Author Archives: The Mad Scientist

About The Mad Scientist

Muahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! Ok, now that I have that out... I can get to work. For as long as I can remember, I have been making things. This habit used to be called "Inventing" but has lately been repurposed by the Maker community with the term "Maker". While there are some subtle differences between Inventing and Making, I have discovered my passion for both by inspiring a new generation of Makers. In this quest to spark creative thinking and problem solving through practical and exciting projects, I draw on my background in biomedical research, high energy fiber laser development, and 15 years of building laboratory devices. As an experimental physicist with a PhD from Case Western Reserve University, I have seen research and development from many angles and am now bringing that experience to middle school and high school students who want to make everything from catapults to cybernetic augmentations. Through the medium of Making and Inventing, students are transformed from passive observers of education to active learners. This powerful shift fosters deep insights, creative expression, collaborative thinking and a host of other skills that are difficult to learn in traditional settings. Along with my wife Debby, an accomplished constructivist educator, I am on a quest to transform education and am looking for like-minded collaborators to bring hands-on learning to future generations.

Educating Makers: The First Step to Revolutionary Change

MediaBistro invited us to come out to their Inside 3D Printing conference in NYC last week. This particular conference had a large contingent from the investor side of 3D printing as well as a good showing from local artists and designers. As I reflected over what message we could deliver from the educational side of 3D printing, we realized that we have a very important message for business leaders: partner with local schools to create makerspaces because Maker education creates better thinkers for your businesses. Continue reading →

Educating Makers: The First Step to Revolutionary Change [Resources]

[abstract][presentation resources]   Abstract: [dropcap]T[/dropcap]able Top Inventing’s Chief Maker and Resident Mad Scientist, Steve Kurti is delivering an impassioned plea at the Inside 3D Printing Conference in New York City about the importance of maker education as a catalyst of world change.  [dropcap]M[/dropcap]aker Education inspires the acquisition of relevant skills, collaborative learning strategies, and technical confidence. This powerful learning approach, encouraged by educational theorists, will create superior learners and ultimately a globally competitive army of innovators. The rise of consumer-focused 3D printers has strongly promoted Continue reading →

Students creating the future

Students at the Renbrook School in West Hartford, CT have been in the news.  We first met teachers Jean and Jay last fall after a friend of mine introduced us.  After a couple of discussions over an internet video connection, they decided to take the plunge into 3D printing in the classroom.  We flew out to Renbrook to do a short one day training with them to familiarize them with the technology.  After a fun day of creative exploration and loads of questions from the Continue reading →

At the 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank

Debby and I had a chance to speak at the 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank, CA, this past week (Jan. 31).  We had a blast and quickly got information overload.  For those of you that couldn’t go, we thought we’d share a few highlights. As we entered the conference center we saw some awesome 3D printed scupltures and other 3D art.           Conference Keynote After admiring the 3D art in the entryway, we made our way to the keynote address Continue reading →

Interview with David Thornburg

At the recent 3D Printer World Expo conference, I had a chance to interview the innovative and dynamic Dr. David Thornburg.  David is a forward thinking visionary in education and his Thornburg Center is home to some of the most important minds in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education as well as strong advocates for the emerging philosophy that continues to surface here at WRI3D:  Maker Education.  I had the privilege of serving with Dr. Thornburg on a panel at the 3D Printer World Continue reading →

Two Bugs, 3D Printers, and 4th Graders

Clark Barnett is a 4th grade teacher who is using the Afinia H479 3D printer in his classroom.  He has been experimenting with having the kids design and then tell stories about the designs.  I could write about the theory behind writing prompts and engaging kids, but this video pretty much says it all.  Thank you, Clark, for giving us all a peak into the power of 3D printing beyond STEM subjects!    

Practical Applications for the Afinia H479 and Arduino

Recently, I helped a student build a device known as an electrospinner.  The purpose of this device is to make nanofibers.  Nanofibers are just very small threads.  Now what do I mean by “very small”?  By very small, I mean that compared to a human hair the diameter of these nanofibers are about 250 times smaller.  Which means that if we took the hair and somehow made it hollow that we could stuff almost 50,000 of these fibers into the hair!!  That’s crazy small! Anyway, Continue reading →

The Dot

What can I say but that I absolutely love the work of Peter Reynolds. My kids love The DOT, and our Welsh Corgi is named Ish because even though he’s small, he’s dog-ish. So when our little 3D printing company got a booth a couple of spaces down from the FableVision booth at CUE2013, we were quite excited. On Friday afternoon at CUE, we had a chance to speak with the folks from FableVision and in the process of the conversation someone brought up the Continue reading →

What is Support Material?

This video shows support material and the process of getting it off.  We show two models with support material:  one with a lot and one with a moderate amount.  Not all model print with support, and we’ll post a video soon about how to minimize support material when laying out your model.  Until then we hope you enjoy this little video.  

Filament Clips

We discovered that if we just let the filament go “sproing” after we removed it from the printers that the filament could get tangled.  The problem is that reinstalling a tangled roll can lead to the extrusion stopping mid print.  Then you have a half-finished print that is most likely useless.  Thus was born our filament clips.  We downloaded a couple from Thingiverse, but they didn’t really do the job for us.   Below is a link to download our solution for the Afinia filament that we Continue reading →

Save your earbuds, get a 3D printer!

So here’s a really great superficial reason to get a 3D printer, but we just uploaded a new design for an “Earbud Saver” on Thingiverse.  Here’s what we wrote there: “Ever pull your earbuds out of your pocket, see the tangled mess, and wonder how much more abuse they will put up with? Yeah! Me too! I happen to like the set of earbuds in the photo so much that I’ve cut back the wires and soldered them several times already. Then I started using Continue reading →

Makin’ it on Broadway – Metrix in Seattle

So I thought that since I was already in Seattle for business that I’d stop in to one of the local hackerspaces.  After a little searching online, the one that looked the closest and most promising was the Metrix Create:Space.  After finding my way by bus to Broadway East in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle, I hiked up Broadway for a few blocks.  Pretty soon the little arrow on my Android phone suggested that I should be right at the front door.  However, I Continue reading →

CUE 2013 was awesome!

I just can’t believe the outpouring of support we experienced at the Computer Using Educators (CUE 2013) conference these past few days!  This post is a big thank you to all the teachers, administrators, and support staff of the schools represented at the conference.  You guys were so much fun.  I think I can speak for Debby, Kandi, Emilee, Seth, Matt, and Riley when I say that the Windy Ridge Innovation (WRI3D) crew had a blast hearing your stories and ideas for 3D design and Continue reading →

A page out of tech history

Amazing!!  I am not easily brought to tears.  I’m not quite sure why this story did, but I’ll hazard a guess.  It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around numbers like Mach 3.5 (~2700mph!) even with modern technology, and I’m a physicist with a bit of an inkling about what these numbers mean.  Yet this plane was flying missions as early as 1966 (the year my wife was born and about the time that “color television” became popular)! The technology and craftsmanship that gave Continue reading →