Tag Archives: The Brearley School

Making cardboard, #FunkeyFunkey, and @Scratch slot machines starring @brearleynyc’s class mascots for our upcoming Casino Night. #MakerEd #STEAM

Before Thursday’s Upper School performance of Guys and Dolls at The Brearley School, there will be a Supper Club Casino Night for the community with games led by faculty. I offered to help, though I was worried about being responsible for learning and facilitating Poker or Blackjack, so I offered to make some slot machines.

I figured there must be a bunch of programs shared by the awesome Scratch-user community, and they didn’t disappoint. I remixed this project generously offered by Jcg127: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/23156262/#player

I removed the Yay! and Jackpot! procedures and swapped in nine new costumes representing Brearley’s class mascots (camel, penguin, tiger, owl, duck, buffalo, elephant, bear) and the official school mascot (beaver).  I then found some cardboard in the recycle bin and built some quick yet sturdy casings for three separate laptops.

I knew I’d use some of our FunkeyFunkey boards for the project and was originally considering a physical lever with a tilt sensor. I imagined having a hinge or printing 3D pieces (similar to Makedo parts) to hold a long cardboard tube in place (I have a stockpile of cardboard tubes from wrapping paper rolls). A rubber-band stretched somewhere would allow the lever to pull forward yet return upright for its home position, and the tilt sensor inside the tube would recognize when the arm was lowered and “spin” the rollers in my slot machine.

However, I had four hours today to generate the Scratch program and mock up the cardboard cases, so I used our FunkeyFunkey arcade buttons instead. They are build like a nut and bolt, and they sandwich cardboard beautifully. Easy peasy! Also, Stephen Lewis (creator of the FunkeyFunkey) designed his sensors (tilt, touch, button, infrared, etc.) to work even without being grounded, so they are so much easier to incorporate into projects.

If I had more time, I’d definitely make my slot machines more attractive. These definitely look homemade. 🙂 Here’s a tutorial for a DIY slot machine I belatedly found: http://www.instructables.com/id/HOW-TO-MAKE-SLOT-MACHINE-DIY/

 

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Zen and the art of 3D printer maintenance redux. @BrearleyNYC #MakerEd #STEAM

Over the years, I’ve learned a fair amount about maintaining (or coddling) a few different models of 3D printers: Makerbot (Cupcake, 2, 2x, 5th Gen), Printrbot (Simple Metal), Bits from Bytes (3D Touch and Cube), and Ultimaker (2+, Go, and Original+). Like the book about maintaining motorcycles, you can either buy a top of the line printer with awesome customer support and expect it to work amazingly, or you can get to know one intimately because you built it from a kit or from scratch and/or you found yourself elbow deep in a machine trying to troubleshoot with the help of Google, user forums, willpower, and luck. Desktop 3D printers are not “plug and play” — I have almost never been able to simply turn on and use a 3D printer without any frustrations.

I’ve spent the past two weeks in close proximity with two Ultimaker Original+ kit printers (built by Brearley students a few years ago). For better or worse, I removed and rebuilt the feeder assembly on both printers, and I’m still not satisfied with the feeder on the one sitting on my desk right now. I feel like I need to either remodel the students’ designs, change the Ultimaker’s settings, buy newer filament, and/or only print one thing at a time, as having the extruder “retract” during the print is causing problems with an already problematic feeder. I think I’ve narrowed it down to possibly needing a new ball bearing on the feeder clamp. When I notice filament isn’t advancing properly, I manually apply force to guide it from the spool to the opening of the feeder. It’s beyond tedious, and I’m sure the fumes (even from PLA) are making me stoopider.

I’ve taken to making tick marks on the filament with a permanent marker and anxiously staring to see if the filament advances properly. Essentially, I’ve learnt that the trick is to continually glare at it. As soon as I convince myself it’s working and walk away to attend to something else (or gloat), it fails. Every. Single. Time. I’m officially naming this one Christine.

But, oh, the satisfaction when it works…

(​I wrote a similarly titled post about 3D printer nerd-ery in 2013 here: https://karenblumberg.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/zen3dtouch/)

 

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Trying out @QloneApp 3D-scanning mobile app for a totem project in Class 5 next week. @BrearleyNYC #MakerEd

 

@LizArum, Education Community Strategist at Ultimaker North America, sent out information about the Qlone App by Eye Cue Vision Technologies. I just tried it out today, and it seems to be an incredibly powerful 3D-scanning app for my iPhone. All you have to do is print out the black/white checkered mat (which can be scaled and printed in different sizes), place your object (hopefully one without transparent or moving parts), and either slowly circle the mat with your phone or spin the paper until the augmented reality dome encircling the object reveals that your scan complete.

I’m about to launch a 3-D design project that integrates with Class V’s study of the Pacific Northwest. Last year, I noticed the girls painted enormous 2-D renderings of totem poles which hung on the walls (and ceiling!) of the 7th floor Art Department hallway at The Brearley School (I wish I could find my pictures of these awesome and huge panels). After seeing their paintings last year, I thought a 3-D version might be a worthwhile integrated project..


This year, I saw a bulletin board outside their homerooms where teachers hung totems made by the girls out of the cardboard tube inside paper towel roll. I was able to tell the girls that we’ll continue this idea by designing a totel in Tinkercad. I’m still thinking about the parameters of this upcoming 3-D design project:

  1. How many objects shall they include?
  2. Shall they be free to arrange these objects vertically, horizontally, or in some other shape (like in a circle for a wristlet)?
  3. Shall they locate objects online or scan physical artifacts that they bring in or both?
  4. Shall they have the option to scan their head/body to be part of the design?
  5. Shall we print these out? If so, shall we make small versions to be worn as a pendant or keychain?

I love offering student voice and student choice, but I don’t want the girls to be overwhelmed with possibilities. All I know right now is that I’ll have them sketch their designs on paper first. I’m just worried a little that this project will take too long, especially as I only meet with my Class 5 girls once a week. Fingers crossed!

Here’s a video from Qlone’s FAQ section of their website:

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