Building robots, engraving bare metal, and a visit to the Salvation Army

Hello everyone,

It’s hard to believe that we’re into the seventh week of classes this Fall semester.  Every day brings students and community members into the 3D Lab; I try to recap some of their stories in these bi-weekly blogs.  One never knows what to expect from day to day; two weeks ago folks were 3D scanning rare bird eggs and a dead chipmunk!  But that’s a story for another day…

This semester, we welcome three new student assistants to the 3D Lab: Sri, Rahul, and Desmond.  All are helpful and interesting to get to know: Rahul is into website design and programming, Sri is very creative and knows most all of the equipment in the lab, and Desmond plays more musical instruments than I know exist.  Be sure to stop-in to see how they can help you!


This semester also brings one of the largest Tools for Engineering classes that I have seen in a while.  In the Fall semester, students build LEGO Mindstorms robots to perform tasks and eventually battle with.  The 3D Lounge outside of the 3D Lab has become a popular place for building their robots with lots of table space and 3D printers nearby to create parts.


Stay tuned as students finish their robots that will toss weighted cubes a calculated distance, run an obstacle course, and of course, participate in the hotly anticipated battle bots tournament!


Typical laser engravers use a CO2 laser that is effective upon wood, glass, rubber, ceramic, leather, plastics, and acrylic.  While it can remove paint from metal, leaving a shiny imprint, a CO2 laser cannot engrave nor cut bare metal because of its reflective surface.

Community members from Cornerstone Elementary School in Wooster opened a new playground last year and wanted to engrave metal dedication plaques.  They used a “laser marking” spray that, when a laser beam is applied, permanently bonds to the metal, resulting in a high-contrast image.  This can be used to engrave bare metal, glass, and ceramics with a sharp black (or other color) image, regardless of the underlying material color.

In the photo above, the light lettering is after bronze paint is removed from the laser engraver, resulting in a bare metal image.  The black lettering is the marking spray that is applied to the bare metal image, then lasered again. The result is quite nice!  For unpainted metal, the spray is directly applied and lasered in one pass.

Laser marking is good for etching images onto tools, applying barcodes to metal products, and much more.  If you are interested in trying this technique in the 3D Lab, please let me know.  One company that sells marking spray is


The 3D Lab made a road trip to the Salvation Army in Northeast Ohio located in Wooster.  Apart from their soup kitchen, emergency shelter, financial assistance, and other community services, the Salvation Army also offers a Summer Day Camp that keeps kids engaged and active all summer long.  Over 30 kids were introduced to 3D printing and how people use these machines to fix and create everyday items, not excluding toys!  Needless to say, they were excited about it.

After the presentation and talk, a number of kids and community members visited the 3D Lab to learn more about the technology and to create projects of their own.  Young minds inspired to be creative and inventive could mean future engineers to benefit our community one day.


Stay tuned next week as we reveal more about the Wayne County Mini Maker Faire slated for May 19, 2018!  If you haven’t signed up already to be part of this free event, please do so here.  It’s a great way to show the community what you’re into.



  Meet the disabled veteran who prototypes prosthetics for cats:


  Like donuts?  Here’s a fun school project that creates solar cells from these tasty treats:


  Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 19, 2018 for the 2nd Annual Wayne County Mini Maker Faire!  The event is free to attend and participate.  To be a maker at the faire, be sure to signup here.  We’d love to have you there!


  Don’t miss October’s Maker Monday which is tonight at 7:00 at The Schantz Organ Company!  They will explore a brand new electric car, plan for a Christmas Crafts for Kids event, discuss an upcoming Fusion 360 Q & A session, work on CNC machines and 3D printers, and so much more.
We offer a free “listserv” that allows to you ask questions to members in the makerspace. It’s great for sharing ideas, forming friendships, and helping & advising each other. To join, send an email to with

“SUBSCRIBE MAKERSPACE-GROUP” in the subject line.


Until next week,