Friday , 25 July 2014
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Paper Fabrication with Silhouette and ModelMaker

Paper Fabrication with Silhouette and ModelMaker

Silhouette SD paper and vinyl cutter

Silhouette (aka Craft Robo) paper and vinyl cutter

I recently stumbled upon a great web site for teaching with paper crafting – DigitalFabrication.org is from the Curry Center for Technology and Teacher Education at U. Virginia. The site is mostly about using a Silhouette (aka Craft Robo), a desktop paper/vinyl cutting machine about the size of a small inkjet printer.

Costume CampBells Soup Can

Matt's costume Campbells Soup Can

I have one of these machines and it is currently on-loan to CrashSpace. It does a good job cutting card-stock and vinyl.  One of the Crashers (Matt Pinner) used it to make a Campbell’s Soup costume with vinyl decals. Matt gave a class on using it back in May. I made some simple vinyl stickers for a car window.

Back to the Digital Fab site … they have some good videos and FAQ on the site about using it for teaching kids using paper cutting/folding (aka Kirigami).  One really cool video is this one showing the creation of a rack and pinion system from card stock.

They use a combination of Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw and a neat tool called fablab ModelMaker. The latter piece is a fairly low cost 3d modeler that drives the Silhouette and is targeted at schools/educational market.  They have a nice video showing kids from Punahou School (Oahu) using the machine with an inkjet printer to create ‘cereal boxes’ to learn math (although they may not know it.

I emailed the creators of ModelMaker and learned they are working on a program to roll the software out to a few more Hawaiian schools.  Also the software can create STL files to output to the Fab@School 3D printer.  Since this is the same format used by Makerbot, I’m going to have to experiment with it for both of my machines!

About Jerry

Founder of MauiMakers. Previously 30+ yrs as software engineer in bleeding edge tech such as UNIX(1978+), Computer Animation, Multimedia, Virtual Reality, Games, Location Based Entertainment, Military C4I, DARPA Research, etc. Thought FabLab was great new thing, so learned machine shop tech and moved to Maui to start one.

3 comments

  1. Just heard the DigitalFabrication folks won an award from the Digital Media and Learning Competition for their work. Award got them $185,000. Announcement page gives list of collaborators. I also note the competition was sponsored in part by National Lab Day org. I have presented the Makerbot at a couple NLD events. Any Hawaii teachers who sign up with them should drop me a note too. – Jerry@MauiMakers.com

  2. I don’t have one of those machines, wish I did. I am wondering if someone can tell me how the the can itself was made…under the label. My daughter wants to be a can of spinach for halloween.

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