Earlier this week, Diane Carlson (Sociology) and I held a preview event for Making Social Change, our Sociology + Making course, as part of FLC’s Social Justice Spring events. We decided to create some drop spindles and spin some yarn, based on an activity Erica Tyler (Anthropology) developed as part of last summer’s Making Across the Curriculum faculty professional development program.
We cut the whorls using the laser cutter (which has been christened “Danger Scissors”)…
Note the engraved design, inspired by Gandhi’s spinning wheel. Diane cut the dowels using a good old-fashioned chop saw…
…after which she and Erica taught us how to turn wool into yarn.
We also walked students through some other digital fabrication techniques, using the same spinning wheel motif source file to create objects using the Carvey, vinyl cutter, and 3D printer. Looking forward to helping bring this course to life in the fall!
Friday last, Max Mahoney (Chemistry) and Amy Brinkley (Library) hosted a sign making event in the Innovation Center, in preparation for last weekend’s March for Science in Sacramento, and Max shared these photos:
It’s great to see the space filled with students and faculty, making things.
Some photos from the very successful cyanotype photography activity Max Mahoney (Chemistry) and Christa Oberth (Chemistry) and Heike Schmid (Art) led last week, using using the exposure boxes we built…
A view of the internals, and the wiring harness, which was scavenged from a PC power supply:
Max attaching a heat sink to the light bar. We finished the final box at about 1:45 PM, and the activity started at 2!
The boxes lined up in the Chemistry lab:
Fired up and working – students developing their prints:
A view through the fan port:
My kodama print:
We were initially worried about the LEDs heating up, but the fans – poached from some recycled external CPU cooling units, and heat sinks, also from the parts bin – pulled so much air that the aluminum bars (themselves functioning as heat sinks) to which the LEDs were attached were entirely cool to the touch throughout the whole process. The LEDs in these particular units are super bright and powerful, and students were very pleased with the resolution, detail, consistency, and intensity of the finished prints.
The laser was installed yesterday, and while makerspaces are more about culture, community, and possibilities than they are about machines, this thing sure is a sweet machine. 🙂
Following the install and orientation, we spent the better part of the day cutting, engraving and scoring wood, paper, and acrylic. Once we got the hang of it, CJ (student) and I decided to push the machine with a test cut through 3/4″ pine.
Ryan and Rick (foreground above) assure me that this much flaring is normal, especially with material this thick (and without air assist, which we’ll probably be adding as funding permits).
National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. 2017. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2017. Special Report NSF 17-310. Arlington, VA. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/
Lots of visitors in the past couple of weeks, starting with Oak Ridge High School students, who came to talk about their upcoming hacakathon – http://orhacks.com – and how we might partner. They also drove the Double around.
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 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 and 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…
Nathan and Thomas (students) have been printing using the new Ultimaker 3 with the PVA water-soluble support material, and we decided to run a quick little experiment to confirm what we thought we already knew: that warm water would dissolve the PVA quicker than cold water.
After 25 hours, 50 minutes, we pulled both sets out of the water to compare. Turns out that our assumptions were correct, at least for this barely scientific test. Even without any real proper measuring of the leftover gummy PVA on the prints, there was clearly less undissolved support material on the ones initially placed in hot water than on the ones places in room temperature water. I think we’ll borrow a hot plate stirrer from the Chemistry department and maybe try to run a few more controlled and better timed experiments.
I’ve been working a lot lately with members of Folsom Lake College’s Peer Mentors, a group helmed by the the great Juan Flores (fellow faculty member and father of my lab helper from the other day). The Peer Mentors are working on developing tiles for the mosaic tile project, with the goal that they will in turn help their assigned mentees to develop tiles. It’s our hope that involving new college students in a technical and very accessible project will give them a connection to the makerspace early in their college career, and that having a physical artifact on the wall will help them feel connected to the college. Jess (student, Peer Mentor, and astrobiology enthusiast) was the first student from the group to have her design ready.
The new rough/fine pass feature of Easel is a good one, and should help to preserve the tremendously delicate 1/32″ bits. We actually ended up doing three passes with successively smaller bits, and Jess quickly mastered the process, producing this really nice design.
KC Boylan (Communication and Media Studies) stopped by later in the day to cut her tile…
and Kathleen Kirklin (Interim President) did hers a couple of weeks ago…
The project is turning out to be a great way to foster community as we continue to develop the space, and it’s a maker skills confidence builder besides. With nearly a dozen tiles finished, I need to work with Ian Wallace (Theater Arts) to get some time on the big ShopBot to route out the waffle frame so we can get these up on the wall!
Kathleen Kirklin (FLC’s Interim President) took the robot for a spin in the library other day.
I also had the chance to share with Kathleen and Gary Hartely (Dean) progress on the aquaponics project. The plan is to have the screen display some rolling information about the biological and chemical processes in play, interspersed with footage from the live fishcam that will be inside the tank. Pressing the big green arcade button will bring up charts and graphs of the in-tank (temp, pH, electroconductivity) and out-of-tank (temp, humidity, and perhaps one or two others) sensor data.
Lots to do, but within the next couple of weeks there should be some serious development work on all parts of the project…