Maker Faire Highlights

On Saturday, March 11, Fountaindale hosted our first Maker Faire. The event had huge support from our community and featured a bevy of activities including Spaghetti Bridge Building. Check out the highlight video below. And head to our Flickr page for even more pictures.

Practical Tech with Tony – 015 – Technology & the Law

Just want to reiterate that neither Jeffrey or I are lawyers, so take whatever we say as opinion and not as pure fact, although we try very hard to get our facts right.

As technology makes it way further and further into our society, into our work, our schools, our homes, we need to stay on top of how things are playing out in the legal sphere. The law tends to be very reactive and not very proactive. Technology is developing faster than the law can keep up.

No list of links directly related to this topic for this podcast, but if you are Twitter user, I’m going to give you the handles of some technology feeds that I pay close attention to. They all have corresponding websites, but the Twitter feeds are the best for monitoring breaking news.

ArsTechnica – @arstechnica
TechCruch – @techcrunch
Reddit Tech – @reddit_tech
Engadget – @engadget
Gizmodo – @Gizmodo
Wired – @WIRED
Internet of Shit – @internetofshit – This is a great one to watch for the outrageous items being connected to the Internet. He also focuses on how things go so terribly wrong. “Why did they connect THIS to the Internet?” is another ongoing theme. Recently he’s had a series of tweets about having to update light bulbs with new firmware/software and an Internet-connected winebottle.

 

3D Printed Guitar Stand

The 3D printer in Studio 300 has seen a lot of action in the past 2 1/2 years.

mb3d

MakerBot 3D Printer

We have printed some pretty cool stuff for our patrons. Occasionally, a patron asks for something unique and the results can be amazing. That’s the case with this guitar stand pictured..

guitar stand 1      giutar stand 2

Designed completely from scratch, we printed 3 pieces at an 80% fill (almost solid plastic) and our patron then painted the finished items black.  When combined with several other pieces, the stand is complete.

guitar stand 3 fixed

Completed Guitar Stand

Printing useful objects is what 3D printing is all about.  The Studio 300 3D printer offers almost endless possibilities in the 3D world.  If you’re new to 3D printing, check out the Makerbot or stop by Studio 300 for a first hand look at this exciting technology!

New 3D Printer Filament

3D filamentStudio 300 recently added several new filaments for use with our 3D printer.

The new colors are Blue Glow (it glows in the dark!), Red, Orange, Magenta, Gold and Green. You can create your own 3D models using the free program Sketchup. Or use a pre-existing design by visiting thingiverse.com.

3D models cost 10 cents per gram after it is printed and weighed.

How to SketchUp

While there are many 3D and CAD modeling programs out there, none are as simple to use as Google’s SketchUp.  If you’re not familiar with 3-dimensional programs, then SketchUp may seem daunting at first.  But once you figure out the basics, it’s easy to design logos, furniture, and even houses.

If you’re familiar with most computer programs, especially drawing programs, you’ll notice some similar tools.  The select tool, pencil, paint bucket, magnifying glass, and different shapes are some of the tools in SketchUp that you will recognize right away. TCaptureo do to start designing, take the line or the shapes tool and click anywhere, move your mouse to the length or size you like and click again.

Just remember that you are working in a 3D landscape, so it is easy to get lost!  Using the scroll wheel on the mouse to zoom in and out. Stick to the x, y and z axis when drawing lines and shapes and that will make the whole 3D atmosphere a lot less intimidating. Try to imagine the screen as the viewfinder to a camera that can pan, tilt, zoom and reposition anywhere you’d like.

Check out some tutorials online at sketchup.com/learn/videos or at lynda.com.

A great book that you can check out here at Fountaindale is Google SketchUp: the Missing Manual.  Not only does it cover the first steps but goes well into detail for more advanced users. sketchup

There’s more to Google SketchUp then designing for 3D printing. You can also use it for architecture and construction, interior design, game design, woodworking, and film and stage design.

Teens learn 3D modeling and printing

Earlier this month, Studio 300 presented their first 3D Design & Printing for Teens class.  Students eagerly took over the studio computers and dove into the exciting and complicated new world of designing objects in a virtual 3 dimensional world and bringing them to reality with our 3D printer.

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The class began with discussion about the fundamentals of 3D design and possible uses for 3D printed objects.  Everyone had their own ideas – from jewelry like necklaces and earrings, to scale models of buildings for use in architecture and design, to scale models for prototyping.

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Other questions were asked that sparked discussion about the essentials of 3D design.  What can be printed?  What cannot?  What kind of designs could be constructed that would print best?  Large objects (over 5in x 5in x 11in) certainly would be impossible for even our modest Makerbot, while very small intricately detailed objects are also a limitation of the printer.  The material that is being printed has other limitations such as sensitivity to heat and pressure, and an inability to flex also inhibits some designs.

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The class then learned about some of the software (most of it free!) that can be used to create 3D models, and began learning a free downloadable software called SketchUp made by Google.  The basics of the software’s workflow were learned, as well as the tools to create and manipulate objects.  The learning curve for design in 3 dimensions is a bit steep, but these tech-savvy teens picked it up, ran with it and were creating objects in no time.

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The students were then given a task – create their idea of a dream house while keeping in mind the structural limitations of the Makerbot printer.  after only 45 minutes, these teens had created amazing and fun designs, from cylindrical silos and contemporary country estates to abstract minimalist apartments and biohazard arch-villain hideouts!

greenprinting

Printing a 3D model made by teens in Studio 300.

silver

A completed model

blue

Another finished teen ‘dream house’

Free 3D Modeling Apps

In addition to downloading free 3D models from Thingiverse for 3D printing, you can create your own!

Here are a few free 3D modeling apps:

SketchUp icon
SketchUp:
SketchUp was previously a Google project that is now owned by Trimble. It is an easy-to-use app for creating 3D models, but does require a plug-in in order to export STL files for a 3D printer.

123D Design icon

123D by Autodesk:
A suite of several different browser-based applications for 3D modeling using various methods such as converting photos, building 3D from 2D slices, and combining shapes. Requires browsers with WebGL support.

blender icon
Blender:
An open source application that can create professional level modeling and animations, but with a steeper learning curve. Able to natively export STL files for 3D printing.

Makerbot achievements

Now that we’ve had a solid 3 weeks of noodling with our new Makerbot Replicator 2, we have some shiny new objects to show off!  From fun and silly tchotchkes to practical useful tools, we are constantly experimenting with different designs, concepts and ideas to bring to 3-dimensional life.

makerbotitems2

Something as simple as a small container:

makerbotcup

To a complex series of moving parts, such as this planetary gear set:

makerbotgears

Practical objects like this nut/bolt set:

makerbotnutbolt

To these fully functional pliers, complete with interlocking teeth!

makerbotpliers

Now it’s your turn. What will YOU create?