Flywheels, buckles, and a vinyl cutter!

Hello everyone,

We are pleased to announce the newest addition to the Wayne makerspace, a professional vinyl cutter!  Though a generous grant from AT&T to the Orrville Boys & Girls Club, this machine allows the creation of stick-on graphics, lettering, and decals.  These have adhesive backing for application onto windows, laptops, cars, walls, basically any flat surface.  We also have a heat press for transferring designs onto t-shirts.

Many thanks to Kevin Platz (Executive Director of OBAGC) who made this possible.  If anyone would like to see and learn how to use this device, please stop by!  As Sarah Jane notes, it is so easy to use.  This Friday, boys and girls from the Club are coming to Wayne to use the vinyl cutter, 3D scanner, and to design nosecones for their model rockets.


The vinyl cutter is simply a tiny, computer controlled blade which cuts lines in the material.  After cutting, the unneeded vinyl is peeled off.  A special, clear “transfer tape” is applied to the top of the remaining design.  When the tape itself is then peeled off, the design sticks to the tape.  Applying the tape to a surface transfers the design, like magic!


Students from the Tools for Engineering class are busy designing and printing working air powered engines using the 3D printers.  These large objects consume a lot of plastic, though our printers are holding up well.  Hopefully we will have several working motors to reveal by the end of semester.  Check-out the flywheel that was recently designed:


Students are also creating personal items in CAD, then printing them.  Nathan needed a replacement buckle for his backpack, so he designed his own.  Dusty is helping another student with an smart phone stand, trying different designs that are functional yet minimalistic.


phone stand

The makerspace is still accepting requests from, a repository of hundreds of thousands of ready-made 3D designs.  You don’t need to know CAD to use a 3D printer!  We made a first-place trophy for the annual costume party by combining the coveted Grumpy Pumpkin with a candlestick.  The results are quite impressive.  I even used my minimal CAD designs to design an adapter to fit the two pieces together.  Chad requested a funnel that would allow pouring powder into a bottle, so we found a Thingiverse design for that, too.


We have been busy teaching community members and organizations about CAD design, 3D printing, and the makerspace initiative.  Below is Dusty teaching CAD to members of the University of Akron Human Powered Vehicle Team.


Last evening, he taught CAD to a local company that discovered us during Manufacturing Day.  This effort is a six-week workshop with two sessions a week.  Many thanks to Dusty for his time and patience in doing this.


Did you know that Intel is releasing a robot later this year?  Named “Jimmy Research Robot”, you 3D print most of its body, then add an Intel mini PC board, motors, and so on. This way, consumers can create their own customizable robots for under $1,000.


We have some big developments and announcements in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!



Weed eater line, ASME training, and the Akron Mini Maker Faire!

Hello everyone,

The engineering students are using the Wayne makerspace practically full-time, thankfully all three printers are basically working well.  Students are designing motor parts for their current projects, some will be hand operated while others will be powered by air pressure.  Their CAD designs are amazing.

We are always up for a challenge to create and fix things, too.  One of the tutors in the Learning Center owns a “string trimmer” that is basically a weed eater in a lawn mower form factor.  The company went out of business, so he could not obtain replacement trimmer line.  After bringing a sample to the makerspace, we printed replacement line with ABS plastic.  If it works in his trimmer, we can experiment with printing with nylon for better durability:


Dusty also designed a plastic bearing for a proof-of-concept.  The bearing printed as one piece in our large ABS printer, which works quite well as far as bearings go:


Last month, a large group from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers visited the makerspace for a talk and demonstration of 3D printing as it pertains to engineering.  Dusty gave an excellent presentation on the subject.  Some members requested CAD training which Dusty was more than happy to provide.


Nathan, one of our many enterprising students, desired a way to smooth the “layers” made by 3D printing.  Exposing the object to acetone vapor is one solution, but it risks part deformation from prolonged exposure.  He printed a cylindrical object, then shaved the outer skin with a lathe at home.  The result was a perfectly smooth surface, devoid of layers!


This past weekend witnessed the Akron Mini Maker Faire event, in its second year in that city.  Attendance doubled from last year, with 40 tables of exhibitionists and over 1,550 attendees.  It was an exciting time.  Dusty, Anthony, myself, and a Wayne student or two attended.


Second generation Makerbot


This 3D printer extrudes aluminum!


Spider robot


Spiderbot controlled by arm muscles


Robot course for kids FIRST LEGO League


Tiny Arduino microcontrollers


Tom’s computerized Christmas lights


Explaining lights to lots of folks


A homemade “game controller” made of wood


An important hallmark in the growth of our makerspace, Northwestern Schools hosted a recognition ceremony for organizations who contributed to their success and growth of their new makerspace (named Imagination Station).  Wayne College was the recipient of an award for offering advice on the creation of their space as well as offering a 16-hour CAD training and 3D printing workshop to their faculty & staff (courtesy of Dusty).  It is quite an honor and we look forward to more collaboration with them in the future.


And last but not least, Dusty discovered that since the print heads on our 3D printers reach almost 450 degrees, it could make for an excellent way to pierce ears for earrings.  Before we try this on students, he decided to test the theory on himself:

Dusty Printer1

Dusty will report his findings after he returns from the Emergency Room.



See how 3D printing creates knee replacements that are customized for each patient, reducing complications and pain from join instability:

SpaceX creates rockets and space transport vehicles, similar to (and assisting) NASA.  See how they used 3D printing to create the SuperDraco thruster:


Model airplanes, mascots, and the Rotary!

Hello everyone,

There are so many things going on at the Wayne makerspace that it is difficult to keep track of them.  The lab seems to have a life of its own, given the students who are pursuing all sorts of projects.

Aside from the LEGO robots being built by students in the Tools for Engineering class, the R/C Club has made the makerspace their home.  For the past couple of weeks, students are cutting airplane parts from foam board, printing motor mounts, propellers, and firewalls with the 3D printers, designing complex assemblies in CAD, etc.  It’s amazing what 3D printing makes possible with this craft.





With Guidance Counsellor’s Day approaching on November 11th, Sarah Jane asked if we could create 3D printed items for the various high schools visiting that day.  Morgan, our assistant in the makerspace, decided upon the perfect idea: 3D printed mascots!  She traces the mascots using the graphics tablets loaned to us (thanks, Lori!) using Adobe Illustrator.  This drawing is imported into SolidWorks, which is converted to 3D like a cookie cutter.  This is printed on a flat base to complete the design.  The onscreen drawings are turning out beautifully.


John Lorson invited Dusty and me to the Millerburg Rotary Club yesterday.  We explained 3D printing and demonstrated the portable 3D printer to a crowd of 20-some.  Besides the warm reception and interested crowd, the food was really good, too.  🙂  Dusty did an excellent job of explaining 3D printing from an engineering viewpoint.

MBG Rotary 3-D 3

MBG Rotary 3-1

Last but not least, check-out this softball holder for Ann Martin’s first pitch!  Dusty and a student designed this together in about 20 minutes, a first for the student who had never used CAD before:




3D printing is getting BIG, literally.  Read how a 2,400 square-foot house is coming to New York, complete with swimming pool:


See how Local Motors has built the Strati, the world’s first 3D printed car:

You can print your own scaled model of the Strati from Thingiverse here


Stay tuned for some big announcements next week!



Grumpy pumpkins, fixing an ailing printer, and Manufacturing Day

Hello everyone,

The Wayne makerspace lab has been busy since the start of the semester.  There is always someone in the lab, printing, drawing, testing robots, or just hanging out.  The printers are almost constantly running and the students have no problem with figuring them out.

Our portable printer (affectionately named “Polly”) exhibited platform heating problems for over a month now.  A heated platform is important when printing with ABS plastic as it needs to cool slowly to reduce the risk of warping.  As the printer was under warranty, the vendor sent a replacement heating element.  It worked for a little while, then failed again.  As it turns out, the ribbon cable that connects the heating element to the circuit board was damaged from improper assembly at the factory.  Here are Neal and Chris tearing the printer apart to install the replacement cable.  Thanks, guys!


Like copy machines and laser printers, it is a good idea to purchase a service plan for 3D printers.  The portable printer does not have a plan (the vendor is too small), but our two Makerbots are on the plan and has already saved us considerable cost in upkeep.

Amy from the Business Office found a cool pumpkin for use on as a candy jar at the teller window.  Named “grumpy pumpkin”, it certainly looks the title.  The jar took 12-14 hours to print, and the lid another 3-4 after that.  The lid did not fit properly due to a slightly flawed CAD design.  But no worries, Daniel from that office used our Dremel tool to carve the lid into shape (pun intended).



If you find something interesting on that you would like to print, please let us know!

Morgan, Dusty, and I had a big day on Friday.  We attended and presented at Manufacturing Day at Wayne College, the first event of its kind.  Over 160 attendees from the Chamber of Commerce and manufacturing companies in Wayne County came to the event.  We had a 3D printer in the main meeting room as well as another in a classroom for our breakout session.  The three of us explained and demonstrated how 3D printers are used in manufacturing.  If you are interested in knowing more, please open the PDF in this e-mail.  Our presentation was well received and we had an excellent lunch, too (Old Carolina BBQ, baby!).





Later this week, a dozen or so engineers from the University of Akron Human Powered Vehicle Team will arrive at the 3D Lab for CAD lessons, courtesy of Dusty.  They would like to build custom, lightweight, strong parts for their vehicles and 3D printers are just the thing.  More news about this endeavor next week.

human powered vehicle team



See how 3D “bio printer” creates on-demand skin grafts for burn victims:


On the fun side, see how skateboards use 3D printed replacement parts:


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

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Stay tuned for more news next week: