Jobs For Jobs Not LeBron

The people in America are still more ingrossed and impressed with athletic skills than science, math and technology skills. Yet there are few people who actually make any money in sports and even with the amazing growth in sports and the money being made by athletes, there is little economic trickle down to the masses. Sure restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions may benefit from the large crowds that attend the sporting events, but the majority of the jobs produced by these events are low paying, mostly minimum wage jobs.

EIC has been a strong proponent of finding ways to utilize 3D printing as a training tool to encourage children as young as 8 years of age to use their creative minds to actually make something to hold and use. This transition from drawing on a computer screen to creating something they can hold in their hand jump starts their opportunity to be a viable member of a productive society than using sports as a potential career vehicle. 

While many people may disagree with this philosophy, the fact that the rest of the world is moving ahead of the US in many areas should be of a concern for the US. All major corporations are looking for ways to compete in this constantly changing business environment and they recognize the need for technological skills sets to help them create new products, processes and concepts.

EIC has seen a growing interest in what we do and our on-going relationships with the school systems in the counties bordering Englewood, Florida. There are people in the educational community and business community that realize something needs to be done to encourage our youth to develop better skill sets that will create new businesses that can acually offer jobs to people that pay more than $10.00 an hour.

There is always resistance to new ideas and the older generation has some real issues with the speed in which technology is affecting their lives. The younger generation has little interest in going backwards and their life tie-in with digital technology will only widen the gap between the two groups. Yet this move into technology will eventually benefti everyone. Steve Jobs saw that need and recongized that barriers are only temporary and people will eventually realize the benefits of new technology, even if they don't always understand it.

For more information on EIC, our programs and 3D Printing processes, please contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The Z Gap

Working with four 3D printers can sometimes be a little daunting, especially when you are try to set the Z Gap. For those of you who have a 3D Printer you know what I mean. For the unititiated, the Z Gap is the distance from the tip of the extruder nozzle to the surface of the build platform ( or bed ). This distance is critical in making sure the object your are printing comes out looking like the one you designed on your 3D software.

The difficulty comes in setting the gap. I use a very thin piece of paper that seems to provide the optimum gap distance as I move the head around to different parts of the build plate to make sure the gap is the same from side to side and front to back. There are a few new printers that actually have self-leveling build platforms but they are also smaller machines.

EIC has been working with the 3D Printers for almost two years and uses them daily to print out parts for prototyping as well as promotional ifems and one of a kind products. Becuase of our reputation, EIC is now getting companie from as far as Orlando and Ft. Myers to work with us and our STEM engineering students to develop, design, print and build new product concepts.

Taking a new idea from drawing to finished production part is daunting. WIthout the use of 3D Printers most people would have to spend thousands of dollars and months to just come up with the prototype. EIC can go from concept to finished prototype often in less than two weeks and for 1/100th the cost. And, once we are done with the design, we give you the thumb drive with the g-code files so you can take it to any fabricator or injection molding company and have your parts or product made in quantity.

For more information on EIC, please go to our website at: http://www.englewoodincubationcenter.org or contact Don Musilli at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Open Source - Stay The Course

If the iconic corporate American structure is a bull-dozing Tank, then the ever evolving Open Source system is a F22 Raptor. The speed of information and idea exchange is absolutely amazing and getting faster and attracting more individuals and companies every hour. Yes, Open Source is the new way to make your ideas go and grow using a world-wide base of experts who believe that sharing information is better than keeping the advances in technology a secret. 

Open Source is counter intuitive to the standard create, design, patent and keep under wraps process that is typical of the corporations that spend Billions of dollars a year to keep their information proprietary. Corporations hold dear their patented processes as they need to stay ahead of their competition and also protect their shareholders vaule in their company. 

EIC has been a proponent of Open Source sharing as we have been slowly moving our 3D Printing equipment selections to the Lulxbot TAZ4 open source 3D printers. These units are extremely well built, can print in more than 8 different materials and can be modified to fit our specific requirements if we need to do that. And, the Lulzbot forum group offers an active group of like-minded individuals who are continuously experimenting with different materials and 3D design concepts. In addition, there are 3D groups and small companies around the globe that openly share their insights, ideas and failures with anyone who wants to reach out.

EIC recently acquired our 3rd Lulzbot TAZ4 3D printer and placed it at Lemon Bay High School, in Englewood, Florida. We have one in our facility and North Port High School, one of our first EIC program schools, has the other one. We anticiapte purchasing more of these units and the new MIni-TAZ units coming out in January of 2015.

As EIC continues to add more Schools and organizations to its "Connect-to-the-Community" programs we move closer to the Open Source systems and process as we belive this is the way future companies and creations will be built. This is not your Father's buisiness world anymore.

 

Open Source

We purchased our third 3D Printer 8 weeks ago. The new Lulzbot, TAZ4 made by Aleph Objects of Ft. Collins, CO. is a unique machine in that many of tthe parts are actually printed. Also, this unit, which has a large build platform; 11"x11"x11", can currently print the following materials; ABS, PLA, HIPS, Nylon, Wood, Ceramic and soon Bronze.

The unit has a large power pack which allows for addition of a second print head if needed and the build platform can be expanded both up and out if you have the right materials and technical know-how. The software is Printrun or Pronterface and the slicing program is Slic3r, a very popular open source program that is updated often and usually to resolve issues suggested by the faithful following.

Open Source really means that you have access to the ideas, modifications, print materials and other aspects of 3D printing from individuals and companies around the world. If someone in Bulgaria comes up with a better method of printing a certain type of part, this is shared on the Open Source network and accessible by anyone who wants to use it.

Unlike our MakerBot printers which are locked into a preprietary software operating system, our TAZ4 unit can use any number of packages that can position, slice or provide high degree of modifications to the print program.

Slic3r offers a wide range of options for printing. Aside from the Configuration files that give you set temperatues and fan settings for different materials, you can change the infill, layer height, shells, diameter of filament, temperature ranges during printing, and specific instructions when printing with materials that require temperatures above 240 degreee C. 

Currently, if you need to change the horizontal rotation of an item you can use Cura, an Ultimaker software program that allows you to take the .stl file and change its position and scale prior to sending it to Slic3r. So in some cases you make use three software programs to print. Sounds complicated but it really is easy and offers a lot of options  especially when using files from other sources.

EIC can now offer a much better product print based upon the capibilities of the TAZ4 unit. We are already seeing an increase in the number of individuals who want us to make a replacement part for something they can no longer purchase or locate at a reasonable price. Open Source is one way that a small operation like EIC can compete globally from our small operations in Englewood, Florida. 

Contact Details

Englewood Innovation Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 465, Englewood, FL. 34295
Phone:  317-796-7617

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.englewoodinnovationcenter.org

 

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