May was a month that filled 1st Assembly with the weird, wonderful and wacky as we hacked our way through Techweek ‘17 and the Hutt STEMM Festival.  The space was taken over by 130 mad inventors and hackers, of all ages, shapes and sizes, as they learnt, shared, experimented during six unique events.  

The month began with learning the basics of Arduino with Catalyst IT’s Ian Beardslee during “Arduino Day”. 25 Arduino enthusiasts experimented with our favourite hacking companion to build everything from smart wearables to an animation studio. Ian had his work cut out for him as people sought to develop their micro-controlling wizardry.

Our very own Gordon Dykes followed Arduino Day with his introductory talk on 3D printing. The talk took the attendees from the grassroots of additive manufacture through to the edge of cutting edge. One attendee was so enthralled by the subject he bought a printer before the talk had even finished.

Hutt City Council -STEMM Festival ARDUINO Day at 1st Assembly, 125 High Street, Lower Hutt, New Zealand on Saturday 6 May 2017. Photo by Masanori Udagawa

Hutt City Council - Soldering Space : Electronic Rocket Building at 1st Assembly, Lower Hutt, New Zealand on Friday 12 May 2017. Photo by Masanori Udagawa

The third event, “Startup Support Roundtable”, took a different angle on the hardware scene as members of the Lower Hutt business community met at 1A to discuss the challenges of supporting startups. The conversations that followed spoke of the difficulties many startups experience toward protecting and commercializing their intellectual property and managing the financials that underpin their businesses. All in attendance agreed that more roundtables should and need to take place in order to fully understand the struggles of supporting the next wave of innovators.

“Soldering Space” and “The Engineering Challenge” brought the month back to the fundamental skills of making and hacking. Soldering space was a fast paced day as 33 people, many of whom were young families, brushed up on their soldering skills in support for The Space and Science Festival 2017. Attendees from ages 6 to 60 assembled small LED rockets under the guidance of our in-house electrical engineer Enoch Selvaretnam. The Engineering Challenge also tapped into basic hacking skills by asking 22 attendees to build a marble run in the hope of winning prizes and glory. The winning team built a marble run that included a swing, slide and marble catcher!   

Hutt City Council -STEMM Festival ARDUINO Day at 1st Assembly, 125 High Street, Lower Hutt, New Zealand on Saturday 6 May 2017. Photo by Masanori Udagawa

May was nicely rounded off by local hero Kim Attwell of Silex UAV talking at Startup Garage about his Scout F15 and Scout F10 photography and videography drones. The high-performance drones are constructed from moulded carbon fibre and include a custom camera gimbal. Silex UAV drones are currently being utilised throughout the agriculture, mining, construction and civil defence industries. A perfect talk to conclude the bustling month.   

Don’t worry if you missed out, 1st Assembly routinely hosts a number of free events and workshops. If you’d like to learn more and take part you can sign up for our newsletter at, and join our meetup groups at: and

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