Maker Monday, big CNC machine improvements, and a trip to Wooster Township School

Hello everyone,

The first week of summer has certainly started with a bang at the Wayne College 3D Lab.  What I thought would be a mostly empty lab with students on summer break turned out to be a bustle of activity!  Yesterday, representatives from the Orrville Boys and Girls Club laser engraved dozens of water bottles to promote their organization, a new community member visited the lab to 3D print items from rubber and resin, and today there are folks using the laser engraver and working on radio controlled airplanes.  The lab truly is a place where people come to collaborate and create.  Many thanks to P. Graham Dunn, The Romich Foundation, the Wayne County Community Foundation, and many others who made this environment possible.

Speaking of collaborating, last evening was the launch of “Maker Monday” offered by the Schantz Organ Company here in Orrville.  It is a round table discussion that gives area makers a chance to “Show & Tell” some of their product drawings and real-life creations, learn how to combine new technology with conventional tools to enhance their products, and get experienced feedback from their fellow makers on how to either improve or expand upon their ideas.

maker monday

Over 20 folks attended last evening, many of whom brought projects that they were working on.  There were stringed instruments, wooden candle holders, one-of-a-kind fireplace designs, flying drones, and Arduino electronics projects.

Many thanks to Victor Schantz who started this activity.  In his words (and above): “This is a great opportunity to see some of the creative minds in our community engaging in the MakerSpace concept.”  The next Maker Monday is June 20th at 7:00 p.m. at The Schantz Organ Company in Orrville.  Mark your calendar for an exciting time and make new friends in the maker community.


Ben has been making incredible progress with his homemade CNC machine.  What started out as a hobbyist project now is a robust machine that can do amazing work, such as this sign below:


Ben routed a pallet board with the word “Welcome”, then hand painted the cut areas.  He then sanded the board’s surface, removing unwanted paint and giving the lettering a sharp yet rustic finish.  And folks are buying these signs, which finances future upgrades to his CNC machine!

A major upgrade addressed the CNC machine’s speed; it ran at a snail’s pace.  He started a dialog with local and online friends to discover that his driver boards were too small to control the large stepper motors that move the router around the table.  His existing driver boards were even melting wires!  Take a look at his new driver board (left) compared to his original one:


Ben now has three of these large driver boards to control all three stepper motors (x, y, and z axis).  Now his CNC machine runs three times faster and has more power to cut through wood.  Way to go, Ben!  Here is a picture of the latest revision of the CNC machine.  Now he is busy making wooden iPhone cases.  Talk about being creative.


phone cases


Our portable 3D printer continually makes road trips to local community organizations and schools to excite students about 3D printing, inventing, creativity, and careers in engineering.  It is always well received.  Folks soon realize the potential of how these machines turn their ideas into reality.

Recently, we made a trip to Wooster Township School to demonstrate 3D printing to two classes.  The kids were amazed and asked dozens of questions, giving me little to time discuss what I originally intended!  It’s wonderful to see that spark of interest in their eyes, hopefully developing into something more one day.  This “makerspace movement” is allowing everyday people to become inventors right from their homes.  It surely enables a new world of possibilities.




Back at Wayne College, one of our community members (and a former student), wanted to make a custom glass chessboard.  He purchased a thick square of glass from the local glass company, created a design, then laser engraved it onto the glass.  The laser engraver’s beam does not reflect on glass.  Rather, it cuts into it like a sand blasting effect.  The result is quite beautiful!




The world’s first 3D-printed office building opened this week in Dubai. The 2,700-square-foot, single-story building was built in just 17 days using a gigantic, 20-foot tall 3D printer and a special mix of concrete, fiber reinforced plastic and glass fiber reinforced gypsum.


Can’t make it to the Smithsonian over the Memorial Day weekend?  Visit the museum from home!  Smithsonian now allows anyone to 3D print (some) historic artifacts using your own 3D printer:


Do it Yourself concept

Plastic PVC pipe is one of the most versatile products in the universe!  Watch these how-to videos to discover unique ways it can improve your daily living:


Until next week,



Rubber extruding, race car decals, and a jamming session

Hello everyone,

Summer break is finally here.  With students rushing about the halls and studying hurriedly last week, it seems like a quieter, different world this week.  Students and community members still come to the Wayne College 3D Lab to finish-up personal projects, though.

One exciting announcement is that we now support printing with rubber!  3D printers typically build objects out of plastic, so this is major news.  Our Taz 5 printers (generously provided by the Wayne County Community Foundation) supports this upgrade.  Our students are really excited about this; now they can print plastic parts with rubber bumpers, wheels with rubber treads, gaskets, and so much more.


Nathan, our resident 3D Lab staff and 3D printing expert, upgraded the Taz printer, replacing the plastic extruder with a two-extruder assembly that supports plastic and rubber extrusion during the same print job.  It is so nice to have student engineers around; they know almost everything and dig right into complicated projects.  Or perhaps I am simply lazy.  🙂


The rubber extruder uses NinjaFlex material.  This is incredible flexible and strong rubber; it’s almost impossible to tear it apart nor separate layers that have been printed.  There are also different densities available, from very flexible rubber to “wheel chock” semi-rigid material.

One object that we recently printed is a rubber sleeve to fix a paper “stamp” used by crafters.  The stamp’s plastic casing was cracking apart, so the non-slip rubber sleeve protects it from damage and makes the stamper usable again:



Jonathan from the UA Human Powered Vehicle Team visited the 3D Lab last week to create car decals for an race in Athens, Ohio that happened this past weekend.  He was already familiar with the Roland vinyl cutter (provided by the Orrville Area Boys and Girls Club), as this brand is used in professional shops all over he world.



Thanks to the car’s beautiful decals, it won first place!  Seriously, though, the team’s vehicle won 1st place Overall, 1st place in Innovation, 1st place in Endurance, 1st place at Women’s drag racing, 2nd place at Men’s drag racing, and 5th place in Design.  Congratulations!  You can follow the team on Facebook at



Students, faculty, and staff are having a wonderful time learning the laser engraver lately due to beautiful water bottles provided by P. Graham Dunn.  Folks who stood on the fence from visiting the 3D Lab are now excited to engrave their own bottles and see what the lab is all about.

Printing round objects requires a special rotating device, ours generously donated by the Romich Foundation.  This allows the laser to engrave on all 360 degrees of the bottle.  Below, Leslie creates a design in Corel DRAW that similates a bottle that has been “flattened”:


A bottle is then placed on the rotator inside the engraver, which slowly spins the bottle as it engraves.  It is magical to watch.


Our students have been creating some interesting designs, though designs that I cannot recognize because I’m from an older generation.  🙂 But watching their enthusiasm is rewarding!



To celebrate the end of the semester and another exciting time at the Wayne College 3D Lab, a number of students brought musical instruments for a jamming session.  The group picked tunes and followed each other while busy 3D printers made their own “music” in the background.


As students take a break this summer, we will all have fond memories of working together and learning from each other in the lab.  Many are returning to Wayne this fall, so the 3D Lab “family” will be back for more interesting projects soon!



See how 3D-printed hair leads to fuzzy machines and sticky blocks:


See how lab-grown blood vessels appear a safe alternative to synthetic implants:


Until next week,



Rocket Launch Day, a homemade game console, and a trip to Wadsworth Central Intermediate School

Hello everyone,

With Finals Week upon us, the spring semester is coming to a close.  What a ride it’s been this semester.  We’ve seen a homemade CNC built in a student’s garage, a 3D printing workshop at Heartland Point, two wheeled skateboards, an Arduino bicycle brake light system, numerous offsite presentations, the birth of our Electronics Station, and our affiliation with the new Route 30 Corridor Makerspace Ecosystem (courtesy of The Schantz Organ Company).

It amazes me with how far the Wayne College 3D Lab has come in two short years.  When I walk into the room to find students talking animatedly about inventions they are working on, I know that Wayne College does a good thing for them; we are sparking their imaginations.  Our connections with community our invaluable; the success of the lab is made possible by its support.

Speaking of sparks, we had one of the most entertaining rocket launches in a while!  Engineering students in the Dynamics class spent a semester building models, testing them in wind tunnels, performing physics calculations, etc.  On Launch Day, their designs are put to the test.

A number of students made rockets using 3D printers such as the ones below:



The white rocket in particular was interesting as the student mixed his own engine fuel and used acetone to smooth the rocket’s body, giving it a sleek, glassy look.

Other rockets were constructed with traditional methods such as cardboard tubes, balsa wood fins, even pop cans!



The rocket that “stole the show” was a monstrosity of a machine, a 5-1/2-foot rocket made by Wade Darr.  Everything about this rocket was heavy duty, from its giant, 3D printed nosecone to heavy wood fins, PVC engine holster, and carpet-storage cardboard tubing.  Wade also mixed his own rocket fuel and performed at least 20 “test burns” at his parent’s home before Launch Day (yes, the house is still standing).  Watching it launch was like watching the Space Shuttle at Cape Canaveral!



For the first time, Chris from the Wayne College Flight Club used a drone to record the launches.  Wearing a virtual reality headset, he watched and recorded launches from the air using a tri-copter outfitted with a GoPro camera.  You can watch the launch of the “monster rocket” here (about 40 seconds into the video).  It was an exciting Launch Day!



David made excellent progress with the handheld game console that he started building earlier this semester.  The console is finished and works wonderfully!  The case and buttons were 3D printed, the screen was ordered at, and the “brains” of the console are provided by a tiny Raspberry Pi single-board computer running Linux.  The project involved a lot of soldering wires, connecting the battery pack, and salvaging old game controller parts to fit into the small console.  But the result was worth it and works wonderfully!


Now David is immersing himself into Arduino microcontrollers for future projects.  These  are low-cost “computers” without a screen, keyboard, or mouse.  They are used to control hardware, such as Ben’s CNC homemade machine, sensors, and other projects.  To get an idea for what’s possible, search for “Arduino” on  You will be amazed!



A couple of months ago, we were honored to demonstrate 3D printing to a couple of fifth grade classes at Wadsworth Central Intermediate School.  The kids were so excited that they talked about the presentation for weeks!  We were invited back to talk about 3D printying and careers in enginnering to the rest of the fifth grade students, all 300 of them.  Ten 45-minute sessions were given, each a flurry of excitement and a continual barrage of questions.  And many wanted to visit the Wayne College 3D Lab as soon as their parents would let them.  🙂  We are proud to have this connection with Wadsworth Schools and look forward to future collaborations.





See how this robot 3D prints metal bridges in Amsterdam:


Speaking of big things, see how this concrete 3D printer builds a castle:


Do it Yourself concept

An infinity mirror is a pair of mirrors, set up in a recursive manner, creating a series of smaller and smaller reflections that appear to recede into an infinite distance.  They are used as room accents and in artwork.  Here is how you can make your own!


Until next week,