Makerspace and MakerBots: What can they Do?

BY TaiSonya Tidwell, N.Y. (NCC News)—  The Makerspace in the Kimmel computer center at Syracuse University held an open house for students, faculty, and staff. The Makerspace has 3D printers available to students for free.

Most of the 3D printers are called MakerBots.

What Do MakerBots Make?

Senior Engineering major Timothy Meyer and his research group used a MakerBot to created a robotic hand that mirrors the tindons in a real hand. The glove controlled interface allows users to operate a robotic hand without touching it.

“they need to have robots that can go into hazardous environments with the dexterity of a real hand,” said Meyer.

Meyers robotic hand will be able to pick up things that humans will not have to touch.

Not only do students create entire models of objects, they also create pieces that make machines and gadgets work.

“I call the piece the mothership,” joked graduate student Charles Mayaka.

Mayaka created a piece for a model airplane, that allowed it to fly.

How Does a MakerBot Work?

The MakerBot melts a lanyard like material onto a flat service, building upward to create the 3D image of choice.

“It uses layers upon layers of molten plastic. its like a precisely controlled hot glue gun that uses a plastic,” said electronics technician of Markerspace,  John Mangicaro.

The top axis of the MakerBot moves back and forth horizontally dropping the hot material to create each layer of the project.

The process can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 10 hours depending on the size and complexity of the object.

“you might find creativity that you never thought you had, in designing and building.”

How can you make 3D images?

3D printers are not unique to the University and have been popping up all over the Country.

Tinkercad and Thingiverse are a two of many websites that allow creators to build their own 3D images on the web for free. With an email address you can create an account and begin to design.

There are short tutorials on these websites for using 3D software to make sure image is formed correctly.

Not into 3D software design? These websites also have picture of objects that have already been designed, that you may print.

Mangicaro says the programs are fairly easy to use and they are fun.

“”you might find creativity that you never thought you had, in designing and building,” said Mangicaro.

If you are not a student, 3D printers like the MakerBot are also available at the New York Museum of Art and Design.