Skate boards, hand-held game consoles, and the Wayne County Regional Career Expo

Hello everyone,

As of late, the 3D Lab has been a popular hang-out place for students.  Not to just to take a break from their studies (although many collaborate and complete homework there), but to relax, socialize, and make things together.

With mid-semester quickly arriving, students are just beginning to experiment with model rocket designs in lab.   One particular student is researching ways to formulate his own rocket fuel (thankfully not in the 3D Lab!).  We remember Dusty’s fascinating attempts at this a year ago.  When the snow clears and the surrounding fields begin to green, we look forward to another launch of interesting rocket designs.

Until then, students are busy inventing other things, many of which are personal projects and not tied to a particular class.  They are learning under their own steam, a testament to the motivational potential of the 3D Lab.  As mentioned in previous blogs, one student is designing a two-wheeled skateboard.  His current task involves designing a metal mount that allows roller-skate wheels to be attached to the board.  His design is impressive, all done with Solid Works:



To create the metal shape, we ordered a special “castable resin” for our resin 3D printer (provided by the Romich Foundation).  This allows molten metal to be poured into a resin mold.  The 3D Lab is not a foundry, of course, but we can at least create the mold!  Stay tuned as more is completed with this project.

Even though our Electronics Station is not yet fully assembled, students are dabbling with soldering, assembling components, and exploring our Arduino learning kits.  David, one of our students, is committed to building a handheld gaming system from scratch, based around the low-cost Raspberry Pi minicomputer.  He 3D printed a case, tore-apart a game pad to repurpose its buttons, bought a small LCD screen & battery, and is busy wiring all these components together.  When the project is complete, the gaming system will play most anything, right in the palm of his hand!



A couple of weeks ago, the 3D Lab made another road trip, this time to the Wayne County Regional Career Expo held at the Buckeye Event Center in Dalton, Ohio.  Dozens of companies showcased their wares and offered employment opportunities.  Wayne College was also present.  We demonstrated 3D printing and explained careers in engineering using the portable 3D printer (also provided the Romich Foundation).  There was a continual stream of people of all ages fascinated with the technology.  We 3D printed objects on-demand, including a high-decibel whistle that curtained turned heads.  The food was good, too.  🙂



In the 3D Lab, we are always up for trying something new.  We read on the Internet that laser engravers are capable of engraving and cutting chocolate, so we decided to try it ourselves.  After freezing a chocolate bar for 10 minutes, we engraved an image onto the back of the bar at low power.  The chocolate did not melt, producing a nice image contrast!  Sadly, the candy bar did not last long among hungry students.  🙁


Stay tuned as we discover more interesting projects and happenings in the 3D Lab next week!



See how 3D printed prostheses unite a girl and dolphin (thanks for the story, Kevin!):


Who says prosthetics for kids have to be boring?  Try this Iron Man Hand on for size:,2817,2470646,00.asp


Until next week,




3D printing workshop, tutoring, and custom enclosures

Hello everyone,

With the heavy snowfall from a couple of days ago, why endure cold weather when you could be inside a warm, cozy 3D lab?  That’s what our students are doing.  Engineering students are designing model rockets for launch later this system.  Another student is inventing a two-wheel skateboard with impressive CAD designs.  We are also printing car parts for the University of Akron’s Electric Vehicle Race Team using the resin and HIPS 3D printers.  There is always something going on in the lab.

In our offsite adventures, we recently completed a collaborative activity with Heartland Education Community in Orrville, Ohio.  Wayne College offered a three-day workshop on CAD design, 3D printing, and laser cutting.  Participants learned how to use the free 123D program to design candy dispensers, then spent the final day at the college to fabricate their creations.


Twelve community members attended the workshop.  Heartland also kept one of our printers on-site to demonstrate 3D printing to the public and print the attendees’ designs between sessions.  It was a wonderful experience for everyone.  We look forward to more collaborative activities with them.



We are thankful for community members who visit the 3D Lab not only to use the equipment, but share their life experiences and knowledge with students.  Norm provides valuable CAD advice and lessons, while OSU retiree Mike is knowledgeable in all things electronic.  Student are highly interested in talking about projects and electrical theory with him.  The Electronics Station in the lab provides an oscilloscope, frequency generator, soldering station, power supplies, learning kits for Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects, and much more.  It is rewarding to see students learning well beyond the classroom.


Thanks for the photobomb, Nathan and Andrew.  Can you spot them?


As many of your know, Thingiverse offers an immense repository of 3D printed objects, designed by people from all over the world.  A while ago, Mike built a portable oscilloscope from a kit.  However, the kit did not provide an enclosure.  After a search on Thingiverse, Mike discovered that other people built the same oscilloscope and designed a custom enclosure for it.  This two-part design printed easily on our Taz 3D printers.  And it fit his scope perfectly!



Work in the 3D Lab doesn’t always have to be about serious projects.  We also have quite a bit of fun.  The laser engraver does an excellent job of creating plaques for awards, such as this one:

corn hole plaque

The plaque was provided by P. Graham Dunn.  The laser engraver created the border and graphics, which were darkened using wood stain.  The golden title was carved using a CNC router, then manually painted gold.  The result was impressive!



Our older audience may remember the days of ThingMaker, where kids poured rubber molds of insects and skeletons.  Mattel is bringing back ThingMaker in the form of a $300 3D printer for kids!


Speaking of kids and learning, see how Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering uses 3D printed replicas of historic artifacts that are used for teaching:


Until next week,



Lawn mower wheels, the birth of a CNC machine, and the Manufacturing Roundtable

Hello everyone,

A lot has been happening in the 3D Lab the past couple of weeks.  There wasn’t time for last week’s blog, though I am now settling into routine again.  Recently, the lab was involved with Wadsworth Intermediate Schools, Buckeye Event Center, and Heartland Education Community.  More about these outreaches in later blogs.

Even though engineering students are not yet designing and printing model rockets for their classes, that doesn’t stop them from creating and inventing in the 3D Lab.  That is the beauty of this space, an area where students collaborate, create, invent, and fabricate on their own steam, learning with their own motivation.

For instance, one of our students has a vintage lawn mower where the hard-rubber wheels are rotting from age.


Using the Solidworks CAD program, he reproduced the design on the computer.


He is now printing a prototype using both Taz 3D printers (generously provided by the Wayne County Community Foundation).  Printing the wheel normally takes 12 hours of time given its large size.  To save time, he used the free NetFab Basic program to “slice” the wheel into halves.  Each half is printed on different Taz printers, cutting the overall printing time to six hours.  The prototype will be glued together then test fitted before printing the final (whole) wheel.  Quite clever!



Ben is making wonderful progress with a homemade CNC machine for carving wood.  Using old printer parts, donated stepper motors, a Dremel rotary tool, and wood from his dad’s garage, Ben’s goal is to build a CNC for under $200.  Based on his amazing progress, it just may be possible!  Check-out the video of the machine’s first wood carving job:

cnc video

Ben discovered that the stepper motors are too weak to push the Dremel’s drill bit through the wood.  He visited SynHak (a makerspace in the Akron area) where he met a fellow CNC enthusiast.  He was given lots of advice, including specifications on stronger motors.  Zach will purchase new motors for the next revision of the CNC machine.  Stay tuned!


The 3D Lab frequently makes road trips to area schools and organizations to introduce 3D printing, careers in engineering, and form service connections with community.

Recently, the Wayne Economic Development Council hosted a meeting where area manufacturers discuss latest treads.  The meeting explored the application of additive manufacturing in various industries and new developments in areas such as materials, processes and technologies.

Manufacturing Roundtable Wayne Economic Development Council2

In addition to Wayne College, representatives from The Schantz Organ Company, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), and Stark State College of Technology were also present.  The hope is to form a network of 3D users and service providers forming along the Route 30 corridor in Richland, Ashland, Wayne and Stark counties.



Students are making good use of the laser engraver (provided by the Romich Foundation).  A staff member used a wooden plaque (provided by P. Graham Dunn) to create a key holder for home.  The laser engraver applied the text as well as alignment holes needed for the drill press.  The result turned out beautifully!



Big names are entering the 3D printing market.  Not only Hewlett Packard and Dremel, but now Polaroid!


Did you know there are 3D printers that create designer food?  Here is a confectionary 3D printer that will make your mouth water:


Until next week,




Skateboards, quad copters, and t-shirts

The second week of the semester has finished.  Engineering students in the Dynamics class (for model rockets and more) do not yet have assignments that involve the 3D Lab.  But the room is a flurry of activity with students working on their own projects.  There is rarely a dull moment.

For instance, last semester one of our students started designing a custom guitar using Solidworks, a computer aided design (CAD) program.  It will be fabricated using the laser cutter and 3D printers.  It’s quite an original design, too.  That project is still underway, but he has a new project; a two-wheeled skateboard!  Using the drill press, he fabricated metal mounts for the small wheels, then mounted them on either end of the skateboard.





With the first build, he realized that the wheels are too close to the board, making it difficult to angle it while riding.  His next idea involves fabricating custom wheel mounts using the resin 3D printer (generously provided by the Romich Foundation). This printer supports “castable resin” that will form the mounts (that will be cast from metal).  Stay tuned as we embark on this exciting project.


The R/C Flight Club is really taking off this semester (pun intended).  Quad-copters are all the rage; students are flying palm size machines, larger quad-copters, and a really large tri-copter.  Some of these were built from kits.  The club’s goal is assembling enough copters to race them later this semester.  Chris, the club’s president, mounted a camera on his copter, then taped a video screen onto a blacked out helmet.  The result is a virtual reality-like experience when flying the copter.  Quite inventive!




One doesn’t need to be an engineer nor CAD designer to make wonderful things in the 3D Lab.  Jackie, one of our staff, used the vinyl cutter and heat press to create a personalized t-shirt for a retiree.  These machines are provided by the Orrville Area Boys and Girls Club where its young patrons visit the college to use the technology, too.


Most interesting is Paul’s project, a faculty member who is creating t-shirts to promote an upcoming travel experience to Morocco.  His design uses three vinyl colors that are individually cut and arranged.  It’s quite a challenge, but quite beautiful!  We are thankful for OABGC for providing this equipment.






Last but not least, Nathan laser engraved this beautiful wooden disc (material generously furnished P. Graham Dunn).   After engraving the pattern, he used a wood carving CNC machine at a friend’s house to cut the gear’s teeth around the edge.  His final step will be painting the disc with glow-in-the-dark paint.  Quite ambitious!




Learn to play the violin with this free-to-download model (and it actually sounds good!):


Have aching feet?  Here’s how you can use your smartphone to design custom-fit 3D printed insoles:


Until next week,