Friction welding, snow skis, and a field trip

Hello everyone,

It was a fast week at the Wayne College 3D Lab, yet we haven’t even started the model rocket projects yet.  It’s amazing how many projects we start and are asked to do.  And even more amazing (and gratifying) that students offer to help, though it is not related to their course studies nor homework!  The self-driven motivation that the 3D Lab instill into our students is wonderful.

Morgan and Word processing are busy creating promotional posters to help students become aware of the 3D Lab.  This was an original idea from Maureen Lerch in the library.  Thanks Maureen!  The posters are nearing completion.  Also, Betty Rogge nearly has the promotional video finished.  We are excited to reveal it in the coming months.  Here is fun poster that Morgan put-together to honor our student assistants helping in the lab this semester.


A few weeks ago, we discovered an article on the Internet that talks about friction welding.  This technique is normally used for binding metal pieces by spinning a metal rod at high speed which melts into a seam when pushed at the pieces’ joint.  It turns out that 3D printer filament inserted in a Dremel tool can friction-weld two pieces of plastic.  The resultant bond is incredibly strong, much better than glue.  Come down to the lab sometime to see how we do it.


The model R/C airplane club is rocking this week and have a fun field trip planned for this Sunday.  Nathan created some 3D printed skis for their model airplane and will see how it lands in the snow.  A group from the club is visiting an airplane museum near the Canton-Akron airport, armed with a 3D scanner and a tripod.  They intend to 3D scan the nose cone of an F-86A Sabre Jet.  The goal is to create a replacement nose cone for another plane that is being repaired.  This plane will be a museum piece.  The group will hopefully have a story to tell and pictures to show when they return!



The highlight of this week was a field trip to an in-development local makerspace.  Morgan, Dusty, Nathan, Anthony, and I learned how to use laser engravers to make beautiful wood plaques and engrave onto crystal-like glass with the Wayne College logo. 






We had a wonderful lunch of homemade pizza which involved a lively discussion and demonstration of Sterling engines.  These engines operate by the opposing forces of hot and cold.  Thankfully, we did not catch the kitchen on-fire in the process!




See how a man saves his wife’s sight by 3D printing her tumor:


In the automotive world, see how the Local Motors Company looks to disrupt the auto industry with 3D-printed car bodies:


More exciting news coming from the 3D Lab soon!



Accessible Toys, Vinyl Projects for Kids, and Community Presentations

Hello everyone,

The 3D Lab currently sounds like an 80’s arcade machine parlor.  All three printers are chugging away at building objects, producing all sorts of interesting sounds.  Two printers are building parts for our popular “heart gear” that we found on (that Dusty redesigned), while the portable printer is creating cute robots that we use as giveaways for visitors and offsite presentations.  The model R/C airplane club is having their first semester meeting in the 3D Lab today; they already have three models will be flying sometime soon.

Debbie Muniak (our Events Coordinator at Wayne) connected us with Replay for Kids, an organization that adapts toys to be usable by kids with disabilities.  RFK is interested in using 3D printing technology to realize these adaptations.  Last week, they brought a stuffed animal that normally speaks and moves when its body is pressed.  RFK wants to activate the toy through an external button.  The button is a repurposed push-light.  Below are photos of the original design, Kenny taking measurements, and a 3D printed a custom base.  He created the push-light adaptation in less than 20 minutes!




Our collaboration with the Orrville Boys and Girls Club continues to flourish.  Kids come to Wayne College every two weeks to learn about 3D printing, CAD design, vinyl cutting, and other projects that we can dream-up.  This past Friday, they learned how to personalize wood plaques with names and pictures created on the vinyl cutter.  The plaques were generously donated by P. Graham Dunn.  The kids had a wonderful time.  Thanks, Kenny and Morgan for helping manage the activity!


 100_5693  100_5692
 100_5698  100_5697
 100_5699  100_5702
 100_5700  100_5703


Thanks to Wayne College faculty & staff, we are making connections with the community, introducing folks to the marvel of 3D printing, digital fabrication in manufacturing, and putting in a good word for Wayne College, too.  Last week, Morgan and I presented to the Wayne County Business Referral Group (courtesy of Kevin Engle).  This organization hosts weekly meetings of representative businesses in major areas of service.  And since these are held at T.J.’s in Wooster, we received a good meal out of it, too.


Nathan and I were also invited to the Wooster chapter of Lions Clubs International, a secular, non-political service organization with 46,000 local chapters and more than 1.35 million members.  We brought the portable 3D printer to explain and demonstrate 3D printing, discuss careers in engineering, and answer lots of questions.  And the food was good, too.  🙂


Stay tuned later this week for more exciting projects students are working on.



Wait, a 3D printed lawn mower?  See how Hans Fouche reverse engineered an old, rusty lawnmower to be 3D printable.  And it works!


Arron runs a jewelry business and invented a copper “paint” that combines graphite powder, acetone, copper, then electroplating it to give 3D printed parts a copper plated look:


More news from the 3D Lab coming soon!




Career Day, Shearing, and Lots of Projects

Hello everyone,

Now into the third semester, the 3D Lab is a flurry of activity even before the engineering students begin their model rocket projects!  We are thankful to the Dean to have five student assistants working in the lab as they are all busy with projects and balancing homework.

Morgan is creating Table of Elements window decals for the Chemistry Lab, designing a 3D printed “lab jack”, and creating promotional posters for the 3D Lab.  Ifrah is also helping us with designing posters that highlight our best accomplishments last semester.

Dusty and Nathan are working on projects for the police department, including a bracket to mount bodycams to sunglasses.  They are also designing a replacement gear for a paper shredder for a teacher.  Stay tuned as we reveal the results of these endeavors.

Last Friday, Sarah Jane, Morgan, Anthony, and I went to Fairless Middle School to talk about 3D printing and careers in engineering for its annual Career Day.  We presented to six classes sessions of students which made for a long but exciting day.  Our sessions were so popular that teachers normally on break spent the time in our classroom instead!





Many thanks to the Romich Foundation for our portable 3D printer which has been shown to many schools, organizations, and businesses.  It printed like a champ all day!  Thanks, Morgan, Anthony, and Sarah Jane for assisting with the presentation.  We had many excited kids, many of whom asked countless questions.  This was aided by Sarah Jane passing our candy to those who answering our questions, too.  🙂

If you know of any organizations, schools, or business who would like to experience 3D printing and how Wayne College can help them, please let me know.  We are always willing to make road trips if there is interest and the food is good.

We also deeply thank Debbie Muniak who worked with Akron campus to create a portable banner to promote our lab and 3D printing initiative as well as a matching table cloth.  These will be used for our offsite presentations.  They are beautiful!


Before Christmas break, the Romich Foundation generously donated a professional metal shearing machine.  This will be used to shape metal and wood plates used in the laser engraver.  The model R/C airplane club will also use the shear to form foam airplane wings and other parts.  Lastly, the shear will be used to bend metal, such as making metal project enclosures.  We are very thankful for this gift.




See how Derby the Dog gets to run for the first time with 3D printed prosthetics (thanks for the link, Andrew!).


Printing with plastic isn’t the only method of 3D printing.  See how a company is using paper to create multi-color 3D objects.  It’s amazing!


More news coming soon!



T-shirts, lasers, and our first video!

Hello everyone,

The Spring 2015 semester begins next week.  The 3D Lab is ready for another exciting semester.  As with last January, our engineering students will design model rockets, some using 3D printed parts.  Last year’s rockets were quite creative, so we are excited to see how the printers and vinyl cutter will be used this year.

A big announcement is the receipt of a generous grant from The Romich Foundation for a laser engraver!  These incredibly diverse machines are used for engraving/etching designs onto wood, metal, plastic, even onto laptops, leather, foam, etc.  The laser also cuts out shapes from wood, plastic, and other “soft” material.  The possibilities are endless for what they can do.

To start with, the R/C airplane club will use the laser engraver to cut airplane wings, bodies, and precise parts from foam board.  The engineering students can cut-out custom fins from balsa wood and more.  We hope to create engraved promotional materials, name tags, and materials to benefit the local community and other schools.  Stay tuned as we begin this exciting adventure.


Please check-out the following page of the many things that can be made & customized with a laser engraver:

If you have anything that you would like engraved, please stop-by!  Using the engraver is as easy as “printing” from Microsoft Word.  We should have the engraver installed and ready for use in a month or two.  We also have a wide variety of materials that you and your students can engrave onto at no cost.

The Friday before Christmas break, kids from the Orrville Boys & Girls Club came to the 3D Lab to create t-shirts using their own designs made on the vinyl cutter.  We have a special “heat transfer” vinyl that, in conjunction with a heat press, hot presses the vinyl onto t-shirts at high temperature.  The results were amazing and the process was fairly simple to do.  Kids made designs with solid-color vinyl, glitter vinyl, and a special “chrome” vinyl with impressive results.  The event was fun and the kids went home with their own custom-made shirts.


If you or your department needs custom-made t-shirts, bring-in some shirts!  We will provide the vinyl and help with creating your designs.  We can work with 100% cotton, 100% polyester, and 50/50 blend.

Last semester, Akron campus filmed a Wayne College commercial that mentioned our 3D printer initiative.  You can view the video here.  Betty Rogge, Senior Lecturer of Elementary Education at Wayne, has graciously offered to create a promotional video of our 3D Lab!  Morgan wrote the script and Dusty did the acting (in the style of “The Crocodile Hunter”).  Betty directed and is now arranging and producing the final video.  It will introduce the lab and the various equipment that students have access to.  It’s informative and funny, so stay tuned for its release!

Last, check-out our latest print from our PLA printer, a Maker Faire Robot.  This little guy was designed to be “print-in-place”, meaning that the robot is a fully articulating object printed as one piece with no assembly.  It helps one understand how to design 3D objects with 3D printing in-mind.  It is a marvelous engineering accomplishment.

maker faire robots



See how 5th graders use 3D printing to create a prosthetic leg for “Stumpy” the turtle.  It’s a heart warming story:


We learned a new technique to bind plastic parts together without glue.  It’s called “friction welding” where we use our Dremel tool to spin filament at high speed.  This melts when applied to plastic junctions.  The bond is amazingly strong, almost like welding metal!


Until next week,