The Library Goes Pro

From the Stetson Library blog:

“New 3D Printer

The duPont-Ball Library now owns a UPrint SE Plus 3D printer. The printer offers high-end ABS filament printing with dissolvable rafting/scaffolding. Because of the cost of this machine and the cost of the materials to support it, this printer is restricted to academic print jobs by appointment Monday-Friday beginning at 8:30 am. Print jobs must be completed by 5:00 pm. Other print jobs may be done any time the library is open on the library’s two MakerBot printers which do NOT require reservations.”

Sign up here


Innovation House Takes a Big Bite out of Orlando Makerfaire









Stetson was well represented at the 3rd year of the Orlando Makerfaire at the Orlando Science Center by a booth organized through Innovation House.

Our team of students, staff, and faculty for this year consisted of: Christian Micklisch, Dan Nunez, Vanna Blasczak, Nathan Hilliard, Katie Porterfield, Dun Burrhus, Dan Lane, Harry Price, Michael Branton, and Bill Ball.

It’s never too early to start working on projects to bring next year!



























Mor Gear

The equipment available for member use at Innovation House is listed on our gear page.  In addition, DuPont-Ball library has equipment available for student use. This includes 2 Makerbot 3d printers. One of these printers is a Replicator 2X which offers a dual filament option. The library also has a Makerbot Digitizer, designed to make 3D scans of small objects. Ask at the circulation desk for guidance on using this equipment.


lib2 lab3
















Orlando Maker Faire 2014

The third annual Orlando Maker Faire is coming up on September 13 and 14, 2014 ( Stetson is a charter exhibitor at this event and 2014 is going to be a blockbuster year. The Maker Faire has been expanded to two days and promoted to one of the few featured events in the International Maker Faire network ( Over 170 exhibitors will be in Orlando. Check out this list:

We are seeking projects from the Stetson community to be demonstrated at the Faire. If you have something you would like to show and can spare half a day on either Saturday or Sunday, please get in touch with me (Bill Ball) at as soon as possible.

Even if you are not bringing a project for the Stetson booth you should go to this. I can help coordinate car-pooling. Tickets for the faire are available on their site.

See you there.












Worn out tire to nearly new shoe? Is it possible…

Tires are all around us.  On cars, trucks, trailers, bicycles, and it seems anything else that needs to move efficiently.  But what happens to all those tires when they are worn out?  Millions of tires are discarded each year with some recycled, some burned as fuel for cement kilns, some crushed to be cover for landfills, and some left to rot in vacant lots.  But what if your “worn out” tires can become your next pair of shoes?

My family has a few trailers and every few years these go through tires.  Whether these are lost due to nails, blow outs, dry rot or flat spotting they are still no good.  The last time I replaced a tire on one of the trailers I wanted to try to turn it into something useful instead of just taking it to a recycler and paying a few dollars to make it disappear.  I looked on the Internet and found instructions to turn an old tire into a pair of shoes.  The instructions can be found at

This project took a while to get started.  There was work to do before I started the project.  I made a pair of pucker toe moccassins to cushion between my feet and the tire rubber.  These are very comfortable to wear and I would recommend the design to anyone who is considering making moccasins.  I believe the instructions I used are from ​

My first major difficult came in cutting the tread off the tire.  A major ‘Thank You’ goes out to Larry, the Stetson University shop technician who helped me use a large band saw to cut the sidewall and tread off the tire bead (the part that seals on the rim).

The cutting of the tread to make the sandals was the next big hurdle.  A ‘Thank You’ to the Innovation House for use of their saw which worked well to carve the sandals out from the chunks of tread.

I tried to innovate on the method of making these moccasins by drilling instead of chiseling the holes for straps.  It failed miserably.  Back to the wood chisel.  However, one innovation did work.  Instead of straps I used 550 cord because I had some on hand and it worked very well.

Finally, the moccasins were done.  When I tried them on these ended up being some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.  Yes, the first day of wearing these required a lot of adjustments to the cordage and tweaking of the sandal sole but after that these fit pretty well.  However, these are not much for good looks.  As my younger sisters will tell you – these sandals are ugly.  Ugly – but comfortable!

So, can someone build their own footwear from tires?  Yes.  Is it worth the effort?  Yes, provided you like to tinker and are willing to invest a good deal of time into building the shoes.  Could this change the world?  Unlikely, not many people have the time, supplies, skills, and effort to divert to a project like this and these shoes will not outperform a pair of shoes you can buy at the store.  Still this has been a great learning experience and hopefully the basis for many more adventures.  Always stay thrifty and curious.  – Logan


An assembled sandal

An assembled sandal

An assembled sandal with matching moccasin.

An assembled sandal with matching moccasin.

Moccasin and sandal on author's foot.

Moccasin and sandal on author’s foot.

Habitat for Humanity Birdhouse Building

For the past few years, Stetson University’s Chapter of Habitat for Humanity has held an annual Birdhouse Building Competition as part of the Gillespie Museum’s Earth Day.  This competition is open to teams of students from Stetson or members of the DeLand community to build birdhouses with all proceeds from the event going toward building houses for those in need with Southwest Volusia Habitat for Humanity and West Volusia Habitat for Humanity.  This year we partnered with the Innovation House to build all the kits for participants.  Traditionally, each team has the option of going with a birdhouse kit which contains all the supplies and instructions to build a standard birdhouse or pulling from a parts bin which has mismatched lumber that can be creatively assembled into a birdhouse.  This year there were three kit designs which can be seen in the pictures.

Over the course of a few weeks we were able to create 50 kits using measuring tools, saws, and the drill press from the Innovation House.  There are always difficulties encountered and this year was like any other.  Standardizing the kits to all pull from one board size proved more challenging than originally thought and it was hard to recruit teams before the event.  However, there are also little successes along the way.  The drill press made drilling the holes in the front of the birdhouses much faster and simpler than it had been in previous years.  This year 12 birdhouses were assembled (lots of kits left over for next year) and raised more than $50 to build real houses.  Overall, we were glad to work with the Innovation House for this project and look forward to working on other projects with them in the future.  If you would like more information about Stetson University’s Habitat for Humanity please look us up on Facebook (Like us for future updates!) and you can join our email list on HatterSync.

-Laurie, Brianne, and Logan holding up the three birdhouse designs from 2014.

Laurie, Brianne, and Logan holding up the three birdhouse designs from 2014.

All the assembled birdhouse kits.

All the assembled birdhouse kits.

The building crew hard at work.

The building crew hard at work.

Hunkered Down: Updated

For the update on my 3D Printer Art Project “Hunkered Down” I wanted to add a light element to try and create shadows of the two figures. These shadows would give it a more “secluded childhood fort” feel and make it seem more whimsical.

For the light element I purchased a LED flashlight stick from Walmart for about $5. I then had to disassemble the flashlight to get to the LED/Battery part. I was relieved to know that it was all in one piece that was small and compact and included a small button so that I could turn the light off and on. The light however had one white LED and one green one. The green light was not going to work with my project. I had to make a trip to RadioShack to purchase a replacement white LED. I found a pack of two white LEDs for $3. I then had to remove the greed LED and solder on the white one. This was accomplished successfully.

I then had to decide how to place the light so that it projected the right shadows. This is where I hit a road block. No matter where I placed the light hardly any shadow was created. The body of the project simply did not have enough depth to place the light far enough back so that it create shadow. So I had to scrap the idea of shadows and just affix the light to the top to just go with a “lighted” look.

Overall the project was a success and the resources at the Innovation House proved viable in creating art projects.

Stetson Startup Product

For the Stetson Startup Pitch we decided to build a computer which could sense both the moisture and the pH content of the soil including, then send that information to an android phone via bluetooth. This was done by using both a YuroBOT moisture sensor, an arduino UNO (from the sparkfun kit borrowed graciously from the Innovation House), a basic PH sensor bought from amazon, a HC-06 bluetooth transmitter and receiver, some resistors, and a basic breadboard.

The sensors were simply plugged into their respective ports on the ardiuno UNO, the bluetooth sensor was used in conjunction with a library found online with all the bluetooth commands needed, and then we found a simple potted plant to test all of our sensors.

After getting all of the sensors to work we calibrated them. For the moisture sensor we simply used the zero value as our lowest value, then to get the maximum value we placed the moisture sensor into a cup of water, after that whatever value we got was divided by our maximum plus our minimum. For the pH sensor we used the difference of the values received over out line to define our value. We then stated our minimum to be coffee (pH value of 5), which there was alot of at the Stetson Startup, and our maximum to be soapy water (pH value of 12). Once all of the sensors were calibrated we then stored the last 40 values and averaged them to display a simple smooth transition of sensor ouput values.

Our current sensor only gets the Moisture, and light amount; only because a pH sensor will slowly degrade over time, and the cheaper the sensor the faster it degrades and the worse the values will be.



Above image is that of the current sensor with an arduino UNO.



Our Stetson Startup team. From left to right David Edwards, Christian Micklisch, and Christian Casadio. Nathan Hilliard is not included, but was also in the team


Joystick Update

Continuation from Previous article.

The completed project

Final JoystickCloser look at housing

Unfortunately, my initial goal for this project could not be met, as I have continually run into structural integrity issues.  What remains however, it a large joystick that requires near full body motion to use, which is similar to my initial goal of creating a controller that allows the user to use their actual movements to navigate an environment.  As can be seen from the above image, the Fio v3 micro controller is wired to to the outer housing.  Inside each block is a potentiometer which in turn is glued to the dowel which is rotated by the joystick.  The base of the potentiometer is attached by two wires wrapped around screws to a metal bar.  This ensures that the base does not rotate, but only the top, so that it can more accurately measure the dowel rotation.

20140411_131718 20140411_131724

The above images show how the joystick rotates inside the housing.  Both the X and Y axis are free to rotate, allowing the joystick to move in a full circle.

The joystick takes the rotation data and determines which key is to be pressed for the given configuration.  The key press is sent over the Serial XBee connection to an Arduino Leonardo with an XBee Shield (Seen below), which is recognized by the computer as a keyboard and mouse.  The Leonardo is then attached to the computer running the virtual environment program.  Once attached the joystick is able to send data to the computer and navigate the environment.


The code for this project can be found here.

Innovation House Party (and Prize Award Event)

Next Tuesday’s Stetson Showcase provides an opportunity to announce the winners of the first round of the Innovation House prize and hold a brief party for ourselves. So I am inviting all members, their guests, and anyone else who can find the place to come by at 4 pm on Tuesday, April 15.

We will announce and recognize the winners of the prize.

We will have treats. Please participate in the following poll to select the menu:

I’m not trying to bias the results but if we pick the first menu, there may be dry ice to play with after the frozen food’s gone.

Lastly, we will have a new toy to play, with namely this one:









So if you ever wanted to create 3D models freehand, or just stick stuff together with melted plastic, this is your chance.

Vote in the poll and try to let me know if you are coming ( so I know how much stuff to bring.