empowering creative people

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 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.


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.


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?!


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!


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.


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.


To this


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

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