Homemade CNC machine, vintage car jacks, and community engraving

Hello everyone,

With Finals Week nearing completion, the 3D Lab is beginning to wind-down for the winter break.  It is still a popular place for student engineers finishing their LEGO robots, Flight Club meetings, and students crafting gifts for the season.  We are very thankful to P. Graham Dunn for providing material for students to use.  It gives them and community members practical skills while they make gifts for themselves and others.  More about this below.

A particularly inventive student is fascinated with CNC routing.  These machines route and carve wood using a Dremel-like tool that is computer controlled.  Normally, small CNC machines cost $5,000 and up; Ben is determined to build his own for under $100!

With the initial rough design, he uses a carriage and rods from an old inkjet printer, stepper motors from plotters and other machines, wood from his dad’s workshop, and 3D printed attachments.  Controlling the router is an Arduino microcontroller with an attached “shield” to power and drive the motors.  The motors will move the bed one direction (along the rods), the Dremel in the other direction, and the Dremel up & down, too.  It’s a fascinating project and inspiring to see Ben so excited about it.


Rough draft of the CNC machine


3D printed rod braces


An Arduino controlling a stepper motor


A few months ago, a community member provided a car jack from a vintage British race car.  He wanted to know if the 3D Lab could produce a plastic replica of the jack.  The 3D scanner provided by the Orrville Boys & Girls Club was perfect for the job.  The jack was scanned from various angles using a motorized platform that rotates the jack as it’s being scanned.  All of the scans were then stitched together to form an onscreen three dimensional image.  The image was cleaned up and polished in the scanning software, then loaded into the 3D printing software.  After about 15 hours of printing, the duplicate jack is quite close to the original!



P. Graham Dunn generously donates material that allows students and community members to learn laser engraving (and other creative projects).  There were a lot of crosses that needed good homes, so we thought that a retirement home would be a perfect fit.  Dave from Shady Lawn Nursing Home in Dalton asked his fellow residents if they would like crosses for themselves, family members, and friends for the holidays.  We spent two evenings engraving names, inspirational words, and pictures onto many crosses.  The residents were thrilled!  It is wonderful for the 3D Lab to give back to the community for so much that it has given to Wayne College.

Engraving crosses


Speaking of engraving, a student found a clever use of sawed wooden branch pieces; they make perfect coasters!  She personalized each coaster with a laser engraved image.  The largest piece was used for a “words of thanks” plaque that her father wrote when he was young.  It’s all beautiful.




In the medical world, see how 3D printers have successfully 3D-printed anatomically correct models of patients’ vascular systems for pre-op practice:



3D printing soft body parts: a hard problem that just got easier:



Until next week,



3D printed fans, Shantz Open House, and towing a glider

Hello everyone,

With finals beginning next week, students are scrambling to finish projects, study for exams, and yet make time to have fun in the 3D Lab.  Many times, all five printers are running simultaneously from student assignments and personal projects.  Our original 3D printer (a Makerbot Replicator 2X provided by the Laura B. Frick Charitable Trust) needed repaired again as its left extruder could not be used.  Our service plan with the company ensures a continual stream of replacement parts that we install; a very helpful service!

We are pleased to announce that the 3D Lab will have an electronics station that will incorporate a electronics learning kit (300 projects that can be built), an Arduino learning kit, soldering station, various electronic parts to learn from, and more.  A knowledgeable community member visits the lab on the regular basis to help students with projects that involve electronics. We are thankful for his continued support (and our students appreciate his advice, too).

In our engineering classes, teams of students are tasked to build working fans by CAD design and 3D printing.  Some students created Dyson lookalikes while others built traditional fans.  All are working models to some extent.  These complicated designs involves numerous interlocking parts.


Dyson-type fan prototype


Traditional “crank” fan


It pushes air!

Stay tuned next week for the “battle bots” competition.  Students build robots from LEGO Mindstorms parts to each other outside a circle “arena”.  Some of these robots will have 3D printed attachments to extend the capabilities of the stock LEGO parts.  Results of the event are coming soon!


The Makerspace Open House at Schantz Organ Company in Orrville last Saturday was a huge success.  Well over 70 people attended the two-hour event.  The company hopes to open a makerspace where the public, businesses, and students can use high-end digital fabrication equipment at a reasonable cost.  Attendees watched large-scale CNC routers in operation, experienced laser engraving, and learned about wood- and metalworking equipment.  Wayne College demonstrated 3D printing, another popular topic for most.  This enthusiasm reveals genuine community interest in makerspaces, giving them access to tools and technologies that we out of reach from previous generations.


President Victor Schantz explaining makerspace concept

Schantz Makerspace 12-5-15 photo3

3D printing demonstration

If you are interested in knowing more about the Schantz Makerspace initiative, please contact Victor Schantz at v.schantz@schantzorgan.com


Lastly, the Wayne College Flight Club is going strong, even nearing the end of semester when activities normally tune-down.  We are pleased that a club president has been chosen for the Spring semester, so more high flying adventures and involvement by Wayne students and the Wayne County RC Club is assured.

The battered plane below is a glider that was enhanced by 3D printing.  It can be towed by a powered plane hundreds of feet in the air, with a motor to release the tow cable on-demand.  It is a testament to the inventiveness of our students!



Check-out the video here of the glider being towed and released.  Don’t watch if you are afraid of  heights.  🙂  Thanks, Chris and Nathan!


The laser engraver (donated by the Romich Foundation) continues to create amazingly diverse products.  A staff member requested learning blocks for her grandchild.  Barry Romich from the community provided the blocks that were sawed from a 4×4 post which were then sanded and painted.  After the paint dried, the engraver removed paint to reveal the wood beneath.  It truly was a group effort.





3D printing isn’t limited to making objects slowly, one-at-a-time.  See how a mold was created to produce ear buds from silicon caulking:



Selective laser sintering is a 3D printer that prints metal objects.  A first in the industry, below is a desktop SLS printer that only costs $8,000!



Until next week,



Stair climbing robots, engraving marble, and a visit by the community

Hello everyone,

Much is happening in the 3D Lab, even with winter break and the holidays soon approaching.  A particularly interesting project involves students building robots to climb steps.  While a seemingly simple task among us humans, it poses a large challenge to our student engineers!

The robots were built from LEGO Mindstorms parts which involves bricks, motors, sensors, and a large CPU brick that serves as the robot’s brain.


The most successful robot of the bunch


This clever robot “took the high road” and descends instead of climbs


Who needs steps when you can use a ramp?


Another clever design

The step climbing competition went very well.  While most robots did not complete the climb, one of them made it (with the help of a ramp made from LEGO pieces) and one of them almost made it by navigating a long route through the building, avoiding the stairs altogether.  The long robot with many treads (first photo) was the successful climber and was developed by Mitchell Waugh and Taylor Black.  The robot that “took the long way home” is shown in the second photo and was developed by Joshua Baker, David Klett, and Neil Whitesell.


One of our students recently had a baby and wanted to commemorate the event.  He had some decorative marble to see what he could do with the laser engraver.  The engraver supports etching wood, plastic, and coated metals, but it also supports glass, marble, and stone.  The result came-out beautifully!  If you are interested in project ideas that can be accomplished with laser engraving at the Wayne College 3D Lab, please visit https://www.epiloglaser.com/resources/sample-club.htm



Speaking of the laser engraver, one of our students assembled an excellent video tutorial for it.  Tim Winkler used Adobe Premier and Adobe After Effects to create the video, hosted by our own Anthony Howell.  If you wish to use the engraver to make gifts for the holidays, please visit us for free lessons!

laser tutorial


We are pleased to announce that the 3D Lab recently received a generous donation from Tim and Jenny Smucker of The J.M. Smucker Company.  This funding will allow our lab to grow in ways previously not possible and continue to provide a free, accessible service to students, hobbyists, inventors, local schools, and organizations throughout Wayne County.  Thank you!


A family recently visited the lab, as some very young patrons were interested in making things.  It’s amazing to see how readily young adults understand concepts of vector art and 3D design as well as the process of laser engraving and 3D printing.  They created their own designs using Corel DRAW, then laser engraved colorful metal notepads (courtesy of P. Graham Dunn).  Another young patron CAD designed a key from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy on his home computer, then 3D printed a replica on our original 3D printer (donated by the Laura B. Frick Charitable Trust).  Lastly, a very young patron created snowflakes on another printer.  They had a fun time and learned new skills in the process!


Creating notepad designs with Corel DRAW


Laser engraving notepads


3D printing snowflakes



Don’t forget, Schantz is offering an Open House for their makerspace tomorrow on Saturday, December 5th from 11am to 1pm.  Have an idea for a wood or metal working project but don’t have the right tools at home? Need access to CNC router technology or laser engraving? Are you interested in learning the skills of the workshop or how to operate these project-enhancing machines?  Schantz MakerSpace (in Orrville, Ohio) has everything you need!  Please see the attached flyer for details.



Are you interested in a 3D printer for home?  Here are this year’s best recommendations:



See how 3D printing brings history to life:



Until next week,