Homemade 3D printers, infinity mirrors, and a trip to Kingsway Christian School

Hello everyone,

The sudden winter storm earlier this week gave our students more reason to hang-out in the 3D Lab and Maker Lounge!  We’ve done a lot to improve these areas and have big plans in-store for the coming months.  The Maker Lounge is quite successful with lots of students using the improved space.  The idea is to promote the “maker” concept to more students.  This way, they become interested in visiting the cool and inventive people in the 3D Lab!

One never knows what new things students are cooking up in the lab.  It’s exciting to see how full the 3D Lab becomes on a day-to-day basis.  It really does have a life of its own.

One of these cool people is Ashton.  He is determined to build a 3D printer of his own, from scratch.  He started last semester, acquiring parts, designing and 3D printing other parts, and learning volumes by researching the Internet.  Building 3D printers from scratch is nothing new; folks at the Canton Hack and Makerspace has been doing his a while already.  But it is certainly a challenge!

Ashton’s design uses an Arduino Mega 2560 for the brain, then attached a “shield” that contains drivers with enough power to run the stepper motors.  These motors move the print head in two directions, the print bed in the third direction, and a motor to advance filament through the extruder.  The Arduino with shield & drivers looks like this:

Ashton is dedicated to building his 3D printer and we are excited for his progress!  He has the Arduino physically rotating the stepper motors, so it’s actually starting to work.  Stay tuned as we report more on this project.

 

On a different note, 3D Lab staff Nathan wanted to make a cool “maker” gift for his younger sister, an “infinity mirror”.  This consists of a pair of parallel mirrors which create a series of smaller and smaller reflections that appear to recede into an infinite distance.

To build his mirror, Nathan laser-cut reflective acrylic using scraps from a previous project.  He purchased a roll of white LEDs on a strip, affixed them inside the edges of a box frame donated by P. Graham Dunn, and voila, an infinity mirror.  The effect is quite impressive, especially when the lights are dimmed.

The final product is finished, polished, and Nathan’s sister is delighted.  If you are interested in making your own infinity mirror, check-out these projects on Instructables.com here.

 

A few weeks ago, the 3D Lab made another road trip, this time to Kingsway Christian School.  From an arrangement with one of his former high school instructors, Nathan took the portable 3D printer for a three-day workshop on CAD design and how 3D printers work.  Nathan used Tinkercad, a free, capable computer aided design program that works inside a web browser.  Nathan taught the Kingsway students how to create basic 3D shapes in Tinkercad, then let them loose in designing their own things.  Back at Wayne College and between sessions, Nathan printed their designs on multiple printers, then brough the items to the students the next day.  The workshop was a big success!

 

Maker Faire is a gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science club members, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. This free hands-on event invites people of all ages to learn, discover, create, and play along with makers and creators from across the region.

Maker Faire features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance, and craft. Maker Faire provides an opportunity to share projects and ideas we don’t encounter every day. It is a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others.

We are seeking to highlight your talents and innovations at the first annual Wayne County Mini Maker Faire. This event will be held at The University of Akron Wayne College on Saturday, May 20, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We encourage you to fill out an application at waynecounty.makerfaire.com. Participation as a maker (to showcase your creations) is free.  Application deadline is April 1st, so don’t delay!  Join the fun and share what you love to do. Bring your family and friends; there is something interesting for everyone!

 

Until next week,

Tom