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Monthly Archives: May 2010

In need of a windy day

Earlier in this blog you can see my CAD design for the wind turbines project (at least my interpretation of what it could be like). Anyway, I thought you guys might like to see what it looks like in reality. Hence the photos J

You might be interested to know that with an old CPU (486) fan blowing onto the turbine I can generate ONE WHOLE VOLT   .. overwhelmingly unimpressive eh!, so it’s perhaps time to print an alternative/more efficient turbine or try to use a different motor as a generator….. ooo, errr, just realised, isn’t that what the project is supposed to be about J





Pitching RapMan Resources.

On the BfB Forum there was some discussion about the “difficulty” of the resources that I have been producing for RapMan. i.e. How technical? How much detail? Age of students they are aimed at???? Well here is some of my current thinking…. I hope it makes sense and please contact me with any thoughts you may have (via the comments on this blog or the BfB forum) regarding these teaching and learning resources


I teach 11 to 18 year olds so…. With many of the resources I have written I am aiming at the younger end of the age group and many of the ideas are intended to be to “spark ideas” with students/teachers rather than being a complete package. In this way the project can be individually modified to suit the curriculum in different countries, the different facilities/resources available in various schools and most importantly so that students/teachers feel that they have some “ownership” of their own learning/teaching. 
My other reason for aiming the resources at the younger students is to “catch them when they are young and enthusiastic”. If younger students are equipped with the skills and knowledge early(ish) in their schooling they will in all likelihood carry this with them and develop/grow into young designers/technologists/engineers…. something we really need more of  


 As the technology of RapMan is still relatively young and few if any schools have had machines for about a year even the older students are starting at a low point (but have a much steeper learning curve)… so simple projects can help them accelerate through the early stages. They are also more likely to develop their own projects and ideas when they become more expert.
Interestingly the results of the survey seem to indicate that at this stage the resources are pitched at a good level for beginners through newbies to those with the confidence to develop their own projects. However there are some indications that the more technically advanced/older students still need some support and/or ideas…. that’s why I have started to look into the idea of “How to” videos. (more of these to follow in the summer holidays hopefully) 

So….. Watch this space  


 who knows where I will go next  



Anyway, that’s enough of my educational philosophizing for now, I hope I haven’t bored you all  :


And, once again a huge thanks for the support/ideas/inspiration that all you guys on the forum give me towards developing these resources…. If only a few students learn something new, enjoy what they have found out and are therefore better able to contribute to society then it has all been worthwhile.




Wind Turbines… a new project on the wiki


Design and make Wind Turbines… This resource suggests ways that model turbines can be designed, printed and tested to compare their efficiency. This project will be suitable for Design and Technology, Science and maybe Geography.


(note the stl files are included as examples only, most are printable…. but print at your own risk!… better still design your own using 3D design software)


NetFabb Engine for RapMan- Revisited

I finally got my licence for NetFabb at the end of last week… Yay!!


Just  installed and will be testing soon….. First impressions…. wow.


When I get a bit more proficient and have produced a few prints I’ll try to put together some “How To” videos and/or worksheets, so watch this space.


From what I can see NetFabb produces some excellent prints in a far more straight forward way than Skeinforge (from the point of view of students/teachers) …. and this is from software that is still in beta, and judging from the discussion on the BfB forum it looks like there are some significant improvements in the pipeline.



How To… Videos

Here are 3 new  videos intended to be “How to” guides for using RapMan. The videos on the blog are low res versions for preview. if you want to use or download them then  they have been posted on YouTube…..  if possible view the videos in HD. see the links at the bottom of this post

This video is about creating designs in Pro/Engineer for use with RapMan

Watch on Posterous

Converting Pro/Engineer parts to .stl ready for use with Skeinforge or NetFabb

Watch on Posterous

Generating g-code with Skeinforge

Watch on Posterous

Links to the videos on YouTube (Hi Res)

creating designs in Pro/Engineer for use with RapMan

Converting Pro/Engineer parts to .stl ready for use with Skeinforge or NetFabb

Generating g-code with Skeinforge


They are a bit experimental, if they work well then more will follow sometime soon


What software??? Part 2

In the previous post on this subject I temptingly posted a screenshot of a page from this resource. Well i thought I would play a bit more with the blog and post the actual pdf file. (note. ALL resources will still be published on the wiki!)…. but i might be tempted to also post new resources on the blog directly, Not certain about this yet so if you have an opinion please leave a comment


Download this file


CD Distribution… initial thoughts


I have been giving some thought about how to distribute the RapMan Resources and wondered about whether BfB might include a starter CD/DVD in the kits they send out to education customers.

So, I have been playing with CD Menus (see the picture J), not too certain yet so will have to chat to the BfB Boys.



If anyone is thinking about creating CD/DVD menus then you will find there is very little available in the free/open source areas… so I’ve been trying ashampoo’s version (10 day trial)…. so far so good, I might shell out for the full version as it is not too expensive J





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