Printer problems, large parts, and the extruder!

Hello everyone,

Even in the middle of summer, exciting things are happening at the Wayne College Makerspace.  At one point we had all three printers running, until I broke one of them (twice!).

Maureen’s husband learned that PhotoShop can be used to create 3D objects from photos.  Normally, PhotoShop is a 2D program that allows one to edit digital photos and the like.  He took a photo of a fireman, converted it to 3D, then printed the object on his company’s StrataSys printer (a high-end 3D printer).  We printed the fireman with our own printers with decent results.  Note that the roughness of the print is from the PhotoShop conversion, not as much the printers themselves.  Still, very impressive!


We also experimented with two-color printing by pausing the print mid-way, switching to a different color filament (by unloading one color and loading another), then resuming the print.  The technique worked perfectly!


Do you remember the adage “haste makes waste”?  Well, I rushed a print job on our portable printer and accidentally loaded the wrong type of plastic (I used PLA instead of the recommended ABS).  The result is that the plastic was poorly melted and jammed in the printer.  Dusty performed surgery on our printer to clean-up the mess:


Dusty is busy printing more objects for the automatic part rinser for the Chemistry Lab.  This will save the Lab at least $400, not to mention the time it saves manually rinsing parts.  His design is quite large; it will take almost 100 hours of printing time to build it.  Here is one part that took 12 hours this week to print.  We will keep you posted of the project’s progress!


With other printer woes, our original printer has the occasional habit of shifting the print head 1/2″ in the middle of a print job, skewing the object as it builds the remaining top layers.  We have a service contract with the printer company; they assist us with these types of strange software/hardware glitches:


The filament extruder kit arrived earlier this week, so we are busy assembling it.  This will allow us to create our own filament at 8-10 times less the cost of buying pre-made filament.  I will finish the electrical wiring over the weekend, but the extruder is looking good so far:


Next week is a trip Northwestern Middle School where Dusty and I will offer advice for building the school’s own Makerspace.  We’ll the results of this trip next week!


In the news, President Obama acknowledged the growth the “maker” culture by recently hosting a Maker Faire at the White House!  June 18 is now a nationwide “Day of Making”.  Read more below:

Stay tuned for more Wayne Makerspace news next week!



Excited 7th graders, more ADA parts, and a revived printer

Hello everyone,

The break in communication is because yours truly took a week’s vacation, a much needed break.  Lots have been happening at the Wayne College Makerspace, despite the absence.

First off, I heard that Jonny’s custom rocket descent system (the “flowering pedals” approach) worked beautifully!  It launched, opened its wings upon apex, and twirled gently to the ground.  What an amazing invention that he designed!

Ben, another engineering student, designed a replacement lawn mower pull-string handle for one of our teachers.  It’s amazing how quickly students are learning CAD and applying it to the real world:

lawn mower handle

Another request was made to improve a wheelchair for one of our disabled staff.  The wheelchair’s brake lever was catching on plastered corners, damaging them.  So Dusty designed a cover that would minimize this problem:

wheelchair wall protector

Excellent work, Dusty!

Today was a particularly exciting day as well over one hundred 7th grade students came to Wayne College to learn more about Writing, Chemistry, Physics, and you guessed it, 3D printing!  The kids were thrilled about the 3D printers and asked lots of questions.  After handling four 20-minute sessions, I was worn out, but it was rewarding work.  Our own Andrew taught a similar session last week which went over well, too.

The new 3D printer is back-in business.  The defective extruder was promptly replaced by the vendor; Dusty installed it last week.  To test it out, he printed a funnel for a Rube Goldberg machine for a Northwestern Middle School student, a huge one at 7” tall!  It took 11 hours to print, but printed beautifully.

3d-printing-newsYou may have read about this earlier, but if not, check-out this kayak entirely made by a 3D printer!





More news next week!



Making limonene, making filament, and 3D scanning

Hello everyone,

The theme for this week at the Wayne College Makerspace is recycling!  3D printing is far from a perfect process; a good deal of the plastic used results in failed prints.  To save costs (and the environment) we plan to recycle our waste plastic into usable filament.  Thanks to another grant from the Romich Foundation, we ordered a filament extruder and a plastic grinding machine:





















Recycling filament is a relatively new idea in the 3D printing world.  In addition to recycling old plastic, we can purchase plastic pellets instead of plastic filament.  We can then make our own filament at a tenth the cost of pre-made filament.  We’ll keep you posted when this project begins!

Dusty, our resident mad scientist, is developing a method to recycle used limonene into fresh solution.  In our dual-head printer, we use dissolvable filament to print complex objects.  Limonene dissolves this filament, but the spent solution has dissolved plastic in it and is disposed.  Through steam vacuum distillation, Dusty extracts the limonene from the spent solution so that we can use it again.


The system basically works; he is refining the process to prevent breaking down the limonene components, ultimately to design a machine that automates this process.

Kevin Platz, executive director of the Orrville Boys and Girls Club, brought almost a dozen kids to the Makerspace today to learn about the 3D printers.  They kids were clearly excited!  We plan to make a trip to their location with the portable printer to teach them more.

IMG_2572 IMG_2588 IMG_2580 IMG_2592IMG_2599

Kevin also delivered a new addition to the Wayne College Makerspace, a 3D scanner!  The scanner is loaned to us from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club, the beginning of a collaborative effort with Wayne College to teach STEM skills to these kids.  A 3D scanner allows physical objects to be imported into a CAD program for modification or directly duplicating objects on a 3D printer.

Here is Dusty setting up the scanner for the first time:


Stay tuned as we learn more about the 3D scanner, the filament extruder arriving next week, and a future field trip to the Boys and Girls Club!

3d-printing-newsLearn how researchers are using 3D printers to make blood vessels using sugar based molecules for the vessels and hydrogel to produce a cast:




Stay tuned as we learn more about the 3D scanner, the filament extruder arriving next week, and a future field trip to the Boys and Girls Club!



Trip to Case Western’s ThinkBox is tomorrow at 11:45

Hello everyone,

We are planning to visit the Case Western ThinkBox Institute for Collaboration and Innovation tomorrow (Friday) at 11:45 a.m.   We will carpool to Cleveland, be given a guided tour at 2:30, then return back to Wayne by 5:00 at the latest.  After we arrive at the facility by 1:00 and get our bearings, we’ll find a place to eat, then come back to Case for the tour.


Case Western Reserve University’s new invention center provides a space for anyone – especially students, faculty, and alumni – to tinker and creatively invent.  Housed temporarily in a 4,500 square foot space, this $25M project will be moving into a 7-story, 50,000 square foot facility, making it one of the largest university invention centers in the world.

Link to their website:

If you can come, please show-up in A-120 by 11:30 this Friday (tomorrow) so that we can leave by 11:45 (or noon at the very latest).  Let us know that you are coming so that we will wait for you.



Fans and rocket fins

Hello everyone,

One of our engineering students, Jonnathan, designed a prototype rocket fin in Creo.  We loaded this object into the 3D printer’s “Makerware” software and will print it this afternoon.  Having a physical object in-hand now means they can visually inspect its properties, making first-time rocket launches more likely to be successful.

rocket fin

Dusty is working on repairing a standing floor fan for E-Wing.  The plastic coupler broke that connects the curled metal pipe that sits on the floor and the vertical pipe below the fan itself.  As you can see, he is making good progress on it.  If the printed part breaks later, we can easily print another.

fan collar

Andrew is working on the geared heart box.  We are thinking of redesigning the connecting pins as the existing design do not lock into place well.  It is almost ready for its first cranking!

Stop by A-120 to see the rocket fin being printed as well as the floor fan coupler being designed; they are both quite impressive.