Arduino project boxes, game programming summer camp, and 3D scanning vintage car parts

Hello everyone,

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:


Do it Yourself concept

A chandelier made from a drumset?  Some people ask “why?”  But we say “why not!”


Until next week,