Saturday, July 11, 2015

Our 3D Data From the Advanced Light Source - an Update and VR!

Data Visualization Animation of Student Scanned Sample - a Claw!
The Advanced Light Source is a synchrotron, a facility that speeds up and then bends an electron beam to produce high energy x-rays. The x-rays are used by scientists to image different samples. The 8th and 7th graders at our school have gone to the ALS for the past two years and participated in different projects, including x-ray tomography and crystallography.

Data Visualization - a Feather

Based on these experiences, I wanted to delve more deeply into 3D data visualization.  In particular, I have sought to learn how to use Avizo, which allows much more advanced image processing than FIJI (the open source alternative).  One big obstacle was cost: an Avizo license sells for $5000 -- with the education discount.  I emailed Avizo and requested -- and received -- a free trial.  When I looked online for video tutorials on how to use Avizo, I could only find one or two videos. During the trial, I made several tutorial videos of my own.  I then asked Avizo to extend my trial for as long as I continue producing high-quality tutorials. They agreed and it has been a great partnership. I have now made 15 videos, which are hosted on my YouTube channel.  Currently, my tutorials have over 3,500 views and 9,450 minutes watched. 

Our School Director Trying Google Cardboard
Working our booth at the 2015 San Mateo Maker Faire, I was able to explore other makers' work and became interested in Google Cardboard, a virtual reality viewer that uses cardboard, a few lenses, and a cell phone (and app) for viewing. I saw an opportunity to use the Cardboard to display the 3D models of our class data from the Advanced Light Source in a way that would foster a compelling learning experience. I asked the people at Google’s booth if I could have the extra Google Cardboards at the end of the Faire. They agreed. When I returned home with the Cardboards, I did some research and found an app called InsiteVR, which I have used to display the models. I started off sharing the project with my teachers and fellow students.

Meeting with Scientists at the ALS
Soon after, I contacted Dula Parkinson, a beamline scientist at ALS who has been a critical supporter of both our school's work and my independent projects.  We met and talked and he is now planning to put Google Cardboards in the lobby of the Advanced Light Source to showcase for the public the amazing imaging work that is done at the ALS!

I also played around with OpenDive, "free DIY 3D VR glasses by using your 3D printer, a non-commercial project by Stefan Welker" and was able to print out my own set on our school's Makerbot!

Dive printed and ready to be assembled - just add cell phone!

I plan to continue my data visualization work and since its announcement in May 2015, have been interested in learning more about working with Google's Jump

- Sam S (9th grader in the fall, BPC Maker Club intern)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Carbon3D's CLIP - truly a breakthrough in 3D printing!

This is truly remarkable. I first heard the news last week from 3DPi (read their comprehensive article here).  Inspired by the T-1000 from Terminator 2, Dr. Joseph DeSimone and his team have come up with a truly revolutionary idea in 3D printing.  Check out this video (at 7x speed). It's so fast, they printed an object (which would take up to 11 hours using traditional 3D printing methods!) DURING the 10 minute TED talk!

They call it CLIP - Continuous Liquid Interface Production.  And it grows  parts instead of printing them layer by layer!  (more on this later) Take a look at the micrograph (right) - the image on the right is a traditionally 3D printed part with layers, on the left - CLIP!  Plus, CLIP is 25-100 times faster than traditional 3D printing.

Dr. DeSimone, CEO and Co-Founder of Carbon3D, says, “Current 3D printing technology has failed to deliver on its promise to revolutionize manufacturing.  Our CLIP technology offers the game-changing speed, consistent mechanical properties and choice of materials required for complex commercial quality parts.”

So, how does Clip work?

For now, I'm quoting right off their website, and will add as we learn more.

CLIP is a chemical process that carefully balances light and oxygen to eliminate the mechanical steps and the layers. 
It works by projecting light through an oxygen-permeable window into a reservoir of UV curable resin. The build platform lifts continuously as the object is grown.
The heart of the CLIP process is a special window that is transparent to light and permeable to oxygen, much like a contact lens. 
By controlling the oxygen flux through the window, CLIP creates a “dead zone” — a thin layer of uncured resin between the window and the object.** 
This makes it possible to grow without stopping. As a continuous sequence of UV images are projected, the object is drawn from the resin bath. Sophisticated software manages the entire process by controlling the variables. 

** We are very interested in learning more about this "dead zone" - it is tens of microns thick and an area where it is impossible for photopolymerization to occur.

Want to learn more?  Check out the Carbon3D website, another article, or (highly recommended) watch the recently-released TED talk below!


UPDATE 3.26.15: has a story about Gizmo 3D, a company that says they too "are working on a super fast SLA style 3D printer, which may actually one-up the Carbon3D system, as far as speed and print quality go."  Read more here!

Just for fun, here is the Terminator 2 video clip shared in the TED talk. (in Spanish...?)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Our New Cube Take #4

Our new cube recently started malfunctioning again. We saw that filament was coming out at 1.52mm instead of something closer to .4mm. Luckily we still had our old Cube that we have yet to return (oops) - that one has a malfunctioning control board. Since the extruder on that old Cube still worked we thought why don't we try to replace our new cube's extruder.

We took this project to our after school 6th grade 3D printing club. Where we started, trying to figure out how to get the extruders off. As it turns out the extruder is only attached by 2 screws that we could easily take off. We took off both extruders 1 from each cube 2 and swapped them to create a FrankenCube. We tested it out and it worked.

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.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

6th grader's Blinky Badge on Instructables! (ready to check)

I love Star Trek so I decided to make a Star Trek communicator badge. I started by cutting the shape out of cardboard and putting an LED on it. but it kept falling off so I tried some other things. When I made a version that worked, I wrote some instructions for it on Instructables.
My Instructable

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)