Tuesday, April 13, 2021

3D Printing and Adapting: Feedback

Challenge: For novice 3D printing students to create something unique

Background: Following on from the previous print on this blog the students concerned wanted to create a personalised 3D Print for one of the members of staff.   The staff member had particular design ideas and composition ideas that were bounced back between her and the students.   The group of students having successfully completing the design of the print were then able to repeatedly meet with the person that it was designed for and receive feedback about its composition and design.   This feedback was invaluable because it challenged the students to rework their design, check that they had completed the component pieces that were required and that their deisgn was sound.    One of the key elements in Tinkercad for 3D Printing is to group elements of an object and this group of students twice printed letter that was not group requiring it to be redone.   They also didn't think about the composition of the design, initially having universal lettering that didn't offer any variation as the final design did.

An example of not preparing the print correctly is shown on the left, as the 'McCarthy' part of the lettering is shown is disconnected from the main print.   This would have an extremely short timeframe before you would expcet to be considerable damage to the lettering.   

The intention in having the three different holes in the base of the design was to represent the three members of the particular whanau (family) that this is designed for.   This print needs to undergo further work with that being focussed on spray painting and some affects.   Again the person that the print has been designed for has specific ideas about this.

Level of Difficulty: Low - there are many versions of this project on this blog and many have been completed during the past few years, there is some difference, inclduding putting the holes into the design.   The students involved in this project were Year Five students who were working on their 3D Print on the second attempt.

The final design was 100mm across, 80mm high and 10mm high.    The surname in the lettering was 7mm higher than the base and the Girls was 5mm above the base.   The subtle difference between the two fonts created a significance point of difference with the lettering.    

Timeframe: Two hours - about right for this print given that it was a two hour time frame.   Given the overall purpose of the print the size of the print was determined by this.    

What we would do differently: Nothing for this project.  It allowed a group of students to create something specific for someone who is able to given them detailed feedback about the print meaning the students were able to rework and adapt the print.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

3D Printed Design: Split into halves

Challenge: Can a print be split perfectly into two seperate and distinct halves?

Background: Looking to extend some students who were taking their first steps with 3D Printing.   Following tutorials that the students watched that had been created by former students they produced the design on the left.   This design took three hours to print was 100mm across 95mm high and 10mm thick.   When it was completed we discussed ways in which to alter and change it, which the students agreed to do by taking it and spray painting it.   The next challenge to get the students to deveop their design and thinking skills was how can we take this design and split it into two equal parts, down the middle so it consisted of two seperate pieces - would that be possible?   The students spent time brainstorming possible solutions and design modifications that needed to be made, they realised quickly

that the initial print didn't have the lettering centered correctly, the word best was slightly off, so that was adjusted.   'friends' also needed adjustment as in addition to having an odd number of letters was not correctly placed on the print.

Left you can see the original design, which was subsequently spray painted to alter the colour and the second copy that was made.   This consisted of two seperate prints with the dvision between the print coming directly down the middle of the design.

The solution to the problem of cutting the print in half came from a third student who realised that a hole could be placed over the full design to mask half of the print, and then the print was downloaded and printed.   When the hole was then shifted to the second side of the print it was a matter of ensuring that the same measurement or point at which the print was split was repeated so that the two halves of the print matched, while this seems a little complicated the students involved mastered it at the first attempt and the two havles matched perfectly.

Level of Difficulty: High, until a plan was developed to identify how to cover one half of the design and then print the other without compromising the original design which the students mastered at the first attempt.

Size: The remodelled design was slightly smaller than the original being 90mm across and 90mm high.   The print remained 10mm thick with the lettering a further 5mm above the base of the print.

Timeframe: The two seperate pieces took just over an hour each so slightly less than the original.

What we would do differently: The two seperate prints need to be decorated which the students will likely opt to do with spray painting.   They are looking for the opportunity to use chains to hang the designs from.    This is two nine year olds first experience with a 3D Printer so it can be considered to be extremely succesful. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

3D Printed Numbers: A Further Update Three Years Later


This project has been going for an extended period of time, and the prints have been outside now for a considerable length of time.   The process was started in August 2018 when we wanted to 3D Print numbers for our evacuation area, where the school goes in the event of the fire alarm activating.

Initially we printed the numbers with an orange filament so it was visible for the students in an emergency drill.    Since 2018 one of the numbers had to be replaced as it was struck directly by a student kicking a ball into the net where the numbers were located, partially breaking it, otherwise the 3D Print has remained its structure and its shape.  We also updated this print in 2019 where we started to see some weathering with the colouring featured on the print - so this year we decided to take all the letters down, spray paint them to recolour them and replace the missing number in the sequence.

Again we wish to repeat what we have said previously these prints as well as having a significant purpose to allow us to have our students assemble in an emergency.

The 3D Print has been exposed outside for three years including three winter seasons.   There is no evidence on the print itself of any damage from the conditions, the only exception as mentioned is that the colour of the print which has faded significantly as detailed.

The flexibiliy of the print allows us to maintain its role and also adapt as required (so for instance including additional numbers is extremely easy and would only take the print time, replacing the numbers that are there is simply a matter of putting another one on the print schedule).

Thursday, March 11, 2021

3D Printed Component Piece for Sound Lure Project

Left: A small motor has been designed as part of the sound lure project.   This motor runs in conjunction with a sound/noise with an electrical circuit to attract pest animals to a trap situation.   Given the nature of the electronics and the motor that was present casing was needed to be created to protect the motor.

In testing that has occurred thread etc was attatched to the motors and then fouled the gear.   In the second instance animals, in this case the Australian Brush Tailed Possum, which is a massive invasive pest in New Zealand, has shown interest in the sound lures and has damaged the electronics that have been created or part of the students project.

The 3D Printer is ideal in this case to produce protection that can be custom made for the project.   A student created a quick shape that was able to be easily tested for size and then slotted over the motor and the key elements of the unit.

The print took a short timeframe of forty five minutes to produce a box - this initial box had a twenty percent infill (the students will experiment with increasing this for additional protection)

Design was extremely straightforward from one of the basic shapes from the main Tinkercad interface.  A four to five minute technology design job.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

3D Printed Exemplar Oversized Key Ring

Challenge: To produce an oversized key ring for the purpose of a heavy use item.

Background: This has been completed before for a variety of purposes, in each case the purpose has been for a heavy use item such as a school key or key that has multiple uses and access for it.   Be design the print is made large so that it cannot be placed inside a pocket or easily left somewhere due to its size.   The aspects of the design are all detailed here in instructional video form and step by step guides.

For further information the student concerned with this project is eight years old, but was able to follow the instructions that were provided in a 'flipped' video format that had been created by other students.   There was no additional instruction that was required by the student who was able to produce the final product as shown above and deliver it to the teacher, whose sole action was then to print it.

Level of Difficulty: Low - the student was working for the first time to produce something and was able to master the skills involved relatively easily.   This will be the first product produced by 3D Printing by this student and hopefully from here they will lead onto working on more complicated and detailed projects.

Size: Please keep in mind that this was delibrately made oversized with the intent of it standing out.   The design measures 190mm across, 90mm high and is 5mm thick.   The main lettering is 30mm high (including the base).   The secondary lettering was raised 5mm off the base plate to create the affect of the lettering.

Timeframe: Six hours, with a 6mm nozzle and machines that are Ultimaker 2+ which are six years old.

What we would do differently: The student was intending to spray paint this, however the item is to be used significantly and as a result the item will remain with the black base as shown in the photograph.  As a first print by a student starting to develop their skills this has been extremely effective.

3D Printing Component Parts for Electronic Project

The major project for our classroom students that has run for the past year and this coming year is a scientific project involving using sound lures to assist with pest trapping in New Zealand.   You can view details of the project on this blog here.

Part of the project involves the students producing electronic circuits.   The circuits (shown left) have been produced by students and adults and houses in IP rated boxes to protect them from the elements.  As can be seen from the photograph there is a need to develop additional inserts to be placed inside the boxes to minimise any movement that occurs when the units are transported or moved.   The 3D Printer has proven ideal to do this and also it has proved an excellent introduction to the students who are part of the classroom in 2021 and are 3D Printing for the first time.

Challenge: To produce customised pieces to protect or hold an electronic project in place to minimise movement.

Design Difficulty: Low - these pieces are inserted into exisiting electroincs project and into exisitng boxing as a consequence the design needs to suit purpose, as such these prints are not limited by how they look instead dictated by functionality.  In the example shown on the left the battery for the project can be seen in its 3D Printed design case.   This is able to be super-glued onto the base of the box, which then is able to anchor the bread board and hold the battery in place.  In the unlkely event of any moisture entering the box the battery and the breadboard are now raised off the bottom of the box to add a further element of protection.  Moving forward we may look at using a laser cutter to produce a MDF/Wood variation which would allow the possibility of adding a further level of moisture protection to the unit, which is being deployed in Winter in New Zealand.

As shown left with the battery holder element of the 3D Printing inserted.  As a result the breadboard is now raised from its initial position and held in position by the battery box.   As we are working on individualised units and refining and developing them constantly the felxibility of using a 3D Printer at this point makes it ideal to produce unique pieces to suit the unit.

Size: The battery lipo battery dictated the size of the battery holder.  The unit measured 60mm by 40mm and was 20mm high.   The pins and wires that can be seen in the photograph are reflective of the units being individually created so we would look at bringing the length of the wires into the design to consider the box.
We have various battery sizes that we have been using in the project and again the flexibility of the 3D Printer in this case allows us to modify those depending on the size that we want to trial and use.

Timeframe: One hour for the battery holder.

What we would do differently: We need a second unit to be printed to house the breadboard.  The student have been trying to identify the best fit for the unit to allow the breadboard to be housed, to be securely based around the component pieces and also removed as required if additional changes to the unit need to be made.   None of these prints shown left would be considered major designs all have been about an hour in print length and are roughly the same dimensions to fit into the box 60mm by 80mm.    This project will continue and we will also use the 3D Prints to develop a prototype for a potential laser cut out of MDF wood to help the project with the absorbing of moisture that could enter the unit.   We will continue to update this on our page.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Personalising Bookmarks/Upscaling Designs

 Please Note: The activity in the classroom for 2021 in New Zealand, where this classroom is based has just begun again.  There has been a slight change in direction for this classroom teacher over the past twleve months with a significant classroom project devoted to sound lures for pest control.   This is located at soundluresnz.blogspot.com.    The classroom work has continued in the 'regular' classroom but some of the prints that have been completed have been repeats of previous years work, rather than blog about this again a decision was made to wait until new and different ideas we being worked upon.

Challenge: Student had produced 3D Printed basic designs and wanted to extend themselves further while still maintaining a small scale project to engage them at the start of the year.

Background: The student here had been printing projects on and off for the past two years and had a good grasp of concepts and ideas.   Getting them to engage was not an issue but likewise the task needed to be slightly more advanced than usual but still mean that the print was manageable for the student and could realistically result in large scale printing (with thirty students in the classroom).    The student in this case had an interest in literacy and books.   The student was able to source a book that had been previously created and was available as a free download via Tinkercad.   From here the student was challenged to adapt the book to reflect themselves and add some layers to it.   The ten year old worked independently and put their name on the cover, put the hole that is visible through the entire book and added their initials into the spine of the book.   The student also spent time thinking about the design of the book when it was completed and could be painted, oil based paints, thinking about gold lettering and the sort of book that could be produced prior to the printing press.   While it was an involved and lengthy process it elavated the process and the print.

Degree of Difficulty: Low - this was more about the process and the final produce than it was the design, the student was able to execute the design and it was the additional aspects that kept them motivated and working on the project.

Size: The print measured 60mm wide, 80mm high and was 20mm tall.  Given the lettering etc it was probably about right for the size of the project.

Timeframe: Three and a half hours - but please note we are using six year old Ultimaker 2+s to complete the projects that we have been working on.

What we would do differently: Nothing at this stage the student has got particular ideas about how this might look and the final ideas about the print might not meet expectations but the design process has done.