Rocket Launch Day 2015, MAPS Air Museum, and microwaves

Hello everyone,

This was an exciting week for engineering students in the Dynamics class.  Having finished calculating, designing, and fabricating model rockets (most of them 3D printed), students and onlookers withstood a cold, windy Monday morning to watch their rockets take flight.  Most rockets flew straight and true, quickly lost in the low hanging clouds above.  There were some interesting designs including a triple-engine rocket that regrettably ran haywire from one engine that failed to ignite.  Some parachutes deployed and some did not as students scoured the surrounding field when the rockets hit ground.


Rocket nosecones, including the huge triple-engine nosecone


Preparing rockets for launch


Launching the triple-engine


Propane torch used as lighter


Lost your nosecone?  Use a golf ball instead!


Event onlookers


Most rockets were 3D printed this year

A couple of weeks ago, a group of students and 3D Lab staff visited Case Western Reserve’s thinkbox facility for a tour and use of its equipment.  On the way back, the group stopped at the MAPS Air Museum in North Canton, Ohio for a tour.  Chris from Wayne College’s T.S.S. department was already there, doing more 3D scanning work for the jet fighter nosecone project.  Our tour guide spent a good two hours with the group.  He explained the history and function of almost every plane and fighter on premises.  It was an excellent learning experience had by all!


Tour guide explaining a jet


Guide explaining this engine’s history


A monstrously sized propeller engine


Morgan planning for world dominance


Clear for take-off


Our favorite plane, the D6.

Over the past couple of weeks, the 3D Lab hosted a group of high school seniors from Kingsway Christian School.  We currently teach them CAD design and 3D printing using the free Sketchup Make program.  Nathan is doing an excellent job teaching them; more on this activity later.  Earlier this week, the Kinsway instructor presented a broken part from her microwave.  Its rotating glass carousel dish sits upon a plastic cap that allows food to spin while cooking.  This cap was cracked, so we were asked if a replacement could be made.  A random student in the 3D Lab took accepted the challenge and designed a professional looking replacement in 30 minutes!


After printing, we tested the PLA cap (gray) and ABS cap (red) in a microwave.  Because these replacement parts have no water content, the microwave’s energy did not heat nor deform them.  A perfect replacement!

Over the past couple of months, we taught kids from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club how to make checkerboards using donated wood pieces that were laser engraved.  The kids then learned how to design their own checker pieces using CAD and 3D printing.  This past Friday, we hosted a checkers tournament with eight players.  Cindy won the tournament and earned a 3D printed trophy.  Congratulations!




See how teenagers develop a 3D printed wristband that pauses and records live TV when you fall asleep:


3D printing makes its way into the world’s first battery powered rocket:


Stay tuned next week for more exciting developments going on in the 3D Lab!



Drones, grinding plastic, and a field trip to think[box]

Hello everyone,

The 3D Lab has been the center of all things aerial lately.  Engineering students enrolled in the Dynamics class are busy printing model rockets, R/C Flight Club members are designing planes and gliders, while others are experimenting with drones.  The R/C club recently took a field trip to the MAPS Air Museum, more on that experience later this week.

Chris recently purchased a tri-copter drone that is powerful enough to support a GoPro digital camera.  He built the aircraft from a kit, so 3D printed parts were not needed.  After calibrating its three propellers and engines to be synchronized, the drone took its first maiden flight in the gym.  The flight was a success with (thankfully) no crash landings.



Early last year, the Romich Foundation provided funding for a filament extruder.  This is used not only for making our own low-cost filament, but we can recycle plastic as well.  3D printing is far from a perfect technology with many failed prints.  We finally received a plastic grinder (also funded by the Romich Foundation) suitable for reducing “waste” plastic into pieces small enough to go through the filament extruder.  Now we can recycle our plastic to be used once again!  More news on this development in the coming weeks.


Last Friday, a small group of students traveled to Case Western Reserve’s thinkbox, a 15 million dollar makerspace that is open to the public.  It is a fantastic place to fabricate anything as it hosts high-end 3D printers, laser engravers, a full metal shop, wood shop, electronics facilities, and more.  We arrived early that morning, before the rush of students and community members who use the facility.  Josh and Nathan used the laser engraver to cut model airplane bodies and wings from foam board while Morgan engraved a wooden plaque for her dorm.





Visiting thinkbox is a good way to learn how they run the facility, giving us ideas for our own makerspace at Wayne.  Thinkbox offers free tours to the public and other schools, so give them a call if you are interested.

Some of their printers offer dual extrusion where one print head prints plastic while the other prints support material of a different type.  This material dissolves in a lye bath, resulting in complex parts that are easy to clean-up after printing.  Thinkbox staff use an “oven” to dry parts after being soaked in the lye bath. 


We also caught a glimpse of a new 3D scanner in which the user waves a “wand” around the object to be scanned, covering all angles.  The result is amazing!  While our students were at the MAPS museum last Friday, Chris took a second batch of scans with our own 3D scanner, loaned from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club.


Last but not least, the 2015 Writer’s Workshop at Wayne College had its award ceremony a couple of weeks ago.  The committee asked the 3D Lab staff to create an award for “Writer of the Year”.  We laser engraved a wood plaque that was donated to us, then used wood stain to darken the text.  The result turned out beautifully!  We used offsite laser engravers for the task (at a makerspace in Creston), as our own engraver is not yet installed.


Stay tuned as we report our experience at the MAPS Air Museum and other exciting developments in the 3D Lab.  We are in for an exciting summer with new equipment for students to explore.



3D printed isn’t limited to small objects.  Some have printed entire cars, while others have invented fully functioning snow throwers:


See how one person 3D printed a full-size 1972 Honda CB500 motorcycle.  It’s not a working model, but yet is impressive in its accuracy and weight (only 18kg!).


Until next week,



Travel club t-shirts, soda dispensers, and battery compartments

Hello everyone,

As the 3D Lab grows beyond its first year, we are polishing the initiative’s rough edges by establishing policies, maintenance and operations schedules, and documentation.  In addition to the wonderful introductory video made by Betty Rogge, Morgan Silvey, and Dusty Ball, tutorial videos are being produced that demonstrate how to use the 3D Lab equipment.  This is no small undertaking as video shooting and editing is intensive work.  Many thanks to our video team for doing this.

We now have easy-to-follow PDF instructions for our equipment, written specifically from our experiences in the 3D Lab.  The instructions even have pictures!  You are welcome to use our equipment after reading these documents; please stop by with any project that you have in-mind.  We are also happy to teach equipment use in-person.

Ifrah is working with our Professor of History to create a vinyl-cut logo for his travel club.  This logo will be used for shirts, cut from a special vinyl that works with our heat press.  Ifrah used vector-art software to trace an outline from a bitmap logo that Paul provided via flash drive.  As vector-art, the logo can be resized without loss in sharpness, the outline of which can followed by the vinyl cutter’s blade.  The result is quite professional!  Ifrah will soon press the design onto a shirt that Paul provided.


If you haven’t heard of, be sure to explore this incredible website!  Thingiverse is a repository of 3D printed designs and inventions of people of all ages from around the world.  If you have an idea, upload your CAD design to be shared and enjoyed by others.  It’s amazing what inventive things people dream-up, from useful household items to works of art.

Earlier this week, one of our students found a two-liter soda bottle dispenser on Thingiverse.  The design involves propping the bottle upside down with a plunger system that releases the beverage into a cup from below.  It’s an ingenious design.  One thing needed is a rubber gasket to seal the bottle’s spout.  We may soon receive a 3D printer that allows printing of rubber objects, so stay tuned as we pursue this project.



Another student, Caleb, wanted to 3D print a replacement battery cover for his game controller.  Not finding a suitable replacement on Thingiverse and with no CAD skills to design a cover from scratch, Caleb used the 3D scanner.  Our own Chris from Technical Support Services had plenty of 3D scanning experience from the jet fighter nosecone project, so he taught Caleb how to scan.  The battery cover scanned perfectly into the computer in three dimensions and printed well, too.  The resultant cover snaps into his game controller with a good fit!



Stay tuned next week as our engineering students begin 3D printing their model rockets in earnest as we draw near the end of semester.



Did you know that Amazon offers custom 3D printed objects that are mailed to your door?  To speed delivery, the e-commerce giant is considering a fleet of “mobile manufacturing hubs” where 3D design files are printed inside delivery trucks then quickly delivered.


3D printing companies are coming to a city near you!  3D Systems (a large-scale 3D printer company) recently opened a filament manufacturing plant in Barberton, Ohio:


Until next week,



Checker boards, Christmas tree stands, Dalton Middle School, and a field trip!

Hello everyone, 

Now into the final month of the semester, our engineering students are currently building and performing physics calculations on their model rockets.  Some student 3D print nosecones and rocket fins/bodies, others choose different fabrication methods.  Because the three printers are in high demand, we now have reservation boards next to each printer to queue student use.  Thankfully all three printers are working well during this “crunch time”.

Last Friday, eight young adults from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club visited Wayne College to learn more about 3D printing, CAD design, and other creative pursuits.  Using donated square wooden plaques, I engraved a checkboard pattern using an offsite laser engraver.  The kids applied wooden tiles in various colors.  They then used Solidworks to design their own checker pieces in CAD.  Needless to say, the kids had a blast and are excited to 3D print their checker pieces next week.





A couple of weeks ago, one of our teachers brought parts to a Christmas tree stand.  Long bolts screw into the stand with a plastic cap on each bolt that holds the trunk in-place.  These caps sometimes crack from the pressure.  Nathan designed a replacement cap in Creo that secures to the bolt.  So replacement caps are now as easy as hitting “Print” on the computer.  Thanks, Nathan!


We made a connection with Dalton Middle School a few weeks ago (courtesy of Barry Romich) where eighth grade students brainstorm inventions for a “Shark Tank” type of competition.  Students pitched their ideas and built dioramas to visually demonstrate its design.  This past Tuesday, we visited the school to talk about 3D printing and careers in engineering.  The students were clearly interested in the technology as most had not seen a 3D printer in action. 





During the presentation, we printed a part for one of their Shark Tank designs, a simple clip that attaches a pipe to a cabinet door.  The students and teacher were quite impressed!

image (4)

Last but not least, Morgan printed these festive cookie cutters for Easter to finish the week:


On April 17th, we are considering a second trip to the “thinkbox” facility at Case Western Reserve.  A number of this semester’s student and 3D Lab staff had not seen the facility, which contain high-end 3D printers, laser engravers, wood and metal shops, circuit board makers, electronics stations, and much more.  If there is enough time, the group may stop at MAPS on the way back to Wayne, to tour the airplane museum and perform more 3D scanning for the jet nosecone project.


We plan to carpool from Wayne early Friday morning, then return before Wayne closes that evening.  We need a headcount as soon as possible.  If you are interested in joining us for the field trip, please let me know by replying to this e-mail or by e-mailing!  

Stay tuned next week as students work on their model rockets and whatever we are cooking up in the 3D Lab.



3D printing continues to make strides in prosthetics.  See how Eythor Bender changes how prosthetics look with innovations in style:


Hungry for pancakes?  Let this 3D printer make custom shapes of your favorite breakfast cuisine:


Until next week,