Twitter: lvl1hackerspace

Code For America: Recap


Over the weekend LVL 1 was host to the Code for America hackathon.  We had a great turnout, there were 18 teams in all.

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Everyone was hard at work to produce a working model or prototype of their idea within the time frame.

“The task is to design or prototype an app that helps improve the quality of life in our city,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “No idea is too strange or too bold. We want to see interesting ideas and innovation at work.”

18 teams offered up some great ideas, from geolocating features in our parks, to a program to manage our power grid by tracking smart phone power usage. The ideas were judged by a 4 person panel and ultimately yielded 3 winners of $5000, $3000 and $2000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The winning ideas and code will be used by the city to bring the ideas to life.

Congratulations to the winning teams:

First Place: Your Mapper

1st  Who created “Safety Check” an app for the smartphone.  This app allows the user to see the crimes reported in the area around them.  It also give a safety rating.  Other features of the included detail about certain crimes and a way to notify the nearest police station to report a crime.

Team members include Michael Schnuerle and Eric Roland

Second Place: Forest Giants

2nd Focusing on bike riding and cycling, this team created an app that would allow the user to easily find bike route around Louisville.  With this app the user could also record their time, speed and route. After each ride the user could then share with other riders to challenge or encourage.  Using GPS riders can find the closest bike loops, view details for each loop, and even allows you to take a picture and report loop hazards. The app could eventually help the city’s bike program determine what areas of town are most popular for rides which might determine where more infrastructure is needed for bike lanes and paths.

Team members include Dave Dveand, Chris Hawkins, Adam Richardson, Ryan Stemen and Ashleigh Chape

Third Place: Clean Up Team
3rdTheir app focused on cleaning up Louisville’s graffiti and trash by letting the user take a picture of an area they think needs to be cleaned up.  Their example: if you are walking down the street and see graffiti, you can snap a picture with the app, share it with others and using the power of Facebook, form a team and create an event to clean up and remove the graffiti.

Team members include Troy Harvey, Ashley Revlett, Charles Waddell and Steven Trentham

From reporting crime to cleaning the streets to getting out an seeing one or all of Louisville’s parks, one thing is for sure, Louisville has some bright citizens who want nothing but the best for their city and to be able to share it with all.


24 hour junk 3d scanner

This is a cross post from my blog at  It is a little late but I hope it is still useful. All of the code used can be pulled from this github repo.

The Idea:
This project came out of the Hackathon LVL1 had in June 2012.  The rules were minimal but had a big impact on the end product. The competition ran from noon Saturday till noon Sunday, so 24 hours.  We had access to all of the tools at LVL1 plus we could bring our own tools, but we could not have any of the tools integrated as part of the final project.  Each team was given an Arduino and a bread board.  All other material has to come out of the LVL1 boneyard (this is the collection of stuff that has been donated for the purpose of hacking in any way we wish.)  The goal was to make anything you want.

We had the weeks leading up to the event to look around the boneyard and think about what we thought we could make.  We started with a list of things we wanted to make then limited that down to things we thought we had the parts to make.  We tentatively settled on a 3D scanner.  We knew we had all of the parts to make it but there was no guarantee that they would still be there the day of  the hackathon as the boneyard was still being used normally by the hackerspace.
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LVL1 Hosting Louisville’s Code for America Hackathon!


On Saturday, February 23rd, LVL1 will be hosting the Code for America Hackathon!  You can find more information, including details about how to sign up, at this page:

Louisville has been selected as one of ten cities to receive a Code for America Fellowship.  The Louisville fellows are looking at ways to improve the criminal justice system.  This hackathon, however, has a broader goal.  In a mere 8 hours, create a smartphone app (or prototype) that uses publicly available data to improve the lives of Louisvillians.  There is prize money involved for winners, so start planning now!

LVL1 is no stranger to hackathons, hosting 24 hour event focused on building cool stuff out of junk, and weaponizing delicious food.  Good luck everyone, and hack on!

Upcoming Workshop: Etch your own PCB, Saturday, March 16th.

Sign up now using EventBrite.  Only space for 15 attendees!

This is the Arduino you'll be etching!

This is the Arduino you’ll be etching!

Chinese New Year got you down?  Even though its easier than ever to have your own PCBs made in China, being able to roll your own is a valuable skill to have, from simple-but-large designs, to the annual 2 week hiatus in electronics manufacturing known as “Chinese New Year.”

On Saturday, March 16th, Learn how to make your own PCBs using nothing more than some copper-clad board and dangerous household chemicals!  Walk away with yet another Arduino clone!

You’ll walk in with all the knowledge you need to perform toner-transfer PCB etching using Muriatic Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide. The process is described in more detail here: Hone your soldering skills on a bare copper board, and blink an LED with the finest!

All you need for this workshop is yourself! If you want to test your Arduino, bring a laptop with the latest Arduino IDE installed.  If you already have an FTDI cable, buy the FTDI-less ticket.

Etched Circuit BoardOnce again, sign up now and sign up often! LVL1 Members get a discount! Sign up now using EventBrite.  Only space for 15 attendees!


LVL1′s UofL Rocketeers build missiles for fun

The first word that comes to mind is “missile” — but this 11′-4″ tall, 43-lb. sky vehicle isn’t used for military purposes. It’s a science experiment. And its designers prefer to use the term “rocket.”

There’s a certain giddiness as the various members of the U of L Rocket Team show off their “baby.” The group is all smiles, from Nick Greco, the team captain, to members Kyle Hord, Kara Leeds, Dhwani Shah, Nathan Armentrout and Zack Weber — and for good reason. The team garnered fifth place out of 42 teams in their first national rocket competition last year — and this year, they believe they’ve got a shot at being Number One.


Armed with the necessary cash and ammonium perchlorate (the solid propellant that would fuel the model), the team set about actually building the rocket that would fly in the competition. Most of the construction took place at LVL-1 Hackerspace, a community shop of sorts at the corner of E. Broadway and S. Shelby St. The rocket was a mishmash of electronics (to record telemetry and scientific measurements such as temperature, altitude and humidity), wood and a lot of epoxy (to hold the fins in place.)

And as the team would soon discover, not every launch is a success. In fact, some have a tendency to put everyone involved on edge — especially when the parachute fails to deploy on a half-scale model, and the rocket becomes a 10-lb. missile hurtling back toward the launch pad near the speed of sound.

THE ROCKETEERS: U of L Speed School students build missiles for fun

Movie Night At LVL1


Fridays movie night was Ghostbusters and we made ectoplasm.

There was a great turn out and some messy fun.

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Making purple ectoplasm

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Getting messy with a highlighter to make fluorescent.  As well as some green.

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After this incident Garrett was not allowed to touch the ectoplasm any more.

Thanks to everyone that came out and see you next Friday.


For more photos head over to our Flickr page.

KCD Developing Fab Lab for STEAM

With some help and inspiration from LVL1, Kentucky Country Day School is developing a Fab Lab for STEAM.


The ideas behind KCD’s STEAM initiative come from an enthusiastic group of teachers in math, science, and the arts, including two teachers who are also founding members of Louisville’s LVL1 hackerspace. KCD already has STEAM projects in place in the curriculum, including middle school robotics classes, a rocketry project in upper school physics, the middle school Scratch programming unit, and a middle school elective that explores math through origami. Our STEAM curriculum will build on these existing strengths; we are already planning to extend the Lego Robotics curriculum into the Lower School. Moving forward, we will continue to introduce new STEAM units and courses across all divisions.

We are particularly excited by plans to develop a fabrication laboratory — or Fab Lab — which will provide a home for many STEAM-based projects. Our goal is to equip this Fab Lab with computer-aided design workstations as well as cutting-edge tools such as a laser cutter and 3D printer. These devices will allow students to design and manufacture many of the components of the projects they will be working on.

This year, KCD teachers have been studying of the role of 21st century skills in our classes. Dean of Studies Anne Glosky points out that “STEAM curriculum enhances the core 21st century skills of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Our faculty is excited about expanding our STEAM offerings and continuing to provide an innovative education to our students.”

KCD is laying foundation for STEAM program

Uhh Hi

Well hi, my name is Michael Dorsey, a computer engineer student currently doing Co-op at LVL1. Right now, I’m working on two projects relating to gaming, one of them having to do with fusing a game console with a projector to make it “all-in-one,” similar to how people have been also modifying game consoles to become portable.

The other project I’m working is attempting to modify a game controller with the use of a micro-controller. I’m not fully sure how I’m going to go about doing this as I’m still in the middle of research and trying to plan this all out. However, hopefully by the beginning of next month I’ll have made much progress on my work. For now, here are some pictures that reflect the ideas of my projects.

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Nothing quite like the satisfaction of having something work just like you wanted.  Its true no matter what field you go into.  When it comes to making your own game, its something you get every day.  I’m a week into mine, just now implementing my game’s (a turn based strategy) combat mechanics, and I can get drawn in.  Monday I sat for four hours straight working on converting the basic collision detection between units to implement some damage dealing combat.  When I was done though, I was ecstatic.  Yes there were still minor bugs, but in the scheme of things, I’d accomplished something.


LVL1 RepRap Prusa Build-Off!

Prusa MendelLVL1 will soon be having its own RepRap Prusa Build-Off!  The RepRap Prusa is one of the most popular open-source 3D printers around, with a community and support to rival even the most popular of open-source printers.  If you’ve ever wanted a 3D printer, now’s your chance to learn how it’s put together, and walk out with one of your very own!  Sonny Mounicou will be hosting the workshop at LVL1, either March 9th/10th or March 16th/17th, depending on the availability of the attendees (that’s you!).  The cost is $950, with payments being made in installments between now and March.

If you want to get involved, your $100 deposit is due Tuesday, January 15th!  To sign up for the workshop, simply email Sonny at  He’ll respond with instructions on how to leave the deposit.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave comments here, or ask on our google group!

Happy Printing, everyone!


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