On a recent Tuesday afternoon, a group of Haverford students learned to make a fork. They didn’t draw it or build it out of clay or solder it together. They created it on a computer using modeling software called Fusion 360, and then printed it using the new 3D printer in the VCAM building’s Maker Space.
“We together all created a fork—I thought was a fun, simple first design, ” said Maker Arts Technician and Coordinator Kent Watson. “But also there was a lot experimentation within that. You have a clear goal, you know what a fork looks like.”
Watson ran the workshop, one of several he’s been hosting this semester to introduce the Maker Space’s new state-of-the-art fabrication equipment to the Haverford community. (Other workshops have covered vinyl cutting, 3D scanning, and even a rubber-band-car build.)
Fusion 360 is a good software to learn if you’re interested in creating things in the Maker Space, because it can interact with lots of its tools. “You can create 2D designs and then use the laser cutter with Fusion 360,” says Watson. “You can create the tool path for a CNC router [a computer-controlled material-cutting machine]. You can export files. I like to teach it because I think it interacts with a lot of these digital fabrications.”
“My favorite part of the workshop was getting to see the rendering of the final fork I had designed,” said Danielle Jacobsen ‘19 “It was really cool to see how quickly a simple design can be created and edited to be ready for printing. I don’t have any experience in 3D modeling and printing, so I saw this workshop as an opportunity to begin learning the skills necessary to utilize the Maker Space during the time I have left at Haverford.”
“The value of 3D printing is that it’s proof of concept before mass production,” said Watson. “You wouldn’t 3D print a fork to eat food. It’s an exercise for learning how to design.”
Watson is encouraging students to attend his informational sessions about the equipment in the Maker Space. He will be hosting more next month, and the next semester, a sculpture class and an an app-building course will be collaborating with him and working in the space.
“Everything I learned was something new!” raved Jacobsen. ” My favorite command in the Fusion 360 software so far is one in which you can take a flat surface and pull upwards on it to create a 3D shape—your work comes together so quickly!”
Photo of Kent Watson in the Maker Space by Patrick Montero.