empowering creative people

Raspberry Pi Workshop 7/6/17

Last week I held another Raspberry Pi workshop for beginners. These workshops are a fantastic way to jump-start your journey with a Raspberry Pi. We covered the first-bootup experience, dabbled with some shell-scripting black-magic, and got some hardware connected. 

From this week we've decided to try something new: Reserving your seat in the workshop will cost $10, but if you show up on the night we'll give you a $15 store credit!

A question that pops up almost every workshop is:

What's the difference between a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino?

The short answer is, come along to a workshop and find out! Arduinos are really great for low-power embedded projects that you might want to install in a small enclosure or that performs a simple task. Raspberry Pis are an amazing tool for more sophisticated, web-connected projects like web-controlled displays. We've built a few of our own Raspberry Pi projects like automation tools, cameras and even DIY Gameboys. An Arduino is what drives the interactive hipster coaster that we take to conventions and maker faires. If you're still scratching your head about the whole Arduino vs. RasPi issue, check out Sam's tutorial, or even think about booking a spot at both workshops and collect some more store cred while you're at it!

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- By Michael

The BBC micro:bit has landed in Australia

The micro:bit by BBC has arrived! This is a big deal for schools and educators because the micro:bit is specifically designed for the classroom.

The micro:bit is a microcontroller board designed to help teach students programming in a friendly and interactive way. Aside from the usual offerings like input-buttons and LEDs, the micro:bit sports modern peripherals like a 3-axis accelerometer and compass (magnetometer) and low-energy Bluetooth; Interfaces guaranteed to please the next generation of maker. There's also connections for the usual alligator-clips and banana plugs you'd expect to see in a school science lab.

micro-bit-is-here

micro:bit have really gone to town on their educational content - there are complete lesson plans and projects available, and there's no need for a software rollout in schools because code development happens completely within the web-browser. I admire the approach taken for these lessons - focus is on programming as a problem solving philosophy rather than just memorising syntax.

There's probably an entire generation of UK-based programmers and scientists that can remember their first brush with computing using the BBC Micro back in the 80's, so it's really exciting to see the BBC pick up the torch again.

I've been given a couple of micro:bits to have a play with, so expect to see some reviews coming soon!

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- By Michael

Arduino Workshop 25/5/17

Last week, it was that time again, where we ran our in-house Arduino Workshop, and it was something special. We had a Java programmer, and a year 8 high school student mixed in which made it a truly unique workshop for people with all kinds of backgrounds and experience levels.

Arduino workshop 25-5-17 group

We spent a bit more time on the electronics crash course intro, diving into some interest questions from participants, as well as learning a bit more about how the Arduino board sets up inputs and outputs and the electrical differences between them.

Arduino workshop 25-5-17 single

Whilst we didn't have the time to explore much further content than the standard workshop, it was definitely a case of depth over width, with everyone taking a really close look at what we covered.

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- By Sam

Arduino Workshop 4/5/17

Alas, it was that time again, where we run our Arduino Beginners Workshop and get up to our elbows in maker goodness. As with all of our workshops, this night was completely unique, and along with covering all of our standard content, we got to take a look at some extra hardware implementations.

Arduino Workshop 4-5-17 group

Our 3 workshop participants all had previous programming experience with languages from C++ to Java, right back to Fortran, so rather than diving into new programming techniques, we set up some new hardware and looked at how to use it with various libraries.

Arduino Workshop 4-5-17 lcd display

Where the 'aha' moment was for our group was setting up an LCD character display which meant we could display data and information without being tethered to a computer's serial terminal. Using the Arduino Liquid Crystal library also opened up a whole new world with getting the different hardware up and running.

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- By Sam

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is HERE!

Let this sink in a moment: The Raspberry Pi Zero W is here, in Australia! We offer express post Australia-wide; You could have one in your hands on Friday. We are now official Pi Zero resellers for the Raspberry Pi Foundation in Australia AND New Zealand.

Raspberry Pi Zero W in Australia

Yep, that's Michael in the above photo and we're truly excited with this news! The Pi Zero W is an absolute game-changer - a powerful processor with WiFi and Bluetooth on-board make it an electronics-project-powerhouse.

The last 30 days at Core Electronics have been crazy in preparation for this news! We were sworn to secrecy and had thousands of Raspberry Pi Zero W's / accessories turn up just in time for the Australia-wide launch. There have even been a few secret Pi Zero projects and tutorials in the works to help get you started if you're looking for some inspiration. We've been packing hundreds of Pis so they're ready to post and somehow, we've still managed to keep up with our day-to-day orders and support.

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- By Graham Mitchell

Raspberry Pi Workshop 27/4/17

This week's Raspberry Pi workshop went full-offroad! Participants were quick to punch through the prepared material so we were able to go beyond the usual schedule. One participant was interested in using his Pi as an LED-strip driver so we got into drive circuits and input/output protection. We remixed some of the prepared material to experiment with more programming and workflow. Because we were blazing a new trail and developing untested code, we had the pleasure of debugging it when things inevitably went awry! 

We run these workshops regularly, you can book a free seat here. Workshops a great resource for those who are getting started, or want to see the decision-making and workflow that goes into developing a project. While we only really scratch the surface during these workshops, participants get exposure to the major tools necessary to get a project off the ground with a Raspberry Pi.

raspberry-pi-workshop-26-04-17

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- By Michael

Arduino Workshop 10/4/17

Last night we ran another Arduino Beginners Workshop, and it was simply fantastic! We had 5 participants who were eager and ready to dive into Arduino ranging from some previous experience with Arduino and programming, to complete rookies, which is exactly what the workshop is for.

Arduino workshop 10-4-17

We got way past the standard workshop content and had the time to look into some more advanced challenges using logic statements to control the flow of code, and create a simple user interface with a toggle push button (complete with debouncing), and an LED controlled with a potentiometer.

It was a great learning experience, and due to some unforeseen circumstances, one of our workshop participants worked on a Raspberry Pi setup with a pre-installed version of the Arduino IDE (available for Linux). From past science teachers, to current high school students, everyone took some 'aha' moments away with them.

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- By Sam

Raspberry Pi Workshop 6/4/17

Last night we held another packed-out Raspberry Pi workshop. We covered everything from boot-up, connecting our Pi to the outside world, and even looked at automating our Pi's behaviour. These free workshops are perfect for those who are looking to get their first-touch with a Raspberry Pi, or just looking to brush up on embedded computing and electronics in general.

raspberry-pi-workshop-06-04-17

This week the common interest amongst participants was retro-games emulation: Where you set up a Raspberry Pi to behave like a retro games console. With the skills gained in this workshop, participants are certainly well on their way to setting up that sweet Atari or Super Nintendo cabinet.

If you can't make it to one of our in-house workshops, don't fret. We've been working hard on a free online workshop as well!

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- By Michael

Raspberry Pi Workshop 25/3/17

We're happy to announce the first run of our weekend Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshop!

This time around we had a father-sons trio. There's definitely an interest trend amongst our workshop participants - in every workshop there's always been at least one person with plans to put together a car-computer for telemetry and entertainment.

raspberry-pi-workshop-25-03-17

There was a good mixed-bag of experience in the room, with a couple arduino veterans and a shared interest in computer science. Thanks to the smaller number of participants and the flexibility afforded by the weekend pace, we were able to cover a bit more than is typical for our regular week-night workshops.

This time around we were able to delve deeper into Python and BASH scripting, and we mixed things up a bit - we smashed out the structured content for the workshop so we had time for some more programming demos and even got into workflow and debugging.

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- By Michael

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

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