Author Archives: Bill Ball

Vacuum Forming — Does it Really Suck?

It’s time to play with vacuum forming. Below is a poll. Pick your favorite date/time and I will get back to everyone with the final choice. All you need to bring with you is some roughly mound shaped object smaller than 12″x12″ that you want to pull a mold from. We will be draping melting plastic on it so no (live) body parts or highly perishable items. Or just show up and look for found items. Some ideas can be found in my earlier post .

Also it’s a good chance to get your lab safety check-off and basic tool briefing if you have not done that yet.

[update: workshop scheduled for Wednesday, November 20 at 4 pm]

If I can find my can of Instamorph we will play with that as a bonus.

 

Make a copy of your head

Now that people have had a chance to print out stuff from Thingiverse.com it’s time to get more creative with the 3D printer. Autodesk has an interesting free product called 123D Catch (http://www.123dapp.com/catch). This allows you to take a series of photos of a 3D object, upload them to their cloud service–which stitches them together into a 3D model, and print the model out.

I tried it this morning with a gargoyle off of my bookcase and got a decent result with very little clean up time.

garg1

 

 

 

 

 

 

garg2

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is encouraging enough that  I think we should schedule a night to make copies of things. Things may include people in the room. Here is a poll for you to vote on which night next week to do this. Pick the night that will work best for you.

(Poll closed)

123D Catch experimentation session is Tuesday, Oct 29 at 6:30 pm

You will want to bring:

  1. Something to copy (could be yourself).
  2. Something to take pictures with (cell phone, camera, webcam). You will need to upload your pictures to the 123D site.
  3. A laptop, ipad, or iphone.

We will not be able to print all the models out in one night, but can certainly capture a bunch of stuff and work on preparing it for printing.

Stetson wins Sparkfun dubstep props

“That was some of the coolest dubstep innovations that we’ve seen on tour. Seriously.”

 — Lindsay Craig, SparkFun Electronics

We had a great day with the Sparkfun National Tour workshop. It started with TV coverage, music, and cheer leading, which we are pretending was for us. Then a full day workshop with the Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit led by Linz, Angela, and Will. A small gallery of pictures follow.

The Inventor’s kits are available for use anytime in Innovation House. Arrangements will be made to have a few available for check out at the Library.

The circus comes to Stetson

Yesterday one of the Orlando TV stations did their morning broadcast from Stetson. They did short segment on Innovation House. Well, sort of, since they misidentified it as the “Invention Club”, managed to misspell the word “college”, and misidentified one of our visiting instructors from Sparkfun as a Stetson student. They also skipped the PDLork demo from Digital Arts entirely. I knew we would be in trouble when the reported asked for a current invention and didn’t know what a fitness tracker was. At any rate, the clip is here:

http://www.myfoxorlando.com/story/23729021/good?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9430276

BTW: he had just learned what a planetary gear set is 30 seconds before air time.

Shop Tools and Shop Safety Workshop

The Stetson ACM chapter is hosting the following workshop on the evening of October 21st. Not only will it give you the chance to learn how to use the basic tools in Innovation House, it will certify you on safety so that you will be able to use them whenever you like.

tools_workshop

Adventures in Vacuum Forming (part 1)

One of the intriguing pieces of equipment we have on hand is a vacuum forming machine (a Centroform Ezform 1217). It’s time to learn how to use it effectively.

After a miserable failure with some plastic from Home Depot designed to diffuse fluorescent lights, I decided to order some proper materials and give it a go with small objects laying about. Below are some pictures from this semi-successful attempt. The plastic is 0.03″ PTGCE-PETG, recommended as the easiest to start vacuum forming with. All of these parts were done on a single sheet, which costs about $3.50 per sheet.

The 3D printed octopus molded really well. I was concerned that the hot vacuum form plastic would stick to the PLA the octopus is made out of, but it worked with no problem and it preserved a lot of the detail. The brass hood from a soldering station also worked out fairly well, although you can see where the plastic didn’t pull completely tight around the bottom, probably because the sharp edges popped the plastic in the middle opening, resulting in a loss of suction. The piece of white coral molded ok but with a significant loss of detail. The wooden blocks show the limits of this technique–the high straight sides led to significant folding in the plastic.

Of course this was my first real attempt so I am sure it could have been done better.

We need to schedule a vacuum forming night soon. I’ll do that shortly.

vf1 vf2 vf3 vf4

Innovation House at Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013

Innovation House organized the Stetson booth at Orlando Maker Faire 2013. Here is a gallery of pictures from the event. Once the faire got going, the Stetson booth was slammed with visitors until the doors closed. In addition to Innovation House members Ryan Howard, Michael Branton, and myself, Stetson was represented by Don Burrhus, Alicia Schultheis, Mandy Camp, Anja Erwin, Jack Fields, Karen Cole, and Grady Ballenger. The enigmatic Chris Gillespie failed to show, although he/she may have been in the stormtrooper uniform.

Innovation Class visits Innovation House

Dr. John Tichenor brought his first seminar titled “Life at the Intersection: Examining the Collision of Ideas, Innovations, and Culture” over to tour the facility and talk about the role of makerspaces in fueling innovation.

tichenor

This is the course description for his seminar:

“What do termites and architecture have in common? Music records and airlines? And what does any of this have to do with healthcare, card games or cooking?” In this course, we will examine these questions and many more as we study and discuss how ideas and innovations come together in often-explosive ways. We will use a study of the Medici Effect and other works to challenge ourselves to see beyond our own current expertise and to actively approach new situations, including the first year in college, in creative and game-changing ways.

Dr. John Tichenor is Associate Professor in the Decision and Information Science department in the School of Business Administration.

Live camera added to Innovation House

I have added a live public IP camera to Innovation House (a Dropcam). This provides 24/7 coverage of the entire space. It also records all activity for a period of days. The camera is there primarily so members can see what is going on before making the long walk over. You can also use it to see if your print is finished (please do not leave the printer on all night). However since the camera also logs all activity to the cloud, it has a secondary security purpose. It has 2 way audio, but I am going to leave that off for now.

You can access the camera under the Live Cams page in this site’s menu system.

Dropcam also provides mobile apps through app stores so you could check the camera with your phone (it uses Flash so you probably can’t just use the browser on your phone). You will need to set up a free account with Dropcam to sign on to a mobile app. Create your account. Then open up this link and click follow: http://dropc.am/p/InnovationHouseSU. Then you will be able to find the camera on your mobile device

This is a public 24/7 camera so anything you do in there from now on will be available for anyone to see.