Despite being the week of Spring Break, the 3D Lab at Wayne College is still a busy place. Students came to the college to work on projects for themselves, projects for others, and just to “hang out”. The R/C flight club also had their weekly meeting on Monday followed by a fun afternoon of flying outside in warm, windy weather.
Roche Harmon from Hiland High School invited Morgan and me to give two presentations on 3D printing, CAD design, and careers in engineering. We drove through beautiful Amish country to Berlin, Ohio to deliver the presentations. As usual, the students were interested in the technology and asked plenty of questions. Morgan was quite a hit and connected 3D printing with chemical engineering as well.
The students were enrolled in a CAD design class to build CO2 powered model cars using SolidWorks for the design program. This folded in perfectly with 3D printing, especially how it can finely control the weight distribution in the car body. We will soon host these students at Wayne College to show them the lab and offer a learning activity while there.
Back at the home front, Dusty is working with Bud to create a vinyl-cut sign. This particular project involves multiple colors of vinyl applied to the same surface. Dusty accomplished this by cutting the colored areas individually, then applying all pieces to the same sheet of transfer tape. The result turned out quite well! We plan to create complicated, multi-color projects using a solution that allows vinyl pieces to slide around during application onto a surface. Stay tuned as we learn more about the process.
During our presentation at the Wayne County Business Referral Group a while back, one of the attendees asked if we could repair a portable combination flashlight/television unit. The flashlight lens secures with a round brace that was broken in several pieces. Dusty designed a replacement brace using SolidWorks, then printed it with our portable 3D printer. It took several revisions before a perfect fit was achieved. But that is the beauty of 3D printing, as revisions are quick to implement. We are happy to report that the unit is fixed!
You never know what projects students are cooking up in the 3D Lab. One student is designing a sophisticated liquid cooling system for his computer using 3D printed ABS plastic. Chris, one of our own from T.S.S., is determined to make one of the engines from last semester run on compressed air. You can see him busy at work below:
There is lots of interesting news to reveal next week as the semester begins again in full-swing.
In addition to 3D printing making breakthroughs in the medical field, 3D printed electronics is becoming a reality. Imagine printing LEDs, electrodes, and semiconductors directly into the object you are making, no wiring needed!
And here is an almost-ready printer that makes this possible:
Until next week,
It’s hard to believe how fast the semester flew, quite literally. With five weeks to go before Finals Week, students will be using 3D printers to build model rockets from their own custom designs. The 3D Lab is also a popular place for the R/C Airplane Club where students build planes from foam board, 3D printed parts, motors, and batteries. There are student-made planes scattered around the room; come to A-120 to take a look!
Speaking of R/C airplanes, the NE Ohio Electric Festival is happening this weekend at the University of Akron Stile Athletics Field House. Hundreds of attendees will fly planes (with many spectators, too), the proceeds of which will be donated to cancer research. It will be an exciting weekend!
A few weeks ago, Kevin Platz (director of Orrville Boys & Girls Club) brought a flexible microphone stand with a broken clip. Morgan designed a rough draft of a replacement clip, then another student refined the design into an exact match. The replacement is quite strong, printed from our portable printer provided by the Romich Foundation. “Pol-E” is a reliable and rugged printer; we have taken the printer offsite to a dozen schools and organizations already.
Earlier this week, Wayne College offered its annual Milkshakes and Majors event. Students visited with representatives from all the colleges and departments at The University of Akron. Anthony, Morgan, and I set-up a table to demonstrate 3D printing and talk about careers in engineering. There was non-stop interest at the table; we barely had time to finish our milkshakes that afternoon. 🙂
Last Friday, a group of kids from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club visited the 3D Lab to learn technology and generally have fun every two weeks. This session, Morgan and I taught the kids how to assemble and launch rubber-band powered airplanes. The excitement was contagious; the kids had good fun flying them in the gymnasium. Over the summer months, we hope to offer a summer camp that involves a long-term project that involves various technologies in the lab. Stay tuned for more information!
In other exciting news, we received confirmation from the Romich Foundation for a resin 3D printer for the lab! These printers use liquid resin and a low-power laser to create very detailed parts. We are quite excited about this as we’ve had a number of requests that could not be addressed with our current printers. See the comparison between regular 3D printing and a resin printing:
Stay tuned for more information about this development.
Speaking of resin 3D printers, a new type of resin printer is being developed that will print parts in minutes instead of hours. This is accomplished by creating a layer of dissolved oxygen to delay the resin curing process:
Think that 3D printers are limited to plastic, metal, and resin? Think again! Introducing the ‘Foodini’ machine that lets you print edible burgers, pizza, chocolate:
Keep watching our blog for more exciting news next week!
The 3D Lab is a continual flurry of activity. On most days, all three printers are running simultaneously for student, staff, and personal projects. The printers are working fairly well, though our first printer was having quality issues. We have service plans for two of the printers, which is a wise investment to keep the machines functional during heavy use. Nathan noticed that the x-axis belt was loose and could not be tightened, so he installed a replacement belt free of charge from Makerbot. We received so many parts that it more than pays for the service plan’s annual fee.
We are also experimenting with “generic” filament brands as the Makerbot filament spools are quite expensive. The generic filament is half to two-thirds the cost. It generally works OK, though sometimes we need to adjust the extruder printing temperature for the various brands we are trying. If the temperature is too hot, the filament is runny and drips over the part. If it’s too cold, the filament jams inside the extruder.
Speaking of 3D printing, Cerco Corporation (a ceramics company in Shreve) reports more success stories after they received CAD training from Dusty in the 3D Lab last semester. A few weeks ago, they designed a rubber stamp to serialize their product. Recently, employees Eileen and Tammy designed and made a radius gauge for use on their production floor.
One of our students is using CAD and 3D printing to create an interesting personal project, a motherboard bracket for a liquid cooling system that he is inventing. The bracket includes holes to allow copper tubing to pass around various parts of the CPU and motherboard. This allows cooling that is quieter and more efficient than traditional fan based cooling. We are interested to the see results of this endeavor!
Betty Rogge, Senior Lecturer at Wayne College, created a wonderful introductory video of the 3D Lab. If you haven’t seen it yet, please click here. She offered to create instructional videos for the various equipment in our 3D Lab, ensuring that our students use them safely and efficiently. As before, Morgan will write the scripts and she and Dusty will star in the videos. Stay tuned to see them in the coming months!
The installation of the laser engraver is progressing. The maintenance department decided upon the installation location, the wall to be used for the exhaust port, and the source of an air compressor feed. Until the machine is operational, Barry Romich welcomed Dusty, Jennifer, and I to use his personal laser engravers for various projects. He jumped right in and worked alongside us, too!
Jennifer is throwing a bachelorette party and wanted to personalize wine glasses for each guest. Dusty and Barry figured out how to adapt his engraver to work with curved surfaces, something Barry had not tried before. The results were beautiful! The trick was to focus the laser’s beam in the middle of the wine glasses thickest and thinnest areas. That way it could engrave at each extreme without losing much focus.
There are a million projects going on in the 3D Lab; next week we’ll give you a glimpse of more of them!
Read a heart warming story as a University of Central Florida student creates a 3D printed arm prosthetic for a 7-year-old boy, personally delivered by Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man) himself!
Did you know that 3D printers can create objects at the molecular level? See how University of Illinois chemist Martin Burke created a machine that can systematically synthesize thousands of different molecules from a handful of starting chemicals.
Stay tuned for next week’s developments in the 3D Lab!
Now into the halfway mark of the semester, activity is picking up in the 3D Lab for student projects. The Dynamics class builds model rockets this semester based on custom designs, aerodynamic studies, and various fabrication methods (including 3D printing). We are thankful that all three printers are working well; they have been running simultaneously for most of the week.
One of our students is building a two-stage rocket, creating the design in CAD and building it with our first 3D printer provided by the Laura B. Frick Charitable Trust. It is a modular design with stacking sets of fins to support each engine. The student created interlocking tabs to hold the stages together.
Notice the rough plastic on the bottom of the green rocket? This is “support material” that the printer creates to reach areas that hang in mid-air. This is important as the printer creates objects from the ground-up. After printing, this material snaps off then is placed in plastic bins for recycling into new filament.
Morgan uses the vinyl cutter extensively to create window decals for the Periodic Table of Elements. This means well over 110 decals that will adorn the Chemistry Lab. She is our expert with vinyl cutting and assists anyone needing this work done. Please stop-by the lab if you have a project for her!
On Thursday, we had a wonderful visit with representatives from the Laura B. Frick Charitable Trust – PNC Bank. They expressed interest in seeing the lab’s progress especially since the 3D printing initiative started a year ago. Needless to say, they were quite impressed! We grew from a side table in the T.S.S. office to a dedicated room with teaching area, workspace, and sophisticated makerspace equipment. Many of our students and lab staff were present to relate their activities, experience, and excitement for the lab. We are glad to have earnest support from the community in this endeavor.
Sadly, Dusty is no longer among us, as he was abducted by aliens. This is evidenced in the above photo taken just seconds before he vanished.
In other exciting news this week, the laser engraver arrived! The maintenance department is busy preparing an area in the 3D Lab for its use. This is no small undertaking as the engraver requires an external exhaust port for smoke and fumes, an air compressor feed to keep materials from being scored/marred by the laser during engraving, and dedicated power for the engraver and exhaust fan. Thankfully the room has plenty of dedicated circuits, as it was an industrial arts classroom in the past. We already have a lot of laser engraving requests from the College, University, and social organizations in the community, so we are excited about its usefulness. And the students are even more excited than us. Stop-in and take a look!
3D printing makes continuous news in the medical field. See how scientists 3D print cartilage to repair damaged windpipes:
Printing organs and body parts is no longer the stuff of science fiction! Startups in the U.S. are working on printing bits of liver tissue, while a Russian provocateur claims to have on-demand thyroids:
Check-back next week for the latest happenings in the UAWC³ 3D Lab; there is always something interesting and new going on.