ShopBot on the Road
Models, molds and casting at IU1 Chevron FabLab in rural Pennsylvania
In order to push their already considerable skills to the next level, the Fab Lab gurus from Intermediate Unit 1 (IU1) in southwestern Pennsylvania (a Chevron Fab Lab) welcomed a team from TIES (the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM) to lead a three day Professional Development session. The teachers machined 3D models on their ShopBot CNC’s (aided by ShopBot’s Sallye Coyle), used those models to make molds, and used the molds to reproduce the original quickly and efficiently in multiple materials (with Kelly Zona). On the third day, Chris Carter led a session on electronics and circuits.
IU1 is a regional educational agency that strives to provide educational support to the students, parents, educators, school administrators, and the communities throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. They have a stationary FabLab in Brownsville, PA, and a mobile lab that travels to schools and events throughout the region.
- The original “model” of a star (left) was machined in wax at the bottom of a “box” deep enough to contain the mold material.
- A two part silicone compound was mixed and poured into the box. After curing, the mold (right) contains a negative space in the shape of the model. This brand of silicone is rigid enough to hold its shape at temperatures high enough to withstand the molten metal, and flexible enough to be able to remove the finished project from the mold after casting.
- A soft metal in bar form was placed in a crucible, then heated in a furnace until the metal liquefied so it could flow into the nooks and crannies of the mold. The metal solidified again at room temperature. The bubbles in the final product (middle) are a result of air getting captured between the mold and the metal, creating an interesting, if unintended, result.
STEM Schools in Egypt
ShopBot's Sallye Coyle just returned from two weeks of working with Fab Lab Managers from the STEM Fab Lab schools distributed throughout the Lower (Northern) and Upper (Southern) regions, as well as the Cairo area, of Egypt. While her main focus was getting the Fab Lab managers comfortable working with their ShopBot PRSalpha gantry tools, she also created projects that used multiple CAD/CAM software, digital fabrication tools, and electricity.
Dr, Adel Salah, Fab Lab Manager at Ma'adi Girls School in Cairo, taking ownership of the ShopBot.
ShopBot in... Mongolia!
Just a few weeks ago, ShopBot’s David Preiss made a trip to the other side of the world to Mongolia for an installation and training in the capitol city, Ulaanbaatar. While it was winter here in North Carolina, it was nothing compared to Ulaanbaatar while he was there – where typical January temps dip below -25F°! A ShopBot 4 x 8 Gantry tool was installed in Mongolian National University of Education in collaboration with Inter Science LLC, and will be part of a digital fabrication space accompanied by an Epilogue Laser Cutter, 3D Printer, and a variety of other shop tools.
ShopBot's David Preiss (far right) with two engineers from Inter Science and a teacher at the Mongolian National University of Education.