Monday, May 7, 2012

The Cube and School Projects

As a former teacher, I know the stress that parents face when it comes to their children's school projects.  Just last weekend I was in a Michael's and a stressed mother was combing the store trying to find materials to make a 3D tiger.

I wanted to explain that this was a perfect job for a 3D printer; but, I don't think that would have been much help to this poor woman and her equally stressed child since the deadline loomed far earlier than the Cube would arrive to bail them out.  So, I settled on talking about how we made our own paper mache using flour paste as a child. 

But, when my own granddaughter informed me that she needed some things that represented Oregon, we cast the paper mache idea aside as too messy and went straight to the RapMan instead.  What we came up with was something to honor the Oregon Trail.  It is a box in the shape of Oregon that has an image of a covered wagon being pulled by Oxen.

Now, I'm not a fan of adults doing the work for children.  But, in this project the child is asked to pull together items representing Oregon.  So, my being involved in designing the box wasn't outside the expectations for the project.  The point of the project was to THINK about Oregon.  And, coming up with the theme of the box fit that requirement to a tee.

Oregon Box

I hope to get a better image tomorrow.  The above image was taken with the camera at hand and it leaves a lot to be desired.  But, you get the point.  We can do cool and useful things with a 3D printer that help every member of the family.  Ultimately, this box will be uploaded to Cubify so that if you have a child that needs to come up with something related to Oregon it will be ready for you.

While this was printed using the RapMan, it definitely fits the bed of the Cube.  The top and bottom are printed at the same time. 

Oregon Box Layout

Together they just fit the Cube's 140mm x 140mm print area.  By laying the items out like this we minimize the need for support materials.

Once again, if you have a similar need that others might also enjoy, please feel free to send a request.  I want to create items that useful to our community and even for those that do not have a 3D printer; but, who could order the item through Cubify.

Here is another similar project that I created to demonstrate to the Hagley Museum, in Wilmington, DE. how history can come alive with a 3D printer.  I came across this image on their web site...

Hagley Museum Archive Photo

Using this image as an underlay in my 3D program, Moment of Inspiration, I was able to create a rough approximation of a "Gun Boat" style anthracite cart.   (Don't let the orientation confuse you.  It's often helpful to rotate an image while designing.)

Image used as Underlay during 3D design

The result was this rough sample of what can be done with a 3D printer as part of an educational activity.  Here is the 3D design without the underlay.  Because the original image was shot at an angle, it was difficult to get the actual length right. So, this version is probably not accurate when it comes to precise dimensions.  However, it does convey the concept and could be updated if and when more information is available.

As designed in Moment of Inspiration - No Overlay

From an educational standpoint, I found that using the photo as a basis for creating a 3D design actually heightened my awareness of the entire image's content.  If I were a better artist, I would love to have included the men in my print.  Imagine riding one of these things in and out of a mine each day!

Here is the final print.  I doubt if many coal carts were in Lime Green; but, you get the point.  LOL!

3D Print of a "Gun Boat" Coal Cart

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