3D printed math, belt sander drag strip, and a trip to Northwestern Elementary School

Hello everyone,

It’s hard to believe that half the semester is behind us.  The fall foliage is just beginning to show its beauty on maple trees around campus.  We are holding our breath for the first snowflakes that seem certain to fall early this year with the below-freezing temperatures most mornings.

The 3D Lab has been quite the hang-out place for students this semester!  Not just from engineering students, but other majors as well.  A couple of weeks ago, some students broughts guitar to teach each other how to play riffs, bars, and like.  Pleasant music wafted down A-Wing hall to the delight of many.  It’s great to see the community and friendships that grow in that room each semester.


Earlier this week, Dr. Yin, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, visited the 3D Lab to integrate student projects into tangible items created in the lab.  We met with Scott Gold to talk about model rockets, rollercoasters, and modeling shapes based from calculus formulas.  The latter is possible though the free online resource GeoGebra.  With GeoGebra, students can enter formulas then download STL files of shapes that are readily printable on a 3D printer.  We also discovered that Thingiverse has calculus and math related 3D objects & projects, many uploaded by teachers as class projects.

We also discussed model rockets, rollercoasters, and the calculations needed to build working prototypes.  3D printing a model rollercoaster to pilot ideas can take some time, however.  PaperRollercoasters.com makes coasters that are perfect for fast prototyping.  Simply print the shapes on a paper printer, fold them together, and you’ve got a sophisticated marble rollercoaster!  Using paper roller coasters with a class can be a fun way to teach the physics of energy and motion, as well as the importance of the engineering design process.  Thanks to Robin for the lead on this company!


At the Wayne County Mini Maker Faire last year, J.D., Rob, Jeff, Don, and others built an exciting attraction for the event, a belt sander drag strip!  We first spotted one of these high-speed, barely safe racetracks at the Detroit Mini Maker Faire a couple of years ago.  I can’t remember the length, but the photos below look like at least 45 feet of track, joined together with screws and 3D printed board joiners that Rob invented himself.  The belt sanders (provided by The Schantz Organ Company and others) were hardwired to be “on” by default.  The race starts by connecting their power cords to an outlet at the same time.  And what races they had!  A straw bale was placed at the end of the track to arrest these screaming demons.

We hope for the return of Belt Sander Races for Maker Faire 2019 and whatever else the Schantz Makerspace folks cook up.


A few weeks ago, the 3D Lab made a trip to Northwestern Elementary School to get young minds excited about 3D printing and careers in creativity, art, and engineering.  The portable 3D printer came along for the show, our trusty Up Plus! 2.  That little printer visited almost 80 locations since the start of the 3D Lab four years ago.  Lots of kids asked lots of questions throughout the presentation, from printing Titantic replica parts to 3D printed chocolate jewelry. The latter wouldn’t last long with this group after being printed, I’m sure.  It was a great visit and fun to spark the imaginations of these young adults.

Stayed tuned next week as we highlight makers from last year’s Wayne County Mini Maker Faire and show photos from recent Wayne College engineering student robot competitions.  Fun times ahead!


Bird Beats Cancer With The Help Of A 3D-Printed Prosthetic:


Father Helps Son With Cerebral Palsy Walk With Custom 3D Printed Orthosis:


Speaking of jewelry, here is how to 3D print on string for “floating” jewelry:


Did you know that most components from McMaster-Carr can be 3D printed for free?


Don’t miss the next Maker Monday on November 19th.  Bring your inventions, creations, artwork, etc.; it is a community Show & Tell event!  Find out more at www.schantzmakerspace.com


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 listserv@lists.uakron.edu with

“SUBSCRIBE MAKERSPACE-GROUP” in the subject line.


Until next week,