Custom Bear Flair in the Fab Lab
By STEMbassadors Alexis Wachter and Samantha Dix
Delran Teachers & Staff Create Their Very Own Bear Flair!
On March 28th, 2022, teachers from throughout Delran’s School District were invited to the FabLab to come together, and create their very own “Bear Flair!” This event was a celebration for New Jersey STEM Month, and was generously supported by a grant from the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network (NJSPN).
The afternoon consisted of two different sessions where teachers looked through pre-made Delran designs or created their own designs inspired by designs found online, and customized them to their own unique liking. Led by fab-lab managers Mr. DeLoche and Mr. Maraldo, who were also assisted by STEMbassadors, teachers were able to navigate the two-dimensional design program Corel Draw, and prepare their design to be printed via the Fab Lab’s very own Vinyl Cutter. Not only were teachers taught the different programs, but newer STEMbassadors were able to learn right beside them as well! In the pictures below, you can see Mr. Maraldo and STEMbassadors Emma Frith, Josh Hoffmann, and Bryan Braga helping teachers with their designs.
Brainstorm & Design on Corel Draw
The first step the Delran teachers had to take in order to create their “Bear Flair'' was coming up with their very own design on the software application, Corel Draw. Teachers were given Delran templates to choose from, some created prior by students in Mr. Maraldo’s Intro To Engineering classes and by STEMbassadors. However, others were able to take upon the task of creating their own. Teachers had the liberty to find free clip-art images online, and import them into Corel Draw. This allowed them to outline and trace their selected image, remove the fill, and set the outline to hairline. Not all images trace perfectly, and that is where STEMbassadors and Fab Lab managers were able to provide guided examples to walk teachers through how to remove anchor points. The last step was reflecting, or mirroring, the image so the design is readable on the sweatshirts.
Hands-On Weeding and Heat Pressing
Once teachers were happy with their designs they saved their work to the finished projects “Delran Stem Folder.” This allowed Mr. DeLoche to manipulate their designs so they would print on the vinyl cutter. Some images were turned sideways, and once the images were to scale you would place the color vinyl you wanted through the machine and then you commanded it to read the dimensions. These were sent to the computer where the images were manipulated for a final time before they were printed. Once printed, the teachers were given their designs and a vinyl weeder tool. They took their designs to a safety cutting mat, and started to pull away the outside of the designs. This is referred to as “weeding” away the unwanted parts, just like you pull unwanted weeds out of a garden. All of the final designs turned out so cute, and with the help of several STEMbassadors, Campbell Willard, teachers were walked through the steps of how to use the heat press to apply their designs to the sweatshirts.
Teacher and Student Feedback
Freshman STEMbassador, Molly Frith: “This event was very fun because it was a cool experience to teach something to teachers that I interact with everyday instead of students.”
DIS Fifth Grade Teacher Mrs. Favieri: “The STEMbassadors were the best, they were super helpful and patient during the entire process. I really learned a lot.”
Senior STEMbassador Abby Olear: “It’s a lot of fun to reverse the rolls and help the teachers out in learning the machinery in the lab. It’s also nice to learn more about Corel Draw and printing vinyl while helping others.”
DHS Media Center Specialist Ms. Soult: “I wanted to say THANK YOU so much for opening the Fab Lab for us yesterday afternoon! Your team sharing their knowledge was presented in a fun and informative manner; the time flew by and I was excited to learn a few functions in Corel Draw. I also wanted to compliment your STEMbassadors. As someone who was working with vinyl for the first time (and struggling a bit), I thought they were excellent leaders with how patient they were with explanations and helping. Josh was also very helpful with Corel Draw; after his walkthrough explanation on my first image, he waited for me to go through the steps on my own for the second image to see that I understood what he had shown me. I appreciated him providing that guided example and allowing me time to work through it on my own, and I was able to share the three steps after how to convert to curves with a colleague with confidence. Your commitment to STEM and the community is apparent and your team made a memorable, fun learning experience. Thank you all for such a wonderful workshop and for the custom liBEARian wear!”
Use the left and right arrows to scroll through the gallery below and see many of our teachers proudly showing off their custom Bear Flair creations!