Next Saturday, April 21 — right around the corner! — is ACE Academy’s 3rd Annual ACE Innovation in Austin, TX. The event is an “all ages oriented, public event celebrating Austin’s community of creative entrepreneurs.”
That sounds wonderful, except so far there won’t be a MakerBot there! Anyone in the area with a MakerBot on hand should absolutely spend the day out at the University of Texas campus and share the love with this community. Laurie writes at Nereus Notebook that the event will include,
demonstrations of stop-motion animation, 3D printing, robotics, rocketry and various community programs. Show your support for Austin’s young innovators and our highly-creative entrepreneurial community if you’re in town.
In this episode we’ll meet MakerBot operator Steve Conine – known to Thingiverse as sconine. Steve is most famous for designing Thingiverse’s Mechanical Animals, Toy Train Sets, Log Cabins and Starfish. Check out some of the many toys that he has designed and printed with his children and find out why he decided to bring a MakerBot into the family.
Earlier this month, the DIY electronics kit site Adafruit launched a digital version of its “skill badges.” The idea is to create a model of a system for educators and youth leaders to recognize the new generation of Scouts — the Makers!
(Incidentally, the 3D printing site Fabbaloo posted on Friday that they had received a box of the original embroidered badges and gave their public verdict that they are “very attractive.”) But look! It seems that the online badge hasn’t been awardedto anyone yet! To get a feel for how a badge is awarded, the page indicates the following:
This skill badge is awarded for those who have done amazing things with 3D printing. Whether they’ve built a kit, designed a system from scratch, or explored a new method, they’re bringing the future home!
That said, it seems it’s oriented toward kids, as the Beta program details read,
We hope you enjoy the first round of students and young persons who we’ve awarded badges to. If you know a young person who has done something amazing and shared their projects let us know! To see the “leaderboard” click here!
Do you know of any kids that deserve the 3D Printing badge? Or better yet, are you a teacher who wants to find a way to award this badge or others to your students? Here is one teacher’s example of the requirements he uses for students to earn the badge. And for the kids in the 18-and-older crowd, don’t be deterred from building up your own badge collection! Pete at RasterWeb says it was just time for him to recognize his own accomplishments. Couldn’t agree more!
A lot of MakerBot owners out there have kids. After all, the busy parent may understand best how sweet it is to set a print for a screwdriver, rather than making an extra stop at the hardware store after work.
One MakerBot parent out there may have inadvertently created the biggest superfan we’ve seen to date. World, meet Beckham.
Beck’s dad Joe got a Thing-o-Matic in January of this year and spent three weekends with his then 6-year-old son putting it together. Now two months later, Beck, having transitioned from the folly of youth to the practical, industrious, prime-numberness of 7, is “obsessed and that’s all he wants to do. … It’s makerbot 24-7.”
Need proof? Here’s a picture of Beck’s birthday cake, for which his mom iced out a picture of a Thing-o-Matic, complete with bunny print — by request.
So far the father-son duo have mostly explored objects available in Thingiverse, but lately Joe has tried his hand importing designs into Cinema4D. The printing is still supervised by parents, but Beck keeps a watchful eye to make sure everything is on track.
As it’s our great interest that MakerBot’s be used in educational settings, I couldn’t resist asking what Beck’s classmates think of the machine.
…it’s the first thing that he shows his friends, then he shows his collection of prints that he keeps in a special box. We haven’t brought the bot to school just yet, but he has brought pictures of the replicator as well as some prints to show and tell.
So Beck’s a big fan of the MakerBot. What kid wouldn’t be, right? Yes; but have you ever seen a 7-year-old react like this to a spool of plastic?
That type of enthusiasm is contagious, and exactly the reason why more kids should get their hands on a MakerBot. Are you a parent? Share your stories with us in the comments!
Kids getting a good look at a MakerBot Replicator last week at SXSW
Here’s a nice quick read for your second third cup of coffee this morning. A group of undergrads and grad students at Stanford who came together in a mechanical engineering class are using their tools and knowledge to open minds of Bay Area students.
And are you surprised to hear they use 3D printing to do the job? MFA student Eugene Korsunskiy:
Our whole point is that manipulating matter with your hands is how you get a sense of empowerment that you can change the world around you. … There’s a lot of high-level education policymakers who in theory claim to agree that the future of the country depends on a workforce that’s creative…but no one’s doing anything about it. … As [they]’re talking about how creativity needs to be expanded, shop classes are being cut…so we decided: “We are going to do something about this.”
The team lets young students design their ideas in Autodesk 123D and print them on the spot. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have that at your disposal when you were a kid? And to the point, we’re not talking about only advanced high school kids. The younger the better, it seems.
Working with sixth graders and Yahoo! executives, the team was surprised to find that the younger students were more creative.
“It’s really sad to see what happens between those ages that really squashes any semblance of fearless, creative endeavors,” Korsunskiy said.
There seems to be a trend in MakerBot land…child sees object, child wants different object, child asks parent for object, parent designs and prints object, parent uploads design to Thingiverse, much rejoicing.
Some young ones approached their father, sconine, after seeing the ever popular octopus, and wanted a starfish. Taking the challenge, sconin enlisted SketchUp to produce these beautiful (great color choices!) sea stars. Using the properties of MakerBot printing, the texture on these fish is most convincing. Not content with completely flat starfish, sconine tried heating up the starfish while resting on some rocks, and the results are pretty remarkable. Have a look yourself and try to convince yourself they wouldn’t look real just a few feet away. Just try.
So now you can find starfish on the sea floor at almost four miles down, or just across your desk on your MakerBot.
Here at the support desk, we like to ask our customers what they’re going to be using their MakerBots for, and every once in awhile, you get a fantastic answer. I was helping one customer out recently (Andrew) and here’s what he said when I asked him about his plans:
The next things I’m planning on scanning are parts for my classic car (a la Leno), and more importantly, scanning my kids!
Now I am all for scanning your children — after all they’re growing and they won’t be small for very long; I think all of us will be scanning our children very soon (if we’re not already.) But I have to admit that I was a bit more intrigued by the car stuff. So that’s what I asked about…to which Andrew replied:
The car I’m printing parts for is attached in this mail (internal door lock parts, plus a few impossible to get bits). I’m scanning one side of the car, mirror, then print, you get the idea.
That’s when he sent this photo of the 356 Speedster. Well, apparently the Thing-O-Matic isn’t the coolest toy in Andrew’s household, but it gives me a warm feeling inside just knowing that our humble little machines are helping keep something like that in good running order.
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