Monday, February 16, 2015

Microsoft Visits BPC

Last May, we were contacted by Microsoft Education:
I received your email from Brook Drum, at Printrbot. He indicated that you have been using a 3D Printer in your classroom for some time now. I work on Microsoft’s World Wide Education team. My colleagues Anthony, Russell (copied), and I, want to produce a short video story on 3D printers in education. 

Since it was so late in the school year, we opted to wait until the fall(ish).  Anyway, Microsoft did sent a filmmaker to our classroom, and you can see the result of the visit below (or on YouTube).

YouTube caption: With Microsoft and MakerBot, the middle school students in the Maker Club at Black Pine Circle School (BPC) are developing the necessary skills to make the world a better place by using their unique perspectives and passions to inspire their 3D printed creations.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

3D Scanning With the Structure Sensor

The Structure Sensor is a versatile 3D scanner with a host of apps and programs that you can use with it. It is made by Occipital, which licensed the technology to 3D Systems as the iSense.  (Read 3DPI's review here.)  The Structure Sensor adds a infrared camera and projector and uses your iPad's camera to sense color. Since the Structure Sensor's SDK is public there are many programs you can use with it some of these programs include Skanect, ItSeez3D, and Structure Sensor's own collection of apps.

A Scan of  My Computer Set Up
1. Skanect: Skanect is a PC and Mac scanning software (by Occipital). It costs $129. Connecting the Structure Sensor to the software is easy, you just connect both to the same wifi network and they automatically connect if you have free app called Structure open. You see a live view of what the Structure Sensor is seeing when you are scanning. I find you can scan larger objects with Skanect than any other Structure Sensor app or program but most 3D models do not have backs which make it hard to 3D print. Skanect also works with the Kinect.

2. ItSeez3D: ItSeez3D is a iPad app that uses the Structure Sensor to capture 3D data. It creates amazing head scans but each scan needs to process in the cloud which can take about 10 minutes. ItSeez3D does take good scans of objects other than heads.

3. Structure Sensor's own apps: Structure Sensor's own apps (Room Capture, Scanner, Fetch) allow you to use your structure sensor in many ways like playing a AR game, checking how far away something is, scanning a object, or scanning a room. Lets start out with the AR game, it is called Fetch. To start, you scan a area in front of you then a cat on a hoverboard pops on to the screen and you and to move the cat around to reach the ball. The game is on top of your scan data so you can't run through a chair. You can use an app called Structure to see how far something is away or see something in infrared.
To scan rooms you use a app called Room Capture. It works pretty well but it is annoying that you have to stay in one place and not move around. Once you finish scanning you can move around your scan in the app and take measurements. You can then email the room scan to anybody as a OBJ file.

Using the Structure Sensor to scan a Yeti microphone

To scan object you can use Occipital's Scanner app. It can scan objects in color but the color are blended together and not that high resolution. To show you what you have captured the app covers it in white. You can then process your scan in the app and send it to people as a OBJ file.

- Sam (8th grade)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

BPC Maker Club Shares our Makerspace at Cool Tools 2015!

Today, BPC Maker Club embarked on a different kind of presentation.  Different than the Maker Faire or Bay Area Science Festival, where we met with people of all ages, and different than the 3DPW Expo, where we were networking with companies, CUE Cool Tools 2015 was a workshop for teachers.

We highlighted a few of our maker projects in school.  You can see our presentation here:

Then allowed for lots of small-group, hands-on time for teachers to learn more about MaKey MaKeys, Scratch, Lilypad sewable electronics and 3D printing. 

(Students, add your reflections here)

"I agree!" - Ms. Mytko

Friday, February 6, 2015

Science Fair with 3D Printing and Augmented Reality!

It's about that time again.  This Thursday will be our school science fair.  Last year, I was so pleased to see 3D printing used as a tool in a number of the projects. Not because it was required, or a special 3D printing class, but because it was there and allowed students to create the objects they needed for a specific purpose.  This year is no different.

This year features:

1) Another 3D printed drone body.  Although, unlike last year's downloaded files, these parts were designed by 7th graders using TinkerCAD.  As an added bonus, the kids took advantage of their classmate's recent headway with ditto printing to speed the process along.

Perhaps equally impressive are the clamps one girl downloaded, printed and assembled for her use while building the drone.

making clamps

2) Pinhole camera (pic on its way!)

3) Hair straighteners - this was one of the more disturbing projects (visually!)  Using supposedly "real human hair" (from Amazon) this group was studying the effect of different straightening techniques on the strength of hair. They used heat, but also wanted to use magnetism and dry ice (hey, it's 7th grade), so they needed to custom design their own handles to hold the magnets and dry ice. For these ladies, it was their first time using TinkerCAD and the 3D printer.

4) Gliders - This group began by downloading files on Thingiverse to do some preliminary background research, but quickly moved to designing their own wings.  Starting off in TinkerCAD, they eventually decided to move to Fusion360.  The best part?  ONe boy taught HIMSELF how to use the 3D printer.  Because he could. :)

5) Insect maze (pic on its way!)

This year, we intend to include augmented reality into our traditional trifold boards, like last year. Unlike last year (when we had only heard of AR for the first time 10 days before the fair), we've had time to learn more about Aurasma in general and will be using Aurasma Studio, rather than the more expedient, but less flexible app method.

While we had hoped to master the process of creating 3D models (exusing Maya to incorporate into Aurasma (therefore allowing students to display v1 and v2, etc of their projects) we are happy to simply include student videos again.

We'll keep you posted!

Monday, February 2, 2015

BPC at the 3D Printer World Expo

Here is a brief overview of our experience at 3DPW - more to be added soon, but homework and science fair is taking up most of our time right now!

This past weekend, the BPC Maker Club was excited to be part of 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank, CA.  3DPW is currently the only 3D printing conference in the country (world?) that allows kids under the age of 18.  

Last year, we were attendees (post 1post 2) and realized that there was a lot of talk about how 3D printing was being used with students... without the voices of any actual kids!  This summer we contacted Bob Tisch, one of the organizers of the conference, and he agreed to find space for our kids to share their work.  We were told that a seminar space would not work, since "one of the vendors" already had that claimed (more** on this later) so we were generously offered a booth space on the Expo floor - right next to many companies we know and admire.  It may have been way in the corner, but we were thrilled to even be on the map!  (See us there, in the upper left hand corner of the map?!)

BPC Maker Club at our 3DPW booth!

We left after lunch on Thursday and flew down to Burbank just in time for the opening reception. The 8th grade boys did enjoy the fancy, open buffet!

Friday morning, we were in the elevator, heading down to the Expo floor, when we ran into John Westrum, from Afinia**.  He was the vendor that was speaking at the seminar "Enhancing Education Curriculum Through 3D Printing."  John is somewhat familiar with our work, having run into Ms. Mytko at a number of previous conferences, and was very excited to see up there.  Then he very generously offered to shorten his presentation and give us half his time slot to speak at the seminar.  We were happy to oblige.

Jane during the Q & A at "Enhancing Education Curriculum Through 3D Printing"

Ms. Mytko describes our 8th grade 3D printing project
That afternoon, we also met a number of folks from 3DSystems / Gentle Giants Studio, located nearby in Burbank.  They called the studio and arranged a tour for us!

Action figures at Gentle Giants Studio

BPC kids hanging out with Jabba the Hutt at Gentle Giant Studio

The EPIC scanning studio - sweet!

(We were not allowed to take photos in the 3D printing room, but it was incredible.)

Chillin in the conference room at Gentle Giant Studio

We also met a teacher and STEAM coordinator, Markos, that offered to give us a tour of his makerspace.  He heard us speak at the seminar and said we are "where he was two years ago."  From the looks of his awesome space, we will take that as a compliment!

Some of us went to seminars occasionally, but mostly we hung out at our booth and talked... and talked.  And networked with big companies.  We will write more about our Expo floor adventures soon!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Transporting our Printers and the TSA

BPC maker club is at the 3D Printing World Expo! We have a booth in the same room as some of premier members of the 3D printing world, which is pretty cool.

When we got around to planning the logistics of our trip, we learned that most organizations ship their 3D printers ahead of time. Oops. We were going to have to carry ours on Southwest Airlines.   We read over the official list of TSA prohibited items, and we didn't see anything remotely 3D-printer related on the list. We brought two of our printers - our Cube 2 and our Printrbot Simple, since they both seem small enough to pass as carry-on luggage!

To travel on the airplane, and after trying many orientations in a suitcase, we had to remove the build plate from the Printrbot simple and carry it separately.  To someone unfamiliar with 3D printers, it looked like a jumble of metal parts and wires. The Cube stayed relatively intact and looked, as one student described "pretty much like a children's toy."

We had to get through the TSA with the 3D printers they were surprisingly nice, which surprised us because Reddit said they were horrible.  We just took them out from our bags and sent them through the x-ray thing. I think if you put them in checked baggage it could be very different.  The TSA guy even joked "of course I had to get a 3D printer today!"  Another TSA guy told us that the weirdest thing he say someone try to bring through security was an automatic transmission.

We arrived at the convention center with the printer in multiple parts, and in under 15 minutes, had the build plate re-installed and a print running!

- Jane (8th grade) & Sam (8th grade)

3D Printing A Glucometer Case

For one family affected by type one diabetes, a glucose monitor was posing an unusual problem: The monitor connected to a cell phone, allowing the phone to communicate glucose levels to a remote device. However, the monitor cord fell out of the cell phone during things like sports practice. 3D printing offered a unique solution. A cell phone case, designed to hold the cord in place. Whenever the phone is upgraded, the case can be reprinted to reflect the new dimensions.

Even if the case is broken, it can easily be reprinted. However, for the young patient, one of the most exciting aspects of the new case is a different aspect of the customizability. The current case is orange, his favorite colour.

- Jane (8th grade)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Building the DropLit

Last August, out teacher was introduced to SeeMeCNC at the 3D Printer World Expo in Seattle, WA. got the scoop early.  By now, the DropLit is available for $399 on the SeeMeCNC website. All the parts except one are open source and that part you can buy from SeeMeCNC. Most DLP projectors will work but make shure your not using a LCD projector. You check the rest of the specs on SeeMeCNC's website. We went with this projector.

Here is a timelapse of us building it.

And here are some of the issues that we had.

Issue #1: Don't pull the tape off too quickly, because you will tear the fiberboard.
Solution #1: superglue, a clamp, and time

Issue #2: Where does the Arduino go?
Solution: We read forums to find an answer.  We found out that there was as new orientation for the Arduino, which is represented differently in the online instructions.

Overall, the building is going pretty well.

Issue #3:  The base plate orientation was tricky, but we solved it by READING the instructions aloud a few times.

Issue #4: We installed alot of the parts backwards.
Solution: Take it apart, flip it around.

Our projector is in the mail and we will post an update when we finish!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Don't forget the Cube Tube

Any Cube owners out there ever wonder about the reasoning behind the cube tube? It just adds a step to the printing process, right?

I would like to say that we made the conscious decision to experiment with removing the cube tube and printing, but in reality, I rushed through the routine task of changing the cartridge.  I thought I knew the process up-down-and-sideways, but I forgot an important step. The Cube tube. It turns out, that without the Cube tube, not only does the print fail, but you ruin a perfectly good filament cartridge. Oops.

The cartridge was not removed, but it no longer works. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ou New Cube (Take 3!)

Our Cube 3D printer recently started malfunctioning. The printer powered off mid-print, making an impressively loud noise as the build plate crashed back to the bottom. Dramatic, to say the least. I decided to troubleshoot the problem. The first step I took was to try and remove as many variables as possible. We plugged a light into the same power strip the cube was using, to check that the power strip wasn't failing. (Yeah, we could have just plugged it into a different strip, but...). Equipped with my smartphone and a slow-mo video function, we checked the power strip. Nope, not the problem. Then we tried a different file, a different USB stick, a different computer to cut files, everything related to file itself we could think of.  Also nope. We also tried just running the same file over and over and over and over in the hope something magical would happen, but it didn't. Remembering this  and this from earlier in the year, we emailed someone who worked at the Cube company.

Success! He emailed back, and said that it sounded like a motherboard fault. He even offered to replace the printer for free (this printer was originally free, as well)! Needless to say, we took him up on his offer.

Here is a picture of our new cube:

It's Blue!

- Jane (8th grade)