Project Astroleo: Our HAB is Ready for Launch!

Our custom, student-designed, student-built, student-programmed HAB rig is finally ready for launch. PVC pipe structure with 3D printed joint connectors. RaspberryPi controller with SenseHat data logger coded with Python. PiCamera capturing HDMI video and stuffed Astroleo selfie-shots. Arduino GPRS+GSM tracking system. 3D printed cases and mounts all the electronics.

Let’s hope for a clear day with kind winds in the future. Our planned launch is halted if we don’t have clear skies or if the prevailing winds would blow the balloon into NYC airspace, or simply send the rig over the Atlantic Ocean where we cannot recover the payload.

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Project Astroleo: Progress

Our student-designed HAB rig is coming together! Just a few more tests and tweaks. We’ve been building and gluing the PVC rig together, fitting the 3D printed parts, modifying the sensor and GPS tracking programs for our Raspberry Pi, and testing the results… we take a walk around the park with all the components turned on, and then we read the data after we return. Onward and upward.

Project Astroleo: Division of Labor

The MakerClub is set to tackle a new challenge: building our own High-Altitude Balloon (HAB) from scratch. Last year we put together a HAB kit from High Altitude Science and did have much good fortune and success, but this year we want to burst the abstraction barrier and design own own rig and code our own sensor computer.

To accomplish this task everyone has to chip in, so students have elected to form different teams to build the many parts of this contraction. Rig engineers will prototype physical designs, sensor programmers will use Python to code a Raspberry Pi with sense hat to log weather data, camera coders will enable a PiCam to record video of the journey, 3D modelers will locate and design custom 3D printed parts for the equipment, and our documentary team will record the design process with photos and video interviews.

Watch our planning & goals presentation here:

MB Air Keyboard Divider

Touch typing can be challenging for very young students. My 3rd graders needed a gentle reminder not to cross their hands/fingers over to opposite sides of the keyboard while they were first learning to type. In an attempt to aid them, I made this:

This little wall bisects the keyboard of an Apple MB Air and provides a helpful visual and physical reminder of where learners should keep their hands. It’s not a perfect solution, but it helps. The right side of the object has “N” & “7” characters debossed effects to indicate where to set the divider on one’s Apple keyboard.

You can download the files here from Thingiverse and print out your own on a 3D printer. Enjoy!

New 3D Printer

I’m trusting my MakerClub students to set up our new Ultimaker 2 Extended 3D printer. I told them that “If you can’t put it together, then you can’t use it.” … and then crossed my fingersIMG_4417

3D Design & Fabrication

We are moving to a new digital fabrication unit in the 5th grade. We’ll build on our structural engineering unit concepts and transfer that to a future classroom furniture design challenge. After some initial skill building with hand tools, computer-aided tools and modeling software, the students will be tasked with designing actual furniture pieces that our faculty and staff will request. Below is the slideshow that students are presented with over the first 3 weeks.

3D Printing Prototypes

Our after school Maker Club is always looking for work. I regularly solicit the faculty and staff at our school for problems that our students could solve. I like to ask other teachers, “What can we make for you?”

We recently began work on a project for our After-School Program. They require stands for a number of tabletop signs that display the names of the various after school offerings. These signs help instructors gather students in the central cafe before they disperse to classrooms. The current models are starting to break down, so it seemed like a good time to reach out to the Maker Club.

The video compilation shows some of the steps that students went through to design a model in TinkerCAD and then 3D print it for testing.