Additive Manufacturing Strategies

MakerBot Makeathon Kicks off in NYC

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MakerBot is known for supporting education, and that is evident by the large numbers of MakerBot printers finding their way into public schools and universities. The weekend before last I had the opportunity to participate in the first of several MakerBot Makeathon challenges being held across the country. The Makeathon tasked educators and designers interested in educational projects to create interesting projects with lesson plans that could be instituted in circular in public schools. The challenge had some cool prizes up for grabs, including 2 MakerBot Replicator 5th generation printers and Ozobots.

The Makeathon was held at MakerBot headquarters in Brooklyn. During the 2-day challenge attendees had access to Spheros and Ozobots, as wells as breakout learning sessions on SOLIDWORKS and basic 3D printing. I was only able to attend on Saturday, as I had another event on Sunday, but I joined a group and we decided to create a project with Ozobots based on the BETA Challenge that I participated in with my middle school students at Dimension Learning. My teammates were David Choi and Meghan Vellotti. Choi recently won a MakerBot Replicator for his Go-Go Airboat design in the Thingiverse “Make it Float” challenge. Together we decided to create a new modular 3D printed helmet design, with an attached tool. The idea was that students would be able to learn about 3D printing and programming by coming up with their own designs for a tool to scoop up a puck and place it in a goal. The helmet design allowed these tools to be attached with pins made from short pieces of filament and educators could also design their own projects utilizing this modular system.

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Choi and I designed separate helmets and the tool, but ultimately we went with Choi’s design, which is available on Thingiverse, together with the lesson plan created by Vellotti. I thought it was a really cool project and I’m only sorry that I wasn’t able to attend the second day and see all the presentations. From what I saw of the other projects, it was clear that a lot of thought went into them and a lot of great lessons came out of that challenge that I’m sure educators interested in incorporating 3D printing into their classroom will find very valuable. In all, 14 projects were created that covered the full spectrum of STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics).

“One of the biggest takeaways we had from our first Summer STEAM Makeathon in NYC was the power of pairing an accomplished Thingiverse designer with a classroom educator,” says Drew Lentz, Manager, MakerBot Learning, “By combining their two skill sets and perspectives, the teams were able to elevate classroom projects in new and exciting ways.”

And guess what? My group, Team Macakcat, won first place for the Ozobot ‘Hardware’ Helmet Upgrade Accessory Kit Project!. Now other educators can use those files and lesson plan in their classrooms. Choi and Vellotti each walked away with a MakerBot Replicator (5th generation). Here’s what the folks at MakerBot had to say about the project:

“Designed for middle school curriculum, this project infuses fun into learning coding, robotics, and 3D printing. Students break up into groups and design an Ozobot game with its own mission board and rules. For every game, one team must pre-program an Ozobot to maneuver an obstacle course and return a disk back to a hanger. A defending team must code their Ozobot to prevent the other side from winning. Both teams can design and 3D print custom grabber arms or shields to help them win.”

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David Choi and Meghan Velloti of Team Macakcat with their winning Ozobot helmet design.

There were some other outstanding projects from other teams, too. Team NaK won second place with their Sodium Potassium Biological Electrogenic Pump Project. Both team members took home an Ozobot Bundle and a copy of MakerBot in the Classroom. Also of note was the Fab Four Phoenix, which centers around a remix of the 3D Phoenix Robotic Hand. Paint Pendulum uses a pendulum to drip out paint and make a pattern on a piece of paper, While Designing a Mathematical Rollercoaster was created for high school and college level math and physics students, with the objective to design a roller coaster.

The registration for the Makeathon was $50, with all the proceeds going towards funding a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer for schools serving low-income students.The remaining MakerBot Makeathons are listed below (you can register by following the link):

San Francisco: 6/4-6/5
Chicago: 6/11-6/12
Washington, D.C.: 6/18-6/19
Denver, CO: 6/25

Participating in the MakerBot Makeathon was a great experience and encourage other educators to take advantage of the opportunity. It was a lot of fun and you’ll get to meet other like-minded educators. I just wish I could do it again.

Below are some images from the event:

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