FabSLAM Baltimore 2017 Launches Today

Wow…it’s so hard to believe that this is our 6th cycle of FabSLAM! We are so excited to continue this program this year and to announce our challenge theme today.

What is FabSLAM?

FabSLAM is our annual, multi-week, team-based, digital fabrication competition. During this competition youth learn and practice design, iteration, and rapid prototyping skills primarily focused on 3D Design and 3D Printing. A challenge theme is presented and teams work to develop a product that fits the theme and meets any accompanying requirements. Teams work with a Coach to help guide the team through the challenge and aid in documentation. Everything culminates in a FabSLAM Showcase where teams present their products to a panel of judges and a public audience for review and feedback. Learn more about FabSLAM here.

Our 2016 First Place team, presenting their oyster habitat to judges

2017 Challenge Theme

This cycle’s challenge theme is TRANSPORTATION!

For this challenge theme, identify a problem you may encounter when using transportation that could be addressed using 3D printing and digital fabrication.

More information:

  • Identify a problem you might encounter when using any form of transportation.
  • Use digital fabrication methods (3D printing) to create a solution to the problem you have identified.
    • This might be a fabricated model of a new approach to a transportation system problem,
    • OR it might be a product that would solve a specific need or problem encountered when using transportation

Teams of youth in grades 3-12 (with an adult coach) are invited to register and join us to compete in this 3D printing competition. It doesn’t matter where you are geographically located in Maryland, as long as you can attend the FabSLAM Showcase at the end of the program on Thursday May 4, 2017.

If you have not registered for FabSLAM yet, simply click below to be taken to the Registration Page.

Register for FabSLAM Today!

We hope you’ll join us for this cutting-edge design and fabrication challenge!
 

3D Mapping MD

Inspired by the We The Builders project, Casey Kirk from the Maryland State Department of Education reached out to us with a concept for a similar project.  She wanted to create a topographical map of Maryland with pieces contributed from students from each county.

How It Was Done

This project was split into two main parts: logistics and technical pieces.

Logistics

Casey launched into action by contacting schools and youth organizations in Maryland’s 24 counties (including Baltimore City) to find who had 3D printing capabilities. She then compiled a list of contacts and revealed to all the strategy to have each county printed by a different organization. More details developed over time, but the initial plan was relatively simple. Each county would be printed in a specific color and then mailed to DHF for an assembly by youth on Digital Learning Day.

Excitedly, the Governor’s office showed interest in the project. A plan was hatched to assemble the project at his office. Casey and Val from MSDE took on the task of handling all of the logistics so that DHF could focus on the technical aspects.

Technicals

Using Maryland’s Mapping and GIS Data Portal, I was able to get Digital Elevation Models (DEM) of each of the counties. DEMs are grayscaled images where the white sections represent higher areas of elevation, and the darker areas are lower elevations.

Once I had a DEM for all of the counties, I then went to work converting them to 3D. I created a spreadsheet to help determine what scale could be used for the map. Maryland has everything from beaches to mountains making it a dynamic range of topography. Making it all fit on a reasonably sized map was challenging. It’s not perfect, and I would have tried to use a more universal scale next time, but I ended up using a different proportion for the height than I did for the length/width.

After I had my scale, I started converting the files into 3D. This conversion was made easy by the tool Simplify3D. Simplify3D has an add-in specifically meant to convert elevation image maps to 3D. One just needs to load the PNG and set the dimensions of the 3D model.

 

 

That was a great start. Then I loaded each model into Meshmixer to clean up the edges.

After all the files were cleaned up and ready to go, Casey kicked back into action and started to share the data. Initially, we used Google Drive to share the files but then immediately found out a few school districts in Maryland don’t allow teachers to use Google Drive. As an alternative, we switched to using Dropbox to share the files. Everyone now had access to all the county files in case they wanted to print their own version of the map.

Reflection

The project was a lot of fun. Working with Casey and MSDE is something that I love to do. They are extraordinarily innovative and are immensely motivated to bring making to Maryland schools and youth. Being part of a team where we each person contributes a different skill set was great.

If I were to do this again, one difference I would make is to form the horizontal and vertical scales a little more similar. The difference between these axes was very noticeable and one of the first things people noticed.

The event at the Governor’s office was outstanding. Seeing all of the youth from across the state come together to build the map was inspirational.

Traditionally schools have been bounded by physical walls, and a group project meant working only with people in the same room. The Internet has changed this, making our project an exploration of a collaborative strategy that is not limited by physical location. This is also the way that companies in the tech industry act today through tools like Google Docs, GitHub, and Skype.

The industries of the future will demand that our students have the ability and agility to do this type of work on a consistent basis. At the Digital Harbor Foundation, we are an agile research and development organization focused on what the future of education will look like and solve tomorrow’s problems today.

Youth Project: Raspberry Pi Touchscreen

Hello again, this is Bella Palumbi, back today with another recent project I’ve worked on at the Tech Center. If you’d like to check out my previous post, you can see it here: Raspberry Pi Time-Lapse Camera.

This project was to connect a Raspberry Pi to a touchscreen. The idea was to be able to run a 3D printer through a Raspberry Pi through a touchscreen. Right now, each 3D printer at the Tech Center is connected to a Pi, but they are still interacted with through a desktop computer. It would be convenient if every printer had a touchscreen connected to it, or if all the printers were controlled from a single, large touchscreen. There is a program called OctoPrint that the Tech Center uses to run its printers through Pis, and OctoPrint has a touchscreen mode that could be used in this project.

First, I had to assemble the screen. I was using a 7 inch display.

touchscreen01
Image from: Element 14

There wasn’t any soldering, but I had to unscrew a lot of small screws, as well as use wires to connect a few components.

Then, I installed the Pi in the case. It was a little difficult because the screen wasn’t attached yet and kept falling out of the case while I was trying to put in the Pi. For this project I was using a full size Pi instead of a Zero, so it was a little easier to work with.

Once the Pi and the screen were properly installed in the case, the next step was to install and boot up OctoPrint. That wasn’t too hard. Then, the device was connected to a 3D printer. It actually worked! Then I added some scripts to the Pi that would cause the OctoPrint interface to start up on launch.

touchscreen02

That’s it. It was pretty fun, especially the first time the Pi connected to the touchscreen, because it was so much easier to interact with a touch interface than a computer one. I think that it would be really neat to arrange a system where all the printers are controlled by one touchscreen, so maybe I’ll work on a project like that in the future!

Youth Project: Raspberry Pi Time-Lapse Camera

Hi! I’m Bella Palumbi. I’ve been a member of the Tech Center for almost four years now, ever since I was eleven. In that time, I’ve worked on lots of different projects, including iPhone apps, websites, virtual reality experiences, and much more.

Recently, I made a Raspberry Pi Time Lapse Camera. A Raspberry Pi is little computer that you can program to do almost anything you want. They’re great for small projects because they are cheap, light, and versatile. For my project, the idea was to make a camera that takes a picture every few seconds. You can play all the pictures in a row to see a time-lapse of the user’s day.

timecam01

The first step in the project was to burn the correct .img file onto the SD Card, which would be inserted into the Pi. An .img is an operating system. I used a program called ApplePi Baker because I was using a Mac computer.

The next step was to prepare all the wiring. I needed to solder together many different components including a button, a switch, a battery, and, of course, the Pi itself. All the wires and components had to be connected in the right way. The Raspberry Pi is very small, and I was actually using the Pi Zero, which is even smaller. So it was hard to be extremely accurate with the soldering iron. I probably spent most of my time soldering and re-soldering the wires!

It’s cumbersome to carry around a jumble of electronics and wires, so the tutorial came with a 3D design file to print a case for the time-lapse camera. The easy part was printing the case. The hard part was fitting all the pieces inside. I spent about an hour rearranging little tiny components in a little tiny plastic box. A couple times, the solder holding the wires together broke and I had to re-solder them. When I finally got the box closed, I was praying that it would work.

It did! When I turned the device on, after it booted up, it started taking pictures every 15 seconds. That didn’t seem often enough, so I took out the SD card, plugged it into my laptop, and brought up the code. By changing just one number, I was able to set the time interval to 10 seconds. Then, I booted up the Pi again. Still too slow. So I set it to 5 seconds. That seemed about right. Just for fun, I also tried a 1 second interval. The LED that blinked whenever a picture was taken was solidly lit now. The Pi couldn’t process fast enough, and was barely able to shut down. Finally, I set the interval back to 5, the number that worked the best.

timecam02

All in all, it was a fun project. I’m sure there will be some really amazing time-lapse videos of projects that we work on at the Tech Center.

Digital Harbor Foundation and Community College of Baltimore County Announce College Credit for After-school Courses

Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF) announced today a partnership with Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) to offer college credit to high school youth enrolled in DHF’s after-school program.

The courses offered as part of this program are focused on Digital Fabrication. Upon completion of the after-school courses and accompanying requirements, high school youth enrolled in DHF’s program will be eligible to earn 3 college credits equivalent to the CCBC DFAB101 course, which is part of the Associate of Applied Science degree.

The Executive Director of the Digital Harbor Foundation, Shawn Grimes, said “I feel great pride in my staff for having created such high quality after-school programs that they should receive this distinct recognition by the higher-ed community. CCBC is a leader in recognizing that impactful learning can happen outside the walls of traditional education and providing youth with meaningful on-ramps into college. This is a landmark moment for the movement toward formal support for informal learning.”

Doug Kendzierski, Chair of the Applied Technology Programs at CCBC explains, “This bridge partnership is consistent with CCBC’s commitment to broaden the pipeline for Digital Fabrication, a high-demand and quickly emerging sector of the manufacturing industry. Baltimore City high school students will be mastering college-level content for eventual transfer and college completion, as well as professional industry employment with highly competitive wages. CCBC is excited about our participation in this project, and look forward to expanding the model both within the Baltimore City School System, and beyond”.

“Anytime CCBC can help high school students earn college credit for the enhanced work they perform in their high school program, we are delighted to assist,” notes CCBC President Sandra L. Kurtinitis. “We are proud of the partnership our faculty and theirs have forged to make this opportunity possible.”

The 3-year agreement began in early Fall 2016 and there are currently nearly ten high school students piloting the program and courses at DHF. This first group of students are expected to complete this pilot in May 2017, at which time they will be able to apply for credit through CCBC.

Northumberland Makers: 3D Printed Deck Boxes

The makerspace class at Northumberland Christian School is on mission to explore the world of technology and innovation. We seek to be part of ideas that collide with real-world opportunities. We don’t just want our students to create. We want our students to create with purpose. The things we make, the ideas we are exploring, and a little bit of chaos… All these will be part of our monthly student blog series. The goal is to let the students speak for themselves. Each post will include the work and observations of a student at Northumberland Christian School. They are the makers, reviewers, and tinkerers.


Making Custom Deck Boxes

by Braiden Reich

I was inspired with the idea to build deck boxes out of a 3D printer, because I enjoy playing MTG (Magic the Gathering). MTG is a popular competitive card game. For example some other competitive card games would be Pokemon and Yugioh.

20161014_203846

My deck boxes are made to be customizable and thanks to our 3D printer I can make anything a customer wants.. So if you’re not into video games or nerdy, competitive card games that’s fine. I have come up with some customizable ideas that will allow this deck box to sort and organize almost any card or board game.

I did run into some problem with my dimensions while making the box. My lids at the start were made to fit firmly so all your cards could safely be stored in the box. However, my lids for my prototype box fit way to firm (this caused stress on both the lids and the box). So I thought to myself, “Oh this is a simple fix. Just make the lids smaller.” Well of course i then ran into the trouble of my lids sliding out to easily. In fact I am still perfecting the dimensions of the top lid, but no worries all the deck boxes I have made so far are very firm. My issue with the upper lid is that no matter my dimensions the 3D printer is not perfect. It is only a machine, and that being said all dimensions or the box and lids are a hair different. Some of the plastic filaments often form differently. Some of the plastic fills are firmer and more hardier and others are lighter and expand more. The good thing is me and the machine are developing a relationship, and what i mean by that is, the more I use the machine and the plastic fills the more I am learning about them. So ultimately the more I am making the boxes the more perfecting I will be doing.

My deck boxes are able to keep your board games neat or organized. I know often it can be annoying to have to open a board game and see cards and dice thrown around within the box. My boxes will not only protect your cards but also keep them from getting lost. The boxes can be made of either durable plastic (PLA), wood, or carbon fiber filaments.

As I said before my deck boxes are made to be customizable. Sure they can be plain or just casual but where is the fun in that. My plan is to sell my deck boxes at Groggs Game Shop where I am a member. I am hoping to make some extra cash and also give some money to support 3D printing at my school. (I hope to be able to ship the boxes eventually). I have predeveloped dimensions for a 60 card deck, but I am willing to adjust dimensions for almost anything. Whether for a board game or for competitive card playing.

So the Zelda box mixed both the original 8-bit Zelda video games with the newer Zelda games,hence the more recent triforce and master sword lids. I custom made this of course for a friend of mine and not only was it fun to make but it was also my first sale.
So the Zelda box mixed both the original 8-bit Zelda video games with the newer Zelda games,hence the more recent triforce and master sword lids. I custom made this of course for a friend of mine and not only was it fun to make but it was also my first sale.

Get on the Map! 3D Mapping Maryland Project

We are excited to be collaborating with the Maryland State Department of Education on a 3D Mapping Maryland Project and are requesting participation from all school systems.

This crowd-sourced 3D printing project will result in a massive puzzle reflecting a Maryland topographical map. In order to develop this puzzle, each school system or public library with a 3D printer will be provided access to their county/city’s online template. The 3D pieces from each county will be collected, then the map will be assembled by students either before or during the presentation at the Governor’s Office on Digital Learning Day, February 23, 2017. More information will be available closer to the start of this project.

map-collage

The kick-off for this event will occur on Saturday, November 5th, during Maryland’s first statewide Maker education conference, the Make. IT. Work. Conference at Eastern Tech High School. Templates will also be released on this date. Additional conference information can be found at https://dhf.io/makeitwork.

For a look at a similar project, check out the We the Builders‘ crowd-sourced 3D printed sculpture of Edgar Allan Poe.

19522299833_3318ffc9e3_z

The We the Builders team created a digital replica of Edgar Allan Poe and shared the spliced files online. Individual Makers and Makerspaces from around the world contributed all the pieces of this sculpture.

PS – The newest We the Builders project, Rosie the Riveter, was sculpted at DHF and is now live! You can also participate in this project, so claim your pieces today. Learn more here: Rosie the Riveter

#SXSL Interactive Sign

Two years ago, two of our youth, Biren and Glory, created a sign for DHF whose color could be changed using a hashtag on Twitter. Today, that project has been scaled in size, magnitude and impact as it serves as one of the center pieces at the White House #SXSL event.

sxsl-12056021276_f2115e30e4_k

The build of the larger version letters was overseen and managed by DHF’s former Baltimore Corps Fellow, Jen Schachter, and a very special guest, ADAM SAVAGE!!! Nearly 50 of DHF’s youth and members of the educator community helped assemble the sign.

sxsl-img_7239

Each letter contains an LED strip and an Arduino device from Adafruit. Then a Raspberry Pi crawls twitter looking for the #SXSL hashtag and looks for certain keywords to make the lights react and change color.

sxsl-img_2547

Adam was amazing to have in the space and he was a real inspiration to our youth, not because of his celebrity status, rather because he worked right alongside of us the entire time and treating us as peers. By the end of the 10 hour build process, he was just as sweaty, dirty, and exhausted as the rest of us.

sxsl-img_5392

Commands

Send a tweet with the hash tag #SXSL that includes any of the following words to interact with the SXSL sign.

  • patriot
  • red
  • green
  • blue
  • yellow
  • violet
  • purple
  • orange
  • gold
  • pink
  • teal
  • cyan
  • sparkle
  • stars
  • rainbow
  • earth
  • farming
  • food
  • first lady
  • POTUS

3D Printing and Life Hacks

I confess that I get caught up from time to time in the world of life hacks. I find myself asking the question, “How can I manipulate or change this product?” I know this goes against the status quo of just consuming what I am fed… But I can’t help it. Chomp Chomp.

Because of my sickness (constantly needing to hack my life), I decided to try and infect (inspire) my students. Their job was to modify/change/hack an existing 3D design. The design I chose for them was the amazing quick shoe tie labled Klots by Kart5a on Thingiverse. All credit and props to their amazing design.

Klots_kuva_preview_featured

(Photo Credit to Thingiverse and Tino Kaartovuori – Kat5a)

Since I loved the simplicity and bare-bone functionality, I just had to have my students do something with it.

Call it foolishness, but I assigned this in the last three weeks of school. Needless to say, I was frustrated when the students were dropping out of the challenge… #endoftheyear…..A terrible state to find your students in. But just when I was ready to hang it up myself, one of my students came through. Abbey L. (the always faithful and reliable) submitted her hack of Klots, printed it, and assembled her design on her shoes.

Abbey’s changes were to modify the closure to look like interlocking x’s. This was a change from the puzzle piece type closure on the original. She also added some triangle spikes on the outside. This fits well with Abbey’s love for the music scene. She also choose to lace with some vertical laces to break from the typical shoe lace pattern.

You can see her smiling face and design below.

Abby Klots

.

*On a depressing side note, senior David M was in the middle of a interlocking fish design for the Klots Hack Challenge, but he graduated and faded into the bliss of summer.


Ian Snyder is a science teacher and 3D printing coach at Northumberland Christian School. He also runs a makerspace at The Refuge. Ian is one of our 2015 Perpetual Innovation Fund recipients and will be sharing more updates throughout the year. You can follow him on Twitter @ateachr or catch some shots on Instagram at mriansnyder. Read more from Ian…

How To: Multi-Colored 3D Printing

People are always interested in how they can create 3D printed objects with multiple colors. Sure, you can buy a printer with multiple extruders, but those are costly and not always reliable. Using three methods, I’m going to show you how to make some cool colorful prints!

There are three different methods: Filament Switch, Sharpie-Coloring and Spray-Painting Filament.

Filament Switch

The Filament Switch process is something I figured out a few years back. Someone asked if I could I print in multiple colors without a dual-extruder. I answered “Maybe”, because I wasn’t quite sure, and eventually I figured out an easy way! Using this method, you are able to get a look similar to this:

colorful_vase

So all you need is at least two different colored spools of filament, and a printer of course!

I have some Hatchbox purple and orange filament

Hatchbox_opt

  1. Load your first color and start your print. Once you find a point where you want to change colors, pause the print.
  2. Go to the Controls and raise the Z-axis up 10mm.
  3. Then retract the current filament from the extruder and replace it with the next color.
  4. Extrude just a little bit until you see some filament seep out.
    • Do all this without moving the printer or else you’ll ruin your print!
  5. Now lower the z-axis by 10mm.
  6. Continue the print and repeat those steps as many times as you want.

This is how my print turned out using the Filament Switch method to achieving multi-colored prints.

froggy_opt(For Reference, I’m using this file on Thingiverse, a Garden Frog.)

Sharpie-Coloring

Using this method will give you some cool vibrant multi-colored layers. All you need is few sharpies and white or clear filament.

Sharpie_Holder

To get started, print one of the marker holders in the picture (above).

sharpie-holder_opt (1)

So you just stick the sharpies on the side and insert the filament through the middle hole as shown in the picture (above). This technique puts you in complete control of how your print would look, which is awesome!

froggy2.0

Here’s how my print turned out, I switched out sharpies every 15-20 minutes and it turned out pretty sweet.

Here are some pictures from a cool guy who took Sharpie-Coloring to another level, Tom Burtonwood.

tburtonwood1_opt

(Instagram:Tom Burtonwood)

tburtonwood4_opt

(Instagram:Tom Burtonwood)

tburtonwood2_opt

(Instagram:Tom Burtonwood)

He created a cool little gadget using a Arduino and a servo which turns the sharpie in increments. You can check it out on Thingiverse.

Spray-Painting

Lastly is the Spray-Painting Technique, this is something I came across a few months ago. I’m pretty new to this technique so I wouldn’t highly recommend this one yet. So far, I’ve gotten pretty good results.

I did only one coat front and back. You don’t want to rush the drying process, spray paint doesn’t take that long to dry but, I sat it to out to dry for a few days to eliminate any fumes.

Spray Paint also has a flammable property, aerosol, that you shouldn’t have to worry much about, it evaporates pretty quickly. Just use it in a well-ventilated area (outside is best) and give it to time dry!

Here’s the final results:

20160425_162853 (1)_opt

File from Thingiverse: Giant Crystal