Columbia Gadget Works Hack the Planet Fri, 20 Nov 2015 18:23:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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

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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.

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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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FIRST Robotics Team Visit Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:48:40 +0000 Continue reading


At a recent Open Hack Night, we got a visit from Columbia’s FIRST Robotics Team 3792, aka Army Ants Robotics. This high school team, made up of students from across the area, builds and operates robots for the St. Louis Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. They were kind enough to let us poke and prod at last year’s entry and even gave us a demonstration of their ability. The 2015 competition is coming up fast, so if you are interested in robotics and are in the proper age range, be sure you check out their web site and get in contact with the Army Ants.

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2014 CGW Activity Survey Fri, 17 Oct 2014 04:35:13 +0000 Continue reading

We want data!
From you!
For you!

In order for us to make informed choices about what events to host, we need you to fill out the survey below so we will know what you want.

You do not have to be a paying member to fill out this survey. If you have any interest at all in hacking with us, I implore you to submit a response. The results are completely anonymous, you won’t have to log into anything, and the 5 questions should take you less than 5 minutes to complete.

Please feel free to forward this link to anyone that might enjoy our unique style of hackery.

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This is the first aerial footage from my… Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:48:15 +0000 Continue reading

This is the first aerial footage from my tricopter that I recently took to the Bahamas.

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CGW Wiki Mon, 18 Nov 2013 03:56:29 +0000 Continue reading

We’ve rolled out a new wiki. It can be found by clicking the the “Wiki” link in the navigation bar. The wiki is new and needs and be filled. Please contact an officer and start filling it.

If your new to CGW come check out one of our weekly meetings and say hello. Details can be found at the Meetup page.

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The arc lamp works!! Wed, 29 May 2013 20:10:50 +0000 Continue reading


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