Last weekend, five members from eNable traveled down to the annual Construct3D: 3D Printing and Digital Fabrication for Education conference held at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. We met and networked with members of the 3D printing and digital fabrication community from all diverse areas and backgrounds including tech companies such as Ultimaker, 3DPrinterOS, Makesea, as well as educators and personal makers. Additionally, we had a chance to meet Jon Schull, the founder of the global e-Nable community, and hear his insight on creating this network.
We heard George Hart talk, a professor, sculptor, and applied mathematician who 3D prints several unique structures. We were also fascinated by Nervous System, a design studio inspired by nature’s patterns that has worked on 3D printing jewelry, clothing, “infinity” puzzles, vases, and more.
Some additional workshops that we attended include:
–Bon Ku’s Creating the Doctor of the Future: Bon Ku’s group has implemented a workflow in which medical scans of the jaw are segmented and used to create patient-specific 3D models. The metal implants used in these particular jaw surgeries are usually shaped to the patient’s jaw during the surgery, i.e. while the patient is in the OR, and this can add a lot of time to the procedure. By using 3D printing to create plastic models of the jaw before surgery and using these models to contour the metal implants prior to beginning surgery, the time spent in the OR and the room for error during surgery are greatly reduced.
–Grace Jun’s Designing Fashion Tech for Disability: Through the Rochester Institute for Art’s Summer session, Grace works with students to utilize 3D printing to enhance cloth functionality for those with disabilities. This could be from printed structures in clothes to help people get dressed with mobility loss in their hands or legs, or to accessories to help those access transportation around them.
-Andres Gonzalez’s Grasshopper introduction through Rhino for educational ease: This was a memorable workshop in which Andres took us on an educational adventure through Grasshopper, a highly visual and user-friendly programming interface for creating designs for the Rhino CAD program. Grasshopper is an excellent way to learn CAD for people of all ages because it can build complicated designs from the ground up by specifying and then manipulating many basic parameters. This is as opposed to discrete operation-based CAD programs like Fusion 360 and Solidworks, which are powerful but do not easily lend themselves to subtle manipulations of the design. Andres’ energy and passion for Grasshopper made this a very fun workshop.
-Brad Whitehead’s 3D Printing for Rockets and Robotics: Brad is a teacher in the Texas K-12 system who encouraged his students to use 3D printing as part of their design projects, with tremendous results. Not only has 3D printing allowed his robotics students to stray from their starter kits and build more custom robots for their FIRST competitions, it has also permeated through the school system so that other students working on diverse projects began to learn and use 3D printing in their designs. In the most memorable example, a student was able to 3D print a lightweight camera mount to put on his rocket so he could get footage of the flight and post it to YouTube. Brad is also taking his students to the younger grades to pique younger students’ curiosity in engineering and design and specifically increase the accessibility of STEM to young girls.
–Jerry Qi’s 4D Printing: The ability of 3D prints to change size and structure post print based on temperature and time is explored in Dr. Qi’s laboratory. Prints can expand and shrink based on where the fibers are and the polyjet technique for voxel printing is used.
–Vicente Gasco’s Storytelling for the blind through 3D Printing, including the Ugly Duckling
–SketchUp’s creation of a sound proof phone booth through their program, a deodesk dome with tessellation, and even a custom-made arcade game that allows the user to use SketchUp!
-Cuyahoga Community College uses 3D printing to help Veterans as part of their capstone/senior project class. These are assistive devices made for those veterans who need help accomplishing tasks for ex. gardening, fishing, shaving.
And much, much, more!
We also shared our work during the poster session and had a chance to talk one-on-one with people, not only answering questions about the open source work we’ve done in the past few years but also gaining advice and insight others had to share with us about our research and development projects.
This was an amazing opportunity for us and we’re excited to bring back some of the technology and insights learned from this conference. We’d like to thank Duke University, Chip Bobbert, and the Innovation Co-Lab as well as the Engineering Alumni Council and the Lord Foundation for helping make this trip possible!