December Events

December First Friday event at Castlemakers.
December First Friday open house at Castlemakers.
Brian Howard shows off our new laser engraver/cutter at the open house.
Brian Howard shows off the new laser cutter/engraver at the event.

December has been a busy month at the makerspace, kicking off with an open house as part of the Main Street Greencastle’s First Friday event. We had a great crowd, several estimated over 100 people, most of us were too busy explaining things & showing off things to count during the 2 hour event. Well, it actually went well beyond that – some folks couldn’t seem to get enough and we were there more than an hour after things were supposed to end.

3DPO group inspects 3D printed Imperial Walker parts.
3DPO group inspects 3D printed Imperial Walker parts at the December meeting.

Our regular monthly events, the Castlemakers CoderDojo & the 3DPO (3D Printer Owner’s) Meetup, also were interesting – always enjoy getting new faces at the CoderDojo and the 3DPO Meetup. 3DPO topic this month was a show and tell of a good and bad 3D prints. The self closing iris box (printed for the Open House) everyone found interesting, but it was the 3D printed Imperial Walker that quickly became the main topic. Rather amazing project that was done at Area 30, literally over a hundred hours of print time & more than 30 pieces that were eventually assembled into something that could walk(sort of). For the ‘bad’ prints… well everyone learned and tried to diagnose what went wrong on the failures. One common theme, many of the failed/bad pieces were part of the good ones – reinforcing the mantra practice makes  ‘better’  & it takes some 3D printing failures to get really good parts.

Two of the 3D printed ornament designs from the Castlemakers Kids meeting.
Two of the 3D ornament designs that Castlemakers Kids made and printed at the  meeting.

For our last Castlemakers Kids meeting of 2016 we used Tinkercad, an online 3D drawing program, to create holiday ornaments. Then we printed them out for the kids to take home! This was also a test for an intro to 3D printing class that Castlemakers will be offering in 2017. Right now we don’t have enough computer equipment to do that, but hopefully donations and grants will get us there next year. You can read about some of our additional plans for 2017 on our what we offer webpage.

Putt Putnam County Playoff

Scorecards & voting ballots were available for those playing the course.
Scorecards & voting ballots were available for those playing the course.

Last month was our first annual Putt Putnam County miniature golf course set up at the Putnam County Public Library. A first time event with pretty limited promotion we were unsure about attendance. Turns out it was great, there was a steady crowd in the Kiwanis Room downstairs in PCPL – two estimates put it at 70-75 people for the two hours we were ‘open’. The designs were fantastic and most played the course multiple times.

A younger player's excitement shows at a successful putt...
The excitement shows with a successful putt…

A little refresher on our fall build project. Teams were formed in August and September (most were 3-4 kids working with a mentor) to design and build a miniature golf hole with Castlemakers supplying any materials if needed. There were 5 categories for judging and if youth were involved they were encouraged to do most of the building. You can read more about the build guidelines & categories on our project page.

This hole won best Putnam County themed hole, even though the moving covered bridge didn't get completed.
The Hale’s hole won best Putnam County theme, even without the moving covered bridge completion.

We’ve already used holes in another event and were asked to bring them to another in February. So one learned lesson is making a few more portable holes. And the large jello moat seemed like a really great idea at the time but…

I also overhead some mentors talking about the advantages of building the holes in a common place (our makerspace) where the groups could see other group’s progress. We’re definitely doing the event again in 2017, for there’s already scheming minds planning more elaborate designs.