Router table accessories, bulldozers, and a 3D printing workshop

Hello everyone,

Being Spring Break this week at Wayne College, the building has been quiet with students mostly staying home.  But some still wander into the 3D Lab to work on projects, use the 3D printers, and socialize a bit.  It was a good time to do some “spring cleaning” as the lab becomes quite messy from the constant activity.

A couple of months ago, we met Kelly, one of our community members, at an business event at the Buckeye Event Center.  Being an an avid woodworker, he uses his machines heavily.  Kelly wondered if the 3D Lab could replace a broken accessory for his router table, a bracket that holds the router guide in-place.  We used the free AutoDesk 123D Design program to easily draw and replicate the broken piece.

To fabricate the part as strongly as possible, we printed it with 50% HIPS plastic, taking about nine hours to print.

router table piece

If you haven’t tried the 123D suite of free programs, run over to www.123dapp.com!  These high-quality 3D applications are amazing, including 3D scanning, CAD design, 3D sculpting, and cleaning up 3D items.  The creative possiblities are truly endless.  An excellent book that introduces these programs is “3D CAD with AutoDesk 123D”.

Kelly reported that the replacement router bracket fits perfectly onto his router table, so we have another satisfied customer!

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Don, a University of Akron student partly responsible for designing automatic brake lights for bicycles (he technically calls it a “velocity dependent slow moving vehicle bicycle tail-light system”), is concocting a new project: an autonomous snow plow.  This is a design project for his Robotics class at the Akron campus.  The plow will manage snow around the home and dispense anti-icers to reduce the risk of falling or heart attacks for elderly or disabled people in winter.

snow plow sketch

Currently, Don is building the track system using premanufactured tracks attached to 3D printed wheels.  All of this is a small-scale prototype, of course.  I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of a full-size version of this machine running about!

bulldozer

 

The makerspace at the Schantz Organ Company is gaining momentum.  In a short period of time, they formed connections with regional businesses, organizations, and schools in this new era of digital fabrication.  Community members have used the Schantz facility to fabricate corn hole boards using a CNC router, welded and bent metal shapes to form outdoor drink holders, and other projects.

Wayne College is proud to be a part of this movement.  A couple of weekends ago, the 3D Lab hosted a “CAD design and 3D printing workshop” where community members designed and printed personalized keychains.  We accomplished all of this in a mere three hours, with some folks never using CAD design software before.  Everyone had a wonderful time.

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keychain

Stay tuned as the semester fires back up next week with students continuing all sorts of interesting projects!

 

3d-printing-news

Lost your hair?  This Italian studio can 3D print a replacement so realistic even you’ll be fooled:

http://3dprint.com/117092/cesare-ragazzi-laboratories

 

See how this college student 3D printed his own braces:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/16/technology/homemade-invisalign/index.html

 

Do it Yourself concept

Combine a Raspberry Pi credit card computer with 3D printing to create your own retro Game Boy gaming machine:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:807591

 

Until next week,

Tom

 

 

Skateboard inventions, CNC machine progress, and a road trip to Alliance

Hello everyone

The 3D Lab has been quite busy lately.  In a week’s time, we made a road trip to Alliance, taught a 3D design and printing workshop in the lab for The Schantz Organ Company, promoted engineering at the Wayne College annual Milkshakes & Majors event, and provided lab tours for faculty.  And that’s not including the crazy projects that students are working on.  The lab is a non-stop room, full of creative minds with machines to turn ideas into reality.

One of our students is an avid skateboarder and uses the 3D Lab to create original inventions, notably a two-wheel skateboard that feels like a wooden hover board when riding it.  The low wheels are held in-place by a metal mount that he fabricated with the lab’s drill press and other tools, the wheel covers are 3D printed, and the overall design was drawn-up with Solidworks.  Check-out this fun video of the mount being made and tested:

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Heavy skateboarding sometimes damages the ends of the board; the wooden ends break-off over time.  His current project involves detachable ends that can be replaced as needed.  The prototype is 3D printed, while the final result will be professionally fabricated with tougher material.   Also notice the t-shirt; it was made in the 3D Lab as well!

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Ben is making fabulous progress on his homemade CNC machine.  It can now draw designs with an attached pencil and carve designs on (and through) wood!  The machine uses an Arduino microcontroller to control the 2.5A motors for the X/Y/Z axis, which in-turn are powered by a relay board attached to the Arduino.  Designs are loaded onto an Apple laptop running free CNC software (Easel by Shapeoko), then sent to the CNC machine.  Ben’s current project is building a dust collection unit for the router head, as the machine makes a lot of sawdust during the carving/cutting process.

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CNC machine with microcontroller on table

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Ben with a carved star

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Computer controled pencil drawing

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A CNC milled guitar body!

Here is a video of it in-action.  We’ll keep you posted as he finishes this project.  He’s making excellent progress but still has a lot to do.

 

Last week, the 3D Lab made a road trip to demonstrate 3D printing for the Alliance Amateur Radio Club.  The group has been around since 1950, a friendly group of men & women who are bound together by their interest in amateur radio.  Amazingly, these groups are everywhere.

These folks are naturally inclined tinkerers, so were quite eager to learn about 3D printing and the lab’s availability to realize ideas and fabricate radio parts at Wayne College.   During the presentation, we printed a morse code encoding key (also called a “straight key”) using the portable 3D printer provided by the Romich Foundation.  The presentation was well received and went well beyond their scheduled meeting time.

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The Wayne College 3D Lab is willing to present 3D printing and discuss careers in engineering to schools, organizations, and businesses.  Please contact us at tjh1@uakron.edu to schedule a visit!

 

3d-printing-news

Think that 3D printers can only build three dimensional objects?  See how this person modified his printer to etch circuit boards:

http://hackaday.com/2016/03/03/etching-pcbs-with-a-3d-printer-2

 

This printer goes one step further and places electronics within the objects it creates:

http://www.gizmag.com/ir3-3d-printer-electronic-componenst/36966

 

Until next week,

Tom

 

 

Automatic brake lights, marimbas, and the finished Electronics Station

Hello everyone,

On a quiet Friday afternoon, it’s not so quiet in the 3D Lab.  As the community discovers what Wayne College has to offer, folks trickle in continuously, having heard about the lab from fellow students, the website, our offsite demonstrations, and general word-of-mouth.  For instance, the below photos are what’s happening in the lab right now:

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Heat pressing vinyl onto t-shirts

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Wiring an automatic brake light system

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Modifying a box for R/C airplane parts

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CAD designing and 3D printing

 

Speaking of projects, one of our Akron campus students uses our new Electronics Station to work on his latest invention, a velocity-dependent slow moving vehicle bicycle taillight system for his senior design project through the UA Human Powered Vehicle Team.

The system will automatically light-up the brake lights as “parking lights” while the bicycle is in-motion, change their intensity based on bike speed, and flash them when cars are approaching from behind.  Powered by a low-cost Arduino Uno microcontroller, accelerometers, proximity sensors, LEDs, and other hardware, Don also designed and 3D printed a custom enclosure for it.  We are excited to see this unit in-action!

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Though not technically at the Wayne College 3D Lab, do you know there is a makerspace in Creston, Ohio?  Barry Romich hosts an open-to-the-public space where folks can use laser cutters, CNC machines, welding/machining/woodworking, and other fabrication tools.  You never know who is hanging out there and what projects are being worked on; it’s an area of constant invention and creativity.

Currently at this makerspace, Fred and his high school son are building a marimba, a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars struck with mallets to produce musical tones.  They are using a CNC milling machine called a ShopBot to carve their own wooden bars.  This is accomplished by milling slots in the edge of a 3/4″ x 3-1/2″ x 6′ oak board.  The slots are 5/8″ deep, 0.260″ x 0.150″ and are just over 2″ in spacing.  Once the bars are carved, the two inventors will drive aluminum brackets into the slots to support the marimba keys.  Normally, the ShopBot does not support boards this large, but Barry, Fred, and son were able to modify the machine to take the 6’ oak boards.  It’s an amazing project!

marimba

 

We are happy to announce the completion of our Electronics Station in the 3D Lab.  Many thanks to Mike who not only helped assemble the components, but deep cleaned the switches & buttons, repaired & cleaned circuit boards, and much more.  The station allows students to solder, build circuits, create Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects, and provides an oscilloscope, component tester, power supply, function generator, counter, bread boards, and more.  Students are already using the station for soldering, circuit building, and building their own Arduino projects such as the brake light system above.  We are proud to offer this service to our students and to the community.

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The finished station

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Throughly cleaning our electronics equipment

 

The laser engraver in the 3D Lab supports a wide range of materials for cutting and engraving, from plastic, wood, glass, mable, leather, etc.  Not so well known is that certain plastics, when burned or engraved, can emit toxic gas.  PVC is a prime example of this.

Occassionally, students will bring unknown plastics to the lab.  Policy dictates that unknown plastics are not to be used on the laser engraver.  But we discovered a wonderful online resource (courtesy of Boedeker.com) to determine a plastic’s composition using “the burn test.”  Using a match stick or cigarette lighter in a hooded/vented enclosure, plastic can be roughly identified by its burn color, odor, drip rate, and burn rate.  Once the plastic is identified, it is easier to determine the plastic’s compatibility with laser engraving.  Click below for details:

http://www.boedeker.com/burntest.htm

 

3d-printing-news

A Brazilian macaw named Gigi has become the first to receive a 3D-printed beak (thanks for the lead, Debbie):

http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/14902-gigi-the-macaw-receives-3d-printed-titanium-beak

 

See how 3D printed ear, bone and muscle structures come to life after implantation in mice:

http://www.gizmag.com/3d-printed-ear-implantation/41869

 

Until next week,

Tom

 

Electric vehicle parts, a trip to Wadsworth Intermediate School, and laser-cut board game pieces

Hello everyone,

It’s a quiet Friday at Wayne College, but not quiet at all in the 3D Lab.  A half dozen or more students are doing homework and working on various projects, from automatic bicycle brake lights (powered by an Arduino microcontroller) to a bulldozer model complete with moving treads.  The beauty of the 3D Lab is that half of the projects are related to classes, while the other half are projects that students are building  and learning on their own steam.  One of our students is excited to spend the entire Spring Break in the lab; what is wrong with him?  😉

The UA Zips Electric Racing team uses the 3D Lab to create custom parts for their upcoming car.  The current project is a printed circuit board (PCB) enclosure.  PCBs are used to control the dashboard lights and displays, motor controls, and braking/acceleration controls.

Trevin designed the enclosure cover with CAD software.  This covered needed to be semi-transparent, so we fabricated it using the resin 3D printer (provided by the Romich Foundation).

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The cover actually prints upside-down, as the printer slowly lifts the part out of a tray of liquid resin.  The white “posts” in the photo are what holds the cover from falling into the tray.

The enclosure’s base was printed with our multi-material Taz 3D printer (courtesy of the Wayne County Community Foundation).  HIPS plastic was chosen for its high strength, heat endurance, and easy-to-print material.  The clear and blue printed parts are below, then shown assembled with the car’s wiring harness.  Three enclosures will be produced to control the electric car’s major functions.  Purchasing an enclosure would have been prohibitively expensive, so 3D printing was the perfect solution!

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A couple of weeks ago, the 3D Lab made a road trip to Wadsworth Intermediate School to introduce 3D printing, real-world applications, and careers in engineering.  We presented two presentations to 60 fifth-grade students, not an easy feat!  The students were easy to talk to and full of questions.  During the presentation, our portable 3D printer produced a “bear robot”, given that the school’s mascot is a grizzly.  They were fascinated to watch the bear being created, like magic, before their eyes.  Some commented that they want to be engineers when they finish school, others wanted a 3D printer for home.  Their enthusiasm was contagious!

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We are thankful to Wadsworth Intermediate School for hosting us and look forward to collaborative projects with Wayne College in the future.

 

Tim, one of the many inspired students frequenting the lab, is an avid board gamer.  Lately, he’s been using the laser engraver to create custom pieces for these games.  Using Adobe Illustrator, he whipped out these sophisticated models in an evening.  The pieces, after laser-cut, snap and glue together to form 3D models.

assembled

cutting

As you can see, the game pieces are amazing!  Tim used 1/4″ (or thicker) MDF board to create the pieces from.  The laser engraver had trouble fully cutting the designs, even after two passes of the beam.  The third time was a charm, though.  We found that changing the travel speed of the laser makes a big difference with cutting depth.  Good work, Tim!

 

Stay tuned for news on more exciting projects in the 3D Lab next week!

 

3d-printing-news

It is commonly thought that 3D printers create toys and non-functional models.  Not true!  See how this person printed a working, tabletop jet engine:

http://hackaday.com/2016/02/15/a-3d-printed-jet-engine-appears-to-function

 

See how this 3D-printed UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) can go from not existing to flying within 24 hours:

http://www.gizmag.com/3d-printed-uav-airframe/31473

 

Until next week,

Tom