Hosted the second Rostock Max build day today. The crew – mostly the same folks from the first build day – put in a good day of work, and we got much of the hot end done, finished up the base, and made good progress on the top assembly.  We decided to adapt the topping out tradition, aka “signing the beam,” though we aren’t actually finished with the build.


More photos from today’s build…

Max Working on the Hot End

Nathaniel and Rebekah Building

Nathaniel Heat Shrinking

Alex Soldering

Spent the better part of today building – or starting, anyway – the Rostock Max v3.  There’s tremendous cultural and social value in having folks take ownership of their tools.  We ordered this 3d printer in DIY kit form specifically so that we could build it together, following our successful building/bonding experience putting together the X-Carve (part 1, part 2, part 3).  Champion maker educators Diane Carlson (Sociology), Jennifer Kraemer (Early Childhood Education), and Max Mahoney (Chemistry) were were joined by students Nathaniel Adams, CJ Costa, and Alex Hartigan.

It sometimes takes a while to get rolling on a complicated build.  I’ve learned that one of the best ways to kick things off is to get all the participants doing something communal and simple, so we started by collectively picking out all the little bits left over from the laser cutting process.  A low risk/high reward opportunity for the group to gel, visit, socialize, and quickly develop a common purpose.

Rostock Max v3 Build Day

This kind of social busywork seems to scratch some shared primate itch, and reminded me of my favorite moment from last summer’s Making Across the Curriculum workshop, during which folks gathered around to chat and pick the protective paper off of Diane’s Wheel of Voting Rights project.

Collective Grooming - Picking the Sticker Residue off a Laser Cut Piece of Acrylic

That finished, we loosely divided up the work and got to building.  With this particular build, there are a lot of steps that can be completed independently and in no particular order – in other words, not a lot of serial dependencies – so folks were able to dive in and work in pairs and trios without (usually) having to wait for others to finish.  Despite a few missing parts (which turned out not to be missing after all), we made a good start, and will continue building later in the week.

Build day album on Flickr…

Some significant failures recently in the 3D printing department. Inspired by Steve Holzberg’s (Biology) cancer prints, Linda Abraham (Biology) found a model of a rhinovirus for printing. Given the complexity of the model, and the intricately folded surface detail, we decided the Form 2 was the printer to use. Loaded up the clear resin and let it print.  The result:

Rhinovirus in Clear Resin

Mostly it worked fine, but the top of the model had problems. A strange rupture appeared in the sphere:

Failed Print

The anomaly coincided with, was caused by – or maybe left? – this cloudy residue in the tray:

Form 2 Fail

The tray was fresh out of the wrapper, and it was the very first run of clear, so I’m not sure exactly what caused the failure. In any case, the model is still perfectly usable, after a little filing to smooth out the jagged edges of the rip.

Meanwhile Max Mahoney (Chemistry) and Alex Hartigan (Student) continue to work on their 3D printed free energy surfaces project.  After something like 84 hours, the intricate nested conical structure, our largest print to date, began failing, and we pulled the plug on it to regroup (with 105 hours left on the print).

Ultimaker Fail

The center part of the model printed beautifully, and after some careful calculations to determine where things went wrong, Max set out to print the remainder of the model – in pink, since we ran out of white filament – with the idea of gluing them together somehow.


This one too is failing out on the margins. Support material configured as a tower seems to be the common failure point. Stay tuned…

With the fall show winding down, Cameron and the Theater Arts crew are trying to get the aquaponics system wrapped up, and brought the near-finished display up to the library for a dry-fitting.


I’m told they’ll have it buttoned up within a week, after which all the other work – getting the tank established, setting up and calibrating all the sensors, connecting all that to the network, figuring out the display and the giant “get tank vitals” arcade button – can continue in earnest.

We’re also close to getting the nine tiles for the first pane of the Carvey project finished, inspired by Jeff Solin’s Mosaic Tile project. Nathaniel and Rebekah of FLC’s Data Science Club carved up a version of their club logo to add to the other faculty and student tiles we’ve got so far.

Removing the carved tile.

The plan then is to mill (on the big ShopBot down in Theater Arts) a 3×3 tile “waffle” frame, with recessed wells for each of nine tiles. That will comprise the first of hopefully many such 9-tile collections, as additional faculty, staff and students create their own tiles, and all that work will be on display, either outside or inside of the Innovation Center.

Carvey Totoro


Carving Done



Friday, December 2
9am – 4pm
Innovation Center (FL1-130)

A Canvas build day open house sort of thing:
Bring Your Own Device (there are a few computers in the IC that will be available for use)
Drop by any time & stay as long as you like
Build your Spring 2017 courses (or your Fall 17 ones)
Hang out and get some work done in a supportive atmosphere, surrounded by wonderful people

With the floors finished, things are finally getting a little bit closer to normal in the makerspace.  Moved the X-Carve from the clean lab to the dirty lab, and tested out cutting some HDPE in preparation for a mosaic tile project.

X-Carve Carving HDPE (Finally)

Lessons learned:

  • Slowest router speed is best – less fuzz.
  • Even at the slowest speed, there was plenty of fuzz that needed to be cleaned up with an X-Acto knife.
  • Pause at your own risk. I paused the cut out of courtesy to the Data Science club, and the job never recovered. When I tried to restart, the X-Carve ignored my pleas. After a while I gave up, and tried to re-run the job using the previously established zero.  Things went bad quickly. Easel didn’t seem to care about my prior zero setting, and charged forward, about 6 inches off the mark. I ruined the in-progress HDPE blank, and shaved a little bit off of the waste board besides.

Even with those minor hiccups, I’m loving the final result!

X-Carve Carving

Finally got a chance to put the cyanotype UV boxes we worked on over the last couple of weeks into production! Max Mahoney (Chemistry), Christa Oberth (Chemistry), and Heike Schmid (Art) organized a Science Center activity working with students to produce cyanotypes.  Following Max’s explanation of the process and the chemistry involved, and Heike’s discussion of the art history side of the equation, everyone got to work, some preparing paper by painting it with the sensitizer solution, others drying the still wet paper with a hairdryer, and others arranging materials and printing negatives.

Some students used feathers, leaves, and other object to create beautiful photograms, seen here through the UV filtering viewing panels Max and I built into the boxes…


…while others printed negatives on transparency film and used those to expose the photosensitive solution-treated paper.

Tree Photo

A lot of folks showed up, so some used the exposure boxes, and others used good old fashioned sunlight to expose their prints.

Letting the Sun Do the Work

About 16 minutes in the boxes, or longer in the sun, and the prints were ready for a rinse, and some optional post-processing in a bath of hydrogen peroxide (which was supposed to enhance the prints, though students were divided on whether it really did much at all), or tea or coffee (for a sepia look).


I took the opportunity to reproduce a group photo from yesterday’s CCC Maker Advisory Committee.

CCC Maker Advisory

Lots of ideas about how to improve the boxes – bigger, more LEDs, etc. – but very pleased with the version 1 results, and really pleased also to see faculty working on interdisciplinary projects!


Chris (student) dropped by the IC today, and we spent a little time making improvements to the Kinect scanning process we first piloted earlier in the week.  Specifically, we put the Kinect on a tripod, and Chris sat on a rotating bar stool and spun himself around.  As expected, the result was a much more accurate and complete model.


Brandon (student and Math & Engineering Club president) has some ideas about developing some motion systems for more accurate scanning, and I’m going to talk to Marisa Sayago (Art) about scanning and reproducing some student art.  This is turning into a fun project, and one that students definitely seem to enjoy!