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3D Metal Printer

Aaron J. Fillo, left, the host of the "Lib Lab" educational video series, and Hannah Coe, a graduate research assistant in the masters in mechanical engineering program, watch as OSU's 3-D metal printer works. 

The advantage of 3-D printing is the ability to print more elaborate things than can be made with traditional manufacturing, said Oregon State University graduate student and science educator Aaron J. Fillo.

So when OSU gave Fillo, the creator and host of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library’s "Lib Lab" educational video series, the chance to use its experimental 3-D metal printer, he had an idea of what to make: an alcohol-burning stove modeled on homemade camp stoves do-it-your-selfers make from cans.

But Fillo, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering who studies combustion, added a little twist to the design, literally. Fillo’s stove has an internal structure that makes the stove’s flame burn in a small fire tornado. Fillo said the design makes the stove burn more cleanly, which reduces emissions.

Fillo debuted an episode of "Lib Lab" on Friday that demonstrates OSU’s 3-D metal printer and the stove he created with it. Visit https://youtu.be/_fwziIJPwMs to see the episode of "Lib Lab," a show that introduces science and engineering concepts to kids.

"Lib Lab" was started with $15,000 in funding from the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library in 2017, but Fillo has continued to find other partners to help cover production costs for new episodes of the show. For the 3-D printing episode, Fillo partnered with OSU's School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering. The school and the College of Engineering contributed $5,500 to cover production costs and let Fillo try a design on the experimental metal 3-D printer.

“This is a research tool, so it is expensive (to print),” he said.

He said the printer only required one attempt to get the design right.

“We pulled it off the printer, put fuel in it and it worked,” he said.

Many episodes of "Lib Lab" include kits kids can get from the library to explore the concepts in the videos themselves. The library system, and OSU’s Valley Library, have teamed up to print out customized name plates for kids as the demonstration for the 3-D printing lesson. Information about requesting one of those nameplates is included in the video.

Fillo said the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering partnered with him to help spread science education and potentially encourage students to consider studying in the program.

Fillo said it’s been exciting to continue to find partners to keep making new episodes of "Lib Lab."

“The more partners we can find, the more kids we can help,” he said.

Fillo said the episode was filmed in May, and production was completed in early June. Friday’s episode kicked off releases of new episodes of "Lib Lab" each week for the next seven weeks. Fillo said he will have an episode explaining the science behind the burner featured in the 3-D printing episode and episodes explaining pressure — continuing a project started last year in collaboration with the popular FY Fluid Dynamics blog.

“I figure kids have a lot of free time right now, so it’s good to get them working on something productive instead of playing video games,” Fillo said.

Visit https://cbcpubliclibrary.net/liblab/ for more information about Lib Lab.

[Story has been updated to include the College of Engineering's role in funding the episode.]

Anthony Rimel covers education and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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