Saturday, March 29, 2014

Take Four!

The resin pool is obviously a very important part of the 3D printer, seeing that it has to contain the resin that a part is printed from. Recently advancements have been made in its functionality and its aesthetics. The aluminum "exoskeleton" for the pool is now made from an aluminum sheet that is 1/8th of an inch think instead of 1/16th thick. Also, the C-Channels that support the glass walls have been switched out for angle bars and the glass walls are now 1.5 inches tall instead of just 1 inch. We are going to continue to use borosilicate glass for the bottom and we are currently doing on a silicone coating rather than Sylgard.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Money Money Money

With the final stretch to our end of the year deadline quickly approaching, the marketing team is looking for opportunities to get our product on the market. We have recently contacted an artist to finish our logo, and we should have samples in the next few days.

There is still time to continue fundraising, and it is necessary that we continue to have an income of funds, through fundraisers, grant applications and local company donations. There has been so many generous donors and supporters through out the school year, and we are very thankful, because it has provided us with the means to get this far in the project. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Smoking Hot

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With the machine's core components being assembled and integrated, the electronics team is now focusing on safety mechanisms. This includes limit switches for the Z-table arm, laser indicators in our resin pool, and smoke detectors to be installed inside the machine. Similar to the devices you might find in your ceiling, these smoke sensors will shut off the machine if something inside starts burning (which might be a sign of trouble!).
However, the resin we are currently using also appears to let off gas while being cured, which might activate the smoke detectors. Further testing of these devices will be necessary to determine if they will be suitable. With our machine being close to completion, we want to make our first print as safe as possible.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Finally Good News


Yesterday the class made tons of progress with our printing process. We tested curing a new type of resin (MakerJuice brand, cool indigo color) and it cured within seconds, much faster than the stuff we had been using before. Also, the smell on this resin is a lot less severe than the Solarez. When the resin was done, a 5-10 minute butanol bath finished up the job removing any excess oily resin. As soon as the resin was tested, the projector began to project some images to print and was able to show the different layers in our printing process.
During the resin test, we also tested the resin under the black light and the resin did not react.
After so many set backs, the group had a great day and our goal is to print during the first week of April. Hopefully, it won't be anything close to an April Fool's Day joke though!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lighten Up!

For the Z-table, arm and tower our goal has been to even further lighten up the design and improve the overall sturdiness.  We have moved away from our wooden design to a more professional looking aluminum one.  The whole Z-tower has been redesigned to work with aluminium.  This has improved helped improve the stiffness of the tower so when the actual z-table is attached it will not wobble at all.  The Z- tower arm has also moved away from the wooden design to an aluminium one.  It consists of a hollowed out aluminium bar witch attaches to the lead screw with a custom made lead screw nut that helps maintain the precision 3D printing requires.  The last piece we have been working on is Z-table itself. The new design consists of easy to machine chemical resistant plastic that is going to be pocketed by the mill into a hollow box. This will help reduce weight without sacrificing sturdiness. One of our biggest obstacles in our new design has been getting the mill to work.  However within the next two days it should be running and milling out our Z-table. From here we plan to assemble all the pieces of our new Z-table and start our first print within two weeks.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Upcoming Vision

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The past two weeks have been great for the EYE team!  We have been working to plan for the April as well as the June program by ordering the necessary supplies and gathering volunteers. We launched registration for our April Program and have already filled all 150 available slots! We also have a growing waiting list (60 kids and counting!). In addition to implementing additional elementary engineering programs, we are working on evaluating the programs that currently exist and creating guides for how to run future programs. Our primary goal is that the Educating Young Engineers organization will continue helping the Saratoga Springs City School District (and beyond) excite the next generation of problem solver and innovative thinkers. To achieve this we are so happy to have three interns, they are going to be the next generation of EYE leaders!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

LEGO Playground

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Here's a cute little video from the EYE group of a LEGO playground some of the kids made. Sometimes work can be fun too!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Resin the Bar

Today in class was a fairly productive day for the build and electrical teams.  We (as the electronics team) wanted to test the accuracy of the infrared distance sensor that will be used to find the remaining amount of resin.  We have been doing some tests using water instead of resin, and they showed that our sensor may not be accurate enough.  Just to verify, we brought the current prototype into a darkroom, and tested the machine with the resin.  When the group of electrical and build team members set everything up, we realized that we didn’t have enough resin on hand to accurately test the distance sensing.  Luckily, the day was not lost, because we tested in the real resin pool. This allowed us to see how the pump works, as well as the Sylgard layer on the pool.  Both worked great, and our day became a great success.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Charlie Takes 3D Systems

Currently, the Marketing Team is researching how to successfully market a 3D printer. The market is very competitive and our product has great features that will offer new opportunities to current printer users. We have been studying our biggest competitor, and leading 3D printer developers, 3D Systems, and how they are so successful with each of their products. We are also researching our other main competitors and learning what their consumers like, dislike, love and hate about their product(s).
 
We have found an artist to design our logo - Aliki Kotsakis. She is a former Project Lead the Way student and is a very talented artist. We hope to have a finalized logo by the end of April.

Mid-Year Build Team Report

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After the midyear presentation, the build team got inspired to create a video of our completed progress thus far. The video above was made by Matt Dauphinais and Mackenzie Banker.