Thursday, 20 December 2012

Modeling a Steam Roller in SketchUp

As you know I have developed numerous notes on modeling in SketchUp. SketchUp is a very powerful and flexible 3D modeling tool. For this exercise I looked at how to model a toy with a few different parts and how these parts would attach together. As you might already know SketchUp is not a parametric modeling package therefore assembling parts (components) together becomes a little more difficult.

The notes have been developed in a logical order so that each component fits into the correct position. I explain some of the helpful features of SketchUp when creating or selecting geometry. Have go and see what you think. Click here

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Using the Penultimate App in school

The Penultimate App is available for the iPhone and iPad from the App store. It is an easy to use handwriting app which is very flexible for use in class. The app can be used to take notes, keep sketches and import pictures. All of these features make it a very useful classroom tool to present notes and solutions live in class. Added to this, these notes can be easily shared by emailing students the notebooks or pages from the notebook if absent.
When writing in the app I would recommend using a stylist of some sort. Initially I found it difficult to write in the app but after time, it improved. There is a feature in the app which allows you set wrist protection and position. This is mention to take account of you hand resting on the screen while writing but I found it patchy. Sketching and drawing on the app was excellent, different line weights and colours are available and detailed design sketches can be quickly produced.

Overall an app well worth it money and a definite for any teacher using their iPad in class. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Raspberry Pi computer in your pocket

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. I recently purchased a raspberry Pi online, it took a while to get my hands on it. But it was well worth the wait. What an amazing piece of technology for its size. I have played around with it for a wait and its uses are endless. But from a school point of view, it will be amazing piece of equipment to promote programming.

The Raspberry Pi can be purchased through Premier Farnell/Element 14 and RSComponent. There are two models Model A $25 and Model B $35, I am not sure what the exact difference is between these. But a pc for $25, where could you go wrong.

Here you can see the Raspberry Pi being started up:

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Just found this very useful website which has a huge resouce bank of questions for both Leaving and Junior Certificate exams. The site has categorised exam questions under there topics for each topic. These questions can be accessed, along with the solution for revision or classroom purposes. This can be very useful to access questions for certain topics.

How to create drawings for DCG assignment in SolidWorks

This video describes how to prepare your SolidWorks Assembly and create the Drawings of the assembly with all the relevant views and details for the DCG Student Assignment

GCSE Technology Apps

Whilst sifting through the mountain of Apps that are out there I discovered an excellent set of school based apps. It seem that most subjects in the GCSE system in England have now been mapped onto apps. Being a MTW and Technology teacher, this is amazing. I downloaded the app to have a look and discovered that there were a set of Technology Apps- even better.

These Apps contain all the contents of the subject over the three years which have been broken into Apps for each year. The most expensive of these was 1.59, which is excellent value. The app above contents all the Technology material. There is even revision exam, explanation notes on how to develop a project folio, animated circuit construction and much more. Well worth downloading and having a look at.

Description of the app below, view here

"The successful DT App has now been split into individual subjects so you can learn and revise the subject of your choice at a fantastic price. The application includes information and revision quizzes for Resistant Materials as well as general guidance for coursework and controlled assessment tasks."

Here is a screen shot of the App showing one screen of the notes and the other showing a revision question which gives feedback to students using it.

DCG Student Assignment 2013

The DCG Student Assignment came out in early September again this year, which is great. As per last year the assignment is due to be completed in mid January (18th january). In my opinion this is great, as there is so much geometry to get complete before June's exam. Personally I would prefer if this assignment was submitted before Christmas but its not my call.

This year the student's at higher level have to analyse and develop a Lectern. This is a much more difficult project than pass years so students will have difficulty accessing a lectern to carry out research and get dimensions from. At added problem for the year ahead!!!!

At Ordinary level students are asked to analyse and model a wall clock. This is a very manageable assignment at ordinary level- thankfully. View the DCG Assignments 2013 here

Sunday, 29 July 2012

SolidWorks Solutions of Technical Graphics Higher Level 2012

A full set of SolidWorks solutions for the 2012 Higher Level Technical Graphics is available from the SolidWorks Model page above. These models have been designed and created to demonstrate how each question would be solved 2-dimensionally. The SolidWorks models have been created as 3D parts and the 2D solutions represented on each.

The rollback feature has been utilised to display how each question is solved from the beginning. The rollback feature (over) in the feature manager, allows each feature to be hidden and displayed to build up the key principles and concepts of the question.

Using the rollback feature, the solution to each question can be built up from the beginning. The image beside shows the start of the question and the lawnmower placed in the reference planes.

Rolling the features on the Elevation is shown projected onto the Vertical Plane. The model can be rotated and viewed from different angle and views.

Rolling on the End View can be projected onto the End Vertical Plane.

All of the models have been created in this way to develop a greater understanding of the possible solutions to each question. I hope these are helpful.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

CoderDojoMayo Notes

Below are the CoderDojo notes from the pass 2 weeks in which we developed the PacMan game and then further enhance the appearance of the game by adding animations, game levels and how to end the game. The introduction of variables and broadcasts allowed us to achieve this in the game

Hope everyone has a great summer and happy coding. Have a go at your own game and then try and improve it.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Inserting a Sketch Picture in SolidWorks video tutorial

Inserting a sketch picture in SolidWork can be very handle to create logo and other complicated elements of a design. As can be seen of the playstation controller from the DCG assignment from a few years ago. So an image of a logo can be imported into SolidWorks and copied (drawn around using sketch tools), there after the sketch of the logo can extruded to a very thin thickness to create a sticker like effect. I have create a video tutorial to explain the steps involved.
I hope this helps in the completion of SolidWorks assignments.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

SightSpace 3D app for Google SketchUp

I have just discovered an app for the iPad in which Google SketchUp models can be viewed. Models can be orbited with a single finger, panning with two and pinching to zoom in and out is very satisfying. Models can be easily loaded onto your mobile device using the Google 3D Warehouse or loading models through Dropbox and email.
The SightSpace App also includes a feature called Augmented Reality (AR) viewer, which gives you the ability to overlay 3D models onto the physical world. This will be very useful in letting you actually walk through the model spaces, for example in previewing construction projects, displaying kitchen designs, urban planning and much more.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Microsoft SkyDrive giving free 25Gb upgrade

I just noticed last night while trying to find a file on my skydrive that Microsoft are offering a free upgrade tp 25 Gb, so don't miss out.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Construction Studies Day Practical 2012 Trial piece

The Construction Studies Day Practical is around the corner next week for most Leaving Certificate students. I have put together a trial piece using the Cutting List provided by the State Examination Commission. This can be downloaded here as image or pdf. Best of luck to all

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Creating Mind maps using - Popplet

I have just discover a very useful iPad App for the presentation of research in project design called Popplet. Popplet is a wonderful web tool and iPad app that allows for a collaborative mind-mapping experience. With lots of great features, a slick interface, and easy to use note-taking or organizing tool. This is a full-featured site that can be used with multiple subjects, where you can collect, curate and share your ideas, inspirations and projects.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

3DVia on the iPad

As a recent new owner of an iPad, I have been discovering so many new apps that are useful in my daily life at work.  I have been looking for a way to put Sketchup models on the iPad in 3D, so I can present them in school without having to use the laptop.

There is a company called 3Dvia.  They have a 3D iPad browser that can do just that.  They also have an online 3D repository that their 200,000 members can upload 3D models from a variety of 3D design softwares.
All of these models can be browsed with just a few touches right on your iPhone or iPad, check out the video below:

Google SketchUp Notes

I have developed a number of Google SketchUp Tutorial notes to help get started using SketchUp. These notes build up the basic techniques and approaches when using SketchUp. The notes deal with everyday objects and their geometry. These are available from the above link. Enjoy, I hope they will be some help. (watch out for these notes as future video tutorials)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Inserting a Sketch Picture in SolidWorks

1.                  Save the image as a jpeg in the folder where you wish to save the SolidWorks part file.  Otherwise the image will not be referenced by the part file
2.                  Open a part file and save it to folder containing the image. Create a sketch on the top plane for example
3.                  Go to Tools/Sketch Tools/Sketch Picture
4.                  Browse to the folder containing the image (I have saved the image as a jpeg). Select the image and ‘Open’.
5.                  The image will be inserted with one corner on the origin. 
In the Property Manager you can edit the position of the image relative to the Origin or its inclination using the first three dialogue boxes

 You can adjust the size of the image by editing the dimensions in the 4th and 5th dialogue boxes

6.                  Confirm ‘Sketch Picture’ 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Problems Filleting and Chamfering in SketchUp

Coming from a background of using SolidWorks the Fillet and Chamfer tools would be regularly used in the designing and modeling of products. But since starting to use SketchUp, I found that the absence of this two features made it difficult and cumbersome to create projects. There are of course ways around it but time and patience, run out fast. So on searching through the vast number of plugin's available in SketchUp, I discovered RoundCorner created by Fredo6.

This plugin is a must have for all SketchUp users and is pretty straight forward to use and install. Indeed Fredo6 has a number of very useful plugin's developed which are worth a look at.

RoundCorner is a simple tool with a few (sort of) complicated settings. At its simplest, here’s what it does:

Click on an icon in the Round Corner toolbar to activate one of the “modes”: Round, Sharp or Bevel.
RoundCorner can make rounded edges with round or sharp corners. It can also make bevels (far right).

Pick the edges you want to round by clicking them. Click again to deselect an edge. You can also click a face to select all of its edges, or a vertex (where endpoints meet) to select its connected edges.

Pick edges, faces or vertices.

Press Tab on your keyboard to bring up the Parameters dialog box. Enter an offset distance and the number of facets (segments) your new rounded edges should have. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Use the Parameters dialog box to specify an offset and a number of sides. Using a small number of sides yields more usable models.

Increasing the number of sides on your rounded corners increases your face count exponentially.

When you're ready, click somewhere in empty space to run the script.

So many settings

There are plenty of settings in the toolbar that appears in your modeling window when you activate one of the tools; take a look at the plugin’s handy documentation to see what everything does (Tools > Fredo6 Collection > RoundCorner > Documentation...)

Details, details
  • You can download RoundCorner (as well as all of Fredo6's other plugins) from theRuby Library Depot.
  • Fredo6 makes his plug-ins available as donationware, meaning that they're free to download and use, but that payment is always gladly accepted. I highly encourage you to support his efforts.
  • This SketchUcation thread provides good discussion and examples.
  • This Pushpull Bar post is helpful, too.
  • So is this video that Fredo6 made.
  • RoundCorner works on both Macs and PCs.
  1. Unzip the folder you downloaded.
  2. Move both things inside that folder (another folder called ROUNDCORNER_Dir_xx and a file called ZLoader_Roundcorner.rb) into your Plugins folder.
  3. Make sure you have the latest version of LibFredo6 installed, too (there should be a link to it on the same download page.) It contains things that all of Fredo6’s scripts need to work. Download and unzip it, then move its contents (a folder called LIBFREDO6_Dir_xx and a file called LibFredo6.rb) into your Plugins folder.
  4. Restart SketchUp.
  5. Choose View > Tool Palettes > Round Corner to activate the tool.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Coderdojo coming to Mayo

Coderdojo is starting in Mayo registration day is on 24th March at Mayo Education Center (beside GMIT) from 12-2pm. Mentors session 2-4pm. An exciting opportunity for all budding programmers and those with an interest in ICT

Galway Education Centre to give schools Google Sketchup Pro for FREE

The Galway Education Centre has signed a contract with Google to distribute 3D modelling application Google Sketchup Pro for free to all interested Irish primary and secondary schools.

The application lets students create 3D models from scratch or by using existing data. They can import drawings, photos, aerial images and other data and can then use the application’s tools to create 3D models. Sketchup can be used design and create project for Technical Graphics, Materials Technology Wood, Construction Studies and Technology at second level. These design can be then present in a ranges of formats in a portfolio for examination and assessment. 

Google offers an extensive range of online video tutorials in which users can develop an understanding of the software from beginning to end.

Galway Education Centre is distributing the software FREE to all schools, simply contact the Education Centre for details. This is an excellent tool in the development of visual understanding of objects at second level and Galway Education Centre and Bernard Kirk must be commended for their innovation in providing this to schools.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Collection of GoogleSketchup Video Tutorials

With the vast number of very useful Youtube videos tutorials available, I found it difficult to sort through these when using them in class so here is a spreadsheet I developed to help progress through Sketchup. Which is an absolutely amazing piece of software to use in class.

CoderDojo -learn how to code

CoderDojo is a movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs and regular sessions for young people.
At a CoderDojo, young people learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and more. Dojos are set up, run by and taught at by volunteers. Dojos organise tours of technology companies, bring in guest speakers to talk about their career and what they do, and organise events. In addition to learning to code, members meet like minded people, show off what they’ve been working on and so on. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun, sociable, kick ass experience.