As with last semester, the 3D Lab is packed with students most every hour of the day. Some complete homework, others work on inventive personal projects, and some simply hang-out with friends to enjoy the energy that is felt there.
One of our students, Ashton, is going full-bore with building a personal 3D printer from scratch. He is researching how to modify existing circuit boards to suit his needs and how to manually machine metal printer parts such as filament drive screw, gantry system, and other systems. We’ll have more to report about this exciting project soon.
Students in the Tools for Engineering class are feverishly working on assignments that involve building LEGO Mindstorms robots. These robots are tasked to travel an exact distance, turn 180 degrees, then travel back to exactly the same starting point. It’s not as easy as it sounds, given variations in motor speeds, the non-rigid nature of LEGO blocks, battery life, etc.
Instructor Scott Gold created a “test track” on the 3D Lab floor with electrical tape, then the tests began! After placing a robot at the starting point, students watched and cheered (and sometimes sighed) as robots usually made it safely home again. It’s amazing how much students have learned about robotics since the start of the semester.
Our sister makerspace in Orrville (Schantz Makerspace) hosted an exciting meeting this past Monday. Almost 20 people attended the second gathering to discuss the CNC machine project where folks build personal CNC machines together at low-cost. Ben Engle perfected a design that started as a large, wooden machine and is now a sleek, aluminum beauty that is highly accurate, lightweight, and somewhat portable.
Ben’s machine carves shapes into wood or a permanent marker can be attached for computer controlled drawings. A free, online program (Easle) converts the designs to “gcode” which is sent to an Arduino microcontroller. From there, the microcontroller tells the motors how to move the router in various directions.
If you want to be involved in this workshop, there is still plenty of time to sign-up! The estimated cost of building a machine is $700. We will build machines at Schantz Organ together over the course of 2-3 weekends. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
A while back, a community member stopped by the 3D Lab with an interesting project. He has an antique refrigerator with a broken knob, wanting to know if a replacement was possible. Since it’s not possible to purchase an antique knob on Amazon, 3D printing was the perfect solution.
The gentlemen didn’t know anything about CAD design, so we sat down together and learned. After about 20 minutes, we had a design made in the free CAD program 123D Design. In another 20 minutes, we printed the knob with our portable 3D printer!
The knob fit somewhat well, but needed some improvements. The next day, we tweaked the design and the community member reported a perfect fit when he took the knob home. Now he knows something about CAD design and is able to repair things that weren’t possible before. Another happy customer!
A couple weekends ago, the 3D Lab made another road trip, this time to the second annual Props and Pistons air show in Wadsworth, Ohio. What does this have to do with 3D printing, you may ask? Plenty! Students in our 3D Lab are currently working with the MAPS Air Museum in Canton to repair a window brace for one of their planes. We also helped them with a jet nosecone project that involves 3D scanning & printing. Model airplane enthuisiasts and the Wayne College Flight Club uses 3D printed parts for their planes and drones.
Even though the Wayne College booth was set a bit away from the general hubbub of the air show, people streamed non-stop to our table, fascinated with the 3D printer that we brought along. Adults and kids of all ages wanted to know more about the technology and the 3D Lab hosted at Wayne College.
During the festival, we made connections with various airplane enthusiasts and organizations interested in 3D printing to solve projects. Our tentmates were representatives from the International Women’s Air & Space Museum in Cleveland, dedicated to preserving the history of women in aviation and space and to document their continuing contributions today and in the future. They told us lots of interesting stories about women in aviation.
Stay tuned next week for more news and we have a big announcement in the 3D Lab!
Our Taz 3D printer was recently upgraded to support rubber parts! See how this 3D printed door latch has one moving part – itself!
See how Boeing proposes 3D printing ice for aircraft certification:
Is $700 too expensive for building your own CNC machine? See how you can make a basic CNC using spare parts for $20:
Until next week,
Our freshly cleaned and waxed floors in the 3D Lab are now littered with dirt, plastic shavings, discarded airplane parts, candy wrappers, and unidentifiable objects, signs of a healthy and busy makerspace. The two Taz 3D printers provided by the Wayne County Community Foundation are true workhorses and are printing all day long.
One particular student is determined to build a 3D printer from scratch, so he is busy printing parts using our existing printers, recycling used stepper motors and extruder assemblies from our older printers, reading voraciously about similar projects on the Internet, etc. Once his project starts coming together, we’ll have pictures and the complete low-down on the 3D Lab’s first student-made 3D printer!
Until then, a lot has been happening in the 3D Lab. Our Electronics Station is regularly used for soldering wires and building Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects. Earlier this summer, community member Mike invented an Arduino “project box” that houses the microcontroller in an enclosure complete with display and control buttons.
The Arduino’s outputs are rerouted to the back of the box for easy hook-up of sensors, lights, motors, and other components. Below is a photo of the Arduino itself, the “brains” of the project box. It is essentially a low-cost computer without a monitor, keyboard, nor mouse; it’s a rudimentary computer programmed to perform a single task.
Mike has written programs that allow the box to sense distances with ultrasonic sensors. Arduinos are incredibly useful and have many, many applications (such as controlling your microwave, furnace, hydroponics, etc.). Check out more ideas here.
This past summer, Chris and other students & community members offered their second annual kids summer camp that built “chuck gliders” using the laser cutter and foam board. Soon following, students Anthony, Josh, and David hosted another event in the 3D Lab that taught kids how to design video games!
Kevin Platz from the Orrville Area Boys and Girls Club was awarded a grant through AT&T to purchase the software that made this camp possible. GameMaker was the game programming environement, allowing games to be designed by modifying existing templates or by writing games from scratch.
Needless to say, the camp was a big hit! The camp ran for several weeks, giving kids plenty of time to build an Asteroids-type game, a Mario-type game, and original games of their own. We had a pizza party on the final day of camp and demo’d what everyone had made. Many thanks to Anthony, Josh, David, and Kevin who made this camp possible!
Last year, community member Bill brought vintage car parts to the 3D Lab, hoping to reproduce them on a 3D printer. You can read more about this project here. We used the 3D scanner provided by the Orrville Area Boys and Girls Club to scan a car jack from a foreign, vintage race car, then print a plastic replica on the Makerbot Replicator 3D printer. The result was quite successful! Recently, Bill painted the plastic copy and uses it for demonstrations. Many thanks to Kevin Platz from OABGC who made this project possible. The 3D printed jack is on the right:
Calling all plane and flight enthusiasts! This Saturday & Sunday, Wadsworth Municipal Airport is hosting their annual “Props & Pistons” event. Over 10,000 people will attend the largest FREE airshow in the state of Ohio.
The weekend will include aircraft displays from WWII aircraft to present, flying demonstrations, car show, educational displays, NASA planes and Astronaut, vendors, food trucks, hot air balloon launch, concerts, fireworks, and free airplane rides for children under 18. The US Air Force is sending their state-of-the art Rapid Strike Flight Simulator. Each year, around 200 Boy Scouts camp-out at the airport and complete the prerequisites for their aviation badge. Kids from Children’s Hospital will become “pilot for the day” where they will get a custom shirt with pilot wings, a basic class in how planes fly, fly the flight simulator, and if their health allows they will get a free airplane ride.
Don’t miss this incredible event! Please click here for more information.
Last but not least, a group of students dropped by the 3D Lab today to create custom t-shirts. 3D Lab staff Nathan showed them how to use the vinyl cutter software to create a reverse image of their design, which was then cut onto the backside of special heat transfer vinyl. After a quick 30-second treatment from the heat press, t-shirts were made and another set of happy students left the lab.
See how this 3D printed prosthetic puts the power in the hands of those who need it:
See how a 3D-printed orthotic boot lets injured penguin waddle with the best of ’em:
A chandelier made from a drumset? Some people ask “why?” But we say “why not!”
Until next week,