It’s hard to believe, but there are only three more weeks of summer programming in the UDPL STEAM Lab! So far students have completed projects including (but definitely not limited to!) stop motion animation, robots made from toothbrushes, and flashlights made from a TP roll, D-cell batteries, and basic wiring techniques. It’s been a lot of fun and as we head towards Fall, I’ve been planning similar after school and evening programs.
But even though everything we’ve done in the STEAM Lab has been great, what seems to be getting the most attention is our 3D printers. Students have designed cookie cutters, keychains, award medals, and even a few princess crowns. Both of our printers – a Cube and a MakerBot Replicator – have been churning out their designs steadily for the last few weeks. It’s all very exciting, but things got just a little more amazing at the end of last week when we finally mastered the 3D scanner.
I have some amazing volunteers working with me this summer and this past Thursday, they helped me with our iSense scanner. The iSense is very small. It attaches snugly to one of the STEAM Lab iPads and connects to its camera. When it is turned on, the camera shows whatever is in front of it and a virtual cube pops up on the screen. Anything within that cube begins to turn white, indicating that the scanner is working. Of course the volunteers used each other as test objects, hoping that we’d be able to print realistic replicas of actual people! Sam and Josh were our first test subjects. We walked slowly around them with the scanner, scanning them from the shoulders up. The hardest part was having to sit completely still while it was happening! We ended up with some great scans that we were then able to convert into 3D printable files. Another volunteer, Molly, (no relation, just the same name!) also agreed to be scanned. We decided to print her file first because we wanted to see how the printer could handle her long, curly hair. Early Friday morning, I set up the printer and almost six hours later, we had a lifelike and very realistic print out of her!
Here is what the digital scan, the printable file, and the final print out all look like:
Pretty cool, right? The whole process from scanning, to creating and preparing the file, and printing took about eight hours, but it was well worth the time!
For more information about 3D printing, visit the 3D Printing FAQ page on our website!