Friday, March 7, 2014

Guest post: 3D printing, robots and DJ mixing...

...aka cool stuff we have that you can play with for FREE!

Hi, I’m Hamish and in late 2013 I was on the team that opened the Makerspace at Auckland Central City Library. We started a Makerspace because we wanted to give people the opportunity to be creative - and people have been creating all sorts of things! From computer games, to all kinds of 3D printed objects, battlebots and race car robots, it has been an exciting adventure, and it’s only just beginning.

We bought a Diamondmind 3D printer which is the only Kiwi-made 3D printer currently available, and then spent a whole day assembling it, from the wood frame to the circuit wiring. That was a mission! But the result is a machine that can print almost any 3D object you can imagine, by putting down layers of hot plastic on top of each other. You can design your own objects using software like Tinkercad or Google Sketchup, or download it in a minute from the website Thingiverse, where people have uploaded thousands of objects they’ve already designed. You can even use a programme called 123D catch to take 20 or 30 photos all around an object and then transform it into a 3D image which you then print.

It’s not just 3D printers in Makerspace. If you’ve ever wanted to make a robot, we’ve got two kits which you can use to put together all kinds. You might think “where do I start?” but don’t worry, cos they come with manuals and a bunch of sample robot designs that you can try building. It’s surprisingly easy, just screw this bit to that bit, and that bit to the other bit, and pretty soon you’ll have something. Then you just have to plug in the wires, make a simple programme (and you can drag and drop, no typing involved!), download it and you’re done! If you make a few of the cookie cutter ones then get bored, go ahead and design any sort of robot you want; you’ll have the skills by then to get creative.

Lastly we’ve got three PCs which have Ubuntu Linux installed. It’s not Windows, it’s not Mac, it’s a free operating system designed by programmers that anyone can download. We have all sorts of software (all free to download) you can use for sound and video, image, DJ mixing, game making, you name it. And if you can’t see what you want to use tell us what you want; we can probably find something to install for you.

We are always coming up with new ideas for things to make, so keep an eye on our events page and if you see anything you want to do, you can book in. Or just show up to one of our game making or 3D printing hangouts.

Also, why not follow us on Facebook to see what other people are up to in the Makerspace. 


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