Sunday, June 22, 2014

Gears with logos

The theme for the kids VBS (Vacation Bible School) this year is "Workshop of Wonders" by Cokesbury.  I participate every year with my kids but was extremely enthusiastic that the theme this year was for makers so my goal is to show off the 3D printer and make some things for the 50 or so kid participants.  It's no fun watching a 3D printer without having something to touch and even take home.  However, I am fairly new to 3D print design so this was only my second endeavor to design something of my own.

I was trying to think of a project where each student would get a gismo to take home but we could put them all together to build something as a group. This fit in with the theme quite nicely however most of my ideas were a little too complex to get off the ground.

I finally settled on building gears with logos and holes on one end so they could attach them to their backpacks.  I thought I could assemble all of the gears together to make one big machine the kids could play with that all worked together.  With this plan in mind I searched though thingiverse and youmagin for some designs I could use as a starting point.  I was really excited when I found this one by http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40410 that can be used to make gears that fit into Lego technics. I have a ton of lego technics and I really liked the idea that the motivated students to integrate their gear with their own legos.


After some iteration, I ultimately ended up doing is importing the images into Inkscape and converting them to a dfx file which is a vector map using instructions I found on a couple of website. Here is an example image I loaded into Inkscape

 

Using this technique I was able to make a variety of gears and they worked well with lego. Here is a video of one of the gears working with my old first generation mindstorm:
video

This turned out to be a really flexible design and I was also able to someone elses openscad files to make other gears with different projects I found on thingiverse. For example here is one with a robot in a openscad file from thingiverse http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:53285:

Here is another one from an stl file I found on youmagin that originally was a keychain modification for the ultimaker (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/ultimaker-key-fob-flat):

I really like this design because it is easy for me to swap out different logos based on the event.  I uploaded my source files and these examples to github:

https://github.com/colbrydi/gear-givaways

And posted a few on Youmagine.org

https://www.youmagine.com/designs/gear-givaways

Please let me know if you find this helpful and email me links to gears that you have made.

- Dirk