Columbia Gadget Works Hack the Planet Wed, 28 Sep 2016 04:26:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 We Had a Great Time at Makerfaire Milwaukee Wed, 28 Sep 2016 04:14:25 +0000 Continue reading

Makerfaire visitors look at the various member projects CGW brought for display.

This past weekend, two of our members made the trip all the way to Wisconsin to represent Columbia Gadget Works at Makerfaire Milwaukee. The projects they brought captured the interest of many faire-goers, and our members learned a great deal meeting with several makerspaces in the area.

Special thanks to David, Ahndhi, and Dan for sending along their projects for showcase. You can see our video about David’s foundry below, and look forward Ahndhi’s musical instruments in the next Project Spotlight.

What’s Up with CGW: June 2016 Edition Thu, 02 Jun 2016 04:05:25 +0000 Continue reading

May was a chaotic month for CGW and Columbia. June, however, is the true start of summer. We have some exciting events coming up, along with new ways for you to connect to Gadget Works and get things done at the space.

Creative Spaces Grand Opening

Creative Spaces, the maker-friendly building CGW currently resides in, will be hosting a party to showcase some of the businesses along with our organization. There will be food, drink, music, and, of course, lots of hacking going on. It’s a prime time to come see the space if you haven’t had the chance.

When: Thursday, June 16 at 5:30 PM – 7 PM
Where: 1404 Grand Ave, Columbia, MO
More info: Facebook Event

CGW T-Shirt Design


Columbia Gadget Works is making its first-ever run of t-shirts thanks to help from The Geek Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The shirts, featuring our gear logo printed in long-lasting vinyl, are available to order for $15 until June 9th. If you are interested in getting one, go fill out the order form!

Foamboard Airplane Building Class

Radio-controlled aircraft builders have been using foamboard as a cheap and sturdy building material for years. Recently, many designs have been made available online enabling anyone to build some truly amazing planes. For this class, one of our members, Luc, will share his experience working with foamboard and guide participants through the build of a small glider. The class will take place on Saturday, June 25th, from 2:00-4:00pm. Watch out for more details to come later this month.

New CGW Tools

New Tools at CGW

Gadget Works has acquired two tools on long term loan for use by our members: a Solidoodle 3D Printer and a 40W Laser Cutter. The Solidoodle has a 6x6x6-inch build platform and is already setup and ready-to-use with our in-house Linux workstation. The laser cutter has roughly an 8×12-inch work area and needs a little more work before it is ready for general use by members. However, you can look forward to classes on the safety and basic use of the cutter later this summer.

Light to Work By

Finally, in an effort to brighten up our members’ lives just that much more, we’ve added new work lights to our workbenches. These, along with a pair of new whiteboards in the lab, should make working on projects just that much easier.

What’s Up with CGW: April 2016 Edition Fri, 01 Apr 2016 20:15:46 +0000 Continue reading

It’s springtime (though you might hardly believe it some days), and Gadget Works has some exciting events coming up. Some ongoing projects will be getting their start, and we’ll be attending events in the community, making April a great time to meet some CGW folk and see what we’re about.

STEAM Carnival

Columbia Gadget Works is excited to part of the Columbia, MO STEAM Carnival at Battle High School on Saturday, April 9th, from 3 to 5 pm. Come meet us at our booth alongside other local groups to celebrate what we can do in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. We’ll have some demonstrations of cool technologies, a showcase of our cardboard battle bots, and even exhibition matches in the Chamber of Robotic Aggression.

Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition

CGW has taken part in competitions before, but this could be our most ambitious attempt. The Sparkfun AVC is a fun and open competition for makers and robot enthusiasts from all over the world. The 2016 event will be September 17th at the Sparkfun Headquarters in Niwot, CO and it includes some fun new classes for vehicles.

We hope for field more than one entry in our first year, so we will be starting this month to give ourselves plenty of design and build time. As with all our competitive teams, this will be open to CGW members and guests at multiple skill levels. This month, we will designate one of our Open Hack Nights to go over the rules and classes for anyone interested in participating. If that sounds like you, watch for more announcements or contact us to get more information.

Creative Spaces LLC Open House

Creative Spaces LLC, the maker-friendly building CGW currently resides in, will be holding an open house to showcase some of the creative businesses and organizations local to Columbia, MO. The event will be at the 1404 Grand Ave space and is tentatively scheduled for April 21st.

Game Nights

Starting April 8th at 7 pm, Friday nights will be game nights at Columbia Gadget Works. Relax with other members at the end of your week by playing some fun tabletop games. Lately, we’ve been interested in Firefly, Fluxx, and Exploding Kittens, but we’re always open to learning something new. Game Nights will be open to the public until the end of May.

The New Space is Almost Complete Mon, 08 Feb 2016 03:50:42 +0000 Continue reading

We’ve made tons of progress over the past couple months.

And I’m happy to say that, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our members, we now have a viable new hackerspace to build and learn in.


Of course, we’re not entirely done (will we ever be?). Our to-do list still includes building custom workbenches to put inside our lab, setting up the shop area for larger tools, and tying up various loose ends after the move. But our accomplishments thus far are worth celebrating, and we’d like break in the new CGW with a little get-together. So we’re inviting anyone who has ever been interested in CGW to a Hackerspace Warming Party on the evening of February 21st.

Come out to see everything that Gadget Works has to offer. There will be socializing, food, and random acts of hacking along with demonstrations of 3D printing and lifecasting.

The CGW Hackerspace Warming Party

Sunday, Feb 21st 3:00-7:00pm

Welcome to the New Building Tue, 05 Jan 2016 23:27:42 +0000 Continue reading


Check out our latest video introducing you to our new home. Located at 1404 Grand Avenue, we’re conveniently located just north of Downtown Columbia.

We’re on the Move! Fri, 20 Nov 2015 18:23:52 +0000 Continue reading

Columbia Gadget Works is proud to announce that we’re moving spaces! By the end of the month, we will have all of our belongings over in our new shop at 1404 Grand Ave.

The building has been divided up into sections, and CGW has our very own office and shop space. The office space is still coming together and our members are still working on getting the finishing touches taken care of, but we’re all very excited and looking forward to seeing what we’ll all be able to build here.

With Thanksgiving next week, we won’t be having our regularly scheduled Open Hack Night again until Thursday, December 3rd, where we will be meeting at our new space! Come on out at 7pm.


Here’s a shot of a couple members working on the walls for our new space.

CGW Space Wall Build

Open House and Cardboard Robot Fighting Recap Thu, 24 Sep 2015 03:15:05 +0000 Continue reading


Thank you to everyone who came out last weekend for CGW’s first open house. We hope you had a great time and learned just a little more about hacking, making, and building.

We also hope that everyone had fun at the first ever (as far as we know, still) cardboard robot fighting tournament! In case you are interested, here is the complete tournament bracket. Be sure to check out the recap video, which has every fight in the competition, and the winning bot’s build video to see what kind of hackery goes into cardboard robots.

Excellent job to all of our competitors, who worked hard to build their incredible cardboard contraptions:

  • Sneaky Wild – David
  • Spinny Thing – Luc
  • ‘ OR 1=1 — – Matt
  • Cheesebot – Ryan
  • Paper Machete – Zach

And huge thanks to our judges, Brad and Trevon, and our timekeeper, Cassie, who gave up a Saturday afternoon to make the whole competition work.

We plan on hosting more cardboard robot fights, so you still have a chance to build your own bot and compete. Keep watching our Twitter, Facebook, and this site for more details. In the meantime, see our combat robot wiki page for competitions rules and more information about building a cardboard combat robot.

The CGW Cardboard Robot Fighting Championship Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:58:45 +0000 Continue reading


We are pleased to announce that CGW will be hosting the first-ever (as far as we can tell) cardboard robot combat tournament right here in mid-Missouri. The rules are finalized, the date is set, and the battle arena is being built. All we need is robots to fight and builders to make those bots.

That’s where you come in. If you’ve ever been interested in robot fighting, this is your chance to get started. Go to the official website and sign up as a builder. The more bots that sign up, the more exciting the battles will be, and the more fun we’ll all have.

Not sure how to get started? Have questions about what’s legal? Check out our Google Group for discussion about the tournament and please feel free to hit us up for more info.

The fights will be held Saturday, September 19th at the Columbia Gadget Works hackerspace. Be sure to check back here for more info, including some events to help builders get started on their first bot.

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Cardboard Robot Fighting Fri, 17 Jul 2015 16:50:22 +0000 Continue reading

As you might have heard around the shop, we’ve been itching for some robot combat here at CGW. Unfortunately, we don’t want to spend too much money on vehicles that will (hopefully) be destroyed in spectacular fashion. That’s why we’ve come up with a plan to reduce costs by requiring that our robots are built mostly of our cardboard.

Yes, cardboard. Our favorite building material.

Sound interesting? We’ll be posting more information as it comes, but in the meantime you can check out the proposed rules on our wiki and discuss your ideas on the Google Group. The competition won’t be until at least the end of August, but there is no better time to start than the present. We want to hear your thoughts and opinions, and some of our members are even working on prototypes already.

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Global Space Balloon Challenge Mon, 09 Feb 2015 20:49:53 +0000 Continue reading


For some time, members have talked about launching a CGW high-altitude balloon, but we never get around to it. In order to light a fire under our collective butt, I have entered us as a team in the Global Space Balloon Challenge.

There are surprisingly few regulations for us to follow for the challenge. Most importantly, we have to launch our balloon (or balloons) between April 10th and 27th, 2015. That gives us right around two months to prepare. The design and build process will involve work in many different fields, including:

Mechanical Design of the capsule to survive the harsh environment of near-space and of a return mechanism to keep everything together during ground/capsule interaction.

Electronics for the tracking system, photography, and any scientific experiments we want to send to the edge of the atmosphere.

Lighter-Than-Air Aeronautics that will let us use helium or hydrogen to send our balloon into the sky.

Weather Analysis and Prediction to make sure that we launch at a safe time and have some idea where our capsule is going to end up.

If that sounds like fun to you, sign up on the CGW DragonTwo team page. We will have an introductory/strategy meeting on Tuesday, February 10th at 7:00pm in the hackerspace. Afterwards, the GSBC team will have weekly build meetings on Tuesdays at 7:00pm, with weekend build meetings if appropriate.

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