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Thursday April 16, 2015

This story is the sixth in a series of posts called “FAB Lab Fun”.  FAB Labs, or Fabrication Laboratories, are defined as a global network of local labs, enabling invention by providing access to tools for digital fabrication and are most often offered as a community resource. Discover the hands-on experience of taking a FAB Lab class through staff member, Beth Stinnett. We hope you enjoy going with her along for the ride.

This week’s class picked up with our keychain project from last week. Last week came the design element and this week came the actual 3D printing of the keychains on the MakerBot. Once your design is the finalized, the printing process is similar to printing a document off your desktop computer (almost)! Print Preview is where you can, of course, preview what your about to send to the printer, or in this case the MakerBot 3D printer, and make any appropriate changes to the settings. In the program, you can actually see how long the expected print time is and what percentage of the material will be used to make the project. For our keychains, printed two at a time, the estimated print time was 49 minutes to print the forty-odd layers that it would need to create the 3D design.

As our keychains were being printed, the class indulged in a history lesson on the origins of 3D printing by Mr. Chick Hull, sometime between 1979 & 1980. My initial reaction was that I thought this was a new (relatively-speaking) technology, so it fascinated me to learn that Mr. Hull began this all 35 years ago! I wondered next if people thought that he was crazy when he presented his idea(s) to them!

If you have been curious yourself about the FAB Lab, 3D printing, the technology and the science of it all, be sure to come to the 2nd Annual Martinsville Mini Maker Faire at The Artisan Center this Saturday, April 18, 2015. As described at makerfaire.com, Maker Faires are gatherings of "tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these 'makers' come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned." Families are welcome to spend the afternoon getting creative and learning in a fun atmosphere at no cost. The Mini Maker Fair will be from 10 am to 3 pm at 54 West Church Street in Martinsville.

Children’s projects will include t-shirt printing, brushbots (equivalent of the retail toy the “Hex Bug”) and flashing LED robot pins that they will solder themselves! My son and I are both looking forward to an afternoon of creativity at the Maker Faire.

For more information on the Martinsville Mini Maker Faire, click here.

Tags: Art, Artisan Trails, Entertainment, Fab Lab, Festivals, Insider's Tips, Local Business, Martinsville, Martinsville Uptown, , Patrick Henry Community College, , ,