Retiring a giant

I have personally worked at 3 different NASA facilities and
visited at least half a dozen. I also worked for GE Healthcare for
a while, which endeared me to that brand in ways few outside
of GE could understand. So when I first started at Stennis Space
Center (where I currently work) a giant piece
of machinery being uninstalled caught my eye quickly.
This piece of equipment had been on site for probably longer than I
have been alive. At all NASA facilities, and manufacturers like the
one I worked at while I was with GE,
old machinery is surprisingly common. Calling
either GE or NASA “cutting edge” would be an understatement, but
you don’t need glass office desks, or brand
new everything to be cutting edge. Older equipment that
is still in use today is there because it was built to last. I
really loved seeing this article about
the NASA Crawler, which is essentially a
GIANT tank that carries the shuttles
out to launch. In the article it talks about upgrades to the
system, but how it couldn’t possibly be replaced. When I see
machines like GE Space Heater get retired it feels a little like
the changing of the guard to me, and I only hope the
equipment that our generation builds is not only better, but
performs as long as the equipment our grandparents built.

3D printing in schools

A fellow I met through a LinkedIn 3D printing group, Davvid Lewis, posted this in the group a while back, I thought it was awesome to see the curriculum they are forming around 3D printing. I honestly thought I hit the publish button… but apparently I didn’t.

Original thread.


Here is a copy of the way we are teaching CAD & 3D Printing at Discovery School this semester. Please keep in mind that I have only 50 minutes, once a week with the kids.

3D Design & Printing at Discovery Charter School

Class size 12 (four groups of three)

Objective: Introduce the students (and their parents) to 3D Design & Printing through the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs on the computer and the physical “printing” of their designs on the 3D systems 3D Printers.

Student Expectations:

– Be on time (crucial since we only have 50 minutes a week in class)
– Access the CAD software from home
– At least once a week, look for news about 3D Design or 3D Printing in the news
– Work in their teams
– Join the off site labs for printing of their final class project designs

This semester we are breaking the program into four blocks

Block 1: Introduction & Overview

– What is CAD
– What is 3D Printing
– Selecting your software
– Your first “print”
– In The News

Block 2: Learning to use CAD

– Selecting the software
– Creating initial designs
– Modifying designs
– Rotations
– Lofts
– Cool stuff

Block 3: Semester project

– Team assignments
– Project Definition
– Project Scope
– What you WILL do
– What you will NOT do
– Timeline

Block 4: Production (to the timeline)

– Design the parts
– What WILL print
– What is HARD to print
– Test a print
– Revise as needed
– Schedule team build days
– Print the parts
– Assemble it
– Options for “printing”
– Cubify Service
– Other outsourced printer services
– Presentations of projects