Autodesk Inventor Helps a Teenage Maker through a Labyrinth of His Own Design

Share this Article

3dp_fusion360_autodesk_logoDespite mountains of evidence to the contrary, bringing 3D modelling and 3D printing technology into schools is still a controversial prospect for many schools. While it is gaining popularity, and spending on STEM educational materials is growing in general, when some schools are having problems keeping classroom sizes down and textbooks up to date 3D printing can often seem like a luxury. But the fact is that very soon 3D printing and 3D design is going to be part of our daily lives and the skills learned from STEM education are going to be almost incalculably important to the next generation. Thankfully not all school districts are dragging their feet when it comes to 3D printing education.

Jamesville-DeWitt High School in Syracuse, New York.

Jamesville-DeWitt High School in Syracuse, New York

Last year, Syracuse, New York high school student Ross DeVito was tasked with designing and ultimately 3D printing a project for a sophomore engineering class. Inspired by a smartphone app that uses his phone’s tilt feature to simulate classic wooden labyrinth puzzles, DeVito decided to engineer and print his own 3D printed Labyrinth Game. After studying the way real labyrinth games were constructed, he got to work designing the basic shape using 3D CAD modelling and simulation software Autodesk Inventor.

“I created this as a project, as well as the toy truck on my behance page, for a class I took during my sophomore year of highschool called CIM, computer integrated manufacturing, which is part of a set of high school engineering courses through Project Lead the Way and RIT. I am looking to pursue computer science in college,” said DeVito.

3dp_labyrinth_cadInventor is Autodesk’s answer to Solidworks, and is typically used to create 3D designs, prototypes, object visualizations and can even create working motion simulations. It is also capable of testing the stress levels on objects by inputting any friction characteristics, driving loads and dynamic component functions. Then Inventor’s simulation tools aid users in optimizing strength, reducing vibrations, compensating for any high-stress areas and even adjusting the size of complex objects like motors and actuators to reduce energy consumption. Autodesk Inventor is a professional-grade piece of design software that is going to be very common in real world business settings, so putting it in the hands of students is giving them an incredible head start on STEM careers.3dp_labrynth_full

After DeVito designed the basic shape of the box and the internal slopes he went to the auto shop and borrowed some metal ball bearings to use in his labyrinth and took some accurate measurements. DeVito finished the labyrinth design by including the holes and the channels inside of the box. He also sized the walls to accommodate the bearings and ultimately modelled the exit point for the ball once the labyrinth was beaten. Once the final design was done, DeVito printed out a 1:4 scale prototype to make sure the walls wouldn’t collapse during printing. While the test model printed fine, DeVito still decided to add some support structures for his final, full-sized print.

3dp_labrynth_sideOf course no experience is really a learning experience unless something goes wrong with your project, and this was sadly true for DeVito and his labyrinth game. He 3D printed the full-sized version on his school’s MakerBot Replicator 2X as a single print using ABS. Unfortunately, due to the size of his print and the length of time that the labyrinth spent on the heated platform, two of the bottom corners of the box warped up a bit. The school’s MakerBot also glitched during printing and displaced a single layer in the middle of the labyrinth box, although DeVito noted that the printer seemed to correct itself and continued to print without incident.

Thankfully, DeVito said that the few printing errors don’t seem to affect the labyrinth’s functionality, and he’s had no problems using it. However, he does note that there are a few points where the ball doesn’t move smoothly that would most likely be improved with a higher print quality. Personally, I also think using PLA for the print, and not bothering with the heated bed, would help his print quality immensely. But those are lessons for him to learn next time I suppose.3dp_labrynth_top

As DeVito gets ready for his final year of high school this fall, he plans to take more design and engineering classes in the hopes of ultimately pursuing a STEM degree in college. Considering he will have a headstart in comparison with most students who enter college, I don’t think DeVito is going to have a problem earning that degree.

You can check out more pictures of DeVito’s labyrinth game on his Behance page, along with a 3D printed truck that he also designed in the same class.

 

Share this Article


Recent News

Supercomputers to Aid GE Research in Gas Turbine Design

Blue Origin Opens Its New Rocket Engine Facility in Alabama



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Virgin Orbit: 3D Printing For An Out of This World Experience

To date, a total of 565 people have gone to space. But that could change very soon as long-awaited commercial spaceflights might be launching next year. After years of delay,...

3D Printing News Briefs: December 10, 2019

We’re telling you about an award, a little business, and a new product in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. NCDMM has received the ManTech award for its additive manufacturing research...

Partners in Precious Metals: Cooksongold Announces Work with 3D LAB sp. z.o.o.

As Formnext begins today, a wide array of new hardware, software, and materials have already been announced before the show opened its doors to almost 30,000 visitors this year in...

Tuskegee University Selected by NASA to Advance Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace

The aerospace industry is a trendsetter when it comes to manufacturing. It is a major industry that evolved its expertise into lighter material, efficient engines and overall safer machines. Leveraging...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Services & Data

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!