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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Day 310 - Math Encounters at MoMath and an emergency spool holder!

Today (July 2) I gave two public lectures about mathematics and 3D printing at MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics, as part of their Math Encounters series. I brought along my Replicator 2 for a 3D-printing demonstration, but an hour before I had to leave for the talk, I hit a snag. In our old place in Virginia, I kept my filament on a shelf and fed it into the printer from there. Now I was in NYC, with everything I owned in the world packed up into a seemly endless collection of boxes - and no spool holder. I needed to print a spool holder in one hour! Let's use this as an excuse to show how to use Thingiverse and Tinkercad to easily remix existing designs. Here's what I did in this particular case:
  • Search on Thingiverse for "replicator filament spool", to find spencers's Filament Spool Holder design.
  • Download the design and open in MakerWare/Desktop. A print Preview showed that this design takes more than an hour to print, so we needed to remix somehow for time.
  • This particular file was only available on Thingiverse as a .thing file (I think these are now called .makerbot files?), which is only readable to MakerWare/Desktop. However with File/Save from the main menu at the very top of the screen you can choose to save the file as an STL, so that other programs can read the file.
  • Open up a new design in Tinkercad and use Import to load in spencer's design.
  • In this case the remix was extremely simple: we just added a cylindrical "hole" shape (see the picture below) and then grouped that shape with the original object to make it shorter.
  • In Tinkercad, use Design/Download for 3D Printing and save the new object as an STL file. A print Preview showed this shorter version would take just under an hour. 
  • Now load the remixed file into Makerware/Desktop and print! We printed it, left it on the build plate, and put the machine into its travel box with the extruder still hot. Definitely the most stressful print I've done so far!

Tinkercad link: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/1NNgTH2xpmt-day-310-remix-of-spencers-spool-holder
Thingiverse link: http://www.thingiverse.com/make:86959

Here is the spool holder in action at the talk. It's in the back of the Replicator 2 in the foreground, which is printing the knot 10_125 (see Day 11) that is pictured on the big screen. More importantly, this is a picture of Jenny Lawton, the President of MakerBot Industries, who gave some remarks at the event!

During the talk we all constructed Level 0 Menger cubes out of business cards, to kick off the Level 3 Menger cube build at MoMath this October that will be part of the MegaMenger Level 4 build worldwide. Here's everyone at Math Encounters holding up their Level 0 cubes:

If you're interested in being a part of the giant worldwide MegaMenger build either as a volunteer or a contributor of business cards for the project, you can record your interest at megamenger.com. Help us a set a record for the world's largest business-card Menger cube!