May 15, 2016

3D Printed Event Hashtag for Google IO 2016

Back in 2008, I attended my first Google IO event - a conference put on by Google to focus on tools and platforms for developers mostly (programmers).

Since those early days, the event has grown tremendously and is now the premiere forum for Google to introduce new, innovative products for everyone, with a deep focus on platforms like Android and Chrome and developers on those platforms.

But this isn't a post about Google IO. This is a post about a 3D Printed keychain I designed to celebrate Google IO 2016.

Model design

I admit - I didn't give much thought to this design. I simply wanted to have something to give out to my friends and others who show interest in 3D Printing (if you see me there, mention this post and I'll give you one if I have any left).

I just used the Google IO 2016 hashtag that I hope everyone decides to use - so not the long version #GoogleIO2016 - but rather the shortened #io16.

To make this model, I simply created the text, using Gill Sans font (which seemed to match the font on the GoogleIO site the closest) and then made a frame to hold all the parts easily. I actually referred back to my old post about 3D Printing text to help choose the font and to consider positive and negative (cutout) designs.

Making the model slightly more interesting

This is a rather boring model, I know. To add just a bit of interest, I decided to try rotating each letter/number a bit on the y-axis.

At about 15 degrees, this looked pretty good! I simply chopped off the bottom part (underside) of each letter/number after rotating to keep a flat base, and this became the preferred design for sure.

Got an event coming up? Got a Twitter hashtag you like? Make a 3D Printed keychain to show some love!

The Model

If you've really become a fan of GoogleIO, you might want to print some of these before the event on Wednesday this week (May 18-20, 2016).
Here is the model on Thingiverse :)

May 13, 2016

3D Printed Logo for Google Keep

My newest favorite Google app is Google Keep.

It's a quick scratch pad, list keeper, note-taker, image-grabber, doodle-maker, even voice-note-taker app. It's fast and it works on every device where I need it - my phone, my kid's iPhones, and the web - and it lets you share notes with other people.

Google Keep is perfect for that shared grocery list or those quick meeting notes, or that inspirational idea keeper...

But wait - this is not an app review - this post is about the Google Keep LOGO.

Design Goals

I was simply looking to represent yet another Google app logo in a form which could be used as a key-chain or backpack charm. I've done this, as you probably know, with a few other Google Apps, so it seemed fitting to now do Google Keep, since I use the app more than once a day.

The Google Keep logo is a light bulb on a small note pad looking base with one corner turned up. One of the goals of all these logo models is to keep them simple so they print easily and quickly. In the case of the Keep logo, I had a couple of options.

The base was easy, but my options for the light bulb seemed to be either to make it just a cut out into the base, or to make it stick out vertically from the base.

Design Process

The individual parts which make the bulb and base
I started with the easy part - the base. This was a variation on the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides base - that is, a rectangle (square in this case) with a turned up corner. I did the same thing as before, creating the square foundation at about 40mm square and 4mm high, then cut off one corner and rotated it about 135 degrees to appear to be turned up.

To make the bulb, I connected a round sphere to a cylinder. I then created a smaller cylinder at the bottom of the first to represent the bottom part of the electrical connection on a light bulb. I also cut a small gap about halfway down the larger cylinder to create the slight horizontal line that the logo has. I did this using a narrow, wide cylinder and then using the subtract tool to cut it out of the longer cylinder.

Now, I had to try two variations.

On the first, I simply subtracted the whole bulb shape from the base to leave a cut-out in the base in the shape of a light bulb.

On the second, I also cut out the light bulb shape from the base, but I made that cut-out slightly larger than the bulb and placed the original bulb centered in the middle of that cut-out. I then created a simple cylindrical connector to attach the bulb-base to the logo base - so the light bulb would be connected but still appear to be floating.

On that second variation - which looked quite good - I simply had to flatten the back side of the rounded bulb so that it would lay flat on the print bed along with the logo base. I only realized this after trying to print once and having a slightly artistic looking failed result ;)

The Model

This is the first time I created a logo model with two variations - but I like them both, so I'm posting both here.

The first is the cut-out light bulb.

The second is the floating light bulb.

Both models are HERE.

Hope you print lots of these for the Google Keep app users you know!

May 4, 2016

3D Printed Piggy Bank - a Journey in Problem Solving

This is a guest post from Bethany Jones, who currently teaches a 7th grade science elective called Engineering Design in Mason, Ohio. Bethany is the mother of two tiny humans and one very energetic dog. She is a tinkerer, lover of learning and recent 3D printing enthusiast.

“If at first you don’t succeed, call it version 1.0”
This has become my motto as I have leapt headfirst into the world of 3D printing with my 7th graders. One thing I have tried to share with my students is that it’s not all about the end product, but the journey you take along the way. There is often more learning that takes place through failing than if you get it right the first time around.  

Ever since our 3D printer arrived a month ago, I have been adamant that it not just be a toy, but an avenue for creation.  I am encouraging my students to try designing something on their own that has a purpose or that solves a problem. In an attempt to show them that I was in this crazy new adventure with them, (as well as wanting to test the print size limits of the printer) I decided to make a piggy bank.

I kid you not, about an hour into the print, a group of students are hovering over the printer watching in awe and one says, “how are you going to get the money out Mrs. Jones?” Face-palm. I had forgotten to put a hole in the bottom to get the money out! 

I told my kids that we’d just have to break it open. It ended up not mattering, as this version printed with a giant mystery hole in the back. But I quickly went back to the computer and edited my model to include a money-retrieval hole in the bottom. Great teachable moment about learning from your mistakes right? 

My students and I had fun analyzing the possible causes for the other print issues and we decided to try and make the walls thicker for more support and hopefully close the mysterious hole.

The second time around, I think something went awry with the printer as everything went well until the very end. The slot on the top printed crooked and the ears  were hanging on by a thread about halfway up. Since I couldn’t find any explanation for this, I printed the same model with no edits and it worked! Third time's the charm!

I am loving the iterative process of designing, printing, redesigning and reprinting until I get something right. It is a wonderful lesson that my students are learning as well. I am finding that in a world where they may have been afraid to fail before, they are energized by the possibility that they can analyze the problem and attempt to fix it! Beyond making something cool to look at, it is something to be proud of when you can create something on your computer screen and make it come to life as a tangible object to enjoy and share with others.

*Addendum: Fast forward one day past writing this post and the poor perfect piggy version 3.0 took a flying leap off my desk and met his demise as a clean break ripped through his body, splitting him in twine. I almost cried real tears in front of my students. But looking on the bright side, as one must do to remain sane, we can now analyze broken piggy from the inside out.

May 1, 2016

4th Grader Science Fair Project: Stronger 3D Printing

Every year, my kids participate in our school district's science fair. This past year (March, 2016), my 4th grade daughter - working on her 5th science fair since Kindergarten - decided to use 3D printing as her target.

After some discussion with her 3D printing-crazed dad (ahem), she decided to test the strength of 3D Printing using different print orientations.

The problem she was working on in her project was how to print stronger 3D printed objects.

She witnessed an issue I had with some hooks I printed for my pegboard a while back, and she generally thought that was an area that could use some experimentation.
Yes - I helped lead her in this direction - no doubt about it.

Her hypothesis was that the vertical layers (layered upwards along the z-axis) were not as strong as the horizontal layers printed along the x- and y-axis. She has seen many failed prints (of mine!) and has gotten familiar with the difference between the upward layers of a print and the horizontal layers.

Two test links - one horizontal, one vertical

I'll leave all the details to the slide deck - embedded below - which she made and printed for her poster board for the 2016 Science Fair.