Glenn's adventures in the Third (and sometimes second) Dimension!

At work I provide technical support for a Maker Space geared towards creative arts. Primarily it serves students doing specific courses in my faculty/school which take place in the adjacent classroom. (Or sometimes an entirely different classroom.) I get to use all the nifty gear myself, of couse. Though I mostly just do enough to learn the equipment so I can help the actual artists! I don't often have ideas for things to do, to be honest: that's why I am the tech., and not the artist, so don't expect the below to be of any great artistic merit! It is just me learning stuff and possibly having a bit of harmless fun along the way.


Technicians! With frikkin' lasers in their workshops!

We have a laser cutter-engraver. I specced a nice moderately-powerful CO2 one, since some of the teaching staff identified specific needs to cut things like clear acryilic and 3mm compressed cardboard (which diode laser units generally can't handle).

Mostly I have been running little test-engraves on bits of scrap to trial/demo what is possible for studenes:

Laser-engraving smamples

"TAEM" is the name of our school within the university ("The Arts, English and Media").

Laser-engraving a glazed tile

And a random ceramic tile my downstairs neighbour donated from her bathroom renovation came out surprisingly well, too! (That grid on top is a test pattern with laser intensities on the horizontal and laser-head-speed on the vertcal, useful for testing unknown materials for what settings are best.)."


And cynical use of popsical sticks in the spirit of those 'lick-a-prize' competitions ice-cream manufacturers used to sometimes run in my youth:

cynical popsicle prizes.


I endeded up with some offcuts of polycarbonate in my scrap box, which looks rather like acrylic ... until you try to laser it! Then it burns rather than etches. But if you don't mind brown-on-transparent, it is not a bad result (though it burns very messily and the laser unit needs rather a lot of scrubbing out afterwards!)

Poop-themed buttons.

Since my colour choices were brown, or brown-from-the-other-side (a slightly more orange-brown), it was either poops or something coffee-themed. I stand by my decision!

I originally was just making 21mm tokens out of offcuts, for no real reason other than because I could. Then the Theatre Tech. mentioned that his daughter could make ear-rings out of them, so I ran off a few with the poops slighly below-centre and a hole at the top. Then the Sculpture Tech. saw them and wanted buttons, so I poked some holes in the eyes for sewing them on to things.

Resin to live.

I actually like our AnyCubic resin printer. I had been a bit iffy about these cheap up-side-down printers, having heard about prints commonly falling off the build plates, but so far the only one such instance of this I have had was definitely my own inexperience in choosing appropriate raft/support settings when setting up my model. The build quality of the AnyCubic device is impressive. The software is, well, quite usable, which is actually high praise in the maker sector which seems plagued with cloudy junkware with UIs designed by people who may have vaguely heard about how a computer works! I did end up using the basic version of Chitubox as my slicer instead of AnyCubic's Photon Workshop slicer, mainly for the extra features of the former, though the latter is perfectly functional as an entry-level slicer.

As well as my usual 8-sided die set that I print on anything that can print them!, I have also printed a few other things....

I actually scanned my lunch (an apple) with our 3D-scanner as a demo of that device for a class. Then I imported the scan into Blender, subtracted the initials 'SM' - the tutor's initials: it was her birthday!, and printed it on the resin printer with 'clear' resin. The results were impressive.

Apple resin print.

Due to the fragility (very thin apple-stem), we are going to mount it in a ring box, and I might as well stick an LED and a button-cell battery under it too! (image when work done).

And now.... my first ever (actually useful) 3D-print!

Adapter for two vac-hoses into a 100mm vent pipe.

An adapter to allow me to put two old vacuum-cleaner hoses into one of the filtered exhaust vents in the maker-space cieling. These are to extract fumes from the 3D printers, so don't need a full 100mm pipe each, unlike the laser cutter. I printed it in ABS on the old filament printer, mainly as I want to use this filament up for less precision-critical work, as the new, much better, filament printer takes a different gauge filament.


I am in the process of self-training in parametric CAD modeling to properly use our Stepcraft D420 CnC router.

Sew me!

We have a sewing machine, overlocker and embroidery machine. I have been using a regular sewing machine since I was aroun 10 years old, but never got to use an overlocker, so am eager to learn how to use one. The embroidery machine has a pretty good set of built-in patterns which can be mixed-and-matched, but I am hoping we can soon get the extra $2k software for doing fully-custom stuff too.

First thing I will be overlocking is a 'light tent' for our 3D scanner bright light through the classroom windows at some times of day do intefer with scan quality. And I will embroider the model of the scanner on the front flap, since the scanner software insists on asking for this information every time it is started.

Dyeing again.

We have a dye-sublimation printer. I have done some test prints and heat-pressed them out to polyester fabric (the only fabric this technology apparently supports). So far I am exeremely underwhelmed by the technology, both the results, and the severe compatible-materials limitations. Honestly, I would rather send my art off to CafePress, Vistaprint or similar and get a guarenteed-decent result on a much wider variety of materials, for far less effort and not much more time or expense! Though it's early-days, and further experimentaion and experience may change my mind.


We have a small room for VR attached to our primary classroom. I am not convinced the room itself is really that useful (too small for moving in, though big enough to wave your arms about in, at least).

I am just waiting on a new AMD-GPU (because I default to Linux OS and life is far too short for messing about with proprietary Nvidia drivers!) and a HTC Vive Pro 2 (because privacy is too important to trust to Facebook Meta!) to arrive so I can set all this up. I will, by default, be using the Overte VR environment, which is open-source, multi-platform, and not tied up with any kind of NFT/crypto grift (as an explicit choice of the Overte community)! I am, of course, open to other VR environments that staff/students are interested in, software/content licencing and hardware-compatibility permitting.

Note: Although a headset certainly adds to the VR experience, it is not actually necessary, and Overte works fine on a flat screen too (I prefer a 2D screen for content creation, using a headset for content consumption). Don't conflate VR with specific gear!: I have even helped students create highly-effective audio-only VR installations, so even having a visual channel at all is optional! (Still waiting for my BCI!)

Overte Image

Some screenshots from my own Overte world (which is a relatively simple self-training space) are here.

Some more impressive Overte world images can be found on the Overte Discord.


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