All posts by Rodrigo Bismonte

Did ya know?[Future Edition] – Another EAGLE Workshop!

Hey everyone, did you know that last semester, a handful of our M5 makers designed their own circuits, then proceeded to get them manufactured? Well now you do.

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But don’t feel like you missed it, because we’re offering the EAGLE workshop again! This coming Saturday from 12:00 to 3:00, Sean and I will be heading the workshop, where you’ll learn about what it takes to go from schematic to a shiny green (or red) printed circuit board. The main backbone for this process is EAGLE (Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor), a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program, which you will learn about in the workshop if you sign up today! Expect an email from Sean with more details, or if you just can’t wait to sign up, email him at smklaiber (at)

On another note, today is Heinrich Rudolf Hertz’s birthday! Happy Birthday Mr. Hertz!


Did ya know? – PCB Etching Tank

Hey everyone, did you know that we recently acquired a PCB etching tank? Well now you do.

Brian Huppi, (CE’93/EE’98) has donated his WaveMaster II—a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) etching tank that will greatly decrease the time it takes to make our own homemade PCBs. It works by heating up the etching solution in the bottom of the tank, and then propelling it to the PCB’s sitting on the top layer using two pumps. Josh Lowe (EE’12) is going to be heading and supervising its use (as soon as it is all set up) and will be your go-to guy for using this awesome tool. For more information, you can contact him at jdlowe (at)

-Rodrigo Bismonte



Did ya know? – Audio Engineering Club

Hey everyone, did you know that every Friday afternoon, several students meet in the M5 Studio to learn about audio? Well now you do.

Chris Garry (CSE’13) leads the M5 Audio Engineering club, and they learn everything they can about audio–from creation to production. So far, Chris has taught the basics of audio production in FL Studio as well as recording and editing audio tracks in Logic 9. The club meets every Friday, from 4:30 to ‘whenever‘ (and that’s quoted from Chris himself). So, if you’re inclined to learn more about the recording process, or learn how to get started in music production, or if you just want to jam (they always need recorded tracks to fiddle around with), then contact Chris Garry at cgarry (at)

-Rodrigo Bismonte

Did ya know? – Saturday Hacker Day Workshops

Hey everyone, did you know that every Saturday afternoon,  M5 is open for you to either make/build/hack/concoct any projects or participate in a workshop? Well now you do.

M5 is open almost every Saturday, from 12:00pm to 3:30pm. During this time, Sean Klaiber (EE’11), Edmar Goncalves (CSE’12), and I (CSE’12) facilitate a workshop on a particular topic. Previous topics that we’ve covered include: EagleCAD, the “Hidden-Sounds Band”, and most recently, the Arduino. The last Saturday, the workshop taught the basics of the awesome prototyping platform Arduino. We covered how to set it up, as well as digital and analog input and output.

But, just because there’s a preset workshop, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing you can do. You can also work on your personal electronics project–and we’re here to help with that too! Just let us know, and we’ll help you make something cool. For more information about the coming workshops, keep an eye out on Sean’s blog posts (it’s usually labeled “The Future”),  or contact him by email: smklaiber (at)

-Rodrigo Bismonte

Did ya know? – M5’s Sealed Concrete Floors

Hey everyone, did you know that this past summer, a huge operation that involved the UMass Physical Plant, some of the M5 staff, and several volunteer ECE students led to the sealing of M5’s concrete floors? Well now you do.

The somewhat dusty floors of M5 has been banished using technology! And all it took was laboriously shuffling the furniture and general stuff between Euler’s Good room (formerly known as the Good Room), the Pi Room (formerly known as the Round Room), and the Shop in order for the crew from the Physical Plant to apply several coats of sealant on the concrete. The greatest effect of this is that the floors are much easier to sweep, and consequently reduced the amount of dust in M5. So enjoy one of M5’s newest features, and help keep M5 clean!



Impomptu Kirby dance on the clean floors:
<( ** )> <(**<) (>**)>  ^( ** )^

Did ya know? – Documentary Nights

Hey everyone, did you know that every Friday night, a few students gather in M5 to watch documentaries? Well now you do.

Haiyan Xu (EE’12) organizes the weekly documentary night (soon to be titled), and everyone’s welcome to attend. Past selections have included Zeitgeist, Food Inc., Death of the Electric Car, and most recently, we watched Planet Earth: Fresh Water. Following each showing, the group discusses the issues mentioned in the film. Anything is free game, from discussing the political reasons that led to the “death” of the electric car, to the “cute” 2-meter long salamanders that gobbled up fish in Japan’s rivers. So come join in the fun and thoughtful discussions. For more information, contact Haiyan by email:  xu (at)


Paint M5 Continues

Date: Monday, October 18, 2010
Time: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: M5 Mural Hallway

Joanna Zannoni, the Brooklyn-based artist who worked with us last semester on the M5 mural in the parts hallway, will be in throughout the day tomorrow starting at 9 AM to guide us as we expand the mural. We hope to see new as well as old… faces come help us paint. Anyone can come, no experience needed! Come make M5 history as we create this work of art!

Although anyone can stop in anytime, if you know you are definitely going to be there we would appreciate it if you would RSVP.

Posted by Melissa Lau

UMass Alum Willard MacDonald of Solmetric at M5

We are very excited to announce that Willard MacDonald will be coming to speak at M5 next Saturday, October 16th at 2:30 PM, right after receiving the College of Engineering 2010 Outstanding Junior Alumni Award.

Mr. MacDonald is the founder, president,… and CEO of Solmetric, a leading company that manufactures sophisticated tools for the solar installation industry. A 1994 alumnus of the EE program here at UMass Amherst, he graduated with Magna cum Laude and went on to complete his M.S. in Computer Science in 1996. Mr. MacDonald has worked as a senior hardware and software design engineer prior to co-founding Solmetric, accumulating 9 years of experience from Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies. He holds no less than nine patents for new technologies in the test and measurement field and helped develop a new line of precision electronic measurements devices, including high bandwidth oscilloscopes, throughout his career.

Currently Solmetric has 27 employees and had revenues of $2.67 million in 2009. Some of their products include the SunEye shade analysis tool for solar site evaluation, and the Solmetric PV Designer software for easy design and simulation of photovoltaic systems, among other innovative technologies and products. For more information visit

This is a rare opportunity to ask questions about high-tech entrepreneurship as well as the solar industry. We hope you can attend this exciting event. Please RSVP by Tuesday at 5:30 PM.

Posted by Melissa Lau