Thursday, January 30, 2014

Collaborative 3D Printing - Student Film

A group of my 7th graders have entered the White House Student Film Festival with their film, Collaborative 3D Printing.  This video contest is open to K-12 students and the finalists will have their short films shown at the White House.  The films should "highlight the power of technology in schools."

Here is their entry - wish them luck!  The kids did this entirely on their own, without any adult intervention - scripts, filming, editing, music.... all them. :)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Students Try out a Haptic Mouse

** This post is still under construction, but I wanted to get the news up to share with all of you at 3D Printer World Expo, but it's been a busy week at school and there was no time to fine-tune (yet!).  Please check back soon. Feel free to follow us by email or Facebook! **

This evening, a few students and I headed down to Sculpting Virtual Clay in 3D Using Haptic Technology at the 3D Printing Meetup of San Francisco. As you might imagine, they were certainly the only kids there, but they were dedicated and, overall, some of the more knowledgeable ones in the group!

"It's important that they let people who are interested in the technology see upcoming products." - Cole

"Using the haptic mouse was awesome, you really feel the resistance when you touch to object inside the software." - Sam

"The Sense 3D scanner got accurate scans of most parts of you except for your hair. I think haptic mice and a 3-D scanners compliment each other very well." - Sam, again

"Meet ups like these are important not only to show new technology, but to allow like-minded people to meet and talk about all aspects of making." - Jane

Monday, January 27, 2014

7Th Graders Skype with Keith Murphy of Organovo!

** This post is still under construction, but I wanted to get the news up to share with all of you at 3D Printer World Expo, but it's been a busy week at school and there was no time to fine-tune (yet!).  Please check back soon. Feel free to follow us by email or Facebook! **

On Monday, January 27th, my 7th graders were able to Skype with Keith Murphy, CEO or Organovo.  I heard Keith talk at Inside 3D Printing in San Jose and kept thinking, "I wish my students could hear this!'  As you know, we are big fans of 3D printing and every year we spend time learning about cells.  After his talk, I tracked him down and asked him to take a photo (right). :)  And, as I do with pretty much everyone I meet who is working in professional fields in content areas that I teach, I asked if he would be willing to skype my classroom.  To my surprise and delight, he followed up and we were able to schedule a session!

My kids were excited and ready.  Keith Murphy explained the basics, and my students were surprised to learn that, contrary to what the media would like us to believe, we are nowhere close to printing whole organs.  He explained about the mini-livers and how they are used with drug testing. Then he took their questions.  There is always a moment a a teacher where you hold your breath and hope for the best, but the kids were awesome!  Some of their questions included:

How long does it take to print a blood vessel?

Where do you get the cells?

Are there any companies looking to 3D print skin to replace animal testing for cosmetics?

[more to come]

In this photo, Keith Murphy explains about collagen.

Afterwards, students say: [add]

To learn more about Organovo, here is a presentation by Sharon Presnell, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer & EVP of Research & Development

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Portrait of a Young Maker: Cole

Name: Cole C.

Grade: 8th Grade

3D Speciality: Overall 3D printing, 3D scanning and modeling. 

You can find out more about Cole's work on his Thingiverse page, Twitter @cole_c_18, and on his YouTube channel.

Favorite 3D printing project so far

(Past/Present): The iPad stand that will never work, Cole says "I have tried printing it multiple times redesigning it. Which has been very fun but also extremely frustrating. I hope it will work at some point. Currently it is our 3D printer's fault not my design."  I (teacher) might add that Coles' iPad design is testing the limits of our machine, especially in the middle of the relative chaos of our middle school science classroom!

(Future): "On January 31th, 2014, I am going to be flying down to Burbank California to attend the 3D Printer World Expo. When I am there I have made business cards to give out to people and 3D printing companies so I can say in contact with those companies and maybe even get a discount off a 3D printer. Hopefully..."

Other 3D accomplishments: Cole is one of the founding members of the BPC Maker Club.  At its inception during the 2012-2013 school year, Cole was one of only three members of the club, which he says was "probably my favorite time in maker club because it soon got rather large once the Makerbot came to BPC. Once the club was larger it started to get more off task [from 3D printing]." 

Cole also has a Thingiverse account where he has "made many designs such as phone stands, model planes and rockets."Cole was also recently featured in an article in T.H.E. Journal, 3D Printing in the Classroom: 5 Tips for Bringing New Dimensions to Your Students' Experiences.

Future 3D printing goals: "First I want to finish my iPad stand and after that learn more advanced 3D modeling software something like AutoCad or Inventor."

My advice to those new to 3D printing: "Buy a good 3D printer that is relatively simple to use."

When did you first identify as a "maker"?: "In 6th grade when BPC first got the Printrbot and I continued to work on it after almost everybody else had lost interest in the printer. That was the first time I would identify myself as a maker, but I have always been interested in electronics and deconstructing them. As I am writing it I have a deconstructed smartphone on my desk which I can solder back together and it will still work."

Other interests: Flying, programming, golf, math, hacking and photo/video editing (for YouTube).

Thursday, January 16, 2014 is 3D Systems' Chief Creative Officer

Well, I am impressed.  Already, has used his influence to raise awareness of the FIRST Robotics League, and now he is taking on 3D Printing.  3D Systems just announced that the company is appointing Chief Creative Officer!  I think has done some fascinating things with his fame and fortune, including his Foundation,which operates (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), "an elementary and middle school initiative to provide underserved students with learning and interaction opportunities beyond the classroom..."

Reichental, President and CEO of 3D Systems, in the press release, says, “We’re excited to partner with a pop culture influencer of’s caliber who really gets 3D printing and its potential... is a global tastemaker who embodies the essence of creativity and entrepreneurship, and we are fortunate to have him as our guide on this exciting journey.”

Pretty smart of 3D Systems, since gets "cool" and can certainly move forward 3D System's goal to go mainstream -  one of the many goals 3D Systems has put forth so far in 2014..'s got experience already as Intel's Director of Creative Innovation. Pretty cool gigs!

Watch Avi Reichental & discuss the future of 3D printing...

Here's another interview, from the CES floor, including a tough question about intellectual property.

ADDED 1.18.24: And, finally, you should read about all the other stuff 3D Systems has been up to already in 2014... and it's only been 18 days!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Portrait of a Young Maker: Jane

I am starting a new blog category.  Every two weeks, I will feature a different young maker from my school who is specifically interested in 3D printing.

This week's maker is:  Jane

Grade: 7th

3D Speciality: TinkerCAD

Favorite 3D printing project so far: Jane enjoyed staffing our first ever booths at this year's Mini-Maker Faire and Bay Area Science Festival.

Jane designed the 3D hearts (pictured at the bottom of this post) that the participants used to create necklaces to wear around the event.

Jane was also called on when a young man from a nearby BASF booth stopped by to ask if we could print a methane molecule.  Undaunted by her yet limited chemistry knowledge, she Googled "methane molecule," created a TinkerCAD molecule, and printed a small model for him to use at his climate change booth!  He was so excited to "upgrade" from his tennis ball and stick model. :)  You can read more about the story in our BASF post.

Other 3D accomplishments: Jane recently had her TinkerCAD design selected to be in an exhibition at the de Saisset Museum in Santa Clara.  Jane recently spent a Saturday morning down at the museum as part of the Serving of Shapes workshop in which participants were asked to "reflect on the history of food in this region or their personal relationships, experiences, and associations with food, and to use those ideas as inspiration for creating digital 3D designs."

Future 3D printing goals: Printing something that moves or snaps together.  (So far, she's tried a multi-part ferris wheel, but it is still a few iterations away from working...)

Jane's advice to those new to 3D printing: "Make something simple to start, but try more complicated things as well."

When did you first identify as a "maker"?:  Jane says she took a few things apart (old speakers, etc.) before BPC, but she was introduced to many of the concepts and skills of making, especially 3D printing, once she began middle school.

Other interests: Music, creative writing, assembling jewelry from repurposed materials.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Minecraft and 3D Printing

How to 3D Print something from a Minecraft single player world  
(A game that lets you create in a pixelated sandbox type of world)


Step 0: Have your minecraft creation ready in one of your worlds, and move your character as close as you can to it if possible.

Step 1:  Go to the Mineways site and download the program for Mac or PC. It's free.

Step 2: Run the Mineways application and click File > Open World > the single player world with what you want to print.

Step 3: Right-Click and drag a selection for the size of the file you wish to export.

Step 4: File > Export for whichever you like.

Step 5: Save the file and set your options.

Your model is saved! Print it.


There's also Printcraft, which allows you to create something in minecraft with a 40 by 40 square. When you push a button in minecraft, the command block behind it sends a signal to their website, which in turn translates your minecraft creation into a .stl file to download. It's entirely free and easy to use, all you need is the ip, ( and a minecraft account, which is about $27 dollars right now.
How to import a Tinkercad model into Minecraft (post in progress)

Once you have made your model in Tinkercad, click design, just like when you download it to a .stl, but instead of Download for 3D Printing, select Download for Minecraft.  Now, for the next part you'll need McEdit, a FOSS (Free and Open Source) program for doing advanced of Minecraft worlds, which you can download here.  For the next part is different on Mac and Windows computers (If you're using Linux you should be able to do this yourself).

          Unzip the folder on your desktop and run the program.  You will need to right click, and then click open, as the app is unsigned.  It will probably tell you to install XQuartz, and if so you can just click "continue", and follow the instructions on the web site that comes up.  The installer failed the first time for me, but on the second time it worked.  When you are done installing, open McEdit again.  It will take a while for anything to load, but after about ten seconds it should show up.  This time, it should open to a screen like this:

          [[Image to be Inserted Here]]

As you see, I already have a couple of world in it, like "Hidey Hole".  Yours will not have these.
Now is the time to create the minecraft world you haven't yet.
Next, you should click on "Load World".  It will look like this.

[[Second Image to be Inserted Here]]

Select the name of the world you want to put it into, then click load.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Our very own 3D printed prosthetic duck foot!

Got a fun package in the mail today:

Read more about Buttercup's story from high school hatchling to 3D-printed-mold-made-prosthetic-foot-recipient, and his subsequent duck fame on my previous blog post or Buttercup's FACEBOOK PAGE?!

Now Buttercup's owners are using Buttercup's fame to help other fowl in need of help.  To make  your own donation, visit