Month: June 2012

Presenting: The MakerBot

The Media Center’s newest member, The MakerBot Replicator, is finally available!  After several weeks of troubleshooting and trials, it is now fine tuned and ready to print your designs!  Here is a look at the phases of the tuning process, through the creation of a unique Media Center keychain designed in Google Sketchup 8.

The MakerBot uses an Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, which is fed through the top of the extruder.  The extruder is heated to ~220C or ~430F, which turns the ABS plastic into a viscous liquid.  The extruder then positions itself just above the warm print surface and begins the expel the plastic in the formation designated by the 3D file.  Each print begins with a “raft,” which is nothing more than a thick grid of ABS plastic, that allows for the MakerBot to ensure that the rest of the object is built upon a stable foundation.  Below is a snapshot of the raft creation process.

Out of the box, the MakerBot and I were simply not on the same page.  This is my personal favorite of its early errant creations.  We are still unsure as to what caused the many problems with this print, but, by some luck, the mistakes were not repeated.


The staff and I had found that calibrating the system was critical for precise prints, and that the motor mounts needed to be tightened before each print.  As we grew more familiar with the hardware and software, our results began to improve.

Once we had perfected the printing of our adorable alien, we then moved to printing the “Media Center” label onto the bottom of our keychain.  This proved to be quite challenging, as the small letters were a bit too intricate for our settings.  

Finally, we were able to tweak the MakerBot to build as we requested.  By enlarging and elongating the lettering, the label became readable.  Here are a few final copies of our (exclusive) Media Center keychain!

If you or your department would have an interest in utilizing the MakerBot’s 3D printing capabilities, it is available in the Media Center located in the Bosler basement.  Please contact Brenda Landis or Andy Petrus to schedule a meeting with the MakerBot Replicator!

What is a flame

What is a flame?

Ben Ames has the answer.  The winner of Alan Alda’s Flame Challenge, which challenged scientists to explain what a flame is in a way an 11 year could understand, put together this great video.

Also, checkout the interview with him and Alan Alda on Science Friday, The Winning Answer to a Burning Question. My favorite quote “I had never before been involved in something where my mind was so fully engaged” this from a Ph.D. candidate.

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Spring 2012 Student Film Projects

Spring is always a busy time for film students at Dickinson College with multiple film classes in full swing. Not only do students learn the basics of filmmaking, but also they get a chance to create their own hands on projects. Students in David Warfield’s film and Liza Trevino’s documentary production classes have created some fantastic masterpieces with the help of some staff around the Media Center – along with a little bit of equipment! Check out some of the videos our students put together!


Hannah Kren

Hannah has been nice enough to hook us up with two videos she’s been working on. One a personal film project that she wrote and directed and one a documentary. In her first film, “Morning Cup”, Hannah explores just how much one might cherish their morning cup of mocha. What happens when you’re terrible rival takes both the girl of your dreams and your coffee?! In her second film, “Sweet or Deadly”, Hannah produces a documentary about HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) and it’s nutritional value (or lack there of) as well as its health effects. She then interviews college students and officials about the college’s role in regulating this potentially harmful substance. Check out her work below!

Morning Cup from Hannah Kren on Vimeo.


Sweet or Deadly? from Hannah Kren on Vimeo.


Peter Shapiro


Peter was kind enough to send us his documentary film project for his class with Professor Trevino. Peter’s documentary examines the role and status of LGBTQ organizations on campus right now along with the progression of attitudes towards these groups and the students who are involved in them over the past few years.



Daniel Cuevas Guerrero

Daniel was kind enough to provide us with our final featured student project. In his video “Missed Connection”, Daniel tells the story of a man who sees a woman that catches his eye, but is too shy to say hello and tell her how he feels. Regretting his decision he posts a love message on YouTube hoping for a reply. The consequences put him in an unexpected dilemma! If you want to know how things unfold from there you’ll just have to watch!


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