1st Week at COSI – 3D Printing Adventures (and Breakdowns)

Image of 3D printer printing an elephant.

This has been my first week on the floor of COSI for the Maker Corps. It seems like it has flown by and a lot of kids have learned about Artbots (moving robots that make art) and 3D printing and 3D modeling. I am amazed by all the kids that just come into an activity and really understand the ins and outs of how something works.

On Monday, we made Artbots out of foam pool noodles that you can pick up from the dollar store. These are a great base for any robotics project because they are flexible, will not break if dropped, and kids already understand the material and how to it works. After a little bit of work making battery holders and attaching a button to their motors to create the vibrating motion for their bots, the kids set them moving across a big sheet of paper which is now hanging in the BigKidLab at COSI.

The rest of the week we explored 3D modeling and printing. I printed some small elephants and one large elephant (seen in the picture) that I found on, a searchable database of free 3D models. 3D printing is really mesmerizing and some kids just sat in front of the machine and watched for minutes (that's a long time in a kids' world). We also explored Tinkercad, a free 3D modeling software for kids, and many kids made printable models that they got to take home. Unfortunately, half way through the day of Thursday the printer had a malfunction and we a still trying to sort out the problem. Kids kept 3D modeling all day though and their imaginations ran wild, from making 3D chickens to interesting abstract sculptures.

This weekend I've been in the Gadgets Café with Hannah, a fellow Maker Corps Member, stitching our way through light up puppets, animals, and name badges. We are actually using a conductive thread that can be sewn into fabric and carry an electrical current! Every weekend this summer the Maker Corps will be in the Gadgets Café from 2p – 4p with a variety of programming topics from Stitch, Melt, Design, and Spark. Check the COSI website for more details. We do have a signup located in the Gadgets Café every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning and spots fill up quick.

Well I think that's all for now. Happy Making!

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