A major announcement about Innovation House will be posted to this blog on Monday, 1/14/2014. Consider yourself teased.
In preparation for the Spring semester I have made a couple updates to the 3D printing setup. The red laptop connected to the Makerbot had died (after many years of dedicated service). The graphics card is failing. If you have any personal files on that laptop please transfer them off during the first week of classes. Then it will be fed to the wolves.
I have set up a new laptop to run the printer. It should boot into the administrator account, from which you can run the MakerWare application (the one with the “mw” logo). Please do not clutter the desktop with files. It is running Ubuntu 12.04. The administrator password is “digital” if you need it.
Since the build plate that came with the machine is getting pretty beat up, and Makerbot does not sell replacements, I decided to try to fab something. I bought some scrap 3/8″ lexan off ebay cheap (enough make 3 build plates). After lots of carefull sawing, and a bit of cursing, it seems to work. This new build plate is thicker, stronger, and much more scratch resistant than the original acrylic one. Please be careful removing it and inserting it. Start with the back clip and gently push it into place. It’s a very snug fit and I don’t want to break the clips. Although lexan is very tough, it can be scratched so let’s see how long we can keep this one from getting scratched up.
If you want to use the old build plate, I will leave it by the printer. Remember that you will need to re-level the axis if you switch from one plate to the other. I think you will like the new one much better, but I have not tried it with any really large or long prints.
The white board is accumulating a lot of warnings born of anguish. Is this our wailing wall?
After playing it safe on the first couple of attempts at vacuum forming, a couple members gathered up their courage and put their phones on the machine. A couple of nice phone cases were the results. I’m not sure I’d drop melted plastic directly on to my phone, but it was fun to watch and I guess all’s well that ends well.
[update: power fully restored on 11/14, 3D printer working on shorter jobs--haven't fully investigated the problem on long jobs yet]
I sent the following e-mail out to all registered users of IH today:
We are having a couple of issues at Innovation House that I need to notify you about.
1. There seems to a partial power outage. This is affecting the outlets in and near the closet. Unfortunately this includes all network capabilities (including the dropcam). I put in a call to facilities to work on it (after I checked the breakers of course).
2. The makerbot 3D printer is giving thermal shutdown faults on long print jobs. We have started working with Makerbot to sort this out. I tried a 20 minute print and it was fine. Anything over a hour may not finish until we get this fixed.
I will send another e-mail when these problems have been resolved.
Things happen and I hope to have a 100% operational death star again soon.
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.
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.
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.
123D Catch experimentation session is Tuesday, Oct 29 at 6:30 pm
You will want to bring:
Something to copy (could be yourself).
Something to take pictures with (cell phone, camera, webcam). You will need to upload your pictures to the 123D site.
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.
“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.
Sparkfun travels with presence
This much school spirit is unusual for a maker geek event
Ryan and Katie educate the media
Linz explains how their open source board is like that other open source board
It must have been a fascinating point
Gotta start with blinky lights
Getting going with the kits
Can you make bread with it?
Be sure to use all the jumper wires, which one is ground again?
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:
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.
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.
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.