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empowering creative people

TTN LoRaWAN Gateway in Wallsend

There's a new TTN gateway with external antenna fitted high and proud in Wallsend, hosted by a long-term community member Dave W. We've just finished some TTN Mapping and the results are looking great.

If you are new to TTN / LoRaWAN (free wireless internet for your projects!) then take a look at our guides or drop by for a workshop.

The hills north of this gateway location are significant enough to block reception of the 26M tall Antenna located in Mayfield West. Newcastle has geo-constraints for LoRaWAN coverage in almost every direction, and it's refreshing to see this level of community support to fill the gaps.

Wallsend TTN LoRaWAN Gateway

Fun fact: During this mapping activity, I landed a rogue response from a gateway located 35.9 KM away. Impressive!

Record LoRaWAN Distance

There are still several gaps around the city, and we'd like to help! If you know anyone that would be OK with an external antenna mounted 1-2 meters above roof height in any of these areas circled below, then get in touch with us (we'll cover the hardware costs).

TTN Coverage holes

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- By Graham Mitchell

3D Printing Workshop 4/12/18

Last night we ran our 3D Printing for Makers workshop, inviting locals down to our Makerspace area to learn about the processes behind 3D Printing. We had makers in attendance from all skill levels, from designers looking to learn more right through to seasoned makers with their own printers coming along to learn some of the tips and tricks we’ve gathered over the years. It’s awesome to see locals coming down to learn something new!

If you wanted to learn more about 3D Printing, Design or other maker skills (Arduino, etc) we’ve got a wide range of tutorials, courses and projects that will help spark some creativity. Check out our upcoming workshops for what’s next. We’re full time makers too, if you want to share your current build or just shoot the wind about your newest project idea get in touch via our Maker Forum!

3D Printing Workshop 5th December 2018

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- By Brenton

Laser Cutting Workshop 28/11/18

Wednesday we hosted our Laser Cutting Workshop and we had a full house! We learned the basics of laser cutters and how to create files that we can cut with a laser. We learned how to use Inkscape to create vector drawings that a laser cutter can work with, and we also learned how to convert images from graphics to vectors. Everyone in the workshop got to make themselves an acrylic keychain from design to manufacture!

Whether you are interested in learning more about this very cool manufacturing method, or just want to make a custom dog tag for your pooch you can check out our Laser Cutting Online Tutorials! If you want to learn about additive manufacturing, come to our 3D Printing Workshop. Everything we cover in our workshops is available online, so if you want a refresher or if you are just too far away to make it in person you can always browse our Online Tutorials and Courses.

Laser Cutting Workshop 28th Nov

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- By Brenton

Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshop 27/11/18

This Tuesday we had a full house at our Raspberry Pi for beginners workshop! We took them through the basics of setting up a Raspberry Pi as a Games Console, Media Centre or as a Computer. We introduced the new makers to the basics of physical computing by coding the GPIO with Python to build an interactive electrical circuit and had some great conversations about the potential applications of the Pi including as an internet connected weather station.

If you would like to join in the maker revolution you can come along to our local workshops or if you're not a local to Newcastle, you can still join in the fun with our online workshops and tutorials.

Raspberry Pi for Beginners Workshop 27th Nov

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- By Brenton

3D Modelling Workshop 13/11/18

On Tuesday afternoon, we ran a free Maker workshop in 3D Modelling with Fusion 360. We kicked off with some general discussions on 3D Models that a few participants had brought from home, and how their designs impacted the way they were 3D Printed, then jumped into Fusion 360.

Our workshop is the best way to learn Fusion 360 if working in 3D gets confusing for you, which is common when finding your feet. We start off with the humble rectangle sketch and work in steps to create a keychain model that’s completely 3D Printable!

This is the 3D Modelling Workshop that focuses on designing 3D models, but we hope to see our attendees back during our 3D Printing Workshop in a few weeks to give 3D Printing their keychains a go.

If you’re interested in learning about 3D Modelling, 3D Printing or other Maker related skills, come along to one of our free community workshops. If you aren’t local, we’ve made our workshops available as free online courses so you won’t miss out.

3D Modelling Workshop 13th November 2018

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- By Brenton

Circuit Playground Workshop 7/11/18

We had a great turnout for the Circuit Playground Express workshop! This workshop is great for people who might be taking their first steps on the DIY road of devices. We had attendees at the workshop who came with no idea what they were getting into and they were still making programs and having a blast!

If you want to learn to use the Circuit Playground Express and learn the basics of coding come along to our next Circuit Playground Workshop! Everything we cover in the class is available online for free, with our Circuit Playground Express Online Course. It contains everything we covered in the workshop and much more! We also have a bunch of Circuit Playground Tutorials that will walk you through many projects with multiple programming languages!

Circuit Playground Workshop 7th Nov

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- By Brenton

Workplace IoT Workshops

On Monday we caught up with a few of the team from Advanced Technology Centre at NSW Police Force HQ in Sydney, exploring IoT hardware from a makers perspective. It was a sensational opportunity to share insights (in both directions!) and introduce maker hardware into an industrial environment. The workshop was hands-on, delivered at a pace that's perfect for those with no coding/electronics experience through to seasoned experts alike.

Let us know if you'd like to have a workshop in your workplace, we'll get something together next time we're around your way!

Workplace IoT Workshops

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- By Graham

Urban IoT Hackathon 2018

the Urban IoT Hackathon kicked off on the evening of Thursday October 25th and ran through to 2pm on the 27th. Around 20 local makers/hackers/tech-curious gathered to pitch ideas, and while there was no end of creativity, four ideas were inspirational enough to form teams and get on with the builds.

Our idea was to build a LoRaWAN gateway designed for community engagement and exploration of IoT as a grassroots product, creating edge-to-edge coverage across our cityscape. You can read more about ours and each of the projects on the Devpost website.

Here's our team, starting from the left is Brian (event host), me (Graham), Peter and Aaron. Special mention for Stephen who helped out a lot on Friday though missed the awards day! I'm holding the DIY Gateway, which we ran side-by-side with industry-grade hardware and didn't skip a beat. Impressive!

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- By Graham

Arduino Beginners Workshop 24/10/18

Last Wednesday we held our seasoned Arduino Beginners Workshop in our local Knowledge Factory. We looked at how to write, verify and upload Arduino code to an Arduino Uno to control some simple circuits. The Arduino Platform provides a great environment to foster electronic automation into homes or projects.

If you're interested in learning more, check out our online tutorials and courses or sign up for our next Arduino Beginners Workshop.

Arduino Beginners Workshop - 24/10/18

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- By Brenton

3D Printing Workshop 23/10/18

Engaging people with the fun of 3D Printing is one of the favourite parts of our week. Last night, we had the pleasure of hosting another of our 3D Printing for Beginners community workshops, with 12 local makers turning up to learn how to 3D Print. After a quick introduction to FDM/FFF Technology, we dived into the 3D Printing software, Cura, and showed the group how to move, scale, rotate and slice 3D models to print successfully. We even had some young makers in attendance and got them hands-on with the process, ending the night by removing a Rocktopus from the printer themselves.

If you’re interested in learning about 3D Modelling, 3D Printing or other Maker related skills, come along to one of our free community workshops. If you aren’t local, we’ve made our workshops available as free online courses so you won’t miss out.

3D Printing Workshop - 23 rd October 2018

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- By Brenton

LattePanda Alpha is Here!

December last year, we backed the kickstarter campaign for LattePanda Alpha. Granted, this device isn't the typical maker's cup of tea, though it does fill a gap where modern computing horse power is needed alongside the benefits of a microcontroller.

And today, our Alpha arrived! There were several delays throughout the project, most were around cooling factors. Still, we've got one to explore :)

The "Alpha" is LattePanda's king of the hill variant and has the best features of the new product line up. On paper it doesn't leave any gaps:

  • Intel 7th Gen CPU with more grunt than a Macbook M3
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC
  • 900Mhz Graphics Processor
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • WiFi 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz AC
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 3x USB 3.0
  • HDMI
  • and lots of hacker-friendly features.

Oh, and an onboard Arduino Leonardo for insta-boot and low-power control applications.

It's not available for sale just yet, though you can get that news by subscribing to our maker newsletter. We'll be diving into this hardware in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

LattePanda Alpha

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- By Graham

LoRaWAN Upgrade: Outdoor Antenna

Our LoRaWAN Gateway just got an upgrade: an outdoor antenna mounted nice and high. We've gone with a full wave antenna to get the most out of even the weakest of signals. Connecting the antenna to the Laird Sentrius RG191 LoRaWAN Gateway was straightforward; our antennas have a 5-meter low loss RF cable which is terminated with an RP-SMA connector. In short; they fit together without any fuss.

Outdoor LoRaWAN Antenna Upgrade

The Adamstown & Kotara area (where we're located) was in an RF shadow as it's surrounded by hills. The new outdoor antenna has more than doubled our contribution to the local LoRaWAN coverage, we had hits up to 6+KM away (which is impressive for an urban environment). 

After the antenna install I grabbed my trusty TTN Mapper and got to the streets for a drive. In the map below you can see the RF shadow I referred to - the whisps of blue that fly-in from the right and go right over the top of us. 

Our new setup caters for the entire Adamstown area, which is so refreshing to see!

LoRaWAN TTN Mapper Adamstown

If you're new to TTN or would like to learn more, here are some links:

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- By Graham

Arduino: Next Level Workshop 3/10/18

Last night we held our Arduino Next Level Course in our Knowledge Factory. We covered the basics of object-oriented programming using different 3D printed Rocktopi to describe what an instance of a class is. This course really focuses on extending the abilities of the Arduino platform using this alternate programming type. If you're interested in learning more about OOP and Arduino, you can check out similar tutorials or sign up for the next workshop.

Arduino Level Up Workshop 3rd October 2018

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- By Brenton

Next Level LoRaWAN Coverage in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie

Newcastle + Lake Macquarie are about to get next level LoRaWAN coverage. We're sponsoring 4x Laird LoRaWAN Gateways to be deployed around town. Time to unleash your IoT projects! New to LoRa, take a look at Pycom gear.

Laird Sentrius LoRaWAN Gateways

Update: How good is this coverage looking!

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- By Graham Mitchell

Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshop 19/9/18

We had a full house of keen new makers last night in our Beginners Raspberry Pi Workshop. After a quick tour of some popular Raspberry Pi operating systems and a not so short intro to Python our makers were using the pin to interact with switches and an LED. They had some great discussions about the possibilities of Python and the Raspberry Pi, like recursive programming and error catching to make programs that start themselves again if they get an error. 

If you are looking to get into the Raspberry Pi or some other maker skill and have free time on a weeknight in Newcastle come join us for one of our Local Workshops and take advantage of our awesome makerspace and skilled team of makers. If you aren’t able to make it to our Newcastle location we have tons of online courses and tutorials available.

Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshop 19/9/18

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- By Brenton

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