Sunday, June 4, 2017

7C-3 Screen Printing for Awareness

I Screen Printed onto old shirts to raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ and mental illness communities. I noticed that representation in the media of the LGBTQ+ community is sparse, and there is almost no representation of people who fight with mental illnesses. Seeing yourself represented in the media can change someone's outlook, make them feel hopeful, and can show them that they are not alone. Lack of representation can isolate groups of people and I wanted to combat this problem with creativity. At first I wanted to make a clothing line, however time and material constraints proved that to be unfeasible so I decided to try screen printing. I had never screen printed before, so I had to learn from Wikihow. I started out by coming up with phrases to ink onto the shirts, for instance “Dear Homophobes; Boo!”. DSC08469.jpg
(Image from the school Maker Faire taken by Ms.Mytko)
DSC08341.JPGI tried cutting out the phrases, however this was challenging to do with scissors. I decided to try printing it out first, then using an exacto knife to trace the lines. This worked well but it still wasn't time efficient. I finally attempted to lazar cut my design, this was not only time efficient but it was also a great learning experience. I cut old undershirts and screen printed my phrases onto them. This project costs around 45 dollars for the baseline materials but it can fluctuate significantly for the unnecessary materials. I learned that it's okay for there to be small mistakes and sometimes those mistakes can improve the style of the shirt. I would enjoy marketing this into a business on Etsy, I will continue to screen print at home and I will possibly sell some shirts. If you are interested in this project make sure you set the ink into the shirt before you take off the screen, this will ensure better quality prints. Don’t give up when the ink smears, or doesn't come off, you can always go over your design with an ink dipped pencil. If you don't focus  on the mistakes, but rather on the quality parts of your print, you will end up a lot happier!

This is the Wikihow site that was incredibly helpful in teaching me how to screen print:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Theremin in our Classroom

.... because every middle school classroom needs more things in it that make noise.

In all seriousness, I am proud of my students for building this theremin from a kit, then troubleshooting it until it actually worked. Now, they are experimenting with the goal of eventually producing music, instead of sounds resembling the screeching of a tortured cat.  You can read a little about the theremin's interesting history here, or watch the video about the science of how it works below:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Making Models in VR with Kodon and Gravity Sketch

Recently, I have been experimenting with making 3D models in programs called Kodon and Gravity Sketch in VR. Kodon is more of a sculpting program that you get a basic shape and from there you can push/pull/smoothen a material using the controllers of the HTC Vive. Whereas Gravity Sketch is a program similar to TiltBrush, but instead of having a colored brush, it's a 3D sphere that you can draw with. Both programs are in their early developmental stages and not very close to being a complete software but are both fairly easy to use and self explanatory.

The first program we got was Kodon. It was already on Steam and was just like downloading any other games. Once I put on the headset I thought that someone was standing in front of one of the sensors because it was flashing and almost re-calibrating. It slowed down and I eventually got used to it. Its most likely due to the capabilities of our computer not being able to catch up with what the software is doing.

Another thing that was confusing was the seemingly infinite number of menus that seem to change randomly, but after a few minutes of finding my way, I was able to navigate to any screen from anywhere. It was still a bit confusing but after fiddling with some settings I understood and was able to use the controller easily. One of the settings is turning the controller around so you can use it more as a pen than a controller. It was slightly easier to use but still had its glitches. After using this for quite a while and then seeing the final result, I concluded I didn't want to use this software on this setup again. It was quite difficult. In the end, it may not look like much, but this pig-head model is my first tangible 3D model designed in virtual reality!

Then I tried Gravity Sketch which was more so what I wanted. As soon as it booted up it was very blank. Nothing at all. But the controls were surprisingly easy to figure out how to use. In a matter of minutes I was proficient in using it. As I said before, it is very similar to TiltBrush  After finding the download button I decided to start my first real project in Gravity Sketch. Making it was very easy to do and exporting and saving was easy. My one complaint of Gravity Sketch would probably be that for some reason, all the strokes are saved separately in one model, making my arch nemesis  overlapping shells. It adds one step too many between drawing to print. I need to drag it into Meshmixer and combine all objects, however when you have too many strokes (as mentioned, due to my computer's processing power), it crashes. But once I do wait for an hour for it to load, the outcome is well worth it.  I could then print it on the 3D printer and it was a very nice model. The software is very easy to use even though its in its beta stages. - Enzo, 8th grade

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Posts forthcoming!

Welcome to our blog. We have been up to so many things over the last two years but we are slacking on our blog. We plan to start regularly posting again soon!

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...perhaps we are just embracing "historical optimization"?