Aachen Maker Meetup
Welcome to the Aachen Maker Meetup!
This meetup was originally started as Dorkbot Aachen, one of Germany's first Dorkbot groups, by Prof. Jan Borchers, his Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen University, and an Arduino forum initiative. Our inaugural meetup took place on June 6, 2009. We have been meeting every month ever since, making us Germany's longest-running Dorkbot chapter. Dorkbot is an international network of people doing interactive art and electronic hacks. We renamed our event to Aachen Maker Meetup in 2018 to make it easier to understand what we're about, and were able to change and expand the event format thanks to funding through the 3D Competence Center research project.
To come to a dorkbot, just sign up for the event on our Aachen Maker Meetup page! This helps us judge how much space and snacks we need.
We usually meet at 6:30 pm on the third Wednesday of each month. We sometimes shift things around for special events. See our Aachen Maker Meetup page for updates.
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Jan 17, 2018
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Feb 21, 2018: The past, present, and future or learning Maker skills. With special guest Frank Brennecke from Berlin, published in c't Make for his modern extensions to the legendary Philips EE electronics kits. More details (in German). — Full Event Report and Video.
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Mar 21, 2018: Tools — Makers' Favorite Helpers. With a show-and-tell of Roger Leifert's Every Maker Should Have One must-have selection of tools. — Full Event Report and Video.
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Apr 18, 2018: Wearables: From Body Sensors to Interactive Fashion. With Markus Lüken's wireless wearable sensors for body signals, a new toolkit for on-body haptic output using Shape Memory Alloys in 3D printed enclosures, a project tracking dance movements using wearable sensors, and a haptic vest for the blind. — Full Event Report.
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, May 16, 2018: CHI and Eggs: Current maker research, and the Egg-Bot plotter. With video highlights from CHI, the world's top conference on new user interface research, that show new research prototypes of personal fabrication tools, and the Egg-Bot plotter for eggs and other round objects.
- 4th Wednesday of the month, Jun 27, 2018: Matlab Crash Course, and a Fab Academy final project
- Summer break in July and August due to conferences and other travel of the organizers
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Sep 19, 2018
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Oct 17, 2018
- Exception for special event, Nov 19, 2018: TABULA Roadshow in Aachen.
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Dec 19, 2018: Blender for Maker: Birgit Stolte gave an exciting talk and introduced us to the 3D design software 'Blender' and how we can use it for Maker projects.
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Jan 16, 2019
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Feb 20, 2019: 'Maker Stories' - A film team came to interview interested makers about their current or other projects they built before. These interviews and projects will be integrated as 'Maker Stories' on Conrad's YouTube channel.
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Mar 20, 2019
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Apr 17, 2019
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, May 15, 2019
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, June 19, 2019
- 3rd Wednesday of the month, Jul 17, 2019
Always at 18:30 (6:30 pm)
See our directions to the Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen University to find us. We meet in room 2222 on the second floor. Building doors are locked at 7 pm. Enter on Ahornstr. (close to the bus stop); there will be a sign on the door with a number to call, or try +49-241-80-21060 for the phone in our meeting room.
- Dorkbots are very informal. There's no membership, you just show up.
- We attract DIY makers, designers, electronics hackers, artists, 3D printer builders, geek dads and their daughters - anybody from 9 to 99 doing strange things with electricity!
- We usually have most folks coming from Germany, but also people from the Netherlands and Belgium, thanks to Aachen's unique location, plus frequently other nationalities. If you speak German or English you'll be fine!
- We get together, bring out our projects, have some soft drinks, order pizza, and start tinkering or chatting with each other.
- Occasionally there's a short 20-min slot if someone would like to share something with everybody (or ask for help!).
- We've also had some cool special guests, such as Mitch Altman and Burkhard Kainka.
- To read about what we've been up to, check out these excellent trip reports of our past dorkbot sessions (in German).
- To find out what dorkbot is in general, check the dorkbot home page.
Who is dorkbot Aachen? Here are a few people who show up frequently. The interviews were conducted at the Fab Lab Aachen during dorkbot by Prof. Jan Borchers.
What's a cool project from your past? I built two large digital countdown clocks for our Bridge club tournaments. They can be started using a handheld remote, and is pretty fool-proof. :) I used an Arduino and WS2812 LEDs. The MDF cases were lasercut at the Fab Lab, and many other Dorkbot hackers helped me figure out the code. Then I really like my 120cm large "La Linea" figure that I created from several smaller parts cut on the Fab Lab lasercutter. It consists of two 5-mm layers of MDF sandwiched together. It's covered in acrylic paint and looks great outside my kitchen window. I also enjoyed creating decorative garden sculptures made from light-gathering acrylic—the glow on the edge of the acrylic looks great. Then there's a digital Looping Louie controller, a boardgame made from acrylic and 3D-printed figures,...
What dorkbot-y stuff are you working on right now? I'm building a changeable "diorama" frame that you can put different content into. It's made from 3D printed and lasercut parts and backlit with an LED candle. Also, the last storm destroyed part of a lasercut sculpture in my driveway that marks a point you shouldn't drive over — I'll need to re-cut that.
What's your professional / training background, or what do you do for a living? I studied Industrial Design in Dortmund and Aachen. These days I consider myself a database publishing consultant — I help people publish large amounts of data in print or PDF quickly, for example for catalogs.
Tell us a bit more about yourself - where are you from, maybe your age? I was born in 1953 along the river Ruhr, but have been living in Aachen since my student days.
Past project: I wrote a book "Licht und Spaß" with René Bohne, Mario Lukas, Christoph Emonds, Lina Wassong and Alex Wenger in 2015. I wrote the first three chapters with introductory maker projects for kids, like building lightup ladybugs. I also worked at Fab Lab Aachen for many years, running events like Girls' Days — you can still find them on Fab Lab Kids.
Current project: Right now I'm super busy building costumes for our upcoming Carnival Party at my company—the back of my car is full of plastic rainpipes for rockets... but no electronics!
Background: I studied French and History at RWTH Aachen University. In 2008, Jonathan Diehl hired me as a Hiwi here at the Media Computing Group, and then the Fab Lab happened here. Since 2015 I've been program manager at HoloBuilder, an RWTH spinoff that now has offices in Aachen and San Francisco. We have a web platform to easily document progress on construction sites using 360 imagery.
Personal: I was born in Aachen, and as a typical Aachen Research Child, I moved to Jülich with my parents because of the Forschungszentrum. I returned to Aachen for my studies and never left since. :)
Past project: We built a modular version of the "Keep talking and nobody explodes" puzzle game during the 2016 Multimodal Media Madness lab at the Media Computing Group here. There's an Instructable about it.
Current project: Currently I'm working on an air cooling system for my PlayStation—it gets way too hot during gaming where it's sitting right now.
Background: I'm currently studying Biology and Computer Science at RWTH. I'm also a student assistant ("Hiwi") at the Media Computing Group helping to run the Fab Lab and Dorkbot here, among other things. Here's my personal page.
Personal: I was born in Kamp-Lintfort which is about one or two hours north of here, but moved to Aachen for my studies.
Johannes Dürscheid (Jan 17, 2018)
Past project: I built a seven-segment clock display from WS2812 LEDs last year. It adjusts its brightness to the environment via a light sensor, and you can change color during different times of day, or leading up to the full hour, for example. The clock already works, but it's not using radio control or a hardware real-time clock module yet. The MDF case and acrylic front came out of the Fab Lab lasercutter.
Current project: I want to create a word clock that displays the time in clear text, using the same kind of LEDs.
Background: I'm a trainee at a software house for application development.
Personal: I was born in Cologne and am still living there, but I studied in Aachen and still come here for events like Dorkbot!
Markus Ermert (Jan 17, 2018)
Past project: Last year, I built a WiFi intercom system that fits inside a smoke detector housing. It was a demo project for my company's innovation day. It runs on a Raspberry Pi Zero and talks to a FritzBox access point.
Current project: I'm currently playing with ESP32 and Bluetooth iBeacon, and want to read out a hear-rate sensor, in order to warn me when I'm pushing myself too hard while jogging.
Background: I studied Electrical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University. These days I do software system testing in the telecommunications industry.
Personal: I was born in Krefeld and have been living in Aachen since my university studies.
Udo Borkowski (Jan 17, 2018)
Past project: I had a lot of fun building Johnny Lee's whiteboard pointer using the Nintendo Wii — that even made it into the "WDR Lokalzeit" tv report about Fab Lab Aachen in 2009.
Current project: I've started looking into a caller ID circuit for our old analog(!) landline phone. We love its old-fashioned ring tone but I'd like to know who's calling.
Background: I studied Computer Science at the University of Bonn. These days I work as a freelancer and have a small software development company, abego Software GmbH. I mostly develop in Java, HTML and modern web technologies.
Personal: I was born in 1961 in Cologne, but have been living in Aachen for 15 years now.
Our low traffic mailing list
- The Aachen repair café
- dorkpov is a DIY POV (persistence of vision) circuit board
- Contraptor is a DIY open-source construction set for experimental personal fabrication, desktop manufacturing, prototyping and bootstrapping
- RepRap is a free desktop 3D printer capable of printing plastic objects.
- We ran Germany's first 3D printer consruction master classes in 2011
dorkbot Aachen in the Press
- Du bist die Fabrik, Süddeutsche Zeitung, April 10-11, 2010, national newspaper article
- Dorkbot on TV, WDR, Lokalzeit Aachen, September 3, 2009