empowering creative people

3D Printing and Modelling Workshop - 28/3/2017

On Tuesday the 28th of March we ran another 3D printing workshop down at Core Electronics and it was a resounding success! We had 2 people attend Gary and Tony, both keen to learn more about the process behind 3D printing and boy did we get right into it. Gary was interested in getting into 3D printing as a hobby, fascinated by the idea of being able to create things from scratch, whereas Tony had a keen interest in 3D printed prosthetics and the directions that 3D printing is moved in.

In either case, attending our workshops seemed to be the best way to get the ball rolling, you've got to start somewhere! 

Kicking off with some video's explaining the differences in existing 3D printing technologies, we dived right into Slicing software and how exactly we 'slice' 3D models to be able to print. All the basics were covered and it was time to print! What better model to get some newbies printing than the Rocktopus from Lulzbot?!

the-aha-moment-3d-printing-workshop

My favourite part of the entire workshop was undoubtedly the AHA moment from Gary, when it became apparent that if you have a 3D model of absolutely anything, you will be able to slice it and print it up. And that, is absolutely the best part of what we do here at Core.  

 

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- By Aidan

Turn Your Room Into a 3D Printbed

3D printing is cool. It's fantastic, and I love it. But what's not so great about it are the dimension constraints of most printers. Whilst the Taz 6 and 5 which reside in our printing room have a decent sized bed for a desktop FDM printer, if you're printing something big, chances are you'll need to slice it up into different parts. So Torbjørn Ludvigsen turned his spare room into a print bed for a delta style printer which he built for roughly $250! Check it out:

It's super exciting to see that kind of ingenuity from the community. Projects like this is what the maker community is all about; people building cool stuff, and then showing other people how to do it.

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- By Sam

Arduino Drone Racing Airgate

So today, as I was sitting at my desk, I came across this rather fantastic, but simple build by the circuit.io team. It's an air gate sensor which you can use for drone races, or any form of object detection really. It uses an ultrasonic sensor and some simple logic to determine whether or not an object has passed close to it. If so, then it gives feedback via an RGB LED, informing the pilot that they successfully passed the air gate.

After checking it out, I loved the simplicity of the project, but my mind immediately jumped to the possibility of adding RFID readers to it, and tiny RFID tags to the drones, which would allow the gates to tag the exact drone that passed by it, giving the user all kinds of data such as time between gates, proximity to other drones, and more advanced tracking abilities.

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- By Sam

A real-life Captain America Shield

Ever wanted to make something out of fiction real? Like go above and beyond to make a functioning replica of your favorite superhero gadget? Well, YouTuber, Engineer and all-around inventor, the Hacksmith, took it to the next level with his video series titled Make it Real. All of the projects these guys make are any self-respecting geeks dream, one project in particular being the Captain America Shield.

After altering a leg-guard to protect his arm from the inevitable pain of having a shield smacking into it, they went about attaching 2 decent sized 12 Volt Electromagnets to the guard. Including a small 50A power switch and some hefty lithium batteries, they ran the magnets at 72V to pull a whopping 800kg. Flicking an aluminium shield around like Captain America is now a reality. You can see this awesome project in action below.

You can check out the Hacksmith and more of his awesome projects on his blog.

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- By Aidan

3D Printing and Modelling Workshop - 7/3/2017

Last night we ran our 3D Printing and Modelling workshop down at Core Electronics, and it was great. We had a full house turn up to learn about 3D Printing Technology and some beginner CAD skills. We ran through the basis of FDM technology and then moved onto modelling our own shapes in Fusion 360, exporting our models as STLs and finally printing them on our Lulzbot 3D printers!

3d-printing-workshop-7-3-2017

As you can imagine, there was a bit of a learning curve when it came to working in a 3D environment, with multiple ways of accomplishing the same end goal. Taking a maker's approach to 3D printing, we looked at how easily you could get from an idea to a printable model then investigated the orientation and slicer settings that enable you to get a high-quality print. 

The 3D printing workshop teaches you all the skills you need to be able to come on down to Core Electronics on our Maker Open Day's and use the printers for yourself! If you want more information on any of our Workshops or Maker Days, take a look at the schedule and find something that works for you. If not, go ahead and work your way through them at home with our online courses.

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- By Aidan

Arduino Workshop 2/3/17

Last week we ran another 5pm Arduino workshop, and it was fantastic! Michael, Tim, and Ben came along to start their adventure with Arduino, and we ran through quite a few practical examples of interfacing digital and analogue pins, after our traditional crash course in electronics.

As you might be able to see from my less-than-neat drawings on the whiteboard, not only did we cover how to use Arduino, but we looked at the core concepts behinds electricity and digital electronics, which transformed Arduino from a code by numbers approach, to a solid understanding which the guys took away from the evening.

Arduino workshop 2-3-17

After going through some basics on using the serial monitor and UART interface, a challenge was set, to create multi-pin visual feedback for different data using the serial monitor; a challenge which Michael knocked out of the park!

Arduino workshop 2-3-17 Michael

Our workshops are perfect if you've always been interested in Arduino, but you're not quite sure where to start. 

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- By Sam

Windows 98 On Your Wrist

Some people, build projects to see their city become smarter. Others, to make their lives easier. And some, create fantastic devices simply for the thrills, and that is exactly what Reddit user Lord_of_Bone did with creating his Raspberry Pi powered Windows 98 wrist computer. 

Windows 98 Pi powered wrist computer

Smart watches hold the title for most questionable device as far as necessity goes, but who wouldn't want a little part of nostalgia like this living on their wrist?

Whilst it runs at ant-speed, with extremely low frame rates, the concept of bundling something which was once start-of-the-art, and excessive in size, down to a business card, is truly fascinating.

You can find the process, and documentation on Lord_of_Bone's website.

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- By Sam

Amazon Server Outage Feb '17

Amazon's S3 web-based storage service experienced widespread issues on the 28th of February, crippling or breaking dependent websites, apps and devices. Cited as "High error rates with S3", the event lasted about five hours. S3 refers to the company's Simple Storage Service which is behind countless websites and services like Slack, Quora, and Trello.

According to Amazon, the outage was caused by a failure in AWS' Northern Virginia facility - AWS' oldest server farm.

On the day of the outage, it was reported that AWS up-time was ~99.59% - still under their 99.95% target but it clearly shows that Amazon run a tight ship. This is perhaps a useful reminder for business and IT that move data to cloud services, either as a financial decision or to remain competitive by offering customers cloud services.

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- By Michael

Raspberry Pi Zero Gets WiFi and Bluetooth!

One of the biggest issues with the Raspberry Pi Zero (apart from the difficulty to find any on this side of the globe) is the lack of wireless connectivity. The Pi 3 brought embedded Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the table which reduced the number of external components and made it a true single-board computer. 

Whilst the Pi Zero's size was fantastic for smaller projects, by the time you included a WiFi and Bluetooth adapter, plus the required USB port to add said adapters, much of the space saving benefits were negated.

So the Raspberry Pi Zero W is here. It's exactly the same as the standard Pi Zero, but with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and a slightly higher price tag to match. It's still far more compact and affordable than the standard Pi, however, it's elusiveness here in Australia is greater than ever before. We'll be doing our best to get some in, but don't hold your breath. 

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- By Sam

Coffee Machine Turned 3D Printer

When I saw this, I could only chuckle. It's such a unique and thrifty project which just has to be applauded. Whilst DIY 3D printers are nothing new, the maker inside me is very impressed with the ingenuity shown. Maker 'jcchurch' posted his project on hackaday, which saw a coffee machine repurposed into a 3D printer with the goal to do away with the expensive linear rails and high bearing count designs. Instead, he uses 4 stepper motors to create the 'delta' design for the printer which uses the warm plate of the coffee machine to act as a heated bed.

It's a usable, compact 3D printer which shows true maker spirit. For more info, check out the complete project write up at Tropical Labs.

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- By Sam

Raspberry Pi Workshop 22/2/17

This week we ran our first 5pm Raspberry Pi Workshop with resounding success! A common interest for some of our workshop participants was using the Rasberry Pi as an in-car computer for entertainment and telemetry. One participant, Adrian, was particularly interested in the differences between  Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

raspberry-pi-first-workshop

To get our participants started on their journey we covered what a RasPi is, powering one up, exploring the Pi's filesystem and functions, writing scripts in Python and how to trigger scripts from the shell. We finished up with blinking an LED from the Pi's GPIO.

raspberry-pi-led-blink

Book a session today if you'd like to join one of our Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshops, we supply all the hardware required to participate. Likewise, we're here to help if you're looking for Raspberry Pi in Australia.

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- By Michael

Electronic Feline Warfare

2 Cat related Arduino posts inside of a week, what's gotten into us? Well, I'm currently cat-sitting for a friend so the idea of sweet revenge on my new feline neighbour is super appealing to me. If you've had a cat in the past you'll understand my grudge, with 3-4am being the optimal time for bouncing off the walls and tearing up the carpet. 

Well, leave it to a maker to come up with this idea. Instead of being a responsible, mature adult and trying to discipline his cat with tasty treats or shouting, JimboWatts decided to create a sentry bot that would take care of the discipline for him. 

Using a Teensy board, a servo, a few wireless sensors and an old camera tripod, he created a sentry bot that could sense when his cat was tearing up the carpet and react by spraying it with a stream of water. Check it out below, although apparently the setup was so efficient that after 1 night it was impossible to get footage of the cat being sprayed.

https://i.imgur.com/xJQpPAX.mp4

The best part is that Jimbo went ahead and did a pretty impressive writeup for this seemingly innocent and fun project, check it out here.

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- By Aidan

Raspberry Pi Car Media Player

The Raspberry Pi is so versatile, being used all over the world in exciting, creative ways. Well, using a Pi as a Media centre is hardly innovative, but taking a Pi Media Center and mounting it on the dashboard of your car is new to me! 

That's what DIY'r eratosthene did, in this awesome project. Using a Pi 3 with LibreElec installed, he set out to install a Pi media Center in his 2007 Toyota Corolla. Along with the official Raspberry Pi Touchscreen, a 128GB USB drive and some hard work, he took his slightly outdated dashboard from this.

raspberry-pi-car-media-center-before

To this

raspberry-pi-car-media-center-after

There's a pretty detailed write-up on the entire process, you can view it here if you're interested. 

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- By Aidan

Trump vs Eagle Rock 'em Sock 'em

Today I present you your opportunity to fight for freedom! If you were lucky enough to grow up with a Rock em Sock em robot toy, then you'd know how much fun they were. But a simple, mechanical toy is too good an opportunity to waste, so RobotGeek created their own version with motorised robots with 3D printed impressions of President Trump, and the American Eagle.

Whilst it would be interesting to see a higher-powered version with a bit more impact, it's a sure fire way to blow through components, motors, and prints, but the goal of punching the button located on the chest of the opponent servos for an entertaining match.

I'll leave you to decide which player you control, but it's such a creative use of 3D printing and servos that it just had to be shared.

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- By Sam

A DIY Laser Pointer for your Cat

Every now and then I stumble upon some projects that just make me chuckle. And well, that's half the fun when making things right? Fun, almost pointless inventions that can do stuff. Well, take a look at this project from Lucas Berbesson. It's a laser pointer module for your cat. 

With a couple of servo motors, an Arduino, a laser pointer and some code, Lucas whipped up this automatic toy for his cat. If you have ever had a laser pointer around a cat, you'll understand the beauty behind the idea here.

Take a look at it in action (mind the constant clips of him just playing with the cat)

All you need to make this project is

- 8xAA Battery Case
- Arduino Uno
- Breadboard
- Laser Diode
- Jumpwires
- 2 Servo Motors
- Arduino USB cable

And you can grab the Arduino code here.

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- By Aidan

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