With 55 fraternities, 36 sororities and over a fourth of the student population involved in Greek life it’s hard not to know someone in a fraternity or sorority. Recently, we had the opportunity to get to know someone new involved in a fraternity on campus. Nathan stopped by the lab to print something for his fraternity, Chi Epsilon. Chi Epsilon is the National Honors Society for Civil Engineering. Students are chosen to join this fraternity based on 4 traits that Chi Epsilon considers important in order to be a successful engineer. Those four traits are Scholarship, Character, Practicality, and Sociability. Once students are chosen based on these four traits they enter the initiation phase of joining the fraternity. Initiation is the process of learning the mission, values, other members and history of the fraternity. At the end of the initiation process new members become official pledges of the fraternity. Nathan decided to come to the MakerLab to print something that would make the end of initiation a memorable time. He 3D designed and printed a box that could be opened with a key. The opening of the box signifies the end of initiation and the first steps in being a full member of the fraternity. You’ll have to join Chi Epsilon to see this box in live action! Or you can settle on viewing some pictures below.
Yuxuan is a junior here at Illinois studying Accounting. He first found the MakerLab through an accounting class he took his sophomore year. Yuxuan decided to join the MakerLab team because he loved the fact that you can make your dream creations come true. As a volunteer here, Yuxuan has been able to see this in action multiple times through both seeing what others print at the lab and also through his own prints and ideas. One such creation of his has been a great success in the lab. Yuxuan was able to think of a simple yet very helpful solution in keeping our filament wheels nice and neat. The filament that we use comes in large rolls like ribbon. And also like ribbon it is very easy to lose the start of the roll. To solve this simple problem, Yuxuan designed a wheel clip using SketchUp that would allow you to thread the start of the filament through to prevent it from getting lost in the whole wheel. It turned out to be a huge success and great help in keeping out lab clean and frustration free!
Q. How did you first find the Illinois MakerLab?
A. About a year and a half ago, I took a Fusion 360 workshop offered by the MakerLab. It was in this workshop that I first got introduced to 3D printing and the opportunities offered at the MakerLab. I really enjoyed this workshop and signed on as a volunteer at the MakerLab the next semester.
Q. What made you to decide to work at MakerLab?
A. I found it cool and I wanted to learn more about it. After being a volunteer for the first year, I was offered a position of a guru. I accepted because it offered me a change to have more responsibility and opportunities in the lab. As a guru, I help facilitate workshops, run our online ordering systems and I am constantly talking to customers whether they come into the MakerLab or if it’s through our online ordering system.
Q. What is your main job here?
A. My main job is to make sure that the lab is operating smoothly. I help students and faculty set up prints and answer any questions they may have about 3D printing. I also deal with 3D hub orders which is our online ordering system that we get a lot of big orders from external customers.
Q. What is the best part of working in the lab?
A. The best part is meeting and talking to other volunteers and gurus at the lab. It is a great opportunity to talk with many different people with different background. I also enjoy talking with people who visit our lab. From alumni to students to faculty everyone has a story about why they came into the lab and I love hearing it!
Q. What are some improvement that lab should have?
A. The printers. I really hope some of the printers get fixed because we have a couple that have been out of order for a while.
Q. Any last things to say?
A. I hope any students who are interested in 3D printing visit our lab. I am always there to help you guys!
The MakerLab volunteers are a really important part of the lab. They help day to day welcoming makers, and assist with workshops and fixing printers. Today, we will introduce you to one of our volunteers, Vanessa Yang!
Vanessa is a freshman in the College of Business here at Illinois. She is hoping to double major in Information Systems/Information technology and either Marketing or Finance. Vanessa found out about the MakerLab through a email sent by one of the deans of the College of Business. And she is so glad that she decided to apply as a volunteer here! She wants to gain valuable knowledge of the 3D printing world as well as having the chance to 3D print her own creations. Here at the MakerLab, we like to get volunteers involved with projects around the lab. Vanessa chose to join our Print a Month project. This project has volunteers chose a print each month related to the something they care about! For this month, Vanessa chose to 3D print a woodblock print called The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. This woodblock print created by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai depicts a huge wave about to come crashing down on some fisherman. Vanessa chose this as her print for September because of it was her favorite woodblock print! Next month, Vanessa hopes to do something spooky in honor of Halloween. Vanessa loves working at the MakerLab because of how unique it is and would encourage anyone to stop by!
Recently, the MakerLab received a request from iSWOOP, a program that helps national park managers aid researchers in their quest to explain their studies to the public. This makes sure that the public understands the research going on and the significance of the results found. One such program currently going on at Acadia National Park is What can we learn from pollen in a tree. Researchers Jacquelyn Gill, George Jacobson, Molly Shauffler, colleagues from the University of Maine have spent many hours researching how the history of landscape change can be found by inspecting the pollen in sediment cores. The Illinois MakerLab is helping these researchers explain their findings to the public by 3D printing bright yellow pollen grain that could be held in the palm of your hands. The researchers can then use these hand held pollen grains to explain to kids and adults alike how the pollen shows changes in the landscape. Researches studying the pollen hope to show that what we learn of past conditions can influence our decisions and shape our expectations for life in Maine and elsewhere in the coming century. Funded by the National Science Foundation, iSWOOP is currently active at Acadia National Park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Check out our other stories or create a new one by stopping by the MakerLab. Having trouble making your design come to life? Contact us for help! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
The MakerLab was honored to be invited by Infosys Foundation USA to participate in a talk on how 3D printing can be used to enhance and improve learning. Infosys Foundation USA is a "non-profit organization passionate about bridging the digital divide in America*." Infosys works to breach this gap of knowledge between people in America by sharing stories about why people create the things that they do. These stories are posted on Infosys twitter using the hashtag WhyIMake. Not only does Infosys shares stories of what people make but the organization has also set up an information chat where companies come to talk about how their technology and how it will change America for better. Any one who wishes to learn more about a company or a particular technology can participate in the chat. Illinois MakerLab directors were invited to such a chat to talk about 3D printing's impact on learning within a school environment. The chat consisted of 4 questions. The answers below are a general summary of what was discussed during the chat. More detailed answers can be found at https://storify.com/InfyFoundation/3dprinting.
*Taken from Infosys Foundation USA's mission statement.
Q1: Do you own a #3DPrinter in your classroom or have access to one? If not, do you see one in your future? Why?
We found that the majority of people may not have access to a 3D printer within their school but had access to one at a local library or community center. However, it does seems like schools are looking at adding some 3D printers as they could be used for example in geometry class as one participant pointed out. As schools work on getting 3D printers, be sure to check out your local library to try out 3D printing for yourself!
Q2: How do you see #3Dprinting as relevant to what you teach and your own personal background?
One participant responded to this question with "it will be one of the essential skills in future, just like Microsoft Office. I just think we should learn and know how to use it." We completely agree! The MakerLab offers 2 different undergraduate classes involving 3D printing as well as offering numerous workshops. Other participants used CAD (digital design) regularly in the classes that they teach. These participants found it very helpful to be able to turn their digitally created designs into physical objects!
Q3: What are tangible ways you use #3Dprinting to teach concepts?
3D printers lead to easy access in the need of manufacturing on demand. 3D printing allows to repair damaged goods at a much lower cost! Another option is to use the 3D scanners to create replicas of objects one may need. We like to always remember maker Arielle Rausin using a 3D scanner to scan and then print her own wheelchair racing gloves.
Q4: What kind of support would be most useful for you? Training, curricula, projects?
Participants hope to have easier access to the hardware and software involved with 3D printing. These participants want to be able to easily teach what they know of 3D printing to others. Others find that knowing the differences between all the different 3D printers and filaments available in the world. Knowing these facts will help to make sure that your print turns out successful on the first try! Education Closet provides a great list of resources to use and consider when 3D printing.