Launch Day and Roadshow

Hello everyone,

On a cold, windy day, Dean Deckler and engineering students assembled in the softball field to launch model rockets, many of which were made from the College’s 3D printers.  Some rockets had 3D printed parts (such as nose cones, body shafts, and fins) whereas other rockets were entirely 3D printed.  Students used molded balsa wood, PVC tubing, and even machined aluminum.  It was an exciting day with one rocket exploding in mid-air thanks to an overly thin walled 3D printed rocket body.


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Waiting for launch 3D printed rockets
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A machined aluminum rocket Ralph’s rocket with a custom 3D printed nosecone
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We have lift-off A cold, cold day at the launch field

Andrew, Sarah Jane, and I took a road trip to Northwestern Middle School yesterday to teach students in Industrial Arts classes about engineering.  At the roadshow, we explained 3D printing, answered questions, loaded some of their designs, and printed some parts.  It was an exciting time; the students were noticeably interested in the 3D printer and interacting with us.

These are currently building Rube Goldberg machines.  These are contraptions that accomplish smaller tasks to real a goal, such as rolling a marble down a track, popping balloons, collapsing dominos, etc. ultimately activating, say, a light switch.  Students design machines using AutoDesk Inventor (a CAD program), print them on paper, then fashion the designs out of wood.  We are currently printing some of these parts on our 3D printers here at Wayne.  50 minutes per class session was not enough time for us to cover the knowledge (nor the student excitement that was generated).

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The wood shop Andrew explaining 3D design
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Tom explaining 3D software “slicing” Lots of questions
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Explaining the 3D printer Aren’t these printers cool?
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Andrew printing a student design Student designed Rube Goldberg parts
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We drew quite a crowd Analyzing a prototype part

3d-printing-newsIn the following article from, a man born without a hand relied on a prosthetic that cost $42,000 that was covered by health insurance.  The device worked admirably but had a few problems.

Thanks to 3D printing, someone on designed an alternate prosthetic that cost $50 to produce on 3D printer.  Josh prefers the alternate hand much better than the original one, handles heavy loads, and is fixable.  Check-out the article at:

Stay tuned next week for more news from the Wayne College makerspace!



Rockets and CB radio clips

Hi everyone,

It’s a busy week at the Wayne College makerspace.  Rocket launch day is Wednesday the 23rd (tomorrow), so students are busy designing and 3D printing rocket parts.  If you are free tomorrow morning at 9:30, come to the softball field to watch the launches.

jonny design

We find that designing a shape does not necessarily guarantee that it will 3D print!  The larger MakerBot printer works well with designs made in Creo, while the portable printer works better with SolidWorks.  This is because each printer uses a different “slicing engine” software program to process the student designs before printing.

The MakerBot currently is printing fins, a rocket body, and nose cone, so stop-by A-120 to see them being built:


And some finished rocket parts from yesterday:

rocket parts

rocket parts2

And a finished rocket, entirely 3D printed!

finished rocket

Last but not least, our (in)famous Chad the police officer requested a CB radio clip that attaches to a shirt button.  Jonny, one of our engineering students, accepted the challenge and designed one in about an hour:

cb clip

The portable printer did beautifully with creating the clip and now Chad is using it.  Thanks, Jonny!

Be sure to join us for Launch Day tomorrow to see all of the original student rocket designs lift off into the sky.



Rocket parts, room labels, and an ailing printer!

Hello everyone,

It’s a busy day at the Wayne makerspace.  Students are beginning to design and print model rocket parts for launch day on the 23rd.  Dusty and Andrew are tutoring engineering students how to design rocket bodies and nose cones in Creo, AutoCAD, and SolidWorks (thanks, Dan, for getting SW at Wayne!).  Students are learning not just how to design objects in CAD, but objects that will print well on a 3D printer.

ben dusty

We are also trying something new, printing room labels that affix to brackets outside some rooms in the Student Life Building.  These placards are dual-color, an engineering challenge that involves creating two designs and then precisely merging them into each other:

door nameplates

The problem is that the placard is so large, that while it fits on the print bed (diagonally), the printer needs to print blue and white plastic “walls” to keep the extruders primed while it changes colors.  These walls do -not- fit on the print bed and fall off the side, the print head tries to move past its extremes, and funny noises happen:

too big

Yesterday, we noticed that the Makerbot exhibited a new problem; the first layer shifts 1-2mm from the rest of the object, resulting in a thin overhang at the bottom of the object.  Andrew to the rescue!  He learned how to re-align the gantry, re-tension the pulleys and belts, and lubricate the overall system.   Thanks to Yoda’s guidance, now the printer works perfectly again:

andrew servicing

Stay tuned as things heat-up at Wayne C³, especially as Launch Day draws near!



Wrenches, rinsers, and we need your vote!

Hello everyone,

We had some accomplishments the past couple of days.  Our third 3D printer has been ordered, another MakerBot that works with PLA plastic (instead of ABS that we currently use).  This will allow us to print more complicated parts.  Thanks to the Romich Foundation for funding this purchase.  Second, Dusty printed more parts for the automatic parts rinser machine for the Chemistry Lab.  This machine will rinse parts 30 times without human intervention, based on his own original design:

part rinser piece

We also printed a different wrench design from  This wrench prints as one piece (no assembly nor glue required).  Just take it out of the printer, remove a few pieces of support plastic, and a fully functioning wrench remains:


Word is getting out about the makerspace at Wayne College.  Our own Kaitlyn will present 3D printer technology during the Administrative Professionals Day later this month.  Our Makerbot will have a spot in an upcoming Wayne College commercial, so stay tuned!

Carolyn from Word Processing brought-in a part that she would like replicated, as the original piece is broken and difficult to repair.  Our engineering students are ready to tackle this task and will convert this complicated part to CAD soon:

boat hitch

Speaking of the Wayne College Makerspace, we are looking for a catchy name and logo.  Please let us know if you have something in-mind!  Below are three logos; please tell us which design that you like best:




And last but not last, here’s what happens when someone recently drops a box of Lego Mindstorms parts.  We won’t name names.  🙂


In the news, scientists discover a way to 3D print lightweight material that is stronger than steel.  Check it out in the article below.  Thanks for the article, Andrew!

Have a good weekend,



Wrenches and a parts rinser

Hello everyone,

As we gear-up for printing model rocket designs for the engineering classes next week, the 3D printers have been busy.  Dusty is in the process of designing a “parts rinser” based on the Pythagorean Cup that we printed for Dr. Vierheller.  There are instruments in the Chemistry Lab that are difficult to clean; they must be rinsed in a solution 30 times.  To simply this procedure, this idea was created:

part rinser diagram

Basically, as solution enters a container in the lower-left corner, the container slows fills.  A vertical tube on the right side of the container also fills.  When the solution reaches the top, then container will automatically drain all of its fluid through the vertical tubing.  The container then fills again, etc.

A device like this could cost $400, but Dusty is creating his own design from scratch.  It will be a tall object (21”), so we are printing it in 6” sections:

part rinser

Stay tuned as we finish this project in the coming week!

We also finished printing another adjustable wrench, a seven-piece design that requires fitting and gluing.  We plan to print a different design that prints the entire wrench, self assembled, in one pass:


In 3D printing news, a woman in the Netherlands had a condition where her skull is slowly thickening, causing blindness and eventually death.  Instead of sculpting a crude replacement skull using medical cement on the operating table, a company called Anatomics made a perfect replacement skull using 3D printing.  It’s been three months since the replacement; now the woman can see and her condition is improving!

Stay tuned for further happenings at the Wayne College Makerspace!