Medals, motors, and weighted spheres

Hello everyone,

There is rarely a dull moment at the Wayne makerspace; the printers seem to be printing something all of the time.  But not without problems, as each printer usually has some kind of issue to fix or workaround.  The build platform on the portable printer does not heat, the first printer is knocking down the object and needs its second extruder height adjusted, and the newest printer does not extrude filament consistently.  Thank goodness for technical support and service plans!

But apart from difficulties, we are having much success.  Students in the Tools for Engineering class are churning out new robots each week as assignments are given.  Next Wednesday, they will have robots that pick up a weighted ball, then determine how strong to throw it based on MatLab calculations into a box a set distance away.  The weighted balls are being made on the 3D printers where the “infill” (how much plastic is inside) can be changed for each object.


Students drew the spheres in Creo, then printed them.  We noticed that spheres with thin skins had difficultly printing, as support plastic on the underside of the spheres would tear away the skin of the ball, too.  Designing the balls with a 2-3mm skin in Creo solved this problem.

Neal (one of our non-engineering students) is hanging out in the lab, inventing interesting projects that involve LED lights, motors, soldering, and batteries.  He is printing custom parts for his creations as well as using some of the failed prints from the “junk bin”.  He is quite creative.


We received a request from the ADA department to create “medals” for an upcoming Disability Olympics.  100 of them!  Dusty co-designed the medal and I am busy printing them.  We are using homemade filament that mimics a darker “metal-like” color of yellow.  It is my second attempt with Solidworks and looks quite decent:


We had an exciting evening last Thursday as members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) came to visit the makerspace.  Around 20+ folks listened to Dusty and I talk about 3D printing, mechanical design, and respond to a number of questions.   Some were interested in the accuracy and repeatability of 3D printed objects, to ensure part accuracy among multiple prints and how the properties of heating/cooling plastic affects this accuracy.  It was a very interesting discussion.

akron maker faire

Mark your calendars for October 18th as the Akron-Summit County Library hosts their first annual Maker Faire!  We plan to go as a group to see the 40+ tables of creations that span ages and generations of inventors.  Please join us!  If you wish to come along, please reply to this e-mail so that we can arrange the carpool from Wayne College that morning.


See how Swedish students play a gig with entirely 3D printed instruments.  It is a good example of using this technology for real-world applications:

In another example, medical laboratories use syringe pumps to administer controlled, small amounts of liquid.  The cost of new pumps can reach hundreds or thousands of dollars.  Now researchers are 3D printing their own pumps at about $50!


As always, please click here to view the weekly blog of the Wayne makerspace.

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Until next week,




Sine waves, rockets, and a T-1000 robot

Hello everyone,

It was another fast week at the Wayne College makerspace.  New faces keep dropping in, trying out the 3D printers and dabbling in CAD design.   We encourage anyone to learn and use the printers, giving them the freedom to use the machines for whatever they like.  The technology is not fail-safe and we usually have hardware problems with each model.  Like copy machines, we have services plans to keep the printers in regular working order.

Last Friday, kids from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club arrived for their second CAD and 3D printing workshop.  We spent two hours learning how to design model rocket fins and an extension tube for the main body.  While keeping of childrens’ attention was a challenge, that was relieved when they got hands on experiences with the 3D printers.


We also printed the rocket bodies that the kids designed from the first day of the workshop, complete with their names inscribed on the sides:


Our filament maker ( has been running quite a lot last week.  We noticed that the filament is created thinner than regular, store-bought filament (1.6mm vs. 1.75mm).  While the 3D printers could use the filament, the printed objects were noticeably thinner and somewhat “holey”.

Will removed the nozzle from the extruder and drilled a slightly larger hole.  We also reduced the machine’s extruding temperature so that the plastic exits a bit thicker from the nozzle.  Now we have properly sized filament!


The Physics Department generously lent some electronics equipment to the makerspace, including an oscilloscope, a waveform generator, and a bench power supply.  Dusty discovered that sending music from an iPod to the oscilloscope allows its waveform to be analyzed.  The tool is a good way to determine the shape of a signal or analyze the 0’s and 1’s in a digital signal.


Last but not least, Neal found an detailed bust of a T-1000 robot from the Terminator movies.  It took 14 hours to print it (on the portable 3D printer).  Neal then meticulously removed the support material, repaired imperfections, etc.  Being new to electronics, he learned how to replace one of the eyes with a red LED that glows from a resistor and battery.  Neal is learning how to solder for the first time, too.  It’s quite an impressive model.


Stay tuned as the students for the Tools for Engineering class use 3D printing for its upcoming projects!


You probably knew that Amazon offers 3D printing services of pre-designed objects on their website (see here).

Now UPS is getting in the game, offering 3D printing of any object that you design and provide to them.  The details are below!  Thanks, Eric, for the link.


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Kids learning CAD, spooling filament, and robots

Hello everyone,

Now the third week of the semester, things are hopping at the Wayne makerspace.  Our portable printer (Polly) came back from repair; now all three printers are functional again.  To make sure Polly is working well, we are printing a 17-hour object on it and are hoping for the best!

As mentioned last week, we invited a handful of kids from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club to teach them CAD, 3D printing, and how to design their own model rockets.  What a fun time that we had.  At the start of the session, Dusty explained the laws of physics, including force, drag, and the application of thrust.



We then taught them how to design a rocket body in CAD with their names inscribed on the side.  We kept their attention for as long as we could.  🙂



This Friday we will teach them how to design fins for their rockets, then print them on the 3D printers.

A couple of months ago, we discovered spool adapters on that makes it easy to mechanically fill an empty spool with filament.  I accidentally purchased ABS filament for the wrong spool size, so we used the spool adapter to transfer the filament to another spool.  We simply attached the adapter to a drill, and away we went!

spool winder


The Tools for Engineering students were busy creating Lego Mindstorms robots the past couple of weeks.  The makerspace lab was the perfect place to design and trial their machines.  The entire class met in the lab last week to demonstrate their robots; the room was packed with students, robots, and the test course marked out on the floor.


Soon students will be creating 3D printed enhancements for their robots, so exciting inventions are in-store for the makerspace lab!

To connect with the community and introduce 3D printing and engineering, we have a number of presentations coming up.  Manufacturing Day at Wayne College is coming up on October 3rd, then we will visit the Holmes County Rotary on the 15th, and also provide a tour of the makerspace lab to ASME representatives next week.  If you know of organizations or businesses that would like a 3D printing demonstration and/or presentation, please let us know!


Learn how the company Metamason is working on custom CPAP masks for sleep apnea patients via 3D scanning, smart geometry, and 3D printing.


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Printing with supports, kids, and robots

Hello everyone,

The Wayne Makerspace is bustling with activity since the start of the semester.  Students spend time doing homework, work on engineering projects, drawing & designing, and just hanging out.  Students taking the Tools for Engineering class are busy creating their first Lego Mindstorms robots, testing software programs that control motors and wheels:


A couple of months ago, a community member brought a plastic window clip that frequently broke due to poor design:


Dusty re-created the clip in CAD, close to the original yet improved to reduce potential stress and breakage.

While the clip is small and looks simple, printing it was quite a challenge!  Because 3D printing creates layers from the ground up, the clip contains a number of overhangs and diagonal angles that are difficult to reproduce, requiring the printer to create these structures in mid-air.

To handle complex shapes, 3D printers create “supports” which are temporarily posts of plastic which are broken off and discarded when printing is finished.  The orientation of the part (which end is “up”) makes a big difference when printing.  It determines how much support material is needed and how difficult it could be remove it.

For the window clip, we tried printing at different orientations, such as nose down and right-side up:

2 and 1 purple

Upside down and nose-up:

4 and 3 purple

And sideways:

5 purple

The purple areas are supports that needed removed after printing.  We found that the nose-up orientation (#4) produced the best result, which minimal supports needed.  It was a lot of trial an error for such a small, seemingly simple part!

Last Friday, a handful of kids from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club visited Wayne College for a CAD and 3D printing training session.  For two hours, Dusty and I taught them the physics of acceleration and how to design the body tube of a model rocket, complete with their inscribed name.  They learned how to draw shapes in Solidworks, set dimensions, perform extrusions, etc.  You could tell they were quite interested in the project.


Future training sessions will involve designing fins, a nosecone, using the 3D scanner, and actually printing & launching their rockets!


See how a Chinese company created four large-scale 3D printers to create buildings from recycled materials of other buildings:


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