Get involved

Robots & Dinosaurs is located in 10/27 Bank st, Meadowbank . We’re open Saturdays from about 11am and some weeknights, but you should check by asking on our mailing list.

Tuesday Toolsday! (17thApr2012)

Hi Makers and Breakers, 

The space will be open from 5:30pm for some weekday shenanigans.

come along and get yer hack on!

<3 ,
+Pauline Koh

Robots & Dinosaurs has moved to Gladesville.

The new space is located in Gerard Lane, Gladesville. We’re located inside the same space as Quick-Fit muffers.

Here it is on Google maps (Thanks Madox) 

Go through the garage door to the right until you see Daleks!

Being about 50m from Victoria Rd, there are oodles of busses on a regular basis even past midnight, and it’s only 30mins from Central. for info. (Hepburn Avenue, Gladesville is a good cross-street to use)

Stuff in the space:

Compared to the previous location, the new space is huge and pretty open, but it’s shared between 3 groups of people. Robots and Dinosaurs (RnD), the Sydney Robot Workshop (SRW) and the Beehive. RnD & SRW are both community clubs, and Beehive is a startup business specialising in digital fab. 

Regular Hacking Sessions:

There will be several regular times the space is open:

RnD’s Saturday Hacking from 11am till late every Saturday

Wed night from 5pm onwards, the Sydney Robot Workshop have a regular build session which a lot of the RnD people attend as well

Sunday afternoon from 1pm onwards, hosted by the Sydney Robot Workshop. 

And of course RnD Members can use the equipment (lasercutters, 3D printers, etc.), or just hang out any time the SRW or RnD have opened the space. Feel free to visit any session, but if you’ve got a particular question head to the main event for that group. (E.g. If you want to know about 3D printing, lasercutting & quadcopters, check out Robots and Dinosaurs. For advice on making a Dalek, stormtrooper costume or resin casting, the Sydney Robot Workshop are the experts)

And don’t forget to join the mailing list to stay informed of the various things happening at the space and what people are working on.

Melbourne Maker Faire

This Saturday was the first ever Maker Faire in Australia. Maker faires in the US have been absoultely huge, with hackerspaces, builders, makers and tinkerers of all types coming together, so we’ve been chomping at the bit for something similar in Australia.

The place was absolutely packed!

There was a good representation of makers in Australia. The Robots and Dinosaurs (Sydney) and Creative Community (Melbourne) hackerspaces had booths set up and representatives from Artifactory (Perth) and Make Hack Void (Canberra) were running workshops. It was a load of fun talking with people all day about what they can make and what interests them. 

There was an impressive array of things to see. Like giant LED cubes (details here)

Rubik’s Cube solving robots:

There were heaps of workshops going through the day for people to learn electronics skills, soldering and more:

The kids had a great time making cardboard mazes and houses out of scrap cardboard:

There was an impressive collection of circuit bent synths and repurposed objects:

Science was present:

As well as all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff like DNA copying machines, felted dolls, advice on wood framing, laser cutting & 3D printing galore, steampunk sewing, and much more. 

There’s some more photos up here for the curious:

Big thanks to Paul, Amon, Andy and all the organisers and volunteers that helped make the day go amazingly smoothly. And congratulations to CCHS for getting their new hackerspace location!

General Hacking & Visit from the Artifactory

This Saturday was an absolutely packed day at the space!


Photos don’t describe the sensation of 20+ people crowded in the main room, eagerly chatting, bouncing ideas off each other and hacking away on their projects. 

We were also visited by Daniel, Brett and Jenna from the Perth Artifactory. They’ve got an amazing community and huge hackerspace over in Perth, and they’re currently travelling all around Australia to various hackerspaces in preparation for the Maker Faire and Linux Conf in Melbourne.

Brett built a TV-b-gone and managed to fit it into the handle of a sonic screwdriver:

I had a crack at some fluid-filled coasters. Here’s the rough prototype, but the design is looking encouraging:

Tim did some prototyping on his Lasercut RC car. It’s certainly fast. In fact it was fast and torquey enough to break its own wheel off the axle! 

Hackerspace Passports and the Big CNC now working!

You might have seen the Hackerspace Passport concept recently. Mitch Altman, inveterate hacker and noisebridge organiser came up with the idea, and it’s taken off like wildfire. 

Make sure you get your hackerspace passport stamped next time you’re in the space! If you don’t have a passport you can:

Get your notebook stamped instead! 

Download the PDF here and print your own

Buy a passport from Seeedstudio here for less than $3

Next time you’re going travelling, you might want to check the list of hackerspaces to see if there’s a place you can drop in and see what they’re up to. It’s getting harder and harder to find a city where there isn’t one now!

Members from RnD have visited hackerspaces all around America, Japan, China, Europe and also been visited by people from all over the world in return. 

It’s actually quite easy to make your own stamp, if you have access to a lasercutter. And it turns out common lino (easily obtainable at a craft shop) works like a treat with raster engraving.

Here’s the lino being laser engraved and cut: (Note: it’s important to check your rubber material doesn’t contain PVC or chlorine before lasering. Use the ‘copper stick in a blowtorch test’ for this!’)

The Big CNC:

A while ago Scott McDaid kindly donated to the space a large ‘Joe’s CNC’ he built. It’s a beautiful machine and has had many hours of work put into its construction. 

The work envelope of the machine is huge, 600x1200 at least and it’s capable of milling wood, plastic and some metals. 

We’ve just gotten it set up in the garage and got the cabling sorted out. Need to add some e-stops and things, but it looks pretty good so far!

Big thanks to Ada and Pauline for the setup. 

Here’s a vid of the machine in operation. It’s cutting a depth-mapped version of our logo. Sadly we only had 6mm tools, so it’s a little like drawing with a crayon. But you can see the concept:

Testing the large CNC from Gavin Smith on Vimeo.

Luke’s DIY Audio Fabrication

Here’s a project done by Luke Emrose this Saturday on the space’s CNC. It looks pretty cool and was made entirely with free tools!

Here’s some wiki info if you want to make a board yourself:

Without further ado, I’ll hand it over to Luke:

Hi there!

Sorry for the big e-mail, but I was excited….
Thanks to some outstanding help from Gav and talsit and a few others at the space this evening, I used the CNC machine for the first time ever ;-)
Even better, probably just through sheer luck, it was very successful too!
Here is the PCB that I made:
The eagle layout and circuit diagram ( which I successfully proved “should work” using the free LTSpice circuit simulator - found from bits and pieces I’ve found online about the API 2520 discrete operational amplifier ):

First the copper etching stage:

Then the holes are drilled for the parts:

Then the board is milled out to it’s final shape:
Here are some “pose” shots ;-):

For those of you still reading, this is a discrete operational amplifier ( DOA ) board, which I designed out of necessity, because the “real-thing” ( an API 2520 DOA ) was too expensive for me ( my board is an alternative for the little square board in this pic ):

Also the “real-thing” is made from a double-sided board.
I wanted a cheaper and simpler alternative so I crammed the entire thing onto a single sided board that was designed to be easy and simple to CNC:
I’m going to use it as one of 8 DOA’s I am building to go into 4 channels of custom-designed compression for my home-studio.
The finished unit/s might somewhat resemble ( I hope ) 4 of these:
but I’m not sure yet, as I am still designing it….
However, thanks to the space, I’m off to a good start.
Next step is soldering the bits on the little board and turning it on and hoping it ACTUALLY WORKS!
Luke Emrose
aka evolutionary theory

Success! We got our new ‘Up!’ 3D printer!

Hi All,

As you might have seen we put out a call to get our own ‘Up!’ 3D printer. Well, we had a phenomenal response and got enough pledges in a just couple of days to order it!

The box arrived shortly after:

We got it unpacked and into its new home:

The plastic enclosure helps to keep the print at a constant temperature throughout. It’s not really needed, but we had it laying around and we figured we’d try and go above and beyond to ensure quality of prints on our new machine. 

The Up is staggeringly user friendly and hassle free. We were up and printing in about 20 mins!

and we’ve been printing ever since:

Quadcopter parts:

Dalek model & cookie cutter:

And the obligatory companion cube:

RnD Halloween Party 2011

Very sorry for the lateness and after several bribes (Thanks Judit!) I’m posting the photos of the event now.

We had our Halloween Party the other day and it was a load of fun! 

With our regular costume contest:

Our traditional Watermelon carving contest: (with obligatory LED illumination)

Malcolm brought his homemade Segway and we all had a ride:

Nick brought in his new Barbot and made drinks for everyone:

People brought in baked treats:

It was a blast. 

More photos of everyone’s costume after the break:

Bec as a surgeon:

Me as Joel Robinson/Mike Nelson from Mystery Science Theatre: (Yes, those silhouettes are laser cut!)

Inggrid as Death from the Sandman series:

David as a mad scientist:

Scott as an outback hero:

Jaz busted out his awesome Ghostbusters costume again:

Jen as a faerie: 

Alastair (from Make Hack Void in Canberra) as Battlestar Gallactica Guy: (Sorry, I don’t watch the show!)

Ruth (also from Make Hack Void) as a pirate:

Miklos did an astounding impersonation of Dilbert:

Julian as a vampire:

Chris as Tweedledum/Tweedledee:

Help us get an ‘Up!’ for Christmas!

Hi All,

As a few people have pointed out, the ‘UP!’ printer is on sale at the moment, and over a thousand dollars off. (now $2432). We’ve been toying with getting one for the space for a while, this looks like a very good time to try. For those new to the group, we succesfully funded the lasercutter, makerbot and the CNC via group pledges. 
The up is the most reliable printer I’ve ever had, I frequently do 8 hour or longer prints with no issues, something that’s almost unheard of on the makerbot. In addition the software is much nicer to use, you can load multiple parts and arrange them for building without having to open a 3rd party modeler, etc. 
Additionally the resolution is significantly higher than the makerbot, and it microsteps like a boss, (meaning it’s smoother and less noisy) 
For those that haven’t seen mine or Madox’s in person, here’s some pics of what they can do:
I’ll start by chipping in $300. Who else is in?
And here’s my same disclaimer from the last couple of times:
“To be really clear about this, chipping in will *not* be counted for membership fees or any other space privileges. It *will* however give you a warm glow knowing you helped the space become more functional and also quickened the pace of the upcoming robot revolution, resulting in a mercifully swift death for humanity. ”
UP! your Xmas 
Get the new revised UP! Plus for AU$2432 - Normally AU$3532.
Between 1st - 31st December.
Stocks are limited and a non-refundable pre-order of $200 can be paid to secure your order for delivery in the first week of December.
Excludes GST & Freight.

Visit to Make Hack Void

On Saturday we went to visit our sister hackerspace, Make Hack Void, down in Canberra. 

The MHV crowd greeted us for a breakfast feast nearby, and then took us to their space.

Hackerspaces in Australia seem to have really taken off. There’s now one in almost every state and territory. They vary from garage sized, to warehouses. MHV is clearly on the big end of the scale. It’s simply huge!:

In addition to the size, they’ve got an awesome layout for tools and equipment. It’s very easy to get what you want, there’s a large communal hacking area where you can sit and chat, and there’s also plenty of quiet assembly space for larger projects. You can even pull up a car and do automotive hacking!

Alastair and the MHV guys have won a bit of fame recently with their MHVBoard arduino clone, as well as the MHVLib, an arduino compatible library that speeds up core functions a lot.

They’re currently running a Pozible project to get the next round of boards made, check them out:

Here’s a bit of quicky hacking we did down there, 3D printed a rotor housing for Lachlan’s automated NERF missile!:

Bec made a pantograph for duplicating drawings:

Here’s an awesome brass nixie clock: