Twitter: lvl1hackerspace

LVL1 2012 Boneyard Hackathon Recap

A big personal thanks to everyone who came out to the 2012 LVL1 Boneyard Hackathon.  We had 9 teams consisting of 54 hackers compete for 24 hours straight, putting to the test their technical capabilities, endurance, and creativity.  We had 9 great projects, and everyone had a lot of fun!  Our youngest competitors were only 11 years old! Everyone here already looks forward to the next event.

Thanks to Jon for recording a summary of the projects at the hackathon.  I’ll upload a full video of the project showcase soon!

Team Bloominglabs made an incredible 3 musical instruments, a mixer for them all, and a bunch of LED blinky stuff! They brought 9 hackers to bring this all together, and were a flurry of activity throughout the hackathon.


The Raging Narwhals, a team from the Triangle Fraternity at LVL1, made a floppy drive keyboard. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite working by the end, but it was an impressive effort, and they plan to come back to finish it up. They brought a huge team, and almost all of them stayed through the night!


The LVL1 Stonecutters managed to make a 3-D Scanner and Animated Gif Maker using the parts in the boneyard!


Team Rainbow Unicorn built a first place trophy, so even if they failed, they would win.


The Dirty Cheaters put together an incredibly impressive Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em robots kit, which included rack and pinion steering, and no microcontrollers.


Destined for Failure built a looping synthesizer controlled by a PS2 mouse. Very impressive, especially consdiering this was the group’s first foray into Arduino progrmaming!


Team Polar Bear build a laser pong game, complete with scorekeeping, 8 bit sound effects, and varying difficulty levels. Superb engineering, guys!


The Noobs were our youngest team, and they put together a custom computer using parts from the basement, including custom LED signs.


Finally, Bob the Bodybuilder built a very loud keypad controlled synthesizer. They even devised a means to convert sheet music to keypad tablature.


I owe a huge thanks to everyone involved. Thanks to FoodCalc Inc. ( for supplying libation for the event. Thanks to Joe L. for helping out throughout the event. Thanks to Gary F. for being a trooper, staying way later than he meant to, and helping out almost every team here. Thanks to Jose C. for taking way more crap than he deserved. Thanks to Lauren, Jynn, and Steph for acting as team breakfast, and keeping us all from starving.

Plenty more photos on the flickr stream. Peruse through, and if this interest you, come to our space! Links above and to the right will help you find us.

LVL1 Tuesday Super Meeting

Yuri's Night

This Tuesday is shaping up to be a Super Tuesday!  Tuesdays at 8:00pm are our regular meeting times, but this Tuesday, 4/12/11, we’re throwing in a Sumo-bot throw-down, and a Yuri’s Night  Celebration.

What: LVL1 Tuesday Meeting, Yuri’s Night Celebration, and Sumo-bot throw-down!

When: Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Where: The LVL1 Hackerspace, 814 East Broadway, Entrance on the rear alley

For visitors, our regular meetings usually consist of 30 minutes of talking about LVL1 business, events, and miscellany, followed by building, hacking, making and general mayhem, extending well into the night.  This Tuesday, however, we’ll be celebrating Yuri’s Night, a world-wide party commemorating the 50th anniversary of mankind first slipping the surly bonds of earth, and extending our reach into space.

LVL1 will be hosting members of the Louisville Astronomical Society for some urban star gazing, and we’ll be trying to listen for the ARRISat, an amateur radio satellite currently attached to the International Space Station, transmitting just for Yuri’s Night, before it becomes fully armed and operational later this year.

In addition, almost a dozen members of the LVL1 community have been working on Sumo-bots for the upcoming tournament at Hive13, Cincinnati’s hackerspace.  We’ve got enough bots running around here for our own tournament, so we’ll be doing exposition matches all evening, building, testing and tweaking our sumos!

Come one, come all to LVL1 this Tuesday at 8:00pm.  Anyone and everyone is always welcome.

LVL1 QR codes and inventory

I meant to put a post about our QR inventory system several months ago when we implemented it… But I got, you know, busy! After sharing some of the details with hackerspacers on yammer, Pumping Station: One implemented our solution. It thrills me that they found it useful! But my lax blogging also means they scooped us! Oh well, better late than never. The important thing is that the implementation info is out there and other spaces can make use of it!

From my yammer post:

I thought I’d share this LVL1 approach to equipment and inventory management. Of course once we opened our doors last July, the contents of our members garages vomited forth their contents into our space. It was very difficult to keep track of what equipment we had, where it was, who wanted to retain ‘ownership rights’, whether it worked, how to make work, etc.

An idea bubbled up to inventory everything. A daunting task to be sure. I decided it’d be easiest to create a wiki page for each item. We crowd-sourced the effort and had the membership show up one Saturday to log everything and eat pizza. It worked well.

But wait there’s more! With a little bit of MediaWiki templating, I was able to generate QR codes on each wiki page (and therefore each piece of equipment). We printed out these QR codes on sticky mailing labels and applied them to oscilloscopes, saws, makerbot, the bathroom, Ben (frequent canine visitor), and everything in between. So now anyone with a smartphone barcode scanner app can scan the QR code on a piece of equipment in the space and get ALL OF THE INFO. Each piece of equipment has a readily accessible/editable wiki page of metadata goodness.

Members can leave operation notes, known problems, safety instructions, links to manuals, passive aggressive notes, humorous taunts on the wiki page of each item in a very accessible way.

It’s working pretty well for us! YMMV

Then the follow-up:

View source on this template entry to see how it’s defined:

And then view source on this wiki entry to see it’s usage:

Read the rest of this entry »


Almost every night of the week, LVL1’s 2,000-square-foot communal workshop is a hive of tinkering, socializing and building. Oscilloscopes, wave-form synthesizers and multi-meters, all donated by members, line the shelves and tables inside the hacker space. Puffs of smoke and tiny explosions erupt from the poised tips of soldering irons. Hand-built robots click and flash. Musical instruments are modified, purposefully mangled and built from scratch. Consumer electronics have their warranties voided by simply being opened up, cheap broken toys are cannibalized for parts, and, above all, information, free and plentiful, is shared.

At a Tuesday night meeting, Tim Miller, a quiet, dark-haired network technician in his mid-20s, draws a rough sketch of a tree on the dry-erase board at the front of the room, adding a squiggle at the end of a branch near the top and stepping back into the crowd of half a dozen that has wandered over and gathered behind him.

He crosses his arms as the group considers the problem: At the end of a test flight, the computer payload for a robotic helium balloon that members of LVL1 designed has gotten stuck 80 feet in the air, tangled in the upper regions of a giant tree on a Christian dude ranch in Vernon, Ind. Somehow, the payload — a 12-pound mother-brain of chips and sensors about the size of a microwave — has to be retrieved so the data it has collected can be analyzed. Ideally, the payload can be installed beneath another balloon that, in the coming weeks, will attempt a record-setting flight across the Atlantic.

Support LVL1


By using the donate button below you will be taken to Paypal to make a donation to the laser cutter fund. When you use this button the donation is earmarked for the laser cutter fund, not the general fund.



White Star Balloon

Click here to lend your support to: The White Star Balloon Project and make a donation at !

White Star Balloon Project – official site



Monthly Donation

Help LVL1 with a small monthly recurring donation of $13.37!



LVL1 Makership

We’re raising money for a Makership fund. A makership is similar to a scholarship, but the focus is on a creating something. We are using this fund to support an aspiring maker in financial need. The fund includes all LVL1 membership dues for 1 year, plus $400 to fund their proposed makership project.

For more information, see LVL1 Makership

Click here to lend your support to: LVL1 Makership and make a donation at !

Space Gets some New Test Equipment

Its nothing fancy, but if you have a power supply you think is bad, or you think you have some bad network lines, you may want to come down to the space and borrow some new test equipment we have.  Read further on for the specs.  Thanks to the dozen or so people at LVL1 who pitched in to get this for us all to share.  For a link of other fine equipment we already have, see

Read the rest of this entry »

LVL1 2010 by the numbers

  • 30 new LVL1 members
  • 1 new space
  • 31 LVL1 General Meetings / Open Builds
  • 6 special events and celebrations
  • 14 workshops
  • 52 Freeduinos Assembled
  • 21 TV-B-Gones Assembled
  • 21 Mintiboosts Assembled
  • 10 Louisville Soundbuilders Meetings
  • 4 KYOSS Meetings
  • 172 Google Group Members
  • 3993 Google Group Posts
  • 1 new Makerbot
  • 1 Balloon eating tree
  • ??? Estimated bottles of beer consumed

Grand Tuesday Tomorrow 11/9!

Just a reminder that tomorrow’s meeting is GRAND TUESDAY, the 1 year anniversary of the first Tuesday meeting of what would become LVL1 :).

Over the past year the story has consistently been the same: people curious about technology show up to see what LVL1 is about. They come in as strangers, but never leave that way. New folks are especially encouraged to attend! There is a huge amount of collective knowledge to share. There are lots of projects to scratch your geek; which could use some extra hands. LVL1 has created a space for these interactions to happen, but even more importantly we’ve created an open community. We’re using the Grand Tuesday 1 year anniversary to celebrate this fact.

There will be snacks and homebrew beer. And like every Tuesday, we’ll have an open build session and lots of geeking out.

All are welcome!

In case you missed it

LVL1 Made the Sunday paper. Read all about it!

Repost: Thanks are in order!

By request, this is the thank you email posted to the list:

Hello all,

Last night’s Open Haus was such an overwhelming success that I didn’t
have a chance to thank everyone properly.

Thank you to Kwau-La-Waul Properties and the Zink family for leasing
us such a fantastic space. Steve Jr. did a great job doing the build
out for us. They put in the new walls, plumbing, A/C, electric and
replacement doors windows.

Thank you to for providing the internet connection and IPs gratis.

Thank you to Matt Frassica at the Courier-Journal for coming out to
check out what we’re doing.

Thank you to the Collexion members who came up to help us celebrate.

Thank you to everyone who brought projects to show off!

Most importantly, thank you to all the founding members who’ve
contributed their knowledge, time and finances to make LVL1 a reality.
The contributions are too many to mention, so I won’t even bother. It
takes a leap of faith to try and bootstrap a community like ours
without any guarantee of success. You are heroes, every last one of

9 short months ago, Brian and Mark put out a post to see who else in
Louisville was interested in starting a hackerspace like the other
spaces popping up all over the US. People showed up. And they kept
showing up. We self-organized and came up with a plan to bootstrap
this thing. The plan worked! 9 short months from nothing but an idea
to an awesome real physical space.

The first question I always get when I talk about what LVL1 is
doing… What exactly is a hackerspace? It’s a surprisingly difficult
question to answer. I think it has something to do with computers and
electronics… These spaces are so conceptually new, that there isn’t
a lot of history to help define them. The best I can think of is to
offer analogies. Musicians need venues to perform at. Basketball
players need courts to play on. Painters need galleries to show off
their work. Skateboarders need skateparks to show off their tricks.
Poets need open mic nights to read their work. etc. etc. Tinkerers,
makers, hackers, programmers and engineers need hackerspaces to work,
learn, share and socialize. Computers and electronics alone touch
almost every facet of our modern lives, so the breadth of possible
projects is incredibly large. And a hackerspace can be much more than
just computers and electronics. I think that was demonstrated by the
wide variety of projects on display last night!

Now that we have our space, let’s move boldly forward. Our success as
a hackerspace should be measured by the good times we have, the
friends we make and the great projects we create. Remember all the
things that have helped us build a great community and keep doing
them. Go out of your way to be open and welcoming to new members.
Share what you know. If you want something to happen, take the lead to
make it happen. Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. Figure
out where to start, be prepared to fail, readjust and try again. All
of the democracy and voting in the world is no substitute for a
healthy culture of learning and doing.

Thanks again. I looking foward to this time next year, when we can
look back and again be pleasantly surprised by what has been

I will now officially exercise the sole privilege of my office and
redesignate my LVL1 title from “Chief Tyrant of the Collective Will”
to “Micro Colonel”.

High 5s all around!

Micro Colonel LVL1

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