Biomechanics and Catapults

Last week I had a blast teaching 13 students from the Field Museum’s Digital Learning Department the basics of the 3D modeling program SketchUp. With the help of the Museum’s Fabrication Department and their two ShopBots, the students began designing and modeling catapults after only a couple hours of training.

Catapult  10561746_10152129498952273_5227711713399092135_nimage22

Creating catapults is part of a two week summer program about Biomechanics from the Machine Inside Exhibit that is currently at the Field Museum. I had the chance to take a look at the exhibit before the class began, and it’s great! One of the best I’ve seen. It combines both physics and biology and has some fantastic examples of biomimicry. Biiomimicry is also part of our curriculum at DukeTIP . More on that coming soon.

screen-shot-2014-07-17-at-3-03-07-pm    screen-shot-2014-07-17-at-3-00-02-pm image48    image46 image44    image47 The catapults are being cut using a CNC mill this week and will be launched this Friday. You can check on their progress on their Facebook page or their WordPress page. For launch day, the students will continue to use their new SkecthUp skills to create 3D printed projectiles.


3Doodler’s Total Domination

I felt like Ralphie’s dad when he finally received his “Major Award” when I finally got my 3Doodler in December. It was like “The soft glow of 3D Printing bliss gleaming in the palm of my hands!”
3Doodler Opened  ???????????????????????????????

So the first thing I made was a Santa hat for my FoldableMe, also a great Kickstarter project. Ok, really the first thing I made was those squiggly blobs in the photo….

Once I got the hang of using the 3Doodler I wanted to put it to the ultimate test: the very first ever 3D Printer Cage Match held at Chicago’s Beauty Bar. I had missed the deadline for entry so I entered under the radar. The battle took place in a very low lit room with most of the light being provided by a disco ball. The challenge was to 3D print a siege weapon to then fire marshmallows at the slower competitors trying to build their weapons. The odds were stacked against myself and the 3Doodler. We were up against formidable odds: a SeeMeCnc Orion and Rostock Max, Rep Rap, Ord Bot, UP! Plus 2, and even a Shapeoko mill.

2013-12-12 19.54.01   2013-12-12 20.19.36   2013-12-12 20.19.15

But the competition didn’t even stand a chance. Little did they know I now had the most portable, easiest setup, fastest warm up times, and fastest design to construction times of any 3D printer on the market. Also the cheapest with no 3D modeling skills required!

Mallow  Launch

With the release of the latest Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing and all of the new machines and products coming out at CES for 3D Printing, don’t count out the little guy the 3Doodler! It really provides the fastest way to go from idea to physical object, even though it might not be the prettiest object.

Download the stencil for the Desktop Catapult here. It will also be available on The 3Doodler web page too, where you can find a lot of other great designs. #Whatwillyoucreate?

Thank you to Simpleswitchlabs, SeeMeCNC, Inventables, and Beauty Bar

Back for “Good”

I have been dormant since July of 2012 but, no more! I have been overly busy since that time. I Finished a Masters in Architectural Engineering at IIT, Co-founded The 3D Printer Experience, helped launch a hacker space SSH:Chicago, helped build an urban farm, traveled, taught and, found love. All of those adventures and projects coming soon starting with a photo that I took before going dormant.


Looking forward to what’s to come for 2014!

Paper Archiecture

Using the Flattery SketchUp Plugin I created a fordable model created out of 5 sheets of paper. You can cut them out using an old school method of a razor blade or you can cut them faster with a laser cutter. So from 3D to 2D and back to 3D!

Image      ImageImage

Thanks to everyone who voted for this project in the past!

3D Scan Your Face!

Here is a quick tutorial and setup for scanning with the Xbox Kinect. Yes that is the video game system, a toy!  So for less than a $100 you can now scan your friends and anything else your heart desires.


First you need an Microsoft Xbox Kinect with USB adapter. You can buy one anywhere the Kinect purchased by it self comes with the USB adapter you can find plenty of used or refurbished ones on the market.

Next you will need a list of programs and installs to actually make the 3D scanning possible. Here it goes!

Kinect Software you will need to download and install 2 programs from here. Free

KinectRuntime and KinectSDK

The actual scanning software is ReconstructMe! Free

All of the rest of the programs are needed for post preduction of tghe actual scans for 3D printing.

MeshLab is for converting the original scan file from a .ply file to an .stl file. Free

The final program is used for cleanup of of the model for 3D printing. Netfabb can do basic trim and fill of any holes that may have occurred during the scan. Making the model “water tight” for 3D printing. Free


My head is downloadable at Thanks to Mike Moceri!

Also to make scanning a little easier print out a handle at

Bridgeport Day 2012!

The first ever Bridgeport Day was a huge success!  Even the rain was not a match for the community of the future.  It was a great site to see.  The parade at one point stretched about three blocks along Morgan with only one police escort leading the way.  The Residents of Bridgeport marched on through the rain gaining momentum as they passed by onlookers that may of had no idea what was actually happening.

The parade ended at Benton house where the block party continued for the remainder of the day.  The rain may have turned Benton House’s gym into an actual zoo, yes there was a sloth, but the event was still a huge success.  The Pop Up Pup Park even saw a few four legged friends brave the weather to have a good time.  We even got some help from past 26LAB students to help set up the Park.

A day that will be remember by all and hopefully not the last!             Link to more photos.

Everywhere a Pop Up!

Version Fest 12 starts today!  There are going to be Pop Ups everywhere for the month of May in the neighborhood of the future, Bridgeport Chicago.  There are going to be Pop Up bookstores, art galleries, donuts, parades, dog parks, and Bridgeport Day!

Myself and 26LAB will be participating in Bridgeport Day along with a bunch of others like ssh:chicago, lionVSgorilla, and many others. Check out Bridgeport Day for more.

Click on the image to learn more about the Pop Up Pup Park, part of Bridgeport Day and keep checking back to see more on Version Fest and Bridgeport Day throughout May.

Porsche A No GO!

Entered the Porsche and Fast Company Magazine competition and was not selected as one of the top 25, but I did design a cool chair inspired by Porsche!  Fast Company is one of the best magazines out there that combines business and design. Here are links to the top 25 and you can decide for yourself who the winner should be?  My favorite is probably the bicycle and the backpack, maybe they would like to park at the Bike Oasis.

Paper Toys for Good!

Please help out a great organization that I have admired for a long time, One Tail at a Time.  They are a no kill dog shelter, that does many great things for the pups in Chicago.  Here is a paper pup that I designed for them and for the love of my dog, Jada.  

Click on any of the images above to help One Tail at a Time and receive your paper pup!