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.

A Typical Hack & Snack Night

Hack &Snack Night

TAP lab’s Hack & Snack evenings every Wednesday continue to be very popular. This event is for people at all levels of experience:

  • Just getting started in to electronics and would like some guided learning
  • Have a specific project to work on in a supportive environment with some experts around for troubleshooting
  • Experts who want to work on projects and share their knowledge

Here’s summary of the activities at a recent evening:

  • Building an “illuminated cloud” using a huge string of addressable RGB LEDs (father and son)
  • Learning the best way to prepare and print 3D models on our printer
  • Reading and datalogging from three temperature sensors using the 1-wire protocol
  • Installing the latest Arduino IDE on a linux laptop to program the ESP8266 WiFi chip
  • Learning the basics of blinking LEDs and sensor readings using Arduino
  • Designing 3d objects (father and daughter)
  • Programming a chaser light using an LED strip
  • Programming for an Arduino-based beat box

The lab is also open on Tuesdays for people to work on their projects, help get TAP lab set up a bit more and meet like-minded people. The main differences from Wednesday’s Hack & Snack are: no food and no-one is specifically there as a tutor. You’re welcome to bring your own food and people do help other, of course.

TinkerCAD 3D Design and Printing Workshop


Andrew held another popular 2 hour workshop for beginners on how to use TinkerCAD. Starting from basic principles of  viewing and manipulating objects in the the design area, the group followed along and designed a pencil stopper. Additive and subtractive combinations of objects were used to create the final object.

Sadly, our 3D printer was returned in what turned out to be a non-working state, so we were unable to print  objects on the day. This didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm, reduce questions asked or the the kids desire to design 3D robots.

If you look in the background in the image above you can see a locally made RepRap Prisua i3, which was on display. This is the kind of 3D printer that is made with a lot of parts printed on a 3D printer. Compare that to our Ultimaker below and you get both ends of the hobbyist 3D printer spectrum.