Monday, April 28, 2014

3D Printing: It's Hammer Time!

Just another day at the office with Dave Dalton, owner of Hammerspace!

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. 
William Butler Yeats

It's exhilarating at times when you get to see how technology is changing to improve our world. One of things I love about what I do is that I get to I venture out into the community and beyond and meet new people who help me learn about new technologies in our digital world. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Dave Dalton, the mastermind behind  Hammerspace today. He completely embodies the whole STEAM initiative through his creative mind and skill friendly approach.

One of the many 3D printers you will see at Hammerspace

Hammerspace Hobby and Community Workshop has been around for about 3 years. It is “a curious space in Brookside where tools and devices of every size are placed for you to use at the exact time they are needed. It’s like a gym for folks who build and create. It’s where you go to exercise your creativity. It’s where you bulk up your knowledge and work out your designs.” You can take a class, become a member, or just pop by and get inspired by what all kinds of people are in there designing and building.

Sound magical? Well it is. 

Think back to school when you wondered, "when am I EVER going to use this ____." Dave shares he uses much of what he learned in many of his classes. He uses trig and geometry daily as he works with spatial awareness and integrates components from the areas of STEAM through projects in this community workspace. He is passionate about the design process and how important it is for all ages to learn how to plan out their creations before just clicking "print". There are many steps before you get to  actually print your 3D object. Dave talks the importance of creating designs collaboratively and how educational it is to actually print multiple parts which all come together to create one product. Manufacturing comes alive and is incredibly exciting when a group of creators work through it all together.

That doesn't mean you can't work alone at Hammerspace and you work with recycled and eco-friendly materials. One creator created this creature below (which resembles an elephant). It was designed and manufactured through 3D printing with the material PLA (poly lactic acid). In our "throw away" society, it is important that we manufacture using biodegradable materials such as PLA which is corn based. It also uses less oil and generates less pollution. Plus, with this type of manufacturing you are only producing what you need, as opposed to mass production: high quantities that create waste. Think about the latest version of an iPhone 5 case, which takes about 6 months to design, make the molding, package and ship out to sit on the shelf for about 3 months. Then usually 1/3 of the cases don't even sell. Money is lost, more garbage to deal with and onto iPhone 6 (which is set to come out this year),where cycle starts again. 

Animal of the Future: 3D printed in this color and with movable parts, all one object (not separate parts).

This all sounds great, but what about real-world application? For example, how is the business world using 3D printing? I talked with David Reid as well today, a Principal at the national award winning Gould Evans architectural firm. He sent this pic to me to give a visual of how 3D printing has an amazing impact on their business. 

Below is an image of an architectural model for the new sanctuary at Church of the Resurrection.  Gould Evans is providing local architectural support to HGA Architects out of Minneapolis.  This is a presentation model they recently generated from a 3D printer – it’s pretty detailed as you can see and includes a removable roof section.

Is this an inside view of the Death Star from Star Wars? No, but it is the future of this world.

David explains that  there are two processes that are useful in the architectural business; 3D printing and laser cutting.  Each has a purpose with different constraints and outcomes.  Because 3D printing lays down layers of plastic, and the quality of plastic varies, careful attention needs to be made to the kinds of shapes one is trying to execute and choose the tools accordingly.  For example, if they are trying to conceptually express the height of a building via articulation of the floor levels, they will opt for a laser cutter as it utilizes bass wood. (If  they attempted this in plastic on a 3D printer, it would have been more delicate and required longer set times to avoid sagging while the plastic was still warm.)

"Don't let the sales gimmickry of 3D printers fool you into thinking you'll save magical amounts of time.  There's a lot of effort required to get the 3D model to a printable form.  But once you do, it's much easier to make modifications from which we can generate alternative design ideas to be evaluated in physical 3D form." 
David Reid, Principal at Gould Evans

Next time you need something or your child asks for a new toy. Think of how you could actually DESIGN, CREATE and BUILD it, and go do it! Head over to Hammerspace and manufacture something YOU can be proud of and then think of way to make it even better. Don't keep filling your pail with useless objects. 

Light a fire and use your mind.

Check out this dad who made his son a prosthetic hand with 3D printing. Unbelievably cool.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Take That! Are You a Cheerful Giver?

This giver of God is always smiling. He makes others smile, too.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  
2 Corinthians 9:7 (KJV)

Give, give, give. Seems like there are always opportunities to give. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and exhausting. Who should I give to? How much can I give? Why am I even giving at all?  In today's techy world, there are posts, tweets, emails and articles daily about how much more we need to give and why; to our communities, families, friends, and others we may not even know.

 Think about it, do you give because you feel like you have to or because you want to? How can we be cheerful about giving?   Let me introduce you to someone who inspires this exact charge.

It's always intriguing and refreshing to me when you meet a genuinely cheerful person.It reminds me of the quote from Amigos for Christ, "....what the world needs is people who come alive." When you first meet Danny, you think, "Wow, this young man has it right!" He's the kind of guy you want to be your brother, friend, role model and mentor for kids of all ages.  If it weren't for Danny I would not have had the opportunity to serve in Nicaragua with Amigos for Christ (read my post about the experience), this past January. I would love to share his story with you. 

During Danny’s first trip to Nicaragua, in July 2010, he came to understand a new way of life, a life based in bold and raw love. He describes this raw love as a simple love where people value not the worth of the clothes on his back, the language he spoke or the material things he has, rather they value the worth of him: his soul, his personality, his joy, and all that comes with life in general. 

He describes his experience as one that left him zealous for a change in his life in mind, soul and body. This change also influenced Danny to start running and eating healthier to be more readily available to help in any capacity causing him to lose almost 100 pounds. This new zeal for life is what brought about his return to contribute to the progression of life in Nicaragua with Amigos for Christ.

Danny during his transformation: physically and spiritually.

Danny didn't let his passion for Nicaragua diminish: rather he sought out the opportunity to share the story of Amigos for Christ and his experience in Nicaragua with faculty at Rockhurst University once he became a student, which influenced the University to begin taking a trip to Chinandega, Nicaragua alongside of Amigos for Christ. Because of his passion, several groups of us have had the amazing opportunity to give in Nicaragua.

Danny’s journey has continued over the past 4 years as he spent 3 weeks in the summer of 2011 and 2 full summers in 2012 & 2013 serving as an intern with Amigos. Reflecting on his time working in Nicaragua and looking ahead to the future Danny says,

What has captivated my heart is just what is written in 1 John 4:19 [We though are going to love- love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love]. I have experienced a crazy amount of love from the people of Nicaragua and I now see that I can put that love back into action through my work with the students in the Scholarship Program.

Be a cheerful giver. I AM!

Danny’s position on staff with Amigos for Christ will primarily work alongside the students receiving scholarship who are each sponsored by a donor here in the States. He is going to facilitate relationships between students and sponsors through Skype meetings, letters and other updates throughout the year. He is also going to support the students socially and academically by overseeing their requirements for maintaining scholarship, organizing retreats and serving as a mentor for these Nicaragua teenagers. With his support as a mentor he hopes to offer each student the opportunity to discover and seek after his or her dreams.

Let me end by giving you this: you don't have to go to Nicaragua to serve or give, you can serve and give to others in your own home! But, our world needs brothers and sisters in Christ to go out there and be cheerful givers in remote places. Danny, is one of these people. Even though you cannot go with him, you can be there for him and those he will serve; by educating yourself, passing this message on and/or donating to this cause. 

Sometimes we need a little help from our friends...our amigos.

Click here:Learn more and/or donate now

Sing it Joe!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Go Shorty...It's Your Birthday: 5 Techy Shortcuts for You

Don't let your tech device send you into maze mode.
(Photo taken from Labyrinth, the movie.)

It may not be your birthday, but I have some presents for you. Ever feel as though you are in a labyrinth trying to figure out how to wind your way around what should be a simple task on your tech device? You need a shortcut! We all could use tips to provide us more time for other things. I hope you have find many of these new and helpful.


1. Storage Wars: Every week it seems like one of my friends is laughing or complaining they don't have any room left on their phone, usually because of photos. So do this:

    • Dropbox (FREE)--allows you to instantly upload to this cloud based app and you can download it to your PC. I have my account synced on all my devices so I can get to any of my files, pictures on any device, anywhere, anytime. After you download this free app, open it up and go to > settings > Camera Upload > swipe 'on'. Anytime you take a pic it will upload into your private account. It's really easy to make folders and delete any photos you do not want there. While it's private and secure, in two steps you can share a link to any of your folders (individually or grouped) with anyone outside of Dropbox. Plus, when you invite others to dropbox, you get more storage. FREE
    • Open space: Wondering where all your space is going on your phone? Click settings > usage > then it will give you a list of what is taking up the most space (usually photos and music). You can decide if you want to delete an app or two or you will see how important it is to upload those pics somewhere else so you have more space for more fun.
2. Talk to me: Do NOT text and drive, ever, ever, ever. It's the 21st century. You can talk to your phone and it will text for you. Obviously Siri is the easiest, but there are other apps other there as well:
    • Dragon Dictation (FREE): you can talk and it will dictate any thing you say. Students use this quite a bit for typing papers, etc.  Very simple and easy to use. It's a lifesaver for me when I have long emails to type or papers to write.
    • Speak It! (1.99): This is the flip side of text to speech. Have some files you need to read, but short on time? Just copy and paste the text and this app will read it to you. Genius!

3. You're in Ctrl: It still amazes me how many people do not know these easy control key shortcuts. Learn this alphabet, saves a lot of time.

    • Zoom: If you cannot read the screen, don't squint. Just hold down the Ctrl key and then either + or - depending on if you want to zoom in or out of the image.

4. Your wish is my command: Much like the control key for PC keyboards, Mac has the command key. Check out Dan Rodney, an instructor, designer and "all around nice guy." He goes beyond the keystrokes and menu symbols.  Do yourself a favor and take just one minute to scan over all these shortcuts, pick a few to get started and instantly save your self time.

Battery Life

5. Jump start: You really can't save time on your mobile device if the battery is drained. Opt out of these features to save the juice, which will save you time.

  • Face to Face: You might want to get closer to Siri but it's not necessary. Holding down the home button will save time and battery as opposed to holding the phone up to automatically speak with Siri. Go to Settings > General > Siri > then disable "raise to speak.:
  • Getting jiggy with it:Turn off "parallax" motion on your interface. Every time you move or jiggle your phone you will see 3D icons sitting on your wallpaper. Looks cool but drains your battery. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. 
  • Keep the lights lowTurn off "auto brightness" adjust manually. Go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness > then you can turn off  "auto brightness" and manually reduce the brightness.

All this info for 50 cent...obviously, you could have more time to work out and rap like him. ;)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just Do It: Because No One Should Do It For You

Why is this slogan so popular?
Because it's true.

You know what I am talking about. We have all been guilty of just doing something for someone else, instead of them doing it. Sometimes, it's just easier...quicker.
What about you? What do you want to do? What do you want to achieve?

Why don't YOU just do it?


Do you know how special you are? Number one goal in the courses I teach, increase the confidence level of each student in that content area. Why? We can't achieve and sustain success without self-confidence. What's on your "just do it" list? Find a way to boost your confidence in an area you want to excel in--start small then build off of that. Everyone has a gift. Everyone can do something, every matter how big, no matter how small. Never underestimate yourself. Many times you are planting seeds, seeds you may not see sprout right away. Take care of them and you will see growth. Or if you are like me and don't have a green thumb, plant more! Keep trying, eventually you will sow great things.


There is the need for encouragement. It's true, we all need to feel loved. I don't care who you are, we are human.  We need to feel as though there is someone out there who's got our back. If you see someone struggling to achieve, give 'em a boost. Send a text, share a motivational website, give them a hug, or sincerely say, "you've got this."  If you are the one struggling, find that someone who can will be your cheerleader.  No one achieves success alone. It's those supportive ones along the way that get us to where we need to be.


Some tips people have shared with me when I was ready to throw in the towel:

  • Enough with the excuses.  If you need help, ask. It doesn't mean you expect anyone to do the work for you, but often times you need some good advice on how to get through, over, and beyond that roadblock keeping you from achieving your goal. And stop saying, "I don't have time." No one has time. We live in a world where everyone seems to be overextended and in a rush. I have to constantly work on "slowing it down." Stop and do it!  Whatever 'it' is: new hobby, new skill,  new job, new way to be healthy, new idea you want to try.

  • I'll start on Monday. If you have a bad day, commit yourself to tomorrow: Don't be that person, "I'll try again on Monday (when it's Wednesday)." Nope. You have tomorrow, make it happen. Do you have a student, child, friend, or maybe yourself who is having a hard time getting it done? Give yourself a positive pep talk (see video below to get started). Keep your goal(s) specific and attainable, otherwise it can be overwhelming. Blaming and feeling sorry for yourself is sometimes necessary, but you gotta get it together and get going.

  • Don't do things for others,  have them do it themselves.   Helping someone does not mean you have to take over whatever it is that they need or want to accomplish. For example,  teaching technology lends itself for the helper to become the doer. Therefore, we do a lot of role playing in my tech courses. If someone is helping someone else, the helper sits to the side and the doer sits with the technology device in front of them. The helper is encouraged to use their words and not take over the device. We talk about the importance of  encouraging others to listen when someone is helping them. I actually have some of my students sit on their hands when helping others so they don't take over the mouse or iPad! Remember- It's their deal, their journey, their 'it'. Encourage them to see it as a way to grow as a person, keep life interesting and enjoy what happens along the way. 

  • Inspire others: One reason why should you go for it? Because people are watching.  Big people and little people. The big people that care wanna see you achieve (your boss, your friends, your family). But I want to talk about the little people. They are watching you, whether you want them to or not. Whether you are a parent or not.  We want to avoid raising kids who are enabled and a new generation that gives up when the going gets tough. We want to show them that risk-taking is part of life, failure is part of life, hard work is part of life, trying again is part of life. It's not easy, but you can do it and they need to see you do it.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” 

 Make your "it" yours and just do it.
Do it and do it well.

Pep talk time from Kid President, he knows what I'm talking about.
(one of my fav videos, take 3 min and watch it--DO IT!)