My first paper on 3D printing is published

Before leaving Chicago State University in 2017, I took a sabbatical to explore a very different avenue of research from which I was originally trained.  I became interested in learning how digital fabrication tools, such as 3D printing, can be used to create inexpensive or customized scientific instrumentation that could be used for education or specialized research applications.  Now at The College at Brockport, I’ve finally put together my first 3D printed scientific instrument, which was recently published in the journal HardwareX.  The article, OMIS: The Open Millifluidic Inquiry System for small scale chemical synthesis and analysis, is open access, which means that anyone can read and download the article by heading here.

I’d like to think that when people do something important (like publish an article) they get interviewed.  Unfortunately, it’s that time of the semester where students are so stressed out, the last thing they want to do is talk to professors about anything other than “what’s on the test.”  So, if I were to give an interview, here’s the questions I’d answer (and ask) about the paper.

Continue reading My first paper on 3D printing is published

Spooky droids

Knitted BB-8 and BB-9E are ready for some treats.

As you know, Rozenn has done a most excellent job at adding some fiber-art-droid-designs to my office decorations.  She also likes to make sure they are appropriately dressed for the season.  This year, BB-8 and BB-9E are ready for Trick-or-Treat with custom costumes (and matching candy bags).  Remember, if you let your droid go trick or treating, make sure they only get capacitors and ICs for treats; they are allergic to chocolate.

Show your spirit – periodically

It’s Homecoming weekend at Brockport and Mandy, the voice-activated periodic table is showing off her school pride with green and gold periodic trends!

The four blocks of the periodic table.

OK, perhaps her colors are a little bit off, but give her a break; she’s a periodic table for crying out loud.  Does your periodic table have this much school pride?

Atomic weight – green is light and gold is heavy.

 

Mathematica catches the heat

I recently purchased the AMG8833 thermal camera breakout from Adafruit.  It’s an 8×8 pixel array of sensors that can be used to incorporate thermal vision into a project.  I’m interested in monitoring a thermoelectric cooler.  Adafruit provides a number of examples on how to interface the breakout with a Raspberry Pi or display connected to an Arduino.  I wanted to try a different interface and see if I could control it with Mathematica.  It took me longer to write this post than it did to write the software.

Temperature of 30×30 mm2 Peltier cooling device being measured with an AMG8833.

Read on if you’re interested in learning more

Continue reading Mathematica catches the heat

Periodic Tables at BCCE 2018

I’ve just gotten back from another wonderful BCCE conference (that’s Biennial Conference on Chemical Education) which was held at Notre Dame.  It was a great opportunity to catch up with some friends and colleagues that I’ve missed since leaving CSU last year to join the College at Brockport.

I presented some of the work I’ve been doing on 3D printed periodic tables and will blog about their construction and use in the near future.  There were some folks in the audience who wanted to get started right away with the objects, so I’ve posted them here on my website.  You can download a zip file that contains 19 tables (about 3 MB).

The zip file contains the following periodic trends:

  • atomic radii
  • ionization energies
  • electron affinities
  • electronegativities
  • human abundance
  • exceptions to the aufbau principle
  • absolute (Pearson) hardness

For the first four, there are four different sizes

  • 132×76 $mm^2$ table with title, f-block elements and symbols on each of the blocks.  These objects take about 3 hours to print.
  • 150×21 $mm^2$ table with no title, no f-block elements and symbols on each of the blocks.  These objects take about 2.5 hours to print.
  • 108×36 $mm^2$ table with no title, no f-block elements and symbols on each of the blocks.  These objects take about 2 hours to print.
  • 60×24 $mm^2$ table with no title, no f-block elements and no symbols on the blocks.  These objects take about 45 minutes to print.

As I build a collection of posts and materials for 3D-printed periodic tables, I will collect them here, so if you have interest in this project, bookmark that page.

What’s growing

Now that my students are wrapping up their summer research activities, it’s time to share some of my new designs.  This one is inspired by my students – they wanted to design and 3D print keychains – and Rozenn’s request to have name tags for our plants.

Rosemary, thyme and sage, with a bit of patriotism to boot.

Read on to see how I designed these, which involved a little bit of magic for the swash ornament.

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Ants Be Gone!

Our hummingbird feeder was inundated with ants. While there are plenty of commercial options available for solving this problem, I wanted to try my hand at designing my own solution. In thinking about how a water trap should be designed, I came up with the following critical elements.

  1. A leak-free cup for the water (duh)
  2. An upper attachment point that prevents tipping of the cup
  3. A lower attachment point that is integrated into the monolithic design.

Here’s the result.

I’m not fast enough with the camera to take a picture of a hummingbird.

 

Continue reading Ants Be Gone!

Students present at undergrad symposium

On April 28th, 2018, my first two undergraduate students at Brockport gave their first poster presentation at a professional meeting.

Shauna and Megan – ready to answer the tough questions.

The meeting was held at The College at Brockport this year.  There were 50 or so posters and about 100 attendees.  We also had a few oral presentations and the keynote speaker was Brockport alum Dr. Michael Nicholson of Precision BioSciences.

Megan and Shauna presented their first semester’s work on developing sensors and methods for OMIS: the Open Millifluidic Inquiry System.  Shauna is developing a method to perform alkalinity measurements in small volumes under dynamic flow conditions and Megan is working on a pH sensor based on anodically electrolyzed iridium oxide films.  They’ve made some great progress not only building confidence in their laboratory skills but also learning how to present their research (in addition to actually doing the work).  I’d consider that a good set of outcomes for their first semester in independent study (as Freshmen, no less).  Expect big things from these ladies.

P.S. Happy Star Wars Day.