Monday, December 16, 2019

3D Printed Mini iPad/Phone Stand with storage draw

Challenge: Student wanted to create a stand for their iPad/iPhone and include storage in the base of the stand as a feature.   The student wanted to personalize the stand with their name.
Above: Design in profile prior to rafting removal
Background: While this student had not designed this sort of project before, a sibling of theirs had and as a consequence the student was able to call upon them for guidance with the design and the dimensions of the project.   This student had completed a number of projects in the classroom this year and was one of the chief designers for things related to the sound lure project boxing.

The student also needed to consider number of factors that were challenging in this project - getting the balance right was significant between producing a functional stand and having a long term print.

Degree of Difficulty: High - to get everything working in conjunction with the other features is something of an art.   This project will require considerable reworking to be considered successful.  All of the elements need to work together - for instance introducing a draw into the base of the design increases the storage significantly but the trade off is the fact that the base becomings considerably weaker when empty which can cause the base itself to tip with the weight of an iPad.
Above: The internal draw.
Size: The front of the design measured 80mm across, the print was 70mm long/deep and the print was 55mm high at the the top of the backing of the design.   The internal draw measured 70mm by 60mm and was able to sit into the base of the design.   The size of the sides of the draw need to be noted as they were 3mm across.  This would be the minimum size required to produce a stand, and in retrospect these dimensions would probably be increased to be successful.
Time frame: The base of the stand took four and a half hours and the draw took an hour.  This contrasts with some of the larger iPad stands and holders which have been up to twenty hours with the default print settings.  What we would do differently/Next Steps for Students: There were a few things to consider with this design - the weight of the print would hold a basic iPhone or iPad if it was regular dimensions (ie without a case).   However if you knocked the iPad then the stand would fall, so more weight would be required (although this could be addressed by filling up the storage
draw.   The student choose to include thier name and sink it into the front facing side of the stand.   this significantly weakened the strength of the design.   The student would have been bettered served to have printed their name in a separate print run, ideally either in another colour or one that could be spray painted, and then super glue it into place.   When the lettering around the students name was removed a significant amount of detail around the lettering also came out.   This was despite a teacher removing the rafting and taking all the care possible - a student would face particularly more challenge in doing so - with a straight basic print, and the name in a second colour this would be easily achievable.

Given the knowledge and the skill set that the ten year old student has managed to achieve I would consider it to be an easy fix for the student to successfully adapt their design to include these features and re-print the project which the student will do early next year.   

Sunday, December 15, 2019

3D Printed Projects: Individualised Basic Projects

Challenge: For students to create (independently) a variety of designs that were original and created and personalized for the purpose of a gift.
Background:  Having completed the 'sound lure' project for the year the 3D Printers here at School were available for a variety of projects.   The students were asked to create a concept or idea, which was original, which allowed them to personalize something and then created it independently.  Some of these projects were inspired by work from the past, which has been already featured on this blog.  Full details of those projects are available in the links next to the photographs.

   Left: An introductory name plate for a student completely new to 3D Printing.  The instructions for the student was prepared by another student who tutored the student, and also in the form of a flipped video that students produced earlier in the year.

This is a basic design/concept/idea that has featured many times on this blog which is detailed here.

This took four and a half hours and was 90mm by 60mm and was 5mm thick with the lettering another 5mm (and star) out from the design,


Another project was similar but 'Christmas Themed' with an insert Reindeer, and hearts that wen through the shape, the name of the student in this instance was sunk into the design of the plate (in contrast to the design above when it was raised up from the base).    The student was also working for the first time on a 3D Printing project and like the student involved in the above project is ten years old.  They were able to be paired up with a student who had worked Tinkercad before and the design was original and personalized.   It was 100mm by 100mm and 5mm thick, with a five hour print time.  Again the tutorial video was used as a back up resource to assist with teaching, and there are considerable Christmas themed examples of this on this blog running from simple designs with a name to individually created 3D Projects based around Christmas ideas (such as the Sleigh featured here).   These projects range in difficulty level from basic, which would take five minutes to much more advanced and complicated designs that would potentially require reworking and remodelling.

A slight variation of the above themes saw the creation of this badge for a child's room, which was created by a student following the format above.   The PLA used by the printer is extremely durable and wearing, meaning that the designs themselves seldom fade or can be broken.  We have been testing this theory with a number of prints to show the evacuation assembly area at school, which when put outside in an exposed area have maintained their shape and form for approaching two years.   This print was 5mm thick, with the lettering and stars an additional 5mm, 60mm high and 140mm across the print time was four and a half hours.

In the final design that we wanted to highlight, a student wanted to create a gift to mark a family members, first Christmas.   Again the basic design format was followed as with other designs in this group.   The design featured no 'rafting' o additional PLA required to complete the project, the student was able to created, design and complete the project themselves while meeting the criteria that was created at the start of the project.   The print measured 140mm across, was 10mm thick (including the lettering in the middle) and featured a whole in the top of the design to attach it to a Christmas Tree.   This took four hours to print on our default settings.



Thursday, December 12, 2019

3D Printed Christmas Decorations

Challenge: Student wanted to use a 3D Printer to create and design a personalised decoration for a family member.
Background: Student was new to the classroom, near the end of the school year (in New Zealand).  We had a new student who had no experience with 3D Printer and wanted to show the possibilities that the printer could be used to create something.   The student had mentoring from another student, both of whom are ten years old.  The creation process was simple using the basic template from the main Tinkercad interface.  The photos shown with the print show the print prior to any 'clearning' of minor excess PLA.    The lettering was sunk into the base of the design to add detail to it (it also has at times been reversed and raised up, but the sinking into the base generally looks better in our students opinion).  The teacher had no input into the process or the design.
Degree of Difficulty: Medium - this is a students first print, but the basic design features can from the student and someone offering design advice.  We have created, and there are online tutorials available on how to create inserts and lettering, so the design is very similar to the 'keyring' and 'badge' design that have previously been published here on the blog.  Students could work independently on this task to complete it from the middle school (Y5 onwards).
Size:   The design measured 100mm across and was 120mm high.   The print was 5mm thick (this could have been reducded to significantly improve the printing time).   Variations on this design/theme have been created and posted on this blog previously.
Timeframe: Four and a half hours for the default setting with a 6mm nozzle and 20% infill.   This is standard Tinkercad/CURA settings for our Ultimaker 2.  These machines are now five years old although two years ago they were upgraded to Ultimaker 2+.   One would strongly suspect that a more robust machine would improve on the printing time considerably.
What we would do differently/Next Steps for students: None - this turned out exactly as required.

Further reference: In 2018 our students created Christmas Prints for everyone in the classroom and also buddy created with another student - this prints, ideas and designs are featured here.  Further examples can be located here and exemplars can be seen here

In total there are several pages of designs, creations and idea that have been featured on this blog (including the 'sleigh' design which was create dby students from scratch using the main Tinkercad Interface, as shown left.

Please link in anymore great examples that you know about and share this post!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

3D Printed Pest Lure - Project Update

This project has been ongoing for the last several months and is drawing to its conclusion.   The prototypes of the animal sound lure (also referred to on this site as the Stoat Sound Lure) have had the electronics created, and the 3D Printer was used to create the housing/boxing.    The first units
have been deployed at locations this week, and the results have been immediate.   While they are only in its infancy as a large amount of data and activations is required to be gathered already at the single location where the first sound box has been deployed there have been two nights of significant activity. 

As well as having the sound box deployed there is also a chew card and a bait box, which contains rabbit meat.   The bait box has been deployed with the camera at this location for the past month.   Since the addition of the sound lure there has already been significantly increased animal activity in the first two nights.   On the first night the large rat shown above appeared and interacted with the bait - this is the second rat in a month but this rat repeatedly visited the site.

The lure is currently playing a variety of sounds at night, two possum sounds, two generic chick sounds and a stoat sound. 

The second night a large Brush Tailed Possum arrived at the tree and climbed it.   This is the first confirmed possum activity in this location in a month.  This is also significant because other than the sound lure there is no attractant on the tree for possums, as it is part of a larger wooded area.

We are continuing to monitor this project over time to check on its success and using the 3D Printers to modify the size of the boxing and to deal with the issue of water proofing.   Update following an adjustment to the battery levels after two days of a low level of sound lure activity (the batery had not
been charging due to a loose connection it was deployed again.   This resulted in the following activation.   The camera in this case had not been fixed appropriately at the sound lure tree, causing it to dip, not fully focussing on the tree where the sound lure was, however - the possum explored the area at the base of the tree resulting in this image that was taken.

Again after a calendar month this is the second possum activation within three days and the second night sequentially when the sound lure was used, with the only other bait that was present was the rabbit meat, now nearly two weeks old, designed to attract stoats, weasels or ferrets.

Friday, November 8, 2019

3D Printed Stoat Sound Lure and Explanation Video

Above: Electronic sound lure prior to boxing
Challenge: To produce a Mustelid Sound Lure.
Background: Regular visitors to this blog will know that a major project for several months now has been for the challenge for students to produce a working Sound Lure.   The challenge is to produce a sound lure to draw pests (in a New Zealand context) to a traditional trap.  Work began on this several months ago and the 3D Printer was crucial as the designs and the prototypes went through many stages and changes.   Boxes were created, adapted and changed based around the designs of the project and what was required to complete it.  Various speaker and solar panel combinations were used and the electronic parts have changed several times.   This is the final prototype of the project and has been now moved forward to the testing stage with the unit being deployed locally in trapping locations.   The next step is to refine this design improve it and then look forward to deploying it on a larger scale include gaining detailed data about what is happening, and how effective the sound lure is in improving the success rate of the trap.  Early evidence suggest that the Department of Conservation in New Zealand is experiencing an increase of possum results in the range of 30%.



One of the complicating factors for this project is there is not a equivalent version of a Mustelid trap in existence and this version has been produced (with assistance from several amazing experts) with our class of students.     The video that is linked with this explanation us a run-down of the project materials - if you want to find additional information please contact the administrator of this site myles.webb@gmail.com).    

The boxing has always been a key component of this project as it needs to be deployed in outdoor conditions.  This has been detailed repeatedly on this site and I decided to simply show an example of the latest version with this post.

This version of the box is specifically designed in part to house the Picaxe Chip that is controlling the electronic set-up for the device.   The design of the box has been modified from previous versions as this has an attached or linked solar panel that is responsible for controlling the powering of the machine based on a light level reading.   Essentially if the solar panel is shaded it can be programmed to operate, plays a track, and then checks the light level again.   If the light level has altered or is then positive the MP3 player will switch itself to sleep mode.   This is explained indepth in the video above.

   In the latest 3D Printed design in this series the Picaxe Chip is contained in the box - the modified solar panel means that the slide lid for the top of the box can cover the top of the box in its entirety.   The lid has deliberate overhang to allow shielding at the entrance point for the electronic cord, the depth of the box allows the battery to be underneath the chip.

Dimensions of the box are 90mm long, 60mm wide and 40mm high.  The box has a 5mm thick lid and 5mm thick sides.   The lid can be easily slid off to allow access to the box and will be held in place by duct or masking tape.   The solar panel has a separate 3D Printing boxing detailed here as does the speaker.  Currently the main box is being printed with a 8mm nozzle and a 20% infill which is producing a print time of six hours.   This part of the project has been designed by a ten year old student who has a years experience in 3D Printing.   It was produced using Tinkercad without any supervision or advice from the classroom teacher whose sole role was the removal of the rafting.

Further information on this project including a detailed breakdown of the electronics, the dimensions and scale of the print etc can be made by contacting the person in charge of this blog.

I would personally like to acknowledge everyone who has contributed to this project in the past, whose work is ongoing and who will work on it in the future.  These people, some of who are experts in their field can be contacted through myself.



Monday, October 28, 2019

3D Printed: Stoat Sound Lure Prototype V1.0

Above: The three component set up.
Challenge: For students to work on producing an electronic sound lure that could be used in conjunction with traditional trap.

Background: This has been a major project for our students during the course of the last ten weeks of school.   The students have been entering a regional/national competition that is based around innovation and creativity.  The competition was for Y5-8 students and our students were able to enter the Wanganui/Taranaki finals as a starting point with the opportunity to make the national finals.   The entry of the students in this competition came as a result of work of our students over a significant project in the last year.  The challenge for the students was how we could use technology to assist the removal of pests in New Zealand. 

Above: The base set up.
Stoats, Weasels and Ferrets were introduced into New Zealand in the 1800s to assist in the control of rabbits.    These animals instead switched on to preying on native New Zealand birds, who have no defence against these animals. 

Traditionally they have been trapped by using traditional manual traps. 

The challenge for our students was to use technology to assist in the trapping of these animals.    Our students spent considerable time completing background research and looking into the process.   There are currently no available versions of this kind of lure, although they are currently in development.  We spent considerable time looking at opportunities to develop the technology associated with this process (further considerable detailed information on this process is available on request contact the teacher concerned here at this blog if you wish).

There are three separate 3D Printed parts of the set up for this project.   The first is the base, as is shown by the purple print.   This is a set up involving a breadboard, which features an MP3 player and a picaxe to control it, including in the circuit a light sensor and jumper leads to power the set up.   
This part of the unit has been featured on this blog in previous posts and can be located here.   The idea is the 3D Printer can custom make the sound lure and the base design can be altered as appropriate.   The chip can play sounds which are stored on a micro-SD card (up to ten thousand sounds of varying length).  The light sensor is able to be coded to allow the speaker to operate at pre-determined time, as a value can be entered to measure the level of light and then switch on as appropriate.   There is an opportunity to target specific times when there is more lightly to be pest activity, have specific lure sounds (for instance there is evidence to strongly suggest that stoats are more likely to target chicks instead of ears as they hear better than they smell).

Above: Speaker variation with removable lid.
The second component of the set up is the speaker box.   This is designed to house a speaker that will produce the sound for the project.   The design is reflect the need for water proofing and also to allow a sound to be emitted.   This speaker design has gone through significant development as the students experiment with sound variations and quality of sounds.   The initial designs for the customized speaker box was featured on the blog here.   The students have been looking for the balance between the box and the ability to protect the electronic parts (as the speaker and the set up is being deployed into a outdoor bush setting).   The lid that was featured with this design had an insert which allowed the speaker to sit in the box.  The height of the box was designed to allow the sound to be omitted.    Evidence suggests that while a traditional meat baited trap has an effective range of five metres it would appear that the sound lure variation is effective for up to a hundred metres.   

The final component piece of the set up was the power unit for the device.  A prototype that was supplied to our students was a battery powered noise created set up.   One of the variation that the students were looking at was to provide a solar powered option to run the set up.   The students after considerable investigation opted for a solar panel combined with a lipo battery.   The size of the featured solar panel was 70mm by 110mm.  It had a height of 10mm.  This allowed it to be water proofed.    There are variations of the solar panel in sizes, so the 3D Printer is ideal to adapt to the different sizes as the unit is produced.      There is not expected to be the same level of variation with the micro-chip box, although as we are experimenting with different sized speakers so again the flexibility of the 3D Printer is ideal to create the opportunity to customize.

Next steps for the students: The students won the regional competition and have qualified for the National New Zealand finals in December.   The students need to produce a number of the units and test them in the field to prove thier work.   Every indication is that the set up will have an impact on the ability of the traditonal traps to attract additional animals to the conventional trap.   The challenge is on the students to prove this and to modify the sound lures to adapt to slightly different component pieces (such as a different sized solar panels).


Saturday, October 19, 2019

3D Printed Customised Speaker Box Version 5.0

Above: Design showing lid locking mechanism and cable hole.
Challenge: To produce a weather tight box that could be used to house electronics.
Background: Without sounding repetitive this latest task is a continuation of the process and development for a major creation for our students for a significant national competition.   The essence of it is to have an electronics controller protected against the elements, while also being available for battery changes, modification or repairs as necessary.   The unit needs to be deployed in the New Zealand bush in an area of New Zealand (Taranaki) that has significant rainfall during winter.   This mean the unit needs to be protected against rain/moisture being able to enter and damage the electric circuit.    The unit also needs to have speakers connected to it so they can be deployed outside.   Finally while there needs to be a lid attached to this object that is able to seal it against the elements but allow a light sensor (which is how it will operate) it also has to have the potential to have batteries contained within it.   Ideally a solar panel will be used with this combination however box 1, box 2, box 3,  and into box 4 that are showning development and progression.  Early attempts at the lids
Above; Box shown from above.
depending on development it may be in areas with low level of sunlight which would restrict power options from being used and in this instance rechargeable batteries would be used - so the base of the box needs to have enough space to allow both options.    Design came from the same group of students who have been responsible for all of the boxes in this series.  If you look at the progression of designs from the start of the process the students have perfected the ability to incorporate a design of a locking lid built into the 3D Print design.   Furthermore the other pleasing aspect of the process is that the entire run of prints is being used to one degree or another.  Finally as we have stated before the 3D Printer is the perfect tool for the students to use in this process - it is allowing us to customize the breadboards/chip boards and speaker combination and then build a box to house our potential setup perfectly.  We've been able to demonstrate in the past that the PLA used with the 3D Printers does not weather as we've had outside prints in full weather conditions with no visible signs of any degradation. 
Degree of Difficulty: Medium - this is not for everyone.   The students creating this boxes are a group of ten and eleven year old students who have extensive use and knowledge of the 3D Printers having nearly completed a year in the classroom using them and creating with them.   Little details like dropping down the lid to allow it to lock automatically take a degree of precision to create correctly or the placing of the insert to allow the cable connecting the speakers to the breadboard.
Size: The front of the dimensions of the box measured 80mm wide, 50mm high and the box was 100mm deep.   The thickness of the box (sides) is 10mm.   The insert for the lid to be slid into place was 5mm from the top of the box ensuring that it was strong enough to support the lid.   The biggest potential for the reduction in the box would be the width of the sides of the box - as they could conceivable have been 5mm without compromising the strength of the box. 
Time frame: The base of the box as shown in this box took nine hours to complete.  There was very minimal 'rafting' or waste material this only being the case with the insert where the lid was to be inserted and held in place by the box itself.  It has to be noted however that the sides of the box with this design are somewhat on the thick side.
This has been completed with a 4mm nozzle and a 20% infill.  As has been pointed out in the past on this blog the printers themselves that are being used are now five years old.  One would expect that newer machines would allow a quicker print and perhaps a better quality finish.
What we would do/next steps for students: The student need to complete the lid to complement this design and test this for its effectiveness in wet weather conditions.     

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

3D Print Customised Speaker Holder

Challenge: To customise a original 3D Printed Box for a speaker.
Background: Since last school term our students have been involved in a significant sound lure project.   This has took a considerable amount of our time and focus.   For this project which is developing at a rapid pace we have recently completed the prototype of the speaker system that we will be using. 

The 3D printer has a crucial role to play in the successful completion of the project as it involves creating an opportunity to water-proof and allow the combination of speakers and parts to be put together.    In this example the speaker (which was a 0.5 watt speaker) was placed in a box that was previously designed as a potential housing box for the speaker system.   The addition of a lid for the box had a significant circular hole
that was built into the lid of the box.   This lid was for positioning of the speaker, which allowed the speaker to vibrate and project a sound that was clear and auidble. 

In this example the lid of the box was only two mm thick as the students wanted to spend time considering whether or not it would work and its acceptable.

This print took fifteen minutes to complete and will be detailed shortly in more depth.  The speaker shown is a recycled speaker.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

3D Printed Box Lid: Developing a 'Locking' Lid Version 4.0

Above: Design shown prior to PLA removal for lid insertion
Challenge: Use a 3D Print to produce a box with a working lid that can be sealed.
Background: As part of the major sound lure project that are students are working on, one of the key issues is 'water proofing' - ensuring that the sound lure is able to be deployed but protected from the environment.  This is another box in the series but this student wanted to use the 3D Printer to produce a lid that could be locked in place to ensure that the container was water tight and the lid would not come off unless it was removed.    As shown in the photograph on the left the lid has breakable component parts that need to be carefully removed to enable the lid to be slid into place.   With the lid then inserted into the gap created by the removal of the excess PLA the additional support for the lid as shown holds it in place.  There is also an internal wall with a removable section to support a division between the battery storage and the speakers.   The students were basing all these dimensions on the speaker/sound device combination that our students are presently working through.   These dimensions reflected the design, shape and size of this sound lure.   
Degree of Difficulty: High - this is pushing the students in this class to the limit to test their designs and creations using the materials and designs available.   With the PLA just below the lid removed (as shown left) the idea is clearly demonstrated. 
Size:  The box is similar to other designs in this series to reflect the size of the sound device.   It was 100mm by 100mm square with a height of 60mm.   The internal wall was placed 30mm from the end of the box to include the batteries as storage.
Time frame: Nine hours to print on the regular settings of nearly everything that we've printed over the last five years.  8mm nozzle (in some earlier posts this has been described as a 4mm nozzle but this was incorrect due to a misunderstanding.  The infill is the 20% standard default.    There was some adjustments made below.
What we would do differently/Next steps for students: While this lid will work the students concerned needs to make adjustments.   The lid needs to have more support from the frame of the box at the top and especially the sides - we will still be using this box for the project but further lids will have a more robust lid combination.  The external wall needs to have some adjustments so that the batteries can be placed from one side of the device to work through without having to re-wire the sound lure.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

3D Printed Customised Sound Lure Box 3.0

Battery storage area shown immediately in front of the design
Challenge: To produce a customized box for the storing of electrical circuits for a Conservation project.
Background: This is an ongoing project of significance to the classroom with a process that is scheduled to run for the remainder of the year.   The 3D Printer is crucial for the process because we are purchasing basic electronic commentary from overseas from inexpensive online sellers, creating the circuitry, combining it with speakers, and a power source and then preparing the entire package or group of objects to be placed in rural locations in the outside environment.   The initial development which featured on this blog was for small microchips with very narrow widths and with one watt powered speakers which meant that the boxes themselves were relatively small.   In recent developments with the design we have switched to using more powerful three watt speakers.    These speakers are already assembled and while that is a positive the box housing them needs to reflect this as well.   Students have been working on a prototype of this
Above: Design shown speaker - note button visible bottom left
box, and there were additional challenges put to the students.   The battery or power component needs to be housed separate from the speaker, although as there is wiring there needs to be a relation between the two.    The button to operate and start the unit working needs to be wired to the outside of the box, linked by a small 10mm by 20mm hole to allow the button to be moved to the outside.   Finally this print is intended to have a lid, which is able to be slid into place and locked there to hold itself to protect all of the commentary.   This lid also needed to be able to emit the sound from the speaker and limit its exposure to moisture or rain.   There was finally the last aspect - the aspect of flexibility - as we have progressed in this project the size and electronic commentary that we are using has to be flexible to enable us to try combinations and experiment.    This shown option involves the use of rechargeable batters - a solar powered source of energy would be perfect in the future.
Degree of Difficulty: High - this is a complex project involving little details that need to work successfully in order for the device to function.     This design appears straight forward but is proving not, however it is proving an excellent extension for two ten year olds who have shown creativity and flair for design.   The learning experience to produce a working lid will be invaluable. 
Size: This print measures 130mm across 120mm deep and is 70mm high..    The two internal component parts were designed to house separate battery and speaker areas.   The internal wall created to divide the two is 5mm thick and is placed 50mm from the outside wall at the shorter end.    There were additional external holes placed for the button speaker to be outside of the box so it could be switched on and off without the entire box being opened.   This design is undergone a significant re-design since it was originally printed, and before the print has already been reduced in size to 50% of what is shown here, as this will still allow to have all of the needed aspects of the design and also allow for transport of a number of the devices at one time.
Time frame: Fourteen hours - this is reflective of the size of the project - version 4.0 will be halved.
What we would do differently/Next steps for students: This is already been updated to reduce the size of the print considerably to make the box more compact.   Experimenting with the lid to ensure that it works and emits the sound and protects the box.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

3D Printed Sound Lure - Version 2.0

Above: The sound chip and the first stage of box protection
Challenge: To produce a box to allow a sound lure to be deployed outside - the box needs to be water proofed to reduce the chance that water can damage the electronics contained within the box.
Background: This is a significant project for the students in our classroom utilizing the 3D Printers to produce custom made boxes for sound lures that we are producing to work in conjunction with traditional traps for pests.   These pests are significant in New Zealand - as introduced initially to control rabbits they subsequently turned their attention to preying on native New Zealand bird species.   As a result of our work with local agencies we have looked at using technology to make these traps more effective - by using electronics to lure the predators towards traditional traps.   These sound lures require basic or medium level electronics that need to be deployed outside in the elements - we already know from repeated testing that the 3D Print filament will not be weathered the issue is whether or not the students can successfully soundproof the box while also allowing the sound from
The middle of the design to project the sound chip
the box to be heard to allow predators to hear it.   This is involving all students in the classroom, who are ten or eleven years old, to design boxes to hold the electronics.   This is not as straightforward as it seems as we have not completed the electronics project part yet - so the designs need to be flexible so that they can be adaptable for different sized chips.   In this design shown the chip is a greeting card sized chip that would produce a sound similar to a one watt speaker.   The balance between water proofing and adding the ability to disperse sound is providing challenging and once the electronics are confirmed the challenge will need to be adaptable to be completed successfully.  This is an ongoing project that our student will continue to be working on for a considerable length of time (the project
itself it is not anticipated that will be completed before the end of the 2019 Calendar Year.   The designs at present represent the students understanding of 'waterproofing' and need to be reflective of moisture as opposed to rain, as we have a 'roof' design shown in this process which does not overlap the base.
Middle Design - Showing the holes: are these two large
Level of Difficulty: High - this concept while it appears straightforward has a number of factors involved in it the most difficult is the balance between allowing the sound to be emitted from the box but not to allow water or moisture in particular to enter the box and have an affect on the electronics.   Traditionally designing the holes in 3D Printing design programs may ultimately not work and we suspect at this point that we may have to look at drilling into a solid box base with a drill with a small width to have the best results (this will be tested in the field later in the year to confirm).
Size: This print was completed in three main component pieces which are shown in the three main pictures with this post.   The base of the design which contains the part where the chip is located is a simple box design.   It is 80mm long 50mm wide and 10mm high.   The width of the sides of the box is 5mm.   The middle stage of the box, as shown in the second pictures has similar dimensions as listed above with the expectation of it being a solid block (with of course the five holes that are thought it).    The third component part is the roof.   This design was devised on the basis of a traditional sloping roof, with a basic triangular shape and four columns that were for the roof to be placed on the middle section.  The roof is 30mm high at its top point and the columns are 20mm high.   The dimensions of the roof are designed to work with the base.
Time Frame: The print, in its three component pieces were printed as a single job which took six hours.   There could have been a little additional attention paid to its dimensions (see below).
What we would do differently/next steps for the students: The roof does not extend over the base of the design - so the practical attention to detail would be if this was effective (obviously as we know that rain does not fall straight down, but when wind is included can come in from the angle, this provides limited protection).   The five holes that were introduced to allow the sound to come out from the microchip were not co-ordinated with the columns to hold the roof up - some of the holes underneath were covered completely by the support for the roof.   Sound testing will lead to this being considerable redesigned.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

3D Printed Customised Sound Lure Case

Above: Design shown in profile with light sensor option.
Challenge: To produce a sound lure case with 3D Printing that would protect the electronic circuitry but also allow a sound lure to operate.
Background: This is part of a major project that our classroom of students are involved in, producing sound lures to attract pests to conventional traps.   Since we started on the project our students have made significant progress.   The initial designs focused on inserting Three Watt speakers and electronic circuits which, with a motherboard would produce a sound, that was ideally operating by detecting light levels and working in conjunction with a power source.   The Department of Conservation in New Zealand supplied us with a working example, our student spent time breaking down the components and brainstorming ideas about how we could improve on this.     Our initial designs were based around a larger speaker with our component parts assembled.  As we moved into the project we were able to locate Arduino kits that were already assembled that could produce some of the functionality that we were looking for. 
Above: Design shown from above.
One of the first chips that we identified was a chip that had a suggested use of being sound for a greeting card, this was suggested to operate as the sound source.   When this arrived as ordered we were then able to significantly change the design of our boxes to reflect the size of the chip.    We need to waterproof these boxes as the intention is to deploy them outside and in location when they can get wet, which could potentially be disastrous for the electronic circuits that we are using.     We know already from our 3D Printing numbering for the school that has been outside exposed to the elements for an entire calendar year and yet to show any sign of wear or damage.   We of course are also able to custom make boxes of the exact size that we need with the exact components to suit the circuitry that the students from the classroom are creating - it is also introducing another problem for our students to overcome, as we are producing a sound box that still requires the sound to be easily
Above: Design with potential computer chip placement
emitted and produced but also there needs to be protection for the internal parts of the box.  This is an ongoing project that will keep our students working and problem solving for the remainder of the school year.   I have inserted a new tab into this blog with the overall project which you can locate by clicking on this link. 
Level of Difficulty: Medium/High - this concept and idea is proving challenging because of the specifics of the electronic componetary and needing to be exact to complete the task successfully, and also (eventually) the full water proofing of the design so it can operate regardless of the weather.    While the students involved in this are ten and eleven they are experienced students who have used the 3D Printers throughout this school year.   There is no teacher input into this process or any of these designs, with the students working in groups of four to complete this.
Size: 100mm wide, 70mm wide and 20mm high.   The internal platform in the middle of the design is of a similar dimension and the four corners feature four points which could be potentially drilled into.
This is reflected by the size of the sound board, which the print is intended to protect.
Time frame: Three hours on the regular default settings - 8mm nozzle and a 20% infill.
What we would do differently/Next steps for students: This needs to be completed with a lid, and then the students need to carry out a series of testing to ensure that the speaker produces a clear and audible sound, preferably as loud as possible.

Monday, August 26, 2019

3D Printed Stationary Holders: Combining PLA Colours

Above: Design shown completed with combined PLA
Challenge: To create a working stationary holder and for affect with the design to combine PLA colours to enhance its presentation.
Background: The majority of this point in the school year (in New Zealand we run from February until December so we are approaching the three quarter mark) of students in the classroom have at least one significant 3D Print which they are using regularly.  In this case the student wanted to combine colours for the base of the project to improve its presentation, by significantly combining two colours of PLA for effect.   The chosen colours as seen on the design to the left were the blue and the black.    The student printed the design in two main print runs, allowing the design to then be finished by having a super-glue applied between the layers which were then glued together.    The student had some experience working with others as part of 3D Printer design and projects and was able to complete this design as shown without any input from the teacher.   
Rear of design shown including incomplete printing
Level of Difficulty: Medium - the design was the students own, created by using the Tinkercad main interface to produce a series of basic shapes (rectangular prism, oval).   These shapes were then stretched to the desired level and he decided to personalize the project by adding additional features to it (including an owl and soccer ball on the reverse). 
Size: 120mm high, 110 wide/long and a total of 120mm across.   The walls of the design alternated between being 5mm and 10mm thick in places.    The soccer ball and the rear storage raised the design 60mm off the base.     The lettering of the students name was 5mm from the top of the design.
Time frame: The design took two considerable runs - the base (the blue PLA shown in the picture) was a fourteen hour effort.   The black which formed the final top part of the design took eight hours.   These dimensions could have been improved by reducing the thickness of the design in places and being consistent with the 5mm thickness.     For a print of this scope this is within the bounds of what would be expected (this was completed using a four and a half year old printer with a 8mm nozzle and a twenty percent infill setting).
What we would do differently/next steps for students: The student decided to go with a blue/black combination for the design, with hindsight a secondary colour would have had more impact.   The student should have probably printed the lettering for their name in a separate colour, however he chose not to.    Although the print looks correct with its dimension more time should have been spent using sandpaper to reduce the amount of PLA at the point where the prints were joined.   Having said all this the student was very pleased with the result.  He has still to complete the final aspect of the print which is to be put on the top of the soccer ball.   This is visible in the second picture on this print, the student increased the height of the soccer ball which compromised its shape, again something minor but could have potentially been addressed.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

3D Printed Super Large Stationary Holder

Above: The Full design shown in use in the classroom
Challenge: To produce a stationary holder.
Background/Details: Student wanted to create a personalized stationary holder.   We decided to allow a test of the output of the machine for the student to create something that was significant in size.   The student wanted something big as they had a number of stationary items.   The student started with a basic shape design and from there kept adding additional features and storage.    The design featured an ipad stand built into it and then two significant storage areas for stationary.    To complete the process of penalization of the stand included the name of the student at the bases on one side and a diamond above the name and finally as a little hidden gem there was a skull at the base of the iPad stand.  All of these design features were created by a ten year old student using Tinkercad to create and design basic shapes then take those shapes and manipulate and change them accordingly.    The student was able to do this without any input from the teacher and created it without assistance from other students.   The teachers sole responsibility in this case was pressing the print button to start the process of printing.  The student who completed this design was a student who was ten years old and had limited experience with a 3D Printer.
Design shown in profile with skull visible at the front
Level of Difficulty: High - this has significant features and details that needed to work in conjunction with each other.   This was not for the faint hearted in terms of size or the scale of the project (see below).   It would not be recommended to students starting the process.
Size: The main storage (base) of the design was 170mm across and 120mm high.   The design was 60mm wide and had sides that were 5mm thick.    The lettering for the name was on a separate block came 10mm out of the base of the block and the lettering was a further 10mm wide.    The second smaller storage area was 90mm high, 100mm across and 30mm wide.   The front of the iPad stand extended a further 50mm from the base of the design.   In total therefore the dimensions of the print is 190mm wide and 170mm long at its widest point.   This was one of the single biggest prints that we have attempted.   We would like to point out that this was produced using a 3D Printer that is now five years old on our typical settings (8mm nozzle and a twenty percent infill).
Design as shown from above
Time frame: This is one of the longest prints that we have attempted for some time.   The time for the print was thirty six hours.    This was deliberately designed as a statement piece that was to stand out and based on its size and presentation.
What we would do differently/next steps for students: The decision was made to print the design as an entire single piece, this proved challenging to remove the rafting that was specific to the lettering around the name of the student who had designed it.   A better approach would have been for this lettering or name to have been printed in a separate run, preferably in a different colour and then this would have been glued into place with a plastic/PLA bonding glue.    The student was thrilled with the result and removing the lettering after it had been completed would have been particularly difficult without significantly distressing the print.  In our experience removing black PLA tends to leave some scaring or marking on the print which we then reprint or repaint to complete the process.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

3D Printed Pest Control Sound Lure

Background/Details: This is an update of a previous post featured on this blog.   In this project we are partnering with a number of local groups and government organizations to produce a sound lure.   The sound lure is to attract pests (Brush Tailed Possums, Stoats, Weasels and Ferrets) to a standard or traditional trap.   The benefits of the 3D Printer with this process is that it is allowing flexibility for the selection of the speakers to be used.  We have ordered a variety of different sized speakers online (from primarily Aliexpress) and these have varied in size (deliberately on our part).    We are looking for combinations of features such as power use (solar) or different sized batteries (A4 or 12 Volt).  We've been in contact with the Department of Conservation about the lures that have been deployed in the past, they've had a buzzer sound to attract pests and a ten to twelve day battery lifespan.   Our students (who are ten and eleven years old) have spent the last four weeks looking at
considerably improving on the existing design. 

  • They are replacing the battery with a lithium battery or a solar panel - this should extend its operating life considerably
  • They have already spent time looking at replacing an industrial buzzer noise with an authentic Kiwi sound recording, which should make the lure more effective   
The 3D Printer is key to this design - it allows flexibility with the creation of a variety of shapes and designs to accommodate the different sizes of speakers that have been ordered but can also mean that the speaker will be water proofed to protect it from the elements.  We have conducted a running experiment with having the assembly numbers for the school in case of an event outside and exposed to the elements for over a year.    These designs are showing little evidence of any degradation in the PLA from being exposed to the outside environment .   Once completed these sound lures are being deployed in the environment they are going to be deployed in conjunction with regular traps to remove local pests.    (For our international visitors New Zealand has significant pest problems from introduced species - these are predominantly the Brush Tailed Possum but also Stoats, Weasels and Ferrets, all of which spread disease and prey on the native species of New Zealand.   Further details about these pests can be located on this Department of Conservation website.

Top: original speaker limited by size
The initial design was able to house the smaller speaker, however the students have been looking at refining the design, improving it (introducing the drill holes that are shown in the print above in the four corners of the device).   

As shown left the initial two watt speaker is shown above and the second three watt speaker shown below.    The initial supplied box design would not fit with the bottom speaker as its too large, this is not the problem for a custom made box to suit the second speaker, which is created by the 3D Printer.

This is a considerable long term project that is is the very definition of the term 'cutting edge' as the sound lures are very much in their infancy and our students are able to use the technology that is available to them to improve and create, the 3D Printer is a crucial aspect to allow the flexibility and creativity to work with the project.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

3D Printed Possum Trap Adjustment

Above: The commercial trap with container
Challenge: To add an extra component to a commercial Possum Trap to increase its efficiency's.
Background: This is a possum trap that is deployed on a farm belonging to a student in the classroom.  The Australian Brush Tailed Possum is a horrendous pest in New Zealand causing terrible damage to the New Zealand environment.   A number of our students are actively encouraging pest control and assisting their parents on running of farms.   This trap is a commercial trap with a bar that is sprung when the possum reaches into the trap to take the bait contained on the inside.    The student concerned with this trap wanted to protect the bait which was removed by a possum before the trap was sprung.    He wanted to house the bait inside the trap, which was a combination of Cinnamon and apple, which would attract the possum by the smell, causing the Possum to spring the trap but not to be able to actually get to the bait, allowing the student to replace the bait and re-set the trap.     3D Printing allowed the student to modify the trap by producing a custom component for the bar to complete the project easily.    Testing of the trap once the bait container was added allowed the student to see clearly that the bait would be held in place and the trap mechanism would not be affected.   The trap is now going to be re-set on the students farm to monitor its effectiveness to see if it would complete the project.
Above: Design showing the attachments to the bar
Level of Difficulty: Medium - the piece that was produced to protect the bait needed to be measured carefully as it needed to work in conjunction with existing pieces.    The student also created two connection points so that the container could be attached to the bar.
Size: The box is 80mm high 55mm across and 15mm wide - these dimensions are all relative to the box being fitted to the existing bar. 
Time frame:   Three hours to complete, a basic design project that is more about its practical application than looking good.  Conceivably this could be refined to incorporate storage etc, but the intention is for the smell to still be possible but not allow the animal to access the bait so it does not need to be replaced as often as is currently.    There is potential for refinement but the student just wanted this to work.
What we would do differently/next steps for student: Minimal.   The student is going to deploy this bait container with the trap and test it for its effectiveness, which should be straightforward.  There has been some discussion about creating small holes in the base of the design to see if this would encourage the smelling of the bait, but it will be trailed as is first.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

3D Printed Key Holder - Themed as a Gift

Challenge: To produce an original key holder that could be gifted.
Background: The student who had produced the name badge last week now moved onto a more original project.   They wanted to produce a gift for their parent, which had a 'horse' theme but had the practical application of working as a key ring.   The process for the student was completed independently of any teacher input.  The student used a standard searched for Tinkercad freely available version of a horse.    After re-sizing the horse for the purpose of being a key holder the student then introduced two cylinders into the shape and increased their size so that they came 30mm out of the shape, this was for the hanging of the keys.   The next stage was the personalisation of the 'Mum' lettering, which is easily available from the main Tinkercad interface and took the student less than a minute once it was re-sized.   The final stage of the design was to introduce two holes into the base of the design so it could be mounted.   The student was able to achieve this one week after designing a project in her own time.
Level of Difficulty: Low - this is the students second individual project and is working on the basics and refining her design and creation techniques - the student has a purpose with this print.
Size: The horse measures 150mm across is 110mm high at the head and is 10mm thick - ideal for this print and also means that in terms of mounting it on wood while there is holes built into the design it is also strong enough to be drilled or screwed directly into a wall.
Time frame: Four hours, given the considerations above the strength of the design represented by the thickness of the point is important allowing a variety of mounting options.
What we would do differently/Next steps for the student: Challenge the student to move onto more complex and original projects.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

3D Printed Stationary Holder - Building Themed

Above: Design shown from the front.
Challenge: To create a unique and use able storage container user the 3D Printer to create.
Background: The student came up with the concept for this idea and had very clear intentions and design ideas for this project.   The building/windows theme were strong from the outset and the student wanted to clear go with a combination of colours that would contrast against each other to really make them stand out.   This student is an eleven year old who has shown considerable design innovation and creation during multiple projects.    The input from the teacher into this process to complete this project was minimal, other than the super gluing of the window frames onto the design once they were printed.    The student independently completed all other aspects of the project.
Level of Difficulty: Medium, while the project appears straight forward the student concerned was able to use the resources available to complete it at the second attempt with the potential for some slight adjustments.   More complex additions could be made to the design but she was adamant that it
Above: Design from above showing storage options
needed to remain as it was.
Size: The design measured 150mm across at the front, was 50mm wide and 110mm high.   The internal components of the design were hollow to allow for storage and measured 35mm by 35mm.
This design size was influenced by the purpose of the design which was to store stationary but could be adapted depending on the items that were intended to be put inside them.
Time frame: Fourteen hours for the base, one hour for the tops at end of each design to give the illusion of a roof and two hours for the window frames that were on the outside in black.  A total project time of seventeen hours.
What we would do differently/next steps for the student: While this was a excellent idea and worked well the student could have potentially modified the window frames for the outside of the windows, two fit more or less correctly and the third was out slightly.    The student could have also investigated looking at ledges potentially or adding other details.   However the student was pleased to the extent that they did not want to modify this project further.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

3D Printed Sound Lure - Draft

Original Design on left, student 3D Print on the right
Challenge: To produce a box (water-proof) that could be used as a sound lure.
Background: Our students have begun to undertake a significant project, the creation of a sound lure to be used in predator trapping in New Zealand.     We have been supplied an original device (see photo) and the students were challenged to use technology to produce their own version.   The 3D Printer is a s key component of this project as the sound lures ultimately are intended to be deployed outdoors in the New Zealand environment, this means that they need to be water proofed, which the 3D Printer is ideal to do.     The design is very straightforward as it is essentially a box shape, and so students who had the original device were simple looking to copy this design.    The sound lure requires it to be drilled and mounted on either a trap or a location close to where a regular trap is deployed (essentially the idea is that the sound lure is more effective than a meat or bait lure and it will attract the pest from a larger range making the trap more effective).    The 3D Printer is crucial in this design as it will be more adaptable - in this case if we have to modify the size of the speaker for
Design with lid
instance, to increase its effectiveness, then we can simply take the 3D Printed design and modify it.   The PLA has proven to be durable and long lasting and weather proofing is a simple matter, and this crucially meets this need.    This will be a significant ongoing project moving forward with particular input from 3D Printers to allow our students to produce something that can be used in the outdoors successfully.   
Level of Difficulty: Medium - while the initial design appears for all intent purposes to be a basic box design (which it is at present) there is considerable design features that will need to be added to the design.    (see the what we would do differently section below).
Size: The current size of the box is 80mm long, 50mm long and 30mm high - these are the specific dimensions of the current sound lure that the design was looking to emulate.
Above: the completed project
Time frame: Three and a half hours for both parts of the design, the box and the lid.  These are specific to the component parts of the sound lure and the flexibility of the printer allows them to be easily changed to modify to the respective size of additional speakers etc.
What we would do differently: Next steps for students.   The original design featured an ability to have screws mounted in the lid and the base to secure it closed.   We experimented with making these options available, however made the decision to drill directly into the print when it was completed to allow perfectly adjusted screw sizes.   We have completed this task in the past and the PLA has maintained its shape without damage.   We will be experimenting with this with the next phase of the print and also including screw options and locations into the design.   This will involve considerable testing at this stage to move forward.