Fidget spinners are suddenly all the rage in the Innovation Center.

Fidget Spinners are all the Rage in the Innovation Center

So far folks have 3D printed them on the Ultimakers, laser cut them out of acrylic on the new laser, and just today cut some out of HDPE plastic on the Carvey.

Nathan's Spinner

Easel (the software the runs the Carvey) even has a spinner add-on that enables easy design and tweaking.

Easel Fidget Spinner Maker

I see a big old bag of bearings in our future!

Lots of visitors in the past couple of weeks, starting with Oak Ridge High School students, who came to talk about their upcoming hacakathon – – and how we might partner.  They also drove the Double around.

Students from Oak Ridge High School Driving the Robot

A couple of days later, we hosted Foresthill High School students, who took a tour of the college and then spent some time in the IC with me to learn about our programs and makerspace development efforts. They’re planning a space of their own, and were eager to hear about everything from gear to floors to furniture. CJ and Alex (FLC students and some of my most skillful assitants) volunteered to help, showing students around and helping them print some stickers on the new vinyl cutter.  We also scanned some folks using the Skanect/XBox Kinect setup, which is always a crowd pleaser.


Later that day, about 30 (mostly) 5th graders from Georgetown Makerspace (our sister lab) spent the afternoon in the lab, driving the robot, building with (borrowed) LittleBits, preparing and cutting a tile on the Carvey, getting scanned, and learning about the aquaponics setup.


Busy couple of days, but great to connect with regional maker educators to share information and resources.  More photos…

Field Trips 2017

Max Mahoney (Chemistry) is working on printing SpecPhone, a 3D-printed smartphone spectrophotometer develop by Dr. Adam W. Smith’s lab at the University of Akron.  From the developer:

The SpecPhone is a 3D-Printed smartphone spectrophotometer for research and education. The device can make analytically accurate measurements of concentration and can be used for teaching analytical chemistry and DIY science projects.

After some sketchy results and strange print decisions by the Ultimaker, it seems that the model doesn’t quite sit flat.  That is, the legs don’t seem to be the same height.  Using Netfabb Basic, I dropped in a Z plane to visualize:

NetFabb Basic Z Cut #1

Taking that plane up, it seems that it’s not just the bottom of the model, but that the skew continues all the way to the top:

NetFabb Basic Z Cut #2

With support structure enabled in Cura, we were able to print it after a few botched attempts, so it’s not a deal-killer, just a bit awkward.  Now we just need to find an iPhone 5s…

Printing a SpecPhone

FLC's Garden From Above

Field day with Jason Pittman’s (Geosciences) mapping class yesterday. We flew the 3D printed picavet for the first time. After we worked the wetlands, two student volunteers agreed to walk the balloon up into campus, as I wanted to get shots of the garden. That little patch of green in the dry area (above) is the garden. Image below from a different flight for comparison.

FLC's Garden as Seen from Above

The entire dataset can be found at the project blog (, as well as the images from our 2014 and 2015 flights of the same area.  When I find the time, I plan to redesign and 3D print the picavet from the ground up, shaving some additional weight.

With the accreditation team visit scheduled for the week ending October 9, 2015, the information below might help to jog your memory if visiting team members ask about DE issues, including Regular Effective Contact and Accessibility:

Regular Effective Contact/Regular Substantive Interaction

  • Title 5 defines REC, and stresses the importance of “instructor initiated” contact with students in DE courses.
  • REC is the thing that distinguishes DE courses from correspondence courses. FLC does not offer correspondence courses.
  • REC is required in both hybrid and online courses. That is, the face-to-face time you spend with your students in a hybrid course does not count as “contact” for the purposes of REC, and you should also maintain contact with your students for the online parts of your course.
  • The college has a set of guidelines for online, hybrid and web-enhanced instruction:
  • The district “audited” REC in online and hybrid courses last semester, using the metric of 1 contact per unit per week. For a 3 unit, 100% online course, this would be a minimum of 3 contacts per week. In most courses audited, the contact was evident. In some, contact occurred but was not visible to the auditors, and DO requested additional information from faculty teaching those courses.
  • REC can be accomplished in a variety of ways and using a variety of tools, including but not limited to email messages to students, responses to discussion postings, news items, and other forms of feedback.
  • The DE course checklist linked below might help you assess REC in your course:
  • @One offers a very much more in-depth rubric entitled “Standards for Quality Online Teaching” that you may find helpful:


  • While it isn’t perfect, D2L as a platform is considered generally accessible to students with disabilities.
  • The law states that all video files in your online and hybrid courses should be captioned.
  • The law states that you should provide a transcript for all audio files in your online and hybrid courses.
  • If you have content in your online or hybrid courses that doesn’t meet accessibility guidelines, it’s important to be aware of and work toward compliance.
  • For more information about captioning, you may wish to view this desktop seminar from @One:
  • 3C Media Solutions has a grant-funded captioning service, and you can request captioning for videos that you upload:
  • The college will soon be hiring a .6 Education Media Design Specialist, a permanent position working out of the DSP&S office to assist with accessibility issues.