September 2020 STEAM Camp Curriculum

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The program involves 3 weekends of builds. Through the build and design sessions, we will use OSE Linux - a creative person's dream operating system - which is provided to all participants as a Live USB.

Weekend 1: 3D Printer Build. 2 8 hour days.

  1. Build a complete 3D printer from scratch - D3D Universal v20.07 - including a heated bed, extruder, and controller. Push the limits of what you can make yourself - and how you can start an enterprise in your community making useful parts.
  2. Learn to upload firmware, calibrate the first print - and begin printing.
  3. Build a 3D Printer Extruder from Scratch. Learn how an extruder works, and how you can redesign it yourself.
  4. Design Lesson on Making industrial-grade extruders with 80W heaters for 20 lb/extrusion rates
  5. Build a heated bed from scratch. The same technology of nichrome heaters can be used for kilns and furnaces to melt aluminum.

Day 1

  1. Hour 1: 11 AM to Noon: 30 minute OSE Intro - Collaborative Design, This is a real exercise in collaborative design.
  2. Hour 2: Noon. Extruder Build Beginning - 15 minutes - design of an Extruder and how to design a different one. We all post pictures to a Google Photos Folder or FB, and documenters refine the documentation
  3. Hour 3: Heat Bed Build - Build Nichrome heater element, and make a heated bed with it. Includes 15 minutes on heater element design and nichrome wire calculations so you can redesign a heater element of any size.
  4. Hour 4: Universal Axes build - Includes 15 minutes on Universal Axis design - and how to scale these to any size frame.
  5. Hour 5-7: finish extruder, axes, heat bed.
  6. Hour 8: Build review: we discuss build and any trouble spots to make improvements.
  7. After hours and before next day's 11 AM start: participants finish any unfinished parts.

Day 2

  1. Hour 1-2: 11 AM to 1PM: Controller build. 15 minute lesson on the Universal Controller.
  2. Hour 3-5: Startup procedure. 1. Check direction of motors, including extruder. First prints.
  3. Hour 6: Using FreeCAD to Create Designs for 3D printing.
  4. Hour 7: Your first simple design - sliced and 3D printed.
  5. Hour 8: How would you make or 3D print all the 3D printer parts yourself? Or use the 3D printer to make a torch table to make tractors? This is all possible, and we'll teach you how. Our goal is to make more parts of the 3D printer: bearings, shafts, controller, screen, relay, plug, and more. Discussion on the technology required to make each, based on what is found in the Global Village Contruction Set. Last 20 minutes: Lessons learned - how to make the program better.

Weekend 2: Arduino, KiCad, Programming, and Building a working Microcontroller From Scratch

This weekend, you will learn how to make functional, programmable microcontrollers - from a chip that you can buy for one dollar. You will learn basics of coding and controls, as you build 2 working miccrocontrollers - one on an experimental breadboard, and another on a soldered circuit board.

Day 3 - 4 hours

  1. Learn Arduino, coding, and build your own Arduino-like microcontroller from scratch. With Mitch Altman. See details at Arduino for Total Newbies. This is your one stop shop for learning about microcontrollers and Arduino from one of the leading authorities on making technology accessible to people.

Day 4 - 5 hours

Learn KiCad and basic electronics design as you design and build your own microcontroller. Experience the full chain from KiCad to a working microcontroller that you solder on a stripboard to make a functional device that can be programmed and used in practical projects.

  1. Hour 1-2: KiCad intro: 15 minutes. Begin designing your own microcontroller: selecting components, making connections, and checking your design. Exporting a layout that you can work from to solder your own OSEno - the minimalist OSE Arduino clone - on a stripboard.
  2. Hour 3-4: Soldering, making and breaking connections, and populating circuit board with components.
  3. Hour 5: KiCad review - making a change in the circuit. Testing - making LEDs blink, and turning on heavy loads with a solid state relay. Note: we will be using the existing solide state relay from the D3D Universal - so if you haven't built the kit - you'd have to get your own solid state relay to do the experiment first hand - otherwise you can watch others do it. Also wrapup: discussion on learnings, and how to improve the program.


  1. Art of Stripboard and KiCad - [1]

Weekend 3: FreeCAD Design + Build Your Own 3D Printed, 3 Phase Motor

Day 5, 4 hours lessons + 4 hours practice

Learn more about FreeCAD design as you design and modify ball bearings, linear bearings, transmission belts, and pulleys - all that you can print with your 3D printer to make various kinds of transmission and power geardown systems. You will be provided with bearing balls - large and small - to build your projects. We want you to think about a low-cost, high force geardown that can be build for a plastic shredder for plastic recycling for 3D printing.

  1. Hour 1: The Ball Bearing. FreeCAD - using spreadsheets and modifying a 3D printable ball bearings. Then 3D print your ball bearing.
  2. Hour 2: The Linear Bearing. Learn how to design, modify, and print a linear bearing - either will bearing balls or with plain plastic on metal.
  3. Hour 3: The flexible belt. Learn how to design, modify, and print rubber belts.
  4. Hour 4: The Pulley. Design, modify, and print pulleys for power transmission.
  5. Hour 5-7: Exercises. Collaborate and design a geardown. Use the small provided 100W motor, bearings, shafts, pulleys, and belts to build interesting examples of functional beleted drive drains. See inspiration at Open Source Shredder Build Pictures and Video
  6. Hour 8: Show-and-Tell - show the class what you have built, and how it works. Discussion and lessons learned.


Day 6 - 8 hours

Now you can use your FreeCAD skills and 3D printer to design and build a 3D printed, 3-phase, electric motor: Dirk's Electric Motor. This is an experimental day where you can take our existing design - and build it to get first-hand knowledge of how to design and build an efficient, brushless electric motor - whose power can be stacked by adding more disks to the system. To do this - you will have to have printed all the parts prior to this day - as it takes a day to print all the parts.

  1. Hour 1: The OSE 3 Phase Motor Design. How to scale it to larger sizes or add more disks to it. Power, magnetic field, and speed calculations. Brushed vs brushless motors. Axial vs radial(45 minutes).
  2. Hour 2-3: Start with winding the windings. You will need a corless drill so you can grab the windings to wind them quickly.
  3. Hour 4: Attaching the magnets to the rotor, coils to stator, and connecting to 3-phase motor controller.
  4. Hour 5-7: Finishing the build. Participants work toward completion, and ask questions along the way.
  5. Hour 8: First run! Discussion: applications and possible applications of motor. Lessons learned, discussion, and feeback on future improvements.