3D printing for fun and presentation

This post is a quick update on a couple of projects by students who frequent the makerspace. All of the students who use the space are doing amazing things, and we hope to highlight some of those projects like this more often.

The project write ups are written by the students themselves. So without further introduction, here are Brandon Phan and his Pokédex phone case and Arian Azizi and civil war bullets for a class presentation.

[Header image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:International_Pok%C3%A9mon_logo.svg]

Brandon Phan – Pokédex

3D printing a pokedex case has been the highlight of my 3rd week as a first year. I learned so much about the process and the materials used in 3D printing. It’s really mesmerizing to watch the nozzle create something you saw on the computer screen. Everyone who worked there appreciated my eagerness and were did their best to help me finish my case and learn more about the machine. We messed up a few times but we were always able to fix it without having to redo the whole case. I learned the difference between PLA and ABS. I learned how different machines work. I learned about nozzles and layer sizes. I learned about how to print. Along the way of my educational adventure, I got a pokedex case for my phone that helps me catch pokemon on Pokemon Go. Whenever, I walk with Pokemon Go open, some people ask where I got it. I point them in the direction of the MakerSpace lab in Alderman West Wing. Many people don’t know about it, and while it has been my secret for a little bit, I hope more people come as long as they don’t take all my printing timeslots!

Also it saves me a lot of money as a first year who doesn’t have a car. Instead of buying guitar picks, I can just make my own!

pokedex

Image source: Brandon Phan

Arian Azizi – Civil War Bullets

The most important part of any presentation is of course…the presentation. No matter how comprehensive and long the content, if the actual delivery of the material itself fails to deliver, the entire project itself falters. In order to create a robust presentation then, the perception of the information must engage the audience. And what better way to get the attention of viewers than providing them with something more than a mere PowerPoint slide? 

Having a hands-on experience always leaves an impression on a group that simple text will never be able to match. Thus when I was pondering over how best to capture the attention of my audience, the notion of tangible setpieces sprung to mind. In my presentation, which had the aim of conveying all of the emotion, strategy, and information of the Civil War in a mere 10 minutes, I pulled back to one very basic question: how was the war fought? The simple answer of “guns and bullets” may have checked the box off information-wise, but would it really make the audience invested in the trials and tribulations of the soldiers? It was then that I considered the idea of having the audience be able to actually look at these very tools up close. It is one thing to see pictures of bullets in photographs centuries old, but it is another thing entirely to hold one such model personally. To turn a rifle bullets over in your hands and imagine the destruction that such a small object could inflict. The chosen bullet in question, the Minié ball, was such an improvement over the older musket balls that instead of merely lodging inside of the target, it would tear muscles and cause bones to shatter. These very bullets, popularized through the Civil War itself, marked a transition in the art of warfare itself. The 3D printing of these bullets was an interesting component of the project. Created out of plastic filament, these scale models were built from the ground up, crafting an entire replica of a metal bullet in under an hour. 

The presentation itself went exceptionally well. Beginning with passing about the bullets and discussing their influence on the conflict, I went through the content and conveyed the importance of the battles. With bullets in hand, my audience were able to actually imagine the very bullet models in their hands being shot out of rifles into enemy soldiers.  In fact the presentation went so well that my final grade was a 100 on this assignment, with my instructor citing the bullets as “clinching the brilliance” of the entire presentation. Not only did I illustrate the material in a graphic way, but I allowed for the audience to become engaged themselves in this narrative I unfolded around the Civil War. 

Perhaps it was no surprise then that immediately afterwards, the class gathered around me and asked how I had created these bullets, and what else they would be able to 3D print. And as I subsequently told them, only their imaginations were their limit.

civil war bullets

Image source: Ammon Shepherd

Ammon is a Digital Humanities Developer and Makerspace Technologist at the Scholars' Lab where he codes projects, builds tools to fix old projects, does some systems administration, 3D prints and plays with Arduinos and Raspberry Pis. Ammon has BA's in History and German from ASU, an MA in History from GMU and is ABD PhD…

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