Spool holder, window lettering, and a trip to Fab Lab!

Hello everyone,

With the holidays fast approaching and students on winter break, the 3D Lab is still going strong. Betty Rogge has graciously offered to record instructional videos for the equipment use in the lab, starting with the 3D printers. Morgan will write scripts and Dusty will star in the episodes. I’ve been told that the videos will have a Crocodile Dundee flair to them; so they should be quite interesting. We should have our first video available in a few weeks!

Dusty and Kenny have improved the design of the portable 3D printer’s spool holder as the existing one was falling apart. The new holder is stronger and supports different spool sizes. It’s quite an improvement and interesting to realize that the portable printer made a part to fix itself.


Daniel in the Business Office is deftly learning how to use the vinyl cutter. He recently created lettering for office hours that now appears on the cashier window. It looks professional! The trick to applying the lettering is using “transfer tape” to move the sticky letters from the vinyl backing to the tape, then from the tape to the window. It makes aligning the words and letters a cinch.


The highlight of the week was a trip to the Lorrain Community College “Fab Lab” in Elyria, Ohio. Similar to think

at Case Western Reserve, the Fab Lab is a collection of equipment and resources for people to “make” just about anything. It is open to the public for free use two days a week. Pictures explain more than words, so take a look at our adventure there!

Made at the Fab Lab, including the ghost

An original Makerbot

A multi-color vinyl print

Shop area of Fab Lab

Morgan and a StrataSys 3D printer

Industrial mechanical arm robot

Dusty operating an unknown machine

Assembly line track system

Kenny next to a metal cutting machine

Laser sintering 3D printer (for metal)

Resin 3D printer (an old one)

Swordfight at the computerized router

Clock made with a laser cutter

Someone engraving a water bottle

Creating a design for laser engraving

Engraving text on a wine glass

Dusty explaining the milling machine

Student-made arcade machines!

Our design being engraved on a plaque

The finished product, a success!

The Fab Lab was a busy place with the laser engravers being used ‘round the clock. Most everyone was talkative and helpful, eager to show us their projects and how they were made. While the trip home was late, dark, and wet, but well worth it. We hope to come back to the Fab Lab next year with projects to make.


See how unique, custom 3D printed prosthetics allow Derby the dog to run for the first time. Thanks, Andrew for the tip.

With the college closing next week for the holidays, the 3D lab will take a break until the new year. We have plenty of new projects to embark upon and plenty of news yet to announce. Until then, have a Merry Christmas and dream of 3D printed sugar plums!


Kingsway School visit, elephants, and t-shirts

Hello everyone,

The 3D Lab is quiet today, being the last day of the semester.  Several engineering students are staying through winter break to work on projects in the lab, notably creating a large vinyl sign for Student Services, designing a scissor lift for the Chemistry Lab, offering CAD lessons to a handful of community members and one company, and anything else that we can dream up.  Morgan and Ifrah decorated the lab for Christmas, including a cute tree with a 3D printed “Mario star”.


The highlight of this week’s activities was a trip to Kingsway Christian School on the south end of Orrville.  Nathan taught CAD design to students from two class sessions while I explained and demonstrated 3D printing with our portable printer.  The students were clearly excited about the technology and asked all sorts of questions.  The second class session took us surprise as teachers from three different classes crammed into the physics lab to see the demonstration.  Nathan did an excellent job of teaching!  Thanks to Kyle Sawyer from Kingsway to make this experience possible.  We look forward to future collaboration, possibly with their model rocket activities.





Nathan’s CAD lesson showed the students how he designed replacement pins to fix broken door handles at their school.  The door handles droop when the internal pins break, which happens on a regular basis.  He showed how the pin can be recreated with basic shapes (circles, squares, etc.).  The school’s maintenance person tested the replacement pins.  Nathan modified the dimensions slightly, now they have perfectly fitting pins!  Instead of paying $5 per replacement pin from a bad door handle design, the school can fix the problem themselves for 25 cents.





Back at the Wayne College 3D Lab, Matt learned how to heat-press vinyl onto t-shirts using special heat sensitive vinyl.  It is a careful combination of cutting shapes into the thicker vinyl, setting the correct temperature on the press, and the length of pressing time.  Cutting force, temperature, and time each changes with different types of vinyl and t-shirt cloth.  He mastered the technique for our “glitter” vinyl with excellent results.




We still have a lot to learn with this technique, but we are making progress!

Lastly, see how a Kingsway teacher’s son used a computerized plasma cutter to create a “fold-up” elephant from metal sheeting.  It’s an attractive (and cute) addition to any desk.




3D printing technology has enabled some truly life-changing surgeries in the past year.  Let’s cast our eye over some of the significant, life-changing procedures to emerge in the past year made possible by 3D printing technology.



Until next week,



Battle bots, egg drop soup, and a finished coffee lid

Hello everyone,

As the semester draws to a close, students are scrambling to study for finals and finish major projects.  The 3D Lab is the perfect hang-out place for students of any discipline, whether it’s using the 3D printers and vinyl cutter, doing homework, having pizza parties, or just hanging out.  It is a beautiful thing to see everyone coming together to share ideas and work on projects together, academic or not.  That is what makerspaces are all about!  We are so thankful to the donors who made this environment possible.

The highlight of last week’s activity was the egg drop project.  Engineering students designed a number of contraptions to allow raw eggs to safely drop from the top of a building without splattering their contents.  While most devices were successful, there were still plenty of splatters, too.

Some students used drinking straws to cushion the fall, a popular design idea.


Our own Chris from T.S.S., a budding aerospace engineer, built a rendition of the Osprey aircraft to safely deliver the egg to mother earth.  His plane uses 3D printed parts to mount its vertical propellers that act as a floating mechanism.


Earlier in the semester, Dusty designed a replacement coffee mug lid for the Dean, as his cap was cracked and unusable.  The draft version fit well, but when acetone vapor was applied to smoothen the layers, the lid shrunk from the process.  Dusty made design improvements, scaled the lid larger, then printed the final product.  It fits beautifully now!


The blue ring was made by stopping the printer in mid-print, switching filament to another color while the plastic was still malleable, then resuming printing.

This was another big week for our engineering students, the Battle Bots Tournament!  Students create robots that compete by pushing competitors from a round platform by any means necessary.  Some robots use brute force, others use creative ways to disable their opponents before sending them to oblivion.  It was a fun event to bring everyone together for fun and mayhem.





Follow the link below to a wonderful story, courtesy of Paul Locher, about a couple of our students that ran on the front page of the Living section of Sunday’s Daily Record. If you have the time, you may want to check out the hard copy in the library, as it is more visual.



See how 3D printing makes it possible for a man to build a mechanical bird that flies by actually flapping its wings!  It’s a sight to behold:


Until next week,