Monday, February 24, 2014

We visited the HORNETS in Fulton

Patrick, Suzanne, Christa & Bill

We made a quick trip to Fulton High School today to visit their fab lab and got to see all of the cool equipment they are using in their engineering, physics and other classes.  Suzanne Hull and Jim Hall were so nice to have us visit and answered many questions.  They also gave us these samples.

I know fab lab stands for fabrication but to us it also stands for fabulous. GO HORNETS!

Our Fulton FAB LAB Visit!

On Monday, February 24th, Patrick, Christa, and I had the pleasure to meet Assistant Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Hull and Science and Engineering teacher Mr. Jim Hall of the Fulton Public School district.  The purpose?  Just last week, they unveiled Missouri’s first K-12 school Fabrication Lab (   Congratulations to Fulton on their historic achievement!

We toured the classroom where the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers, MakerBot 3D scanner, and Roland vinyl cutter are located.  The printer was in the middle of creating a white golf ball.  Jim shared his experiences with the equipment and gave us some good tips on expectations, handling, and operations.  For example, when asked about length of time to print, a standard golf ball at 100% fill takes almost 3 hours to print!   Tinkercad ( is the 3D CAD software of choice, and as a side note, Tinkercad also works with Google Chromebooks.

In the shop area resides many other pieces of fabulous equipment, but of specific interest is the Epilog Laser Cutter.  This unit requires a dedicated 110V circuit, external ventilation, and air assist.  They use a dedicated PC with CorelDraw installed.  When running, the ventilation system generated sound one would expect to hear in a shop environment.  One piece of equipment we hadn’t considered before is a Heat Press for heat transfer projects, i.e. transferring content generated from the vinyl cutter to t-shirts! 

We thanked Suzanne and Jim for their time in showing us around the lab, the demonstration, and for some of the samples we were given to take back.  Last, Jim offered his and his student’s services to help us with the establishment of our makerspace and training.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ThinkStations Are Coming!

One of the first steps in building an environment where patrons and entrepreneurs can work with video content involves purchasing hardware.  For the PC requirements, we looked at the following recommended software titles for manipulating video: AVID Media Composer, Sony Vegas Pro, and Adobe Premier.  Collectively, we wanted the PC hardware to meet or exceed the following specifications:

OS:       Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) (or higher)
CPU:    Intel Quad Core i7 or Quad Core Xeon processor
GPU:    NVIDIA Quadro family
HDD:   Minimum 250 GB 7200 rpm SATA drive

At UCPL, we’ve had a good track record using Lenovo equipment.  Continuing that relationship, our focus landed on the Lenovo ThinkStation class workstations.  The model specifically selected became the Lenovo ThinkStation C30.  Building on the base model, we added a 6-core Xeon processor, 1 TB SATA drive, and chose the NVIDIA Quadro 4000 graphics card.  Our hope is that the equipment selected will give our users a rich and fast video processing environment.

To get the machines ready for public use, we will build them with Microsoft Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-bit, Microsoft Office 2013, and a host of other library-centric software.  For system protection, we use Centurion SmartShield to ensure the same user experience each time a patron finishes their session.  If no issues with the build and configuration, these workstations will be in service starting next week, and then follow-up with the video editing software at a later date.