Friday, December 15, 2017

AHS Robot Rodeo!

The Ashland High School Robotics Club recently hosted their third annual Robot Rodeo! Find out what the Robot Rodeo is all about by watching the video below. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Proxxon Thermocut Hot Wire Cutter Tutorial

Proxxon Thermocut Hot Wire Cutter
Image result for proxxon thermocut hot wire cutterWe are lucky enough to have our own hot wire cutter than can be used for cutting materials such as plastic and foam. The hot wire heats up and melts and cuts the materials in lines and curves so that many creations can be formed at ease. Styrofoam is very bumpy and hard to cut, but by using the Proxxon Thermocut, all creations are made quickly, easily, and smoothly

  1. The first step of any tutorial is to plug it in, and make sure that the chord does not get in the way or drapes over the machine because the wire will be hot. Also, if you have long hair, make sure to tie it back.
  2. At the top of machine where the wire is attached, there is a metal part that holds the wire in place. Before you cut, make sure to adjust it so that the wire is vertically aligned and that it is tight and won’t move. This can be done by tightening the knob on the backside of the picture to hold the position of the wire. to make the wire straight, thread it through the notch on the end of the metal piece on the top.
  3. On top of the wire spool is another knob. This one holds the spool in place, and should also be tightened to insure that the wire will not move. Twisting the knob will tighten the grip on the spool.
  4. Adjust the hot wire so that it is taut. It should run straight vertically, and not have any slack to get the best cut. This can be done by twisting the spool of wire at the top of the machine. It can also be controlled with the knob to the left of the red light on the bottom by the switch controls. this tightens the lower grip on the wire.
  5. Once everything is squared away, adjust the temperature accordingly based on the density and thickness of the material. This can be adjusted using the knob to the right of the red light, and by using the guide printed on the side of the machine.
  6. Switch on the machine and happy cutting! To cut your material, simply slide it along the surface to get the most precise cut. There are grid lines on the surface of the machine to aid with cutting, as well as a protractor and other tools that could be useful for any project.
    1. Pro tip! If you would like to cut out a shape with a hole in the center, but you don't want the cut out line to get to it, you can remove the wire and place it in the center of your cutout. Turn off the hot wire cutter, and using the knob to the left of the light, loosen it all the way and pull out the wire. (this is also how you can change/cut it and get fresh wire). In order for this to work, a small hole needs to get poked through the inner hole. You can use things like pencils, or anything skinny and sharp that will make a hole.Then put your material through the wire after its reattached, and cut out the middle hole. After the cut is made, turn off the cutter, and take out and put in the wire again.The picture shown above is an example of a square with a cut-out hole in the middle.
  7. CAUTION! Once the machine is turned on, the wire heats up automatically and it ready to be used right away. This means that there is no wait time to let it heat up, and also that it gets very hot very quickly so be careful.

Common Problems for the Flashforge Creator Pro 3D printer

Common Problems of the 3D printer

Our Printer

The Two printers currently in the makerspace are the Flashforge Creator Pro and the Reprap Guru. In this blog post, I will be focusing on the creator pro printer, although, a lot of the information in this post should apply to both printers.


Plastic does not adhere to print bed

This is the most common problems that affects the 3D printer and has a very simple solution. When the plastic extruded onto the print bed comes off the bed while printing, it is most likely because the print bed is too low under the extruder, so the plastic cannot adhere and becomes unstuck.

To align the print bed, go into the utilities menu and select "level home plate" to begin. Then take the thin plastic sheet (at right) stored with the printer's tools. To level the build plate, slide the paper under the extruder of the printer, then manually move the extruder around the plate and slide the paper around underneath it. The goal of this is to have the paper be able to move, but the extruder plate should be high enough to cause a small amount of friction between it and the paper. in any areas where this is not true, adjust the hight of the print bed in the different areas by twisting the knobs underneath the print bed

Loading and Unloading Filament

One of the most common practices of the 3D printer is to load and unload filament, switching them to a different color or plastic type.

To accomplish this, first select "filament loading "in the utilities menu

From there, select to "load right" or "load left" depending on which extruder you plan to change. Do not select unload, even when unloading filament, instead, plan to unload the first filament and load the second while the printer is heated for loading the correct extruder. To avoid clogging when loading, make sure the printer is "loading" not "unloading", and be sure to preform the entire transfer without stoping the printer from heating.

After the printer is heated, to unload the first filament, press down the switch on the right or left of the extruder (depending on which side you are loading) in order to release the clamp on the filament, then pull the filament out of the extruder and removing it from the plastic tube that leads from the back of the printer, where the filament spools rest, to the extruder. (these tubes can be easily pulled out of and into the extruder for convenience). Do not hit the "ok" button yet as that will stop the printer from heating.

Once the first filament is removed, feed the second filament back through the plastic tube and into the extruder. Once the filament enters the extruder, it should be caught by the clamp inside and will begin to be slowly pushed into the extruder. Allow this process to run until the filament begins to exit the extruder. Once this is completed, hit the "ok" button to stop the process and the filament loading is complete.

Replacing the Sticker on the Print Bed

To replace the sticker on the printer bed, first preheat the bed. Use the "preheat settings" in the utilities menu to adjust the temperature to be 80 degrees Celcius.

Once the print bed had been heated, peel the sticker off the bed, watch out as the printer bed will be very hot, so use some sort of tool to begin the peeling, then use your hand one the sticker begins to come off.

Clogged Extruder

A clogged extruder can be one of the most obnoxious problem for the 3D printer. It can often be hard to fix; however, proper loading and unloading of filament should prevent this from happening.

The first step is to preheat the extruder to its maximum temperature. Since clogging usually happens when the plastic melts before entering the extruder, it is important to heat the extruder as hot as possible and allow the plastic to heat up. the first possibility is that the plastic is just partially melted and will come loose if you load another filament and press down with it to push the first filament out.

If the filament remains stuck, more drastic measures mist be taken. If possible, get a paper clip or other extremely thin metal pole that is straight and hold it using pliers. Then apply pressure into the extruder, pressing the switch on the side of the head to remove the clamp that normally blocks the path of the metal.

If this fails, the the best course of action is to disassemble the extruder and search for another possible problem. Make sure the extruder has cooled before attempting to open the extruder.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How to Use the Graphtec CE6000-40 Vinyl Cutter

How to Use the Graphtec CE6000-40 Vinyl Cutter

Ben Pepper

     The Graphtec CE6000-40 is a vinyl cutter that is able to cut shapes out of sticker paper, allowing users to make their own custom stickers. Once mastered, it is easy to use and lots of different stickers can be made. This tutorial provides knowledge on the machine that will help make it easy to master.

Using the Graphtec Studio Program

     Projects must be made in the Graphtec Studio computer program prior to printing them out. Graphtec Studio includes lots of tools which can allow the user to customize their sticker. Some of these tools include:

  •  Draw a line, draw a rectangle, draw a round rectangle, and draw an ellipse, which allow users to draw the shape in the name of the tool.
  •  The draw a polygon tool makes it easy to draw lots of lines and connect them together to make a polygon. This polygon can be changed by double-tapping the shape, which allows the dots of the polygon to be changed.
  •  The draw a curve shape does what the draw a polygon tool does, but with curves instead of lines.
  •  The draw freehand tool does what the name implies. This tool can be useful in tracing a picture to making it into a sticker.
  •  The draw an arc tool allows the user to draw an arc with the ability to choose the radius of an arc and how many degrees it is.
  •  The draw a regular polygon tool can be used to draw a regular polygon with up to 60 sides.
  •  The text tool allows the user to write text, with the ability to change the font and size of the text. This text can be placed in a sticker.
  •  The knife tool is used to cut a shape into two separate pieces.
  •  The fill color and line color tools allow lines and the shapes to be colored, so that a difference can be seen between them.
  •  The trace tool allows a highlighted space to be copied.
  •  The design page tab modifies the size of the design page.

Cutting the Sticker

     To cut out a sticker made in Graphtec Studio, the cutters window needs to be opened. A message will pop up on the right of the screen which says "Could not connect to the CE6000-40." This problem can be solved by turning on the power button, which is on the left side of the vinyl cutter. Both the Graphtec Studio program and vinyl cutter will tell the user to "Load Media." This means that the sticker paper must be loaded into the Graphtec CE6000-40. The sticker paper roll should be placed behind the machine. There is two places with wheels where the roll needs to be placed.
     The sticker paper needs be placed through the vinyl cutter and under both sets of wheels. To do this, the rollers on which the sticker paper is placed might have to be moved. Once this is done, the lever in the back which is down should be pulled up to secure the sticker paper. Now, 3 options come up on the vinyl cutter screen. Option one (Roll-1 Front Edge) should be chosen, as excess sticker paper will return back to the original roll of sticker paper which will prevent any extra sticker paper from being used. The cutter is now ready to cut and the hitting the button "send to cutter" allows the program on the computer to transform into a sticker.

Taking the Sticker Out of the Paper

     To take the sticker out of the paper, the switchblade should be used. The lever in the back of the vinyl cutter can be pushed back down to release the paper. There is a crevice on the machine that allows the sticker paper to easily be cut in a straight line. But, before doing this, make sure to check where the sticker ends so that when the sticker paper is cut, there is no part of the sticker still attached to the roll of sticker paper. It can now be pulled off of the sticker paper and attached to any surface. To cut out any small letters the metal hook can be used. This will destroy the sticker letters but still allow the letters to show up as the color of whatever surface the sticker is attached to.

The Possibilities of the Vinyl Cutter

     So much can be done with the vinyl cutter. Using all of the tools that Graphtec Studio offers, I have been able to make such creations as a sun and a wreath with lots of different colors. It can be used to print out a sticker of anything, such as a whale, a name, and even a smiley face. There is so much that this vinyl cutter can do. Now, with background knowledge on the vinyl cutter, lots of stickers can be made.

How to 3D Print from Tinkercad to the Creator Pro

Have you ever wondered how to print your 3D Design from Tinkercad to the Creator Pro? Find out by watching the video below.