New printers, an invented bookbag hangar, and road trip to the Wayne County Fair

Hello everyone,

As to be expected at this point in the semester, the 3D Lab is a bustling place.  Engineering students are engrossed in their latest class assignments, flight club members build and test planes, community members design and print inventions, students finish homework, and others meet and socialize.  The lab has so much energy this time of year; it is exciting to watch the interactions and fun going on there.

The two new 3D printers arrived early last week and are installed.  They could not have come at a better time as our oldest 3D printer has broken-down, needing a replacement motherboard.  Students are already heavily using both new printers.  They use HIPS plastic (high impact polystyrene) which has similar strength to ABS with the ease of printing as PLA.  HIPS is dimensionally accurate, is easy to cut, sand, and paint, and is FDA approved for use in food processing.

both taz

left taz

The printers worked perfectly out-of-the box.  We are thankful to the Carl E. Congdon, Jr. and Susanna Congdon McIntyre Memorial Fund, a (component of the Wayne County Community Foundation) for providing these machines; we surely needed them!

Our engineering students are currently designing flashlights and batteries using the Solidworks CAD program, then printing representative versions on the 3D printers.  Here is a finished battery designed by a student:


Last Friday, Andrew from our technical support department had a super idea.  Since the 3D Lab is rapidly losing free space because of incoming equipment and student projects, he invented a clip that hangs book bags from a desk, saving desktop space and preventing bags from getting dirty on the floor.  He fabricated multiple revisions on the 3D printer until the clip has the perfect balance of grip on the table edge and strength/balance.  It works perfectly!  If you or your students would like clips for tables in your classrooms, please visit the 3D Lab and we’ll help you print some.



A couple of weeks ago, the 3D Lab made a road show to represent Wayne College at the Wayne County Fair in Wooster, Ohio.  We brought the portable printer (provided by the Romich Foundation) along with many 3D printed items, brochures, and so on.  We took requests from fair attendees to print objects on-demand.  The booth was incredibly popular and drew lots of fair goers of all ages to see the printer in-action and discover the 3D Lab at Wayne College.



Especially popular at the Wayne College fair booth were UA “Roo” keychains made by the laser engraver in the 3D Lab!  The keychains were provided by P. Graham Dunn and the laser engraver by the Romich Foundation.  The engraver works fast; it only took an hour to burn the UA logo onto 150 keychains.  We used Corel DRAW to create a jig that the engraver cut out of cardboard, allowing us to engrave a 10 keychains at a time.  Our famous Wayne College lip balm finally has a real contender.  🙂



Stay tuned next week as we reveal new and exciting things happening in the 3D Lab!



See how a 3D printed device could help the visually impaired navigate:


See how a shape shifting navigation device points you in the right direction:


Until next week,



Flight Camp recap, synthetic organ stress testing, and laser-cut award medals

Hello everyone,

Exciting things are preparing to happen in the 3D Lab.  Now into the third week of the semester, engineering students will soon begin robotic designs that will use 3D printing for some of its parts.  These robots have specific tasks to perform such as throwing a weighted ball a calculated distance, locating and capturing an object in a confined area, and more.  The creative robotic designs never cease to amaze us.

Later this week, we will receive two additions to the 3D Lab, matching Taz 5 3D printers!  These highly rated machines were provided by the Carl E. Congdon, Jr. and Susanna Congdon McIntyre Memorial Fund, a component of the Wayne County Community Foundation.  The printers will create 150% larger objects than our other printers, using exotic materials such as rubber, nylon, t-glase, HIPS plastic, and stone- & wood-infused plastic.  Needless to say, we are quite excited!  More news as we dig into these marvels next week.


As mentioned earlier this year, the summer flight camp with the Orrville Area Boys and Girls Club was a wonderful success.  We posted its progress throughout the summer; please read previous blog entries here for details.  Instructor Chris made a nice video to recap the activity, a testament to the fun time the kids had while learning makerspace technology to build the planes.  Please click the picture below to watch the video.


Back in the 3D Lab, a UA graduate student is building a device that will test the structural integrity of synthetic organ material, such as a synthetic heart.  The device stretches the material in four directions at the same time, yet individually controllable.  His invention uses a combination of ABS and PLA plastic.  Detailed parts (such as threaded sockets) were created with the high resolution resin printer.  We are quite impressed with his design and the initial prototype seems to work well!


We continue to be amazed with projects that students and staff dream-up with the laser cutter.  Staff member Theresa wanted to create award medals for the local live drama theater.  Thanks to generous donations from P. Graham Dunn, she learned how to use the laser cutter for the first time.  The medal’s shape and fancy outlines were laser cut while text was engraved on top.  We used two passes of the laser to “burn” the wood more thoroughly, allowing for better contrast.  Theresa was quite pleased with the result!


If you would like to create giveaway items, awards, and gifts, we are welcome to teach you how to use the laser engraver.  It’s quite easy and addicting.  Once you start creating things, you will have all sorts of new ideas to try.  Please stop-by A-121 to browse our selection of free items to engrave.



See how 3D printing enables a UA professor of polymer science and biomedical engineering to develop 3D printed biodegradable polymer scaffolds, the frameworks within which bone will grow, with the hope of changing the face of craniofacial reconstruction.


For the first time, a patient receives a 3D-printed titanium sternum and rib cage:


Until next week,

Snake bot parts, huge R/C planes, and a visit by Heartland Point

Hello everyone,

With the first week of the Fall semester at its end, the 3D Lab proves a busy place for students and community members.  We are interested to see what the engineering classes will cook-up in the lab for projects.  The lab is also used as a hang-out place for students to socialize, do homework, and help each other create cool things with the equipment.  The Wayne College R/C Flight Club had their first meeting there on Monday evening; be sure to stop by the next Monday at 6:00 if you are interested in joining!

As introduced in a previous post, did you know that the 3D Lab is involved with a joint research project with the University of Chile?  Jeff Davis and Dr. Dan Deckler from the University of Akron and Juan Cristobal Zagal from the University of Chile are building a “snakebot” that can squeeze itself into the gaps, crevices, and cracks of piles of rubble. A robot that can shift its actual size, expanding when it needs to, and constricting when things get tight.


Parts of this OctaWorm require tight tolerances, finer than what traditional 3D printers can accomplish.  Thanks to the Romich Foundation, we produced robot parts with our resin 3D printer.  The results were night and day.  The cost of producing resin parts is 6-8 more expensive than plastic based 3D printing, but definitely worth the cost for certain scenarios.


Robot parts printed on a mesh of “supports” which keeps them from moving around during printing


Final robot parts with supports removed

The 3D Lab is proud to be involved with this project.  We’ll keep you posted as we learn more of the OctaWorm’s development.

Speaking of the R/C Flight Club, members are already full-tilt designing and building new planes.  The laser engraver is typically used to cut the foam board wings and bodies while motor mounts and aileron linkages are 3D printed.

Chris (president of the club) is learning how to use SolidWorks to create plane designs.  The program has a “metal folding feature” that allows flat designs to be folded and shaped in 3D, similar to what a metal bending machine would do during actual fabrication.  He is getting quite good at it with this glider that he invented:


Nathan has built his largest R/C airplane yet, a dual propellor monstrosity an that actually lift itself vertically and hover.  Our laser engraver is not large enough to cut the wings and body parts that he needed, so Nathan resorted to manual cutting methods (craft knife and/or hot knife).  The plane is amazing and flies quite well for its size!


Ready to fly


Huge propellers and 3D printed motor mount


3D printed linkages

A couple of weeks ago, representatives from Heartland Point in Orrville visited the lab to discuss future collaborative works.  Our former marketing person was there (Cindy Summers); it was wonderful to see her involved with this project.  Wayne College plans to offer a three day workday on CAD design and 3D printing, hosted at Heartland Point and at the 3D Lab.


Tom explaining 3D printing


Kenny (one of our students) explains laser engraving

Stay tuned as we work-out the details of this free offering to the public.



As mentioned above, the 3D printed OctaWorm robot can go where no other robot can:


MIT develops a 3D printer that extrudes molten glass:


Until next week,