Everything is Awesome! Adventures with 3D Printing, Vinyl Cutting, and Scratch

I’ve been awed this week at the level of creativity in our class. Seriously, we’ve all produced such diverse projects. I think I’ve seen many of the Maker Movement principles at work: the projects in class have been personally meaningful, and there is a big sense of play–people are excited and are feeding off of each other’s energy.

I mean, we watched the Lego Movie tonight, for pete’s sake! How can that not be fun?

LegoAwesomeDay

All gushing aside, the three tools that we’ve learned to use are not only fun, but useful. The Silhouette Cameo can produce decals, stencils, parts for cardmaking and scrapbooking, and can even cut fabric if you have the right blade. The software is easy to use, and in a very short time I was able to create a really nice decal to give to a friend.

CAD software for 3D printing was a bit more tricky. We played around with TinkerCAD, which is free to download and pretty user friendly, although it might have been a little easier to use if I had a mouse to connect to my laptop–track pads are not the friendliest with that interface. Manipulating the shapes on the three-dimensional design space took practice, but eventually, I produced a design for what will eventually be a dishwasher magnet. You know, the “Dirty/Clean” type of thing that lets the household know what state the dishes are in. Mine says “Dirty” on one side and “Shiny” on the other, and emerged from the 3D Printer looking like this:

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Here is the same piece from a few more angles:

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All photos courtesy of Lydia Fasteland and her trusty phone–thanks, Lydia!

I plan on securing magnets to the back of the piece and painting the letters with bright nail polish so they will show up against the blue. It’s a rough little piece, but I’m pretty proud of my first try with the 3D printer!

We also learned some basic coding skills with Scratch this week. I had a fun time working on a few simple projects, and ended up making a rocketship that takes off once you give it the go-ahead. One of my classmates made a fun game where your ship (The Millennium Falcon in this case) maneuvers through an asteroid field, complete with Star Wars lines and sound effects. So fun! A neat thing about Scratch is the collaborative community of users online: they encourage sharing projects and remixing others’ work in order to perfect a game or animation. The program would be really fun to share with patrons in a library setting, and kids and adults would both get a kick out of seeing the results of their effort. The drag and drop nature of Scratch means that someone doesn’t have to know the intricacies of a programming language to create something interesting. I look forward to playing more with this program and trying different sequences of commands.

So, an entertaining and educational week in Content Creation! Stay tuned for next week, when I should have photos of my final project, the LED wall orb.

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