BreakIT is ITU's monthly hands-on workshop series about hacking, electronics, mechanics, alchemy, interface devices and dangerous things. A specific practical project is built every time.
(Nearly) all BreakIT sessions happen at ITU on the first Thursday of the month, afternoon. Meeting point is usually the table in front of the workshop (formerly known as the Rough Lab), 5th floor (5A54). Students and staff are welcome!
Dancing Mepeds V2 (May 5, 2022)
Workshop facilitatated by Paul Rosero (DASYA Lab)
BreakIT makes two mechanical spiders dance to music! Each spider has eight servo motors which are controlled by Arduinos. Please bring your Arduino skills!
Dancing Mepeds V2, May 2022
Analogue animation and 3D devices (Mar 17, 2022)
Workshop facilitatated by Ida Kathrine Hammeleff Jørgensen and Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath (both Games)
BreakIT builds non-digital devices for displaying animation and 3D imagery. The mutoscope, zoetrope and stereoscope were all popular display technologies of the Victorian era that created the illusion of movement or three-dimensional space. In this BreakIT workshop we recreate these pre-cinematic display devices using cardboard, servos and scraps.
Analogue animation and 3D devices, Mar 2022
Paper Plane Launch Mechanisms (Mar 3, 2022)
Workshop facilitatated by Rodrigo Moreno Garcia (REAL Lab)
BreakIT designs and builds contraptions to launch paper airplanes! We use rubber bands, ramps, electric motors or pneumatic accumulators. We experiment with various plane models and measure distances. It's all science!
Paper Plane Launch Mechanisms, Mar 2022
SMD Placing Machine (Feb 10, 2022)
Workshop facilitatated by Andres Faina (REAL Lab)
Do you lack steady hands and cannot place tiny resistors on your printed circuit boards? BreakIT is here to help! During this workshop, we design and build a manual pick and place machine which is able to populate printed circuit boards with SMD (Surface Mount Device) components. We build the machine from off-the-shelf parts such as V-Slot linear guides, linear bearings, a vacuum pump and a bit of magic. Come and help us!
SMD Placing Machine, Feb 2022
Sensorized Slot Cars (Nov 29, 2021)
Workshop prepared and facilitatated by Julian Priest, Sebastian Büttrich (both DASYA Lab) and Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath (Games)
BreakIT explores various ways to sense and track slot cars, and let them see the track - be it visually, magnetically, vibrationally or acoustically. The minimal outcome is an automatic, contact-free, digital lab counter.
Sensorized Slot Cars, Nov 2021
Fixing a Pinball Machine (Nov 4, 2021)
BreakIT fixes, tunes and optimizes a 100% custom-built pinball machine! The pinball machine was donated by HTMAA students and needs some care after a few years of use. We will replace the old rubber bands to repair it, but we will also add some new features: A central pin to prevent the ball going through the flippers, detecting the ball at the ramp, or adding new targets. Bring your ideas!
Fixing a Pinball Machine, Nov 2021
Nixie Tube Clock (Oct 7, 2021)
BreakIT builds a six-digit Nixie Tube clock! Nixie tubes are a vintage display technology from before LED, LCD and pixel displays. A Nixie clock is the one gadget every maker lab aspires to have. BreakIT builds a version with a wifi module to automatically set the time.
Nixie Tube Clock, Oct 2021
Cockpit Controller Part 2 (Oct 1, 2020)
Rune Nielsen, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
In the first workshop BreakIT already built a cockpit with a 5.1 sound system and a genuine leather BMW seat. This time, we add a shifter stand and paint everything. Then we can mount the metal H-pattern stick shifter, the force-feedback wheel, and the three metal foot pedals. And test the cockpit with various racing games.
Cockpit Controller Part 2, Oct 2020
Modeling and Milling Toy Cars (Feb 20, 2020)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Andres Faina, Valeria Borsotti
BreakIT builds wooden 1/24 scale toy cars from scratch. We 3D model popular car models such as an El Camino, Charger or Superbee, and mill them from hardwood with the CNC router. Then paint them, and fit scavanged parts such as wheels from construction sets or discarded toys.
Modeling and Milling Toy Cars, Feb 2020
Racing Cockpit (Nov 6, 2019)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Rune Nielsen
BreakIT builds a robust racing cockpit game controller with a force-feedback steering wheel, three pedals, a shifter, a genuine leather car seat, a 5.1 audio system, and a screen. A wooden frame is constructed from scratch.
Racing Cockpit, Nov 2019
Toy Robots (Oct 11, 2019)
BreakIT builds robots from broken toys, and fit them with little electric motors. There are prizes for the best builds. We provide some toys and parts to work with, and participants can also bring their own. The workshop happens at the ITU Culture Night.
Hacking Toys (Sep 12, 2019)
Valeria Borsotti, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
BreakIT hacks toys and transforms them into something new! We'll experiment with fitting toys with LED lights, dissecting them and re-combining them, fixing them, and playing with their motors and sound modules. We use craft tools + materials as well as digital maker tools. No prerequisites in sewing or electronics required. Bring your own toys or use our selection.
Hacking Toys, Sep 2019
GPU Rig Design (Jun 6, 2019)
Sebastian Büttrich, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
BreakIT designs a rig for PITLab's GPU test setup (a motherboard with several GPUs), combining 3D-printed and lasercut custom-designed parts for a tool-free assembly.
GPU Rig Design, Jun 2019
Insect Hotels/Observatories (Mar 21, 2019)
Laura Beloff, Sisse Finken, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
The loss of biodiversity in insects is causing a negative spiral through a chain-reaction within ecosystems. BreakIT investigates how to improve the living conditions for insects in our everyday environments. In this session, participants construct insect hotels that offer places for insects to dwell, made of any found material or structures. To gain insight into which dwellings are accepted, the insect hotels are fitted with IP cameras. If available, please bring some construction materials.
Insect Hotels/Observatories, Mar 2019
Toy Robot Battle (Oct 12, 2018)
We build battle robots from broken toys, with little electro motors. There will be a tournament and prizes for the best competitive and best visual performances. We provide some toys and parts to work with, but participants can also bring their own. The workshop happens at the ITU Culture Night 2018.
The Viking Game (Oct 4, 2018)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Torill Mortensen
We build or our own, carved and painted set of kubb pieces, and play it! We have everything: Wood, carving knives and tools, paint, brushes made from wild animals, ships, horns and torches. The workshop is a cross-over event with the Games Programme's Explorative Play Meet.
The Viking Game, Oct 2018
Amiga Retro Gaming (Sep 26, 2018)
Morten Nobel-Jørgensen, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We get our old Amiga 500 going, swap the disk drive for a USB stick reader, install a flux capacitor, and play some classic games with a pair of genuine and era-correct Competition Pro joysticks.
Amiga Retro Gaming, Sep 2018
A Multi-User Synthesizer (Sep 6, 2018)
We use Max7 (Max/MSP) to code a synthesizer, and work with laser-cutting and electronics to make a physical enclosure and interface for the instrument. If you want to hack something into a controller, bring it along too. All are welcome, no prior knowledge necessary, but if you can saw, sew, solder or sing it will be an advantage.
A Multi-User Synthesizer, Sep 2018
Hacking PC Drives for Writing Amiga Disk Images (May 17, 2018)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Morten Nobel-Jørgensen
Classic Amiga games are often stored and exchanged as disk image files (ADFs) today, to be used with (software) emulators. But these files cannot be used with the genuine hardware. We modify a PC 3.5" disk drive to write ADFs to disks. Then we test if things work with an authentic Amiga 500! Vintage, era-correct joysticks are provided.
Hacking PC Drives for Writing Amiga Disk Images, May 2018
Extra: Hacking WiFi Locks (March 15, 2018)
Sebastian Büttrich, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We fit a suitcase with a WiFi-operated lock, which is to be used during a demo on ITU's upcoming Forskningens Døgn. Our guests (including the Minister for Higher Education & Science and maybe a guest from the Royal House) will try to hack the suitcase. This is an extra BreakIT workshop, powered by the Communications Department.
Hacking WiFi Locks, Mar 2018
Winding Wonder Pickups (Dec 7, 2017)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Sebastian Büttrich
For the final BreakIT session this semester, we are going to wind more guitar pickups using the very latest version of our Wonder Winder. We have all the necessary parts and materials. Participants can also bring their own (e.g. broken) pickups (for repair or rewinding).
Winding Wonder Pickups, Dec 2017
Arduino Workshop (Nov 1, 2017)
Sebastian Büttrich, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Rosemary Lee
Get an introduction to *Arduino*, building simple and fun first projects, or bring your own more advanced projects to work on. We walk you through the basics and also give time for free experimentation. No experience necessary. No equipment necessary: Kits are provided.
Arduino Workshop, Nov 2017
Preparing Culture Night Exhibits (Oct 5, 2017)
Sebastian Büttrich, Ben Cahill, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
ITU's Labs show what they have planned for Culture Night. We discuss logistics and potential attractions. This is also an open call for (high-quality, fully-functional) student projects for Culture Night. We also build a new version of the Kelvin Water Dropper.
Preparing Culture Night Exhibits, Oct 2017
Kelvin Water Dropper (Aug 31, 2017)
The Kelvin Water Dropper (1867) is one of the most fascinating experiments in the history of science - it generates power and creates sparks (high voltage!) out of nothing but the falling of water drops. The explanation is not easy - even Lord Kelvin himself might have been wrong. We are going to build a modern version, complete with sensors, webcam and social media stream!
Kelvin Water Dropper, Aug 2017
Museum Projection Displays (Apr 6, 2017)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Nanna Holdgaard
In this session we build a prototype and experiment to integrate information projection and material artefact in a museum setting. We use a projector with the Pepper's ghost technique. The session is motivated by the observation that screens are regularly seen as intrusive elements that disrupt exhibition spaces. With modern technology, information display can be integrated rather than collide with the artefacts on display. One method to integrate display and artefact is to have the projection float in mid-air over the artefact. The projection can be text, or photos, or even animation.
Museum Projection Displays, Apr 2017
Pickup Winding (Mar 2, 2017)
Sebastian Büttrich, Ben Cahill, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build custom humbucker pickups from scratch with our revised and perfected Wonder Pickup Winder! The pickups can be immediately tested and compared, we have a guitar and amp on site. Please bring parts, e.g. old or defunct pickups, if you have. New parts (wire, magnets, bobbins, covers, etc.) are available at cost price or can be manufactured (e.g. 3D printed).
Pickup Winding, Mar 2017
Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips (Feb 2 and 9, 2017)
BreakIT kicks off the new season with a special two-part workshop on building noise-makers and synthesizers with digital logic chips. No prior knowledge is required, all are welcome, and there will be biscuits.
In the first part, we will assemble tabletop amplifiers so that we can hear what we are doing later when we start making noise. We will design and build enclosures, make front panels, do some basic soldering and perhaps do some painting/Plexi-bending/sewing. The goal is to make several battery/PSU-powered stereo amplifier with speakers built into a small enclosure.
In the second part, we will look at a few types of CMOS (digital logic) chips and how we can use them to make synthesizer elements with a handful of extra components. We will look at various types of input devices, and experiment with circuits on breadboards. If we have time, we will look at expanding our creations with; sequencing, noise, envelope shaping, filtering and novel interactions. If you want to bring something to hack for the controls and/or enclosure (e.g. a calculator, radio, toy, microwave oven, etc.) please do so.
We have a variety of wood, plastics, components etc. in the lab that are free to use.
Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips, Feb 2017
Printing Fabric (Dec 1, 2016)
Make a tshirt with your design or print on any type of textile with either regular fabric ink or conductive ink. We will have some second hand tees to play with, or just bring your own. Techniques used can vary from stencils made with old school x-acto knives and sticker paper, laser-cut stencils, hand-cut vinyl stamps. Embroidery with conductive thread is definitely an option too!
Printing Fabric, Dec 2016
Winding Guitar Pickups (Nov 10, 2016)
Sebastian Büttrich, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build custom humbuckers from scratch, using our Arduino-based home-made wonder winding machine! The pickups can be immediately tested, we have a guitar and amp on location. Please bring parts, e.g. old or defunct pickups, if you have. We have new parts (wire, magnets, bobbins, covers, etc.) available at cost price.
Winding Guitar Pickups, Nov 2016
Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2016 Pre-Meet and Workshop (Sep 15 and 22, 2016)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Martin Pichlmair
The jam (altctrlgamejam.com) is about being creative with the controls of your game. So get out the duct tape, soldering iron, a development board, or any interesting hardware, and make the ultimate controller for your game.
BreakIT kicks off the jam with a session featuring an opening keynote, helping with group forming and showing you ITU's labs and tools. In the workshop a week later we can try, critique, and collaborate on each other's projects.
Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2016 Pre-Meet and Workshop, Sep 2016
Slotcars - Race Day (May 6, 2016)
We build slotcars! We have a four-lane racing track, but not enough cars. So, of course, we build them. That means probably to lasercut them, because 3D printing takes too much time. By the end of the day, we should be able to have some races with our own cars. Please bring computers with software such as Illustrator and Corel Draw, if you have, to prepare files for the cutter.
Slotcars - Race Day, May 2016
Building Audio/Guitar Pedals (Apr 7, 2016)
Cameline Bolbroe, Sebastian Büttrich and Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build different kinds of audio effect pedals such as looping, fuzz and distortion. We have several designs prepared to be built and experimented with. Participants can also bring their own designs and components. Please bring a robust case if you have one.
Building Audio/Guitar Pedals, Apr 2016
Building Geiger Counters (Mar 11, 2016)
Erich Berger, Simon Gjerløv-Christensen
We build four Geiger counters. If there are more participants, people can collaborate. We use the PCBs we made in the etching workshop last week. But we have also some boards prepared for participants who haven't done the etching.
Building Geiger Counters, Mar 2016
Etching PCB Boards (Mar 4, 2016)
Erich Berger, Simon Gjerløv-Christensen, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We etch our own PCB boards. Mainly for building Geiger counters (next
workshop). But anybody can come to etch a board for their own project,
or just to learn how it is done.
Etching PCB Boards, Mar 2016
3D Printing Headphones (Dec 3, 2015)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Hugo Mulder
In the December Special BreakIT session we aim to build headphones. Not those tiny in-ear plugs, but decent sized over-ear headphones. We will use some pre-made components such as plugs, cables and speakers, and 3D print, bend wood and assemble everything to provide you with the best imaginable Christmas gift. Please bring parts if you have them.
3D Printing Headphones, Dec 2015
Building Slot Cars - Roll Out (Nov 5, 2015)
We build (3D print and/or lasercut) slot cars, and race them on a 4-track circuit. As you know, we have the 1/43 track, controllers, 6V power supplies, four motors, a 3mm axle and four rather large (25mm outer diameter) rubber wheels. Everything else will need to be manufactured! Jonas Jørgensen helps us with the 3D printing!
Building Slot Cars - Roll Out, Nov 2015
Building Crazy Controllers for Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2015 (Sep 11 and 18, 2015)
Anne Clausen, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Martin Pichlmair
BreakIT hosts a workshop for the Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2015
(altctrlgamejam.com). The jam is about being creative with the game controls. Most developers are limiting themselves to the most standard and common controls: Keyboard, mouse and gamepad. The aim of the jam is to experiment away from these standard boundaries. We have a lab featuring a laser cutter, 3D printers and other weird machines. Please bring your own parts to build your projects. We have some joystick and electronic parts available for experimentation. You can of course also build stuff independent of the game jam.
Building Crazy Controllers, Sep 2015
Building Arcade Joysticks (Jun 4, 2015)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Martin Pichlmair
In the upcoming BreakIT workshop we'll be building *arcade joysticks*! We have a bunch of high-grade buttons, sticks and USB controllers and will assemble these, plus design and lasercut nice boxes. Participants can either help us or bring their own parts and build their own arcade/interface projects. This is the BreakIT Summer special semester end session.
Building arcade joysticks, Jun 2015
Introduction to Physical Computing (May 7, 2015)
Have your digital game interact with the real world! BreakIT features an introduction to Arduino. We connect buttons, LEDs and sensors (temperature, pressure, light etc.) to Arduino boards and interact with them using the Arduino language or Processing (Unity can also interface with Arduino, but we don't cover this at this point). Arduino boards can be used on their own or as interface devices to connect your custom-build game interfaces to your game or installation. No previous knowledge in anything is required, and we have the hardware. You can also bring your specific idea to work on it.
Introduction to Physical Computing, May 2015
Hacking a Parking Meter (Apr 9, 2015)
In March, BreakIT was invited by the Kommune to an event to pitch ideas how to hack parking meters. Our idea was accepted and we got a machine to hack into a participatory Public Musical Instrument in six weeks. There's a lot to do, and we could use some help. It's still early in the process, and we will be more specific, but presumably we'll need a sensor interface, Arduino code and a (Processing?) frontend that plays audio. If it works well the hack will go unto the streets!
Hacking a parking meter, Apr 2015
Hacking the City's Parking Meters (Mar 12, 2015)
BreakIT is invited by the Kommune to participate in hacking parking vending machines in March and April. The hack will run for 6 weeks with a kickoff Thursday March 12th and a presentation April 24th. The hack will be a combination of a traditional hack-a-thon and start-up-weekend: Because there is only a limited number of machines available, participants pitch their ideas and form groups at the kickoff. Existing collectives, labs, hack-spaces etc. are welcome to participate as groups but should be open for new playmates. Info
Hacking the City's parking meters, Mar 2015
Field Trip to Santa's Workshop (Dec 4, 2014)
We go and help Santa make presents for people who otherwise would not have any for Christmas. Funnily enough, Santa's workshop is located at the 4th floor of Valby Kulturhus. They have a 3D printer and a lasercutter we can use, we only need to bring some ideas what to make (e.g. games, toys or models). We have been invited not by Santa but by the people running the place. Cookies and chocolate and liquorice are also welcome!
Santa's workshop, Dec 2014
(Un-) Folding and Parametric Design – Building Prototypes with FabLab-Technologies (Nov 13, 2014)
A worktalk by Bernard Robben
The new forms of postindustrial digital craftsmanship imply more than the renaissance of the traditional hand-making with high-tech machines. Typical for digital fabrication is the transformation from different representations of an object into another representation. And there are endless variations. Digital design has to focus more on the process than on the object which underlies continuous variations. Open-endedness and interactivity are inherent in the notion of digital variability. In addition an open design movement evolved following the open source example. The talk will discuss the potential of FabLab-technologies with a focus on education.
The aim of the workshop is to create a parametric design artefact through laser-cutting.
(Un-) Folding and parametric design, Nov 2014
Building Pong (Oct 2, 2014)
In the workshop, participants are invited to program (code), design (interaction, graphics, sounds), construct (electronics) and laser cut (cabinet) a Pong machine. It can be a reconstruction of the classic Pong arcade machine, or it can be more quirky.
The workshop is quite special: It is a joint session of the participants of the October BreakIT session and participants of the Swedish Design PhD School.
Building Pong, Oct 2014
Building Microscopes from Webcams (Aug 14-15, 2014)
Erich Berger, hosted by Laura Beloff and Kasper Støy
Microscopes from webcams, Aug 2014
Flying Things on Strings (June 13, 2014)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Emilie Møllenbach, Cameline Bolbroe
We build contraptions that fly by (electrical) propeller power and are tethered by strings. We anticipate three possible realisations: Putting a fan on top of something and lifting it up ('chopper model'), putting a stationary fan under something and pushing it up ('surf model') and putting a propeller on a plane on a string which then circles around a center point ('dog model'). We are open and hope for other interpretations and realisations.
More Flying Things workshops
Flying things on strings, Jun 2014
Analog Mini Synths from Scratch (May 1, 2014)
Edit Emese Vizer
Participants design unique analog synthesizers from scratch. We explore principles of sound and experiment with simple, yet powerful battery-powered circuits. If time allows we experiment with paper-based sensors.
Analog mini synths, May 2014
Cigar Box Guitars (Apr 3, 2014)
We build *electric cigar box guitars*! To build one, please bring a piece of *hardwood* for the neck (c. 75x3x3cm), a (preferably large) cigar box (or similar), three or four guitar/banjo/ukulele tuners, nylon or light steel strings, (fret) wire; we have mics/speakers to be repurposed as pickups. We also have a few complete kits available.
Cigar box guitars, Apr 2014
Keyboard Hacks (Mar 6, 2014)
The first project is a *keyboard hack*, which can be used as a custom interface for e.g. games. It is easy to integrate with various projects because the software sees only keystrokes.
Keyboard hacks, Mar 2014
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath et al. BreakIT. Workshop series. ITU, Copenhagen, DK, ongoing (since Mar 2014).