Practical Applications for the Afinia H479 and Arduino

Recently, I helped a student build a device known as an electrospinner.  The purpose of this device is to make nanofibers.  Nanofibers are just very small threads.  Now what do I mean by “very small”?  By very small, I mean that compared to a human hair the diameter of these nanofibers are about 250 times smaller.  Which means that if we took the hair and somehow made it hollow that we could stuff almost 50,000 of these fibers into the hair!!  That’s crazy small!

Anyway, here’s a video of the first test of the device.  You can definitely tell that he’s quite excited that it worked.

 Here’s a video of the fibers that come out:

 Here is more video of the machine running.

Here are a couple of images of the fibers that were made.  The first image is with a slow spinning drum  while the second one is with the drum spinning at about 2000rpm (or about 5 meters per second at the edge of the drum).  You will notice that the fibers in the second image are lined up while those in the first image look like silly string.  That’s because the drum is collecting the fibers much more quickly in the second image and spooling them up on the drum.  Cool!


PEG fibers 2000rpm (10000x Mag SEM)

So when you start using 3D printing to build things and the Arduino platform to animate them, you are only a few steps away from being the next Einstein or Edison or Tesla!

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Muahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! Ok, now that I have that out... I can get to work. For as long as I can remember, I have been making things. This habit used to be called "Inventing" but has lately been repurposed by the Maker community with the term "Maker". While there are some subtle differences between Inventing and Making, I have discovered my passion for both by inspiring a new generation of Makers. In this quest to spark creative thinking and problem solving through practical and exciting projects, I draw on my background in biomedical research, high energy fiber laser development, and 15 years of building laboratory devices. As an experimental physicist with a PhD from Case Western Reserve University, I have seen research and development from many angles and am now bringing that experience to middle school and high school students who want to make everything from catapults to cybernetic augmentations. Through the medium of Making and Inventing, students are transformed from passive observers of education to active learners. This powerful shift fosters deep insights, creative expression, collaborative thinking and a host of other skills that are difficult to learn in traditional settings. Along with my wife Debby, an accomplished constructivist educator, I am on a quest to transform education and am looking for like-minded collaborators to bring hands-on learning to future generations.

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