Blog posts

Monolith Synth

Submitted by paul on Tue, 2017-05-23 12:06

Over the last several weeks I collaborated with Ben Davis, Darcy Neal and Ross Fish on this Monolith Synth interactive sculpture we took to Tested and Maker Faire.

This was a pretty typical usage scene at Maker Faire:


Submitted by skinny on Mon, 2017-05-08 14:56

The first DorkbotPDX Hebocon had some fierce competitors.  Check below for video and results!

DorkbotPDX DOBOHEBOCON 2017 from Brian Richardson on Vimeo.


Champion: Popcorn by Gary and Daniel

Gary and Daniel

Their bot has an actual piece of Popcorn in it.

Popcorn in bot!

Technically Poorest: Spring Thing by Drew

Spring Thing

This might be my favorite.  No electricity, just a spring.  

Fastest Fail: Lithium by Bill


Lithium was a pro looking bot!

Poorest Quality: Spitter Bot by Mathew

Spitter Bot

Spitter Bot spit 3d printing filament at its foes!

Loudest: Just One Bugfix by Brian

Just One Bugfix

Just One Bugfix played an intimidating scream as it competed.

trump piñata

Submitted by hydronics on Mon, 2016-09-26 01:11

Hey, thanks to all who came out to ctrl-h last dorkbot and helped me reign in my birthday. I posted my piñata project to hack-a-day. It was a lot easier to use than instructables. ... shelling out free content, eh? hahahah

A few of you may realize that I took some serious liberties with the video audio..... well it was my birthday!

Advanced Microcontroller Audio Workshop Summary

Submitted by skinny on Thu, 2016-06-09 20:33

As I said in my last blog post, I've been meaning to do little summaries of the workshops, so here's another one!

Paul volunteered to give his Advanced Microcontroller Audio workshop again and I jumped at the oppurtunity to finally take it. When I arrived I got my workshop packet which included well written documentation and a kit filled with a lot of great stuff. Paul and Thomas talked very briefly and introduced the workshop. It's structured to be done at your own pace with Paul and Thomas hovering around to help when needed.
DorkbotPDX April 2016 Workshop

The documentation is here if you want to look at it. The kit came with a Teensy 3.2, an audio shield, breadboard with switches and pots, hookup wire, sd card, and a TFT display!

The workshop starts off with verifying the initial hardware and software, playing sounds, playing sounds with effects, and finally builds all of the way up to playing audio and displaying a peak meter on the TFT. Most of the workshop is centered around using the Teensy library via the graphical Audio System Design Tool which is a lot like Pure Data.

Here's a quick video of the final exercise, sorry about the crappy audio, I knocked one of the wires I had plugged into the display around a bit and it distorted the playback.

DorkbotPDX April 2016 Workshop


I'm excited to use the audio library in future projects. I want to scare some kids this Halloween with a project, having an easy sound library to do it with will definitely help.

FuzzFace Workshop Results!

Submitted by skinny on Fri, 2016-04-22 17:44

I've been meaning to write short blog posts about the results of the workshops we put on. I got an email asking me about the last one and it reminded me to actually do it. So here it is!


I roped my friend Jim Titus into giving a workshop about guitar pedals since he started building them in his free time. The workshop started out with a presentation which you can download here. Jim talks about the history of guitar distortion which is very entertaining. Then he played some samples of early guitar distortion, there was a country song named "Don't Worry" by Marty Robbins which had an awesome sounding distorted bass. I'm not a country fan, but that part of the song rules. Jim then talked about the distortion circuit and showed some enclosures off (which became important later!)


Then it was build time! We all got our kits and got to work. We all help each other through the build and eventually tested them on Jim's o-scope so we could see the affect the pedal had on a sine wave.


There was an issue when we actually tried to use the pedals without an enclosure: there was no shielding and there was too much noise. Lucky for us one of the folks, Bruce Mulligan, had built an enclosure ahead of time. Bruce and his daughter built up their kit and installed it in the enclosure. After figuring out a grounding issue we had the distortion we were looking for!

Click below to listen to the pedal:


Be sure to check out our next workshop, Advanced Microcontroller Audio with Paul Stoffregen

Website work

Submitted by breedx on Mon, 2016-04-11 00:26

You might have noticed some changes to the website.

We know that things are broken (like account creation and some past content).  We are working hard to shore things up and make them functional again while also modernizing things.  Please be patient, as progress is proceeding slowly...

If you notice something frustratingly broken or missing or out of place, or if you happen to be a Drupal ninja who wants to help out, please email

Change is good, but comes with a cost.  Nerd on!

External antenna modifications for the Raspberry Pi 3

Submitted by wardr on Thu, 2016-03-10 01:06


This post will detail a couple of different ways that an external antenna can be added to the Raspberry Pi 3.


Please view this as a purely experimental exercise and proceed at your own risk.

Random November 2nd Meeting Photos!

Submitted by skinny on Sat, 2015-11-07 14:49

I just thought I'd post some random photos and projects from the last DorkbotPDX meeting.  Lots of fun stuff.

Tom Hudson brought his shaking haunted house. He worked on it with his coworkers at OMSI. It uses a saber saw as the shaking mechanism. Pretty sweet. He's posted an Instructable about it if you're more interested.

DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015


DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

Mykle Hansen brought his Teensy Synth project. It made some sweet, crunchy sounds. I think it is based off of this project.

DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

Mathew Lippincott brought his Portal Gun from Rick and Morty. It used an 800 lumen flashlight to project the portal! Very cool!

DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

Scott Dixon brought a new robotics platform that he's playing around with. It's not hooked up to his Bluetooth Barbie steering wheel yet, but maybe soon. I didn't catch what the platform actually is, maybe he'll chime in on the comments.

DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

Here were some folks playing with using balloons to diffuse LEDS. Reminds me of this project.

DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015

Finally, some folks just hacking together. I didn't find out what they were doing, maybe they'll chime in on the comments below. DorkbotPDX 11/2/2015


Fun projects, great to see so many projects on display!