Last week Dig It. Fab It. Make It. attendees were inspired by forward-thinking presenters, student designers and educators at the forefront of the digital fabrication movement. It’s impossible to choose one highlight so let’s break the day down: “Today we program computers and machines. Tomorrow we program matter itself” Skylar Tibbits captivated the audience with his insights on the magical power of programmable matter and the emerging ability to print biomimetically with 4D printing. Tibbits, the inventor of 4D printing, opened our eyes to a future reality where programming matter itself is as commonplace as programming today’s computers and machines. 4D printing is defined as “the fabrication of objects through the deposition of a material using a print head, nozzle, or other printer technology where the objects contain one or more additional design dimension, such as material gradation over distance or direction, response or adaptation over time, etc.” We especially enjoyed Skylar’s visionary outlook on the positive environmental impact adaptive, self-assembling architecture and design will have. The potential benefits range from cutting down waste, to reducing the carbon footprint of making and shipping objects by enabling designs to ship flat and grow into origami-like shapes, to creating clothing and footwear that adapt according to the environment. Want to hear more? Check out this interview of Skylar from Fast Company media on his vision for 4D printing in the future. Heartwarming evidence of the upward climb of females in the field of engineering as they are propelled forward with access to 3D printing technology Gina Scala, Stratasys’ Director of Global Marketing for Education, presented stories from across the world of women and girls who are making notable strides in the STEM field using 3DP to innovate and inspire. What’s more, the evidence was right in the room – we were so pleased to see that nearly half of the student innovators this year were young women! Want more? Gina provided us with this “Top 10 3D Printing Resource Guide for Educators” courtesy of Stratasys. Best in Show? An ACL Dog Brace for Izzy takes the New England Extreme Redesign Grand Prize! Emily Stys made Pentucket Regional High School proud with her winning ACL dog brace design. Born from a real-world problem, Emily was motivated by a desire to help her teacher’s dog Izzy heal from a debilitating ACL injury. Evidence showed it clearly worked as Izzy contentedly trotted around the WPI campus like a champ all day! MakerBot’s Chris Franks quipped: “When I saw her project and spoke with her it reminded me of a story that came out of Xavier University and their MakerBot Innovation Center. The community over there rallied around a dog with a leg defect to design and print prosthetic solutions for her. The thing is, I didn’t need to tell Emily this story. Not only had she heard the story but had visited Xavier and spent time at the MakerBot Innovation Center. It was that experience and the presence of the technology that […]
AET Labs recently had the pleasure of hosting a bright young intern and budding engineer from Masconomet Regional High School here at our Essex, MA headquarters. Senior Tori LeClair came to us in early April bringing with her a sharp mind, a sweet disposition and an eagerness to learn about digital fabrication and the design process. Diving right in to the fab lab world, Tori began her hands-on training 3D printing student phone case designs for the Massachusetts Skills USA Additive Manufacturing Competition using our F370 from the Stratasys Design Series. Next Tori designed a sleek original trophy which would later be presented to the winners of AET’s annual New England Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge. Drawing inspiration from Thingiverse, she came up with an innovative model of a moving gear on a pedestal. After several iterations and a half-scale prototype printed on a MakerBot Replicator she was able to bring the final product to life on the Stratasys Objet Pro, a little post-processing, and voila, three very cool trophies! The following week Tori was introduced to what would quickly became her favorite digital fabrication tool – the Epilog Laser System. She caught the laser bug and went wild designing a wooden ballot box, AET gear logo magnet giveaways, coasters, a letter holder, her laptop, sports memorabilia, her dad’s phone case and the acrylic face of a clock she designed using the DIWire Bender Pro. She became so adept with the laser system we assigned her to single-handedly man the Epilog station at Dig it. Fab it. Make it. where she gave demos and interacted with over 200 educators from across New England like a seasoned pro! Tori deftly managed each task put to her, mastering a multitude of new applications, software programs and techniques and quickly became an asset to the AET team. Following graduation, she plans to attend North Shore Community College in the fall and then transfer to an engineering program to finish her degree. When asked what’s on tap for the summer she replied, “I will be doing a lot of relaxing, taking a robotics class, working on cars with my dad, skeet shooting with my grandfather and relaxing some more!” Tori has been an absolute pleasure to have on board and we wish her all the best, for her future is most assuredly bright! Thank you, Tori!
Pathfinder Regional Technical High School in Palmer, Massachusetts wanted to incorporate 3D printing into its curriculum while making the technology easy to access for all students. With the Stratasys F170 and GrabCAD Print, the school was quickly able to integrate easy-to-use professional 3D printing into the classroom. WHAT THE STUDENTS ARE MAKING Justin Bren is a CAD instructor at Pathfinder Tech who runs the school’s print shop. He teaches students how to model parts using SOLIDWORKS and helps them find creative ways to build their creations through 3D printing. Bren likes his students to learn through working in a hands-on environment. “And when they’re done working on assigned work, they venture off and try and create their own things,” Bren said. “I’ve got some students who are modeling creatures from their video games, some students modeling toys or robot parts, stuff like 3D printing a ring and pinion so they can put a rear axle on their robot.” The robotics team that Bren mentors is also run out of the school’s CAD shop, so he encourages students to be creative when iterating and advancing their designs. ““I had one student who I 3D printed a ball joint for to show them how it works,” Bren said. “Then he made his own, then he made his own upper and lower A-frames, then he made his own spindle. We 3D printed it all and put it together.” A “PHENOMENAL” CREATION MACHINE Bren’s students use the Stratasys F170 printer in a variety of ways: to create complicated assemblies, intricate models like figurines, and even 3D printing nut and bolt blanks using a machinists’ handbook then a tap and die set on the 3D printed blanks to form threads. “I absolutely love the Stratasys F170. That printer’s phenomenal. It’s got excellent quality and the speed is great. The models we need can be done in an hour and a half,” Bren said. “Other things that we’ll print on the F170 are very complicated models that some of the students come up with, like the characters in their video games. They don’t really come out so good on the other printers, because they don’t have the water soluble support material. That’s really opened up a lot of possibilities for the students to create a lot of these intricate designs that we otherwise wouldn’t have a way of getting the support material out.” BENEFITS OF USING GRABCAD PRINT While Bren’s students might be using their Stratasys F170 to print some pretty complex models and designs, when it comes to using GrabCAD Print most of them seem to have no problem learning the easy-to-use software. “GrabCAD Print is very intuitive. I’d say it takes me less than 3 minutes to show them how to use it and they’re off and running,” Bren said. “I really like showing the students how to set up their trays and orient their models. With the orientation tool you can go in and punch in that you want to rotate the model 1-degree on […]