Make:DC, Gathering of Area Geeks

If you walked by Greater Goods, the all things eco-friendly store on U Street, tonight and glanced in the window you may have wondered what all those nerdy looking guys and girls were doing with soldering irons huddled around several large tables. They were doing what any self-respecting geek in DC could be doing on a Thursday night: attending one of Make:DC‘s first organizational meetings and putting together a tiny circuit board useful for controlling motors like those found in robots.

Make:DC is a new group organized by local mechanical engineer Adam Koeppel as an offshoot of the popular MAKE Magazine. According to the website, the group aims to “inspire and organize the Washington, DC community of makers for greater collaboration and learning.” From tonight’s meeting, it seems they’re well on their way.

I went into the meeting not having used a soldering iron since shop class in middle school, and through some expert assistance and liberal borrowing of tools, I was able to build one of the $20 DC Motor Driver Board designed by one of the group members. (If you’re not sure what a DC Motor Driver Board is, fear not, I wasn’t entirely sure either. But in future meetings, we’ll be using them to control motors, build small robots, and do other neat things with them.) If you’d like to find out more, visit the group’s website at The next meeting is June 19, and other activities are advertised on the website.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

A decade ago, Ben Stanfield found himself at the intersection of politics and technology as he wandered nomadically around the country managing congressional races. But when he moved to DC 6 years ago, he found that the intersection had become, in the grand tradition of L’Enfant, a circle where politics and technology were joined by science, photography and a host of smaller side streets of interest. These days, he works as a Macintosh Server Administrator for a large governmental health institute in Bethesda. In his spare time, he’s an avid photographer, charter member at HacDC, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Columbia Heights Youth Club. In 2005 he founded of Draft Obama, a national grassroots movement to convince Barack Obama to run for President. Everything he writes here speaks for itself and not on behalf of any other group, organization, person, or any of his other personalities.

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