Overcoming Tech Issues

… with a 9 year old computer from Craigslist.

Many students come into the makerspace in the hopes of 3D printing something. It’s not too hard to take a file from an STL to a finished print within the span of 20 minutes, but then the student loses out on the joy of creating that STL file! This is a glaring problem for a self-funded makerspace- I just don’t have the money to buy a new computer to dedicate for use in the space right now. But, I found one on CL for less than $100, and it will do the job (plus it’s a nice big case that we can open up and swap out hard drives and memory when that time comes, too). The students loved seeing the inside working parts of that computer, because on their laptops they never really get to see what memory, hard drives, and motherboards look like!

Previously, when we started trying to use 3D CAD (computer-aided design) programs, we found that the chromebooks and the Pis just could not handle it, so we were stuck using other peoples’ STL files.

That all changed this weekend, when I was finally able to get my hands on a PC that was almost 9 years old, but did all that we needed to do in order to create a model from nothing and send to the printer via SD card. The process took just a few minutes for a student to make the model, we exported it, dropped it into Slicer, and had it on the SD card over to the printer in minutes.

Now, a student can come to the space, work on their model and prototype it that very day on that dedicated computer!

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