New perks for you to show your support!

All Hands Active is a lot closer to meeting our goal for making the money we need to pay our December bills, but not close enough. We are still a little less than $1000 from our goal.

There are still many ways for you to donate and help out your favorite hackerspace, and now you will get awesome thank you gifts from Dana/Heibai herself! With your charitable donation  given before December 1st, of $100 or more, you will receive all this awesome stuff:

  • A pair of resistor earrings. These are handmade, and each pair being unique in color combination is one of my goals. Some even come with little charms on them :D
  • One chainmaille bracelet or necklace. Specific colors can be requested, supplies permitting, and size can be custom fit. Style may also be requested, but not guaranteed, as some style require a lot of time or different materials.
  • LASER cut piece of art. This will be approximately 6″x12″ in size and will be suitable for a present or for personal enjoyment. Custom pieces can theoretically be done with the understanding that Dana is not a professional designer. We do have other people in the organization that may be able to help, their time permitting.
  • The official AHA holiday tree ornament of 2012, which the design has yet to be decided. This will also be LASER cut, and will feature a limited edition style for this year only.

HOW TO REDEEM YOUR THANK YOU GIFTS: Once you’ve made your donation through our many different contributing options, email Dana directly at to establish communication so you can pick out which designs/styles you would like.

It should be noted that all supplies and work going into this specific project is being donated to All Hands Active. ALL proceeds go directly towards supporting and maintaining one of the best hackerspaces in the world.

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Support your local hackerspace!

Hello Everyone -

Help AHA make rent next month! On top of our estimated income, we need to bring in an additional ~$1,500 in the next four weeks. In classic NPR style, we are coming to you for help.

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Have a few extra dollars? Donate! Please click the “Donate” button over in yonder sidebar to the right!
  2. Become a member: If you can afford membership, we’d love to have you join us!
  3. Student/Starving Hacker Member? If your financial situation supports it, we would love to have you move up to the regular member rate!
  4. Learn with us! Every month we run classes on soldering, Arduino, and how to use our Laser Cutter, 3D printer, and CNC machine. See our class listing on our events page.
  5. Got skills you want to share? We are also interested in helping you run a class! Contact us to get started.
  6. If you have friends or compatriots who would enjoy hanging out with us and making awesome stuff, bring them down! (THIS IS A BIG ONE…the more people the more love for AHA)
  7. Have your company Sponsor or Donate to AHA! We can offer exciting perks like employee memberships, advertising, private classes, or hackathons. As always, we are working to support Ann Arbor’s tech/DIY culture.
  8. Donate your time, help make AHA beautiful! Talk to us for specific suggestions.
  9. If you have skills and can make things that AHA can sell, talk to us, especially if those are things you can make at AHA! There may be a bake-and-awesome-stuff fundraising sale in the near to medium term future.

We have done a ton of awesome things this year alone, and want to make the rest of this year even more amazing! Check out just a few of our accomplishments at:

We want to continue growing, and we are committed to making this happen in the most efficient and low-overhead way possible. Since our founding, we have been making our membership dollars go as far as possible. If you haven’t seen the space in a while, you will be blown away at what we have to offer nowadays, so please — won’t you help us to continue this momentum?

Every person who takes part in AHA helps shape where the space is going, and we wouldn’t be Ann Arbor’s Hackerspace if it were not for you all.

If you have any other ideas, please talk to us — we greatly appreciate your help.

Dana, Michael, Nate D., Nate Y., and Jamison (aka The Board).

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Arduino Class – Smart Costume Edition!


Arduino 2nd Saturday Workshop! Make your Halloween Costume Smart!
Saturday, October 13th, 2:00-4:00 pm at All Hands Active, 525 E. Liberty.

What do you need? If at all possible, a laptop and a download of Arduino’s controller software.
Additionally, small electronics that you’re interested in experimenting with…think LEDs, small motors, sensors, etc. If you have your own Arduino board and are looking for the place to get started with it, Sweet! Otherwise we have a number of them to teach with. Breadboards and wiring are also useful.

Why? Because its fun to control your electronics and your Halloween costume will be that much better if the blinking lights in your alien antenna are actually spelling out “HI ALIENS!” in morse code.

Cost: $10 Members, $15 Non Members. If you can’t swing that, but think you can help out with setup / takedown / promotions, let us know and we’ll work something out!

After the class, talk to us about our discount, we can help you get a discount if you’re thinking of a specific project!

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All Hands Active Open House – 10/4 8 P.M.

All Hands Active is hosting an impromptu Hacker Open House. Regardless of whether or not you’ve been here before, join us this Thursday at 8:00pm! There will be Cookies, Gaming, Liquid Nitrogen, LASERS and more!

FYI, there is a Cookie Competition just before : ) If you are interested in bringing cookies, please note:
7:00pm – Bring your Cookies
7:30pm – Tasting Begins
8:00pm – Decisions & Awards Happen

Remaining Cookies will be distributed to the general public (literally, we’re handing them out throughout the streets of Ann Arbor)

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Pictures from AADL 3D printing


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Free 3D Printing Session at AADL on Saturday!

The AADL hasn’t kicked us out yet! We’ll be teaching people the basics of 3D Printing, 3D Modeling, and various helpful tidbits in between. Join us at the Downtown Ann Arbor District Library at 1:00pm this Saturday, September 22nd. Learn how to model, and we’ll print your object out for you (You’ll have to give us an email address, and we’ll contact you as soon as it’s done)

More info on the AADL events page

Hope to see you there!

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If you have a laser cutting project but either don’t have the time to get to one of our classes, or just need the project done NOW, hit us up! We can create projects for you, for a small fee (providing your own material vs us providing it, size, complexity, etc. influence this). Email for a free estimate and come by the space to see some of examples of what can be created.

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If you haven’t heard of check it out, its a great source for all your hacking and creative maker needs. As a hackerspace, we are provided with discounts via the site. If you have any bulk orders (set of arduinos for your classroom, thinking of starting a business selling eggbots, buying your 100 best friends printer-of-things) hit us up, we can help cut down that cost!

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Registration is Open!

Help AHA embark on a new journey, filling the brains of your community’s children with science, social productivity, and the awesome power that is DIY! The AHA Kids After School Program is now open for registration for both Fall and Winter semesters!

We have multiple types of classes, as we are trying to reach every type of person that represents the maker community. Take advantage of all the exciting & productive tools available at All Hands Active via classes for the serious gamer, the non-traditional artist, and the creative innovator.

On top of offering these classes, we are extending select member benefits. If you sign up your adolescent hacker for one of our after school programs, your whole family gets to take any regular class we offer at the AHA Member reduced rate for the duration of the program!

This semester will be awesome and we hope you and your family partake upon this journey with us!

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Backyard Brains: Spikerboxes and the RoboRoach

For the past couple months Teddy and Nate have been building spikerboxes for Backyard Brains, a group of people intent on making neuroscience kits that are fun, easy to use and affordable.

So, what exactly is a spikerbox?

A spikerbox is a little instrument that can detect neuronal activity, more specifically, the electrical pulses sent from neuron to neuron within the nervous system. The more common term for these pulses is a “spike,” hence the name, “Spikerbox.”



Spikerboxes can be used on cockroaches, leeches, and other organisms in order to read their neuronal activity. You can also use the spikerbox to manipulate the neurons by sending electrical charges of your own, as displayed in this video:

^^^ Click me! ^^^

In addition to the spikerbox, Backyard Brains also provides resources for other neuroscience experiments, one of which being RoboRoach. RoboRoach is a project concerning the neurons of a cockroach, and how it’s possible to use electricity to stimulate the antennae of the roach, and control its movement. In other words; a cyborg cockroach.

Now, that may sound difficult to some, but Backyard Brains has been kind enough to make an instructional video, detailing the steps required to turn an ordinary household cockroach into you own personal minion of revolting mischief.

If you want to get into this, you can buy Spikerboxes, RoboRoach kits, and even roaches of your own at the Backyard Brains official store! Good luck, and have fun!

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