Makeathon

As I look back on 2016, an event that I hosted in July stands out as the highlight of my activities with my startup business, Pintstein.  I worked really hard to promote the event to teachers by putting up posters in the break rooms of  the schools I substitute taught at and making content on websites like edutopia.org and teacherspayteachers.com.  In the end, only two teachers participated in the event but my other social media advertising efforts resulted in 6 kids attending my 3D printing and laser cutting makeathon.

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The first kid I want to tell you about is Amdi.  Amdi used TinkerCAD to design a donut action figure called the Mighty Krunk.  I was really sad to see how many errors and glitches Amdi experienced with the TinkerCAD design software.  Most of the time TinkerCAD is user-friendly but Amdi’s experience makes me wonder if a software that relies less on the internet should replace tinkerCAD as the design software that I teach in my 3D printing 101 class.  I was so happy when Amdi finally powered through glitches and got a file that he wanted to print.

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Getting to see a child’s face after something that has only lived in their imagination becomes a physical object is so much more rewarding than any of the money that I make.

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Brandon also designed an action figure called “Grand Robo.”  The file that Bandon gave failed the first couple times I tried to print it because there was a slight gap between the body and the shoulders of Grand Robo but it was easy enough for me to fix them and then get Brandon a successful print after the makeathon was over.

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Kyra had to go to a soccer tournament but she had one the most ambitious designs of the event.  Kyra wanted to make a figurine of her dog.  We surveyed what is already out there on thingiverse and none of it appealed to Kyra so we talked about how I would design a dog from scratch.  My favorite design software is Blender.  It is not user friendly and it is not a CAD program but Blender thinks in the language of STL files better than anything else I have come across.  I was astonished to see the design that Kyra made the day after her soccer tournament.  I think it would take me 6 hours to make this low poly dog design and Kyra had never played with Blender before I the event!  I don’t know how much her architect father helped with the design but I am impressed by what she made in a software she had never seen before.

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If you don’t like the blocky look of it maybe this will improve your opinion: there are tools that allow you to smooth low poly designs like this, I just don’t know how to do use those tools yet.

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Niko had his heart set on laser cutting some sweet designs into a skateboard.  I was nervous about the paint on the skateboard but we worked through the basics of running the laser cutter on some clean plywood that I had left over from other projects.  We made a plaque with the design on it instead of getting it on the skate board during the event. I hope Niko was able get his skateboard etched on the laser cutter after the event.

screen-shot-2016-12-25-at-8-52-01-amHarrison designed and laser cut a box for his grandfather.

 

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Lila wanted to make a mask so I taught  her how to make the design in TinkerCAD but it turned out to be bigger than any of my print beds.  I digitally cut the design into three pieces and printed them individually.

Remember how I wanted the Makeathon to be for teachers but only two Teachers showed up?  Amber and Elise were planning on bringing kids from North West Passage High School to the Hack Factory to make things and sell them in the school gift shop.  I taught Amber and Elise how to 3D print and laser cut key chains with the North West Passage logo on it.

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In July I got engaged and in October I got promoted at Boston Scientific.  I have been putting less energy into growing my company, Pintstein, since the Makeathon but people who have an idea but don’t know how to make the design or people with a 3D printer that needs repairing have been contacting me occasionally. I make sure that I serve the business that finds me but I am not putting time into trying to generate business at the moment.  I fully intend to renew my efforts to bring Bioinformatics to market after my wedding in October of 2017. Only a fool doesn’t listen to feedback and the feedback I have gathered over the last 2 years tells me 3D printing is not going to pay the bills for at least a couple years.

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I am not certain that the world is a better place because of my attempts to get my bioinformatics kits to market but every 3D printing class I have hosted and 3D printer I have repaired has allowed others to achieve some of their dreams.  Entrepreneurs have a hard road, thinking of the service that I provide people who want to learn 3D printing is the grit that keeps me going.

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