Baltimore Youth Solve Transportation Problems with Digital Fabrication

Last week, DHF hosted our 6th FabSLAM Showcase as the culminating event for this cycle of the annual digital fabrication challenge. This year, during FabSLAM, Baltimore-area youth were prompted to identify a problem they might encounter using any form of transportation and then use digital fabrication methods, like 3D printing or laser cutting, to create a solution.

5th grader describes project to judge

On May 4th, 10 teams of youth in grades 5-11 from Baltimore and DC gathered at the DHF Tech Center to showcase their work to judges and each other. The finale showcase for FabSLAM is always exciting and inspiring and this year proved to be more of the same. Teams arrived ready to share their work with our equally enthusiastic team of judges who have the difficult task of selecting winners.

Our First Place prize was awarded to the Western High School TinkerDoves, for their high-tech bus stop design of improvements that could be made to the Penn North stop in Baltimore City. The judges were very impressed by their proposed solution to a hyper-local problem and one that they encounter on a daily basis on their commute to and from school.

WHS team presents project to FabSLAM judge

WHS team receiving 1st place prizes

Last year, second place was awarded to a Bryn Mawr School high school team, and this year Second Place was awarded to Mawrtian Nation 1, a Bryn Mawr School middle school team. Their project, The Seasick-Free Seat, used 3D printing to fabricate a prototype of a self-leveling chair that would be used on boats to allow “all people to have the most enjoyable sea-faring voyage possible.”

Bryn Mawr School team describes project to FabSLAM judge

Bryn Mawr School team with prize package and FabSLAM judge

Judges awarded Third Place to a DHF team, The Filamentors, for their Trash Collection Boat. The goal of their solution was to attach a fabricated net contraption to boats that are already traveling in the harbor to collect more trash.

Team Filamentors presenting FabSLAM project to audience

Filamentors presenting project to FabSLAM judge

Team Tabby Fab won the Fan Favorite vote from the audience for their Foldable Skateboard that they laser cut for easy storage in a backpack.

The remaining teams who participated had a great showing and we hope to have them all back next year! You can check out their projects here:

Ridgely Middle School FabSLAM team

Team: Ridgely 3D        School / Organization: Ridgely Middle School        Project: Console Trash Can

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Team: Mawrtian Nation 2        School / Organization: Bryn Mawr School        Project: The Greenhouse Turbine Train

Fed Hill Prep team describing their FabSLAM project

Team: FabDestroyers        School / Organization: Federal Hill Prep Elementary        Project: Graphene Powered Hover Car

TGR Learning Lab sharing FabSLAM project with judge

Team: TGR Learning Lab        School / Organization: Cesar Chavez Public Charter School       Project: Fabulous Hovercar

Team Square One presents FabSLAM project

Team: Team Square One        School / Organization: Digital Harbor Foundation        Project: Key Collector with Breathalyzer

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Team: Bikers United       School / Organization: Digital Harbor Foundation        Project: Casco Fresco Helmet

 

A giant thank you goes out to our 2017 panel of Judges, without whom we could not run this program! We were honored to have so many judges representing many facets of a variety of industries.

In addition to our awesome panel of judges and enthusiastic teams, we are also grateful for our FabSLAM 2017 Sponsors who provided prizes for the teams! Thank you to MatterHackers, HatchboxBuildTak, LulzBot, DHF Print Shop, Direct Dimensions, and The Foundery for the generous donations of products, materials, and experiences that were awarded to all our teams.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in FabSLAM 2017! We hope to have you participate again next year! If you would like to see all our photos from the event, you can check them out here: FabSLAM 2017 Flickr Album

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 Printing for Solving Baltimore’s Problems

Each year, DHF hosts our FabSLAM Challenge, where we invite teams of youth to use 3D printing and digital fabrication to create solutions to problems issued during the challenge. This year we had a great showing at our FabSLAM Finale Showcase with teams putting their fabrication skills and imagination to the test to solve problems they found in their city.

Our challenge theme this year was Cities to focus on very local problems youth might experience or be aware of, and to celebrate the fact that this year FabSLAM expanded to two new regions – Idaho State and Pittsburgh. Participating teams in each of those regions also responded to the same challenge. We will share more about those competitions in the coming weeks.

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This year, we had 10 teams from Maryland and DC competing who were eager to share their work at the showcase and meet the judges to share the work they’ve done over the last six weeks. Each team was asked to present their project, which should have used 3D printing and other digital fabrication techniques, as well as a website documenting their project and progress.

The finale showcase is always inspiring, energetic, and filled with anticipation as teams come together to share their projects, talk about the work they’ve done over the last six weeks, and anxiously await the results to see if their hard work pays off by placing in the competition. We had 7 teams from around the state competing in this cycle, eager to meet our judges and share all their project and all their supporting documentation to compete for a top placement.

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Our First Place prize was awarded to Digital Oyster Foundation, a middle school team representing Digital Harbor Foundation. In response to the challenge, they worked to create a solution to the problem of a dwindling oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay. 3D Printed reef balls were the centerpiece of the oyster habitats they created, which also included an artificial wetland. They received kudos from the judges on the practical and possible nature of their design, recommending that they could get started right away with implementing this solution.

This is the very first time that any DHF team has placed in the competition and we were very proud of their effort.

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For the second year in a row, Second Place was awarded to Innovation Nation, a Bryn Mawr School team. Their project, Home Grown, used 3D printing to help imagine what could be done to solve the problem of vacant and abandoned buildings in Baltimore. This team of young ladies took on the challenge of “converting abandoned homes into places of growth” by turning vacant row houses into greenhouses where community gardens could thrive. Innovation Nation also won the Fan Favorite award!

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Third Place was awarded to another Bryn Mawr School team, Team Amasek, for their Storm Drain Filter. This project aimed to solve the problem of potentially toxic water runoff in Baltimore City storm drains thus contaminating the Chesapeake Bay. The product uses a simple design and a piece of charcoal for filtering the water as it enters the storm drain.

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For the very first time in 4 years, we had elementary school teams participate in FabSLAM! In fact, we had three elementary school teams participate and they did a great job for their first time! One of those teams, FHP Team from Federal Hill Prep Elementary, took home an Honorable Mention from the judges for their ‘R’ Treat Machine aimed at helping to reduce the amount of cigarette butts and gum found on the streets in their neighborhood.

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The remaining teams who participated had a great showing and we hope to have them all back in the future! You can check out their projects here:

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Team: Adventure Print        School / Organization: Bryn Mawr School        Project: Battery Box

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Team: Science Lions 3.0        School / Organization: Lakeland Elementary Middle School        Project: Rebuilding Abandoned Homes / Spikey Ice Crushers

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Team: TWLC        School / Organization: Tiger Woods Learning Center        Project: The New Utensil

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Team: Team Filter        School / Organization: Digital Harbor Foundation        Project: Water Bottle for Homeless

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Team: Neiva        School / Organization: Digital Harbor Foundation        Project: Trash Collecting Tree

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Team: Sleepless in Baltimore        School / Organization: Digital Harbor Foundation        Project: Sleeping Bag Cart for Homeless

 

In addition to all of our awesome youth teams and coaches, we would like to thank our incredible panel of judges for this 2016 cycle of FabSLAM! We couldn’t do this without your support and involvement and we are grateful for all the ways you make this program better!

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In addition to our awesome panel of judges and enthusiastic teams, we are also grateful for our FabSLAM 2016 Sponsors who provided prizes for the teams! Thank you to HatchboxPrintrbot, Proto-Pasta, Filabot, and Occipital for the generous donations of products and materials that were awarded to all our teams.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in FabSLAM 2016! We hope to have you participate again next year! If you would like to see all our photos from the event, you can check them out here: FabSLAM 2016 Flickr Album

FabSLAM Goes on Tour: Pittsburgh

In March we had the opportunity to provide our 3D Printing for Educators workshop as a kickoff for the first ever FabSLAM in Pittsburgh! Given that the 2016 FabSLAM theme is cities, it’s fitting that Digital Harbor Foundation has expanded FabSLAM beyond Baltimore. We were thrilled to help build the capacity of the coaches who will be forming and leading teams through the FabSLAM design and fabrication challenge.


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From the first moment that the eleven educators began their training, the room was buzzing with excitement and an eagerness to begin their FabSLAM process. The theme of the challenge wasn’t unveiled until the third day, and the educators were on the edge of their seats until the moment of the big reveal.

The educators were welcoming and passionate about the training that they were receiving and absorbed every aspect of the workshop from the 3D design challenges to the calibration of the 3D printers. Since they are going to be responsible for leading their youth cohorts through the entirety of the FabSLAM process, each attendee wanted to make sure to design and print as much as possible throughout the three day event.


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The educators were highly engaged and motivated as they navigated the interface of the design software and asked several questions while practicing some of the more advanced design tools and features that we presented. Their passion was evident as they made use of every spare minute to develop and practice their skills in order to empower and train youth. This especially came to the forefront when several educators chose to work through the lunch break, asking us questions as they anticipated potential issues that their youth may have while working on the design challenges.


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One of the designs that stood out the most for me was in response to the design challenge where they were tasked with creating an object that would clip onto the workshop tables. We didn’t provide the educators with the table dimensions before the project started. Instead, we passed a digital caliper around the room and every educator took turns measuring the height of the table’s lip. This process of precision measurement was new to several in the room, but they knew that since they would be asking their youth to be willing to step outside of their comfort zones during FabSLAM, it would be good for them to also experience some slight discomfort at attempting a new skill.

I’m pleased to report that everyone successfully completed the design challenge and designed items that would clip onto the table. True to the spirit of FabSLAM and 3D design, there was lots of iteration that needed to happen. The most important part is that the educators were excited to learn from the mistakes and pass their insights onto the youth they’d be working with!


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It was an amazing experience to be able to take the FabSLAM program on the road and to work with such an inspiring group of educators who clearly demonstrated their energy and passion for youth development.

A huge thank you to Remake Learning who worked to bring FabSLAM to Pittsburgh, and to the Carnegie Science Center Fab Lab for graciously hosting the workshop. I look forward to seeing the projects that the Pittsburgh FabSLAM teams create!

FabSLAM Goes to Idaho

A few weeks ago, Shawn, Jen, and I traveled to Boise, Idaho to kickoff FabSLAM as part of our national expansion of the program this year. We traveled to Boise to deliver our 3D Printing for Educators workshop to train the Coaches who will be leading teams for FabSLAM in Idaho.

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We had the opportunity to work with 22 educators from 15 different schools and organizations from all over the state, and had a wonderful time! These were some of the most enthusiastic educators we have worked with and extremely warm and welcoming.

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Photo by Otto Kitsinger for Idaho STEM Action Center

Over the course of three days, participants learned all about how to use their 3D printers issued as part of the workshop, design their own objects to be printed, and search Thingiverse for inspiration and interest-generating prints to take back and share with their students. One of our favorite designs from the workshop was for one of the design challenges during the workshop – a mini documentation station for an iPhone made by C. Boothby.

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This was a great group of educators who really worked to bring their ideas to life and enjoyed themselves during the workshop. We were very excited to teach them all about FabSLAM and share everything we have learned to help them successfully bring this program to Idaho. We have never “taught” FabSLAM before to anyone, and it was very energizing and inspiring to work with such a receptive group of educators who are thrilled to launch this program with their youth.

A very special Thank You to Erica and Angela at the Idaho STEM Action Center who worked to bring FabSLAM to Idaho this year, and Jessica and Diana from Discovery Center Idaho for hosting our workshop all week! We fell in love with Boise and thoroughly enjoyed our time working with you and your educators!

Read more about this workshop in this article: Idaho’s STEM Helps 15 Schools Get 3D Printers

Join us for FabSLAM 2016

Today is the day! We are excited to announce our 5th cycle of FabSLAM! We are kicking off FabSLAM 2016 today with the announcement of our challenge theme and open registration for youth teams.

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To celebrate our regional expansion of FabSLAM, we wanted a challenge theme that would highlight this new aspect of FabSLAM…

This cycle’s challenge theme is CITIES!

For this challenge theme, teams should identify a problem in your city that could be addressed using 3D printing and digital fabrication.

More information:

  • Use digital fabrication methods (e.g. 3D printing) to create a solution to the problem you have identified
  • Identify a space in your city that could be reimagined / improved and design and fabricate a model of the new space  OR
  • Design a product that would solve a need of an identified space: e.g. rain gutter guard, a more accessible door handle,etc.

 

We welcome teams of youth (with an adult coach) 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.

What is FabSLAM?

FabSLAM is a multi-week, team-based, digital fabrication competition where youth learn and practice design, iteration, and rapid prototyping skills primarily focused on 3D Design and 3D Printing. A challenge theme is presented and each team works to develop a product that fits the theme and meets any accompanying requirements. Each team works with a Coach to help guide the team through the challenge and aid in documentation.

FabSLAM culminates in a FabSLAM Showcase where teams will present their products to a panel of judges and a public audience for review and feedback.

To learn more,

FabSlam 2015 Recap

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On April 22, 2015 we hosted our FabSlam Showcase and celebrated 6 weeks of 3D printing and digital fabrication with teams from around the state. FabSlam is a multi-week, team-based, digital fabrication competition where youth learn and practice design, iteration, and rapid prototyping skills primarily focused on 3D Design and 3D Printing. This cycle’s challenge was to design and create a product that solves a problem someone could encounter in the kitchen.

The finale showcase is always inspiring, energetic, and filled with anticipation as teams come together to share their projects, talk about the work they’ve done over the last six weeks, and anxiously await the results to see if their hard work pays off by placing in the competition. We had 7 teams from around the state competing in this cycle, eager to meet our judges and share all their project and all their supporting documentation to compete for a top placement.

We were grateful and excited to recruit a talented cast of judges this cycle including:

  • Heather Bradbury – Director of MPS Programs at Maryland Institute College of Art,
  • Clyde Boyer – Co-Founder and CTO of Trinity Education Group,
  • Matthew Griffin – former community manager at Makerbot Industries and director of community & support at Adafruit Industries who is currently finishing a book for on design for 3D printing,
  • Amy Hurst – accessibility researcher and an assistant professor in the Information Systems department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where she runs the prototyping and design lab (the pad),
  • Laura McClure – Editor of TED’s education initiative — TED-Ed (ed.ted.com) — and writer of the forthcoming YOLO Guide to Modding the World,
  • Marty McGuire – freelance web developer and a current Maker-in-Residence at the DHF Tech Center.

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First place in this year’s FabSlam was awarded to Nerdy Bacon, a middle school team representing Perryville Middle School in Cecil County. In response to the challenge, they attempted to create a solution to the problem of a sticky syrup bottle and designed the Pour & Store Syrup Cap. They received kudos from the judges on their iterative design, working well as a team, and valuing individual contribution and team adoption in their design process.

Nerdy Bacon also won the Fan Favorite Award, which was a new prize this year. Showcase attendees were given two tickets to cast a vote for their favorite projects. This was a hit and something we will definitely be continuing in future cycles of FabSlam!

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Second Place was awarded to Innovation Nation, one of the three teams in the competition representing Bryn Mawr School. Combining their experience as a robotics team with their new 3D Printing skills, this team created the Kitchen Copter, a 3D printed quadcopter with utensil attachments. Innovation Nation won the judges over with their “fantastic documentation.”

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Third Place was awarded to Team Sophomore, also from Bryn Mawr School for their Pass the Salt product, a custom designed wagon that attaches to a Sphero ball (controlled remotely by an iPhone) for passing items around the dinner table. They were commended by the judges on their strong teamwork and solving a relatable problem.

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There were two teams from DHF who participated this year. One of these teams was 3D Ninjas and their project was the Carrot Dispenser, which was inspired by PEZ dispensers with a goal to make carrots cool!

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The other team representing DHF was Team Sushi who tackled the problem of printing water-tight objects with their 3D Printed Sink. Team Sushi impressed the judges with the potential impact of their project such as installations in public places for homeless.

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Another new team to participate this year were the Grizzlies from Garrison Forest School who entered with their Potcentric 3000, an automated stovetop helper designed to free the chef’s hands by stirring automatically. The judges thought that it was about time for someone to “get a robot on that!

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The third team to participate from Bryn Mawr was Wo(man) Made and their brilliantly named Miss Army Knife, a multi-tool device with cooking specific utensils with a goal to free people from the kitchen!

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In addition to our awesome panel of judges and enthusiastic teams, we are also grateful for our FabSlam 2015 Sponsors who provided prizes for the teams! Thank you to Afinia 3DMatter HackersPrintrbot, UltiMachine, and FilaStruder for the generous donations of products and materials that were awarded to our placing teams.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in FabSlam 2015! We hope to have you participate again next year! If you would like to see all our photos from the event, you can check them out here: FabSlam 2015 Flickr Album

Be A Part of FabSlam 2015

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We are excited to announce our 4th cycle of FabSlam this week! We are kicking off FabSlam 2015 today with the announcement of our theme and open registration for youth teams.

This cycle’s theme is KITCHEN!

For this challenge theme, teams should design and create a product that solves a problem someone could encounter in the kitchen.

We welcome teams of youth (with an adult coach) to register and join us to compete in this 3D printing competition. It doesn’t matter where you are geographically located, as long as you can attend the FabSlam Showcase at the end of the program.

Ready to Register? Click here!

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What is FabSlam?

FabSlam is a multi-week, team-based, digital fabrication competition where youth learn and practice design, iteration, and rapid prototyping skills primarily focused on 3D Design and 3D Printing. A challenge theme is presented and each team works to develop a product that fits the theme and meets any accompanying requirements. Each team works with a Coach to help guide the team through the challenge and aid in documentation.

FabSlam culminates in a FabSlam Showcase where teams will present their their products to a panel of judges and a public audience for review and feedback.

Register Your Team Today!