**AGM** 12 June 2017

All are welcome to the TAPlab AGM on 12th June 2017 at 7pm (in the taplab space @Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre.

If you would like to help shape the coming year please book this in and come along and get involved. All executive positions are up for re-election:

President, Treasurer, Secretary, Committee (~5)

If you would like to put your name forward for one of these positions please contact the secretary (secretary@taplab.nz) if you’d like the opportunity to promote yourself beforehand, or throw your hat into the ring on the night.


1. Receive the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting and of any other General Meeting held since the last Annual General Meeting.

2. Receive the Executive Committee’s report on the activities of the Society over the last year and the proposed priorities and directions for the Society in the current year.

3. Receive the balance sheet and statement of income and expenditure for the past year and the estimate of income and expenditure for the current year.

4. Elect the officers and other ordinary members of the Executive Committee of the Society (see section 9.1).

5. Appoint an auditor of the Society’s accounts.

6. Conduct any other business which may properly be brought before the meeting

Stop Motion Animation Workshop

During the school holidays we hosted a stop motion animation workshop for kids. The goal was simple, show some kids how to use play-dough and some clever phone/tablet apps to tell awesome stories but the most interesting bit was that we had our youngest “workshop leaders” running the show.IMG_20160722_151052

Ben and Zak, two young makers with a couple of stop motion animations under their belt already worked with around eight kids to bring their ideas to life using play-dough. There were stories about caterpillar-eating spiders, friendly penguins and even a Star Wars – Pirates of the Caribean mash up with the Kraken eating a Tie Fighter!

The app they used was “Stop Motion Studio” which is available for both Apple and Android devices



Makerspace visit: DSpace

dspace-outsideI was in Dunedin recently and Ian and Paul from DSpace in Dunedin were kind enough to show me through their space and to talk to me about some of the projects that are happening there.

They share their space with a range of different community groups in the North East Valley in Dunedin, and the first thing that struck me was how BIG their space is: it’s actually an old workshop and has a series of large spaces that are used for different things, but they’re really lucky to have so much space at their disposal!

dspace-electric-carThere’s a full-on hoist for working on cars including the project shown in the photo to the right, which is a conversion to from petrol to electric. The electric tuktuk looks just as interesting.

dspace-bike-workshopIn the same space is a bike workshop where old bikes are fixed up and restored. I’m sure more than one of these discarded bikes were discarded by Otago students leaving at the end of their study. The cool thing about what DSpace is doing is that they’re all now potentially new(-ish) bikes for new Otago students arriving as they begin their studies.

dspace-reworkThere are some pretty amazing electronics projects going on at DSpace with both Paul and Ian talking about the workshops they run to help people design and then have built their own circuit boards. The SMD rework station and surrounding components show that this space is well-used. Paul has been prototyping circuit boards for robots and kits of various sizes to teach people to solder and about electronics, and is planning to return to China soon to oversee the production of some of his projects.

dspace-3d-printers3D printing is also big at DSpace with the team printing a lot of parts for Prusa Repraps, and in the spirit of Repraps, giving them away to people on the condition that they build a printer then print two copies of the plastic pieces and give them away to pay it forward.

Makerspace visit: Fablab Masterton

Recently I was travelling through Masterton for work and was lucky enough to be able to call into Fablab Masterton to have a look around with John Hart, one of the founders. This Fablab is working with local schools and community groups to increase people’s experience with making and fabrication, as well as to grow people’s capacity to teach others.

Small laser-cut prototype with full-sized CNC table behind.

They have a CNC router which has enabled them to build their own furniture. John showed me the tiny little prototype of a table they cut on the laser cutter to test the design before hitting ‘go’ on the big CNC. Seeing the little table in front of the big table shows the power of different fabrication tools at different times in the design process.

3D prints and laser-cut rings.

A lot of the design work that happens at Fablab Masterton is 2D and 3D. People learn how to use software like Inkscape and 3D modelling software, then make their designs using either the laser cutter (2D) or 3D printer (3D).

Table with removable centrepiece.

Some of the tables have a centrepiece that is removable to allow different tools to be dropped in if activities change. It’s a clever design feature. This example was on an ‘unmaking table’ which encourages people to pull things apart in order to better understand how they work.

John and Kirsten have also set up a way for schools to share files with them so that after initial sessions learning about design and prototyping at the Fablab, they can work on their designs back at school, send the file to the Fablab and have them print it on one of their 3D printers.


Disco bike project

There’s nothing like a bit of James Brown and some neon wire to brighten up your making. We recently ran a couple of sessions building what we call ‘Disco Bike’ (although ‘Funk Bike’ is probably closer to the truth. As you can see in the video below we made a glow-in-the-dark, sound activated bike:


  • Kid’s bike. Kindly donated by Mr 6.
  • Electro-luminescent (EL) wire
  • Sound-activated inverters
  • Bluetooth Speaker

EL wire is pretty cool stuff: when you put alternating current (AC) through it, it lights up like a neon light.

disco-bike-inverters-smallThe trick is that in order to be mobile on the bike, we need to use batteries to power our EL wire (we can’t use mains power!), but batteries provide direct current, not alternating current, so that’s where the inverters come in. Inverters can turn DC into AC, powering the wire. Even cooler, we used inverters that are sound-activated- they light up when there’s a sound and don’t when there’s no sound. Perfect for a disco bike!

To assemble the whole operation, we wirelessly connected the bluetooth speaker to a phone for music, then zip-tied the speaker to the bike. We then mounted the inverters near the speaker and wound the wire all around the bike. When we turned the whole thing on, and played music through the speaker, the bike lit up in time with the music.

Disco bike!


What’s up at TAP:lab? June 2016.

Hi all, Andrew here.

We have been working behind the scenes to make TAP:lab more open and useful. Here is a taste of just some of the recent changes.

  • AIR CON (So we are a great haven from the chilly conditions)
  • There are now soldering stations, with stand alone carbon filter fans to help with electronics.
  • The 3D printer is now securely in place with a cable – so no longer locked in the cage.
  • There is a supply of t-Shirts in different colours and sizes for you to print on.
  • There are some cool cutting edge electronics to use thanks to our ongoing sponsorship from Hackster.io.
  • The AV system is taking shape – already the screen has been invaluable in teaching.
  • The Vinyl cutter is to be re-calibrated. Once this has happened look for T-shirt and sign writing sessions

There is still plenty of exciting changes in the pipeline. Drop on by and see how you can participate in shaping our local makerspace.