Boat hitch covers, cookie cutters, and high-end printers

Hello everyone,

There is quite a bit going on at the Wayne College makerspace.  The summer has not dampened the activities going on; it will be exciting to see what the fall engineering students will do here.  Those classes involve using Lego Mindstorms robotics, where students can create 3D printed supplements to their robot designs.

Will from our Technical Services and Support department is busy rebuilding our filament extruder from the ground up.  We received a replacement nozzle in the mail; as the previous nozzle used a metal mesh as a filter which clogged easily.  We plan to vertically mount the extruder, allowing filament to fall straight down.  This should prevent problems with filament kinking:


During the middle of Spring 2014, one of our staff brought-in a boat hitch cover that was cracked and damaged.  Ben, one of our engineering students, designed a replacement cover in Solidworks, a CAD program.  We finally got around to printing his design, a cover that took 12 hours to print:


The reproduction has a couple of minor problems that we need to fix; thankfully Ben provided us with the original Solidworks design for modification.  We may even scan the original with our 3D scanner to make a replacement that way.  Stay tuned!

A couple of weeks ago, Dusty and I demonstrated 3D printing and scanning to 35+ kids at the Orrville Boys and Girls Club.  During the activity, kids designed their own cookie cutters using or drew their designs on paper.  We printed most all of their cutters and delivered them today, almost 40 of them!  In the coming weeks, we plan to teach 10-12 kids CAD design on their premises in a loose summer camp fashion.


Representatives from Konica-Minolta visited the week before last to assess our makerspace.  They, in conjunction with 3D Systems (, produce high end 3D printers such as powder based printer and liquid resin that hardens with ultraviolet laser light:


Printers of this caliber are expensive, but can print highly detailed objects:


In the weeks leading to Fall semester, we plan to offer CAD, 3D printing, and 3D scanning lessons to Northwestern Schools faculty & staff and Orrville Boys and Girls Club kids.  We are quite busy this summer.


See how medical researchers are using 3D printing concepts to create blood vessels, allowing complex tissue shapes and sizes:


Until next week,


Gear boxes, extruders, and kids!

Hello everyone,

Things were too busy for a blog post last week, so this post will catch-up on what’s been happening at the Wayne College Makerspace.

The most exciting announcement is the arrival of the filament extruder kit.  Once assembled, we can make our own filament in addition to buying it in spools.  That will save us 8-10 times the cost if the make the filament ourselves.  It works by feeding plastic pellets into a hopper which is pushed to a hot end via an auger.  The hot end melts the pellets and pushes out filament through a hole.


Initially we had trouble with it, as there was intense torque between the vertical boards while plastic was pushed through the pipe.  The boards would bend and crack from the pressure.  Bracing the boards with additional wood did not help; we resorted to a 1/4″ metal band that restrains the torque (thanks for the suggestion, Will!).  The produced filament works wonderfully in our portable printer, so we are off to a good start.  Here is a picture of Will repairing the extruder when the wood braces literally cracked apart under the pressure:


Dusty made improvements to the geared heart box, as the original design from suffered from a weak crank which is compounded by tight gears.  Instead of a small gear turning a large gear, he designed a torque reducing gearing system, strengthened the base, and designed a better crank.  As a result, less force is required to turn the crank which makes the heart easier to turn as well:

IMG_20140616_084340   IMG_20140624_155917

Yesterday, Dusty and I made a trip to the Orrville Boys and Girls Club to demonstrate the 3D printer and 3D scanner, the latter of which was purchased by the Club and loaned to Wayne College.  There were 30-35 kids in attendance.  The energy from their excitement was thick enough to touch.  The kids asked dozens of questions and were well behaved through the demonstration, so they certainly were interested.

We explained how the 3D printer and 3D scanner worked, then the kids designed cookie cutters using basic CAD design.  We also handed out plastic cards that fold themselves into tiny velociraptors.  It was quite a challenge for them.  It was gratifying to see the kids so excited about the technology and engineering in general; a number of them asked some good questions about how it all works.

P1000750   P1000757P1000758P1000752   P1000762P1000751   P1000759

We hope to have more collaborative efforts with the Orrville Boys and Girls Club in the future, so stay tuned!

3d-printing-newsDid you know that Ford Motor Company produces many car parts using 3D printer technology?  Read all about it here:


There are some big things happening at the Wayne College Makerspace in the coming weeks!



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