Skip to content

dorkbot.sf – Special 7 Year Anniversary Meeting

Dorkbot is a group that describes themselves as – People doing strange things with electricity. I was lucky enough to be able to go to their 7 year anniversary party that involved obscene amounts of electricity surrounded by geeks that actually knew what they were during so not to get anyone killed.

Event took place in blacksmith’s warehouse, that’s owned by the host – Jon Sarriugarte, who also ran the show. The first thing that you noticed when you arrived were mutated cars:

Image by k0re via Flickr

snail @ dorkbot party

bunny car @ dorkbot party

.. and of course lets not forget the ultimate geek mobile, engineering (debug?) version of Tesla Roadster electrical car:

tesla roadster @ dorkbot

The most interesting aspect of this car, at least to me, is that it’s totally quiet. They’ve moved it from one part of the yard to another and the only thing you could hear was the sound of the tires.

There was also the two 15-feet (4.5m) Tesla Coils, which I somehow managed to forget to take picture of in the day light. Here is one of them in action:

Image by k0re via Flickr

Inside the Kraftworks was even more fun, with food and drinks and the main scene:

Image by k0re via Flickr

Lectures of the night involved a talk about how to build your own electrical car and the pitfalls possible pitfalls, 1928 Hogan Tesla Coil, Mike Winter’s Interrogation by Robot and Omega Recoil – Wireless Transmission. Full announce.

I didn’t understand most of the first talk about electrical cars as they were talking a lot about torques, different voltages and power involved. It will probably make sense once I go out and try and build one of these.

1928 Hogan Tesla Coil is a machine seen on the picture above. The idea was to use electrical shocks to cure people with. Jon managed to find one and beautifully restore and made it work again. At the end of the night, they were also curing people with it on the stage. Jon’s blog post with more pictures and scary user manual.

And yes, it makes sparks:

Image by k0re via Flickr

Interrogation by Robot is an autonomous robot that can question the suspect and assess (with a bit of help of author) how big of a threat the person is. A fun project and another scary insight into how easy people will surrender their liberties to a robot that blinks and yells at them.

Mike Winter - Interrogation by Robot

The last talk coupled with the giant sparks was about transferring energy across the space without using any wires. By using the Tesla Coil, the authors managed to light a small light bulb with wireless electricity over the 30 feet (~10 meters) distance:


The event was really fun with lots of other interesting tidbits and it’s clear that there is a passionate community here that invests a lot of effort into organizing these events.

Make sure to check out great Flickr photo set from k0re with more photos and even a few videos.