Parents Corner



parentsWelcome to the parent’s corner. It’s a place to gather with other parents, to talk about how to help your child, and to help one another.

This site is all about helping you prepare your child for life as an adult with useful and marketable skills. The areas you and your child will cover in this program are 3D printing (print one to make another), mechanics, electronics, and programming—aka “mechatronics” aka robotics. Along the way, he or she may optionally (with your guidance) learn to use basic tools in a real world endeavor to make another useful tool—a 3-axis robot.

Don’t worry if you’re not an engineer, a programmer, or a designer. Together, we’ll get you through a fascinating adventure of learning and actually making this robot along with your child!

Renwal-Visible-V8-box-artA story: when I was a pre-teen, one Christmas or birthday, my parents got me a model V8 engine called “The Visible V8.” It was a battery powered model with a transparent case that, once assembled, allowed you to see the parts of the engine in motion—the pistons, the crank and cam shafts, etc—and how they all worked together. With my father sitting beside me and answering my (probably too many) questions and letting me do the work, I learned at that early age how an internal combustion engine worked.

It was a serious bonding period for the two of us.

Times have changed. The simple V8 engine of my youth is now computer controlled. To today’s child, that marvel—the engine—has given way to 3D printers, robots and drones. The project for them, it would seem, would be to build one and know how it works—with all its techy components. I’m calling the project “The Visible Robot.”

I have two objectives: 1) to help your child develop skills; 2) to provide an exciting arena for the two of you to do “meaningful stuff” together.

To be honest, the program—though carefully put together—is not a one-weekend effort. In my opinion, those short sprints—and the skills learned in them—are too easily forgotten.

Just like a real developer in “the real world” you and your child will be buying parts (and maybe tools), 3D printing others, assembling them, wiring them up, doing some configuration, and getting the whole thing to move in three dimensions according to program!

We, through the FAQ, the documentation, this Parent’s Corner and the Maker Forum, will be there to help.

Again, a warm welcome. I sincerely hope your child—and you too—enjoys the journey.

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