Computer Lab

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Each computer has USB ports on the front and back panels.  Most are
Each computer has USB ports on the front and back panels.  Most are
USB 2.0 (red connectors), but two on the back panel are USB 3.0 (blue
USB 2.0 (red connectors), but two on the back panel are USB 3.0 (blue
connectors).  USB 3.0 is much faster than USB 2.0 and can provide more
peripheral power per port, and is a good choice for flash drives, DVD
drives, and portable disks.  However, USB 3.0 support is relatively
new industrywide, and not every USB peripheral works correctly with
USB 3.0 drivers, so if you're having puzzling or flaky results, try
it with a USB 2.0 port and see if things work correctly then.
If you're using these computers for hardware development, please be
If you're using these computers for hardware development, please be

Revision as of 13:27, 24 March 2016

If you rearrange the room please return the room to the default configuration (see general rules below) for teaching (3 rows of desks).

We have a computer lab in the Multipurpose Room, consisting of ten identical computers in roll-around desks available for use by instructors, their students, and our members.

If you need to talk to us about particular CPUs, their names are the ten metallic elements from 24 to 33 in the periodic table: chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, gallium, germanium, and arsenic (Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As). Each CPU is labeled on the front with its name.


General rules

Your use of these computers means that you also agree to these policies at a minimum:

Special notes for instructors

If you are an instructor teaching a new class, please see below about installing software--you can't install things yourself, and you must plan far enough ahead that we have time to schedule the installation in advance. Don't wait until the last minute.

If the students in your class might be using their own computers, please see below on how (and how not) to tell your students about our wireless network passphrase.

Finally, if we've installed software for you in the past, and you're repeating your class but it's been a while since it was last taught, please check with us to make sure that the software is still there and still works. We may occasionally upgrade operating systems--which could cause things to break--or remove software that hasn't been used in a long time to save space. It's wise to check as far in advance as possible to make sure your software is still there, still works, and isn't slated for deletion.


Each CPU consists of a quad-core 64-bit AMD 4100FX, in a Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 motherboard, with 8GB DDR3 RAM, and an nVidia GT216GL (Quadro 400) graphics card. The motherboard will accomodate up to 32GB of RAM, if that turns out to be necessary. Each machine also has 160GB of disk, shared across various partitions and operating systems.

Each computer has USB ports on the front and back panels. Most are USB 2.0 (red connectors), but two on the back panel are USB 3.0 (blue connectors).

If you're using these computers for hardware development, please be careful. If you're rolling your own USB hardware and there's any chance of miswiring your USB connectors or having unusual voltages on them, use a USB hub between your device and the computers! Replacing a blown USB hub is much easier and cheaper than replacing a motherboard, especially since the short market lifetime of motherboards means we'll probably have to buy a different type and deal with odd-man-out sorts of issues from then on.

The only sort of hardware development we support on these machines involves well-behaved USB devices, and you should see here and here for other rules involving disconnecting cables, and non-USB hardware, respectively. Even better, please use a different computer instead; ask us if you need a more-expendable test target.

Storing files

In general, do not assume anything you leave on the machine will survive.

If you need to store files, you have two choices:

  • Use your own local storage, such as a flash drive or USB external disk.
  • Use our public file share, which is available to all members over the network.

Installed software

This section documents the software currently installed on the machines. If you'd like something installed, please email it[at]artisansasylum[dot]com


We have Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit installed. The packages below are what we've installed on all machines that aren't there by default out of the box.

Audio/Video/DJing CAD/CAM General Productivity Graphics Other
  • Ableton Live
  • Mixxx 1.11.0-alpha2
  • PureData 0.42.5
  • ASIO4ALL 2.10 [low-latency audio driver]
  • Electrical
    • PCB design & schematic capture
      • FreePCB
      • TinyCAD
    • Hardware programmers and IDEs
      • Arduino 1.0
      • Cypress PSOC (Creator, Designer, and Programmer)
      • Fritzing
      • MATLAB (Image Processing Toolbox, Computer Vision System Toolbox, Control System Toolbox, Instrument Control Toolbox)
      • Simulink (Stateflow, Simulink Control Design, System Identification Toolbox)
  • Mechanical
    • AutoDesk 123D
    • Autodesk 123D Make
    • BigBlueSaw DXF exporter for Inkscape [gets units right]
    • Blender 2.63a
    • CamBam beta 0.8.2
    • CNCSimulator
    • DraftSight
    • HSMworks
    • SolidWorks Premium 2016
    • ShopBot 3 Control Simulation (Chromium only)
    • VCarve Pro ShopBot Edition 7.5 (Chromium only)
    • PartWorks 3D for ShopBot (Chromium only)
  • BullZip PDF Creator
  • Firefox
  • LibreOffice
  • Inkscape
  • Cygwin 1.7.16-1
  • Processing
  • Wacom tablet driver 6.3.2-3

In addition, the packages below are installed on a subset of the machines. Typically, this is done for very large installations that will only be used by one or two people at a time; doing this saves a lot of work and allows us to distribute packages so we don't run out of disk space in the Windows partition. The computers on which the packages are installed are in brackets.

  • XPlane 10 [Cr]
  • Skannect and OpenNI for 3D Scanning [Ni]

Installing software

If you're asking for an installation, please include the following information:

  • Which operating system you'd like the software installed on (Windows, Linux, both?)
  • How to find the software. (A URL going to the precise version you'd like is best, though for Ubuntu package installs, just naming the package is fine.)
  • Whether the software will be talking to any hardware, and if so, what.
  • Your deadline. More warning is always better.
  • Whether this is limited-time trial software, and, if so:
    • Its timing constraints
    • Your class size (in case we only want to install it on one or two seats)
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