Ben Heck Shop Visit

Recently I won a contest on Element14 where I was supposed to receive a hat from Ben Heck’s Ghost Squad episode (satire episode about ghost hunting).  If you don’t know Ben Heck, you should look up some of his videos


Ben Heck is originally known in the hacking/modding community for his portable PS3 and Xbox360 Laptops and custom controllers for disabled players.  He has been contracted by Element14 (part electronic supply company Newark) to make many of these videos.  He is a graphic artist by trade and taught himself electronics.  He does amazing things like portable CNC machines, portable workbenches, portable consoles (portability probably a good theme for him), and other neat things.  He is kind of a hero in the modding/hacking world.


Anyways, I was contacted by Element14 about the contest and I asked if he was going to sign the hat, here is my email

Is Ben signing these at all?  It would be awesome if he did.  I’d even come to pick it up as I make frequent trips to Madison.  I’m an EE and love his work, I’d hang it in my basement lab to give me inspiration to use my powers for good and not as much for corporate greed, except when I need to pay the bills, typically 8-5 daily.

Either way, thanks!


Hoping to appeal to Ben’s sarcastic fun nature.  Well it worked, I was contacted about going to his shop last Tuesday and told I could meet him.


I went to his shop where Ben and Alyson (his camera person/assistant) were finishing up a show.  I stood watching and looking around the lab (probably creepily) at all the awesome stuff there.  Just electronic components everywhere, projects here, projects there, giant CNC machine in the main room.  It was pretty awesome.  After they finished the episode, I got to talk to Ben about electronics and you can definitely tell he is passionate and knows his stuff.  He showed me some things in his shop including his 3D Printer, which I think he might turn into a laser engraver and his homemade pinball machine.  I talked about what I do for work, and he mentioned a future project he might talk to me about.


We talked for about 20 minutes before I had to go, but it was a really awesome experience and definitely motivates me to do more electronic projects on my own (I wasn’t kidding about the hat for motivation).  Here is a picture of it



For anyone interested in hacking/modding check out Hackerspaces.  These are local establishments that teach classes and have equipment to assist any hacking or modding project.

There is a good one right in Madison