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Author Topic: Need suggestions for "Girls Exploring Tomorrow's Tech" display  (Read 1095 times)
Incomple
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« on: February 28, 2018, 23:32:51 pm »

CamBam Friends,
In 2 1/2 weeks, I'll be taking part in a company-sponsored event that's designed to expose middle and high school girls to careers in technology.  It's a neat concept, and apparently about 900 girls are registered for this 3 hour event.
I was asked to do an interactive display on CNC applications; and I was hoping you all wouldn't mind giving suggestions and proofreading my placards/billboards once I have them designed.  I'd really appreciate any input.

Here's my plan:
I've been given a "space" budget of 1/2 a table.  The girls will be in a gymnasium wandering past loads of other tables and technology exhibits.
I am buying a cheap CNC router; a small, 3-axis GRBL machine from Newark.  It's a piece of junk, but it should work alright as a demonstration unit for a bunch of curious teenage girls.
I'm going to pull the spindle off of the machine and replace it with a spring-loaded Sharpie.  That should make the setup acceptably quiet and safe.
I'm going to hook this CNC to my own computer.  Unfortunately, I use Mach 3, (parallel port) and I don't think it's compatible with the USB input on this CNC.  Any suggestions for controller software?  I found a few Windows-based GRBL drivers, but I can't tell if one might be better than another.
I'm going to make a 22"x28" poster board display with an extremely basic definition of G-Code along with a simple example.  What else would you put on this display board? (remember, we're trying to get the attention of teenage girls.)
I was planning on letting the girls write short G-code snips on the manual input feature of whatever controller software I end up using.  Then we'd "graduate" to CamBam.  I was thinking of letting the girls write out text using stick fonts and then "engraving" them onto notepaper using the aforementioned Sharpie.

Anyhow... that's the plan!  My hope is that we can make some of these girls realize that this stuff isn't actually that complicated after all; which will lead to them realizing the utility of CNC tooling.  That realization could even shape the way the approach their own career paths.  And of course, I want it to be fun for them!

Now, do you have suggestions that might help me teach these kids?  I need something that will make them want to learn more about my exhibit, and leave them feeling like they made a discovery.

I plan on posting the .cb file for my poster.  I'm just going to draw it out with a Sharpie on my own (much larger) CNC router.

Thanks in advance for your help; I'm really looking forward to this event!
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lloydsp
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2018, 23:53:27 pm »

If the PC has an Ethernet port, there is a good "3 parallel port" ethernet-based board available.

Sorry... I just bought one a month ago, but I'm in the throws of mourning a friend who was just killed in traffic, and can't find the vendor right now.

Someone else here will know, though.

Lloyd
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Incomple
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2018, 00:00:38 am »

I'm sorry for your loss, Lloyd.  I know that I don't post much here, but I've read so much of your input that you feel like a friend.
Sincere "thank you" for taking the time to respond to my post even in your current grief.
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atwooddon
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2018, 00:14:03 am »

Incomple

There is a thread here on CamBam showing how to setup GRBL for CNC and it will run via USB connection from your computer.  I set up a small CNC with it and it worked.  Not as 'fancy' as Mach3 but should work fine for what you need to do.  Here's the link to the thread

http://www.cambam.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=6482.0

Don
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dave benson
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2018, 01:39:25 am »

Hi Incomple

Yes Kast's plugin would work fine and has a few advantages over the other Gcode senders.

I've been to a few events (these were public come if your interested events).
I noted a couple of things.
The Demographic of the attendees went as follows, Older and middle aged men and their sons,
not many Ladies and girls.

Most of the older and middle aged men were interested in machining (milling and lathe work).

The boys that were there, were mainly  interested in milling,  using routers to produce parts for their RC cars, Plane s or Quads.  Lot's of interest.

The two things the girls showed interest in were Laser Rastering of images (Photo's ect on wood panels which vendor gave away to the audience, He had the foresight to pre-prepare  some as this takes some time to do).

The other thing which drew a lot of interest was 3d printing which was popular with all the youngsters really.

Dave
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EddyCurrent
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2018, 08:57:50 am »

Probably the most important thing would be to use a phone as the controller  Grin

I liked what Dave Benson said, you could use this plugin for CamBam; http://www.cambam.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=6927.msg56421#msg56421
You would require image processing software on your PC and also a simulator like Camotics.
Take a picture of the student then see how they would look cut in wood.

What I have found is that boys are as much interested in the process and equipment as they are in the finished product, whereas girls seem to focus more on just the finished product, but of course that is a huge generalisation.
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driedeker
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2018, 16:07:37 pm »

why not try this plugin for CamBam and GRBL

http://www.atelier-des-fougeres.fr/Cambam/Aide/Plugins/GRBLmachine.html
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Incomple
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2018, 23:51:22 pm »

Really like a lot of these suggestions!
I will keep you all posted as I work through this project.
Thanks for pointing me to the GRBL plugin, I'm looking forward to trying it out.
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Incomple
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2018, 12:25:58 pm »

$200 mill has been outfitted with a Sharpie!
I like how "low tech" this solution is.  It makes the rig look a little humorous; which in turn should make the display look less formidable to these girls next week.
More to follow, I still need to design the placard that will accompany the display.

Let me compress a few photos and I'll post them shortly....
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Incomple
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2018, 12:30:42 pm »

Hmm... I keep getting a "your post timed out" error when I attempt to attach a .zip file of my project photos.
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Incomple
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2018, 12:36:51 pm »

Let's try this....


* Capture 01.JPG (34.66 KB, 548x700 - viewed 46 times.)

* Capture 02.JPG (69.94 KB, 883x715 - viewed 50 times.)

* Capture 03.JPG (91.3 KB, 821x797 - viewed 54 times.)

* Capture 04.JPG (77.37 KB, 992x742 - viewed 47 times.)
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lloydsp
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2018, 13:27:53 pm »

I like the idea of "rubber band compliance springs" on the 'stylus'!

Lloyd
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Incomple
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2018, 13:58:14 pm »

Friends,
The machine works great!  Thanks for the GRBL recommendation; that really made the setup much easier.
Let's see if I can attach the .cb file for the poster that's going to accompany this display.


* GETT Poster Concept 01.JPG (94.12 KB, 658x818 - viewed 56 times.)
* GETT Poster.cb (12.84 KB - downloaded 24 times.)
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Incomple
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2018, 14:02:45 pm »

Alright, now that the .cb file attached to my previous post; here's more background on the poster that I'm making.
This sign is 22"x28" (happened to be the size of the posterboard at my local Dollar General) and I'll be drawing it with my CNC using a Sharpie.  I was struck by how little information I could actually fit onto this posterboard, so I picked what I felt were the top few points about CNC and G-Code.

If you think that I should make any edits for the sake of getting the attention of these high-schoolers, please let me know!  I'd appreciate any input.

Also, thanks very much for the comments and suggestions so far; they've all been very helpful!
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Incomple
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2018, 13:31:39 pm »

Today is the GETT event!  Thanks for all of your suggestions, I'm pleased with the setup that I'll be showing the girls today.

After realizing that there were some gross errors in my G-code example, I re-did the poster.  It's MUCH better now.

And I wanted to add: we've been authorized to use Lockheed Martin's official Twitter handle for the day if any of you would like to follow along (I think it's @lockheedmartin, but I'm a Twitter newbie).  In addition to my little CNC/G-code display, we'll also have the VIP helicopter that Justin Timberlake used to get to Super Bowl LII recently.  ... so I'm up against that.
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