3D Printing Class 1 !

Class 1/ 3D Printing Class!

We have 6 students learning how to use a 3D printer with our wonderful teachers Ari and Miles from Viscera Studio.  Viscera Studio is a store in downtown Oakland selling American Made clothes and 3D printed Jewelry designed by Ari and Miles!  Check them out here: http://viscerastudio.com/

Ari + Mile's plan for this class is to inspire the students to make whatever they want using the 3D Printer.  A starting point for today was figuring out WHAT a 3D printer can do, HOW it does it and HOW do you design for 3D printing? Students had to play a guessing game with various objects - figuring out are they 3D printed or not? They then used plasticine in different techniques to look at the creation of 3D objects - including coil pots - to compare their hand made ideas with the computer generated machine-made object printing alongside them. What I loved about this was Ari + Mile's efforts to bring out the creativity and imaginations of their students as they were prototyping their plasticine pieces.

The class ended with the students brainstorming all kinds of ideas for things they could create using the 3D printer. Their homework is to figure out which of these ideas they want to pursue in the upcoming classes! Next week they will learn sketchup to bring these ideas into reality!



Major Progress!

This was week eight of our hovercraft project and all major components are coming together. Here are Kobi and Quynh-Anh working on the rudders, which will deflect the thrust from the propeller to steer the hovercraft.  The rudders have a foam center wrapped in fiberglass for strength. With Speed’s help they are creating arms to connect the steering mechanism.



 Jagadamba and Aditi are gluing and sewing skirts, which are the black cylindrical cushions under the craft that hold in the air that lifts the craft up.  Some of the thrust from the propeller is directed under the craft to inflate the skirt and provide lift.


Trish and Isaiah are building the duct that goes around the propeller for safety and to increase the propellers efficiency. They are using a plywood plug that represents the spinning propeller to make the shape.


Julian and Aditi are removing the mechanical throttle from the engine so that we can add a manual throttle.  First, they had to figure out how it worked….


And everybody making sure that the seat will fit enough little people.

So all the major pieces are coming together. The deck is done, the airbox is done and mounted, the duct is under construction, the rudders are almost finished, the seat is done, the engine mount is halfway done, and the skirts are cut, glued and being sewn.  The next few weeks will be final assembly and painting. We will let you know about launch day!

Hovercraft - Finishing the deck

It’s been a busy few weeks at STEAM Factory.   We finished up the table and storage skill builder projects.   Here is the table team standing on top of it - that was one of the design requirements.

After two weeks of work, we are almost finished with the deck for the hovercraft.   The deck team started by figuring out how to make a 5 by 10 foot platform from 4 x 8 sheets of plywood and styrofoam without overlapping seams. Once they had this figured out, they used two-part epoxy glue to bond the Styrofoam to ⅛ inch plywood.  This makes a surprisingly rigid platform.

Once of the platform was dry, we added more Styrofoam underneath for rigidity and to support the skirt attachment points.  The attachment points are just regular wood, but to make them really strong and watertight, we covered them with fiberglass. This meant we had to learn how to work with fiberglass and epoxy.  After a short demonstration, we got to work.

We learned that if epoxy gets on your clothes, you have to throw the clothes away. We also learned that if a five-year-old kneels down in the epoxy, the pants stand up by themselves after the epoxy dries. And we learned that by working together, we can actually cover most of the 4 x 8 surface in the 20 minutes before the epoxy gets too thick to use.  During most of it, every child was working and adults were just keeping the supply of epoxy flowing.

When we finished, we bagged the entire deck and attached a vacuum to it so that the pressure of the atmosphere would smooth out any wrinkles in the epoxy.  This was fun to watch.  We left the vacuum running all night and when we came back the next day it looked really good.  

Next week, we will mount the exterior skirt attachment points and then we’re finished with the underside of the deck.   Then we can start working on the propeller duct, engine mount and airbox-more on this next week.

Building a hovercraft - FIRST CLASS

Well, it’s official. The very first class for STEAM Factory is underway.  A group of five parent-child teams is building a 10hp hovercraft that will carry 2 passengers at 30 miles an hour over land and water. It can drive down the beach and out onto the water without stopping.

In our first class, we started a “failure positive” culture. Whenever anyone fails in a task, he raises his arms, yells “I failed!!” and describes what he learned from the failure. Adults and children get to do this and there were quite a few yells in our first class. Our goal is to explicitly demonstrate to every member of our community that failing is really a “First Attempt In Learning”.  

Parents and kids have to get a safety briefing and demonstrate proper usage before using any tool independently. The review covers standard operation, what can go wrong, how it can hurt the user and bystanders and where the “blood bubble” is (the area around the tool that can cause injury). Once briefed, a participant can use a tool with supervision and, ultimately, independently.

Our first class focused on building a 2’ x 4’ storage box for all of our tools in our shared space, building a 4 x 8’ table/workbench for the hovercraft and figuring out how to create a 5’ x 10’ deck for the craft using 4’ x 8’ foam and plywood without overlapping seams.