Interactive Game Insight: Football Physics

The best way to answer the question “What is an interactive gaming experience?” is to look at a project! This is a game created by one of our youth in our Interactive Game Design Member course, and his game is a perfect expression of the skills covered in the Interactive Games for Educators workshop.

We are offering this workshop because of the powerful impact that teaching game design can have in the classroom. Youth will develop the foundations of computer programming through a medium that is fun and accessible for them while creating a product that they’ll have complete ownership over. By integrating game design into the classroom, educators are able to engage youth to learn new skills through an exciting format: the video game. An added bonus is that through the creation process, youth will shift from being consumers of games to producers of exciting content!

The first aspect of the project we’re going to look at are the sprites. All of the characters, backgrounds, and objects were created by the youth for this project.

IGforED Sprites Example

He decided to make a sports game that tests his knowledge of physics, as he had to determine how to program the arcs and physics of passing a football from the player character to the non-player characters.

The “brain” of this project was created using Scratch, a free web-based visual game engine developed by the MIT Media Lab. These projects help build planning skills for youth, as they need to determine what behavior and mechanics they have to develop in order to bring their vision to life. Once this crucial phase is complete, youth then use Scratch for their coding. The visual nature of Scratch provides an accessible experience for youth and enables them to develop and explore the fundamentals of programming in a fun, engaging way. Here is a screenshot of some of the code used in this featured project:

IGforED Scratch Example

The blocks in Scratch are chunks of code that can be manipulated and combined logically into scripts which form the basis of the game’s function and programming. Scratch blocks are broken into categories that are representative of core programming concepts, such as Events, Control, and Operators. Scratchers can then manipulate these blocks to form chunks of code that build into their game mechanics. Scratch still requires an understanding of programmatic thinking, especially variable use and conditional logic (if->then statements).

The next step is to integrate physical interactivity into the project! Once the core of the game is created in Scratch, the Makey Makey (another invention from the MIT Media Lab) is added to act as a gateway between conductive objects and the computer. The integration of these components is typically done as a game controller, but youth have lots of freedom to build this however they envision. This is a step that can be built into the design process and planning phase of the project. For this particular project, the youth designer decided to create a physical controller that matched the theme of his game. As the game is a football game that tests his knowledge of physics, he decided that the controller should also fit this theme and made a throwable football controller!

IGforED MakeyMakey 1

The controller’s main structure is crafted from aluminum foil, a conductive material. He also had to make a landing pad for the football so that it would complete the circuit once the “pass” is complete. This physical integration is a perfect opportunity for youth to creatively test their problem solving and design skills, as there are occasionally quirks and challenges that arise when working with physical components. However, since the youth have ownership over their projects there often is a higher degree of perseverance and determination to stick with their interactive game despite any difficulties.

One of the strengths of integrating an interactive gaming experience into the classroom is that it provides youth with a creative platform for designing unique products that combine problem solving, iteration, and critical thinking.

We wanted to develop a workshop for educators to build their capacity in the skills utilized in creating interactive gaming experiences with youth.

Educators that attend the Interactive Games for Educators workshop will leave with an Interactive Games Starter Kit as well as access to additional “Going Further” lessons and resources that build on the base skills covered in the workshop. Now is a fantastic time to integrate Game Design into the classroom as it is a industry that is rising in popularity with several possible career paths and deep educational potential.

Learn more or register for this workshop today!



Build Your Own 3D Scanning Computer


In this post, I’m going to tell you about the hardware parts needed to build an affordable 3D scanning computer that you can use with the Xbox Kinect.

This is a follow up blog post for people really dedicated to 3D scanning. If you are just starting out with 3D scanning, you may want to check out these resources first:



Skanect is a piece of software that is available to Windows (32 and 64 bit), as well as Mac users. Skanect has a pro version that is $129, but also has a free version which allows us to create our 3D file, and export it. The free version is for non-commercial use only and limits the quality of your scans. Start with the free version and upgrade later if needed. Both versions are available here

Now, without further ado, onto the hardware!


This is what our scanning computer setup looks like at the Tech Center:


Component Price Point
Case Cooler Master HAF Stacker 915R Mini-ITX Mid Tower $64.99
Operating System Windows 7 N/A
Motherboard Z87N-WIFI mini-ITX-Mainboard $189.99
Processor Intel Core i3-4130 CPU @ 3.40 GHZ (4 CPUs), ~3.4GHz $140
Memory 4GB RAM $30
Hard-Drive 500GB Western Digital Hard Drive $42.99
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 2GB Video Memory $89.99
Power Supply Thermaltake TR2 600W 240-Pin Power Supply TR-600 $39.99


Our estimated Total Cost: ~$597.94


Case: Cooler Master Cooler Master HAF Stacker 915R Mini-ITX Mod Tower Computer Case

  • Why this Product: Just in case you find yourself needing a tower, the Master Cooler HAF Stacker Mini-ITX is a great mid sized tower, mainly because of it’s size. It fits perfectly on our worktable, and does not get in the way.
  • Substitutes: If you choose to go with a different Motherboard, make sure you get the appropriate tower to pair.

OS: Windows 7

  • Why this Product: Windows 7 is a very popular operating system that supports a lot of the applications we run on our machine, such as Laser Cutter software.
  • Substitutes:  Mac OS X

MotherBoard: Z87N-WIFI mini-ITX-Mainboard

  • Why this Product: Brand names aside, any mini-ITX mainboard with graphics card support should suffice. mini-ITX boards generally have zero to two expansion slots, which makes them cheap. This product is great if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Substitutes: Any mini-ITX mainboard with graphics card support will work.

Processor: Intel Core i3-4130 CPU @ 3.40 GHZ (4 CPUs), ~3.4GHz

  • Why this Product: This CPU gives you a lot of bang for your buck in relation to CPU Mark in relation to the price point. has a table of over 20,000 CPUs, their updated price points, and their speeds. Looking on the site we are able to see the cpu mark of a variety of CPUs. The CPU Mark represents a processor’s peak performance relative to other CPUs.


(Taken from

  • Substitutes: Varies on your budget, Intel Core i5-2500K @3.30 and up.

Memory: 4GB RAM

  • Why this Product: With Skanect requiring a minimum of 2GB RAM, having a bit more RAM for cushion to handle all of our processes is nice.
  • Substitutes: You can never go wrong with more RAM! Just make sure if you are going with a different motherboard, that your board supports your RAM!

Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 600W 240-Pin Power Supply TR-600

  • Why this Product: You have to power a motherboard somehow!
  • Substitutes: It all depends on the amount of power your motherboard needs.

All in all, building your own 3D scanner computer is a fun task, and will allow for you and your youth to learn more about the inner workings of computers. This computer has been our go to for 3D scanning, and has allowed us to scan all of our staff members here at DHF. We were then able to take the scanned files, export them, edit them, and print them out on our own 3D printers. You DO NOT need to build your own computer to do 3D scanning, this is simply a slightly more advanced DIY project. This process is great for illustrating how digital fabrication works, from the ground up, as well as making personalized 3D figures.


3D Printing Landscapes

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If you’re an geography enthusiast or looking for a cool project this might be the project for you!

Github user, JThatch, created a web application that generates landscapes into 3d models. The application is called Terrain2STL; it’s pretty easy to use!

If you’d like to try this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open up Terrain2STL in a new tab; the creator uses Google Maps to search around for landscapes.
  2. Click and drag around the map to find a selected area or you can input coordinates.
    1. *Tip*  Rocky terrains works best.
  3. Once, you find an area you like, click the ‘Center to View’ button to make the red box appear.
  4. Then, you want to increase the box size by dragging the slider towards the right and then drag the to red box to where you want it.
  5. Once you’ve done that, you can almost ready to print. I’d increase the Base Height to 2 or 4.
  6. After that click ‘Create STL File’ and then click download.


There’s also a Moon2STL if you’d like to print pieces of the Moon!

3DprintedLandscape (1)

Could IoT Have Saved My Plant?


My poor, withered plant. It deserved better. I bought the plant to show off my cool self-watering 3D printed pot but the thing about self-watering pots is that you still need to add water on occasion. As I have been delving into the world of the Internet of Things (IoT), one of the first applications that I thought of was a plant health station.

The very simple system that I built monitors ambient temperature, light levels, humidity, and moisture levels of the soil. Where the “Internet” piece of IoT comes in to play is that all of this data is uploaded to a service (you can see my data here:

I can then use a service such as IFTTT and the Maker channel to send a text message or email me when the moisture levels are low.

I’m also able to chart the data and analyze it Google Sheets, Excel, or Numbers.

I can even analyze that data and see trends. So you can see the moisture trend line is declining (as it should with an indoor plant).

I’m hoping that my simple plant health system will spare future plants from the same fate and that by connecting a plant to the Internet, I may be able to better keep one healthy.

To learn more about IoT, check out this blog post: New Workshop: IoT for Educators

To learn more about our new workshop offering for IoT, visit this page.

Thank You, CodeKit!


Wow! We cannot thank Bryan Jones enough!  He’s the founder of CodeKit and he’s kindly donated licenses of CodeKit to the Tech Center. Not just one or two, but forty! CodeKit is a package manager application that helps to build websites faster and compiles all of the cutting edge languages. It also keeps everything in one place, up to date, and optimizes your images.

I’ve been using CodeKit for the past two weeks as a trial and when it ran out I was extremely frustrated. It’s been providing me with ease thus allowing me to focus more on creating than compiling. Having everything in one place is keeping me very organized which is key when working on a project. You don’t want things everywhere because it’ll be harder to find when you need it.

This donation will allow us to provide a needed resource for our future youth to use in their experiences learning web development. We can have more kids involved in web development and have them working even faster than before. Also, we will be able to teach them the importance of project management and organization. This is so exciting and I can’t wait for our youth to start using it!


Lessons Learned from a Minecraft Course

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Most people have probably heard of the pixilated sandbox game Minecraft by now. This game really took off worldwide, especially with the younger generation. A large group of youth can identify with this game and consider it to be a pastime, or even a hobby. This past fall we ran a Minecraft course at DHF for our Members, and I’m excited to share a bit more with you about the course.

When I was first asked to create this course, I needed to decide what to focus on. The whole concept of Minecraft is open ended, and going in with the idea of a ‘Minecraft Curriculum’ can be just as open ended. You can talk about building, being creative, redstone/electronics, art, or even math. These were all topics with plenty of lessons available online. I ended up settling on teamwork and communication as my focus. The core concept of our course, “Building Community with Minecraft,” is for youth to expand their teamwork and effective communication skills.


Throughout the course, youth worked through all sorts of challenges that were meant to push the limits of their abilities. One such challenge required all of the youth to regroup and find a hidden temple after being randomly scattered across a portion of the map. The catch was that they could only use in-game chat to communicate – it ended up being a pretty quiet day! Another challenge split youth into teams to effectively run mazes. Each team could only have one member in the maze at a time and if they didn’t make it through they went back to the beginning and the next person had to try, the only way they could share information about the maze was by mapping their path through to show the next person. The course culminated in the final project which required all 17 youth to come together and build a colony using the requirements set forth by myself and other facilitators. It was truly amazing to see what happened, as after I introduced the project I had no hand in what was going on beyond clarification and ensuring they didn’t get too far off topic. All in all I had a great experience both writing this curriculum and implementing it.


This course was created to address the need of building teamwork and communication skills among the youth in our program. I’d say most people have had a run in with a group project that turned out to be a nightmare. Maybe one person wanted to do all of the work and wasn’t comfortable with sharing it with anyone else, or the person who refuses to do any work, or the person who does work but doesn’t communicate at all what they have done well enough to the rest of the group. These are just a few examples of group work behavior that can really ruin a project, and certainly experiences our youth have all had. This course was designed to let youth explore these things in an environment where they would feel comfortable and familiar and allow them to reflect on it and consider methods to improve their skills/methods.

The whole experience of putting together and running this curriculum was quite the learning experience. Our facilitators gained a deeper understanding of the thought processes of our youth which was evident in how they tried to tackle challenges in a virtual world that many of them felt more confident in. They knew all the rules and limitations of what they could do because they were so familiar with the tool they were using. Not all of them had played Minecraft before, but it was not long before our beginners knew more than enough to complete the tasks. As many before me have learned, nothing seems to go to plan. Activities sometimes ran short, or ran over, or it rains on the first day when you had planned what you think is a highly-engaging outdoor activity to lead off the whole course. I had all sorts of sessions either go worse or better than I expected.

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If you plan on doing something like this with your youth, whether it be using Minecraft or some other game, I do have some suggestions.

  • Make sure the game serves the lesson, not the other way around.
    • It’s just a bad idea to try and make a game something that it’s not.
  • Make sure your youth are at least familiar with the game.
    • This is not too much of a problem for Minecraft due to its popularity, but I feel that the student should have at least an understanding of the game even before you start the lesson, in the same way you would tell someone what a book was about before you ask them to study from it.
  • Keep it engaging.
    • The primary motivation for using a game to teach communication and teamwork skills is to make learning fun. Learning through play can be extremely valuable and effective, if done well. If youth feel like they are just doing work, using a game as a vehicle loses it’s effectiveness.


Overall, I am pleased with the way the course turned out and I’m even more happy that the youth had a good time doing it. I feel the use of a game really helped them engage and the introduction of communication restrictions really helped push them to think more into how they try to interact with the rest of their group. I would like to try and include more of these onto some of the other challenges that didn’t have them. I also plan to look at adding in more formal discussions on communication and teamwork strategies to hopefully better guide the youth on the thought processes during and after the challenges.

Spreading Making on Digital Learning Day 2016


Last week, during Digital Learning Day 2016 we worked with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to present an online maker session to classrooms across the state. It was an awesome event and we all hope we can collaborate in this way again! There were 9 total sites, including DHF, who participated in this online session and engaged their students in making Art Bots right alongside us. MSDE coordinated the event through their online WebX portal so all sites were able to login and watch the live session we were hosting in person at the Tech Center.


One of our youth Members, Claire Smith, led the activity on-site here with Ms. Lannigan’s 5th grade class from Federal Hill Prep Elementary School. They were all enthusiastic and attentive participants and made some of the most creative and unique Art Bots we have ever seen! Claire not only led the youth who were present here through the activity, but she also provided all of the instruction and guidance for the sites who were participating online.

We began by issuing the students a challenge to build a robot that draws using an electric toothbrush as the motor. Students then took a few minutes to sketch their ideas and think about a prototype of their design.


The online format allowed for youth from each site to share what they made with the whole group and show their process via video and audio to help other youth who were participating. So after some sketching and ideating, a few youth from various sites volunteered to share their designs and talk about their ideas via the webcam to everyone else before we started building.


The best part of this activity is the actual building part where you get to experiment with movement techniques and placement of your markers or drawing tools as you build and test your robot. We discussed ways that our designs might need to change, based on our testing, and how that is part of the iterative process (and what the iterative process is!). Then, everyone had a great time adding personality and character to their Art Bots using wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, and other craft materials.


Finally, (and this is our favorite part) we invited everyone at our site to bring all of their Art Bots to the “Art Bot Rally”! This is just a large piece of paper spread out on the floor where we can put all of the Art Bots together and see how they interact and what type of art they create as a whole group. Of course, we encouraged each participating site to do this step as well because it is the most fun!


Before wrapping up, Claire led all of the sites in a discussion about the process,how our constructions were different from our designs, what we would do differently next time, and what we all learned. The DHF team really enjoyed being a part of Digital Learning Day this year, especially in this way! It was a really innovative format of a workshop for us to be a part of and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Thank you to everyone at MSDE who made this possible, the sites who participated across MD, and a special thanks to Federal Hill Prep and Ms. Lannigan’s class for being eager and willing participants in our live session!

For more information and highlights from this event, you can check out our Flickr page with more photos: Digital Learning Day 2016 Flickr or these hashtags and posts on Twitter: #DLDay2016, #mdDLDay, @md_digilearning.

3D Printing in English Class: Phineas Gage

UPDATE: Shawn has created a remixed the Phineas Gage model to feature a removable rod.


Phineas Gage was a railroad worker living in 1848 in Cavendish, Vermont. One September afternoon, Phineas got distracted while working with black powder. His 3 foot 7 inch tamping iron blasted through his left cheek, through his brain, and out the top of his skull. It landed about 30 or so feet away with a clang.

And those of you who don’t know the story of Phineas Gage, would think the story ends there, yes? Because… well, how could it not?

A few minutes later, Phineas Gage STANDS UP, and begins to walk around. He lives about 11 years after the accident, and is one of the most famous case studies in neuroscience. In Harry Potter terms, he was The Man Who Lived.

But at what cost? You see, the tamping iron passed through his frontal lobe (which is responsible for impulse control, personality and more, but not functions of life). He became increasingly aggressive, irritable, and short-tempered. It did not end his life, but the event changed his personality, completely and forever.

WOW! What a great story, right? The details of his life and accident are fascinating, not only for…well, anyone — but certainly also for 8th grade students required to read some extended non-fiction at some point during the school year. Hmmm, will 14 year olds be more interested in more about George Washington, or a guy whose doctor wrote:

“…and out leaked several tea-cups full of brain”
-Dr. John Martyn Harlow

9259742 Purchase the book

Phineas Gage it is! I highly recommend and use in my class an excellent book by author John Fleischmann: “Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story about Brain Science.”

While the story does enough in itself to engage students, doesn’t the great teacher always want to do more?

It’s hard to imagine really the specifics of what this looks like. Only one actual photo of Phineas exists (the one at the top of the page on the left), besides pictures of his skull. So first, I created an exact replica of his tamping iron for students to pass around and get a feel for what this might be like passing through your head.. It is 3 ft 7 inches long, about 3/4 inch at the base, coming to a tapered point.


It was made of… duct tape. Wrapped around an old golf flag. But that wasn’t enough. It never really is. I also wanted a 3D printed skull of Phineas to show students. Unfortunately, like many of you, I am not a phrenologist, and so don’t have the background to make the model myself.

I began my research last year about this time, but all I could find was a graduate paper where it was mentioned a 3D file was attached. But the paper did not – and would not – release the 3D scan of Phineas to the public.

7706183Finally, Thingiverse comes to the rescue! (As it seems to do so often). In May, a model of Phineas Gage’s skull was created and released. The model may not be exact or fit perfect to the story. Some of the angles look to be just slightly off true-to-life.

But the coolness factor is achieved 1,000 fold — it includes the tamping iron in the print, physically GOING THROUGH HIS HEAD!

You can see that in the model the tamping iron goes below the print bed. So, to print, the first thing I had to do was use some software to cut the model at the bottom of the bed, shortening the tamping iron a bit.

Additionally, the original model is HUGE. It might be the actual size of a head. We use a Printrbot Metal Simple, so that wouldn’t work. Make sure to scale down the model to a size that works for you.


The model is quite hollow as a real skull, so it only sits on the bed by the chin and back round edge of the skull. The first time I attempted to print, it fell off.

Make sure to add a brim. I used 4 or 5 mm to make sure there was a nice wide place for it to sit. I printed at .2 layers for a fine sleek look.

And that’s it! On the second attempt, about 11 or 12 hours later, it worked beautifully. No support needed.

A few of the teeth in the back got a little messy because they are sort of small, but that’s ok! In a Phineas Gage-like level of coincidence, the real Phineas also lost his back left molars (albeit, not due to printer calibration– but of course due to a massive metal object obliterating them completely).

The students absolutely LOVED the print. You could hear the “oohs” and “aaaahs” as I passed it around the room (with a plea: “please, dear God be careful with this!”).

The kinesthetic educational appeal is apparent, and the students were able to see and touch something in real life that before, they could have only imagined.




Scott Dellosso is an English teacher who loves to incorporate making into his English class. You can follow him on Twitter @scott_dellosso or catch his new blog at

2015 Is A Wrap, 2016 Here We Come!

Below is the speech I gave at our 3rd Anniversary Showcase on Thursday, January 14th:

This has been an amazing year for DHF and it’s hard to believe that we are only wrapping up our 3rd year. When I remember back to our grand opening, I remember all the promise we saw , because honestly, promise was all there was to see. We didn’t have ceiling tiles, the walls were pure white, we had one 3D printer, about 10 laptops and only a handful of youth. The small number of youth was a good thing because we had no content for them either.


We have always been a fast moving organization. I like to think that is because we see the urgency in what we are trying to change and the lives we are trying to impact. We work with these youth, we have relationships with them, and we want to see them succeed. Our goal has always been to serve the youth of Baltimore and make them producers rather than just consumers, or as the nomenclature of today would call them, Makers.

In 2015, we have directly delivered over 27,000 hours of content and services to youth in Baltimore. 92% of that time was impact hours where we are working with an individual youth for 40 hours or more.

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Leading up to the fall, we brainstormed ideas to recruit more young women into our programs. The solution we piloted was to host an all-girls cohort of our Maker Foundations program. I’m delighted to share with you that those efforts resulted in 50% of the youth served this semester being young women. This is a direct result from the commitment of our staff to make a change in the world around them.

50 percent female youth

In the Spring of 2015, we launched a field trip program where schools could visit DHF during the school day and experience 3D Printing first hand. The youth on these field trips got to design their own 3D printed keychain and take it with them. We had over 600 students participate from 25 different Baltimore City schools. This was the first time that 68% of the students had seen a 3D printer. With your help, in just 6 weeks, we exceeded our goal of raising $15,000 to continue this program and offer 30 more field trips this coming year.

Field Trips

The field trip crowdfunding campaign is just one example where you, our community of supporters, came together to be champions for DHF. In February of this year, you gave us your vote to earn an $8,000 makeover from IKEA without which, we would not have the chairs or storage to serve as many youth this year.

IKEA Challenge

This summer, we partnered with the Center for Urban Families and the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development to provide trainings to youth in their YouthWorks program who could participate in the Digital Harbor Foundation’s WebSLAM. WebSLAM is an innovative program we created where students learn web development skills in a six-week training program, then immediately put those skills to work building websites for local small business and nonprofit clients. This summer, the 50 participating youth built websites for 27 local nonprofits.

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People across the country are taking notice at what DHF and the youth of Baltimore are doing.
6 of our youth this year were asked to represent Baltimore and DHF at the White House for various events including the White House Science Fair and an opportunity to share their thoughts on how the High School experience could be improved. Our Executive Director was invited to become a Senior Advisor to the White House because of the work that he has done for Baltimore by creating the Digital Harbor Foundation and for his vision that the impact this program can have for youth across the nation.

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We teach our youth the iterative process of Design, Make, and Share. And this philosophy is ingrained in our organizational culture. Our first year, we designed the space and designed what we thought youth programs should be (and should not be). In our second year, we made the designs become reality and we developed and refined our youth programs. In our third year, we started sharing our methods and resources through our Center of Excellence initiative. This initiative was designed to spread our lessons learned to other youth educators so they can stand on our shoulders and improve the lives of the youth they serve.

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In 2015, we worked with nearly 200 educators from almost 90 different organizations. 42% of which were public school teachers, another 21% were after school time providers like DHF, and 14% were from our Public Library systems.

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Through this initiative, we have gotten to work with amazing educators who are passionate about working with their youth and needed some guidance on how to add Making to their programs.

Even our youth have decided to become involved with helping other educators support making in their space. Over the summer, Darius, one of our former youth and now a member of our staff, co-founded a program called 3D Assistance where they use their expertise in 3D printer repair and troubleshooting to support educators who run into issues. We like to think of it as Geek Squad for 3D printing. Darius’ program has even earned the endorsement and support of Brook Drumm, the CEO of Printrbot.

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As we enter our fourth year, we will continue moving forward in innovation and iteration of our programs and our learning.

We will add new and engaging topics to our Member Courses so that we can continue toward the goal of long term impact and career readiness of our youth. This will include advanced courses in Raspberry Pi, Internet of Things, Web Development, and more in addition to the development of pathways in our courses for Design, Development, Fabrication, Electronics, and Communications.

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We will be working more closely with Federal Hill Prep Elementary School, where we will be providing feedback on their curriculum and project ideas to be implemented in grades 3,4, & 5, and in return, they will give us better insight into how these maker activities are working in a formal classroom setting to aid in our creation of additional resources for classroom educators.

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In the coming year, we are excited that our FabSLAM program is moving to a national stage. Competitions will be hosted this spring in Pittsburgh and Idaho, in addition to Baltimore. This was the first program that Steph and I worked on when we joined DHF and we couldn’t be happier to see our efforts grow into something larger than just what we do here.

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And one more thing….

Tonight, on our 3rd Anniversary we are proud to announce the next component of our Center of Excellence program, Digital Harbor Foundation’s Blueprint. This website will be a comprehensive resource for educators to build their own innovative making environment. This resource will be packed with details on how to get your program started and continue the work with equipment reviews, plans on how to build your own maker space furniture, and project guides. We’ve learned so many lessons in our building our space and our programs. We want people to stand on our shoulders and make new mistakes to push us all forward. We strongly believe, you can’t buy a Makerspace, you have to make one and we want to help people do that.

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I want to thank all of you for joining us tonight and supporting our youth. You have been amazing champions of DHF and the work that we are doing in the city that we love so much.

Our board and sponsors have been incredibly supportive as I have transitioned into my new role as Interim Executive Director. I can’t thank you enough for your guidance and for welcoming me into these large shoes that I have to fill.

To our amazing DHF team, thank you for everything you do day in and day out for our youth; caring for them, building relationships with them, teaching them new things, and making them better people. We couldn’t have gotten this far in such a short period of time without all of your passion and commitment. I look forward to continuing our work together and standing up here in another year to reflect back on the progress we have made.

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3D Print Dispensing Gumball Machine


A popular attraction for the youth at DHF is our 3D Print Gumball Machine. They go crazy over it everyday asking for tokens. Even some parents enjoy it, too!

Instead of dispensing gumballs, it dispenses 3D printed objects created by our staff, youth, and folks from Thingiverse. You can join in on the fun by creating your own!

We got all of our components for this project from the Gumball Machine Factory. Those components include:

  • Toy Capsule Vending Machine 20″
  • 500 tokens
  • 2” Toy capsules

You can choose the coin mechanism for the machine. In my opinion, the token coin mechanism seems like the best option. At DHF, we usually give out tokens for free, but if we wanted to sell them we could. However, If you go with the quarter mechanism, you won’t have that option.

Once you have ordered your parts, you can start 3D Printing!

This can be a fun project to get your youth involved in!. They can contribute by designing prints in Tinkercad or 123D Design, as long as their prints are no larger than 40mm x 40mm. If you choose to put items from Thingiverse in the Gumball Machine, always give attribution (see below for details on how to do this)!

Don’t shy away from files because they are too small or too big, you can always scale the prints to fit your capsules. I’m going to show a few ways to do that below.

I want to print this file, Santa’s Reindeer, for the Gumball Machine.


I’m now going to download the file and scale it (to what size) in order to fit the capsule.

There are multiple ways to scale your design, but I’m going to show you two ways that might be familiar with you using Tinkercad and MatterControl.

Scaling in Tinkercad

In Tinkercad, create a new design and import your downloaded file.

You want to click “Helpers” in the sidebar menu and drag the “Ruler” onto the workplane.


In this case, the file is too small to be printed.


Now you’re going to change both the X and Y axis to 40mm.

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Using this method doesn’t always scale correctly. Here is another way to do it in Tinkercad.


To scale hold the shift key, click any of the four corner points and drag inwards. Scale down until the largest side is 40mm or below.

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Now download the .stl file and you’re ready to print.

Scaling in MatterControl

In MatterControl, import your file by clicking the “Add” icon and select the file.


Hover your mouse over the file and then click “View”.


Next, click “Edit” and then “Scale”.


You want to make sure that the Lock Ratio is unlocked. And then change both the X and Y axis to 40mm.

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Click “Save” and you’re ready to print.

About Attribution

If you’re going to sell your capsules, be sure you are the designs you are using from Thingiverse have a Creative Commons License that allows you to sell prints. If you’re not going to sell prints you can include those that are tagged Non-Commercial.

To find the license information, go back to the file on Thingiverse and scroll down the page and look for the Creative Commons.


Now you want to give attribution to the owner of the design. Under “Give a Shout Out” click “Print Thing Tag”.



Then, print the Attribution Tag.

Place the tag and the print inside a capsule, close it up and now you have your first gumball print!