empowering creative people

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

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

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

3D Printing and Modelling Workshop - 14/2/2017

On Tuesday afternoon, we ran the first of our revised 3D printing & modelling workshops and had a blast! Michael (our workshop participant) turned up only having knowledge of the existence of 3D printers and CAD software but had absolutely no experience, the perfect participant. We kicked off with walking through our printer setup and took a look at the basics of FDM technology. He was particularly interested in being able to print models that he could find online, so we went right into slicing up some models and learning the lay of the land with Cura, our slicing software.

printing-pig-workshop

After a crash course in Fusion 360, we walked through making a small project box. Michael decided to print his grandson a small animal figurine, so off to Thingiverse we went to find something suitable. We ended up deciding on a model that our 3D printer would be able to print simply and easily. We ended up deciding on a Pig figurine and sliced it at .2mm and got it printed inside of half an hour.

We used the Lulzbot Mini and some orange ABS filament to print this model.

Book a session today if you'd like to join one of our 3D Printing Workshops. Likewise, we're here to help if you're looking for help with Lulzbot in Australia,

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- By Aidan

Meet Loomo - Segway Robot

I normally prefer to share projects that are of a DIY, maker level, however, this new developer project from Segway is way too cool not to share. Meet Loomo.

They've taken the iconic 2 wheeled segway platform, and used it to create an intelligent, assistant robot which is capable of vision, speech, locomotion, connectivity, interaction, and hardware extensions. Oh, and it's open source. It's awesome to see companies that are leading the technological curve, creating open source platforms to allow developers to further the application of robotics. Check it out for yourself:

I think that the beauty of projects like the Loomo robot is that it shows the potential of open source designs which allow for a community driven advancement, rather than closed-loop development. At the moment it's only available to developers for pre-release development, but it'll be exciting to see the fruit that Loomo bears.

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- By Sam

Sorting Skittles with Arduinos

Sometimes, you don't want to bother with the Yellow skittles. It's nothing against them, they just can't match up to a handful of juicy, red ones. Maybe you are more of the M&M demographic, candy covered chocolates are still delicious and most importantly colored. Either way, surely you have thought about sorting, or even manually sorted, your candy by color in the past. Well, have I got a pointless but beautifully designed Arduino Project for you.

Cast your eyes upon this beautiful device.

Mechanical Engineer and Maker, Willem Pennings from New Zealand created this machine after being inspired by a similar project he saw on YouTube. The real difference was some core redesigns Willem made, alongside the sleek, beautifully designed housing the invention was mounted in.

The basic idea is the candy is loaded into the Hopper on the top of the unit. One at a time the candy is sorted using an RGB color sensor and an Arduino Nano, before being dropped into the corresponding 'tub' for its color. What a great project!

 

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- By Aidan

Using Dash With Arduino

The Internet of Things is here, and as more and more platforms become integrated with IoT applications, it's here to stay. New IoT services are popping up daily, and Amazon's Dash service makes ordering and re-ordering products as simple as pressing a button. However, for many makers, the IoT is a daunting and intimidating venture. Integrating familiar microcontroller functions with the unknown aspects of web integration is a big challenge. So Brian Carbonette created an awesome guide, along with an Arduino library for using the service with a web-connected Arduino such as the MKR1000. Check it out here.

Amazon Dash button with MKR1000 breadboard layout

It's a very neat project, and a great example of a seasoned maker using his skills to provide other DIY'ers with the ability to put together great IoT projects like this one!

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- By Sam

The MOARstruder is here!

We're happy to announce a new addition to our Lulzbot 3D printer tool head range, the MOARstruder. Usually, the name of the tool head is pretty indicative of exactly what it's purpose is, but what do Aleph Objects (Lulzbot) mean by MOAR?

Well, actually they mean exactly that! Instead of going into finer detail with tinier and tinier nozzles to get even more detailed prints. Lulzbot decided to design an extruder that goes in the other direction, designing a tool head that can just pump (yes, PUMP) prints out, super quick. 

Check out the promotional video by Lulzbot!

With a 1.2mm Nozzle, this tool head is simply awesome at producing bigger prints, faster. Most of the technology is the same, with the standard tool head design from Lulzbot being quite effective at printing, the big change is in the hot end. The new hot end is a lot bigger, designed to heat a lot more filament for extrusion resulting in some big, juicy layer heights.

We will have our installation guide and review up in the coming days, so stay posted if you want to see how it prints!

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- By Aidan

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