Custom guitar, homemade CNC machine progress, and another road trip

Hello everyone,

With the first week of the semester at an end, new faces are showing up in the 3D Lab, students interested in making new friends and exploring what the room has to offer.  Flight Club president Chris Ryan is also with us semester with big plans for the club.  Members are focusing on building/flying drones this time, with innovative ideas that will be revealed soon.  Meetings are Monday evenings at 6:00, if you are interested.  By next week, the Electronics Station should be ready for use.  We are excited to see what students will build and invent this semester; there is rarely a dull moment in the lab.

We are thankful to the community who support the mission of the 3D Lab.  It is through your generous funding that the 3D Lab is accessible and freely available to students and the community, encouraging them to dream and build.  We particularly thank the Willard E. Smucker Foundation for providing this support.

Last semester, one of our engineering students decided to build an electric guitar using SolidWorks, a sophisticated CAD program used in our engineering classes.  He intends to fabricate his design with the laser cutter, 3D printers, and an offsite CNC machine for the various components.  The guitar will have some innovative features such as bridge that is located in the middle of the guitar, not the end.  It will be interesting to see it being made and eventually played!




Speaking of inventions, Ben is making progress on his home-built CNC machine.  His goal is to build this machine using only $100 worth of parts.  He is collaborating with community members Barry Romich and Mike Sciarini for mechanical, electrical, and engineering advice, especially with the bearing system that moves the gantry along three axis.  He created a sketch of the overall design with CAD which helps with material planning and assembly:

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The rods that move the gantry travel along bearings that are quite ingenious in-design.  They keep the rods in perfect alignment (note the two wheels positioned in a “v” shape) while providing smooth travel.

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We will soon provide a video of gantry movement in-action.  It’s amazing that Ben is building a CNC machine in his garage from basically printer parts, MDF board, a Dremel tool, and a low-cost Arduino microcontroller!


The Shantz Organ Company hosted their second Open House last Saturday to promote their makerspace, an important initiative in Wayne County.  The event was well attended by many members of the community.  Wayne College supported the event by demonstrating 3D printing and its role in supporting the Shantz initiative and the makerspace ecosystem developing in surrounding counties.  Also present was a representative from C.H.A.M.P., an amazing makerspace in the Canton area.  They build their own 3D printers from scratch, which is amazing!


People are always interested in 3D printing technology.  Back in the days of dot matrix printers, the introduction of the laser printer really shook the world, a revolution in consumer printing.  The 3D printer is poised to repeat history again.

To introduce folks to what is possible with the fabrication equipment at Shantz Organ, the company is soon offering workshops on woodworking (with CNC machines), metal working, and laser engraving.  With each workshop, partipants will build something fun and useful.  More details coming soon.


Back at the 3D Lab, Nathan used our large-format Taz printers to build a full-size mask from a popular videogame.  Sections were individually printed then glued together.  Nathan plans to sand the mask smooth, then paint it.  It will be interesting to see the final result, even more interesting if he is brave enough to wear it.  🙂  Good work, Nathan!



Given that a 3D printer is already on the Internatioanl Station Station, what would it be like to use 3D printers on the moon?


See how 3D printers are making components for NASA scramjets, such as this hypersonic engine combustor:


Until next week,



Battle bots, puzzle box, and TIE fighters

Hello everyone,

The start of Spring semester begins next week.  We’ve been busy in the 3D Lab, preparing for another semester of interesting projects.  We are replentishing our filament supply, calibrating 3D printers, and making progress with the Electronics Station.  Engineering students build model rockets this semester, many of which are modeled in CAD software then 3D printed.  Exciting times are coming up once again!


Speaking of engineering, last semester witnessed the annual Battle Bots Tournament.  Students build robots using LEGO Mindstorms kits, the goal of which involves pushing and/or disable the opponent’s robot to fall over the arena’s edge.  It’s always creative, entertaining, and generates plenty of laughs.

Some robots sport plows, others are covered with armor, while another used an arm to flip the opposing robot once it neared the edge.  The winner was a small, nimble robot with plenty of torque for pushing things around.  Quite entertaining to watch!


Spinning appendages and flailing arms


Wirelessly controlled robots


Outlandish robots face-off


The final match! (winning robot on right)

Many thanks to Scott Gold who organized the event and Dusty who referee’d.


In the 3D printing arena, students create things purely from their imaginations.  Nathan devised a clever “puzzle box” that is impossible to open without knowing its special trick.  While there are plenty of puzzle box designs on, Nathan came-up with his own idea.  The result is below:


This box is difficult to open!  The key to the design are loosely fitting, horizontal pins that shift from centrifugal force.  When the box is closed (lid affixed), these internal pins push inward to latch the lid shut.  The “trick” is spinning the box like a top, which moves the pins away from the lid’s internal lip.  The only way to open the box is to spin it first!  Holding the box at any angle always keeps some of the pins engaged with the lid.



As the holidays drew near last month, a number of students used the 3D Lab to make gifts for friends & family.  For example, a student’s girlfriend is an avid Star Wars fan.  To celebrate the new movie, Caleb 3D printed a scale model of an Advanced TIE Fighter.  Due to its complexity, the model was printed in various parts, then assembled.  This minimized the need for printing temporary plastic to support overhangs and recesses.  The model turned out beautifully, printed on our Taz 5 3D printers furnished by the Wayne County Community Foundation.



Also commemorating the holidays, Caleb used the laser engraver to create Christmas ornaments that were given to students.  Using blank ornaments generously provided by P. Graham Dunn, Caleb used vector art software (Corel DRAW) to arrange the college logo onto various ornament shapes.


Because the ornaments are not square, precisely positioning the logo was accomplished with “center engraving”.  He used a red dot laser to mark the center of the ornament, then instructed the laser to print the logo’s center at the center of the dot.  This technique is also used to engrave verbiage on pencils.  Good job, Caleb!


Stay tuned next week as we kick-off an exciting first week in the 3D Lab!



See how consumer 3D printers are used to grow cartilage on scaffolding made from ordinary PLA filament:


3D printed artificial limb technology is advancing by leaps and bounds.  This one is only $300 and is controlled via smartphone:


Until next week,



Spotting scope phone adapter, visit to Orrville Middle School, and a drill press

Hello everyone,

The 3D Lab weekly blog was on hiatus over the holidays, given that Wayne College was closed.  We are currently cleaning, reorganizing, and purchasing supplies to be ready for the Spring semester.  Even with classes not in-session, students and community members are dropping by the lab to work-on projects, create handmade gifts, and more.

We are pleased to announcement financial contributions from the Wayne Insurance Group and Gary & Martha (Hagen) McGuire.  This support allows the 3D Lab to remain an open resource to students, the community, and local organizations.  We are very thankful for your support!

A new feature implemented in the coming weeks is an electronics area.  Thanks to generous donations from the community, lab patrons can build circuits with a learning kit, wire their own electronics, learn how to use Arduino microcontrollers, and create projects based on Raspberry Pi.


One of our community members is especially gifted with inventing ideas to make life easier.  Being an avid bird watcher, Norm used CAD software to design an adapter that attaches his smart phone to a spotting scope.  This allows extreme close-up photos to be taken on his phone.

spotting scope 1

The original design was 3D printed as one piece.  Because of various recesses in the adapter, much “support” plastic needed removed after printing.  Norm later revised his design as two parts that lock together.  Individually printing each part does not require support plastic, therefore no cleaning up!  The improved design prints faster, too.

spotting scope 2



A few weeks ago, the 3D Lab made another road trip, this time to Orrville Middle School.  Students from three class sessions learned how 3D printing works, its many applications in the real world, careers in engineering, and watched a cowboy boot being 3D printed right before their eyes!  The demonstrationwas a big hit with many questions during each session.  It is exciting to see a growing number of secondary schools building makerspaces of their own where students can learn digital fabrication skills that can continue into college.  Thanks, Mike, for inviting us!




In addition to the upcoming electronics area, funding from community members allowed the purchase of a small drill press.  It supports pieces up to 8” tall and various speeds for drilling metal, wood, and other materials.  Our resident student engineers had it assembled and running in no-time.





One of our staff members received a smartphone stand from the Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce.  It was a nice design, though it was accidentally broken during use.  After taking measurements and reproducing the broken part in Corel DRAW, a replacement part was easily created on the laser cutter using donated acrylic from The Wooster Glass Company.  The replacement fits identical to the original!



Stay tuned as we report on more interesting projects next week.



Laser cutting isn’t limited to just flat material.  Given 3D printing is very slow, see how custom software converts 3D objects to laser cutter designs than can be quickly cut and assembled:


Have you ever wanted a LEGO figurine of yourself?  This company 3D prints just that!


Until next week,