FabAcademy 2016 Dennis Conner
My name is Dennis Conner. I am a teacher and lab coordinator at The Gregory School in Tucson, AZ.
I have always enjoyed making things. I enjoy learning by making and for many years, I have made that
part of the classes that I teach. Six years ago, I started teaching a class in which I took inspiration from the
How To Make Anything classes from MIT. This lead me to learning many new skills and learning first hand about the power of
I wanted to take the Fab Academy because I believe FabLabs can have a large role in education. I have been working
over the past year integrating a FabLab into our school. FabLabs can be used to support existing classwork, encourage
new projects, or to empower students to find their own learning endeavor. I want to be a part of figuring all of that out.
Learn how to network better.
Learn to better facilitate turning ideas into prototypes.
Develop more opportunities to interact with other people who enjoy this work.
When choosing a final project, I narrowed down my ideas to meet the following criteria:
I want to use it in our FabLab as an example of various FabLab techniques.
I want the project to be a CNC device built
I want a project that helps me tell the story of why this education is important.
I want something that people can interact with but still have a pupose.
I am going to build a FabLab vending machine. The vending machine will allow users to check out(and return) tools in the lab.
Update: As the class progressed, I stayed with the same basic idea,
but I wanted to concentrate more on the sensors than the machine. The project morphed to being a shelf
which detects users and can be expanded with more features.
11th Class: Input Devices
Design a circuit board with a sensor.
Get the sensor to read out data.
My project is a Hall Effect Sensor reach reads out data to
be displayed using Processing.
14th Class: Composites
My main project is a burlap-resin composite lab seat.
The first part of the week was practicing techniques
The second part was modeling the final project
The third, make the mold.
The final part - making!
15th Class: Networking
I will be working with a wifi module to communicate from my board to another microcontroller.
In my final project a microcontroller will be tracking the presence of items(tools). This will send a
status update to the wifi module which can post this online or to another wifi module. I built the wireless ESP8266 board and got it to work from a serial command sent via
an arduino and also just the FTDI cable.
16th Class: Interfaces
I played with several programs. I tried getting Node.js to work with the microcontrollers in
18th Class: Invention
The goal of this week is to reflect on the project and consider IP and
distribution of idea.
The Gregory School