Tag Archives: TinkerCad

Prototyping with Class IV at @BrearleyNYC using @TinkeringStudio’s Open Kit for tinkering with balance. #STEAM #MakerEd

The Exploratorium in San Francisco is “a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception.” Within the Exploratorium is The Tinkering Studio. Per their website:

“The Tinkering Studio is an immersive, active, creative place at the Exploratorium where museum visitors can slow down, become deeply engaged in an investigation of scientific phenomena, and make something—a piece of a collaborative chain reaction—that fully represents their ideas and aesthetic.

In The Tinkering Studio, visitors are invited to explore a curiosity-driven exhibit, chat with a featured artist, or investigate a range of phenomena with staff artists, scientists, educators, and others by participating in a collaborative activity. A large, eclectic assortment of materials, tools, and technologies are provided for people to use as they explore and create.”


The Tinkering Studio freely shares projects and open kits, and I chanced upon one called, Tinkering with Balance. My colleague, Mary Potter, expressed interest in exploring balance with her Class IV students. In advance of this session, I gathered or assembled the following materials:

  1. Six bases so that her 20 students could work in groups of 3 or 4. In my school’s Carpentry studio, I formed these bases using scrap plywood from the recent sets built for the Upper School Winter Musical performance of “Singing in the Rain”
  2. 3 round dowels that were 1″ in diameter and 3′ in length — I cut these in half lengthwise so they were each 18″ long
  3. 6 square dowels that were 1/4″ on each side and 3′ in length
  4. A variety of shapes (there are PDFs of shapes linked on the activity’s website) out of cardstock and abandoned manila folders for the students to affix to their square dowels (if we’d had more time, students would have used markers to doodle on the shapes and add color to their sculptures)
  5. Wooden clothespins for affixing the shapes to the square dowel
  6. Six sets of three different fulcrums — each fulcrum had a channel built-in that fit the 1/4″ dowel. One fulcrum had a round base, one fulcrum was an obtuse triangular shape, and the third was an equilateral triangular shape. These three ranged from easiest to hardest to balance. I used Tinkercad Code Blocks to design these shapes, and then I printed them on our Ultimaker 3 Extended printers. I uploaded these three files to the Thingiverse here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5902952/files

Initially I was going to locate some triangular blocks from a tangram or Math manipulatives kit, but these would have had to be glued onto the square dowels. I liked the idea of students choosing where their fulcrum should be affixed to the dowel, and I liked the idea of them experimenting with having the fulcrum closer or farther from the dowel’s center as an additional design challenge.

After spring break, two Class I teachers are interested in exploring this activity as well! I think I will offer them the rounded fulcrum and the obtuse triangle fulcrum only. I also might limit the number of shapes for them (acrobats, spirals, and open circles maybe).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Prototyping a wall mount for alligator clips to hang in the @BrearleyNYC #CoLab. #MakerEd @ultimaker @thingiverse @tinkercad

In the CoLaboratory, we have a large bin marked ALLIGATOR CLIPS that was becoming a bit of an organizational nightmare with 5th graders struggling to free a wire from a tangle of metal-tipped tumbleweeds. I figured a wall-mounted solution might be helpful, and I asked my 5th graders for their opinions and suggestions.

My first physical prototype was a scrap of cardboard affixed to the side of a shelving unit with a large binder clip. Then, I mocked up a simple comb-inspired design with Tinkercad and later added perpendicular bits to the edges of the tines (like a rake) to keep the wires from slipping out. I belatedly noticed we have alligator clips of different thicknesses, so I also made another version with wider spaces between the tines.

I posted the STL files to the Thingiverse here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5547674


Filed under Uncategorized

I couldn’t find a satisfactory wall mount for a mini glue gun, so I made one with @Tinkercad and an @Ultimaker. You can find it on the @thingiverse… @BrearleyNYC #MakerEd #STEAM

Problem Finding begat Problem Solving!

It troubled me that students would plop the glue gun on the counter top in between squirts, leaking glue and causing a burn/fire hazard. After searching for a wall-mounted solution, I ended up making my own design in @Tinkercad and printing on one of our @Ultimaker printers.

After several incarnations (and a small pile of plastic), I settled on a relatively simple model that will hold a mini glue gun against the wall during use or while cooling. I posted my design to @Thingiverse here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5377878

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Thanks to @jumekubo for inspiring my design for a more universal “pocket document camera” that can be affixed to most any device and mirror your hands, drawings, pen marks… #MakerEd #ArtEdTech

I came across a tweet from John Umekubo where he shared a 3D printed design for a pocket document camera that can be used to help a teacher display or record hand motions, sketches, images, or written actions or explanations without needing a second device, an external document camera, or an elaborate setup to balance a camera above your work space! The pocket document camera acts as a sort of periscope to reflect anything being done on top of his keyboard to anyone in his Google Meet. 

John’s post went a bit viral on social media, and he compiled a comprehensive blog post where he listed a bunch of ideas/prototypes created by himself and other like-minded makers. I used our 3D printers in The CoLaboratory (Room 8L in the 610 building) to make two 3D printouts of these pocket document cameras — one that fit my MacBook Air and one that fit the Class III/IV Chromebook. I reached out to our colleagues in the Lower School who are teaching remote pods and told them about this little helper and shared ideas for how it might be used. Joy Barbosa (Class III) asked for a class set, and I printed 13 of these to be sent home to her students. Luckily, materials were already being gathered to send home to the remote Class III learners, and I was able to include this tool in the boxes.

Ju Yeon Kim (Class K) also liked the idea of having her remote Kindergarten students prop their iPad vertically and project whatever they are drawing or manipulating with their hands. Since I didn’t find any existing models for an iPad, It occurred to me that it would be much more helpful to have a universal device-agnostic mirror holder. I used Tinkercad to modify John’s design and created a model which can lay flat against any laptop or tablet (Macbook, Chromebook, iPad) and requires tape, clothespins, or binder clips to affix to the device!

Here’s a link to my most recent design on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4635969

I ordered a bunch of 2″ square mirrors from Amazon (recommended by John in his blog post) and affixed them to the plastic holder with a hot glue gun. Now to make a few dozen more…

Also, here are some mirrors/holders you can purchase:

  1. MirrorMeThis from BrightFingers
  2. iPEVO Mirror-Cam
  3. Hudoo base for iPad
  4. Clip version of Hudoo base for iPad


Filed under Uncategorized