This was one of the hardest parts of the project. We used a lot of caulk to fill any open spots, and make sure it would be an air tight seal. Then we dropped the cone into the bucket and taped it in place. After that, we made acrylic lid for the bucket that had a PVC outlet for the clean air. All this was caulked up and left overnight to cure.

Cyclone Collector 4Cyclone Collector 6Cyclone Collector 8Cyclone Collector 9The next day there was a decent bit of flex to the PVC inlet, so we went to work figuring  out how to support inlet and outlet, and hook them both up to the 4″ lines for the blowers. It required another trip to home depot.

Once it was all sealed up, we were all really happy with how well it worked. It’s pretty mesmerizing to watch.

Cyclone Collector 10 Cyclone Collector 11 Cyclone Collector 12 Now we need to find a good location for it, ground it, and attach it to all the tools in the shop. See it in action here on our Facebook page: Suck-O-Matic (TM).

By: Phillip Strong

Board Game Day + SEM Event

This past Saturday, two events were held at the South Side Hackerspace: Chicago. The first included over 15 people meeting up to play board games and enjoy each other’s company. We had two tables of games going for Board Game Day, check us out in action:
Board Games + SEM 3
Board Games + SEM 2
Later that afternoon, more people arrived exclusively to check out a very cool demo of a Phenom desktop Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)! What can a SEM do? SEMs are widely used in industry, from research to quality purposes, such as monitoring the quality of laser cuts, PCB solder accuracy, or even the composition of metals. One can also determine the elemental makeup of a sample using elemental analysis.
Board Games + SEM 1At our SEM event, guests were encouraged to bring in samples of small items to view underneath the microscope. Items ranged from human hair, beach sand, a plastic toy, a pistol shell casing, a piece of a hot pepper, and coffee beans. Along with optical and electron microscopy, we used the attached Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) to conduct an elemental analysis of on the samples. Here are pictures of the microscope in all its glory, with Dr. Diane Hickey-Davis explaining how to operate it:


What’s that you’re scanning there???


A big THANK YOU to Dr. Diane Hickey-Davis, who was gracious enough to bring her SEM over and allow us to test it out! If you are interested in learning more about SEMs and have a question to ask, you can contact Dr. Hickey-Davis at dianehickey@gmail.com.

SEM1We will be looking to make the gaming day a quarterly event, so think of what games you want to play, and keep an eye out for the next event!

MAKE! Magazine Meetup

MAKE! Magazine came to visit blizzardy Chicago all the way from California!They attended the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting to promote Maker Camp and Make: Books.

SSH:C Members had a fun time connecting with MAKE representatives, local makers, librarians and other conference attendees at Temple Gallery where we discussed our plans for the coming year.photo 1On top of that, we were able to see a fresh design for a 3D Printer by Paul Kim of inbox3D and played with LEDs.

photo 2photo 4photo 5

Overall a really fun time! We hope to collaborate with Make Magazine again soon!!!

Holiday Party 2015

What a party! It was absolutely fantastic to see so many of our friends, family, and supporters. It was a night full of mingling, brainstorming, and tea!–and a selfie stick.

Holiday Party 2015 - Selfie! Holiday Party 2015 - Selfie!Holiday Party 2015 - Selfie!




No regrets.

Mike Davis of ScienceFIST started the night of demos off with a bang! Well, more of a VROOOShFFMMFMM. But ya know. See his video here.

Our super buddy, Sasha Neri, from the Chicago Public Library’s MakerLab showed us some awesome paper craft fun!

Holiday Party 2015 - Sasha Neri

Dan Meyer from the MSI’s FabLab and fellow member of SSH:C showed off his tri-copter! It flew. It conquered. It was so powerful, it blew away napkins and could probably have taken off some eyebrows. Not gonna lie, I was a little terrified. In this video he describes the process.

Justin Buschnyj & Martin Rivera from Working Bikes rocked their demo. They taught us that we could turn some old tires into sweet swag. Rock that belt, yo!

Holiday Party 2015 - Justin Buschnyj

The powerhouse known as Christina Pei of TOOOL walked us through some basic lockpicking!

Holiday Party 2015 - Christina Pei

I was sad that I didn’t get to participate as much in the demos myself, and it sounds kind of strange, but hearing everyone around me have such a good time was worth it. Everyone was laughing and sharing stories. It was fantastic to see how far the space has come and show off our new members. Looking back on the footage from the night, I think the best was the video from Dan’s drone checking all of us out. The sheer awe and the relentless smiles in that room reminded me how thankful I am to be part of such a brilliant community. Happy new year from SSH:C!!

For more photos, check out our FB album.
For a timelapse of the party, check out our YouTube channel.


We had a rockin’ time at C2E2 helping out our fellow makers from South Florida with their 3D Printing business called Zero Point 3D! Check out our FB album here!

These guys hacked some cool tech together in order to scan people on a rotating platform and create ceramic 3D-printed model figurines of them! Neat huh? Check out their FB page and website for more info.


Cryptoparty is a worldwide movement organizing events to educate users how to use cryptography. We’ve had two in quick succession at SSH with great turnout and they’ve been a lot of fun! The motivation is to empower regular people to protect their private data in an era of widespread surveillance. There are many tools available to do this – some more user friendly than others – and these events provide a forum for technical folks to come together and help those who are interested in learning how to keep themselves and their data safe.

The March Cryptoparty focused on setting up PGP for email encryption, and the April one focused on using Tor for anonymous web browsing as well as using Off-the-Record (OTR) messaging for encrypted instant messaging using XMPP/Jabber. In April, we split things up into two sessions: a session for absolute beginners where even the word encryption is explained, and a session for those who have more exposure to cryptography. For the inaugural advanced session, Eric gave a nice talk on the mathematical assumptions behind public key cryptography. Mason also showed us what data an attacker could gather by exploiting the recent OpenSSL Heartbleed bug on a VM set up in the space.

You can follow @Cryptopartychi on twitter to get notifications of upcoming cryptoparties, as well as check out the Cryptoparty wiki page at http://wiki.sshchicago.org/wiki/Cryptoparty. We plan on having another Cryptoparty at SSH in July.

If you’d like to be involved in organizing Cryptoparty, that’s great! If you know how to use the most commonly taught tools – PGP/OTR/Tor – and would like to help teach during the workshop time at Cryptoparty, just come to the events and your assistance would be much appreciated. If you have more knowledge about a particular area (e.g. cryptocurrencies, etc.) and would like to give a 20-30 minute talk telling us about it, please email jen@redshiftzero.com.

Money Money Monehhhh

Update: Our Indiegogo Campaign has been done for a while now. Thanks to everyone for helping us out!

IGG Screenshot

It’s been a few weeks since the launch of our campaign and I have to admit, the hardest part is waiting! I thought it would be less stressful than designing the t-shirts and stickers (all those long nights changing font types and sizes at least 30 times, and then moving things a pixel to the left, two pixels to the right, and then a pixel to the left again, only to wake up next morning and find that it really ought to be a little to the right after all.)


Emailing friends and family, contacting local papers and university organizations, and watching the money trickle bit by bit in is much harder! Of course we appreciate every single donation, not only monetary, but from those who volunteered to give us their helping hands to construct the space once we get the supplies (thank you Redditors!!).

Reddit Screenshot

We’re just so excited to purchase the things we need and tons of people have invited us to participate in events. We’re bursting with ideas for different public workshops/classes we’d like to hold, but we won’t be able to until things are cleaned up and fully functional. sigh


Progress is progress though, and as of today we’ve hit $1,418 in donations. That’s 20.26% funded! With over a month til the end, it seems like a long way off, but the goal is $7000!!! So yep, we’re going to keep chugging!

Happy Birthday to Us

Update: Our Indiegogo Campaign has been done for a while now. Thanks to everyone for helping us out!

How to throw a party in three easy steps.

  1. Invite Friends & Family. Invite everyone!
  2. Have Fun.
  3. Repeat.


Ryan and I started off the day by making sure everything was as clean as it could be (Let’s be honest now; It’s a hackerspace so there is a certain level of messiness that is considered “the aesthetic”). We arranged the tables and decorated. A trip to Costco and quasi-effective signage were made by our valiant board and significant others while I furiously finished reviewing the FB Page, event page, and Indiegogo Campaign. We set up the food, music, and most importantly—tea!

And then…we chilled for maybe five minutes before the first hesitant party goers appeared! Every person who walked through the door has unlocked the “SSH:C HQ FOUND!” achievement. 😀


And wow, what a turnout! People kept pouring in and we kept the tea hot. Brian, Matt, and I were delighted to discover that everybody enjoyed at least one cup throughout the duration of the evening. After a fun lock picking demonstration by our good friends TOOOL, and the mesmerizing power of our 3d Printer, it was time to cut the cake! 

Celebrating your birthday is one thing, but toasting future success even better! We had the honour of launching our Indiegogo campaign with our friends, family, and future hackers. The goal: $7000 dollars to help finish the space and buy the tools/safeguards we need to make ourselves 100% operational! Led by a fantastic drumroll, we hit the big FUND button and watched the donations roll in! In the first night alone (~3 hours since it was already 9:30), we raised over $100!

Thanks to everyone for sharing this very special day with us. It was awesome to meet so many new people and we wouldn’t be here without those who have supported us from the very beginning. It was amazing to show off our progress. Here’s to a new and even more spectacular year of growth! ~And many more~