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.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

3D Printed Student Name Badge - with Cow

Badge design featuring the 'Cow" design.
Challenge: To produce a personalized label for a student as a gift.
Background: Having finally finished as a class a significant number of prints that were themed for the school Market Day the shift was now for the students to move back to more individual projects.   One of the significant introductory projects that our students have been involved with is a the printing of a name tag or label.   These typically are a straight forward design being based around one or two simple main shapes that form the base of the design and with a few other features typical of the design in addition to this.  We encourage a level of penalization, which for most students is to include lettering of their name on the base, a hole or way for something to hold it to be inserted (such as a clip or tie) and depending on the individual we have also had students include an image or design with it.   These processes are nearly always created using Tinkercad and are accessible from the main design interface.   In our experience students who are from eight years old and sometimes younger are able to create these projects independently without supervision - we have also created instructional videos in a step by step process to describe this process.   This particular student was working independently as a nine year old and designing something for the first time.  She had the idea for the 'cow' part of the design
Above: Focus on the '
however after searching on Tinkercad she was not satisfied with the designs that she had located. 
As an alternative she searched on Thingiverse and located the cow part of the design.    She was then able to access it from Thingiverse and import it directly into Tinkercad where she was able to incorporate it into the design.   This print was also the first print from a new role of filament.  In our experience these first prints in a run tend to have some small imperfections which seem to result in the printer starting for the first time - as seen around hole in the design and the head of the cow.
Level of Difficulty: Low - this is an introductory task for students taking their first steps in 3D Printing, we have considerable exemplars and examples available from students who have worked on various projects over the past five years that are on this blog including exemplars.
Size: The design was 130mm long was 60mm high and was 10mm thick.   The lettering was raised 5mm from the base of the design and the head of the cow was slightly higher.    These could have been modified slightly but the dimensions relative to the design were as required.
Timeframe: Three and a half hours.   This print was produced to standard dimensions that are essentially the default settings for projects produced and posted on this blog - an 8mm nozzle setting with a 20% infill of the print.   The printers that are featured here are now five years old and there are more efficient and newer models that would produce quicker times and prints.
What we would do differently/next steps for students: Nil - the purpose if for the student to independently create something, which they did, for it to be original and personalized, which it was and for it to have a practical purpose which it does.   Mission accomplished.
A full video tutorial of this project (student created) is located here.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

3D Printed Stamp: Project Update

In this project, detailed previously on this blog, the students wanted to create a stamp for use as part of a business day.   The students used creativity, Tinkercad and the 3D Printer to produce a working stamp.  It was suggested that a further design feature could be the purchase of stamp rubber that could then be laser cut to produce a rubber stamp finish and the 3D Printer could then be used for the handle.   The details of the original post about the project are here. 

The photographs that are with this post show the rubber stamp after it has been cut with a laser cutter.

The combination with the 3D Printer to complete this project was straight-forward.      The student concerned who had designed the project created a 3D Print to produce the handle.   This was a very straight forward project with a basic design of a handle and a connection to the stamp by super gluing it to the base.

The handle in place with the design.   It was a basic design of two simple shapes, the connection to the shape was 5mm thick, the lenght of the handle was 30mm and it was 10mm wide.    It took thirty minutes to print on the regular print settings.   

The student designed the stamp to be used by themselves so the dimensions/size of it were suitable for a ten year olds hand.     The key element of the process was the creation of the process of the stamp and then identifying that a stamp could be produced using a different material and a sourcing and locating it to use the laser cutter.