Monday, April 25, 2016

What to Do With Discarded 3D Printer Filament?

Whenever we change reels on the Ultimaker 2 there is a good stretch of filament that is ribbed and must be discarded. My coworker Larissa made bracelets out of them! The clasp is printed in clear filament.


You can print these in bulk (10 minutes to print a single but you could print multiples at once) and focus a class just on making charms for them.

A note about charms: using jump rings makes the bracelet easier to wear with the charms as demonstrated with the octopus vs the Pokeball and dinosaur. Plus you don't have to worry about the size of the plastic printed ring in Tinkercad too much.  These are 9mm jump rings that come apart with simple pliers.  Of course by having them loose, they will all dangle to the bottom but some 3D printed beads/spacers and jump ring size experimentation will do the trick.  Although the PLA claims to be biodegradable who knows how long that would take. This is wonderful recycling project just in time for Earth Day. 


Monday, April 11, 2016

Adventures in Green Screen

We have a rambunctious crowd of 5-7 graders for our Tinkering Tuesdays in March so we decided to do a month of movie making with our green screen. Using a green screen is really easy these days. We used iMovie and it was a simple click of a button to replace the screen behind the actors with an image found on the internet after everything had been filmed. Here is a very good tutorial. 

Some green screen tips:

1. Make sure green screen is ironed (or unwrinkled somehow and tight). We used binder clips to attach the green screen to our privacy sectional screen but it wasn't ideal. It may causes creases in the background. This was very noticeable during our black campfire scene.

2. Make sure no one wears green or blue or they will look ghostly (unless that is the look you are going for). Fun fact: Lego bases are the exact color of the green screen. She meant to do that.

3. Do not hit the green screen during filming or it will ripple (although it would make a cool ocean effect).
4.  Try to download images while filming. We had a scene where people were falling off a cliff and it was nice to know that it was on the left side of the screen.

5. Use high resolution images. If they aren't the right size, you can crop them in iMovie but pixels do matter. I always limit my image google search to large images only.

6. Tape off the carpet with a line so the kids know where "off screen" is.

Organizational tips:

We TRIED to get them to block out a story at least verbally before we did any scene but as you can probably tell it was basically improvised the whole way (with mixed results).

Rather than full costumes, we stuck to hats and other props we had lying around. We put those out before we even started to try to brainstorm some ideas.

It seemed like we kept to genre projects but it was hard to get agreement. Having short vignettes with a theme could be another solution.

They always wanted to finish the movie in our one hour program slot and not go back to it the next week (even if it didn't make sense!). Probably a generational thing.

The teen librarian and I did the editing and camera work since none of the kids wanted to but those were jobs we would have gladly given to any of them willing.

One of the girls had her violin handy and we used it for the western. I recorded it in iMovie microphone rather than Garage Band which was a mistake. When you put it in Garage Band I could have edited the sound volume without worrying about the actual dialogue. If you just use the microphone in iMovie, I couldn't separate the two.

Here is our best one "Sci-Fi" (IMO):

The Apocalypse from Duxbury Free Library on Vimeo.

Our first project:

Murder Mystery Short Movie from Duxbury Free Library on Vimeo.

Our homage to Clint Eastwood:

Wild West from Duxbury Free Library on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

When Makerspace Projects Come to Fruition

I love stories of patrons or staff who use our equipment to make something truly creative and original. We had two of those instances this week:

Our first comes from our talented staff member, Karen, who runs a monthly knitting night at the library. She draws a big crowd as individuals work on solo projects, share their skills and troubleshoot with each other.  These knitting nights have brought out some spinners and loom enthusiasts that have shared their talent as well. Using these new skills, Karen made her own sweater.  It doesn't stop there though.

Over the past year we have increased our collection of unusual items for circulation to include a polymer clay kit which Karen used to make her own designer button for her creation. I told her she could have her own couture business! Read more about this and other projects on her knitting blog. 

The second project came from a pair of siblings who won 1st place in the Pembroke Science Fair with the 3D printing help from yours truly.  It started last Christmas while I was hosting 3D printed ornament classes. My goal was, after these classes, kids would come in on their own to 3D print. Well Kevin, one of my ornament students, did. He went on to make a model of the Empire State Building using tinkercad for a school project which drew lots of attention at school. For his science fair project, he presented on 3D printing and education. His goal was to teach his 5 year old brother how to make a keychain in tinkercad. It was a resounding success! Kevin also practiced the draw to 3D print method with the lighting bolts as well as learning about supports, printing time, and structural techniques by making a penguin and a doll all using our Ultimaker 2 Extended printer. I haven't taught a tinkercad class with as young as 5 but it proved with this next generation it is possible. I was certainly a proud librarian. It just reiterates that fact that libraries have a true impact in the community to help the curious pursue life long learning.