Day 2 of the 1-Day Build

Printing the Z Axis Rod Ends June 16th

by Chadwick Wingrave, Maker in Residence


I was looking for a phone number to call Printrbot today. No luck, but I did find specs for the Z Axis Rod Ends. Ok, not exciting to you, but it was bitter-sweet to me. You see, fitting the rod into this end required a few well-placed taps by a hammer, followed by several full-body swings of Mjölnir (aka Thor’s hammer). I can easily see people hammering the rod straight through the piece. I can easily see this because we did this and need to replace the piece on our printer.


In any event, I printed a few for the Bootcamp participants using our trusty in-house Bukito and my inner-geek put the calipers down for another day.

Our 3d Printer Prototype Build

The Build as of Jun 15th

By Chadwick Wingrave, Maker in Residence


Wilhem, Andrew and I cracked open the box looking for a fun couple of hours of build time with the Printrbot “Play Kit” 3D printer. We had our tools in hand, a nice wide desk and a GoPro ready to document our afternoon conquest in preparation for the Walnut St. Labs 3D Printer Bootcamp. Well, it eventually took us two and a half days to get it all working. We lost Andrew after day one and Wilhem succumbed to dysentery over the weekend (I’m kidding, I have no idea what happened to him. But, he was sick, didn’t say why and I have this image of us as trail blazers on the Oregon Trail so dysentery seemed the likely culprit).


The Printrbot “Play Kit” is a great starter kit for 3D printer beginners. While it has a small print area, it was recommended to us for its construction, ease of assembly and quality components; all great things for building a 3D printer community. We found the online instructions overall quite good, with but a few deficiencies. We noted these in anticipation of the Bootcamp and, to the credit of Printrbot, directly commented on the online directions themselves. Way to go social media.


The printer parts were quality but we did have an issue with the Z Axis Rod end being too shallow and it broke through when inserting the rod. As well, we found our fan motor connector had it’s wires swapped. We asked for a clarification from Printrbot and received clarification in a few hours. Pretty speedy communication for a company that doesn’t even post a sales phone number.


We still haven’t printed yet. I’m waiting for Wilhem to recover before firing up Repetier to do our first test print. For the Bootcamp, we’re going to preassemble the un-exciting base, so we can spend less time assembling and more teaching; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the 3D Printer.

As we continue towards Bootcamp preparation, we will keep you posted.

#ProtoComp2015: It’s a Wrap!

So, we did it! We planned, promoted and executed the first 5-week prototyping competition of its kind. Unlike traditional hackathons, #ProtoComp2015 was geared toward providing access to creative technical projects. We didn’t just build a design event for UI and UX designers, but for any aspiring designers, creative thinkers and people looking to expand the extent of their technical understanding.

In-line with pioneering new crowdsourcing opportunities, #ProtoComp2015 itself was very much a learning process. We’ve never done anything like this before, and we’re super grateful that so many different groups journeyed with us to learn, grow, collaborate and innovate with us!

The competition was launched in a fun and social atmosphere. STEALTH‘s potentially constraining technical jargon was boiled down to a conversational level as to broaden the span and scope of creative responses.

All the promotional work paid off, and the vast majorityof those who attended the launch party signed up to compete, leaving us with 18 teams! Needless to say, the turnout and signup far exceeded the schematics of our initial goals. We had so many people sign up that it became a somewhat cumbersome task to even judge all the teams in the end.

We embedded crash courses throughout the competition to serve as an aid from both technical and conceptual perspectives of design, and appointed advisors to further clarify any ambiguities that arose during the prototyping sessions.

Invision allowed our teams to utilize their amazingly simple and fun design tool. It makes the process of building a wireframe so easy that virtually anyone can do it. Invision’s participation was a vital component to the success of our event.

We chose to give each team a private judging session in order to lessen the amount of pressure that each team would feel by presenting to the entire group. The judging panel was comprised of two judges represented by Walnut St. Labs and three from Unisys.

DJ-Jam was able to meet and exceed all of the judging requirements set forth by the competition challenge. They delivered their demo clearly and accurately in the 5 minute limit with time remaining. DJ-Jam’s prototype demonstrated some very insightful and novel concepts relating to STEALTH’s technology, while maintaining a simple and intuitive prototype.

Every group put a lot of effort into their prototypes and produced some really awesome ideas and valuable concepts. Both Walnut St. Labs and Unisys were impressed by each and every participant and team!

You all should be extremely proud of your hard work and effort you’ve put in, and we look forward to doing something like this in the future.


Andrew Ervin Reads Excerpts of Burning Down George Orwell’s House

We like to thank Andrew Ervin for sharing passages of his new book, BURNING DOWN GEORGE ORWELL’S HOUSE with us, and once more for putting up with our choice to simultaneously host a prototyping competition! You can pick up Andrew’s debut book at either a hip indie book store, such as Powell’s City of Books and IndieBound, or via Amazon  and Barnes & Noble.

Thanks to Christopher Merkner for his facilitation, as well as his general enthusiasm for herding a bunch of college students anywhere specifically:

“Burning Down George Orwell’s House is really most enjoyable, a witty, original turn on the life and memory of the Sage of Jura, taking place on the island where he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four. Eric Blair serves as the McGuffin in this story, which is one part black comedy and one part a meditation on modern life. It is well-written and truly original.”
— Robert Stone


“[A]n evocative novel of place that makes pointed commentaries about the ‘wired world’ of the 21st century that 1984 intuited.  As all good comedies do, Ervin’s novel contains a sober question at its core.” Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s “Fresh Air”


“Big Brother might not be watching [Ray Welter] but the island’s eccentric locals sure are and also, possibly, a werewolf. High comedy ensues as Welter tries to find himself, Orwell and the savage beast.”
— Billy Heller, New York Post


“Ervin’s debut novel follows in the tradition of classic comedies where a supposedly cosmopolitan outsider tests his welcome in an insular old-world village. Both come in for some good-natured satire.”
— Newsday


“Wry and engaging… Nineteen Eighty-Four casts a long shadow over countless books—but not this one… Ervin has achieved something uniquely refreshing: a book that shows the taste and restraint to pay knowing, affectionate and humorous tribute to George Orwell without trying to prove him right—or to create some redundant simulacrum of his work.”
— Steve Nathans-Kelly, Paste Magazine


“Burning Down will appeal to those who have wondered what ditching our smart phones and laptops would do to make our lives less complicated. What geographically remote island could we retreat to for some peace of mind and, obviously, some world-class scotch?”
— Melanie J. Cordova, The Santa Fe Writer’s Project Quarterly


“Captures the stark and chill atmosphere of the small island, on which strangers are unwelcome and apparently very good whiskey is consumed in copious quantities.”


Pick up BURNING DOWN GEORGE ORWELL’S HOUSE at Powell’s City of BooksIndieBoundAmazon or Barnes&Noble.

iNov8 Internships Draw to a Close







“Since working at Walnut Street Labs, I’ve learned how to use WordPress, become more versed in CSS and HTML and seen how PHP runs on the backend. I’ve also gained much more experience working together with a group to complete tasks which is a nice change of pace from the classroom environment which is largely independent work. This semester I’ve been taking a class in PHP so it was nice to see what I learnt in the classroom directly apply to what I was learning at the lab and gave me a chance to improve in school and at work. Overall I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at the lab and I feel that I am more prepared to work in the Tech Industry because of it.”
Bruce Langlois, WSL Dev Intern

iNov8 Internships Draw to a Close

“The opportunity I was given to begin an internship with Walnut St. Labs has changed the way I think and work. Before I began working at WSL I had an interest in technology and innovation in general but I never took the time to learn and do something about it. Working at the Labs has taught me about web creation and design as well as film and photography, few things I had a previous interest in. As I am continuously pushed into working with these I am learning more than I believe I would learn in the classroom or on my own. The main thing I have gained from working at Walnut St. Labs is feeling more comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone. The environment and people of WSL has given me the encouragement to do so. I have never had the pleasure to be surrounded by such positive and encouraging people in a work environment.”
Jordan Muir, WSL Marketing Intern


“Working at Walnut St. Labs has been an interesting and transformative experience. The things I have learned from everyone here has been more valuable than I can possibly express. I don’t think I would have the skills I currently do in order to build and make things if I didn’t have the experience I got from here. Placing myself in a real work environment is also an enlightening experience. Meeting people and having a forward thinking mind in the tech industry is something completely new to me. Being able to keep up with the industry has also been an interesting experience. I’ve learned to be more self reliant and dependable to my peers and my friends. So far I have managed many websites for the lab and I have brought my own development skills. Some of my favorite projects have been Rentalist, Qio, and Office Hours. For the most part, much of the work has been adding customizations to WordPress websites, though I am at my best when I work with these three sites because I get to work with the raw code of the websites. With these, I have been able to excel my skills in PHP and Ruby on Rails. I’ve also become overall more experienced with general knowledge on web frameworks and the innovation process. This skills this gives me for a career are very direct. I have bettered myself as a programmer, and as an employee for a company. It has also allowed me to create my own projects. With the resources available and the guidance I’ve received, I am better equipped to take on a project and see it to completion.”
Wilhem Arthur, WSL Dev Intern


“Throughout the past few weeks here at Walnut Street Labs, I have gained a large amount of knowledge that I would not have without the help of all of you. First, I would like to say that all of you have done a terrific job at making me feel comfortable working in this company. All of you have welcomed me from day one with smiles and greetings as soon as I stepped in the door. This is something that I cannot express enough. This internship has been more than incredible, because I did not just show up and go to work everyday. I was given the opportunity to get to know most of you on a personal level that made me feel that you were not just my bosses, but also my friends who cared about my success in your company. Once again, I thank you for this and I know you all will continue to welcome every person who comes to Walnut Street Labs with open arms. As far as my learning experience here, I feel that there are two ways to summarize this. I look at my growth from both a technical standpoint and a non-technical one.”
— James Turner, WSL Marketing Intern


“My time spent Interning at Walnut St Labs has been incredible. I have learned so much and have enjoyed wholeheartedly being a part of the team there. In school, while I have exchanged information, techniques, and knowledge with my peers, designing in school is a competition. Those who I work with at school will be competing with me for jobs in the future. That is what makes being part of a collaborative team so different, and what I was so eager to take part in when applying for the internship.
I have always wanted to be a part of a team and I couldn’t have imagined one better than the one at Walnut St Labs. Everyone was very helpful with any questions I had, and each uniquely contributed to my growth as a designer, resulting in a wealth of knowledge after only a few months. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to take part in this internship program and meet all of the people I met. The knowledge I’ve learned and the experience I gained will be helpful throughout my career as a designer.”
— Carly Sylvester, WSL Design Intern


“Working at Walnut St. Labs was an excellent experience as a prospective Web Developer. Every task at the lab was added value to the company. Developing in the WordPress framework taught me how to edit and create high quality websites. WordPress is a ubiquitous Web Development environment that about 25% websites run on. I knew HTML and CSS prior to my involvement at Walnut St. Labs, although this company sharpened my knowledge. One day I might be adding content, the next day I could be tweaking HTML5 animations on high-end sites. I also learned how to edit the backend of websites with PHP. Without out a doubt, my work at Walnut St. Labs will help launch my future as a Web Developer. I learned how to create and enhance websites that are used in the industry.”
— Dennis Pifer, WSL Dev Intern

iNov8 Internships Draw to a Close

“Over the course of my internship at Walnut St. Labs, I worked in new situations and environments that were totally foreign to me. After being assigned as one of the main content producers on one of the company’s blogs, WestChester.Guru, I began to expand my skillset and experience as a writer. I wrote about local news, events around town, and promotional blogs for nearby businesses. Occasionally, I had the opportunity to interview a few primary sources for information. Outside of the blog, I worked within a complex network of communication in the company. It was fascinating how often seemingly unrelated company operations would interact and crossover between one another.”
— Zane Zerman, WSL Marketing Intern